A crochet magic ring, also called an adjustable ring or a magic circle, is a very useful technique for crocheting in the round. I love using the magic ring method because it eliminates that pesky hole that can form in the center of your work.
To use a magic ring in crochet, you’ll make the first round of stitches into an adjustable loop. Then, simply pull the yarn tail to close up the loop nice at tight.
Do you want to learn how to crochet a magic ring? This beginner tutorial will walk you through the process of crocheting a magic ring, step by step. Once you get the hang of the magic ring technique, you’ll never want to go back!
What is the Magic Ring Techinique?
The magic ring is a great way to begin a crochet project that’s worked in the round. To use the magic ring method, you’ll make a loop of yarn, and work the first round of stitches into that adjustable loop. Then, you’ll pull one end of the loop to tighten it. This will close the ring, eliminating the small hole that sometimes forms in the center of your work.
Advantages of The Magic Ring Technique
Compared to other traditional methods, the magic circle technique is the best way to create a tightly closed starting ring. The advantage of the magic ring method is that it eliminates the small hole in the center of the first round of circular crochet.
Can Beginners Use the Magic Ring?
If you are a beginner, I know that the crochet magic ring technique can seem intimidating or overly fiddly. I get it – I certainly had trouble remembering it a first.
But don’t be discouraged! The magic ring method is a handy crochet skill that everyone can learn. It’s certainly worth the effort it takes to learn. And after mastering this technique, you’ll wonder how you ever crocheted without it!
When to Use a Magic Ring
You can use the magic ring crochet technique to start lots of different crochet patterns, like granny squares, top-down hats, and amigurumi projects.
If your pattern calls for a Magic Ring, you may see it written as:
- “Work 6 sc in magic ring.”
The term “Magic Ring” may also be abbreviated as MR (or MC for magic circle).
Replacing Other Starting Methods with a Magic Ring
Other patterns call for older/traditional starting methods, like a starting chain of 4 stitches joined into a ring.
Other starting methods may be written as:
- “chain 4, slip stitch in the first chain” and then “work the first round in that circle”
- “chain 2, 6 single crochet in 2nd chain from hook”.
For most crochet projects that are worked “in the round”, you can simply substitute the Magic Ring method. In each of the two cases above, replace the chain stitches with a magic ring, and then make the first round of crochet stitches into the magic ring.
Magic Ring Tutorial
In this step-by-step tutorial, I will show you how to use the Magic Ring (also called Magic Circle or Magic Loop).
Note: These instructions use US terms, and demonstrate the right-handed method.
There are many different ways to demonstrate the technique, but this is my favorite method. I like to loop the strand of yarn over my fingers so that I have good control of it. (I find it harder to do the Magic Ring technique when the loop is hanging in the air, or laid out flat on a table.)
How to Crochet the Magic Ring
The magic ring is worked in two parts. The first step is to make the adjustable loop. Then, the next step is to work whatever stitches your pattern calls for into that adjustable loop.
Step 1: Loop the Yarn Around Your Fingers
Place the ball of yarn on the table. Lay the tail end of your yarn against your open left hand, with the tail end pointing toward you. Loop the working end (aka ball end) of the yarn loosely around the back of your first two fingers. Cross the working end of the yarn over on top of the tail end, and to the left. Use your thumb to pinch the yarn where it intersects, holding it in place.
Turn your hand toward you until your palm faces down toward the table. When you look at the back of your hand, you should see two parallel strands of yarn. The working yarn (aka ball end) will be on the left, and the tail yarn end will be on the right.
Step 2: Insert the hook and pull up a loop.
Hold the crochet hook in your right hand. Working from right to left, slide the crochet hook under the right-hand piece of yarn and over the left-hand piece. Grab the left-hand yarn and pull up a loop. As you pull up, rotate the hook up towards you.
Step 3: Chain 1 (or the required number of chains.)
Continue holding the circle of yarn in your left hand. Wrap the working yarn from back to front over the hook. Draw the yarn through the loop on the hook. This completes one chain. (This does not count as a stitch.)
Note: The number of chain stitches you make in this step depends on the type of stitch used in the first round of the pattern.
- If your pattern starts with a round of single crochet, you’ll only make this 1 chain.
- If your pattern starts with a round of half double crochet, make 1 more chain for a total of 2 chains.
- If the pattern starts with a round of double crochet stitches, make a total of 3 chains.
Step 4: Make stitches into the ring.
Now it’s time to make your first round of stitches into the ring. Insert the hook into the center of the ring, and draw up a loop to begin your first single crochet. (You will be crocheting over both strands: the loop and the yarn tail.)
Complete the single crochet: Yarn over and draw the yarn through both loops on the hook.
Continue making stitches into the loop until you have made the required number for your pattern. The ring may still look too loose and open, but we will fix that in the next step.
Step 5: Tighten the ring.
Hold on to your stitches with the fingers of your right hand. With your left hand, pull the yarn tail to draw the center of the ring closed (like a drawstring bag). As you do this, the turning chain and the last stitch of the round will come closer together.
Step 6: Slip Stitch to close the round.
If you are working in joined rounds, work a slip stitch into the first stitch to join the round. (Be careful not to stitch into your chain, but rather the first stitch of the round.) Then, continue with the pattern.
If you are working in a continuous spiral, do not join the round with a slip stitch. Instead, simply start the next round in the first stitch of Round 1.
Finishing up: If the center ring loosens as you work the pattern, you can pull on the yarn tail again to tight it back up. Once you weave in the ends, it should stay tightly in place.
Commonly Asked Questions
Still have a hole in the center?
If your first round of stitches still has a hole in the center, it could be your yarn to blame. Some fibers don’t compress as well as others.
Or, it could be that you are trying to make too many stitches in that first round. Usually, the magic ring is worked with a starting round of about 6 stitches.
Is your work unraveling?
Remember to leave a long enough yarn tail to weave in at the end of your project – at least 6 inches. Weave in the yarn tail as securely as you can. Otherwise, the magic ring might unravel.
More Beginner Crochet Tutorials
If you’d like to learn more crochet stitches and techniques, you may be interested in these posts:
- How to Single Crochet (sc) for Beginners
- How to Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc)
- How to Slip Stitch in Crochet (sl st) for Beginners
- How to Crochet Moss Stitch (Linen, Granite, Woven Stitch)
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- crochet hook
- Lay the tail end of the yarn against your open hand. Loop the working end of the yarn loosely around the first two fingers.
- Working from right to left, slide the crochet hook under the right-hand piece of yarn and over the left-hand piece. Grab the left-hand yarn and pull up a loop.
- Using your hook, grab the left-hand piece of yarn again, and pull it through the loop on the hook. Chain 1 (if doing SC)
- Make your first round of stitches into the ring. Insert the hook into the magic ring, and draw up a loop to begin your first SC. (You will be crocheting over the loop and the yarn tail.) Complete the SC as usual. Continue making stitches until you have the required number for your pattern.
Sarah Stearns is an artist, maker, and blogger at sarahmaker.com
Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and more.
Sarah lives and works in North Carolina with her husband and young kids.