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How to Crochet a Magic Ring (Magic Circle)

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The magic ring is a great way to start crochet projects worked in the round. This clever technique creates an adjustable ring that can be pulled tight, eliminating the little hole at the center of your work.

The Magic Ring, also known as the magic circle or magic loop, is my favorite way to start projects like amigurumi, granny squares, and top-down beanies.

In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the process of creating a magic ring, and show you how to work your first round of stitches into it.

Tip: If you’re brand new to crochet, start by reading this Crochet Beginner’s Guide.

Video Tutorial

YouTube video

What You’ll Need

  • Yarn. Smooth, light-colored, medium-weight yarn makes it easy to see your stitches.
  • Crochet hook. Choose a hook size based on the thickness of the yarn. For example, a size H-8 (5.0mm) hook is a good choice for worsted-weight yarn.  

Terms and Abbreviations

  • sc: single crochet
  • MR: magic ring
  • working yarn: the strand of yarn coming from the yarn ball.
  • yarn tail: the end of the yarn

Instructions

The magic ring is worked in two parts. First, we’ll make the adjustable loop. Then, we’ll work whatever stitches the pattern calls for into that adjustable loop. (Note: This tutorial uses standard US terms and demonstrates a right-handed method.) 

Step 1: Create the Loop

Place the yarn tail in your open left hand.

Wrap the working yarn around your index and middle finger twice. Cross the yarn in front to form an “X,” with the working yarn hanging behind your fingers.

Pinch the yarn with your thumb to hold it in place, and rotate your hand toward you until your palm faces down toward the table. Looking at the back of your hand, you should see two parallel strands of yarn. The left stand is the working yarn, and the right strand is the yarn tail.

Step 2: Insert Hook and Yarn Over

Hold the crochet hook in your right hand. Insert your crochet hook from right to left, underneath the right strand of yarn. 

Grab the left strand of yarn (working yarn) with your hook. Pull it under the right strand and rotate your hook up to form a loop. (Note: This loop does not count as a chain stitch.)

Step 3: Chain Stitches

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 make 1 chain.
  • If your pattern starts with a round of half double crochet, make 2 chain stitches.
  • If the pattern starts with a round of double crochet stitches, make 3 chain stitches.

Since we’re working with single crochets in this example, we’ll chain 1. Wrap the working yarn over the hook from back to front, and draw the yarn through the loop on the hook. This completes one chain stitch.

At this point, the magic ring is secure enough that you can remove it from your index and middle fingers.

Step 4: Work Stitches into the Ring

In this step, we’ll work the first round of stitches into the center of the magic ring. For this example, we’ll make 6 sc.

Insert the hook into the center of the ring, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, and pull through both loops. Repeat 5 more times for a total of 6 stitches.

Important: When you insert your hook into the center of the magic ring, make sure you’re working under both strands: the loop itself and the yarn tail.

Tip: If it feels like your stitches are twisting, or it feels hard to manage, try making the ring smaller. Pull on the yarn tail just a bit, and make the magic ring a little smaller. This should make it easier to work into the ring.

Step 5: Tighten the Ring

Hold the stitches with your right hand, and pull the yarn tail to close the ring. Keep pulling until the hole is as small as possible.

Tip: Hold the stitches somewhat loosely so that you can pull the yarn tail to close the ring. If the ring won’t close, you might be holding on too tight!

As you close the ring, the turning chain and the last stitch of the round will meet.

slip stitch with crochet hook and yellow yarn
Slip stitch to join the round

Optional: Join the Round

At this point, some patterns will instruct you to “join the round with a slip stitch .”To do so, work a slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. Then, continue with the pattern. 

Other patterns are worked in continuous (aka spiral) rounds. In this case, do not join the round with a slip stitch, but simply start the next round in the first stitch of Round 1.

Step 6: Weave in the Yarn Tail

Use a tapestry needle to weave in the yarn tail securely to prevent the magic ring from coming undone.

Variation: Double Magic Ring

This variation is very similar to the standard magic ring, but has an extra loop of yarn to give the magic ring greater durability. 

