Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Magic Loop: to loop or not to loop?

I have been reading in my Elizabeth’s Year Yahoo knitting group that some of the members have purchased the booklet “The Magic Loop” to learn how to knit their leggings from Knitter's Almanac using the magic loop method.

I have long been comfortable knitting socks on double pointed needles. Although there were are lot of needles (4) to manipulate, I knit a fairly snug stitch and rarely have trouble with needles falling out. I did occasionally have a stitch or two fall out, which was easily corrected.

Being the self-motivated learner that I am, I made the decision to some day learn to knit on circular needles, so that I could knit two socks at one time. I seriously suffer the from the “2nd sock syndrome” which is not wanting to start or complete the second sock once the first is finish. I struggled with this for a long time. This is why I do not make too many socks. Soo….this summer in Oakland at Knit and Crochet show I watched the demo videos being sold on knitting with two circular needles, and thought I would have a try.

It was a total disaster. I started the simple pair of socks with Trekking XXL on Size two needles. I dropped stitches on the first row and restarted. Dealing with all those wires were just too much for me. I pulled it out and restarted for a third time, and finally gave up. I concluded that if I couldn’t tackle two circulars, how in the world would I do with one extra long one.

Recently, the buzz in the forum has again been about the magic loop and how magical it is. Some have been saying that it was so easy after 5 minutes of practice and may never go back to dpn’s again. Sooo…I gathered up my courage and ordered the book “The Magic Loop”.

The book came yesterday. It so happened that I had purchased a size 5 40” circular Addi turbo (Insert you own sound effect here, {wink, Brenda Dayne} needle in Oakland to make a shawl. I thought that perhaps I needed to start out with a larger yarn. I cast on to make some easy knitted cuffs. After 5 minutes, I, too, fell in love. I am still asking myself why I didn’t learn how to do this sooner? I also found a Youtube video that demonstrated the technique: The Magic Loop.

Here is some of my beginning efforts.

Well, I couldn’t stop there…. I had started some socks for my dad with Tofutsies on size 2 needle a few weeks ago. These socks were started on dpns and were very slow going. The yarn just doesn’t seem to have much elasticity and knits more like cotton so my stitches have been very slow going. My old 29+++ eyes are having more trouble seeing these tiny stitches so I have to be careful not to drop any stitches.

After somewhat mastering magic loop on the cuffs, I decided to take the plunge and try the socks. I used the other end of the skein to cast on, since I only purchased one ball of Tofustsies of 400 yds. It is really going well and faster than using dpns. I don’t have to be afraid to lay these down and worry that a stitch will slip off. Stitches slipping off two needle ends is less likely than 6 ends. As soon as I get to the same length as the other sock I will put them both on the one circular needles and try two socks at a time. I just can’t wait. This is going to be fun!!

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