Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski Hat

Check out this sporty cowl I made. It’s actually dual purpose, it’s both a neck gator and a ski hat, all in one! Yes, it’s unseasonably warm considering it’s June but I wanted to illustrate some Circular Knitting techniques from this new book!

Melissa Morgan-Oakes sent me a copy of her new book, Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting, $14.95. I was super excited to be included on her blog tour and of course to check out the book!

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski HatWhat is Circular Knitting? In short, it’s knitting in a continuous ring that will ultimately form a tube. Rather than knitting a flat square or rectangular piece, you will knit in a tubular fashion!

Imagine knitting your stitches in a coil or a spiral! It’s not too different than knitting a flat square, just a slight variation. That happens to give you some great flexibility in your knitting!

Best of all, “Circular Knitting” or “Knitting in the Round” requires Circular Needles! My fave tools. I use “Circs” whenever possible for my projects because they can be used to knit regular flat pieces too. Without poking your neighbor in the seat next to you. Or having them stick out of your bag!

A popular form of Circular Knitting is Sock Knitting. Knitting socks nicely demonstrates this technique. Hats and cowls are also great examples of simple Circular Knitting. It can be adapted and applied to many types of knitting actually. Top Down Sweater Knitting is a good example. Sweaters can be knitted in separate shaped pieces and then sewn together. Or in one continuous piece (for the most part) using Circular Knitting!

Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting by Melissa Morgan OakesWhat’s In The Book?
It’s got everything you need to get started in Circular Knitting. And actually it’s a great reference guide for traditional Knitting too from how to measure yourself for a custom fit to reading pattern charts!

I had a great time reading it because it reminded me of some old techniques while giving me some great new project ideas. Some highlights include:

* A great overview of essential tools, notions, and supplies. As well as an introduction to yarns and fibers.

* Instructions on 4 different circular knitting methods using Double Pointed Needles and Circular Needles.

* A special chapter on special techniques in Circular Knitting, Stranded Knitting, and Instarsia. And solutions to common problems when knitting in the round like Jogless Stripes.

* How to plan and begin your first project including Measuring Yourself, Swatching, and Selecting Your Yarns and Tools. To finishing your project with Joining, Weaving in Ends, and Blocking.

* 15 Patterns in all – 3 Starter Projects; 3 Simple Projects; 3 Intermediate Projects including mittens and socks and a felting project; 3 Advanced Projects including sweaters; 3 Steeked Projects something I’ve never heard of before.

* A simple stitch library.

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski Hat

Fun Fact: I’ve actually never bought a knitting how-to book before. Yes, believe it or not, I’m a self-taught knitter who taught myself to knit purely from books and the internet, yet I do not own a single comprehensive how-to knitting book.

I first started knitting when I was 14 years old. I went to my local New York Public Library to raid the Knitting section for books. I took out every book they had on Knitting! Since this was eons ago, I can’t remember for sure if I ever got my hands on a step-by-step how-to book. But somehow I managed. Cut to years later circa 2003 when I picked it up again and began collecting a library of Knitting books!

All the books I own are things are like Nicky Epstein’s Knitting On Top Of The World, Vogue Knitting’s Stitchionary, vintage pattern books for afghans, victorian garb, and various collectibles that I might find at a junk sale or consignment shop including books from different countries like Japan and Taiwan! Along with a myriad of pattern sheets and knitting publications like Berroco, Jaeger, Rebecca, Lopi, and Interweave. In general pattern, stitch, and special technique books are what I own. I use the internet to fill in the gaps. So this book is an especially nice addition to my library.

Another Ripley’s Believe It or Not Fact: I’d never taken a knitting class. Until a few months ago! And it happened to be Melissa’s Toe Up Socks, 2 At A Time class! Which is how I met her! Yes, I’d also never taken a single knitting class in my life until recently. So for those who are thinking of trying Knitting and want to take the plunge solo, you can do it. I did. And hopefully blogs like mine will aid you in doing so. Without sacrificing proper technique!

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski HatWhat I Like
I especially liked the intro chapter. It features a nice listing of tools and notions. From different Straight Needles, Double Pointed Needles, and Circular Needles. It also includes a great list of supporting notions and supplies and goes into some basic yarn and fiber information too.

When I got back into Knitting several years ago, I switched almost exclusively to Circular Needles and to Knitting in the Round whenever possible. It’s slightly more efficient, there tends to be less stopping and less seaming! So I’m no stranger to it, yet I was still able to find quite a few new tips and tricks from this book. I discovered Circular Knitting that uses 2 Circular Needles. A great alternative for when you don’t have the right length circular needles for your project!

It’s great for a refresher or as a handy resource for any level knitter. If you’ve knitted before but haven’t in awhile or forget a basic technique, the book includes great foundation instructions. Like Long-Tail Cast On, Color Changes, and Magic Loop. It also reminded me of a color change technique I learned years ago in high school called Russian Join! It is great for joining yarns with fibers that do not felt well. Love it! The Pros and Cons sections are great too. I learned quite a few new Pros and some new uses too for old techniques!

Lastly, for those already knitting in the round, Chapter 3 is devoted to fixing some very common problems with working in the round. Like how to fix the gap you might have in your joins called Laddering and working with stripes for smoother color changes called “Jogless Striping”. It also goes into working with small motifs and Intarsia! It includes False Side Seams as well, an advanced optional technique. Chapter 5 is devoted to planning your project and is also a nice reference guide.

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski HatRound-Up
It’s a nice essential how-to book suitable for everyone from the beginner novice to the experienced. It has everything a beginner needs to know displayed in an easily digestible format. I consider myself an Intermediate to Advanced knitter yet was able to find new insights, tips, and tricks. So it could be a great book for experienced knitters to check out too.

To read more about Melissa, check out my Toe-Up Socks post. It includes my first socks and an interview with Melissa! Or check out her blog, Melissa Knits!.

BONUS! CONTEST – You can own this book too! Melissa was kind enough to send along an extra copy to send out to one lucky winner! So if you’re interested in adding this book to your knitting library, then see here for how to enter.

The full pattern for the project on this page is also coming soon! It’s a simple pattern I made up inspired by the “Jogless Striping” technique and a beginner pattern that is included in the book!

Circular Knitting - Gator + Ski Hat