Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Popular and prolific knitting writer and designer Nicky Epstein is well-known for taking knitting embellishments and details and elevating them into something entirely new. This is the same formula she applies to her book "Knitting In Circles."
Knitting In Circles begins by giving detailed, crystal-clear instruction on how to knit a huge variety of circles. There are circles large and small, circles with cables and bobbles, color work circles using stranded and intarsia techniques, lace circles, multi-textured circles, and circles that combine several of the previously mentioned techniques. Once the reader has learned what will seem like everything there could ever be about how to knit a circle, the book moves on to using the knitted circles in projects. Several medium circles can be sewn together into a sweater or afghan. If there are gaps, smaller filler circles can help to fill these out. In one design, circles are layered on to each other to form a ruffly flower effect for a shoulder shrug. Several different circles with different color work designs form a themed afghan. One of the most impressive looking (and possibly the most difficult project to attempt) is the lace dress shown on the back cover. This dress uses 33 different circles and 13 flowers. The circles are each of a swirly lace design. I really thinking that getting correct gauge and then piecing this dress would be very challenging.
All of the project designs are unique. Some of the project designs are very nice. Many of them look like somebody tried to make their knitting look like really bad crocheted granny squares. I can't help but make the connection between really bad crocheted granny squares and some of the projects in this book. The rampant and sometimes ugly circles sewn together into what is supposed to be a sweater, jacket or bag are sometimes downright ugly and look homemade, rather than nice, handmade thoughtful and flattering designs. Circles have been used a lot in women's fashions the past few years, and are sometimes very flattering. Some of the designs in this book just aren't flattering, on anyone.
Still, if you are looking for inspiration or want to think outside the box (or square) for your knitting, this book provides ample inspiration. The photography is well done, and often has some artful touches. Even though some of the projects look particularly campy, it isn't too difficult to think of how they could be adapted (substantially) to become attractive designs. With the previous chapters explaining how to knit circles in such detail, anyone who really wants to create their own circular designs will be able to do so.
Some of the designs that are attractive include The Crystal Lace jacket, which is sort of a large circle going over the back area with sleeves coming out, and fur edging. There is a bulky knit round cape which would be flattering on a young adult woman. The pattern I would most like to try knitting is the Semi-formal Starstruck Tunic, made from a glass beaded yarn. The tunic is made from four ovals that overlap like petals going cover the main torso area, and then there are straps that cross in the front to add greater visual interest towards the face and neckline.
This book would be suitable for intermediate or advanced knitters looking to try something different. This could be especially useful for those who like to tweak patterns or create their own designs, as it does have a different approach to shaping knitting. If you are looking for great, ready to go patterns, there are a very limited number in this book.
FTC Disclosure: a review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. I did not receive any compensation from the publisher or book author for this review. All of my reviews are my honest opinion.