Time for Technical Tuesday here at Creekside Crochet, and today's topic is that mysterious magic circle.
Often labeled as MC(not to be confused with Main Color), the magic circle is a way to start crocheting that leaves an adjustable center start to anything that will be crocheted in the round.
First, we "thread" our yarn, holding as we normally do.
Now, we pull the yarn around the outside of our thumb, bringing the tail over the top of the yarn, as shown. I pin the tail down with my middle finger so I have my other hand free to hold the hook.
Next, we insert our hook under the yarn by sliding it up the thumb from the base. Notice that the tail end is OVER the horizontal yarn, while the hook is UNDER the same piece.
Chain 1(or 2,3, whatever you need to match the stitches you plan on using, I used SC)
At this point, pinch over the chain where it's on the hook and resettle your yarn on your hand so you have your tension. Once settled, SC(or whatever) into the loop, crocheting over both the loop and the tail, but be careful not to lose the tail as you go.
Once you have the proper number of stitches in your loop, begin gently pulling on the tail
Once the stitches meet in the middle, slip stitch into the first stitch made, again crocheting over the tail. Chain once and continue onto round 2.
Continue working over the tail as you go, making sure to keep the center closed. Eventually you will run out of tail to cover and have a clean tight start to your circle.
Magic circles come in handy. To use a magic circle instead of the Ch 3, sl st to form a ring, 6 SC in ring, simply don't make a chain and instead do 6 SCs in the magic circle. Practice as many times as you need to and know that yes, we all feel a little weird making a gun hand with what looks like cats cradle wrapped around it! But it really is an easy way to start a circle, and many amigurumi patterns use this method to leave a tight circle :)