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My grandmother taught me to knit on straight needles, but, when I discovered that circular needles were so much more useful, I gave away all my straight needles and never looked back. It wasn't all chocolate and roses after that, however. There were certain imperfections I just lived with - after all, knitting in the round was much more pleasant than knitting and joining flat pieces. But now, after devouring Margaret Radcliffe's newest work, "Circular Knitting Workshop," I've upped my knitting skills by several levels. Wow - from good to great!

Here's my take on "Circular Knitting Workshop."

PROS:

1. This is a book about techniques - lots and lots of techniques that will boost the quality of your finished products. Of course, there are patterns, many of which are very cute, but their main function is to demonstrate how to use a specific technique. Most are quick and/or small, so you can try them out immediately.

I've already learned several techniques to get rid of that pesky "jog" that shows where a round starts anew. That's always bothered me, and I am so pleased to learn how to avoid it.

2. Knitting with double-pointed needles has never been a favorite with me, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. You'll find a good section on using double-points that will be invaluable when, for example, you want to make seamless sleeves or flat round objects. The color photographs take you through each step so you'll come out with excellent results.

3. Binding off is covered in depth. There are many instances where a tight bind-off detracts from the quality of your finished garment, but now you can choose from a number of stretchy bind-offs that will enhance quality and making wearing the garment a pleasure rather than a trial.

4. If you're like me and like seamless garments, you'll love the section on converting flat patterns to circular. Isn't it great to come to the end of a pattern without having to do all the finishing work? And, be sure to see the section on knitting in loose ends - more ways to avoid that annoying finishing duty.

5. I've always carped about knitting books bound as paperbacks, but the paper in this book is so heavy that, when you open the book, it will stay open where you're working. Overall, the quality of the book itself is excellent, and the photo illustrations are truly helpful.

CONS:

I find nothing to object to in this book. It's filled with "essential" techniques that I'm pleased to master.

OVERALL:

This book belongs in every knitter's library. Get it. You'll be so glad to have it as a handy reference! Don't even ask to borrow my copy; it resides in my library permanently.

Five Stars Plus!
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Circular Knitting Workshop: Essential Techniques to Master Knitting in the Round by Margaret Radcliffe is a book for all knitting levels and for all knitters who wish to knit in the round. The patterns include sweaters, vests, hats, socks, mittens, gloves and shawls. There is a nice review of the types of needles required for knitting in the round. Types of casting on and joining are covered, along with ways to avoid tight cast ons and loose cast ons. Five basic cast ons are covered: the half-hitch cast-on, the knitted cast-on, the cable cast-on, the ribbed cable cast-on and the long-tail cast-on, all of which are useful for knitting. There is a nice section on finishing techniques and a nice section on ways to convert flat to circular.

The projects are versatile and useful but the main strength of this book is the encyclopedic information it provides for knitting in the round. Whether you're new to knitting in the round or you are an old-timer, there will likely be information in this book that will be helpful to you. I recommend the book based on this information rather than on the patterns which are basic and can be found most anywhere.
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This book is a bit different than some of the classics about knitting in the round (for example, Jackie Fee's Sweater Workshop and Knitting without Tears) in that more types of items are included--socks, mittens, vests, baby stuff and fingerless gloves and shawls in addition to pullovers and cardigans. While the books I mentioned as classic references also cover some of these techniques, "Circular Knitting Workshop" is new and more varied and I think this belongs on any knitter's shelf of references for basic knitting. It is especially useful if you are new to circular knitting (where, essentially, one side of the knitting stays towards the knitter at all times, and you do not work back and forth) or if you want to incorporate this technique into your own original designs. Personally, I knit in the round probably 99 percent of the time, even for flat items like shawls; I start them in the center and work outwards, round and round. This book will show you how to do that!

