Hey Guys,

Two of the most common questions I get from new knitters are:

1) what kind of needles do you use? and

2) do you know how to magic loop?

The answer to the first is #HIYAHIYA forever!! I am almost strictly a Hiya Hiya girl.  Now I know you going to say "Oh, you guys are distributors so obviously you're promoting that brand," but I've always been a Hiya Hiya girl.  The first set of proper knitting needles I ever owned were Knit Picks DPN's because Knit Picks had a promo and they were free.  But the first needles I ever chose were the small set of Hiya Hiya interchangeables that I bought from my, then favourite, local yarn store.  I was still a brand new knitter and my dad was standing right beside me.  I was hesitating and my super frugal, never spend a hundred dollars on anything silly, dad said, "if you like it, you should buy it." And then he bought them for me.  They were the best gift ever.  Pretty soon after I converted Ash and neither of us have gone back.

Now there are definitely other brands out there, and, in a pinch, I've had to use a few of them.  If you can't get your hands a set of Hiya Hiya's, my next top faves are Chiagoo and Knitters Pride.  I do have a pair of Signature needles but that's a just a depressing story. Let's just leave it at, Ash really likes hers.

For today's post I thought I would do a quick demonstration of magic loop since lots of people really do ask me about this technique.  When I got my Knit Picks DPN's and learned how to use them, I swore it was the only way I would ever knit in the round so I bought every size of DPN's.  Then I learned magic loop and now I have a bin of DPN's that I almost never use.  Magic loop is super fast, once you get the hang of it, because you don't have a bunch of bulky needles that you have to maneuver around.  Also the danger of having your needles fall out of your project drops down significantly.

Today I'm casting on the second side of my little baby mitten and this seems like the perfect time to show you how to do this.  I'm using a size 7 needle on a 32" cable and some worsted yarn.  I like a 32" cable because you can them for a lot of different projects.  A 24" can sometimes be too short and a 40" too long.  Just a heads up, I'm knitting this in the English style not continental.

1) Cast on the required number of stitches for your project.  For this project, I needed 20 stitches.

2) Move all of your stitches to the centre of the cable.

3) Usually at the half way point between your stitches, fish out the cable and make a loop.  Be super careful for the next couple of steps because you don`t want to twist your stitches.  See how the seam of my cast on is facing each other?  Keep it that way.

4) Move all of the stitches back onto the needles making sure the working yarn is on the right side.

My seam is still facing each other and my working yarn is on the back needle.

5) Pull the BACK needle off of the stitches.  You can't see it but I'm holding the back stitches under my thumb and forefinger so they don't twist on me.

6) Curve your back needle around and insert it into the first stitch. When you knit the first stitch, give your working yarn a little tug to make sure the last stitch is nice and snug but not tight.  After you complete the first stitch your two sides will be attached in a round.  Knit across the needle to the opposite side.  For this project I was knitting in 2x2 rib.

7) Once you've knit across all your stiches, you need to turn your work around to do the same thing on the other side. 

8) Simply, turn your work so that you're holding it in your left hand and stitches you just finished working are in the back.  Tug on your cable to bring the stitches to the end of both needles.  Hold onto your stitches to make sure the seam continues to face each or down to keep them from twisting.  Now pull the back needle out so that the stitches are sitting on the cable and bring the front stitches to the tip of your needle so that they're available to work.  This is basically step 5.  Everything after this is exactly the same.

9) Curve your back needle around and insert into the first stitch. Make sure you give your working yarn a little tug to make sure those stitches are nice and snug beside each other.

That`s it!  I paused in the middle of this side so that you can see what magic loop looks like mid round.  See how it forms a bit of a figure 8? After the first round your project will become increasingly sturdier and you won't have to worry about your stitches twisting so much.

Now I'm pretty new to tutorial writing so I'm hoping this is pretty clear.  If you have any questions, comments or tips, I definitely want to hear!

That's it for me for this week folks.  Until we speak again PEACE to you and your fam and happy knitting!

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