How to Cast on Two-at-a-Time for Magic Loop

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Posted: Friday, July 20, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jeanne from Jimmy Beans Wool demonstrates how to cast on two-at-a-time for the Magic Loop method.

How to Cast on Two-at-a-Time for Magic Loop

The Magic Loop method is a technique for knitting in the round on one long circular needle instead of using double pointed needles. Using this method you can also knit two items that are knit in the round, at the same time! There are several advantages to being able to do this. For instance, knitting two-at-a-time socks insures that both socks have the same number of rows and both are finished at the same time. No more second sock syndrome with the resulting lonely single socks hanging around!

In this video Jeanne demonstrates one method that can be used to cast on in preparation for knitting two-at-a-time with the magic loop method. You can knit many different kinds of projects two at a time like socks, mitts/mittens, gloves, or sleeves. Using this method you could even knit two separate projects that use the same pattern but different yarn at the same time, like two hats, two tubular scarves or two cowls.

Jeanne likes to use a regular long tail cast on for this method but you could use any other cast on that utilizes a long tail. You'll see why you need a long tail method as you go through the video.

To begin your two-at-a-time cast on you will need a long circular needle. A minimum of a 40" (100cm) length is recommended although it can be longer.

  1. Divide your yarn into two balls or purchase two balls for your project. We will call one ball "A" and the second ball "B".
  2. With ball A, measure out a tail long enough to cast on all the stitches for one entire item.
  3. Still using ball A and the long tail method of your choice, casts on only half of the number of stitches you will need, leaving the remaining tail for later use.
  4. Now switch to ball B and also measure out a tail long enough to cast on the entire second item.
  5. Using the same long tail method, cast on all the stitches for the second item using ball B.
  6. Slid all of the stitches toward the middle of the cable and continue to slid stitches from ball A up onto the needle tip opposite the tip you used to cast on with.
  7. Count the stitches from ball B to find the middle, note this spot and carefully pull up a loop of the cable being very careful to not crimp your needle cable. The stitches from ball B are now divided in half.
  8. Slid both halves of ball B stitches up to the respective needle tips
  9. Arrange your needles so that the tips are held together (one front and one back) and pointed to the left and the stitches from ball A are on the tip in the front. You will notice that the long tail and work end of ball A are on the cable side of the tip. This is correct.
  10. Now you will cast on the second half of the ball A stitches with the remaining long tail that was left hanging after you completed casting on the first half of the stitches.
  11. Turn your needles so that the tips point to right, the working yarn is coming from the needle tip in the back and everything is lined up. This is called home position. When ever you need to reorient yourself, returning to this position will help you figure out where you are.
  12. You are now ready to join in the round, if needed, and knit.
  13. Pull the needle in the back, out to the right so that the stitches rest on the cable and begin knitting with this tip in your right hand, according to your pattern.
  14. Begin with ball A working the first half of the first item, switch to ball B, work first half of the second item. You've now completed half of each item, pull then empty needle tip up so that the unknit stitches are on the tip and turn. You are back to home position, work second side of second item, and finally switch back to ball A and work second side of first item. You have now completed a full round of each item.
  15. Continue in this manner until your project is completed.


Be sure the stitches are not twisted before you join and that you snug up the first stitch each time you switch between needle tips to avoid having a ladder or loose stitches.

In this video Jeanne is using an Addi Lace circular needle, 40" long

Rock on knitting magic loop! Have a great day! Thanks for watching!

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