Magic Loop Tutorial

January 23, 2016

paperdoll gloves magic loop

I have had several requests lately for help in using the Magic Loop method for knitting in the round.  It can be a little daunting to learn.  Since I use Magic Loop so much, I want to help spread the love!  So I made a video (at bottom of post). I hope this video explains things in a way that makes it easier for you to understand, if you are struggling with it.

After you have knit with the method for a while, it becomes super easy.  Some people think Magic Loop involves a lot of fiddling with pulling the needles, etc., but I can knit very fast this way and it becomes second nature.

chinook on magic loop

With Magic Loop, you can try your work on for size!  Try doing that with DPNs – doesn’t work so well


There are some reasons I love Magic Loop so much for knitting things in the round:

  1. No DPN (double point needle) tips sticking out! I hate working around those.
  2. Your work isn’t in danger of falling off when you have it on the circular cable (shown on video).  When I put my knitting down, I just slip the work from the needles onto the cable and it’s safe as can be.
  3. If you’re knitting something like a mitten in the round, you can actually slip your work from the needles onto the cable and try the mitten on for size! A big plus.
  4. Makes it super simple to knit something tiny like a thumb or finger.  If you use DPNs, you have to get teeny tiny DPNs to do this and it’s a hassle.
  5. Even if I have a very long circular needle, I can knit a variety of sizes on it, because the cable part just dangles.




In this video, I’m using 32″ circular needles, which is a great average size for a variety of different projects.  My favorite circular needles are always Addi Lace. They are super smooth and super sharp, resulting in work that just glides along and needle points that are inserting easily for knitting.

One thing I failed to mention in the video (sorry!) is a helpful little tip:  After you get your project going, the dangling tail yarn becomes your “marker” for the beginning of your work and to tell you where the right side of the work is. This is helpful in case you forget if you have knit half of the round or all of the round – if the tail yarn is dangling on the right, you have completed a round.  Sometimes if you are knitting a project that is just a single solid color, you can get mixed up.

tail end on the left:  you are in the middle of a row.
tail end on the right:   you are at the beginning of a row.


If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section or email me. Good luck and enjoy Magic Loop!






  1. Hi this is a nice knitting site. 

    Sent from Samsung tablet

  2. Thanks for this post – I use circuar needles all the time, but still learned better technique from your video. I use circular needles for almost all of my projects, including ones where the object is straight, such as a blanket square, as most of the weight of the project falls onto the cables, rather than the needles, so it doesn’t hurt my hands – great for sufferers of arthritis. I can keep a stitch counter on the end of the circular needle and when I turn the project around, for the even rows, it doesn’t interfere with the project. If knitting in the round i use a marker to show me where a round begins, slipping it across to the “new” needle when I reach it. Deborah

    • Deborah: I’m so glad you found the video helpful. And I also use only circular needles to knit everything now-even flat projects. You are right-the bulk of the project’s weight is on the cables and makes that more comfortable than a straight needle. As for a stitch marker, when I am knitting in the round I don’t need to use it because the tail end of the yarn from the cast on acts as my stitch marker!

  3. Great video tutorial! I have just started knitting using the magic loop and your tip for tugging when crossing over from one needle to the other is most helpful as my stiches were a little looser when I did this the first time. Thanks!

  4. Elaine, I’ve been reading your blog and just wanted to thank you for the lesson on magic loop. It was really easy to follow for us at home knitters. Just one question –I’m making a cowl gift. The directions call for two needles (not double pointed) size 3mm “joined in the round”. Went to you tube and there are ways to, do this but they are really above my head. Can I use a small enough Magic Loop method for this size work.? Many thanks for your advice and inspiring work.

    • Absolutely you can use Magic Loop for this project. When using Magic Loop, remember that if the cable length you are using is too short for the project, it won’t work. If your cable needles are too long, it doesn’t matter – the excess cables just hang. So, when it comes to cable lengths, if you’re not sure longer is better. It depends on how many stitches you are to cast on. For a cowl, a 32″ cable length will probably work but a 40″ inch cable length will definitely work. Hope this helps!

  5. I wish I knew how to knit. Well done video, I enjoyed watching it even though I am not a knitter. I bought a book & needles to teach myself…what a disaster! Ha! Maybe someday.

    • Queenie: With the internet now, there are lots of videos for beginners online to show you how! Maybe you can try this method of learning. Don’t give up! Maybe try Craftsy – it’s an awesome site that has online classes!

