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Currently Crafting – Knitted Baby Leggings & Easy Magic Loop Knitting

Hello and welcome to another installment of Currently Crafting where I share the items we’re making right now and any helpful tidbits I’ve learned along the way! Today I’m sharing some knitting baby leggings and quick tutorial for an easy magic loop knitting technique that’s perfect for smaller items done in the round.

easy magic loop knitting tutorial

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband has turned into quite a knitter. He’s definitely faster than me and can do several techniques I don’t expect to ever conquer. While I was still working on a blanket for our holiday trip (you can read about that project here) I convinced my husband to make a cute knitted vest for our LG from Frogginette’s Little Vest pattern. He made it in a red sueprwash merino blend from our local yarn shop and it’s super sweet! I decided to make a ‘matching’ pair of leggings for her from the same designer. They’re in Craftsy’s house brand Cloudborn superwash worsted merino because there wasn’t a light color available at the local shop.

LG’s warm woolies served her well on our trip because it was quite chilly! Her soft leggings and vest helped keep her warm inside and outside. I’m sorry for the oddly redacted photo (but that owl is kind of cute, isn’t it?) It’s so hard for me not to share our LG’s sweet little face online, but we’re committed to safeguarding her privacy. When she’s old enough to decide for herself that she wants her face online she can always post old photos, but once you put something up on the internet it’s pretty much forever. As always, friends and family members who want to see uncensored versions of photos are welcome to contact me. We’re happy to share privately!

The pattern designer calls the leggings a super quick and simple knit that’s great for when you want “instant gratification.” She’s obviously a much faster knitter than I am because the leggings took me one week to complete. That isn’t too long for a knitting project, but not exactly instant, either. Each leg took me as long as the entire upper portion above the legs! The pattern calls for working the legs on double pointed needles, but since my main knitting time is while nursing, I didn’t feel comfortable having a whole array of needles potentially poking my baby. I decided to use an easy version of the magic loop knitting technique to make the legs.

Easy magic loop knitting tutorial

The ”magic loop” knitting technique is fantastic for knitting in the round when you have a project that’s smaller than 16″ around. To do an easy/sloppy magic loop, grab a circular needle with a long cable. This technique is not suitable for socks, but it works for less fiddly things.

You’ll need a circular needle with a cable that is at least 24″, preferably longer. Point your needles to the right, the rough midpoint of your project (it doesn’t need to be exact), and pull the excess cable out to the left. Bring your stitches onto the needles with the working yarn coming off the back needle, as shown below:

Pull the back needle out to the right. Make sure to leave a loop of cable on the left side, too:

Knit normally until you’re out of stitches on the left.

Pull the stitches currently on the cable onto the left needle:

And start the process over by pulling the back needle out to the right again!

Although constantly fiddling with the cable can get a little annoying when you’re knitting something small using this easy magic loop method, it’s much easier than dealing with a bunch of double points if you need to transport your project (or are trying to knit while feeding a baby!).

To make a project like this even easier, use interchangeable circular knitting needles like this set of “short” interchangeables from Knitpicks. I knit the top with a 16″ interchangeable needle then simply swapped out for a longer cable when I got to the legs. Because each cable comes with handy end caps, I used them in place of stitch holders for this project, too. {{The stitches for the legs are held while you work and graft the crotch gusset.}} We bought a set of interchangeable needles as a combination early birthday present/”birth” present right after LG was born and we absolutely love them!

Have you ever used the ‘magic loop’ knitting technique?

Natasha of The Artisan Life logo

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Sarah February 2, 2018, 09:33

    Gorgeous tutorial! I am so bad at crochet/knitting. My stitches always end up way too tight. I didn’t think I was a control freak until a tried those two crafts!

    • Natasha February 2, 2018, 12:01

      I tend to knit tight, too. I try not to, but I just can’t stand loose looking stitches!

  • BeadedTail February 2, 2018, 14:48

    Oh my, those are adorable! How precious! I don’t understand your tutorial at all but that’s because my brain doesn’t comprehend knitting. If I attempted to make those, she’d be out of college by the time I finished! She’s lucky to have such talented parents!

    • Pamela Baker February 2, 2018, 16:30

      love your comment Sharla – about how long it would take you to finish a little outfit!!

    • Natasha February 4, 2018, 08:53

      Thank you! I love how stretchy they are so they’ve fit her well for longer than I expected.

      Honestly I felt kind of the same way about some points in this project! My knitting involves lots of looking things up on YouTube. What I really don’t understand is how my husband is some sort of magical knitting wizard. He started just over three months ago and can make the sorts of things it takes most people years to figure out.

  • Pamela Baker February 2, 2018, 16:29

    Wow – I am so impressed. I never saw double knitting before; but even more impressed that your husband can knit! You too could start a business together 🙂 The Sweater is beautiful – perfect stitches. When crocheting I tend to make tighter stitches so I always go up to the next size hook.
    My goal one day is to knit a Sweater or anything besides straight stitching!! LG is going to be the best dressed baby!

    • Natasha February 4, 2018, 08:56

      My mom, my husband, and I all enjoy dressing her in handmade goodness. It’s so much fun to see our creations on her cute little self! I tend to knit fairly tight, too. I don’t mean to, it just happens!

      We’ve been talking about him knitting a few pieces for sale. I’ve been making knitted bracelets and we’re trying to figure out how he can make ones with patterns in different colors to post for sale. I haven’t seen anything like it and we think they’d be pretty neat! I seriously don’t understand how he became so instantly fantastic at knitting.

  • Cynthia February 4, 2018, 09:46

    those are so sweet! as is your baby human 🙂 she looks warm and comfy

  • Marieken February 5, 2018, 01:29

    I wish I was more of a knitter! I once started a scarf, but I had my grandmother making it in the end, because mine looked horrible.

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