Confidently Knitting the Magic Loop Method

Sock being knit with magic loop method

When working on large garments like sweaters, many knitters find knitting in the round to be faster. But what about when you knit projects in the round that have a smaller circumference like socks, sleeves and mittens? That’s where the magic loop method might be your best choice.

When it comes to knitting in the round, there are double pointed needles, knitting in the round on two circulars, and (my favorite) the amazing magic loop! Read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to complete the magic loop in the round.

What is magic loop knitting?

The magic loop method is a method for knitting small circumference pieces in the round on one long circular needle.

Magic loop knitting can be done on any needle size with a cable length of at least 32″ or more. I personally prefer a 40″ cable for magic loop, but I know some who prefer a 24″ cable. It’s just a matter of trying out a few lengths to find the one that will work the best for you and your knitting. For this photo tutorial, I am using a 40″ cable with worsted weight yarn.

How to knit the magic loop method

[Want to save or print this tutorial? Click here to get the PDF version, PLUS enjoy four bonus tutorials for knitting in the round — absolutely FREE!]

Step 1:

Casting on the required number of stitches

Begin by casting on the required number of stitches.

Step 2:

Find the middle point in the stitches

Move the stitches to the center of the cable and find the middle point in the stitches. Gently bend your cable to bring a bit up between the center stitches.

Step 3:

knitting the magic loop

Pull the cable gently to the point where the cast on stitches are now resting on the needles and not the cable.

Step 4:

Turn the needles so they are horizontal to the ground and the first stitch cast on is on the needle closest to you.

Turn the needles for the magic loop method

Hang the tail of the yarn down, and lay the working yarn over the back needle. (This is done because we will be knitting our first stitch. If you are purling, you will let your working yarn hang down between the needles).

Step 5:

Working needles for the magic loop method

Pull the back needle out so the back stitches are on the cable now. Be careful to keep the working yarn toward the back. Bring the needle into the first stitch to knit.

Step 6:

Knit your first set of stitches

Knit across all the stitches on the front needle.

knitting in the round on circular needles

Step 7:

To turn your work: Once you have knit the first set, turn your needles so the unworked stitches are now closest to you.

Pull the back needle (the one you just worked) so the just-worked stitches are resting on the cable. Then slide the unworked stitches onto the front needle. Keep the working yarn toward the back.

Step 8:

turn your needles so the unworked stitches are now closest to you

Bring the back needle around and prepare to knit the first stitch on the front needle.

Continue knitting in pattern all the way down the front needle. When you complete this set of stitches you have just worked one round.

Finishing up knitting in the round using the magic loop method

Continue this way for as many rounds as you need! Now you’re magic looping!

Quick tip

When magic loop knitting, I don’t use a stitch marker to mark my beginning of round. Instead, I use the tail end of the cast on. While this (to me) is less fussy, if you aren’t paying attention to where you’re at, you could lose track easily. In this case, I’d suggest clipping a locking stitch marker to a stitch at the beginning of the round.

I love magic looping sleeves and socks especially. Once I learned this method, I never wanted to go back to dpns!

Knit Smarter With Magic Loop

Master Magic Loop!

Join popular knitting instructor Lorilee Beltman for hours of high-def, close-up instruction on knitting the magic loop.Check It Out

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