Introduction: Hand Make Sock Knitting Loom

Picture of Hand Make Sock Knitting Loom

I love knitting in the round but could not find a way to knit a decent sock on the looms available at local craft stores.  Usually the smallest one available to make baby hats or bulky mittens just wouldn't do what I wanted. So then I found the Letter D. It seemed to be perfect for what I had in mind.   The best part of round looms is that you can put it down and pick it up any time, and you can do this craft even if you never knitted before.  Its easier to regulate the tension on the loom than it is on straight or double point needles when your a beginner. No counting stitches as you cast on.  (Unless you want to)  Both having their advantages in that traditional knitting can be faster for experienced knitters with other pattern options such as fancier stitch patterns, but you can do some things such as a simple cable, or special wraps on the round knitter.

This is mainly about crafting already available materials into a handy knitter.  Your only limited by your imagination, truly fits this situation. I added an additional feature making the peg (nails in this case) removable so you can add or subtract pegs as needed.
I will add more content as I try various things with my knitter. 
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Step 1: Letters Make Nifty Looms

Picture of Letters Make Nifty Looms

I happened upon some wooden letters in a discount bin and thought how they might make a great sock loom.  I first considered the letter O but none were available, so D was my second choice.  I did decide to pick up a P and Q for other tests with peg size and size of opening for various projects in mind.

Step 2: Measuring Up Your Project

Picture of Measuring Up Your Project

When drilling the holes just make sure that the diameter of the hole is the same as the nail or peg your using or else they will either not fit or fall out.  The nails I used were 1/16th of an inch in diameter and 1 - 3/8ths inches long . I spaced them at 3/16ths of an inch apart, which should be your minimum for the yarn to work effectively around the pegs without limiting the yarn or your hook around them. (The yarn in this case was less than an 8th in in diameter.)

Measure once and then again as when working this close, it doesn't matter when using every other peg (3/8ths in apart ) for larger yarn the difference is not noticed as much but I did get one hole drilled too close to another, and it makes a slight change in the closeness of those two stitches coming off that  peg.  I have a size 8 foot. You may need more pegs for a larger foot.

The thickness of the letter gives enough room to figure in how many 8ths you need at 3/8ths between every other peg and get your diameter around the ring. and then remeasure in between  to make sure your 3/16ths are equally distant apart.  Some find that a compass with a pencil or a sharp pair of points (see photo) are good for fine work.

I just jumped in and marked off the points but next time I will be more careful.  For an average adult size foot, I found that you need to have at least 14.5 inches circumference round for your peg points. (minimum)  I ended up with a total of 74 holes, but started  out only useing38(every other one,  and then added a few pegs on the corners to get me up to 40  (make turning the heel easier on closer pegs) for the correct width starting at the toe. (14.5 inches is equal to 116 - 8ths  I somehow came up with 114.  38x 3-8ths, because my corners were not spaced evenly apart in measuring, but I had enough pegs to get through the project.   I did gradually add pegs for the heel turning and then spaced in between every other empty hole. Then gradually worked up to all but 8holes with a peg.  Also when increasing the number of pegs for the heel, I did decrease a few for the ankle and then replace the every other peg to start on the calf.  (Photos of the sock included in next few steps)
I will add more photos and info when I try out the other letter shapes.

Step 3: Yarn Onto Your Loom

Picture of Yarn Onto Your Loom

This is the loom with a few rounds of stitches already on the loom.  This is more about the loom process than a knitting lesson. So I am showing how the yarn fits onto the loom.  The first row is usually a loop-d-loop round each peg and around the loom.  In the first try I looped on counter clock wise. You can go either direction as long as you continue in the same direction once you yarn onto your project. With this more standard weight yarn I had to use every other peg hole as otherwise it would have been very tedious. Plus just by looking it seems we would end up with a nice boot sock.  It was fun trying the pegs in different arrangements and not be stuck with one set pattern. The last photo is of a lighter weight yarn and using the loop around method or e wrap.

