Magic Loop or Wrangling an Octopus

No pics I’m afraid, but trust me on this, Magic Loop is like trying to wrangle an octopus. I have finished the body of the Pink Lopi Raglan and Saturday cast on for the sleeves. I decided that the working on both sleeves at once is a good strategy and as the sweater’s all about being worked in the round, this means using the über trendy Magic Loop™ to do the job.

I first worked the ribbing on 4 double point 3.5 mm for each sleeve separately and then knit them onto 2 4.0 mm, 80 cm circulars. Partly because I wasn’t sure how to handle starting in the round with the loop de magie (especially with tubular cast on) and partly because I have only one 3.5 mm circular which is only an 80 cm and is currently housing the sweater body.

Now let me just say that I put Magic Loop™ in the ‘trendy knitting fad’ category along with cute beaded/custom/jewelry-like stitch markers (not to say that I don’t own any of those) and toe-up socks: way too much hype. And my experiences in the past few days have not changed my mind.

There’s too much switching. Every 25 stitches I have to either drop a needle or switch balls of yarn. And the first couple of rounds, the whole thing would get SO tangled that I would let the entire fidgety mess fall to the desk and then just walk away to make some tea or something. AND THEN sometimes I forget to switch the needles in both hands and end up with 3 halves on one needle, and one half on the other (which sometimes gets all switched around and front half of one sleeve in on the same needle as the back half of the other sleeve). Disaster.

But I’ve sort of become somewhat used to working this octopus. For the most part anyways. I’m working through the wiggly giggle mess at least. No trendy knitting technique is going to get the best of me!

I think it will better on one super huge circular rather than wrangling two smaller ones. I’ve got a 120 cm kickin’ around somewhere and it’s bamboo to boot. The squeeze/grind of metal needles rubbing all against each other is NOT my favourite. Especially when using squeaky acrylics. Yuuugch.

Update: I tried using one super long circular and had issues with ladders/losing my place on the sides (I tried with stitch markers and the ladders got worse). So I’ve gone back to the 2 circs and I’m managing. I could see that if the concept of working with double points was especially aggravating, Magic Loop™ may be a more successful alternative technique.

But for the whole ‘Second Sock Syndrome’ sufferers I have to say I think you’re suffering from a made up disease. Before going to the internet to read about knitting, I had never heard of anyone having problems finishing a pair of socks or mittens or anything else that comes in pairs. Yes, the pattern is the same as the first item so the joy of discovery isn’t really there. Yes, it’s the same yarn that you’ve just spent a sock working with.

But the second sock/mitten/whatever always is faster than the first one (just like the second time driving/getting somewhere is that little bit easier/more familiar). Plus it gives you the opportunity to knit this one better! You’ll be knitting it with more confidence, a better idea of what’s going on and the particular tricky bits of the particular pattern you’re working on. I’ll add the challenge that you may even be able to knit most of it from memory as well. How cool is it to knit something without consulting a pattern for any of it?

If you still think you have ‘Second Sock Syndrome’ then try this magical cure I’ve just heard about. It’s called Magic Loop™ and it means (with some minor wrangling) you can knit both socks at once!*

(warning: knitting two socks at one time may slow the perception of knitting time)

5 thoughts on “Magic Loop or Wrangling an Octopus”

  1. I see all the cool kids doing the circular needles thing and think its grand and that I MUST do it so that I can have 2 socks done at almost the same time. I have tried with ONE circular and it was 4 hours of my life I will never regain. I tried again with 2 circs and again, it was a dismal failure. I just don’t know what I am not getting with the tutorials….maybe I should take a class?

  2. mrffidunno, maybe?

    I feel like just struggling through is really just the best way to do it. The concept isn’t so hard, it just all that damn yarn/needle wrangling & tangling that makes it so frustratin’ PLUS all the switchin’ with the needles & the yarn makes it all tricksy to get comfortable with my patented pinky yarn wrap.

    Yeah, I don’t suffer from that trendy ‘Second Knitted Item Syndrome’ cause if you don’t knit the next one, you can’t use ’em! Knitting my own mittens is all I ever did for years so I guess I just never really knew that I should not enjoy knitting the second one.

    Really, I just don’t see what the fuss is all about. I think I’ll only knit two at once when the sleeves are flat and on straights. I’ve never considered straights the Cat’s Pajamas so maybe that’s why I can’t get past the octopie-ness of the thing?

  3. Hi there, I just found your blog, mittenfairy!
    I tried Magic Looping a few days ago because I read everywhere about this big ML hype. I started with one very long circular and two toe-up-socks at the same time. I thought it would be great to do both socks at the same time, but well.. same opinion as you. I hate the fiddeling around with the two skeins and breaking the workflow every half round.
    And I am wondering why it is so great. I think it is great for people who cannot knit in a round or who are afraid of it. But once you can work with dpn’s there is no faster way.
    I will do this one pair, just to know I can so it, but that will be it.

  4. Yeah, I’m with you on that. I did try with one long circular last night and it was just as, if not more frustrating (and causes ladders!), so I’ve gone back to the 2 circs. Once I’m done with these sleeves, it’s auf wiedersehen to the Magic Loop.™

    The only thing I like is doing all increases at once, but that’s a working-both-sleeves-at-the-same-time benefit.

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