An Affordable Wood Peg Loom

For folks who are looking for 19-peg looms, or who would prefer a wooden frame, we found one being sold on Amazon that worked out pretty well.

There are multiple vendors selling these as “knitting looms,” but I think they’re all coming out of the same factory. The quality is pretty decent, especially given the price: you can have a 19-peg loom delivered tomorrow for $25, or for $18 if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks for it to ship from China. (The same factory is also making a 30-peg loom that might fit pro loops, but we haven’t tested it yet.)


A couple of months ago I put together a list of sources for potholder looms by reading through multiple conversations in Facebook groups, which kept rehashing the same half-dozen vendors, and having done so I figured the list was complete — but then Piglet announced that she’d found an affordable new loom on Amazon that looked like it would work, even though it wasn’t explicitly labeled as for woven-loop potholders.

We had to wait two weeks for it to ship from China, but now that it’s here it’s turned out to be totally serviceable. I’m always a little cautious about ordering unbranded products from low-cost overseas vendors, but in this case it turned out fine, so I figured I’d write up some notes for anyone else who’d like to give it a try.

The Looms

Looking at the listings on Amazon is confusing, because there are numerous vendors all selling similar-seeming items with confusing descriptions, but after studying them for a while, I think I’ve confirmed that there’s a single factory turning these out (in three different sizes) and then a dozen different middlemen are listing them on Amazon with slightly-different awkwardly-phrased names and varying selections from the same set of promotional photos.

The looms are available in three sizes, equivalent to the “mug rug,” traditional, and “pro” sizes we use for woven-loop potholders. In addition to the pins along each side, these looms also have pins in the corners, which are generally not useful for potholder weaving, so I’ve counted them separately:

  • 10cm (4″): 8 pegs per side plus 4 corners: 36 total.
  • 20cm (8″): 19 pegs per side plus 4 corners: 80 total.
  • 30cm (12″): 30 pegs per side plus 4 corners: 124 total.

Our Experience

We ordered the middle size, and confirmed that the distance between the rows of pegs was just a little bit over 7″ — perfect for traditional potholder loops. We have not yet tried the large size to confirm it fits pro loops — it might be slightly too wide. If you do decide to roll the dice and test this, please let us know how it works out!

The wood frame feels nice; well-rounded edges and solid-seeming joints. The pins are solid and have round ball heads that help to keep the loops in place. The placement of the pins is not perfectly precise — a few are angled just a little bit askew — but they’re still entirely usable. (I used a pair of pliers to nudge a few of them into better alignment with their neighbors, but this was more for aesthetics than any practical benefit.)

Product Links

As noted above, all of the below Amazon listings appear to be for the same product line, being produced in three sizes by a single factory but sold under multiple names and at different prices. They were all added to Amazon over the last couple of months starting in February.

Most of the items ship in 2-4 or 4-6 weeks. Most vendors ship for free, but one charges $3 for shipping. One vendor has shipped their products to Amazon warehouses in the US, so theirs are available via next-day Prime delivery. [Update, April 14:] The handful of looms that were in stock at Amazon warehouses have now been sold, so next-day delivery is no longer an option.

The table below is likely incomplete, and is just a snapshot of a particular moment; as with all such offerings, the prices, availability, and shipping times are all subject to change without notice, so be sure to verify the details before placing your order.

Note that I don’t have any special knowledge about these products beyond reading the Amazon website, and I can’t guarantee that they’ll suit your needs, but hopefully if you do run into any problems, or if one of the vendors turns out to be unreliable, Amazon’s refund policies should protect you.


Visiting Harrisville

We took a brief family vacation this week to see the eclipse, and on the way home we detoured through Harrisville, NH to visit the folks at Harrisville Designs, makers of the Friendly Loom potholder-weaving loops.

We had a lovely conversation with Nick, the managing director at HD, and Hope, their creative manager, as well as the team that runs the retail shop. It was great getting to talk to folks who are so deeply engaged in this field, and to express our appreciation for their work.

We look forward to visiting again in the future, and perhaps taking a tour of the production facilities.

