I’ve been doing magic loop knitting on projects that I might normally use a 16″ circular needle or dpns for lately. Why? I’m still trying to heal from the stress to my hands and wrists from packing and unpacking from our move in July.
There are things I really like about it. And things I don’t like so much. But it is a truly viable option. I’m a person who always wants the bad news first, so here are the things I don’t like.
Things I Don’t Care for About Magic Loop Knitting
- I often don’t have a needle that is the proper length to make this technique easy;
- The really long needles that make it easy are a pain because they are long; and
- It really slows me down.
When just knitting, I like to use a 24″ needle. It means I have less extra needle so it feels really efficient. Until recently I didn’t have very many needles that were long enough for the magic loop. I bought several really long needles (Addi turbos) because I wanted them for moebius knitting.
One of the joys of knitting (even in pattern) for me is knitting without having to pay too much attention to the physicality of the work. I like to watch TV or read while I’m knitting. Anything that requires me to pay attention to the needles or the stitches makes it a little less pleasurable. If I have to pay attention, or for the magic loop, stop and reposition my needles, this will slow down my knitting. I’m not sure how significantly, probably not by half, but enough. Practice is making it a bit smoother.
Things I Do Like About Magic Loop Knitting
- It is so much kinder to my hands, wrists, and thumbs;
- I can use the same needle I’m going to use in a larger project so I know the gauge will be the same;
- My hands are fairly large so I really am much more comfortable with a full-size tip to hold onto and have always found 16″ circulars hard on my thumbs; and
- Although I have to fuss with repositioning the needles, it is no more annoying than dealing with dpns.
I like the rhythm of dpns, and I like the speed of working around on 16″ circulars. Even before the move I’ve been noticing the stress both cause my thumbs. I have kind of a hinky joint on my right thumb, which I think is an over-extension injury from mouse-use and knitting. So I’m enjoying not having that constant pain. Mitch is 6’2″ tall, and he is starting to really notice the effects of a life of always being a little too large for everything. My hands are in the same boat.
Magic Loop and Gauge
Knowing that when I’m making a small item to be a gauge swatch I am using the same needle I will use in the larger project gives me gauge confidence. I might use a different cable length, but I’m going to pick up Addi turbos! An added bonus, because the transition from front needle to back needle is done with the stitches just worked on the cable, not the needle, I have absolutely no laddering.
It is really about the needle (I’m enjoying the flexibility of the cables of the Addi needles). I would not use interchangeables for this because I think there is too much risk of there being excess rubbing on the knitting at the joins and too much pressure on the needles which might injure or break the joins in the long haul. You may prefer a different type of needle. Look for a nicely flexible cable and good joins. Then give this a try.
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