Simple Magic Loop

Most of us find that we don’t always have the correct size of circular needle, in the correct length, for every project. Knowing how to work magic loop will allow you to use a long circular needle to knit a small circumference tube. This is especially helpful if you have an interchangeable needle set, which doesn’t come with 16″ cords!

Information on things you’ll see in this video:

The sweater I’m wearing is my Ombre Dyed Sweater, pattern + video tutorial.

The sweater on the mannequin is my Zasio Sweater Coat, pattern + video tutorial.

The patterned project bag on the table is by dellaQ Knitting Bags and Cases.

The circular needles I’m using are Addi Turbos, available through many online knitting supply stores.

The yarn I’m working with is Rowan Magpie Aran, color name “Tranquil”. (I do not believe that Rowan is making this yarn anymore.)

My nail color is by OPI, called “Every Month is Oktoberfest”.

34 comments on “Simple Magic Loop

  1. Perfect timing! I’m just starting the sleeves on a top down raglan cardigan, and I really don’t like DPNs. Great time to learn something new….


    P.S. Can I drop a very gentle hint about a video on weaving in ends in moss stitch? I know it’s on your list….and I have a couple of UFOs that could really use it.

  2. I love your videos, they are so easy to understand. I’m using magic loop for the first time to knit a pair of mittens but I have a very clear seam on the front and back where I move from one needle to the other. The mittens have a pattern using two colors so I don’t know if that is part of the problem. I’m just wondering if you have any suggestions for how to eliminate the seam?


  3. Hi Rebecca – yes, because you’re knitting with two colors, I’m guessing in fair isle, that can contribute to tension issues. You just really have to be careful when you’re working fair isle, whether you’re using magic loop, or dpns, or circular needles. My best advice to you is to make sure that when you’re turning your work in magic loop, that you’re still using the same color of working yarn that you ended with on the last half. That will allow you to control the tension between those two stitches, and hopefully avoid “ladders” down your mittens. Rearrange the stitches as needed to make sure you never change colors on the first stitch after you’ve turned your work.

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

  4. Hi Staci,
    I was doing a quick review of the magic loop when I realised that every time that I had to get back in starting position, my working yarn was always on my front needle … then I realised that my work was inside-out on the loop! Once I turned my work back the right way so that the right side was facing me, it seemed to solve the issue. If you get what I mean, can you please confirm that this is the case? I hope I was clear!
    thanks a million 🙂 laura

  5. Thank you for all of your amazing tutorials! I started knitting a few months ago, and have learned so much thanks to your help. One thing I’m a little confused about has to do with circular needles. I watched the video on joining in the round and how to do magic loop and it seems that you join in the round with the working yarn on the front needle, but do the magic loop with the working yarn on your back needle. Is there a difference in how you join in the round using magic loop?
    ~Thanks again for all your help!!

  6. I really love your tutorials! I think you are one of the best teachers I have seen and providing them free to all of us is such a great thing to do” we are very blessed to have you in our lives. Is there any chance that you could show the magic loop from the very beginning? I have tried to start it several times and always wind up pulling it out because it isen’t right. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. if I had it already started the way yours is ” it looks so simple but for some odd reason starting from scratch it dosen’t work out right.Thanks again for all of your vidios they are great!

  7. Thank you for this amazing tutorial! I’m knitting my first pair of mittens and your video was very-very helpful ^_^
    Great nails! 🙂

  8. Hi Staci,

    Your tutorial on the Magic Loop made it really easy for me to understand it as soon as I tried it the first time…thanks so much. I am working on my first project using the Magic Loop. I am making a Christmas Wine Bottle Cozy and hope to make several in time for Christmas gift giving. I cast on 42 stitches as per the pattern using the long tail cast on. I have now knit several inches in Stockinette stitch. The only problem that I have encountered is that the cast on edge is rolled. Is there something that I can do to avoid this?
    Thanks for all you videos…I receive your weekly emails and follow you on You Tube and Facebook. 🙂
    Never miss a stitch!

  9. Hi Sharon – thank you for the note. Depending on what yarn and what gauge you’re using for the wine cozy, you can eliminate most of the curling with blocking. (Wool or wool blends in a loose gauge will block out best.) But ultimately, that is the nature of stockinette. It sounds like you intend to make more of them…you would do better to start with a border of seed stitch or rib to eliminate the curling.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

  10. Hi Staci,

    As usual…great advice, thanks. I will start with a border from now on. Yes, I hope to make a few for Christmas gifts, with a bottle of wine of course. 😉 I am using Lion Brad Holiday Homespun in Mistletoe(Bulky-5). The pattern is from Red Heart on Facebook. The Magic Loop technique is perfect for this project.

