Lately I’ve been working with a lot of patterns that start with a magic circle. Personally I prefer the chain ring method but I was starting to wonder if I’d missed something exciting with how everyone kept going on about it. So I decided to do a little research and I thought I’d share for the benefit of others.
If I’m honest my attempts at the magic ring have been more than a little hit and miss in the past. I thought perhaps I was doing it wrong but having looked into it it seems there is no specific right and wrong way (at least no one has said that) and just preferred methods. I’ve looked at three different methods: one I found on Ravelry, a method from the Crochet Bible and finally a method detailed in Inside Crochet magazine. I did two rounds as I found the circle always came undone during the second round and have shown pictures of each.
Firstly I tried a technique I found here on Ravelry. The PDF is free and uses pictures to make it easy to understand and very clear as far as a pattern is concerned. One problem I’d constantly had was the circle never closing completely but that was by no means an issue with this technique. The magic circle (or ring as it’s called here) closed entirely and stayed closed a I worked a second round. I had to try it three times as I kept loosing the first stitch which the lady does warn about. On the third attempt I added a chain stitch before the first double crochet and this helped immeasurably. Below in red is my circle after one round then two. I was really pleased with the look of it even though I found it a little difficult at first.Next I turned to Sue Whiting’s Crochet Bible. (I’ve written a review of this book here.) As I’ve come to expect from this book the method was set out very clearly and illustrations were there to help. However, I found it really difficult to replicate the first illustration due to the side of the ring and hook the tail goes. (see picture below) After this initial hurdle the going was smooth and the circle was easy to work. The main difference I found was that in this method the chain stitches were detailed and incorporated as the first stitch. Also, this method incorporated the loose tail end into the stitches which I found gave a cleaner finish.
The first round appeared a little messy so I was worried but then the second pulled it all together nicely and alleviated any of my fears.
This method to me didn’t feel as fiddly as other methods I’ve tried and, in fact, once the first illustration was replicated it was easy. It also stayed tightly closed so all in all achieved the desired affect.
Finally was the method detailed in Inside Crochet magazine. I’m a big fan of this magazine but have never really looked at their helpful ‘How to crochet’ section near the back. This method was really simple to follow with easy to replicate illustrations. The only exception was again near the beginning- the instructions after forming the loop and pulling the yarn through simply say “complete the stitch” but they don’t detail how. I had two guesses: firstly to complete the stitch I was creating, in this case a double crochet. This didn’t work well so I went back and added two chains as the first stitch again (guess number two!) I found this wasn’t a great instruction if it was for a beginner. Also, my circle hooked from this method came undone. Over all the Crochet Bible (green circle) method seemed the easiest to follow and produced the best circle in the end. My conclusion is that trying a couple of different methods was very helpful and, in my personal opinion, it’s best to find your own method even if it’s an amalgamation of several different methods. For me the reason the Crochet Bible produced the best circle was because of the chain stitches. It helped to see the stitches in future and kept everything in place more.
But don’t take my word for it. Try them yourself.