How To Knit Magic Loop Step By Step Knitting Tutorial

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Learn how to knit the magic loop method and be able to take on those small circumference projects! The only other way to knit a small tube like baby hats, socks and sweater sleeves is with double-pointed needles (DPNs), and those can be intimidating for many new knitters. Most knitters today learn to knit in the round on circular needles.

While learning a new knitting method can be challenging I find the magic loop technique to be pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I offer some tips and what to look out for when you’re first learning.

If you’re new circulars, they’re a great way to knit whether it’s flat or in the round. Large projects like blankets and sweaters are much easier with the weight of it resting on the cables instead of all on you.

Several rounds of 2x2 ribs on the needles.

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You can find the full 2×2 ribbed beanie pattern in 11 sizes here!


You need circular knitting needles with a long cable at least 30″ long, but I find my 40″ cables to be the most comfortable.

The needle size needs to match your yarn. Here we’re using a #4 medium worsted weight yarn with 5 mm US size 8 needles.


Where you pull the flexible cable through tends to create loose stitches. Some of this will work its way out through the knitting and blocking process. You can minimize these by bringing your cables as close together when knitting after the stitch where the cable is coming out.


Watch the full video tutorial on YouTube Channel.

3 ribbed knit beanies in maroon, grey and light blue.

Magic Loop

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5

Learn magic loop knitting!


  • Any weight yarn, I'm using a #4 medium worsted weight yarn.


  • Needle size to match your yarn, I'm using 5 mm needles with a cable length of 32”. You'll need the length of the cable to be between 30" - 40".


Cast on the number of stitches you need using any co method. I'm casting on 40 stitches using the long tail cast on.

Set up for magic loop. Slide stitches to center of cable.Stitches in center of cable needles. The idea with magic loop is that you don't have enough stitches to span the entire cable.

Find the middle, or about half of the stitches, Hands holding center of cable between stitches. pull the cable between two stitches, sliding half the stitch on one end and the other half on the other end.Hands pulling cable through.

Being careful not to twist the stitches, Hands sliding stitches down to needles. slide them down to the needles, it helps if you don’t let go of the cable.

Turn the needles so the working yarn is coming from the back needle, or right needle. Pull this needle up out of the stitches, Working yarn coming from right needle.bring it out enough that you have a loop of cord on both ends so you can maneuver the right needle to knit with it. Loose cable on both ends with needle pointed to stitch.

The front needle, or the left needle, has the stitches you will knit on it. Now you’re ready to knit the first stitch which will join your work in the round. There are different ways to join in the round, but this is the easiest to me.

I'm working a 2x2 rib stitch pattern here so I will knit the second stitch, and purl the next 2 stitches. Then continue to repeat the pattern: k2, p2 until all the stitches are knit on the first needle.4 stitches knit on right needle.

Once you have knit the last stitch we need to set up our magic loop again so we can knit the back stitches. Drop the empty needle. Drop left needle once all stitches on it are knit.Pull the center of the cable so the stitches come up to the needle. Then hold the needle tip and push it into the stitches (that way you don't pull the cable and needle all the way out of the stitches. Notice I'm holding the right needle tip here so that I don't accidentally pull this needle out.Push needle into stitches so they're split between the two.

Arrange your stitches as before, with the working yarn coming from the right hand needle. Pull that needle out with a small loop of cable for knitting. I'll continue following my stitch pattern k2, p2 and knit all the stitches on my left hand needle, and then reset again and continue.Right needle tip inserted into first stitch.

When using magic loop I’ll place the beginning of round stitch marker after the first couple of stitches so it doesn’t pop off every time I have to reset my needles. Stitch marker on right needle.

As you keep knitting the tension on the cables will loosen as your work grows in length. Several rounds of 2x2 ribs on the needles.

It will get easier and easier, so keep practicing!

Tube knit in 2x2 rib stitch on needle.
You can also decrease down to ever fewer stitches using the magic loop.

Purl two stitches.
Here I decrease over a few rounds until I have 5 - 6 stitches left.

Purl two together to decrease.Knit 1 stitch.

Cut a long tail. 8-12" is plenty of length. Thread tail on to yarn needle.

Weave long tail through all live stitches, remove needles and pull to close.

Sew hole closed.

Weave in ends.

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