Magic loop is a useful technique for knitting in the round, enabling you to knit any size piece, even down to glove fingers, on one long circular needle. Today we’ll learn how to knit with the magic loop method, and how to do a forward cable, while making this simple shawl-collared shrug with cable details, perfect for spring evenings.
- 250-300m of yarn – I used a worsted-weight wool.
- long circular needle of a size to suit your yarn
- cable needle (if you don’t have a cable needle, a small dpn or even a toothpick will do in a pinch)
- tapestry needle for finishing and weaving in ends.
- Charts A and B (see bottom of post)
This shrug is basically a rectangle, knitted in the round. The rectangular shape is made by yarn-overs on each side on even rows, plus knit-front-and-back increases on the long sides on odd rows. A simple cable down the centre of each section adds interest – if you like you can omit the cable.
Start by casting on 12 stitches, then joining in the round and knitting one row – watch this video for instructions on magic-loop knitting! Basically you’ll knit half a row at a time, the stitches you are not knitting being placed on the cord of the needle, which loops round to let them lie next to the ‘active’ stitches.
Once you’ve knit your first round, place markers after every 3rd stitch (4 markers total), and begin to knit the charts. You’ll knit each chart twice, alternately, each row – i.e. on the first row, you’ll knit the first row of chart A, then the first row of chart B, then the first row of chart A again, and the first row of chart B again. Charts are read from right-to-left, starting at the bottom. A blank square is a knit stitch and a ‘p’ is a purl, an ‘o’ means make a yarn-over, a ‘v’ is a knit front-and-back increase. The four-stitch-wide boxes with diagonal lines denote forward cables.
To make a forward cable, slip the next two stitches onto the cable needle, and allow it to lie in front of your work. Knit the following two stitches as normal. Now, being careful not to twist, knit the two stitches from the cable needle. You can slip them back onto the left needle before knitting, or just knit them straight off the cable needle.
When you finish the charts, carry on knitting with the following 4-row repeat until the short side of your shrug reaches from the nape of your neck to the small of your back:
- All sections; k1, yo, knit to centre 8 sts, p2, cable forward, p2, knit to last st, yo, k1
- A; knit to centre 8 sts, p2, k4, p2, knit to end. B; k2, kfb, knit to centre 8sts, p2, k4, p2, knit to last 3 sts, kfb, k2
- All sections; k1, yo, knit to centre 8 sts, p2, k4, p2, knit to last st, yo, k1
- As row 2
When your shrug is the size you want, finish with a few rows of garter-stitch – alternate rows of purl and knit – and bind off.
Fold the rectangle in half lengthways, and sew the edges together for around 10cm at each end of the long sides. Sew up the hole in the centre. Block and weave in ends.