Mittens were the first thing that I wanted to knit when I took knitting up again as an adult almost a decade ago. That means I’ve been knitting in the round for a really long time. I wouldn’t have taken this book home if it hadn’t been for Kelley Petkun’s recommendation on the KnitPicks Podcast.
Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Radcliffe.
This is a big book with in-depth coverage of my favorite way to knit, in the round. The title says that it’s a workshop, and it’s really laid out that way, first introducing basic circular knitting techniques and then knitting small-sized samples of things beginning with bags and hats and working up to socks, mittens, and sweaters. All the patterns use Lorna’s Laces yarn, a brand I’ve often heard of and never tried. Radcliffe starts with showing how to do circular knitting on double-pointed needles, circulars, or one or two extra-long circulars. She has lots of advice on how to solve standard problems like twisting stitches when you first join the round or ladders between needles. Just as an example of how detailed the coverage is, she includes three ways to get jogless stripes, avoiding the visible stair step when you change colors in what is really a big spiral. There are also instructions for the trickier problem of avoiding visible joins with lace or texture patterns. She introduces a technique I’d never heard of called helix knitting, for knitting with two colors continuously. Once you get to the pattern sections, while everything is tiny and presented one way, she includes instructions for knitting every pattern both top-down and bottom-up, along with why you might or might not want to do it that way. Each also tells you how to adapt the pattern for different yarn and sizes that the original, so you could knit a full-sized garment. My favorite hat was a purple witch hat that started with a bit of i-cord and worked its way down in a spiral with just one increase a round. The sweater section includes all the basic sweater types – raglan, set-in sleeve, yoked – as well as how to turn pullovers into cardigans via steeks – and, utilizing those steeks, a very cool helix-knit sweater knit side to side, so the little stripes end up vertical. There’s a lot in here even for the experienced knitter, both in the new techniques and the problem-solving. Beginning knitters working their way through the book will not stay beginners for long.