Our good friend and author Melissa Morgan-Oakes has released her third book and we’re very excited about it. Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting is a fantastic guide to the world of circular knitting. Even a seasoned knitter would find this handy to have on the shelf. Not only does it include a ton of helpful tips and tricks, you’ll also find fantastic patterns that use the different techniques laid out in the book. The best part? This book is FULL of color photos demonstrating the techniques!
As part of Melissa’s blog tour, she answered some questions for us and shared with us her Top 5 Must-Haves. (In our latest Valley Yarns catalog, we have introduced a feature called ‘WEBS Loves.’ You’ll see that feature once the catalog hits your mailbox, or you can check out the online version soon.)
How long have you been knitting and who taught you?
My whole family were knitters, the women anyway, so I grew up in a world where one’s knitting was always close at hand, at least in my grandmother’s generation. A lot of people tried to teach me, and I would cruise along well enough until I went home and another relative saw me. They’d say I was doing it wrong, and show me their way. It wasn’t until they had all passed away that I could sit down to learn on my own. What I discovered was that they had all been teaching my very different styles. No wonder my poor little-kid brain gave up so easily!
If you weren’t in the knitting book business, what would you be doing?
I am not sure I know! I have a tendency to change career paths, and I have to say knitting is one of the longest runs I’ve had with any job. I think I would expand my farm, honestly, if I could do anything I desired and money was no object.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
That’s easy. My kids (the human variety, not the baby goat type). Although I can’t take credit for them entirely, because it takes a village, I can take credit for the whole egg to squalling infant part, and a fair amount of the rest. I have done a lot in my life, but nothing compares to that.
What was the most recent yarn purchase you made and where did you buy it?
Blue Heron Rayon Metallic, which I bought at Webs (maybe you’ve heard of them…) to knit into a shrug for my daughter using a modified version of Stefanie Japel’s Two-Toned Shrug from her book Fitted Knits. I am in love with it, jealous, and may have to buy more to knit one for myself – but in a different color.
What constitutes a perfect day for Melissa Morgan-Oakes?
There would have to be no stress, that’s for sure, so no telephone, cell phone, or email. Coffee on the deck at 6:30AM, with knitting and my spouse at my side – maybe make that 7:00 for his sake – then a morning kayak run, and an afternoon walking with Yoshi in the woods, followed by a really good red on my deck and something delicious on the grill. Then there would be friends over to visit, possibly bearing chocolate and something Mary Alice threw together, and knitting on the deck until bedtime!
If you could have only one yarn in your stash, what would it be and why? (Or if you could only knit with one yarn…)
I default to the practical: Valley Yarns Northampton, Cascade 220. Give me good, sturdy, logical, rational wool and the world is a happy place. Yes, I would miss the colors of Noro, and the luxury of Buffalo Gold, but in the end it always comes down to practicality with me!
What is your favorite food?
All of it! I think if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I would choose spinach. I love fresh spinach, barely steamed. Or Asparagus. Really I love diversity in my food just as I do in my yarn and my chicken breeds and about every other area of my life.
How many projects do you currently have on the needles and what are you currently knitting?
I am currently knitting that shrug for my daughter and a secret project for Carol Sulcoski’s next book. How many projects on needles – I shudder to think! At least 6 or 7, and that may be conservative. I did a big stash clean-out recently and tried to weed out things I know I will not finish. It didn’t go as well as I would have hoped. It’s very hard for me to discard a project in progress.
“Aside from yarn, which is sort of an occupational necessity, I always have on hand:
1. At least one set each of Dyakcraft and Signature circulars, because I am worth it, and I adore them both so much!
2. Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns – all of them, I consider them to count as one thing.
3. My Toika metal swift which I sometimes think I could run over and it would still work, and a ball winder.
4. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. If the world were filled with only lanolin saturated natural yarns this would not be such an issue, but my skin needs this stuff!
5. My great Aunt Blanche’s ancient mauve small-sized La-Z-Boy recliner, the official (if slightly worn and tacky!) knitting spot of MMO. I am sure that there are other chairs that would work just as well, but heaven help me if I ever have to go and find one!” (Check out Yoshi keeping the seat warm!)
Interested in Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting? Melissa has given us a signed copy to give away to a lucky reader. Just leave a comment on what your favorite circular technique (magic loop, dpn, etc.) is, or if you haven’t tried circular knitting yet, let us know why you haven’t. Winner will be selected at random Friday, June 24th, so you have until then at 9:00am EDT to comment.