Step 4: Making a Fine Wool Sock

Picture of Making a Fine Wool Sock

I had some yarn made for making socks that was tucked away in my craft bin waiting for a project such as this.  I have tubular needles and double pointed needles, but really wanted to knit a sock with a round knitter.  This gave me the opportunity to play around and have some fun. I love the adjustable peg option as it has been frustrating with the regular round pegged plastic knitters, you are stuck with a set diameter and number of pegs along with diameter of peg.  Great for bulky weight yarn or having to double up yarn for it to work in the knitter.  Most yarn for sale is much smaller so one would think a knitter with more pegs half the size would seem more appropriate. But that is part of the fun of hand crafting and repurposing items to do what you want them to.

Step 5: The Sock

Picture of The Sock

This shows how I was able to turn a heel by going back and forth between the straight part of the D (double back)  once for each full round. So I would go around one turn and head up the straight part of the D. Then use this as my point to turn back and go as far as the bottom of the straight part of the D and then turn and head back up the straight part. Then continue around and repeat this step till you get a heel large enough to accommodate your sock.  I did this mostly in the red and then continued a few rows in the dark brown to finish the heel to the right size.  I tried it a couple times till I got the right look in the fiber. You could practice just doing a heel turn before starting a whole sock, though doing an ankle sock would be much quicker. I could have gotten a pair of ankle socks out of one ball of yarn. Since I had two, I decided to go for knee socks because I love wearing them with my jeans.

The first photo is to show the extra thickness of the heel, (the toe area is not done yet.  My next pair of socks I will start with the top of the sock and work down as closing the tow is easier than taking the end off and then turning a cuff. (Like making a brim for a hat.)
The (2) second photo shows how the sock was expanded just using extra pegs adding one to every other empty peg to space them out. The (3) third photo is so you can better see the knitting and that I have pegs in most of the holes ending near the top.  I saved some dark brown to finish the toe. I can just sew the toe closed, but if its a bit tight, I am going to crochet more onto the end with the matching yarn.  (More photos to come)

Step 6: Finishing the Length

Picture of Finishing the Length

I finally made it to the top of the sock.  This is a great feeling and I could hardly wait to get my sock off and try this on for size.  As you can see my toes sticking out as I started at the toe end and stopped where I wanted my heel to be. Thus leaving me a little short on the toes. But I had a method in mind for my madness. The other end of the ball of yarn had some dark brown and I planned on claiming that for finishing the toes.  Not knowing exactly how I would attach it and decided to cross that bridge when I got to it. Normally I would just do a zig-zag, blind hem type stitch  back and forth with a piece of yarn to close the end of the sock, and add a whip stitch if the ends needed a more finished look.  Since the yarn started with 6inches of red I left that dangling and started looping with the dark brown knowing it would be enough for closing the end of my sock.  (Not one inch of yarn was left unused.)

I finished off the top by  lifting the individual loops off the pegs to crochet  them together.  Lifting the first loop with the loom hook enough to put through the crochet hook. Then catch the yarn and pulling it through (yarn over) pick up the next loop with a second hook and grab the loop from the first hook and put it through. This way there is a new loop between each of the loom loops and the sock will not be too tight to fit around my knee calf.  I left the very last stitch not attached around to the first till I saw how it fit.
Some loomers just wrap their tie off yarn around the loops and pull it through as they go, but I wanted to create some stretchiness to the end of the knit.

Step 7: The Final Finish for the Sock

Picture of The Final Finish for the Sock

The toe area was only half finished when I went back to the end of my sock.  This gave me an opportunity to shape the toe area some while adding a few foot of dark brown yarn.  I decided to crochet the toe area and it worked out perfect.

The first row of crochet stitches is attached around and make sure it's not too tight. Then when reaching the first crochet loop, insert crochet hook into the middle of the first loop and under the side facing towards the outside of the sock. This pulls the loops in and looking more like knit loops than crochet. Also it made the surface smooth. 

Make sure that the heel is centered when you flatten your sock and then when you get to each side, just skip one stitch to the next  for decreasing (since were working tiny here) instead of the usual of drawing two stitches together.  The narrowing curve had a nice even row on top,  When I ran out of yarn, there was a row of loops sitting flat across the top. 

