If you've ever struggled with the decrease section when knitting a hat on 16-inch circular needles, you need to learn the Magic Loop method of knitting. Similarly, if you hate how sweater sleeves twist up while knitting in the round, you need to learn the magic loop technique.
Our shop owner, Kelley, recently designed the cutest dog sweater using the Magic Loop method. Here's Chloe modeling it, isn't she darling?
This magical knitting trick will save you from many of the irritating side-affects of knitting in the round. You can use Magic Loop to decrease from 90 stitches to eight stitches, on a hat for example, from cast-on to cast-off, without having to change to double-pointed needles. One long circular needle for the entire project!
Kelley demonstrates the Magic Loop method here.
Tips for Magic Looping
Magic Loop was popularized by Sarah Hauschka in her book Magic Loop. My number one tip is to get this book. Sarah goes deep into the technique and provides all of the instruction you need to master Magic Loop.
Here's a short 3 minute video that focused on mastering the magic loop knitting technique.
This technique works on just about any size project, so you can use it exclusively for smaller projects in the round, such as hats, sleeves, mittens, cowls, socks, and so on. (I wouldn't recommend using it on sweaters knit in the round, because there are too many stitches on the needles, and you'd have to have a really long needle! Not impossible, but also not ideal.)
Speaking of long needles, you do need at least a 32-inch needle for Magic Loop. I actually prefer a 40-inch needle, and our shop owner Kelley normally uses a 47-inch needle, especially when knitting two socks at once.
A needle with a non-memory cord is best for Magic Loop, and we like the Chiaogoo cord (non-memory means that the cord doesn't remain in the wound up state that it's stored in). The red lace Chiaogoo cord unwinds and lays flat, straight from the package. I'm unaware of any other circular-needle cord that does this, and I'm a huge fan! As Kelley says, you need a cord you can "be friends with," one that isn't all wound up, because you'll be fighting with it as you try to work the technique.
If you struggle with ladders when using double-pointed needles, Magic Loop can practically eliminate them. Because you're leaving half of the stitches on the cord when you switch needles, and the needle is larger than the cord on all but the smallest size needles, the first stitch on the new needle takes up the slack between the last stitch knitted on one needle and the first stitch knitted on the other needle. It really is magical.
We hope you'll enjoy the Magic Loop method as much as we do! It's so versatile, convenient, and super easy once you get the hang of it.
And don't forget to download the your free copy of the Finish-Free Dog Sweater, which is written for the Magic Loop technique.
Knitting in the round is often the preferred method for making everything from hats to sweaters, but with smaller circumferences things can get tricky! Here are several methods for knitting a hat in the round such as using a 16" circular needle, Magic Loop, double pointed needles, FlexiFlips, and two circular needles.
This week Kelley's giving some finishing tips for the Baubles Shawl by Andrea Mowry, including how to use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off in brioche! This lovely shawl uses techniques like lace, syncopated brioche, and bobbles.
Blocking a finished knit project is important to get even stitches. Knitting with acrylic yarn makes blocking hard, since it doesn't respond like wool. Here's how to steam block acrylic yarn without an expensive steamer.