Pick your poison

pdxknitterati dpn magic loop two circs

That’s a lot of pointy bits! Kind of like my cat when I’m trying to get her into the carrier.

I recently taught a circular hat class at Twisted. It’s a pretty basic hat, knit bottom up beginning with some ribbing, then stockinette, and K2tog decreases to close up the crown. At some point, we move to dpns, because that’s how the pattern is written.

I remember when I knit my first hat (it was about 24 years ago), I was terrified of the dpns, so I just worked the last several rounds back and forth, and then sewed the seam shut. CHICKEN!

Malabrigo Rios

Now dpns are an old standard for me. I like them; they’re very Little House on the Prairie. They look scary, but you only use two needles at a time. I tell my class it’s a Jedi mind trick. The other needles? “Those are not the needles you are looking for. They do not exist at this moment.”

There’s been some interest in using two circulars, or magic loop, so I was asked to demonstrate those two methods, too. I don’t use them, so I taught myself a couple nights ago. Easy peasy.

pdxknitterati magic loop

I had a nice flexible cable on my HiyaHiya 32″ needle, so magic loop wasn’t so bad. I could see using this, and might on my Honey Cardigan sleeve, when I get to decreasing. I think I’d like the cable to be slightly longer, maybe 40″ or so.

pdxknitterati two circulars

Two circulars? I can do it, but I don’t like the needle ends flapping around. It seems like an alien octopus. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

What’s your favorite method for small diameter knitting?

16 responses to “Pick your poison

  1. Paula Johnson

    I prefer magic loop or 2 circulars. I only use dpns as a last resort. Although Addi has come out with some new dpns that I might try.

  2. I love magic loop, but you need a 40-42″ cable. It’s great if you take your knitting with you as you slide the live stitches onto the cable and greatly decrease the risk of them coming off.

    • I think I would definitely like it better with a longer cable! I tried it once before, with a longer but stiffer cabler, and this time with the shorter (32″) flexible cable. I just need to get all the stars aligned: long flexible cable. I can see the advantage of not dropping a dpn!


  3. Dpns, always. I just find other methods unbearably annoying. I still don’t entirely understand why the needles don’t just fall right out when they’re just hanging out waiting for you to get to them, but they don’t, and that’s good enough for me.

  4. since i tried magic loop i don’t use double points at all. I’m used to kniting with my right needle under my armhole, so for me it’s no so easy to knit with small needles, but the magic loop is really magic.

  5. I buy the tiniest circulars I can find..the six inch plastic from Japan are perfect for finishing up tight circles. I use 9 inch too. Some people say these small circulars really hurt/cramp up their hands but I haven’t had that problem. I will use DPNs before I resort to Magic Loop or Two Circulars. My problem with those methods are 1) too gangly, like trying to catch a toddler and 2) too much chance to have a “needle gap” seam.

    Great pictures to make me think about thanks, M.


    • I have tried the tiny circular, once, but didn’t enjoy knitting that way. But the fact that it was laceweight mohair may have had something to do with it. Still liking my dpns, but willing to be persuaded to magic loop!


  6. I’ve never tried Magic Loop. I did give two circs a try when I was showing someone else how to do it. Yes, the irony …..the person that NEVER tried it was teaching the person wanting to learn. BUT, I can READ instructions. Apparently, the lady at knit group couldn’t. :::sigh:::

    But, my go to is dpns. I’m most comfortable with all those tiny needles.

    • I’m perfectly happy with my dpns, but willing to give that magic loop a second try. I tried it once years ago, and hated it, but it was a long cable that wasn’t very flexible. This time it was a flexible cable that could be longer. I need to try a long flexible cable, instead of one or the other!


  7. I can do Magic Loop which is how I got started with socks because I couldn’t get my tension with DPNs. But I dound that with some practice, DPNs are actually faster for me because I am not always having to pull out the loop on one side and shift the stitches up on left needle.

  8. DPNs. Unless they are busy in some other project. Two circs is my second choice, Magic Loop is last. All that yanking. I am afraid I will lose a cable from a needle. DPNs seem like second nature to me. I can go pretty fast!

  9. Magic Loop every time for me! I tried DPNs once and I kept dropping them on the train on my way to work! yuck!
    I really like Magic Loop for knitting 2 socks or mittens at the same time and it means I don’t have loads of different lengths of circular needles around!
    I show people this technique all the time at Loop, easy peasy!

    • I can definitely see the appeal of not dropping a dpn! But I think I’d still like my socks one at a time; I like having only one strand of yarn to deal with. Thanks for dropping by!


  10. I’m magic loop all the way, as long as I have nice needles and a long cord. (40″ is ideal for me.)

  11. alittleweirdo

    I like DPNs, but prefer magic loop for transit knitting – less likely to have stitches slip off when my knitting is stuffed in my bag! I don’t mind knitting with 2 circulars, but it’s more expensive to buy 2 needles that are the same size. And if I do have 2 of the same size, it’s usually because I’m working on 2 different projects at once 😉

    • Wait! Are you telling me that you’re not a monogamous knitter? Two projects at the same time? :gasp:

      I do see the appeal of magic loop for transit knitting. It sure beats hearing the ping of a dpn hitting the ground!