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Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Best Needles For Magic Loop

Ready to try Magic Loop? Here's what you'll need.

Just kidding. You really only need one piece of equipment to start learning Magic Loop: a 40- to 47-inch-long circular needle in a medium size, say, US size 7 or 8. You'll also need about 50 yards of worsted-weight yarn, but you probably have some already.

If you don’t already own a circular needle and you need to buy one, purchase a 47-inch-long needle, as you will be able to use this length for any project, including two-at-a-time, which I promise you will want to try as soon as you get the hang of this technique. 36 inches is the shortest length of needle that can be used for Magic Loop, so if you already have this length at home, that’s fine, but if you are buying new needles, the longer, the better.

What brand of needles?
Local shopping

You have a few choices when shopping for needles. Common brands you will find at your local yarn store will be Clover bamboo needles for about $9.00, as well as Addi Turbo and Lace needles. You can also find Clover circulars at Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics, but I don’t recommend them. You may be used to knitting on bamboo needles, but bamboo circulars can have an inflexible cable and can have a rough join, the place where the cable is connected to the needle tips, causing snags and frustration as you try to move your knitting along.

If you like the security of a bamboo needle (bamboo needles are less slippery than the metal Addi Tubos), I recommend you try a pair of Addi Lace needles, which cost about $14.


Addi Lace needles have a slightly rougher surface than the super-slick Addi Turbos, and they also have a pointier tip. This means more dexterity while you are knitting, and the ability to knit complicated stitches with ease. Ask any LYS employee and they will rave about Addi Lace.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of the techniques, Addi Turbos, also about $14, are a great choice for making quick progress on your projects. They have a blunt tip and a smooth finish, helping you speed along like a Knitting Superstar. You can watch my video on Using Your Fingers to Help You to prevent the stitches from popping off your needles as you whiz along, and watch my video on Fixing a Dropped Knit Stitch in case one does.


Addi also has a fun option, called Addi Click, a set of interchangeable needles and cables. With one purchase, you’ll have most of the needles you’ll ever need. You can buy other cables and needle-tips separately. As of this writing, the Clicks are only available in the Turbo style, but they are working hard on a Lace version. The set of Addi Clicks is pricey, but compared to buying each needle individually, it’s a steal.

Online Shopping
KnitPicks, an online knit shop, has a popular and inexpensive set of interchangeable circular needles as well. They come in wood ($85) and metal ($70), and the gorgeous multicolored wooden ones have a nice sharp point similar to the Addi Lace. The cables are very flexible (and purple!), and the price is the lowest available for this type of product. A set of these makes a great gift for any knitter.

This list wouldn’t be complete without the cream of the crop, Signature NeedleArts, the finest knitting tools money can buy. Made in a factory that machines airline parts, these precision aluminum needles have long, tapered points without being painfully sharp, and silky-smooth joins. At $40 per pair of needles, these are a real treat for any Magic Looper in your life. Good thing they have a wishlist on their site!


My opinion
If you want me to pick for you, support your LYS and buy a pair of 47” Addi Lace in size 7. For $14, you can start your Magic Loop project with a needle that you'll continue to use for years.

Curious about learning Magic Loop? Click here to learn more!

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