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Practice Magic Loop and Check Your Gauge

Knitalongs » August 2022 Toe-Up Socks » Practice Magic Loop and Check Your Gauge

Lesson 4 - August 5, 2022

Practice Magic Loop and Check Your Gauge

Knitalong Task: Practice Magic Loop

In order to make sure you are using the right size needles and your socks come out the right size, you're going to create a small swatch in Magic Loop and measure how many stitches you see in one inch.

Create a 20-Stitch Swatch in Magic Loop

Tiny tube knitted in the round on Magic Loop - green yarn
A tiny tube knitted in the round on Magic Loop
Since we will be doing socks two-at-a-time on Magic Loop, please familiarize yourself with and practice basic Magic Loop while you are waiting for the knitting part of the knitalong to begin.

You can use any long circular needles and scrap yarn to practice.

Please take advantage of our free basic Magic Loop video and also of course our full Magic Loop video class.

My goals is for you to be able to knit a small tube (20 stitches around) on Magic Loop easily and without getting confused. Our Magic Loop class covers all the tips and tricks you need. You don't have to buy the class by any means but it is a resource for you if you do not yet know Magic Loop.

Check Your Gauge

How to Check your Gauge in the RoundTo check your gauge, please read this chapter in your Toe-Up Socks class and watch the video.

Compare the number of stitches you got in one inch to the gauge specified in your pattern. If you have more stitches per inch than your pattern calls for, you'll need to try again with a needle one size bigger.

For example, if you got 5 sts/in on size 8 needles and your pattern calls for 4.5 sts/in, you'll need to try again with a size 9 needle. If you got 4 sts/in on size 8 needles, you'll need to try again with a size 7 needle.

It can be a little frustrating to have to order different needles, which is why some knitters invest in a set of interchangeable needles (here is one option out of many). In either case, know you will certainly use the needles on another project in the future.

Good job! In the next lesson, you'll measure your foot and choose the size of sock to make.

Post Your Questions in the Comments

Leave a comment below if you have a question about knitting in the round on Magic Loop, getting gauge, or anything else in the knitalong.

20 thoughts on “Practice Magic Loop and Check Your Gauge”

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  1. Hi Liat, my ball of the foot circumference is 8 3/4 inch, heel diagonal 11 1/2 inch and ankle circumference 8 1/2. I think I don’t have a high instep. How many inches is the pattern heel diagonal?

    Thanks in advanced.

    1. Hi Maria,
      The pattern is just based on the ball of the foot circumference. Be sure to measure the foot without pressure on it, i.e. don’t be standing on your foot while measuring it. You’d know if you have a high instep because most store-bought socks would be too tight across the top of your ankle.

  2. Hi Liat,

    I made my swatch knitting in the round with magic loop. I casted 44 stitches for it. I got the 4,5 Sts. Per inch with the 4,5mm needle. It stretches a lot, so it will be good to get the sock through the heel. With needle 4,0mm I got 5 Sts. Per inch. I also like how stretches the fabric. I have a medium large foot size I think, 37 Europe. Please see above for more details. I also have some questions: Do you stretch the fabric to measure the gauge? To choose the right size to knit, should we calculate a negative ease?

    1. Hi Maria,
      Do not stretch the fabric when measuring gauge. The sock patterns have negative ease already calculated in. Since you are doing our toe-up heel-flap pattern, you’d want to use the 4,5mm needle to get 4,5 sts/in. It sounds like you would be the Large size. If when you finish the toes and try the sock on, if it seems too large, you could start again and use the 4,0mm needle.

      1. Hi Liat,

        the video about TAAT Socks with magic loop was really helpful. I just can knit now instead having a mess with the two ball of yarn.

        I have already cast on and do the toe increases it‘ s so much fun. I am using finally the 4.0mm needle. I like more how the fabric seems. It was too loose for a sock with Needle 4,5mm.

        Cheers Maria.

        1. Hi Maria,

          That’s wonderful!! I’m so glad the video helped you. I love doing the cast-on and increases for toe-up socks, too. It’s easy, right?!

          I’m glad you like the fabric on the 4,0mm needles. What gauge are you getting on the socks?


          1. Hi Liat,
            I‘m getting 5,5 Sts./inch. What do you think, should I better knit the basic worsted toe up pattern for my gauge? Or is it also possible to go on with the faux heel flap one? How many stitches should I have in total? I think between 36-40. I have now 40, I can undone until the required stitch number. My ball of the foot without pressure measures 8 1/2 inch. Thanks for your support.

              1. They look great! It looks as if you are about ready to increase for the heel. If you want, I can adjust the pattern so it will work for 5.5 sts/inch. It will take me some time. Or you can do the basic Fleegle heel pattern.

              2. Hi Maria,

                Ok, I’ll add to my list to work on the faux heel flap pattern for 5.5 sts/in including high instep instructions. Since you will be doing the other pattern for now, I’ll do this as soon as I can but will not be for a few weeks. Thanks for your patience.

                I’ll support people in this KAL as long as they need, but I imagine it will run for at least 2 months. I’m here for you!

              1. Hi Liat,
                thank you. Yeah I’m ready to start with the heeI. I will try the basic pattern for 5,5 Sts/inch in Size Medium now.
                You meant I have enough yarn fot two pair of socks. So I would like to try the faux heel flap pattern later, so no stress for you. It would be really nice if the new one for gauge 5,5 also include the high instep instructions. My husband and two of my three children have a high one.
                How long is this KAL going?
                Thanks so much for your support.

      2. Hi Liat – I may TOTALLY be pushing the boundries of a “KAL” timeframe! :-) I completely understand if I’m 6 months too late. However, I figure, “why not try?”

        I’m knitting the “Super-Bulky-Weight Toe-Up Socks for Magic Loop” for a friend’s upcoming birthday (realizing they’ll be “house socks” and not too durable, but it’s soon and she’ll be happy!)

        My question is on negative ease. Her foot is 8″ around at the ball of her foot and the pattern calls for 2.5 sts/inch gauge. So far so good. But when I’m done with the toe increases for the medium-large size, I have 10 sts on each needle (20 inches total per sock). But that’s 20/2.5 = 8″ around, which is the exact foot circumference – no negative ease. Am I missing something? Should I try to get a tighter gauge or knit a stitch less? Or are the super-bulky-weight socks different because they’re “house socks” and designed without a negative ease? (or am I just completely misreading the pattern or doing bad math??) Thanks for any help, especially this late after the KAL!

        1. Hi Megan,

          It’s great to hear from you! I’m happy to support you on your sock journey at any time.
          I’m not sure I have a great explanation for the lack of negative ease in the super-bulky pattern. They’ve always seemed to just fit correctly following the pattern as-is. You could go down a needle size if desired but I’d recommend following the pattern as-is first. Let me know how it goes! I hope I didn’t answer too late for your friend’s birthday 😀

          1. Thank you for the reply! I appreciate it – especially so long after the knit-a-long. It seems like the larger size knitted up just fine for her feet! I did notice something that I hadn’t before… that I was measuring around the ‘outside’ of the sock to get the 8″ around measurement, but since the sock yarn is super-bulky, the ‘inside’ of the sock is < 8" in circumference. I'm sure there's some fancy math for that. But I think it may be the reason the sock doesn't seem too big on an 8" around foot and "hugs" it like it should. (Very much enjoyed the knit-along btw… I also did the heel flap in fingering weight and am loving them!)

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