Next, I took the 6inch red yarn that was left hanging near the toe as I  started looping where the dark brown yarn started on the spool instead of using the small bit in the loom, decided to keep it for pulling the end of the sock closed.    As shown in the bottom of the first photo; I looped the red yarn back and forth through the outer loops once again and it gave the toe of the sock a nice flat smooth look. It even turned out nice and smooth on the inside where lumps next to toes can ruin a sock for comfort.

One last final try on of the sock confirmed that it was the right size for my foot between the toes and heel. The whole sock fit like a glove. 

Step 8: Details and Comparisons

Picture of Details and Comparisons

This is a comparison of a typical round knitting loom. The pegs are bigger and usually you have to double the thread to get the right thickness.  These are great for hats and scarves and panels but not socks.  If anyone would like for me to do a how to on a fancier design using a standard round loom, I would love to hear from you.


yezsocrafty (author)2015-10-05

I love this idea. I'm going to have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

darklotus (author)2015-08-12

Great instructable and a great idea, you clever clogs! I've found the same problem with knitting looms that have been bought. We always made our own as kids - my first one was a cotton reel four pin that every kid made in my day (yes, dinosaurs roamed the Earth :P) and I've made other, more complex ones since then, but using a letter D shape hadn't occurred to me. Kudos and thanks for sharing!

nuthara (author)2015-04-27

really great idea!

DaddysGal22 (author)2015-03-14

I was going to do this for the first letter of my name, but then I remembered my name is zoe....

norma.hunt.9 (author)2015-02-02

I had kept this sight on my computer from your first time up, wow you have reaally made it more do able instructions, gooing out toget my letter this week. I have a wide size 7 dhoe so your 8 should work perfectly. love thayt I do not have to buy special pegs to make and it is adjustable

Spazer10 (author)2014-03-08

I'm afraid to be old and trip or something and fall and stab myself in the face

briannaellen (author)Spazer102015-01-20

file the tip of the nail

cdstudioNH (author)2015-01-13

Wow! Nice instructable!

BinaryCortex (author)2014-12-24

I really like this idea! You had the same problem I had. The cheap looms were all large gauge made for the big chunky yarns. The ones made by are much better and available in most if not all craft stores. They have a specific sock loom, the sock loom 2 is 3/8" gauge for making socks with worsted weight yarn, and the All-In-One loom (the one I just got), is the same guage as the sock loom 2 and is adjustable. I may make one of these letter looms too.

agriffith6 (author)2014-03-21

I made one of these for my dads girlfriends son, he like loom knitting.

omid_265 (author)2013-11-01

Thank you for the hard work

sunflowergal (author)2011-04-08

Neat idea. I've tried knitting, but prefer crochet. I have not tried loom knittig though. That might be more appealing.

I too like the idea of using letters for a loom.

Life is busy right now, so it may be awhile before I post my next instructible.

Thanks for stopping by.

I found a heart made of braided chord. So thought this would be a great opportunity to use the four pin French knitting to make knitted chord and make something decorative out of it.

That sounds very cool! Any chance you might have a picture? Would love to see it!

Sounds like fun. I'm looking forward to seeing it. :o)

Glad you liked the made by hand, hand knitter. I am currently crocheting a hat for chemo patients. So I love to crochet also just for fun. Sometimes you just have to have the right moment to create an instructables, so don't force it.
I have one started but not finished. If I push it, I know it won't be the way I want it.

doxiemama (author)2012-06-21

this is a good idea to come up from the underside. So you don't make your pegs permenant? Aren't the nails sharp.....I mean don't you scrap or poke yourself? And do you snag the yarn at all on the points....some look like they might snag it by not being smooth.

porcupinemamma (author)doxiemama2013-05-07

I nail the nails "heads up" -works just fine. Great Instructable oh Creative One :0)

mlee52 (author)2013-01-24

Did you ever do an O? what about the P and the Q?

mlee52 (author)2013-01-24

I'm floored. Good work!!

doxiemama (author)2012-06-21

cool idea

ninjatails (author)2012-02-17

Oh my. What kind of yarn is that?! I must have it.

