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Knit Maker: Skills & Technique

Lesson 9 of 11

Magic Loop Method

Vickie Howell

Knit Maker: Skills & Technique

Vickie Howell

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Lesson Info

9. Magic Loop Method

Lesson Info

Magic Loop Method

All right, so at home, if you have one available, what we need for you to have for the next skill is we need you to have a really long, circular needle. It needs to be at least 29 inches, 36 or 40 or better. So I'm going to give you a second to go gather that, and then just any yarn. Whatever yarn would correspond with the size needles that you choose. So what we're going to be working on next is a method called magic loop. The magic loop method is a method to use, what did you just say? (audience member murmurs) She said cool, awesome, yeah, winning! The magic loop method, and this is actually something that I've been asked about a ton of times on Ask Me Mondays on Facebook, and I keep saying, oh, I'll do a video for it, do a video for it and I didn't, so last night in the hotel, this was not originally on the roster, last night I thought, oh my gosh, I need to do the magic loop. So thankfully our awesome production assistant ran, for our in-studio students, ran to the yarn store and ...

picked up needles. And I have one here. I actually use a set, this is the Takumi set and it's adjustable, so I have all different kinds of needles and different lengths of cords. You want the longer cord, you have to have a long cord for this method. So the purpose of this method is to be able to knit something in the round without having double-pointed needles. So, obviously if you looked at something, if you were gonna knit something in the round using these needles just in traditional method. Can you see that? I know it's so hard to see. It would have to, this is pretty big. You're looking at maybe a pillow or a skirt or whatever. But. What we want to do is we wanna be able to make something small like a sock or a sleeve or a cuff or a baby hat and never need to have double-pointed needles again if we don't want to. I mean, I actually love double-pointed needles, but some people hate them with fiery passions and this skill is for you. All you need is a really long cord, as I said. And you're just going to cast on some stitches, whatever your pattern calls for. Let's go ahead for the student here or if you're working along with me at home, let's say 34 stitches, go ahead and cast on. And any method that you wanna cast on is fine. I use the single tail method, myself. Just because this is how I was taught at that knitting store that I mentioned when I was telling my story. I learned from a French woman named Edith, and this is how she taught me and so even though I often will teach other people using the long tail method because I think that's more commonly seen, this is my go-to. Are you about to blow my mind, Linda? I feel like you're about to drop some information down. (laughs) No I'm going to ask a question. Okay. Between continental and European, it's interesting that those of us who are older mostly do continental, right? Yeah, yeah. So how is it that a Parisian woman from Europe I don't know. taught you the continental? I don't know. She taught me the English method. I don't know. I wonder that all the time. Hmm. I wonder that all the time. It would make sense that she would have knit the continental method. But she did not. So this is how I learned. And actually my mom also knits the throw method, or English method, too, so it's actually kind of fortuitous that she taught me because when I was first knitting I would drive to my mom's house in my pajamas in the middle of the night when I couldn't figure something out, and she wouldn't have been able to help me as easily if she had used a different method. I have zero preference. You should knit however it makes you happy. There is the, you know, continental is technically faster but it's not faster for me because I've been knitting in English for my entire career, so you do you. And this method isn't really about the actual knitting, it's about utilizing the cord, and you can translate it any way that works out for you. I'm going to take a second and stop and count my stitches. Two, four, six, eight, 10, 12, 31, I think we decided we were going to do 32, 33, 34. Okay. So we have our stitches cast on. So the first thing that you wanna do is you want to divide your stitches evenly. So for us, we cast on 34. So that would be 17. Two, four, six, eight, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17. We're putting half the stitches on our back needle, half on the front. We're taking our working yarn. We're wanna also, I should have said this before, you wanna make sure the bottoms of your stitches are both down so that you don't twist them. Now, you're gonna pull, it'll probably be easier to do this, just pull a little bit of the cord so you don't have crazy cord action going everywhere, and you're gonna go ahead and knit that first stitch. Hmm. Hmm. Hold on, I'll be with you there in a second. And then you're gonna continue knitting all the stitches that are on that front needle. So like with knitting in general, the first needle, or the first round or row, can always be little persnickety, but it will get easier as you have more fabric and therefore more give. Your yarn starts in the back. I heard a question out there. So when you get to the end of that front needle, You have to take your needle, and pull that cord, so that now the stitches have a needle to sit on again. And again, I'm having to sort of wrestle them on, and that's just because it's the front row. But again, we're at that space, we've knit half our stitches, where I couldn't start knitting now, I need that length of the cord. So I'm gonna pull the cord a bit and pick up knitting my stitches. Stay with me, stay with me, I'm gonna come help. (audience murmurs) Okay, so I'm almost done with this needle, and what that also means is I'm already done with one round. You know you're done with the whole round once you're back to where that tail is. You could also place a marker if you wanted to. Alright, so I finished my first round. Anytime I get to the end of a needle, and I realize I need to knit more, I have to have another needle to knit with, right? So I know I have to just pull on that cord. My tip is to not pay attention to this craziness, because it can be, at least to me, it feels a little unruly. To really just focus on the stitches that you're stitching and the needles that you're working with. So come at it from a practical perspective. Let's say, you know you need to knit these stitches. How am I gonna get this needle over so I can work? How do I make it work? Well, I have to pull on it, right? Oh, that actually, totally worked, right? So just come instead of thinking about the mechanics, think of it as from a practical perspective. And then you're just gonna start working again. And this row is monumentally, as you can see, it's a lot easier, easier to work because I'm not just working with that cast on row, or cast on round. Okay, so I'm halfway through, I know I'm halfway through the round because I have finished with this front needle, so I know, and stop and make sure you're not twisting your stitches, that your seam, and it will become way more apparent as you knit more fabric, obviously, if you're knitting a sock or whatever you're knitting, but make sure that that seam edge is all down so that you're not twisting. Pull on that magic loop. So you've re-loaded your needle with the stitches. Yes ma'am. Kind of a fussy question, but when you knit with double-pointed needles a lot of times where the needles join. Yeah. You often end out with a gap a vertical row of stitches where there's a gap. How do you avoid doing that with this? I find that this happens less than it does. But what you can do is, it works a little bit better with double points than it does with this method, but let me show you what I would do. If that bothered you, although frankly I haven't seen that be a big issue, is you can slip the stitch back over, instead of knitting that last stitch, that would have been on that needle, so this would have been here, right? Instead of knitting it, slide it over. And then knit it from it. So does that make sense? It makes a lot more sense with double-pointed needles. Instead of knitting if from the gap, you're gonna slide it over, and knit if from where there wouldn't be a gap. So you would basically place it, well, it would be the needle before if you're working on double-pointed needles, so it's like you're tricking the knitting, you're not using the gap. For here though, honestly, I've been pretty pleased with it not being a thing. Are you seeing that happening within your piece? Well, maybe because it's early on, but yes. I have like a pretty long one. So you know, at the beginning I also feel like you don't have enough rows for that to count, you know? It's really, if you're working with a hat, or when you first join for socks or whatever, there's always that weird strand. But it ends up going away once the fabric has all been worked. I still have another half of a round to go, but because we need to move on I wanted to show you, see, I've got this huge needle that I worked with, but look, this is the equivalent of a probably a child's sleeve or whatever. So it's really cool because it makes it super versatile.

