My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Well Lookie Here

I finished my first Oregon sleeve. Yup.


And to make me even happier, I never had to resort to dpns. I did the cuff on a 12″ circular Addi Turbo. Uh huh.

Don’t get me wrong — I have nothing against dpns — they are my pick to pop when it comes to socks. But for two color corrugated ribbing, the circular is faster.

Years ago I had some 11″ long circular needles. I’m trying to remember the brand name — Boye, perhaps? They were lousy to work with. I don’t think I ever successfully used them. The needle part was too long and the cable too short.

The Addi Turbos are a completely different animal. A horse of a different color, as it were.


I don’t know if the needle bits are shorter or if they are just angled better, but I have no problems using the 12″ Addi Turbos.

Of course I’d be happier if they were ebony. I adore ebony needles. I have a 16″ ebony circular that I used for the sleeve about halfway down until it got too tight from the decreases. But I’m not holding my breath that a 12″ ebony circular will ever be manufactured. Still, a girl can dream, right?

And Speaking of Circular Needles . . .

There’s been some discussion lately about a technique called “magic loop,” wherein you can use a long circular needle to knit something with a relatively small circumference. Like a sock. The short explanation is that you cast on the number of stitches the pattern requires and in the middle pull out the extraneous cable of the circular needle.

If you want to learn how to do this, there’s apparently a booklet describing the technique. Do a Google search on magic loop knitting and you’ll find it.

Here’s my problem with this technique. I am very leery about all this manipulation of the circular needle’s cable. Don’t you think that this will weaken your needle and shorten its life? Maybe I’m particularly hard on my needles, but I’ve had to replace a couple of my more often used sizes of Addi Turbo curculars because the cable has parted company from the needle. I have a set of Inox circulars that are even worse. Won’t all the extra needle manipulation needed for the magic loop technique just add more wear and tear to the needle? Or is it just me?

Call me cautious, but I have needle separation anxiety.


  1. Wendy,

    I would think that the yarn slides very differently on ebony vs addi. Do you (ever) worry about gauge? Or do you feel your hands making adjustments from one needle to the next?

    Oregon is beautiful.

  2. Thanks Melissa! The yarn does slide differently, but I can keep my gauge the same — I must do it subconsciously because I’m not aware of knitting any differently. I can’t tell at what point I changed needles on the sleeve, even if I scrutinize it very carefully.

  3. that is because you are the knitting queen!

  4. Oops, where did I put my tiara? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. don’t sit on it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Wow! I never ceased to be amazed and inspired when I visit your site! Oregon is truly beautiful! I LOVE the colours!
    I have never tried Ebony needles, but I think I may have to!

  7. I understand that to do “magic loop” they recommend steaming the cable to make it more flexible, as well as using a fairly long needle so you have enough cable to bend easily. I’ve never tried it, so I really don’t know how it would impact on the strength of the needle.

    I’ve only had one incident of needle separation, and it was a bamboo circular. That’s when I bought my first Addi Turbo, and I’ve been hooked ever since. We’ll see what I think when I start doing an AS fair isle, though. (Weeks or months from now, when my order comes in.)

    Q – is the Oregon colorway you’re doing the same as the “Spring” they are selling now? It looks similar but not identical. I agree that the Autumn is amazing!

  8. Lovin’ Oregon! I checked out Virtual Yarns yesterday and I love the vest version.

    Also love the horse of a different color…

  9. My Oregon is the original version. The two colorways on the VY website are different — I believe they use fewer colors (the original has 20 colors) and they are knitted in a completely different yarn — Hebridean 2-ply — which has a different range of colors.

  10. I had a hard time with this technique, but maybe it was because the needle cable was stiff. Didn’t think about that. Recently, I had a dream that someone gave me a ball of sock or fingering weight yarn that was multicolored, and a swatch that was still on on the needle. I was puzzled as to why the person would give this to me. Took a closer look and discovered that the joints were starting to fall apart and it was very difficult to push the stitches over these joints. Of course, it was not an Addi Turbo needle.

  11. Hi, Wendy. Oregon is gorgeous. The new colorways are nice but the original is almost ethereal in it’s shadings, I think. Makes me think of misty, sparkling forest glens. Aren’t I dramatical? ๐Ÿ™‚ But still, it really does.

    The whole magic loop thing – I guess I’m not understanding the concept. It just sounds like a huge pain in the (_^_) to me to have to manipulate all that cable all over the place. I will have to see it for myself, I guess.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog. It’s always the highlight of my morning. ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. My thoughts on the magic loop: if ain’t broke, why fix it? Wendy, your knitting is already awesome – why mess with your technique?

  13. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the magic loop thing is more trouble than it’s worth!

  14. I’ve used the Magic Loop technique (before I knew it had a name) when I didn’t have any other available choice, but it’s not something that I enjoyed or would recommend for everyday use. It’s a nice option to have in a pinch, but there are– in my less than humble opinion– much better options out there if you have the time and opportunity to avail yourself of them.

  15. Good grief – “I’ve had to replace a couple of my more often used sizes of Addi Turbo curculars because the cable has parted company from the needle” …… Please tell me that Addi guarantees their (mucho expensivo) circulars against breaking, like Brittany Birch does! I emailed Brittany about a broken 3.25, and presto, a new one arrived in my mail!

    Oregon is beautiful – I just may have to do it!

    I have never had problems with double pointed needles, so the Magic Loop does not appeal to me at all – as for steaming the cable, I do that every time I use circulars anyway, and it would “harden up” again after an hour, so what’s the point?

  16. Wendy, Bravo bravo – the Oregon is a thrill to see. You knit such beautiful sweaters. As always, thank you for sharing your joys and concerns with us.

  17. What a beautiful sweater. Girl, you inspire me.


  18. Thank you, Wendy, and all the others who gave informations over the “magic loop”, who seems to be neither magic nor easy :-))

  19. My problem with the magic loop technique is that I get horrible ladders. I’ve only used it in a pinch, I didn’t even know that it was considered a technique, I just did it by accident! I’ve only had one Addi split on me, and I think it was a manufacturing error b/c it separated on the first project. I just went to my LYSO and she gave me a new needle, sent the bad one back to them.

  20. I can’t believe a sweater like this was actually done by hand. It’s unbelievably intricate. You should win some type of award for this.
    I like the horse picture too! Funny.
    By the way: I love the Addi Turbo circular needles. They’re great!

  21. Love the sweater in progress. Stumbled on this site
    by accident while seeking, of all things, info on
    the magic loop technique.

    I feel like I’m working with a porcupine when I
    use DPNs. Just can’t get the hang or rhythm of the
    things. Am hoping the magic loop will work better
    for me.

  22. Hi Wendy,
    I’m glad that I stumbled onto this site. I joined the Magic Loop group on Yahoo and everyone there raves about the technique. I have purchased the booklet and am in a hurry to get started. I have always thought it to be the most wonderful thing to wear hand knitted socks. Problem is that I have such a hard managing the dpns. With my carpal tunnel, I hope that the magic loop will be a boon for me.

  23. By the way
    Your sweater is awesome. Maybe in my next life, I’ll be able to produce something like that.