[Postscript:] A few people asked about the shop, so I figured I’d add a note about it here. The retail store fills nearly the entire first floor of that building, and it’s spacious and bright.

Potholders are just one part of their business, so the loops are all over in one corner, while the rest is filled with various kinds of yarn for knitting, crochet, traditional weaving, and so forth. The staff is all super friendly, and they host various kinds of local crafter gatherings.

The product offerings and prices are all basically the same as what you’d find on their website, but seeing them in person was nice — if you find yourself in southern New Hampshire, it’s definitely worth the visit!

One of the original Cheshire Mills buildings, now home to Harrisville Designs.
The Friendly Loom potholder section of the store.
Obligatory selfie in front of the old mill.

Fret Knot

Continuing our series of shadow-weave knots, the next pattern is the fret, a pattern formed by two bands crossing within a loop. (Chart posted for 19 pegs.)

The simplicity and symmetry of this design are also reflected in the attractive reverse side. As with all shadow-weave, there are plenty of two-floats, along with just four triples on the back to produce the square boxes which draw up so nicely on the front.

Woven on a newly-purchased Chinese-made weaving frame, using red and white traditional loops from Friendly Loom.

Paired Key Tiles

Here’s another new weaving chart, adapted from a printed fabric pattern incorporating a square spiral / greek-key motif.

The design on the back is completely different, but also striking, with a bold rotational symmetry.

As with many of our new designs, in the course of weaving the first example Piglet identified a few places where floats could be tweaked to improve the results, and those improvements have been incorporated back into this 27-peg chart.

Traditional Shift Twill Rainbow

Another four-four shift twill rainbow, in traditional size with FL brights as the warp and skillet in the weft.

I love the “spectral confetti” effect, and the false impression that it might be woven with multi-color loops. (The pro version is even more impressive.)

Given how much this weave shrinks up when taken off the loom, I suspect an industrious weaver could continue the pattern and pack in a couple more weft rows.

Charts available in pro and traditional size.

Savoy Knot

Next up in our series of shadow-weave knotwork designs is the Savoy Knot, also known as a figure-eight knot. (Chart posted for 19 pegs.)

Woven on a Cottage Looms 19-peg loom with FriendlyLoom traditional loops in white and seaglass.

As you would predict from a shadow-weave design with a scattering of over-two floats, this pulls up slightly more than a tabby design but less than a twill. (There are no floats longer than two loops.)

Recent Website Updates

Frequent visitors to our site may notice a few changes that rolled out over the last day or so.

The biggest of these updates is that the full list of charts has moved from the front page to a secondary page; this hopefully makes the front page a little less overwhelming to first-time visitors, who are now greeted with a bit more introductory text and navigation options.

Among those new navigation options are links to browse just one section of the chart listing at once; for folks who know they only want to work in plain-weave or are looking for a specific style of twill, this should make the search for charts slightly smoother. This section filter also appears as a pull-down menu on the chart listing.

A less obvious addition is a new option appearing at the top of the chart listing: a “Show Images” checkbox. Turning this on reorganizes the page to include thumbnail images of each chart, making it much easier to scan through the designs for one that catches your eye.

I hope these changes make our site more useful to readers, but if you run into any rough edges or have suggestions for how to further improve it, please let us know!

Fun with Half Basketweave

Okay, this is fun! Inspired by the background weave pattern on the “Outstanding in her field” potholder I wove this morning, I whipped up a sample with just that weave throughout. It’s a 1/2 basketweave, by which I mean over-2/under-2 across the row, then shift 2 columns to weave over-2/under-2 across the next row. (See photos on the loom, below.)

Love the “teeth” of the green & lime potholder, which uses a 1/1 alternating color sequence for both rows and columns.

The yellow & plum potholder is the exact same weave pattern using a threading pattern alternating colors 2/2 for columns and 1/1 for rows. (That will make more sense when you look at the on-loom photo, I promise!)

The outcome is distinctly ribbed and gently textured, but flat overall with no significant lumps. Very bendy, with little skew.

[Click for charts for Half Basketweave Stripes and Half Basketweave Combs]