Class Description

It can be hard to set aside time for your creative outlet, and even harder to put time and energy into doing the research and legwork to advance your skills. Vickie Howell turns this formula on its head. Your craft should be your inspiration, and learning new techniques should be fun, attainable, and energizing.

Vickie is an expert, easy-to-follow knitter who can help you master the just-out-of-reach skills you need to tackle advanced patterns. Join this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to get started with the provisional and cable cast-ons.
  • How to create button holes, fix dropped stitches, and more.
Vickie will also teach you advanced seaming techniques like the kitchener stitch, mattress stitch and the 3-needle bind-off. You’ll learn how to work the picot bind-off, add an applied i-cord edging, and incorporate SC edging. Take the time to invest in your knitting skills, and invigorate your creative practice!

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

10th Floor Cowl Pattern

Dropped Stitch Cowl Pattern

Knitting Abbreviations

Skills & Technique Practice

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Toni Imwold

Thanks Vicki for teaching a great class. I consider myself to be an advanced knitter but I still learned some great tips and ideas from you. The cowl patterns look great and I plan to knit one soon.

a Creativelive Student

This was an outstanding, intensive workshop by Vickie Howell. She covered a wide variety of techniques and I am amazed at how much I learned in just a few hours. I started practicing some of the new skills I learned and am happy to report that they are indeed now part of my knitting knowledge.