More Magic Loop

I would like to take a moment and offer up some thoughts and (perhaps) helpful pictures regarding magic loop. In the past few days, quite a number of folks have asked about magic loop and how you keep it from becoming a giant tangle, especially if you're working two items at a time. The short answer is: It always gets to be a sort of tangle. The longer answer: With a bit of attention, you can keep the tangling to a minimum and whiz right along through your knitting.

Basic Tips:
1) Use a long needle with a flexible cable. I prefer Addis or Knitpicks needles with at least a 32" and preferably a 40" cable.
2) The first couple of rounds will look like utter crap. This is acceptable and will sort itself out as you go along. If it doesn't start to perk up by round 4, pause and look for errors.
3) In this method of knitting, laddering between the needles is best prevented by a good sharp tug on the yarn at the beginning of each half round.

Magic Loop (One Item at a Time)

The cast on
Using whatever method you desire, cast on the total number of stitches for your item. Slide all of the stitches onto the cable of your needle and find the mindpoint of your stitches. At the midpoint, spread the stitches apart, pinch the cable and pull the cable between the stitches. You should now have your circular needle folded in half with 50% of your stitches on each side of the needle. Slide all your stitches back down to the tips of the needle and, like so:

you are ready to knit.

In order to keep from a)twisting your work and b) turning the whole shebang into a tangled mess, always make sure that your working yarn runs OVER the cable of the working needle, like so:

Pull the needle with the working yarn attached throught the stitches (so that all the stitches are on the cable and turn it around to make "rabbit ears" and begin knitting your stitches, like so:

At the end of your half round you'll end up with all of your stitches back on the tips of your needles. PIC_0108
Turn the work, repeat the pulling through and work back across to complete the round. Remember: You have to work both sides of the work in order to complete a round.

Magic Loop (Two Items at a Time)

The Cast On
To cast on for two items at a time in Magic Loop, you need to cast on in a specific order. Using whatever method you so desire, cast on 50% of the stitches needed for item A (in this case, the gold yarn). Drop yarn A and cast on 100% of the stitches needed for item B (in this case, the dark blue yarn).
Push all of your stitches onto the cable. Find the midpoint of the stitches for item B and do the pinch and pull described above.
Now cast on the other 50% of your stitches for item A
And you're ready to begind knitting!

The Knitting
Always make sure that your working yarn runs OVER the cable of the working needle, this will keep your yarn from getting tangled up through the center of the items your working on and between the items. (If you do get tangled up, fix it as soon as you notice it. If you're knitting from two seperate balls, I find it most effective to go back to the ball and follow the yarn through the tangle. If you're using both ends of the same ball, you'll need to look very carefully at where the tangle is - often you'll have to finish a half round of one or both items in order to get to a point where you can get the needle out of the midst of the tangle.)
To work two items at a time, you'll use the same pull through, turn to "rabbit ears" and knit across method described above. However, you will knit a half round on item A AND on item B before you turn the work. I find it most expedient to hold only the yarn for the item I'm currently working on.
In this image, I've just finished a half round on item A and have dropped the yarn to move on to item B:

When knitting two items at a time on magic loop, the yarn will get wrapped around one another (as it often does in fair isle or other colorwork knitting). The most expedient way to untangle this is to hold your knitting by the working yarn (between the ball and the tangle) and to dangle the work off the side of your chair. It should spin around and untwist the yarn.


For my Sock Class

As promised, pictures and directions from the Two Socks On Magic Loop class today.

Gusset pictures:

Here, I've knit across the remaining heel flap stitches and picked up stitches along one side of my gusset. I'm about to knit across the stitches in the top of the sock.

This is the bottom of the sock after picking up the stitches on the second side of the gusset.

This is the working view of the sock after picking up the second side of the gusset. The heel needle has far more stitches than the needle holding the stitches for the top of the sock.

