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Friday, October 8, 2010

Magic Loop 2.0 - Adapting Patterns, Purling, and More

Whee! Magic Loop is fun, right? What's that you say? It's not perfect? You still get a little stuck sometimes? Aha! Good! This is where we move from merely knowing a technique, to MASTERING it. It's in the little things! Here are a few tutorials to get things going smoothly.

Adapting any round pattern to Magic Loop
Many students ask me how to start using Magic Loop on patterns that don’t specifically call for it. This is a good question, because hardly any patterns specifically call for Magic Loop. Just like using a stand mixer is easier than mixing cookie dough with a spoon, but it’s your choice which one you use, Magic Loop is just a technique - and a technique that most knitting designers don’t expect you to know. They’ll just tell you to mix the cookie dough with a spoon and be done with it.

When you see a pattern call for a set of DPNs or a certain length of circular needle, you’ll know that the project is knitted in the round and that you can use your 47-inch needle and Magic Loop. When the pattern says, “CO 40 sts and divide evenly on DPNs for working in the round,” you just follow the technique we learned: CO 40 stitches onto your needle, slide them to the middle, divide the stitches in half, and proceed as in the pattern.

The only time that converting a pattern from DPNs to Magic Loop may present any kind of problem is when the designer instructs you to do things in relation to a certain needle. This is common on small projects like socks and baby booties, e.g., “K to end of 2nd needle, turn.” In this case, you’ll just have to look at how many stitches they told you to put on each needle in the first place (let’s say it was 8), and do the math yourself: knit 16 and then turn. I doubt you’ll run into this problem anytime soon, but if you do, you’ll know what to do!

Pulling the first stitch too tight.
This is the most common mistake among Magic Loop knitters who have switched from using DPNs. Knitters pull their first stitch tight in order to prevent a gap from appearing between the needles. Here’s how to prevent a gap and also prevent your stitches from being too tight.

If you are having any difficulty getting your needle back into your stitches, you are probably pulling your first stitch too tight, trying to avoid a ladder.

Starting the round with a purl stitch
A KNITFreedom member emailed me and asked, "What if I am starting the round with a purl stitch? I keep messing up!" Does this sound familiar? If you knit American-style (with the yarn in your right hand), it is easy to get messed up. The key is making sure the working yarn is underneath your right needle before you begin the stitch. Otherwise you will get an extra loop.

1) Ready position;

2) Ready to purl the 1st stitch; 

3) Ready to purl the 2nd stitch.

And there you have it! I'd love to hear your comments and especially gripes about Magic Loop. Remember, we can't make stuff better and faster if we are too nice! Help me solve your Magic Loops woes.

These tutorials are part of a wonderful new e-book on Mastering Magic Loop. Click here to learn more.
To learn more about becoming a Knitting Superstar, click here.
Like free video tutorials? Browse my blog for videos.

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