The author discusses TUBES (handy for gloves), working bottom up, top down and how to handle the "jog" which is the unfortunate issue that circular tubes have; the beginning of the new round stacks on top of the old round (you are really knitting up in a spiral) so the new round "jogs" over the old one. You'll see this in stripes; instead of rings of color stacked one on another, you get a jog at the beginning of the new stripe that shows up rather annoyingly. However, the author shows you ways to disguise this.

A number of ways to cast on are demonstrated in good photographs. There are also a number of intriguing ways to cast off, including a decorative picot cast off I really like (nice for sweater necks or the cuffs of mittens.)

Any size yarn --any gauge, from lacy to bulky, so this book has methods only limited by your imagination. It's a new classic. Highly recommended.
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on March 16, 2012
I just received this as a gift,and still can't get over the beauty and thoroughness of it! The photography is outstanding, and Ms. Radcliffe takes you step by step through everything....e.g. an adorable child's vest with explanations of how to adapt and modify the neckline or other parts. Don't be fooled by the title: even though circular needles are used and explained for all the projects, one could easily adapt the patterns to their own needle preference! Who knew there were so many ways to kitchner....clear and concise, and a must have for your library.
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on May 9, 2012
This book contains a lot of information and good photos. I don't feel it's really for beginners however. I was disappointed that all the sweater and vest patterns are written for a baby size. You need a class in pattern design in order to follow her directions to make them for an adult. I'm not ready to write my own patterns. Her sections called "Any Size, Any Yarn" are not as simple as they sound. The patterns are a little dated for my taste (2 headbands?). I understand it's a workbook but why not make something cute in the process.
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on March 15, 2012
Received this the day it was released. Great resourse. Easy to understand. Should be a part of every knitters library. A must have for everyone who is learning to knit with circular or double pointed needles. I'm sure that mine will be be used and used. Great job.
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on April 17, 2012
I took a class on knitting socks, but was very disappointed in the content and did not know how to complete knitting a sock when the class was done. This book is a complete resource. It has clear instructions for each type of knitting and how to convert patterns. I can now knit socks due to the information in the book! Well worth the price.
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on October 22, 2013
I like this book because I prefer knitting in the round and this book allows me to create my own patterns and offers a multitude of techniques. The section on binding off is particularly good because it is easy to bind off off to tightly when working in the round and this can ruin your project (or at least make you miserable while you pick out your bind off to redo). I liked the section on how to solve the problem with "jogs", a typical knitting in the round issue when you end one round and begin the next. There are a wide variety of projects including hats and gloves. Also, she covers both bottom up and top down techniques.
My only complaint is that the samples used to demonstrate the techniques are very small, doll sized sweaters. I understand that these are designed to be samplers for the techniques but I am very unmotivated in using my expensive, beautiful yarn to create a sampler. I would rather take on a regular sized sweater and have something to wear when I finish.
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on December 29, 2012
I wasn't taught circular knitting as a kid, so this workshop really helps lead the beginner (or advanced knitter) through the process clearly. Demonstrates common problems, and how to fix them. Good book for someone taking up circular knitting for the first time. Not intimidating at all, and nicely organized.
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on February 2, 2013
I bought this book specially because I wanted to try knitting in the round and knitting with a "magic" loop on circular needs.
1. This book has excellent sized pictures are well as well written instructions. A few pictures are not a clear as I would like, but otherwise 90%+ are good.
2. It describes in detail various methods of cast-on and cast-off and which ones are appropriate for a specific project.
3. It is a tutorial on various techniques. The techniques featured go from simple to more difficult - something for everyone. It builds skills.
4. Contains excellent notes on correcting mistakes and common problems with knitting in the round.
5. It has some nice patterns for scarves, hats, shawls, mittens and a bag. Not a large selection, but has enough tips and advice to give me confidence. Each project has complete informaton about the yarn, yarn amount, gauge, needle size, etc. It also has featured techniques.
6. Gives advice on types of needles but not which brands to buy.
7. Layout is excellent and has plenty of pages to justify buying the book.
8. Type style is large enough for those of us who need it. Most of the print is on white background and the type set on the colored pages is in white, so that it can be seen.
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