When you want to change the size of your stitches between sections of a project, you can switch needle sizes. In the Magic Loop knitting method, you will work stitches off one long circular needle and onto a different long circular needle. This allows you to adjust your knitting gauge mid-project. Moving to a larger needle size will make your stitches larger, while moving to a smaller needle size will make your stitches smaller.
To switch needle sizes in the magic loop, you will replace the needle tip in your right hand with a new circular needle in another size. Then you will knit down one side of your magic loop, turn your work, and continue knitting until you have freed the old needles from your work. Then, you can continue knitting with the new sized needles.
Below you will find both video and written guides to help you learn how to switch needle sizes when you are knitting in the Magic Loop.
Video Guide: How to Switch Needle Sizes in the Magic Loop
Written Guide: How to Switch Needle Sizes in the Magic Loop
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 1:
Work up to the point where the pattern instructs you to switch needle sizes. Pick up a needle in the new size with your right hand, ensuring the needle tips point toward each other.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 2:
Begin working the live stitches off the old needle size and onto the new needle size.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 3:
When you have finished working the live stitches off the first side of your magic loop, the left-hand needle tip will be free of the project.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 4:
Turn your work by rotating the entire project and pointing the needle tips toward the right. Pull the needle cord on the front side of your work leftward, to bring the front needle back into the live stitches.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 5:
Pull the back needle toward your right, moving it out of the set of stiches it was holding.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 6:
Bring the back needle around toward the front of your work, clasping it in your right hand and pointing the needle tips toward one another.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 7:
Following your pattern, work the live stitches off the right needle tip and onto the left.
Switch Needle in Magic Loop, Step 8:
When you have finished working the second half of the row/round, your old needles will be free of the work. Set the old needles aside and continue knitting on the new size needles.
Practice With My Knitting Patterns
Ready to try it?
My Basic Ear Warmer Pattern is a good place to practice switching needle sizes.
You’ll knit the larger sizes in the round on circular needles and you will switch sizes mid-project.
If you’ve been following along with my lessons, you are now ready to start shaping your knitwear. Decreases make your rows shorter, which is helpful in rounding the tops of hats and mittens. Learn how to make two simple decreases in the next lesson. (Coming 7/24/2021)