Heel Options for Toe-Uppers (and some that would work for top down, as well)

My personal favourite, the short row heel, works with both toe-up and top down socks. Working on your heel stitches only....
Row 1: Knit to last stitch. Move yarn to the front, slip the last stitch, move yarn to the back and slip the stitch back to your left needle. You've wrapped your working yarn around this stitch. Do Not Knit this stitch.
Row 2: Purl to last stitch. Repeat the slipping and wrapping.
Row 3: Knit to last unwrapped stitch. Repeat the slipping and wrapping.
Row 4: Purl to the last unwrapped stitch. Repeat the slipping and wrapping.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you have 2/3 of your heel stitches wrapped (1/3 on each side), end with a purl row.
Row 1: Knit across the unwrapped stitches. Pick up the wrap that is around the next stitch and place it on your left needle. Knit these two stitches (the original stitch + the wrap) together. On the next stitch, repeat the slipping and wrapping from above. This stitch should have 2 wraps.
Row 2: Purl across the unwrapped stitches. Repeat as above.
Row 3: Knit across the unwrapped stitches. Pick up BOTH wraps from the next stitch and place them on your left needle. Knit all 3 stitches together.
Row 4: Purl across the unwrapped stitches. Continue as for Row 3.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until all stitches are worked. You will not need to work a gusset, simply continue into the leg (or foot) of your sock.

Another option is the toe-up heel flap:

Row 1: S1, K1 in the purl bump, k to last 1 stitch, k1 in purl bump, k1
Row 2: S1, purl across
Row 3: S1, knit across
Row 4: S1, purl across
Row 5: S1, k2, ssk, knit to last 5 stitches, k2tog, k3
Repeat rows 4 and 5 until 14 stitches remain
Next row: S1, purl across
Work shortrows
Row 1: S1, k2, k2tog, k4, ssk, TURN
Row 2: S1, p4, p2tog, turn
Row 3: S1, k4, ssk, turn
Row 4: S1, p4, p2tog, turn
Row 5: S1, k4 ssk, turn
Row 6: S1, p4, p2tog, turn
Row 7: s1, k4, ssk DO NOT TURN. With right side of heel flap facing you, k1 through the slipped stitch immediately below the stitch you just knit, TURN.
Row 8: S1, purl across, p1 in slipped stitch below the last p2tog.
Row 9: S1, knit across, k1 in next slipped stitch
Row 10: S1, purl across, p1 in next slipped stitch
Repeat rows 9&10 until all slipped stitches are worked
Next row: Pick up and knit one stitch in the ladder between the heel flap and the body of the sock. Knit across the top of the sock. Pick up and knit one stitch in the ladder between the body of the sock and the heel flap. Knit across the heel stitches.

You could also use a peasant heel for either toe up or top down socks.


Let the SP Round begin...

For fun and general information, I post herein my questionnaire for the Knittyboard Secret Pal 8 swap.

All about you:

1. Do you have skillz? (beginner/adv. beginner/intermediate, etc): Advanced.

2. How long have you been knitting? 13 years

3. What are your favorite fiber colors? Tealy blues and greens. Or any jewel tones.

4. Are there any fiber colors that make you want to hurl? If so which? Pink.

5. Other than bran, what are your favorite fibers? Alpaca/Wool or Mohair/Wool blends

6. We all know you love your stash children equally but, what is your favorite yarn to knit with and why? Lamb’s Pride Worsted has been popular recently. It feels lovely in my hands as I knit and makes wonderful Finished Objects for felting or cabling projects.

7. Do you prefer stripes, solids, heathered, or some other kind of color combo (or lack thereof) that I didn’t think of? Heathered or lightly variegated solids. I am not a fan of stripes.

8. Other than fiber glass, do you have any unwelcome fibers (stuff you just don't need more of or like?) Cotton!

9a. What is your Dream Yarn, the yarn you would marry if only the government would approve of your love? Weeell, I don’t think I love any one yarn quite that much. I do enjoy laceweights in general and alpaca laceweights even more than that.

9b. Is there a yarn that you loathe and despise so much that the very earth may open up and swallow the place where it’s produced? If so by all means, warn us! Pretty open to anything.

