Leisure Arts has just published the Beginner's Guide to Knitting in the Round, and it looks fantastic! I had the chance to email Kristin Omdahl, the fantastic designer of these fantastic patterns, and she kindly agreed to do an email interview with me. I loved hearing about her motivation to write up a beginner's guide for this sometimes tricky knitting technique. Here's what we talked about!
When and how did you learn to knit?
I taught myself to knit and crochet while pregnant and living overseas twelve years ago with a great desire to learn how to make baby booties and blankets for my soon-to-be-born son.
What do you like best about knitting? And what do you like best about designing knitting patterns?
Knitting lace is probably my favorite type of knitting but there is something incredibly soothing and meditative about stockinette in the round as well. Shawls and scarves are probably my favorite type of projects to make and wear. But afghans are my all-time favorite project for gifts and my family.
What made you decide to design these patterns?
As a self-taught knitting and crochet designer, and now a teacher, I realize how many different steps there are in learning to knit. I jumped right into the deep end, but as a teacher I am able to segment the different aspects and techniques and teach them thoroughly and in-depth. So a group of people I've helped learn to knit as beginners watched me knitting in the round on circulars one day (which I find completely normal) and they were astonished. We discussed it a while, then I pulled out a project I was knitting in the round on double points, and they were even more starry-eyed. It was shortly after that I sent a proposal to my editor about a beginner's guide to knitting in the round. Simple stitches, simple techniques, with projects for the whole family.
What is your favorite pattern from the book?
Probably the lace capelet to wear myself, but the baby blanket for a gift. I'd actually love to knit this on bulky weight yarn and large needles to make a blanket sized for me!
What would you say to someone who is new to knitting in the round (or even knitting in general), and a little hesitant about trying more techniques?
Knitting in the round is a great skill set to add to your repetoire once you are comfortable knitting in rows. It adds a professional finish to hats (no seams!) and eliminates lots of seams actually. I'm not saying seams are the worst thing in the world, but seamless does save time (no weaving in ends) and they are rarely invisible on both the right and wrong sides... I'm pretty sure once you get the hang of it, you'll never knit a hat in rows again!
Is there anything else you'd like people to know?
Currently, I just launched my first yarn ever: Bamboo So Fine by Kristin Omdahl. It's a gorgeous, hand-dyed bamboo yarn that comes in whopping 650 yard skeins! I include an ebook of 6 one-skein shawl patterns (retail value $6.99) with each skein sold, and a single pod of Wrapture, my all natural, no-rinse jasmine delicate wash (retail value $1.00). The kit comes in a drawstring mesh project bag. I ship worldwide through my Etsy shop.
A big, big thanks to Kristin for taking the time to tell me about her process and upcoming projects. The patterns in Beginner's Guide to Knitting in the Round look wonderful, and I can't wait to try some of them out very soon!