Nicky Epstein is a woman who, I think it's fair to say, is obsessed with shapes. She seems to love to play with motifs and find out all the different ways they can be used on their own or as part of a garment.
She showed off this ability to obsessively manipulate simple shapes in her book Knitting Block by Block, and she's done it again with the circle in Knitting in Circles: 100 Circular Patterns for Sweaters, Bags, Hats, Afghans, and More.
About the Book
- Pages: 224
- Format: hardcover
- Number of patterns: 100-plus motif patterns; 21 projects
- Skill level: none given, but most range from advanced beginner to just plain advanced
- Sizing: all garments are for women and either have one or two sizes
- Illustrations: full-color photographs, mostly black and white charts and diagrams
- Knitting lessons: none, but there are tips for cast ons that are best to use with circular knitting
- Publication date: August 2012
Knitting Around in Circles
Knitting in Circles starts with some hints about knitting "in the round" (the puns are kind of irresistible) including a look at how gauge affects the size of a circle and ways to design with circles. A project gallery shows off the designs that are at the back of the book, and then it's on with the circles.
As with other Epstein books of this sort (her "Edge" books are like this, too), the patterns are arranged into different chapters -- here they're called rounds; I told you the puns were irresistible. There's basic circle shaping, texture and techniques, lace and points, colorwork and "eclectic," which is her term for things that use a combination of techniques or just don't fit anywhere else. A lot of these have surface embellishment with I-cord, ruffles and rosettes.
Each "round" opens with large pictures of the patterns included, which is nice. Then the patterns are given with smaller pictures. Most of the patterns have some kind of chart, so it pays to be comfortable with how to read a knitting chart before you take on these projects.
Some of the circles are worked from the edge in, others from the center out and still others flat from one side to the other. There's definitely a lot to inspire here and a lot of techniques to try out!
As you look through the book you will probably start thinking about how you might use the circles to make bags, form the tops of hats or embellish other projects, but Epstein has a few ideas of her own, too.
The 21 projects for which patterns are provided range from sweaters to shawls, hats to shrugs, a scarf to a stunning dress. Some of these projects try a little too hard to effectively use circles (several of the capes look like armor or giant shoulder pads and that really doesn't appeal to me) but some really are beautiful.
I like the Hemisphere Shrug (there's a bigger cape version, too) that uses super bulky yarn and a Garter Stitch circle worked with short rows to make a big statement; the Starstruck Tunic, which uses long ovals sewn together to make a flowing top; and the awesome Eternity Dress, made out of a bunch of different circles patched together in a lovely way with a silk/mohair yarn.
You may never knit any of the patterns out of this book, and that's fine. It's really about the circles anyway. But the projects are there to inspire you, to get you thinking outside of the idea that you can only use single circle motifs or that your finished project has to be round.
Knitting in Circles is a fun, interesting book that is sure to get you to explore some circular thinking and knitting. If you're a fan of Epstein's style, this one is a must, but you should pick it up, too, if you're looking to expand your knitting skills and think more creatively as a knitter. Working up some of these circles should certainly help you do both.