10. Novelty yarns: super cool or blight on the earth? How about the stuff made with them?
Novelty yarns are useful as trim for otherwise simple projects. I tend to use them on hatbands and the tops of felted purses.

Random Question #1. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Neonatal Intensive Care doctor.

11. Do you prefer straight or circular needles (are there any sizes you really need)? How about DPNs? Circulars or flexible straights. I got the KnitPicks options set for Christmas. I would love to have any sizes below a US 2. I knit all my socks on Magic Loop so the 40” lenghts are best. I don’t use DPNs if I can possibly avoid it.

12. Bamboo, aluminum, nickel-plated, plastic, or birch? Have you perhaps found some new needle material to covet? I’m loving the nickel plated right now but I’d love to experiment with the various woods and bamboos.

13a. Do you spin and/or crochet? Yes to both. I’ve been spinning regularly for the last year or so and crocheting for 13 years.

13b. If you crochet, do actually enjoy it or is it a means to an end (like for finishing)? I usually use crochet for finishing but I do also crochet for the sake of it. I just started a crocheted afghan.

13c. If you spin do you use a wheel or spindle? I use a drop spindle right now but I’m saving for a wheel! A Kromski if I have my way about it.

14. What is the next thing you want to learn (techniques etc)? Entrelac. I’d also like to experiment with double knitting.

15a. What item(s) do you knit the most? Socks for quantity, lace shawls for most WIPs.

15b. Anything you’ll never knit again? Not yet!

16. What are your favorite items to knit? Lace anythings. I love the magic of blocking this mess of yarn and watching it turn into a gorgeous FO.

17. What are you knitting right now? A Diamond Pattern shawl from LionBrand, fingerless gloves in my own design, socks in my own design, the Nina Shawl from Mason-Dixon, a lace scarf of my own design, Fuzzy Feet, the Besotted Scarf.

18. Any projects you haven’t gotten to yet? Stop laughing, regain composure, we’ll wait. Okay seriously, what are you dying to knit that you haven’t gotten to yet? Intolerable Cruelty, the Cobweb Christening Shawl from Jamieson & Smith, Ballet Cami from MagKnits, several tops from various Interweave Knits magazines.

Wants and Nots:

19a. Do you have any food, fiber, smoke, pet allergies your SP should be aware of? Horses. Horses are very, very bad for me.

19b. Do you smoke, have pets, or process peanuts where you store your yarn? If so, please declare them here: No, no and no. My yarn is stored in plastic bags in nice, clean dresser drawers that, believe it or not, have never held anything other than yarn.

20. Do you have an Amazon.com wishlist you'd like to share with your SP (please add URL if applicable)? No wishlist but if we’re talking books I love the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey!

21. Anything you’ve been longing for or would really love to get (knitting or not)? Wooden cable needles, a swift, nutritional yeast (I eat it with popcorn but it’s ridiculously hard to find in the middle of nowhere Virginia).

22. What about stuff you don't need at all? Chocolate or other sweets.

23. What about knitting accessories? See above about cable needles. I also could use point protectors

24. Do you have hobbies other than knitting (tv, sports, collectibles, favorite things)? Reading

RQ#2. If a tree fell in the woods, and there was no one there to hear it, would Tom Cruise still have a career? He’s a bit overhyped and not much of an actor but he is yummy to look at!

25. Carpe bibliotheca! Uh, any books you would like (knitting or not)? Anything about knitting folk shawls or heirloom lace.

26. Any magazines you would like (knitting or not)? I’d love to try Rebecca or Rowan magazines.

27. For those of you who live outside the US, is there anything you'd like that you can't get your hands on?

28. In the event your SP lives outside the US, is there a particular yarn ,etc. you can't find in the US?

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things:

29. Who/What is your favorite...
a. Chocolate: 80% cocoa or more is better!
b. Muppet: Animal
c. Cartoon Character: Monterey Jack from The Rescue Rangers
d. Flower: Iris
e. Ice Cream flavor: Vanilla Bean
f. Fragrance: Lilac
g. Shoes to wear: Barefeet!
h. Type of garden: Dye garden
i. Animal: Kittens
j. Beverage: Tea
k. Author: Mercedes Lackey
l. Musician: Ummmmm
m. Holiday: Twelfth Night
n. Time of Day: Morning
o. Bath or Shower: Bath
p. Country: Ireland
q. Number: 5
r. Card game: Don’t play
s. Candy: Starburst

