Thursday, 21 February 2013

Shopping For A Magic Loop

The above is from my list of new year's resolutions. I didn't put them in a post, but just jotted them on a notepad. (Some of them are just ideas for patterns or techniques that I want to try out.)

I have seen a few patterns I like (particularly Linda at Natural Suburbia's  tutorials for cute little animals) which refer to a magic loop. Assuming that this was a bit of knitting equipment, I decided to go shopping for one. I went to the haberdashery department of a shop where I often buy wool, and started scouring the shelves to see if I could find one. Lots and lots of needles and knitting and crochet equipment, but no sign of the mysterious "magic loop".

So I approached the assistants behind the counter. "Do you have a magic loop?" Did I imagine it, or was there a bit of sniggering amongst them? They suggested I try the toy department. "No, no, it is definitely a piece of knitting equipment." I had imagined it was some new advanced type of circular needle, maybe telescopic so you can knit very small rounds.

Unsuccessful I headed home and googled "magic loop", and have found out that it is a technique, and not a piece of equipment at all.  Did everyone know this already? I feel rather foolish. I already have some circular needles, and found a great video on how to do the magic loop method here

Here is my first bit of magic loop knitting. I quite like knitting with a set of double-pointed needles, but know it puts a lot of people off, particularly if there are not many stitches. I have tried to avoid double-pointeds in my patterns where possible, and I redesigned my monarch caterpillar so it could be knitted on two needles instead of in the round. But seams, particularly on small knits, are not great either. Can you guess what I am thinking of knitting? My last photography post is an enormous clue. 

So I am going have try to adopt the magic loop as my preferred method for a while. And if anyone wants to try and manufacture a telescopic magic loop needle, I would be very interested to try it out. Can I ever go back to my yarn store, or are they going to remember me as the loopy lady?

I think I have mentioned before I love browsing in charity shops, often I'm looking for vintage patterns or material. So later on in my shopping trip I chanced upon this book in a secondhand shop. It must have been waiting for me. As you can see it is a bit water damaged, but I had to buy it. Not quite sure about the title, which if I think about the way I work should say" in at least 50 quite tricky steps". But it is full of some really useful tips for designing, and setting out patterns. Although I have knitted for years I think there are some quite big gaps in my knowledge (as proved by the magic loop incident). And it has a whole section on garment design, which I'm toying with.


  1. I had a similar experience with an apron hoop. What I thought was one turned out to be a specialized quilting hoop. When in doubt, google...

    Have a lovely Friday,

  2. I need to visit thrift shops and see what I can find. I am guessing you are making a snake? LOL

  3. good luck with the magic loop---i've tried it a couple times, but i guess i'm just an old dog, and don't do new tricks well. I found it just too fiddly (although i'm sure it's the same kind of fiddly others find with dps---which i LOVE!!!)

  4. Magic loop is one of my favorite techniques. I'm so glad you figured it out and are having fun experimenting with it. I hardly ever do anything on DPNs anymore.

  5. I think you should mess with them and go back next week to ask them for some brioches and cables. That'll get them talking! Good luck with magic looping - I avoid circs like the plague so I'm always so impressed when people knit away looking so coordinated.

  6. Thanks for the chuckle. I'm sure your yarn shop ladies will forgive. I've made socks every kind of way possible and am not really a fan of the magic loop. DPNs are quickest method for me, followed by 2 24" circs. Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

  7. any time i see a pattern that calls for dpns i just magic loop it. i will never use that many needles at once!

    magic loop all the way!

  8. Lovely story! I remember being so perplexed when I first heard that term! I finally found a video online which showed it for crochet. I'm wondering now if it's different for knit...hmmm...