ScotDeerie (author)2011-12-18

How big is that D from top to bottom? Congrats on thinking out of the box on this one!

recyclegrandma (author)2011-04-11

What a great imagination!! I'll look at these wooden letters in craft shops with a different perspective now.
This would be a fun way to introduce knitting to a young person.
If you buy two 'D's', you could knit both socks at the same time.
When I'm using up small amounts of leftover wool, I sometimes cast on the stitches using two sets of needles (of course!) and knit both mitts at the same time and often from both ends of the ball to be sure I don't use too much on one mitt.

What a great idea! I just love knitting socks. I did get two more Letter D but am working on a variant so I can get it to expand up to my thigh and make Long Johns for winter. I love wearing them under my pants in the winter but each year I have purchased some, they get thinner and cheaper material. Only if you happen to look into a hunters catalog will you find the heavy duty ones and sometimes these are too thick or itchy. By having control over the knit and the fiber, I can make something nice and warm and wearable.

I almost think you could do it by putting an outer row of pegs and then adding them into your rows as a deviation zigzag of two or 3 outer pegs for every 1 inner peg at the point where your knee bends, it will look a lot odd until you take it off the loom, or it may not even work, but it would be fun to see how it turns out...

Imma need a really big D...

I never thought of knitting my own Long Johns. I have half a dozen pairs mostly from thrift shops but I didn't see any in those shops this past winter. Couldn't get through an Alberta winter without them!!

I entered the maker bot challenge. Please vote for me. I have many projects that could use this tool.

Jeffwho (author)2011-08-18

Right now I'm trying to learn how to knit socks on dp needles and have never used a loom but I think this is a wonderful and inventive way to construct your own using found materials, thank you.

chakrates (author)2011-06-30

Did you try the letter O? If so, do you like it better or worse? How about P?

amethysteria (author)2011-06-19

I really like this tutorial! I love to knit socks in the round on a large circular using magic loop, but might give this a try and then take the idea to my guild for them to see!

I have never tried magic loop, so we both have something new to try. If you do, I would love to see your knitter.

sandyL (author)2011-05-06

Great instructable! I have lusted after circular knitting machines, they are very pricey antiques and far out of my budget. I can knit circular but socks take such a long time. I really want to try this out. I have been spinning alpaca and it would make great socks!

NaturalCrafter (author)sandyL2011-05-06

I really enjoyed making socks this way. I am going to try long Johns next just because I am not happy with the quality in the store are either too thin or hunters type are too heavy. It will be one of my near future quests.

NaturalCrafter (author)2011-04-20

I am working on a variation with another Letter D to see if it makes a difference in the over all design. Can't wait to try the Q also.

recyclegrandma (author)2011-04-17

You can count on my vote after May 1st. I marked it on the calendar!!

Thanks for your support.

scoochmaroo (author)2011-03-30

I'd love to see how you transform your tube into a sock? Does it have a toe and heel or is it just a tube when it's done?

I updated my photos. I was so excited about finishing my first sock and that it fit very well. I still have another to go but set it aside to get my photos done. If you can, please be the first to rate my project.

That is coming soon. I have photos of the heel and the longer length, but thought an instructional about making the sock would make a great add on. Thanks..I am going to add photos of the drill bit and segmenting off the sections here. So its not final. Hope you will rate my instructional.

SWV1787 (author)2011-03-30

I tried the french knitting but never was very good at it mostly because I always kept my line pulled too taught... Nice instructible I like the idea of using the letter as the loom it makes it almost customized for people if you use the letter their name starts with.

NaturalCrafter (author)SWV17872011-03-31

I like your idea, as I have obtained several shapes that I thought would work as knitters. The Straighter ones like L for instance would make good straight knitters for making panels. I thought of using C but then the knitting would fall to the outside of the letter making it a bit trickier to handle, but would give you 2xs the C around and back for your tube. Maybe a pant leg?

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