    Many thanks,
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

  11. Sajimon – Binding off with magic loop is the same as any knitting, flat or in the round. Just pull one stitch over the other until you only have one stitch left, then break the yarn,, and pull the tail end through the last loop.

    S t a c i

  12. I am making a hat using magic loop and I am changing colors every 5th row. How do you change colors so it looks neat and doesn’t have gaps?
    Thank your for your help,

  13. What a great video so easy to understand. I had given up on this technique until I found your video. Thank you.

  14. Thank you for the video explaining the Magic Loop. I’m going to try this method as a practice before I begin anything but I’m wondering—after I knit on both needles, do I need to join them together to make one tube? Or will I need to seam it up when I’m done? I hope this makes sense.
    Thanks so much for your help. You really explain things quite well in your videos. 🙂

  15. Ann – magic loop is only useful if you’re knitting in a tube, or “in the round”. It is not necessary if you’re knitting a flat piece.

    S t a c i

  16. Thank you so much for this video on Magic Loop. I watched several others before I found yours and none of them explained it as easily as you did! I am bookmarking your page and will return!

  17. Deborah – just start knitting with the larger needle size. You’ll find that it won’t really matter that you’re knitting magic loop, you can easily pick up a new needle and start knitting with it.

    S t a c i

  18. Loved the Simple Magic Loop video. Is the method any different to normal Magic Loop. I don’t think it is but did wonder as it’s called “Simple”. Thanks.

    Also I want to try to knit my first hat using this method. The yarn is Aran weight (100m/50gms) and the needle size is 5.5mm (sorry for UK terminology). I know that the cord should be nice and flexible and that you were using Addi Turbo needles. Are these your favourite for magic loop? If not any other recommendations would be more than appreciated.

    Finally will I be able to do all the necessary decreasing required in the hat (it starts of at the rim and ends at the crown, starts with 72sts and decreases down to 6 sts) using just the long circular or would I need to switch to DPNs. I’m hoping I will not need to switch and somehow I don’t think I will need to but just wanted conformation. Thanks

    I love all your tutorials…..they are so very helpful.
    Kind regards,

  19. Dianne – it is normal magic loop, but because it isn’t written into any pattern, it can be used with any circular knitting project, therefore “simple”.

    Addis are nice needles. I usually use Knitter’s Pride (Knit Pro outside of the US) needles. Both are high-quality.

    You can knit magic loop on very few stitches to finish your cap. I usually prefer to switch to DPNs because I find that the circulars become cumbersome with so few stitches, but it is a personal preference.

    S t a c i

  20. I’m knitting from the pattern ‘Knitting Pure & Simple Neckdown Cardigan for Women ‘ I am starting the sleeves and would love to knit both sleeves at the same time . I kind of get the Magic Loop idea , but I am confused as to how to get my sleeve stitches on to the magic loop to start knitting 2 raglan top down sleeves at the same time .

    Do you have a video that would help me understand positioning my established stitches onto the ML needle?

  21. Rosie – I don’t have a video on that, but it’s a good idea. I can’t offer you much advice here in email/comments, but I can tell you this – it’s tricky to get 2 at-a-time magic loop set up (for sleeves, or socks, or any tubes), but once you get going, you’re set, and if you really think about how the stitches need to be transferred for it to get set up properly, you can figure it out. Thank you again for the video suggestion – I’ll add it to “the list”!

    S t a c i

  22. Hi Staci – Your magic loop tutorial helps me a great deal in understanding the concept. I also visited other sites re traveling loop. It looks like traveling loop is simpler, since there is only one loop to deal with. However, I’d appreciate your advice on both methods. Is there a big difference? What are the pros can cons of both methods? Thank you!


  23. Staci,

    I usually watch your youtube videos, but was looking for Magic Loop so I looked on your website. I laughed out loud when I saw at the bottom that you list your nail polish color because I told someone in my knitting group that your knitting videos are great, but I am obsessed with your nails.. Thanks for telling me your nail color and keep the videos coming. I have learned so much about my knitting obsession from your videos.

  24. I see your right needle is under the pulled out cord. I cannot get my needle to do that as I am always on top of the cord. When I pull out the cord, it just hangs without that twist you are showing. Maybe I have been doing it wrong and my cord has retained that memory.

  25. Hi staci, first of all I love your tutorials, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I am trying to knit a baby hat with fair isle using the magic loop, and I have a problem in the “corners” when I change needles. The floats are really tight. I am using your technique of stretching the previous stiches, but it is really hard to do in the “corners”. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?

  26. Maria – thank you for the note. When you’re using magic loop and switching from one half of the needle to the next, remember that the last stitch on the old needle is on the cord. The cord is much smaller than the needle, so if you tighten the stitch on the cord, it will be crazy tight once you get it up to the needle to be knit. Just watch your tension, and only pull that last stitch small enough to match the size of the needle.

    S t a c i

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