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I'm trying to create swatches using the Magic Loop method and my Smoke Heather Alpaca Cloud yarn. I've successfully used this method before with other yarn and knit socks. However, this time I keep getting stretched stitches. Will this keep happening when I attempt the sleeves and body tube? On my first attempt I used a 37" cable. Now I'm using a 26. Any ideas? Thanks.

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The length of your cable shouldn't make any difference. You just need to make sure your cable is long enough to have a loop on each end. I prefer using 40" cables for ML.

It sounds like the problem is that you don't have enough tension when switching between the front and back part of the cable. Are you pulling your working yarn tight enough?
I also use 40" needles and am doing both sleeves at the same time. I need to pull the yarn very tight as I shift from back to front and, while there is a little gap, it disappears as I work further up the sleeve.
For me the length of the cable makes all the difference. If it isn't long enough I have trouble with the last stitch on the rounds. Pulling it a little tighter eliminates the problem for me, but mostly you'll have to find what works best for you. I ML everything I can, always doing two socks and two mittens at a time. When making your swatch it was discussed to carry the yarn on the back side so the stitches on either end will be distorted, or they were for me anyway. Check out the video Kelley made early on in the KAL. For this sweater I'm making my sleeves one at a time. It was just too many balls of yarn for me to juggle to do the sleeves together. I joined right when the KAL started, but other projects like weddings and things got in the way. I'm on track now! Enjoy
I'm a very, very tight knitter and have been monitoring my pulls between needles, as this is where it's happening. I'm hoping I have Jackie's luck. I'm also switching how I hold the back, unworking stitches in the hopes that there's less pull between the first and last stitches of the two needles.
I switched to the Harmony needles and had better luck. I'm knitting the body in the round on Zephers and I don't have any distortion.
I attempted the ML for the first time with the sleeves for the sweater, and after several unsuccessful attempts at doing both at once, I finally resorted to just doing one sleeve at a time. I think I'm faster on DPN, but by the time I'm done with my first sleeve, I expect to be much more competent with the ML. This is what I've learned about the ML so far...

1) the internet is FANTASTIC - I found videos for the ML and doing two socks/sleeves/etc. at once on How cool.
1) the right needles are critical - I have been most successful on 40" harmony wood needles (um these are absolutely the best. I'm selling my other needles so I can buy the full set of the interchangeables). These needles have the most flexible cable I've found, and the sharp points make it so easy.
2) managing four balls of yarn at once is crazy crazy crazy (I double strand the MC using each end of a ball of yarn, plus the CC ball), and not ideal for a first attempt at two sleeves at once
3) I can try on my sleeves as I go (I've frogged due to sizing issues so many times I've lost count), and I have yet to have my stitches fall off the needles. It's tough to try on sleeves as with DPNs, and losing stitches every time I pull my knitting out of my bag was getting old.
4) Every few inches, I change where the "break" is in my knitting. Even though the split that can be visible when I "turn" the work disappears as I knit more and more rows, I feel better if I can rotate where the break is located.

Once I'm done with the sweater and I have it off my needles (or if I acquire some more sets of the harmony 40" needles), I am going to work on some socks to practice doing both at once with the ML. I guarantee you they will be 1 color :)
I agree with you, the magic loop is a little bit slower for me also but I still prefer it so I can do two at once. Plus I'm not losing stitches or needles. But when learning the ML you definitely should not do 2 at once.

Go here, here and here for some videos on the magic loop.

Also when I switch cables, I literally have the two cables touching each other and pulling my tension tight when I do the first 2 sts. I don't leave any slack between the back st and the first st.

I hope this helps.
I just hope they don't quit making double point needles because so many are using the ML method. I tried it and it's just not for me. I like knitting on double points. I've tried several times to do the ML and find it awkward and can't get into the steady, relaxing rythym of enjoyable knitting. Some have gotten the Signature double points. I wonder about the weight of them, as opposed to bamboo. When knitting socks or lace weight yarns, I like a very light needle.
Angel, I absolutely love my Signatures. They are well worth the price! I wish I could explain how they feel. They aren't very heavy. The yarn glides over them and yet they aren't so slippery that the yarn falls off. There is sort of a grab on the needle. It appears they have been slightly brushed so that slick yarns won't fall off. It may make me go back to using dpns more. I only wish I had the best of all worlds. I would love the Signatures in circs, especially if they would use a cable like Kollage does for their needles. This would be a true marriage made in Heaven.
Ooops, I made a slight error in my description. I don't have the 2 cables touching! It is the back cable snug up against the right needle.

I wondered how in the world you were knitting if your two cables were touching! :) I figured out what you meant though.
Thanks, Tiffany. Right after I posted I picked up a pair of socks I'm working on for my DH and as soon as I made my first turn I realized my error!


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