Knitting in Small Diameter: Magic Loop
January 19, 2011
For the first few years of my knitting career, I believed that the only way to knit a circle smaller than 16 in. was to use DPNs. I detested using DPNs and so would avoid all projects that required them. I missed out on many great patterns and many learning opportunities. I eventually caved and used DPNs but it was like getting a kid to clean their room on a sunny day. They avoid it and avoid it until they have to do it and it is no fun for anyone. One day, I stumbled upon magic loop. I was cruising blog land and came across a picture of a knitter whipping up socks while on a road trip. The picture showed the beginning of the socks being knit on one circular needle. I was shocked and excited! I ran to my favorite knitting forum (Knitty.com Coffeeshop) and posted a link to the picture and an urgent cry that I needed info on this technique with a quickness. 5 min later I had my answer: Magic Loop. The clouds parted, the sun shined down uponth my face and I heard the angels sing. I spent the night devouring all info on Magic Loop and practicing my heart out. It was awesome! And it is SO easy.
First you need some flexible, thin, long length cable needles (at least 32 in. long depending on the diameter of the project) like Hiya Interchangeables. Cast on the required number of stitches just as you would with straight knitting.
Scoot your sts down to the middle of cable and count out half of your sts (I cast on 16 so I counted to 8 sts). Fold the cable at the center of your Sts and slide each half of the Sts down a bit on either side of the center and pull the cable up, dividing your Sts.
Leave the Sts with the working yarn in the middle of the cable and slide the Sts without the working yarn to the needle. This is your left needle. Take up your right needle which will have no Sts on it and work the Sts from the left needle to your right. The other half of the Sts hangs out on the middle of the cable allowing them to stay close because of the flexible needle.
Once you are done working the first half of the stitches, slide the unworked Sts to the empty needle and the worked Sts go to the center of the cable. Work the unworked Sts from the left needle to the right. Repeat the above steps until your project is the desired length.
I am in the middle of Danger Craft's Tofu pattern and so far I have knit the entire body, legs and arm on magic loop. It is my go to and so easy. I don't have to divide Sts among 3-4 needles. No need to jungle 4-5 needles and while I have lost many a DPN I have not yet lost an interchangeable. Magic Loop on Interchangeables also makes it easier to put my knitting away. I just twist off my needle and replace them with end caps. I never knew who to properly store and transport my DPNs without a needle sliding out. No project is avoided now!
Check out more small diameter knitting with more Danger Craft toys here.
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