A new skill…


I read an interesting article in The Sunday Times about learning a new skill – from the online version (well, at least as much as I can grab without subscribing to it )

How long does it take to master a new skill? Apparently, the answer is 10,000 hours. That terrifying number was first suggested in 1993 by Anders Ericsson, a professor at the University of Colorado. He had totted up the number of hours a range of children had practised the violin. Anything up to 4,000 hours and, well, meh. Anything over 10,000 and hello, maestro.

But 10,000 hours is eight hours a day, every day, for more than three years. So that’s out. Instead, we’ve adopted the strategy put forward in Josh Kaufman’s book  The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast. …

I have surely spent at least 20 hours watching videos, reading tutorials and mentally trying to conceptualize the Magic Loop sock knitting technique over the last 10 years .  As you will have seen, the current pair is on three DPNs with the fourth as a working needle.  I prefer the super short ones (which my MIL couldn’t believe) but the longer ones are totally like I heard Lucy Neatby  (sock knitting teacher) describe as “wrestling porcupines.” I have some 8″ ones that I can’t use hardly at all.  4, 5 or 6″ at most  is what I prefer.  I have a set of 5″ needles that is missing one (or perhaps two, as I only have three of them)  and I got a matching set of 6″ ones so cheap from Tiger, when I got the yarn, that I’ve just used one of them to complete the set.  Every time I work the longer needle loose I know I’ve done another row….small victories…


Hummm.  I may actually have two longer ones there … no matter. Back to the point. When MIL was here and we were chatting about knitting, we both expressed an interest in the two-at-a-time Magic Loop technique.  It took me a few days to make the first sock of my set, and possibly 4 YEARS before the second one was finished (and only because MIL finally grafted the second toe for me) – do I have the worst ever case of second-sock-syndrome?  Hopefully not as the 2nd one is on the needles as you can see.

Sorry, still drifting off point. The point is that we both agreed that it looked interesting but we had both attempted it before (I tried to knit my first pair of socks that way but gave up and did them with DPNs) and couldn’t wrap our heads around it.  After reading the article I was inspired to try AGAIN.  To focus my attention and crack it once and for all.  And I did.  Here is where I am as of today.


These are thick worsted weight socks from a free pattern that I like because it has built-in lines to remind you to take note of your numbers as you knit and is designed for the Magic Loop.

Luckily with all the tidying and organizing, I had virtually all my knitting stuff in one place (well, except those pesky missing needles) so I had my row counters and markers.  With the Magic loop, you are always moving the cable around so I wasn’t sure where it would work so I just tied it to my tail from the cast on.  It flopping around is another reminder – when I have it on the left, I’ve finished a row. My other option was this ancient freebie from Simply Knitting – never going to happen. It would be just like me to walk out of the house wearing it still.


Oh, and those little markers at the bottom?  Aren’t they cute?  I was considering how to convert all the DPN needle patterns to magic loop ones, when the pattern will say move 16 stitches from needle 2 and 16 stitches from needle 3 to another needle or something like that. I didn’t have anything marked 1, 2, and 3 but I did have a ton of these little beads in my scrapbooking stash


AND I had a ton of these little triangle jump rings – the oval ones are OK but getting the beads on to some of the round jump rings is hard.


and pairing them up I can use them to mark on my magic loop knitting where the needles are.  I just have to annotate 1 as A, etc.

I found this short video very helpful for “getting” the Magic Loop technique.  Once I get this pair done, and the second sock from the DPN pair done, and get a much longer circular needle, I may try the two-at-a-time version.  Now I’ve done the process for one sock, I think I can see how it will work for two.

And then it’s toe-up sock and the fleegle heel…

…can you tell it’s been a LONG time since I blogged properly? The words, they JUST KEEP COMING.


8 thoughts on “A new skill…

  1. I love Magic Loop! It works for anything circular, like Hats and Sleeves and Gloves and Cat beds and….Well, you get the idea! I am happy for you that you got it. I agree that it can take time with 3 or 4 needles to then understand magic loop. I sure appreciate your blog. Thanks, Kathy C in Seattle.

  2. Well I never would have thought about knitting socks like this. Thanks for sharing the video. It looks a bit of a faff so not sure if I will try it. Does it really leave no ladder at each end? Please could you let me know what the Regia wool is called. It looks perfect for winter.

    • I am not an expert at it but there is not a ladder. I suppose being very critical I could say that the stitch column on one side is ever so slightly wider in the middle than the rest of them but it is not glaringly obvious and probably down to my inexperience. The Regia yarn is ANCIENT – I bought it when I bought the ones that have been n the needle for about 4 years 🙂 It says Design Line by Kaffe Fassett on the band and the numbers are farbe: 04255 and partie 29753 (whatever that means 🙂



  3. I’m also using two sets of circulars – makes trying on so much easier. BUT – you do realise that with knitting in the round the needles do not stay in their position but wander around the sock! If you’ve got four needles, you only have to knit the stitches on three to do a round, and with five needles, the stitches on four needles. So whenever your longer needle comes loose you have actually knit one round plus one needle.

    • Actually mine is one circular, not two – not tried THAT version yet. Ack! TOO many options… and yes, you are right on the count. The be honest I think I actually counted the rows once the first sock was done, rather than counting as I made it. I’m TRYING to actually count this time but I keep forgetting to turn the counter. The needle this is less about being accurate and more about patting myself on the back 🙂



  4. I’m blown away! Welcome to the world of sock knitting!! I’ve been doing this for 43 years and still can’t get enough. Yes I have done the works, just as you described, and also have given the two together magic loop a spin. It does take some getting used to and I will try again, but for now I’ loving working on two pairs of circulars per sock. Been doing this for 4 years or more and my choice by far. I have two separate sets of socks waiting for my attention. One I had on the needles and the other I use to teach my card making ladies with, knitting as we go kind of. I will send you a great pattern I use to teach newbies called, The After Thought Sock Pattern’. The easiest pattern to learn to ‘drive’ any kind of needles with. I also knit Cat Bhordi patterns. She is a master at sock making. Enjoy your new venture. I must say, even after 43 years I am still learning about sock knitting every single day!
    Warm hugz

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