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How To Switch Needles on Magic Loop

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How To Switch Needles on Magic Loop

Liat Gat - Founder

September 1, 2010

Here's how to change needles in the middle of a Magic Loop knitting project. For instance, if you started with a circular needle that is too short and you need to change to a longer one.

Thanks, Myrna, for requesting a special video on how to switch needles via the KnitFreedom Facebook page!

Myrna’s question: “I want to know how to change needles in the middle of a project. For instance, I started with a circular needle that is too short and I need to change to a longer one.”

So, Myrna and everyone else, this is what to do (PS — it’s very easy):

To switch needles on Magic Loop, take the new circular needle you would like to switch to and then hold it in your right hand. With the new right-hand needle, begin knitting the stitches on the old left-hand needle.

When you get to the end of the row or round, pull the new needle through, and push the old needle into the stitches on the second half of the round. Knit the other half of the round with the new needle.

Once you get to the end of the round, the old needle should fall out and the new circular needles will be in your knitting. You’ve switched!

ARVE Error: Mode: lazyload not available (ARVE Pro not active?), switching to normal mode

You can do this if you’ve got a project on double-pointed needles that you want to switch to Magic Loop, or in my case in the video, I wanted to switch from Addi Lace needles to Addi Turbos so I could speed through the cuffs of my socks.

If this video was helpful, post in the comments!

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25 thoughts on “How To Switch Needles on Magic Loop”

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  1. Thanks for that tip it is easy really hope all goes well with our new situation. Blessings on you and your family. From Lois in Australia.

  2. Liat, not sure if I misunderstood your friend’s question, but I thought she was asking how to switch to a longer *cable* in the middle of a project (presumably using the same needles)?

    I myself have faced this issue with the current sock I’m trying to learn to knit (my first sock ever), and I wasn’t happy with the 30″ cable I was using — it seemed too short. So I managed to figure out a way to slide the stitches around to change out *just* the cable, as I still need to use the same needle tips for the project. (I’m using 5″ Chiaogoo Twist Red Lace needles.) I switched over to a 37″ cable and am much happier!

    I do appreciate the tip about using new needles to just knit from the old to the new, which I’m sure I’ll use, especially if I use a larger needle to cast on.

    1. Elias - KnitFreedom Customer Happiness

      Hi Mary,

      I’m going to be passing your comment along to Liat, but I want to let you know that she is currently on maternity leave (she is expecting her baby very soon) and will be taking up to 1-2 weeks to answer.

      Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!


  3. Thank you foor the video!!!
    I read what you wrote and just couldn’t get my head around it. The video helped me see what was going on. (and for the record, I’m usually pretty good at being able to “see” written instructions – and you give fabulous written instructions. But this time, ye ol’ brain just wouldn’t process the information into a picture for me.)

  4. So glad to have come across your video-how to switch needle on ML. My pattern required me to “rib” 2 x 2 then change to a bigger needle size in ML. Problem solved and sorted. Jolly good!

      1. Another mystery I would to solve and I’m sure many socks knitter beginners would like to find out the answer too: once you knitted your heel flap, shaped your heel and pick and knit…how do you rearrange your needles in ML?
        This stage is not crystal clear to me, yet!

        1. Hi Jose,
          The wonderful thing about Magic Loop is that you can fit all those heel stitches on one half of the round – all on one needle. So there’s no rearranging needed.
          I have a paid Top-Down Socks on Magic Loop class that shows videos of all the heel steps.

          My free top-down sock patterns for Magic Loop describe how to divide your stitches so there’s no rearranging needed.

          I also love doing socks toe-up on Magic Loop because there are usually no heel flaps or the heel flap is integrated into the sock.

          Either way, it works the same as what I described above- all the heel stitches stay on the same needle “half.”

          Hope this makes sense! Let me know if you have any questions or if you try it out.

    1. This method did not work for me to switch needles after completing the brim of a beret. I now have one needle facing forward where the working yarn is, and one needle facing back where the magic loop used to be. Don’t see how I can fix it. I usually find your videos very helpful. Thks.

      1. I fixed the problem by removing the needle facing toward the magic loop and placing those stitched on waste yarn, then threaded the needle back in, in the opposite direction. When I get time, I’ll play around and see if I can figure out how that mistake happened amd how it can be avoided. Though Liat may know.

        1. Great job fixing it Alison! I would have suggested exactly what you did to fix the problem. Perhaps the video showing how to switch needles for two-at-a-time knitting is what tripped you up? Next time, I would just slide the stitches from the old needle down then knit them with your new needle which should hopefully prevent getting turned around.

