Tutorial: Knitting in the Round with Shannon from luvinthemommyhood.

I am not much of a knitter… but I want to be so badly!  That would explain the collection of yarns and needles that I have accrued.  They are sitting in a box, high on a shelf above my sewing machines.  I am much more comfortable with my machines.  I see gals like our honored guest today, Shannon, from luvinthemommyhood, and I yearn to know how to do what she does and create what she creates!  Shannon’s blog was one of the first that I started reading, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the last couple of years.  She is so much fun, but someone that you can be real with and know that she’s not judging… the kind of friend that anyone would want in their corner.  I’ve also enjoyed watching Shannon grow in her knitting skills.  She is amazing!  I am inspired by the things that she makes with yarn and needles, but I have to admit that attempting to broaden my sewing skills intimidates the fire (or “far” if you’re in the south) out of me.  I don’t know why.  I was really relieved when Shannon said that she would share a post on knitting with us.  She has repeatedly encouraged me to keep on trying, she has even provided me with her sweet new pattern to follow… maybe this is just the kick in the pants that I needed.  I hope you enjoy today’s guest post!  (BTW, Shannon did this post all while she and her girls have had a horrible stomach bug. YUCK! I’m sure she’d appreciate a blog visit and a cheery comment.  And enter her current fabric giveaway while you’re there!)

Hi everyone!  I’m super excited to be over on “The Southern Institute” today to chat about knitting. I love knitting.  Knitting is fun, relaxing, rewarding, inspiring and just plain awesome.  A lot of people get discouraged when they are new to knitting.  They sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with some of the techniques that there are to learn but really, once you learn the basics you are good to go.  So when Jenny asked me to pop over and visit you lovely ladies today with some helpful how to’s for knitting in the round I was thrilled.  I’m all for getting people addicted to knitting!

Mitts being made using the magic loop method.

What the heck is knitting in the round?  Well, simply put it’s knitting in the round (in a circle) instead of using straight needles and working back and forth you use a circular needle – which is basically straight needle tips attached to a flexible cable, and you knit your item in a circle going round and round.  It’s a good time and opens up a lot of options while knitting to not have to do as much seaming…I  hate seaming :P  Knitting in the round is used for a lot of items and garments such as hats, socks, mitts, sweaters etc…the list goes on.  There are a ton of different length cables to make all sorts of circumferences of knitting.  So for example if you are making a small hat you would use a very small sized cable.  If you make a large sweater you would use a larger sized cable.   When choosing to knit in the round you can use a traditional method – knit using a basic circular needle, or you could use an interchangeable set of knitting needles. For knitting smaller items in the round you can use either the “magic loop method” or using “double pointed needles” as well as some people enjoy using two circular knitting needles at the same time.

Hat being knit in the round using the magic loop method.

How & why do you do the magic loop? In the pictures I’ve shown above I am currently making a pair of mitts and a hat on 32″ circular interchangeable knitting needles that I am knitting in the round using the magic loop method.  This is by far my favorite way to knit in the round for smaller items.  My favorite video on learning how to knit using the magic loop method is this video by my pal Jane Richmond (knitting designer extraordinaire!).  Knitting using the magic loop method is simply changing how you hold/use your circular needle to enable you to knit something with a smaller circumference.  You could also opt to use two circular knitting needles as well.  I find knitting with the magic loop method is way faster than using dpn’s, less slipped stitches happen, and you avoid those pesky ladders between needles a heckuva  lot more.  It also makes your work more portable (no pointy objects sticking out everywhere), and well…I just plain dig it.  Give it a shot – it’s fun!

img src: kahatch

So…what are double pointed needles? In the photo above you can see an example of sock knitting on double pointed needles.  Don’t worry, it looks scarier than it is.  Some people love this method, I on the other hand prefer to use the magic loop method instead of using double pointed needles but this is not always possible when you are making socks on very tiny needles.  Using double pointed needles for knitting in the round gives you great flexibility for starting with a very small amount of stitches and also using very small needle sizes thus making it very popular for socks, mittens and hats.  Here’s a helpful video for those of you looking for a video tutorial on learning to knit with double pointed needles and circular knitting needles.  Knittinghelp.com is one of my fave places to go for great video tutorials on many knitting techniques but you can also find a ton of helpful ones online and on youtube.com.  Simply type in your search bar what technique you are looking for and trust me you will find a ton of videos.  Us knitters are a helpful and friendly bunch :)

What’s the diff between fixed and interchangeable knitting needles & how the heck do you use them?   When purchasing circular knitting needles there are commonly two kinds – fixed circulars and interchangeables.  Fixed refers to a circular knitting needle that has a cable attached to it’s tip that is not removable.  These are great for smaller items that interchangeable cable lengths/tips cannot accommodate.  Interchangeable circular knitting needles are a set of needles that you purchase that come with a series of tips (your choice of what they are made of) and a series of different length flexible cables.  You then attach/remove the size knitting needle tips you need to the size cable length you need.  It’s awesome and super handy. You can also use your interchangeable circular knitting needles for making projects that don’t need to be knit in the round.  I strictly only use the nickel plated interchangeable circular knitting needles from www.knitpicks.com (shown in my pictures in this post). I heart my needles. I use them for all of my projects as it makes my knitting way more portable (no long straights to cart around), they are way more comfortable to work with for my hands/wrists and I save a bucket load of moola not having to buy a new fixed circular every time I need a new needle.  I definitely recommend investing in a set if you are a knitting addict (or soon to be one..lol).

What other things can I do to help learn how to knit in the round? Don’t get nervous. Knitting is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable. If knitting in the round was super hard nobody would do it.  So my advice if you are nervous is to surround yourself with knitters.  Get inspired and find a knitting buddy or a knitting group to join online and/or in person. Ravelry is one of my favorite places to go online.  It’s like facebook for knitters/crocheters.  It’s free to join and honestly will open up a whole new world/community of knitting for you.  There are groups to join, friends to be made and lots of helpful tutorials on knitting on there as well patterns galore!  You can friend me on there under “luvinthemommyhood“.   Pop on over to our “luvinthemommyhood ravelry group” to join in on our fun Knit Along’s (a great way to meet people and learn how to knit) and to show off your works in progress, finished projects and to ask for help and get inspired.  We’re a friendly group of peeps who love helping out new knitters :)
The Mallory Cowl Pattern (Child and/or Adult version) by Shannon Cook
So grab yourself a cup of coffee, put on some Downton Abbey, curl up and get knitting.  Pick a great beginner project for knitting in the round like my Mallory Cowl Pattern shown above and give it a shot!  I swear you can do it! It doesn’t hurt to give knitting in the round a try right? You could end up with a fave new hobby, a new knitting technique and some awesome accessories and clothing! Happy knitting and thanks so much for having me Jenny! I can’t wait to see what you’re going to whip up in the round :)

Helpful links:
- Magic Loop Tutorial from www.janerichmond.com
- Knitting in the round tutorials from www.knittinghelp.com
- nickel plated interchangeable knitting needles from www.knitpicks.com
- fun online knitting community: www.ravelry.com
- luvinthemommyhood ravelry group and knit alongs.

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