Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Magic Loop Rocks!

Magic loop is my favorite technique for knitting in the round. It’s much faster than using double-pointed needles, with fewer needle changeovers, meaning fewer opportunities for developing ladders or distorted stitches. And of course, there’s much less chance of dropping stitches off the many needle ends--no fiddling with those rubber tip protectors or rubber bands, either. I have used magic loop for large circular projects, socks, and even glove fingers. It works great on Witch Warmers.

The tutorial I learned from is no longer available online, but here’s a good one (with the exception of pulling the cable—see below):

Here are my additional tips, that make magic loop even better:

1. Never pull on the cable to move stitches up to the needle. It’s too easy to pull the wrong way and zip the other needle right out of half your stitches. Always push the empty needle to slide it into the stitches on the cable.

2. Do use a long cable—36” to 40” is good. You can get by with 30” if the cable is flexible enough. This is a good investment, since long-cabled circular needles can be used for large projects also.

3. Use circular needles with a very smooth transition from cable to needle.

4. Beware of interchangeable-cable circular needles. The ones I have tried have a cable-to-needle junction that's just not smooth enough. There's a brand mentioned in the comments section below, which I have not tried, that might be okay.

5. My favorite circular needle for magic loop is Addi Turbo. The cable is thin and very flexible, which makes a huge difference when trying to avoid ladders. The connection between cable and needles is very smooth, too.

6. If the right loop is flipping to the front and getting in your way, just twist the needle and the loop should rotate around to the back.

7. If you’re working on a large in-the-round project, like a cowl or Moebius wrap, you can use a single magic loop between the end of the round and the beginning.

In the words of the immortal Jim Croce,

“You don't tug on Superman's cape,
You don't spit into the wind,
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger,”
And you don’t pull on the cable in magic loop!

For more knitting tips that will help with Witch Warmers, see
Preventing Uneven Ribs
Big Magic Loop
Closing the Bind-Off Gap
Preventing Ladders
Exquisite Striping in the Round
Quick and Dirty Striping
Adding a Color in the Round
Straightening and Joining in the Round
Short Witch Warmers
Black Attack: Working with Dark Yarn
Cast-Ons: Keeping Count
I Love Cable Cast-On
Swatch Wars


  1. Good tips except for #4.

    Knit Picks interchangeables have smooth joins, great cables, and work well for magic loop

  2. Thanks for the info! I have reworded #4 to be less absolute and to refer to your comment. The interchangeables I tried a few years ago were completely unworkable for Magic Loop. I'm glad to hear that they are improving.