How Many Pegs?

When I write patterns I try to design items that use the loom itself to determine width and length. However, sometimes it happens that you need to work out a specific number of pegs to cast on to make something, so how do you do it?

Whenever you start on a new project you will need to work out how many pegs you will need to cast on for your particular yarn and the size you want to make. Say you want to knit 15 inches, how does that translate to pegs?

Well, it depends on the yarn, the stitch and the loom you are using and there is a very simple way of making sure you get the right size every time. Here’s how.

Choose your yarn, the loom you want to use and the stitch you want to use. Think about what you want to make and decide on what you think a suitable loom size would be for it.  For example, if you wanted to make a pair of socks you could certainly do that on the small, blue round loom (24 pegs) – using the big 41 peg loom would be silly!  Decide on your yarn and the stitch or stitch pattern you want to use.

Cast on several pegs.  How many is up to you but obviously it should be enough to complete your stitch pattern if you are using one and also to give a fair indication of how the finished work will turn out.  I always use 20 pegs for my gauge samples.

Knit several rows.  Using your desired stitch, knit for several rows.  Again, how many is up to you but I always feel knitting around 5 inches is a good amount. Measure your work to check.  This is how I measure mine.  Push all the loops down to the bottom of the pegs, place the tape measure level with the stitches on the pegs and GENTLY unroll the end if it’s rolling up.  Do not stretch or pull as this will give a false reading. 

Remove the work from the loom.  You don’t need to cast off here, just gently flip the loops off the loom – you can unravel this when you’re done 🙂

Lay the knitting out to “rest”.  It’s unlikely the size of your knitting fresh off the loom is the size it will be after a couple of hours.  Loom knitting needs time to “rest” and for all the stitches to relax into their final position.  The answer is to just let your work “sit” for a couple of hours before measuring.

Measure!  Finally, you can take your measurement.  Again, lay the tape gently, don’t stretch.  Here you can see my finished piece was 8 inches

Do the maths!  Don’t be alarmed, it’s nothing complicated, grab a calculator and a pen and paper and this is how you do it (based on my example knitting above).

  • I knit 20 pegs on the 31 peg round loom and got 8 inches. So:
  • Multiply your finished size by the number of pegs on your loom in my case, 8 x 31 = 248
  • Divide that number by the number of pegs you knitted (in my case 20) – 248/20=12.4
  • Round up that number if necessary – so my 12.4 becomes 13.
  • So, I know that my 31 peg loom, using the yarn and stitch used in my test, will knit a maximum of 13 inches as a flat panel.

So, once you’ve done that, make a note for future reference!

Now, how do you work out how many pegs you need to cast on for your project, based on the gauge you’ve just made?

Let’s say you need to knit 12 inches, we will use my sample again as the example.
We know that 31 pegs will give 13 inches
We need 12 inches.
So, multiply 12 by 31 which gives 372.  Divide that number by the maximum number of inches the loom can knit, in this case 13, which gives 28.61.  Round this number up to the next whole number – 29.
This means to get 12 inches I will need to cast on 29 pegs.

One final note.  Always jot down the yarn, loom, stitch and final figures you got.  This makes it much easier in future if you use that same combination as you don’t need to keep working it out.  This is particularly useful if it’s a yarn/stitch combo you are likely to use often.

Hope this all helps! 🙂