Quick tip: counting rows when knitting in the round

Obviously when using a circular needle or double pointeds you can’t use a regular stitch counter as there’s not a needle end to put it on. But you might still need to count your rows, so what should you do?

If your pattern repeats over a small number of rows as my current project does (4 in this case) then simply tie a slip knot in the tail left over from casting on each time you pass the tail. Then once you’ve completed the pattern simply untie the knots and start again. It’s a simple way to keep track and makes it much easier to leave your project and know exactly where you were when you come back.

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If you need to count a large number of rows I would thread a stitch counter onto the tail and loosely tie it to the work. Then every time you pass the tail you add another row on the counter.

Easy! Hope you find it a useful little trick 🙂

Matching hats, and tips for knitting magic loop

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OK, be honest, is this too much? Matching hats for young sir and new baby. I think they’ll look adorable. Well, I hope they’ll look adorable because they will be wearing their new hats come winter! (And yes, that may be a clue about the flavour of my bump!)

As I was knitting away in the park this afternoon, I thought it might be useful to pass on some tips I’ve picked up to make magic loop knitting a bit easier. If you’re unfamiliar with it, magic loop is a technique to use a long circular needle for a project with a small circumference. For example I’m using a 31 inch long needle to make baby and toddler hats. It is an alternative to using multiple double pointed needles.

I’m not going to go through the whole technique as there are already plenty of good instructional videos on YouTube, these are just my tips to make it a bit easier. I’m making the basic baby hat from Mama’s Stitchery Projects.

Tip 1:

When casting on, split your total number of stitches up into three even sections and place a stitch marker after each section (3 markers total). Now at each of the two markers in the centre of the work (the third marker is at one end) pull half of the excess length of the needle cable through, so that it looks like this:

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See the two loops and the stitch markers? This is what your work should look like each time you finish one section and before starting the next. I know some videos say two sections is enough but I found that far too awkward, three gave me much more freedom of movement with the needles.

Tip 2:

Always remember to transfer your stitch markers! It’s so much easier to slip your marker than to have to count a third of the stitches each time you finish a section. Trust me 😉

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Tip 3:

I find it easiest to put my left pinky finger through the loop of my needle while I’m working:

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Otherwise I feel like my fingers are getting in the way, and it stretches the last few stitches too much.

So there you go, my three top tips for working with magic loop! I hope you find them helpful 🙂

Oh, and if you’re concerned I was being neglectful and ignoring young sir at the park, fear not. He got too excited at the prospect of going to play and fell asleep en route! Oh well!

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