Magic Loop Knitting | Step By Step


In this post, you will see how to knit in the round using the magic loop knitting technique.

This technique is often used for smaller projects.

There is a step-by-step photo tutorial below and a video tutorial for you to watch.

Magic Loop Technique

The Magic Loop Method

If you have already been knitting in the round on large projects like scarves or sweaters, you know how easy the magic loop method can be.

But when you want to make something smaller, with a small diameter like sweater sleeves, mittens, or closing the top of hats, or socks, you may have to use this method.

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Magic Loop Step 2

What Is The Magic Loop?

Using the magic loop technique in your knitting is easy and will help you to create smaller items in the round.

This can be done by using any cable length from 9 inches, 16 inches to 32 inches or more.

You will need to know this method in order to make some of my knitting patterns including:

easy mittens knitting pattern free

The Easy Mittens Pattern

If you want to make the easy mittens – you will cast on 18 sts and work K1, P1 rib for 2 inches.

I made the mittens using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn in fisherman (yarn weight – super bulky 06).

I knit them on 10 mm (US 15) 16″ circular needles using the magic loop technique, so there was no seaming involved, just a few loose ends to sew in at the end.

knitted mitten

Magic Loop Knitting Tutorial

How To Knit In The Round With The Magic Loop Technique

  1. Casting On

    Begin by casting on the required number of stitches.
    (For this tutorial I cast on 18 stitches)

    Magic Loop Step 1

  2. Dividing The Stitches

    Divide the stitches (half of the stitches on one needle and half on the other), then pull the center of the cable up, so the loop of cable will be sticking out as you see in the image below.

    Magic Loop Step 2

  3. Pull The Stitches Onto The Needles

    Pull the stitches onto the needles, so they are no longer on the cable.
    You can place a stitch marker on the first stitch to denote the beginning of the round if you wish.

    Magic Loop Step 3

  4. Arrange Your Yarn

    Turn the needles so that the first stitch cast on, is on the needle closest to you.
    You can then move the yarn tail to one side and get the working yarn ready by hanging it over the back needle.
    This is done if you are going to knit into your first stitch.
    If you are going to purl that first stitch, you will allow the working yarn to hang down between the needles.

    Magic Loop Step 4

  5. Knit The First Stitch

    Pull the back needle out from the stitches, so the back stitches are on the cable now.
    Keep the working yarn toward the back.
    Then bring the right-hand needle into the first stitch to knit.

    Magic Loop Step 5

  6. Continue To Knit The Stitches On The Left-Hand Needle

    Then you can knit across all the stitches on the front needle, to the end of the needle (this is the left-hand needle).

    Magic Loop Step 6

  7. Turning The Work

    Once you have knit across the first row of stitches on the left needle, you can then turn your work.
    Now the unworked stitches are facing you that were on the right needle.
    Pull the back needle – the one you just worked, so the just worked stitches are resting on the loop of cord.
    Then slide the unworked stitches onto the front needle.
    Keep working the yarn toward the back when you knit, to the end of the next set of stitches.

    Magic Loop Step 7

  8. Knit Across The Stitches

    Bring the back needle around and knit the first stitch on the front needle.
    Knit across all of the stitches on the front needle.
    When you have completed these next stitches, you have just worked one round.
    For the new round, you will continue to move the stitches, to begin again.

    Magic Loop Step 8

  9. Continue To Knit

    You can continue to work this way until you have knit as many rounds as you need.
    Repeating this process is using the magic loop! 

    Magic Loop Step 7

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  1. How do you knit in pattern when you are using the magic loop method. Like if you have cables or knit two together. I hope I worded this correctly. Thanks so much for such beautiful patterns.

    1. Hello Connie, knitted cables in the round are similar to cables knitted flat, except that the right side of the cable is always facing you as you stitch. Converting cable rows to cables in the round requires just a few simple changes.

      Remember that when knitting in the round, there are no wrong-side rows; all rows are right-side rows facing you as you knit. Therefore, all the right-side rows of the chart or written instructions are worked as they are written; all wrong-side rows will need to be converted to in-the-round knitting.

      To convert a wrong-side row, remember that all purls worked on the wrong side become knit stitches, while all knit stitches worked on the wrong side become purl stitches.

      I think this will probably need more explaining, so I plan to create a blog post for this in the future.

      As for K2tog – you would knit the two stitches together as you would if you were working on straight needles.

      I hope that helps 🙂

    1. Hello Melissa,
      It’s mostly a matter of preference, some people find using circulars and the magic loop technique more comfortable than using DPNs.
      I do, I could never feel comfortable using DPNs and much prefer using my circular needles for everything, even knitting flat (not in the round).
      If you’re good at maintaining tension the only downside of using DPNs in the round is managing extra needles.
      If you’re not so good at keeping an even tension, the magic loop technique tends to be easier.
      I hope that helps!