The magic circle is an incredibly useful crochet technique for starting a crochet project in the round.
In this quick tutorial on how to crochet a magic circle(also called a magic loop), we are going to be going over the step-by-step process for how to easily work a magic circle without any confusion. I’m also going to cover a few uses for this technique and a few tricks I have developed through practice. Overall, I’m convinced that this is a fantastic and easy way to start a crochet circle.
(If you would like to go straight to my video on how to crochet a magic circle, you can scroll down towards the end of the post and find it there).
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Although I’m sure that others before me have done the magic circle the same way, my process came about as I experimented with this technique myself. I found that I was able to get consistent magic circles that do not fall apart, and I am excited to help you get those results yourself.
The magic circle is an alternate way to begin a project where you are crocheting around in “layers”, or rounds, rather than working back and forth in rows. It results in a very tight center.
Sometimes these projects are started with a few chain stitches that are connected together to make a circle. In contrast, the magic loop uses a simple loop of yarn to hold stitches together. This means that after the magic loop is done, the center of the work is very tight and solid. Since the magic loop is cinched tighly, there is no hole in the center of the work the way that there usually is when rounds are started with a circle of chains.
Uses for the Magic Circle
As I mentioned above, the magic circle gives you a very tight and solid beginning to your work. Sometimes it’s desirable to have a hole right in the middle of where the crochet rounds begin. But, in cases where it’s not then the magic circle is pretty much the best thing to use.
Some projects where it is normal to want a very solid center include:
- Hats worked from the top down
- Bags worked from the bottom up
- Warm blankets
- Crochet eyes and other crochet appliques
- Crochet Scrubbies
- Starting pretty much any amigurumi project
Side note: if you want a source to learn about amigurumi and see some amazing projects, check out the website Amigurumi Today. There, you can search for projects based on skill level and see many, many amigurumi examples. This is a truly amazing form of crochet that can be used to make just about anything you might imagine.
Anyways, I would also like to point out one more thing before we move on.
Although many of the things I listed above are usually going to have an overall solid design, this doesn’t have to be the case. The magic circle technique can be used even on projects that are going to be very lacy.
For example, you could certainly use the magic circle to start a granny square or any kind of other lacy motif. Having this tight beginning in the very center doesn’t meant that the whole design is going to be more solid. Rather, it is just a matter of preference and what you think is going to work best.
Okay, so with that out of the way, let’s look at exactly how we start using this easy circle technique:
How to Crochet the Magic Circle step by step
What you need
To begin, you simply need a few yards of yarn and an appropriate sized hook. As always with learning something new, I highly recommend you use a smoother, solid yarn and not something that is too fuzzy, textured, or multicolored. Basically, anything that might make it harder to see your stitches and work is best left for after you are comfortable with a new skill.
Anyways, there are a few different ways that I have seen to start your loop, but I am going to describe the way that I sort of stumbled upon. This is to start by making a loose slip knot.
If you are by chance not familiar with the slip knot, you can see it demonstrated in my video below. Or, you can also take a look at my post which includes directions for making a slip knot and the chain stitch.
The key here is that you do not pull your slip knot tight like you normally would. Instead, leave it loose and maybe even a little larger than normal. You are going to be working stitches into this open knot in a moment, so try to make that easy for yourself.
The other thing to notice is your tail of yarn. You will want to have a somewhat generous yarn tail for this, so I would recommend having it about six inches long.
Notes on the yarn tail
There are two reasons for making sure you have enough of a yarn tail. First off, you want a longer tail so that it won’t get in your way as easily while you work your stitches. If you watch my video you will see how my tail tries to get in the way a few times. I should have had it longer but hopefully you can learn from me!
Secondly, you will want a longer tail because if you weave in more of your tail(I recommend weaving it around the base of your stitches a few times when you are done), that will help keep your magic circle secure over the course of time. Obviously you may not use your entire tail, but if you leave it longer then any extra can always be trimmed.
The next step is to actually stitch into your newly created magic loop.
Stitching into your circle
Now that you have your magic loop started, the next part involves working stitches into the center. In my example in the video, I am using double crochet stitches, but any stitch that you need for your pattern should work.
Keep in mind that the taller your stitches are, the more of them you will need to do to create a nice solid circle. I found that with my weight of yarn, crocheting about ten double crochet stitches created a nice result using the magic circle.
Whatever stitch you are using, you will need to chain the appropriate number of stitches(two in my case) to start off your circle. You will do this directly after the slip knot that you have on your hook.
After that, you will crochet all of your needed stitches into the center of your loop. Again, this is the part of the slip knot that would normally be tightened up before starting a chain.
When you are satisfied with the number of stitches, you can slip stitch into the top of your starting chain to close up and complete your circle.
Cinching your magic circle closed
Finally, the last and most important step is to cinch your magic circle closed very, very tightly.
I’m serious in saying that you will want to pull this loop closed as tightly as you can without breaking your yarn or hurting yourself. You do this simply by pulling on the yarn tail. The bases of all the stitches you just created should be gathered together evenly, and when you stop pulling nothing should look like it loosened back up.
Two things are going to keep this circle of yarn nice and secure for a long time. The first is how tightly you cinch it, and the second is how long of a tail you weave in.
So, now that we have covered the steps for the magic circle technique in detail, it may help a lot to see it done all at once:
Below you’ll find my video which also gives you a tutorial on how to crochet with a magic circle.
It is a worthwhile pursuit to want to keep doing things better and better. Now that you know how to work the magic loop, you now have one more technique up your sleeve that can be used to make many of your crochet projects even better.
Before you go, make sure to grab my master list of 101 crochet ideas. I send this out as a bonus for joining my list, but I really think you’ll enjoy the weekly tips and encouragement, too!
And also, if you want to share your examples of the magic circle, feel free to share them! I would love to see what you create.
Don’t forget to pin this for later if you want to remember how to easily create a magic circle.
And finally, if you’d like to connect with other crocheters and to learn and encourage, check out my Facebook group: The Encouraging Crochet Community.