The Magic of Magic Loop

Cables On the Billy's Girl Sweater

A week or so ago, I started knitting the Billy's Girl Flared Cardigan.  This charming sweater is absolutely the cutest baby/toddler/child's sweater I have ever knitted, and directions include sizes 1-3 to 5 -7 years.  Listed at average difficulty, it has a 4.5-star rating on Ravelry.  I love the single-stitch cable, which does not require a cable needle, and the flared design is achieved by increasing stitches between cables on the wrong side.  These increases are kfb (knit front and back), so they are easy to do and give the sweater a flare shape. 

I am working on the second sleeve, so the sweater is nearly finished.  The sleeves are  knitted in the round from the top down, so I have chosen to use the Magic Loop method.  For me, this method is much easier than using DPNs (double point needles).  In fact, I haven’t used DPNs for knitting in the round for years.  The Magic Loop method is just so much easier; I don’t have to worry about managing three or four needles or stitches slipping off the tips of the needles as I handle them. 

Magic Loop on Billy's Girl Sweater Sleeve

Using the Magic Loop method is simple. Pick up your held shoulder stitches from the waste yarn onto a cable needle that is eight to ten inches longer than the circumference of the sleeve and follow the directions for knitting the first round.   The extra length in the cable needle is used to create large loops at the start and middle of the row. I know for those of you who have never used this method, this can be hard to visualize, so I have included a video (below) from Natasha Childers' YouTube channel that demonstrates this method and a method for avoiding the gaps that can occur when joining pick-up stitches and sleeve stitches.

Some of you who have knitted sleeves top down in the round may have noticed that gaps can occur where the stitches that you pick up on the underarm and join with the existing sleeve stitches.  Those gaps always bothered me until I took a knitting workshop and learned a simple method for closing them.  Just pick up and an extra stitch (essentially an increase) at the two places where the sleeve and picked-up stitches join on the first round.  Then, knit each extra picked-up stitch together with its neighboring sleeve stitch (a decrease) on the next round.  You end up with a tidy, gap free round and the correct number of stitches. 

I would encourage you to try the magic of the Magic Loop method along with the method for closing the gap. You won’t find yourself trying to mend a gap under the sleeve when you are weaving in ends.