Technique: Travelling (Traveling / Single) Loop instead of Magic Loop – for Knitting in the Round


For the story see bottom of this post 🙂

Travelling Loop begin_to_knit1 Note: I am a right-handed Continental knitter; Long-tail cast-on was used for this exampleCast On Step 1:

Cast on the required number of stitches.

Push the cast-on stitches to the left tip of the circular needle.

Bring the cord down (either in front of or behind the work — it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t “trap” the working yarn) and around to the right to bring the right tip of the circular needle to meet the left tip.

<<Picture: the stitch that was cast on first is at the left tip of the needle, the last cast-on stitch (the one with the tail yarn) is on the cable. The right tip of the circular needle is seen lying to the right in the picture.

Travelling Loop begin_to_knit2 Cast On Step 2:Adjust the cable until it brings the stitches together, ready to knit.
KnittingStep 1: Position stitches on the Left-hand needle, ready to knit.


Pull the right-hand needle and cable and curl it into a loop as shown in picture. You can curl it toward the inside of the work as shown here or to the outside. Makes no difference.
Be sure that the cable doesn’t “capture” the yarn i.e. the yarn should not be wound around the cable in any manner.


Step 2: Start knitting
Steps 3 – 5 show the loop moving around the work as you work.

You just knit (or purl or whatever) and the loop does its own thing — it knows!!

Step 6: When you knit the last stitch from the left needle, the entire loop will be at that end of the needle and ready to uncoil.
Step 7: Pull the Right-hand needle and cable just like in Step 1, rearranging the stitches so that they slide to the tip of the Left-hand needle, ready to knit another round.
….and we’re right back to Step 1, ready to start the next round.

For those who can’t or don’t like magic loop or don’t have the longer needle required, here’s another option. I probably “unvented” it, as I’m sure that others have done it before many times.

*March 28.2009:
A note of thanks to fellow Raveller notesandstitches for two wonderful suggestions:
1. a new name for this method: Travelling Loop (since the extra cable travels around the work as you knit)
2. for the observation that this method actually has a built-in end of round marker — the travelling loop itself!

Brilliant! Thanks notesandstitches for letting me share here!

Why I’m using it:
I’m currently knitting a hat to match the Manly Scarf series and I had only 7″ double-pointed needles in the size I needed. Since the hat has a 21″ circumference, it doesn’t take a bluebird to figure out what happened to my stitches 😦

And, the only circular in that size I had was 24″ long — not long enough for magic loop but too long to use just as is.

So, I thought, how can I make the 24″ circ work? Well, take out the extra cable in a loop, right? So I did 🙂

NEW October 2009: Starting Travelling Loop

Thanks to Karen for asking more about how to start Travelling Loop right from the cast-on stage.


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