          Again, awesome job getting yourself back on the right track and have a great time finishing up your hat! Happy knitting :)

          1. Actually, here’s how I was able to make it work when I tried it again. Knit the first half of the loop using the new needle. Put the needles in ready position. Pull the back needle forward until the needle at the other end is flush with the other side of the work (where the tail is – see pic). Then you can begin knitting with the new needle on the old, on the 2nd side. Then both needles end up in the same direction when you are done.


  5. Thank You for your video!! Your video was the only one I could find on how to switch needles when knitting on magic loop. I can now switch needles with ease :))) Happy Knitting!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I’m so delighted that this little post helped you with your knitting! It was a student request many years ago. This is a basic skill that most Magic Loop tutorials overlook, but I thought it was worth posting. Thank you for your comment!

  6. Sheila Pylypiuk

    I paid for your Superstars videos…not terribly helpful! I was really hoping that you would show me how to switch needles on magic loop for a sleeve…just one thing not two at a time! Still dont get it…

  7. Thank you for showing us how to do this! I’ve tried several times to change a needle and really got myself twisted up.

    Am I the only one that has a radically different tension on Magic Loop than I do when I use DPN’s? I knit a pair of fingerless gauntlets for my daughter. I did one hand with DPN’s and then I found out about Magic Loop. So I used the same size needle, but ML and the second gauntlet was enough smaller that I had to frog it and start over. It was tight to the point of being able to see skin through the stitches. I know I knit it the same way as the first because it was my pattern and I wrote down, as I did each row, what I did so I could duplicate it. It looked identical to the first, just about 20% smaller. (She wanted FITTED gauntlets, so they were snug to begin with.) It was just a simple stockinette stitch and it was almost as long as the first, but much smaller around.

    I’m making this comment because of the suggestion about someone wanting to change from DPN’s to ML mid-knit. Just thought I’d throw my experience out there. Before someone changes in mid-stream, they may want to use some of the same yarn and do a test swatch in pattern, in the round using ML and see if their tension is the same. YMMV.

    1. Hey, Darlene, thanks for sharing this! I am very curious as to why you suspect that your knitting was so much tighter on Magic Loop. I haven’t heard this type of comment before and I’m so glad you posted to alert other readers.

      Did you notice that the stitches were tighter? Were they harder to knit into? Was the yarn tightly pressed to your finger as you knitted, instead of flowing easily? If so, check out this video on knitting too tight and let us know if that helps!

      1. Just now saw this comment from years ago.
        With the DPN’s I had trouble tensioning the needles because of the Knit 3, drop a needle, get the needle back inserted, knit 4, drop the needle, pick it back up, etc…

        With the magic loop, I could just sail along, no longer spending more time picking up a dropped needle and reloading stitches and then trying to avoid laddering.
        The knitting wasn’t “tight” when I knit doing ML, no problems so I was able to breeze along.
        It could also be that I went from a different brand of 5 DPN’s to Addi Needles. What a difference that made as well. I even use my circular needles to flat knit. I don’t feel like I’m fighting “wings” when I need a longer needle set. Plus, when I’m done for the time being, I just push them to the middle and no projects fall off the needles while in storage. Even with a protective tip, the straight needles seemed to sprout legs and walk right off the needles while sitting around, awaiting my return.
        I can credit you and your instructions over the years for teaching me how to knit Continental style – to me it’s much faster once you get the hang of it. But f also teaching me how to more easily tension my stitches, and for teaching me how to not only do ML, but how to do them 2 at a time.
        I’m much older now and have arthritis which has caused my tensioning pinky to fold over at the tip with the middle of the finger bowed. Any Ideas on how to fix this problem.
        I can no longer crochet, it’s too hard on my hands, but I can still knit quite easily.

        Thank you for your help. You’re a great teacher!

        1. Hi Darlene!
          Sorry for the delay in replying to you. I love that you’ve learned all these techniques!! Yes, all the benefits of ML… I could not have said it better myself.

          For tensioning problems due to arthritis, I think Portuguese Knitting might help you. I’ll be publishing some videos on this technique very soon.


          1. I know! I can’t wait to view them. I’ve been looking at that method for several years. I
            am excited for you to publish them.
            Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year.
            p.s. If 2022 asks 2021 to hold his beer – run like the wind!!!!! We do NOT want to “watch this” on YouTube or anywhere else!! lol

    2. Oh, that’s interesting! I’m planning to start a project on DPNs and move to magic loop (once the circular needles arrive — I’m impatient). I’ve never done magic loop, so hopefully I can transfer it easily enough. This video was helpful! But now I’ll also be interested to see if my tension changes between the two methods.

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