One of the questions I get asked most about my patterns is, "How do I make a magic ring?". A magic ring, also known as an adjustable ring or magic circle loop, is a starting technique for crocheting in the round. Instead of "chaining 2 and then putting ___ # of stitches into the second chain from the hook", you create a loop to put the stitches in that can be drawn up tight to leave no, or a barely visible, hole in the center. It is used often in amigurumi patterns and other Japanese crochet patterns. Here's how you do it:
1) Leaving a long tail hanging off to the left, wind the yarn from the yarn ball around your fingers as shown.
2) Grasp the yarn at the top with your forefinger and thumb where the strands overlap. The tail is still the yarn hanging off to the left hand side.
3) With your hook, reach through the ring from front to back and grab the yarn that leads to the yarn ball.
4) Pull up a loop and ....
5) ... chain 1. Think of this chain 1 as a "locking stitch". It is NOT part of your stitch count. It is part of the magic ring.
6) With your hook, reach through the ring again to pull up another loop to make your first single crochet. Continue making as many single crochets as is called for in the pattern. Here I did 8.
7) When you've finished making stitches into the ring, grab the tail and pull gently on it to close the ring.
8) Slip stitch into your first beginning single crochet, NOT the chain 1 "locking stitch". Pull the tail of the yarn again to make the ring tightly closed. Note: Some patterns may have you skip the slip stitch and start your second round by stitching directly into the first stitch of the first round -- either way is valid.
8) Your'e done!!