Learn about the Magical Art of Magic Loop Knitting

Circular knitting gets magical with these tutorials for Magic Loop Knitting

Magic Loop knitting

Let’s talk, briefly, about one of the more frustrating things about knitting in the round: needle tribulation.

That’s a fancy way of saying “sometimes the needles are a struggle.” For instance, when you knit in the round with DPNs, it’s easy to drop a needle or–worse–lose a needle.

When you knit with circular needles by just knitting around and around with the needles staying relatively stationary, you can sometimes struggle to match the needles to the knitting. Or you may struggle with getting the stitches to move smoothly along the needle. (That’s my biggest issue!)

When you knit with two circular needles, sometimes it’s difficult to remember which needle you should be knitting with. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve knitted with two circular needles, only to discover that I accidentally used the wrong needle tips, and now my knitting is all bunched in a circle and I have a needle with no stitches on it.

Did you know that there’s a way to knit in the round without encountering any of these issues?

There is, and it’s called Magic Loop knitting!

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Magic Loop is my favorite way to knit in the round. It is, of course, a great way to knit socks and mittens, and that’s how most Magic Loopers use the method. But I use it for literally everything I need to knit in the round! I knit hats and even some stuffed animals using Magic Loop.

This is the first thing I love about Magic Loop: it isn’t just for small-diameter knitting. If you have a long enough circular needle, you can knit just about everything in the round using this method. I even knitted a sweater for my husband using Magic Loop!

Another thing I love about it is that you can knit items two-at-a-time. In fact, it is now the only way I knit either socks or mittens. (I have always had trouble knitting socks and mittens one at a time and making them match. Two at a time eliminates that problem!)

The third thing I love is that I need to find just one circular needle in order to get started. That is probably just me, though. I think I may have to start calling myself The Absent-Minded Knitter.

The final thing I enjoy about Magic Loop knitting: it’s fun. When I get to the end of one half of knitting and tug the cable out so I can begin the other half, it feels like I’m performing a magic trick. Perhaps that’s why it’s called “Magic” Loop? Hmmmm, maybe! (I’m so smart.)

And, of course, Magic Loop also offers these benefits over DPNs: no lost or dropped needles, no “porcupines,” fewer if not no ladders, and the ability to try on as you knit. And unlike using two circular needles, you have only one pair of needle tips, so there’s no confusion over which tip to knit with.

So now you know what makes Magic Loop so special. Ready for some tutorials?

Basic Magic Loop Illustrated Tutorials

Magic Loop Knitting for Magical Projects: This Interweave tutorial hits everything you need to know about Magic Loop knitting. It offers nice, clear photos and even a series of patterns at the end in which you can try your Magic Looping skills.

Yes You Can! Knitting Small Round Items without Double Pointed Needles: From the Trish Knits blog, this is another very well-illustrated text-based guide to Magic Loop knitting.

Liat Gat’s Magic Loop Tutorials

Liat Gat is a woman after my own heart when it comes to Magic Looping! Her Magic Loop tutorials are some of the best I’ve seen. Not only does she explain how to start the process, but she also gives great assistance for dealing with some of the issues that sometimes crop up in relation to Magic Loop.

Magic Loop issues typically crop up because most circular patterns are not written expressly for Magic Loop. So sometimes it may not be obvious how to proceed in a pattern when you are using Magic Loop. However, if you have a problem with Magic Loop and can’t figure out a solution, chances are that Liat has already figured it out for you.

Basic Magic Loop: This video is perhaps the best I’ve seen in showing and explaining the basics of Magic Loop. You’ll find this invaluable when you sit down to attempt the method for the first time.

Magic Loop 2.0: This article will help you transition from learning Magic Loop to mastering it. I’ve been Magic Looping for years, and I learned some valuable advice from this article myself! Included here is advice about adapting patterns to Magic Loop and purling.

(If you have trouble viewing this article on your device–I did, but I had no trouble with it on my husband’s huge monitor–try using this archived link instead.)

Liat’s Limitless Cast-on for Two-at-a-Time Anything: I mentioned above that you can knit two-at-a-time anything thanks to Magic Loop. Again, I’ve done that for a couple of years now, but my way was rather convoluted. Then I found Liat’s way and was simply amazed. Her way is much easier! I highly recommend you give her method a try. It’s ingenious.

The Magic Loop Collection: Here’s a search page where you’ll find all the Magic Loop links on Liat’s website. If you’re having a problem with Magic Loop, start here. Chances are good she’s addressed the problem in one of these links.

Looking for knitting patterns written expressly for two circular needles or Magic Loop? Check out this collection here!

Half Magic Loop

Half Magic Loop is a method I discovered accidentally while knitting a hat on circular needles the “normal” way — that is, just knitting around and around without stopping to pull out a cable.

These tutorials may help you if you find Magic Loop doesn’t really unkink your cable needle. (That’s just an expression I made up on the spot. … I’ll work on it.)

Magic Loop Magic: Here is a handy illustrated guide that shows you Half Magic Loop as well as how to tweak Half Magic Loop for Fair Isle knitting.

Half Magic Loop Video Tutorial: If photos aren’t quite helping you get the hang of this technique, this video should be just what you need.

These Magic Loop tutorials should have you Magic Looping like a pro. Why don’t you dive in and get started?

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