  6. Thanks so much Elaine for your video of knitting magic loop. I LOVE MAGIC LOOP LOL. Since I discovered this method, I too use circulars for everything I can for all the reasons you state.

    I’m curious as to which method you learned first…. Continental or English and, do you prefer one over the other? I have tried using my left hand but my tension seems to be a lot looser, so I go back to the right hand. Would that improve over time? I’m looking for a way to get faster, I guess. 😉

    Oh here’s a tip I always remember when joining the first round… always remember that the working yarn comes from the back needle, that way when you join the circle, your piece will always have the outside where it belongs.

    • AnnieVee: I learned Continental when I was a kid so that is how I knitted for a long time but my stockinette stitches were not nice and even. I figured out that if I did the purl side using English method instead of Continental, my stockinette looked nicer. Then I tried doing it all in English and the stockinette looked even nicer. It was very awkward at first but when I began to do a lot of two-color knitting, I knew that holding a different color in each hand would speed things up a lot, so I forced myself to learn English. Now I can zip along using either method. If I’m knitting stockinette, I definitely use English. If I’m knitting anything else, I use Continental.

  7. I found it hard to do stockinette! It was all uneven at first. I also have tried using circular needles and oh my are they difficult! Hahaha. Well, a newbie has a lot to learn and this video is truly helpful!

    • Carol: Stockinette done in the round tends to be more even – there are no purl stitches, so it’s more consistent. Keep trying!

  8. Thanks for the ML video..very helpful to me. I’m learning fair isle and find it hard to do on ML. I can’t figure out where to divide the stitches to make counting stitches easier..ill get there…Thanks❣

    • Mary: What item are you knitting fair isle? Mittens?

  9. […] The baby sweater is a pattern called Baby Sophisticate by Linden Heflin. I especially loved the construction of this sweater because there are no seams to sew up!  You knit in the round (my favorite) for the yoke, place stitches for the sleeves on holders, knit the body, bind off and then just place the sleeve stitches on your needles and knit those in the round.  You then pick up stitches for the shawl collar and button placket.   I knitted this sweater using my favorite Magic Loop method on circular methods.  You can find a tutorial for it here. […]

  10. Your video was so well done, very straightforward and easy to understand. I have been knitting for many years but have never tried this method. I plan to sit down and go through the video step by step and try magic loop knitting. Then it’s on to trying socks!

    • Barbara: Yay! That just makes my day. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi Elaine, I have knitted many Turkish Bed Socks on DPs and saw that you knit them on ML. Your video makes it look so easy. I just started the second sock in a pair (cast on) and think I will try the ML version to see how it goes. Do you have any tips for me? I have the carbon fiber needle set that includes a 32″ cable. Thank you for sharing your creativity. Your projects are beautiful!

  12. Marcella: I don’t really have any tips other than what I went over in the video BUT I will say that if you don’t get it right away, try again! Once you get the hang of it, you never go back to dpns! Happy knitting!

  13. […] and then did the sleeves using Magic Loop, instead of DPNs.  If you need a tutorial on Magic Loop, here is mine (along with a video to help you).  Magic Loop is my favorite way to knit in the […]

  14. I knit Portuguese style and am using ml on a project for the first time. I am doing it backwards from the way you show, but somehow my knit stitches are on the outside. I did the set up without a video and it seemed to work so I just carried on. However, my work is coming toward me, which gets a little awkward. I’m going to follow your directions for the next part of my bunny. I can’t wait to see what happens! I am either misunderstanding ml or using Portuguese style makes it backwards. I will find out which. Your video is absolutely the clearest demonstration of magic loop that I have found, and I have watched a lot of videos. Thanks!

  15. Video enticed me into trying magic loop on the second sleeve I am doing on a toddler cardigan. Maybe I’ll get used to it, but for now I find the twists in the “extra” cable as uncomfortable as others find all the points in multiple double pointed needles. I switched from a 24″ to a 29″ inch circular which is a little more comfortable, but the twists in the cable are still quite annoying.

    Also finding that to snug up the stitch where the round is joined makes them so tight it is difficult to get them on the needle when I turn the work. But not sniffing them up leaves joined stitches too loose. MYbe it takes time to get the right tension.

  16. […] Using fingering weight yarn and US #2.5 circle needle. I used the Magic Loop method. […]

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