  1. Place the yarn tail in your open left hand.
  2. Wrap the working yarn around your index and middle finger three times. Cross the third loop of yarn in front to form an “X,” with the working yarn hanging behind your fingers.
  3. Turn your hand, palm facing down. Insert your crochet hook from right to left, underneath the right two strands of yarn. 
  4. Grab the left strand of yarn (working yarn) with your hook. Pull it under the right strands and rotate your hook up to form a loop.
  5. From here, make as many chain stitches as called for in the pattern, and start making the first round of stitches into the center of the magic ring.

Projects that Use the Magic Ring

Now that you know how to make a magic ring, I bet you’re eager to go practice it. Here are some easy beginner patterns that start with a magic ring.

Troubleshooting

Can I use the magic ring instead of other methods?

Yes. For most crochet projects that are worked “in the round,” you can simply substitute the Magic Ring technique for other starting methods.

I 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 6-12 stitches.

My work is 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 come undone.

My yarn breaks when I tighten the ring.

It’s harder to make a magic ring with fuzzier yarns, like chenille, velvet, and blanket yarns. The yarn can get stuck when you try to tighten the ring, or even snap.  

In this case, you can try making your first round of stitches very loose to make it easier to close the ring. If you’re still having trouble, make the magic ring with a similar shade of cotton yarn, and switch to the fuzzy yarn to make the first round of stitches.

More Beginner Crochet Tutorials

If you’d like to learn more crochet stitches and techniques, you may be interested in these posts:

slip stitch with crochet hook and yellow yarn

How to Crochet a Magic Ring

Yield: 1
Active Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Difficulty: Easy

The magic ring is a way to begin projects that are crocheted in the round. To do the Magic Ring method, crochet the first round of stitches into an adjustable loop. Then, pull the loop tight to close the hole in the middle of your first round.

Materials

  • yarn

Tools

  • crochet hook

Instructions

  1. Lay the tail end of the yarn against your open hand. Loop the working end of the yarn loosely around the first two fingers.yellow yarn wrapped around fingers
  2. 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. crochet hook and yellow yarn making a magic ring
  3. 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)crochet hook and yellow yarn making a chain stitch
  4. 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.completed magic ring

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What’s Next?

Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.

Leave a comment: We love to hear your feedback. Tell me in the comments below!

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Claudia

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

I quit crocheting and quilting after my husband became ill and now want to start again. Your site has what I need. In my 80's.

Walt

Wednesday 6th of March 2024

Hi Sarah, as other have said, thanks for a clear concise tutorial! I need a little extra help, my pattern says to "sc in join and... What is meant by into the join? I've just completed the slst and have my ring. For this pattern I will be only sc into the front or back loops. Does this mean to sc into the front leg of the slst since that's what I infer is the "join", or does the author simply mean to sc into the first stitch (which Id consider normal). I'm an advanced knitter trying something new. The pattern is a free one from ravelry titled "Ahh Spa Slippers" by Kris Basta. Thanks in advanced and I look forward to checking out your other content!

Walt

Sarah Stearns

Wednesday 6th of March 2024

Good question. Looking at the stitch count, I would assume you'd make the first 2 sc in the first sc. Is there a way to contact the pattern designer for clarification?

Juveria Asad

Monday 6th of November 2023

Hey, I was just wondering to use your images what would the copyright licensing be?

Sarah Stearns

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

Hello, You can email me at hello@sarahmaker.com

Rachel

Saturday 4th of November 2023

Hi, Sarah. These instructions are great! I'm putting together a document of some items I've designed, a couple using a magic circle. Do you mind if I link to your page?

Rachel

Sunday 12th of November 2023

@Sarah Stearns, Thank you! My use for this was (I think) different from the typical. In lacy patterns, you usually want to see a hole in the center. But I was making ornaments for a small tree, and the magic circle helped in reducing the size, even though you don't pull it fully closed. If you're interested to see what that looks like, there's an example here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tiny-snowflake-1

Sarah Stearns

Monday 6th of November 2023

Sure, go ahead!

Sue

Saturday 26th of August 2023

Thank you for demonstrating the magic circle, I'm left-handed, which can complicate things a little sometimes

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