Dark and Stormy is coming on well. There was a blip; I didn’t pick up enough stitches for the collar but didn’t realise until I had bound it off and then found it was really wonky when I tried it on. A learning process.. So I did one of the sleeves in the in between and have now picked up what I think will be the right number of stitches to get the collar done. Then one more sleeve and a good wash. In fact, it might be time to hunt out some beautiful buttons. I’m thinking dark wooden ones. Think I’ll be heading over to etsy to have a look.

In doing the sleeve of the cardigan I decided it was time to learn a new knitting technique which I have been wondering about for a while. Time to learn the magic loop. I have usually used double pointed needles for sleeves before which I get on with ok. I’m always slightly aware of the potential for eye gouging particularly with the small people in my house and sometimes have problems with train tracks showing up where the changeover between the needles comes. But my main issue with dpns is having to buy a new set every time I make a jumper or cardigan. Somehow they rarely seem to be a size I’ve used before, or if they are I’ve usually lost a couple of the needles along the way. Not that they are expensive or hard to get hold of. It just seems wasteful and frustrating to have to buy a new set of needles for every project. Also I’d seen a couple of pictures of people using magic loop and even without close inspection it looked pretty straightforward. And so it turned out to be. I watched one tutorial on YouTube and then headed out to my local knitting group, tried it out and knitted a sleeve. No train tracks. No eye gouging. No buying extra needles and then losing them.

The premise is that using a long circular needle you can split the round of stitches you are working with onto the two needles with the cable pulled through between the split. So you work half the stitches and then pull the cable through and work the other half, creating a tube. It’s explained much more clearly in the tutorials on YouTube of which there are several. It’s kind of faffy having to pull the cable through each time but not more than jiggling around on a set of dpns particularly. I also found I quickly got into a rhythm with it, and because you can divide the stitches slightly differently each time there’s no issue with getting looser stitches at the changeover.

Magic loop is one I think I will use again, probably regularly. One of those things that I can’t help feeling I would definitely have invented myself if only it hadn’t been invented already. And if my brain wasn’t gently unwound into a pile of tangled yarn by ‘Wind the bobbin up’ a hundred times a day…

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