Today I want to teach you a little magic trick.
Some of you may know it already but for those of you new to crochet and for the ‘old school’ crocheter this might be quite a revelation.
When I learned to crochet I was taught the ‘traditional’ way, which could also be called the Western way. Did you know that there’s an entirely different school of crochet from Japan? One thing Japanese crocheters are famous for is amigurumi (Japanese for crocheted or knitted stuffed dolls). If you have never heard of amigurumi before chances are that you won’t have heard of the “magic ring’ or ‘magic circle’ either. This technique is intrinsic to amigurumi but can also be used successfully in many Western patterns, especially granny squares and hats, or anything else that is crocheted in the round.
The thing about crocheting in the round is that one needs something to crochet the first round of stitches around, doesn’t one? Traditionally that first ‘round’ is made up of a loop of chains.
Below are two photos; the photo on the left shows a little flower I designed using a centre with a loop of chains.
The photo on the right shows another design using a magic ring at the centre.
Can you see how the design on the left has a big hole in the middle, whereas the design on the right has almost no hole in the centre?
Of course you don’t need to use a magic ring for traditional granny squares if you don’t want too. Personally the hole in the middle usually bugs me, so I prefer to use the magic ring, unless the central hole is pertinent to the design of the square or doily etc. When it comes to hats I no longer use anything but the magic ring as it creates a much neater finish.
The rest of this post will be a photo tutorial showing you how to make a magic ring followed by highlighting the slight differences between a magic ring and a starting chain, since the two are somewhat similar which could cause confusion.
Place the yarn onto your palm with the end facing into your palm. Create a loop, making sure that the working yarn (the yarn attached to the ball) lies on top of the end piece.
Insert your hook through the loop from the front to the back, facing the working yarn.
YO and pull the yarn through the loop lying in your hand. The loop that is now on your hook is similar to a slip-stitch.
YO and pull up a second loop. You want to pull the first loop (the original slip-stitch) tight to secure the yarn properly. This will give stability to the ring while crocheting the first round.
Complete the first stitch (I used DCs for this example) around the loop of yarn, just as if it was a loop made of chains.
Repeat for the required number of stitches.
Take the end piece of yarn and pull it tight to close the ring. If you don’t manage to close the ring completely to begin with (especially difficult with really bulky yarn) don’t worry, you can always tighten it once you’ve crocheted a few rounds. I generally give it another gentle tug before weaving in the end.
It might take a little time to perfect the magic ring but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it. I promise.
Now lets have a look at the differences between the magic ring and a starting chain.
The first, and most important difference is the way that the loop is started.
The top photo shows the loop for the magic ring and the bottom shows the loop for a starting chain. Note that with the magic ring the end faces the palm and in the case of the starting chain the end faces the fingers.
My name is Stephanie Davies and I’m the owner of A Bag Full of Crochet. I’m left handed and so I taught myself the finer points of crochet by following pattern instructions, after my mom taught me the basics when I was 10. I’ve been crocheting for 25 years now, although I pursued it seriously two years ago when my Instagram photos received quite a bit of attention. I don’t really consider myself an expert, I’m always learning new tricks and techniques but other Instagram users began asking my opinion on crochet, which eventually led to my blog. I love designing patterns and to me crochet is a way of relaxing, as well as being creative. I have far too many ideas and it will take quite a few years to get to all of them but at the moment I am having fun designing new crochet items, ranging from toys to hats, gloves and even clothing. You can get a hold of me on Twitter or Facebook.