Circular knitting is intimidating to a lot of new knitters who just don't understand how it works or how to deal with all of those pointy needles. Very Easy Circular Knits: Simple Techniques and Step-by-Step Instructions for the Well-Rounded Knitter by Betty Barnden is a smart and useful book for those who are new to circular knitting as well as those who have more experience.
A Basic Education
This book is all about circular knitting, but there is enough basic instruction at the beginning of the book to help anyone who has never or rarely knit before start knitting in the round with confidence.
Information about reading a yarn label and yarn weights, tools, different kinds of yarn, how to cast on and how to make the basic stitches will be useful for those who don't have a lot of knitting experience, while those with a project or two under their belts can skip this section and move on to the logistics of knitting with circular or double-pointed needles.
The book contains 10 projects, starting with a super-easy knit scarf and ending with a set of sweaters for the whole family. Projects are arranged in order of skill level, and each time a new skill is needed it is throughly explained before the project begins.
Other patterns include a purse, mittens, socks, a hat, a pair of pillows, gloves and several toys. The patterns are nice but nothing too fancy, allowing you to get a grasp on the technique of circular knitting without having to worry about much else.
Tons of large illustrations demonstrate techniques, and the pictures of finished projects give you a good grasp of what the finished piece is supposed to look like.
Where this book really shines is in the stitch library, a section in the back of the book that explains how to make common stitch patterns while knitting in the round.
This is very useful because, while it's pretty easy to understand that straight knitting in the round makes stockinette stitch and alternating knit and purl rows makes garter stitch, it's a little more difficult to visualize how to go about something like seed stitch, a cable or a simple lace stitch.
This section will make this book useful to knitters who are already pretty comfortable with knitting in the round but who like to design their own projects or add a bit of flair to the basic stockinette stitch.
Very Easy Circular Knits will make any knitter more comfortable with the prospect of circular knitting, and it may just inspire you to come up with some circular designs of your own.