Traveling Loop

So, I’m lazy. Sometimes I’m on a knitting roll, and I just don’t feel like stopping to get up and dig through my mess of a stash to find out if I have dpns in the same size as the needles currently in my sweater, or if I have a second circular needle for Magic Loop (I usually don’t). So if I need to knit a sleeve or neckline or something else with a smaller diameter, I use something I’ve heard referred to as Traveling Loop:

Step 1

Step 1

When I get to the point where I have few enough stitches to make them feel stretched and tight around the cable (this is a totally arbitrary, changeable point) I smoosh the stitches down some on the right needle and pull a length of cable loose.

Step 2

Step 2

Then I bend the nice, flexible cable into a little loop so that I can continue knitting with the end of the needle as normal. This loop will come together between two stitches.

Step 3

Step 3

As you can see, the loop stays between the same two stitches, so as the stitches travel closer to your left hand, so does the loop.

Step 4

Step 4

Eventually, the loop will travel all the way to the end of the left needle, at which point it stops being a loop and you’re left with a bunch of extra cable on the left. Simply pull on the right needle until all the extra cable is gone from the left side, and start again with Step 1.

alternate

Alternate Option

Alternatively, you may decide at any point in the round that the stitches are being annoying and tight again, and simply pull the right needle free to move your loop back to the start mid-round.

This is not a method for everyone. If you have a large collection of dpns in all sizes, or lots of redundant circular needles, those methods can be a lot less fiddly. However, if you’re trying to avoid buying another set of needles (or are just too lazy to go find them!), this can be a great workaround.

Need a project to practice on? Try my Potomac.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. There’s a name for that? I thought it was just something silly that I do when I can’t find the right needles!

    Reply

    • Haha I thought the same thing for a long time, but a few weeks ago (yes, that recent!) I heard someone refer to Traveling Loop and I thought, “Hm, that sounds like that thing I do! I should look it up!”

      Reply

  2. I do that all the time! In fact, most of my needles are extra long because then I can do this without having to scratch around looking for the right size. Good to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

    Reply

  3. I do this all the time 🙂

    Reply

  4. I have never done this but it looks like an awesome new trick! I’m super lazy…

    Reply

  5. Posted by Cathy on May 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I figured this out years ago, and have recently been wrestling with two circs with stiff cables because I was assured it was the easiest way to do tiny circumferences, and it has been making my test swatch a test of my sanity! So, in trying to research the flexiest cables so I don’t have to struggle so much anymore, I have been finding posts on Ravelry and Knittinghelp discussing best circs for magic loop and traveling loop. Thank you so much for your clear description of what’s going on. It seems some people do this with two circs instead of just one, but when I tried that, I thought I would poke my eye out, and when I dropped a stitch and used a THIRD set to try to pick it up, my husb thought it looked like a scary sea creature, which it did. I pulled it out in the end. I love Crystal Palace bamboo points and cables, but am too frustrated with the joins catching to invest in more of them. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Doing it with two circs is commonly called Magic Loop, and I’m with you that it was just a bit much for me. I’d just as soon use dpns at that point. I’m still on a quest for the perfect circular needle for Traveling Loop myself. I can tell you Susan Bates are obnoxiously stiff; KnitPicks intertchangeables are a bit better, and Addis have the least memory of any I’ve tried so far but are still a bit stiff. Let me know if you find something better!

      Reply

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