Saturday, January 3, 2009

Magic, the Magical Loop

I knitted my very first pair of socks using 5 dpn, the traditional way what a lot of knitters think. Although the socks came out great for a first timer in socks knitting, I wanted to have an easier way to knit socks. Then a couple years ago, I heard about people talking about the Magical Loop method, I also heard people saying about knitting a pair of socks using 2 circular needles. I wasn't sure how I felt about the magical loop method when I first heard it... but since handknit socks are in everyone wish list for the holiday, I was willing to try different method to knit socks faster. I finally did some research on the magical loop method and try it. And I totally love it. Since mastering the skill, I have knitted more than 10 pairs of socks and I also using magical loop method method for fingerless mitten, finger mitten and hat. Since most of the socks patterns are written in 5 dpn, so I have figured out a basic sock pattern to use magic loop. I have so much fun knitting socks and mitten, I have started designing pattern for socks and gloves for using the method.

To see whether the magical loop is a better method than 5 dpn, I have tested in a seasoned knitter, my mother. She have been knitting for more than 40 years. She knitted everything using dpn and she believes it's easier to use dpn when I taught her the magical loop method. she tried the first pair of finger mitten using magic loop, she was not sure when she started; however, when the mitten was finished, she absolutely loves the magic loop method. I figured if I can change my mother's mind, then the magic loop method is indeed a good alternative to dpn for socks, mitten etc...

Here is a design that was published in the November issue of Creative Knitting magazine. The fingerless mitten is knitted using magic loop method.

In case anyone who is not familiar with the magic loop method, a magic loop is actually a long circular needle, a circular needle with at least 32" long, preferable with circular needle that has very flexible wire, such as needle from KnitPicks or Audi Turbo needle.

Following is the instruction of the magic loop method:

  1. 1. Cast on an even number of stitches (sts) and slide sts to middle of cable.

2. Divide sts in half and pull cable loop out between two groups of sts.

3. Slide sts down to their respective needle tops. You will have half of your sts on each needle tip. Hold needle tops parallel and pointing to right, working yarn will hang from back sts. Place a marker on the front group of sts to mark begining of the round.

4. Pull back needle tip out until you have enought cable to allow you to work sts on front needle.

5. Work all sts on front needle, being careful not to twist.

6. Slide tow groups of sts back to their respective needle tips. Repeat step 4 as many times as needed.

So here is the simple way of magic loop method. It might seem awkward to knit a pair of socks using the method at first; however, once you get familiar with it, it is a piece of cake.