Very Easy Circular Knits Review
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After learning to knit, I spent a year or so knitting lots of scarves and dishcloths and other flat things. But then, after buying a pair of circular needles for knitting my first baby blanket, I became intrigued by the whole circular thing. And once I tried knitting in the round, I was hooked. In fact, if I have a choice between knitting something flat and knitting in the round, I go round every time. Sometimes I even convert patterns so I won’t have to knit them flat.

The knitter who’s ready to go round will want to check out Betty Barnden’s new book, Very Easy Circular Knits. Barnden will teach you just about everything you’ll need to know about knitting in the round—whether you’re using a circular needle or a set of double-pointed needles.

The book starts with the basics. Barnden teaches things like cast-ons (the book includes three different cast-ons—for both English and Continental knitters), joining in the round, increasing, decreasing, and bind-offs—using both detailed explanations and pictures. Then she starts into the projects, which are arranged by the level of skill required. The section begins with a simple cowl scarf and gradually works up to a family of yoked sweaters. In between, you’ll find all kinds of great basic patterns for mittens, gloves, hats, pillows, and even toys (like an adorable kitty puppet).

With each new set of projects, Barnden explains new circular-knitting techniques. Before the shoulder bag pattern, for instance, she shows how to pick up stitches and use stitch holders. And before the sock pattern, she explains new shaping techniques. All of the patterns and techniques are carefully cross-referenced, and just about every free bit of space on each page is filled with even more tips and tricks. It does feel a little bit cluttered and overwhelming at times, but it definitely takes out a lot of the guesswork. When you work on these projects, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.

While there aren’t a lot of patterns included in the book (there are about sixteen in total), many of them are the most basic of patterns—the ones that you’ll use over and over again. A basic pattern for socks—or mittens or gloves or a hat—will never go out of style, so several of the patterns in this book are timeless. And Barnden also provides suggestions for variations—adding stripes to your hat or texture to your gloves—so you’ll be able to add a little bit of personal flare to each project.

But my favorite thing about this book is its stitch library. I love playing with stitch patterns, so I love that Barnden has translated 45 different favorites for circular knitting—everything from textured patterns to ribs and cables to lace and even colorwork.

Very Easy Circular Knits is more than just a how-to book. Whether you’re knitting in the round for the first time—or you’ve been using nothing but circular needles for years—it’s a great reference book that you’ll pull out time and time again for projects, tips, and stitch patterns.

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