RQ#3. Where's the beef? On the cow

Getting to know you, getting to know ALL about you:

30a. How did you learn to knit? My grandmother handed me some old knitting needles and yarn one day while we were cleaning (well, they were cleaning. I was getting underfoot) and told me to go sit on the couch quietly and figure it out. No one ever really showed me anything I just took the partly done piece and fiddled with it until my stitches looked like hers. I think I was 7 at the time.

30b. What made you into a Knitter? Sheer perversity. After teaching me to knit, my family decided I was “too little” to really knit proper things. The best way to make me do something is to tell me I’m too little/weak/young/a girl...

31a. What is your oldest UFO and how old is it? Diamond Shawl from LionBrand and it’s been in progress for 10 months now.

31b. Why haven’t you finished it? I keep screwing up the pattern repeats.

32. What is the most exciting this that happened to you this month, year? This month I got a very nice bonus from work. This year I got engaged.

33. What is your favorite thing to do to waste time? Read novels.

34. The things that make me the happiest are: Family, sunshine patches in the living room.

35: If you were a space captain, what would you call your ship? TIGS Lady Adventura III aka “This Bucket of Bolts”

36. If you were candy would you be sweet, sour, or cinnamon? Sour

37. If you were a fruit which would you be? Pomegranate

38. Are you a Java Junkie? How about a Tea-totaler? Tea. Tea is safe. Megan on coffee is, ummm, hyper. Hyper and talkative. Very, very, very talkative.

39. Your birthday, in case it falls during the swap and your SP wants to send you a card: August 26

RQ#4. If you could flip a switch that would wipe any band or musical artist out of existence, which one would it be? Britney Spears

40. Do you have a personal mantra? Put on your big kid panties and cope!

41. This space is for rent. How much? Do you have advertising morals?

42. How do you feel about holidays? Will you be celebrating any during the SP round? I like nice, quiet holiday celebrations. I’ll be celebrating Lent/Easter during the SP round.

43. How do you really feel about socks? Addicted!

44. What is your shoe size? More specifically, if your SP were to make you some socks, what is your ankle circumference and foot length? Shoe Size is US 9.5 or 10. Measurements below are in inches.
Ankle: 9.5
Instep: 9
Length: 10
Toes Across: 3

45. How do you feel about ponchos? Ewwwwwwww

46. What kind of music (and/or which artists) do you listen to when you are happy? The classic rock radio station.

47. Rate yourself on a girly/fruh fruh factor from 1 - 10: 4

48. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I’m recently engaged and preparing to move my fiance from New York to Virginia. We don’t have any pets (and won’t until after the move) but I looove fish and want to have a big fish tank in the new house.

49. What are a few of your life dreams? Hike across Ireland, see the Phantom of the Opera in a theatre and get a knitting pattern published.

RQ#5. Wax on? Or Wax Off? I avoid wax. It’s messy.

50. What languages do you speak (besides English, Pig Latin counts)? Spanish, a smidgin of Italian and French

51. Hey baby, what’s your sign? How about the Chinese Zodiac? DO you read your horoscope or do you think it’s all bunk? Anybody think it’s bunk and read it anyway? How many questions was that? Virgo but beyond that I don’t pay any attention to it at all.

52. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? Wales or Ireland.

53. If you could do anything for a living what would it be? Be a work at home housewife with a business planning and leading knitting tours.

54. If you could have any "super power" which would it be? Healing

55. You're given $10,000 for traveling. Where do you go and why? Switzerland to see the Alps and Lake Geneva and then to Ireland for that hike I mentioned up there.

56. How frequently would you like to hear from your SP, and what kind of contact would you prefer? Weekly for both, or else I’m liable to forget what’s going on.