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Blog Tour — Melissa Morgan-Oakes! and Contest

A little bit ago I won a copy of Melissa Morgan-Oakes newest book, Teach Yourself Visually:  Circular Knitting, and was cheeky enough to ask if I could be a part of her blog tour and post an interview.  She agreed!

Look for a review in a day or two — short version, it’s fantastic, and a must if you don’t yet knit in the round!

Stephannie:  Since you’re one of the doyennes of knitting in the round….when would you choose, for design purposes, not to knit a pullover in the round?  Or do you think it’s always workable?

Melissa:  Thanks so much for having me here on your blog! That is a great question. I can’t think of a time when I would not knit a pullover in the round. The only consideration might be the stability that seams provide, but that stability can be created with false seaming techniques. I will usually go to great lengths to knit things in the round whenever possible!

Do you consider yourself primarily a designer, or teacher, or both equally?

I think I would say both equally. I love teaching, but I love dreaming things up as well. Although a lot of what I design never sees the light of day, because I don’t love pattern writing nearly as much as I love designing. I find that teaching and designing satisfy different parts of my brain.

Is another book in the works?  Any design plans for the next year you can discuss?

Right now there is no book in the works. I have some vague ideas, but no real focus for the time being. The first three books came very quickly, and I am looking forward to a little bit of a break now. I want to design single garments, knit some things for myself, and really just step away from the pressure that comes with a book contract. Who knows – maybe my little break will end up a book? For now I am just taking things very slowly and not committing myself to much.

How do you utilize the internet and social media as a designer?

Ahh, the internet! I try to use both Twitter and Facebook to let people know when a new design or book or class are on their way. I also post things at Ravelry. I am on LinkedIn. A fair amount of the social networking stuff is, I will admit, over my head. I don’t think I do it right at all! But I am trying to learn – this blog tour is an example of that. Knowing that I need to be closer to home right now has helped me to learn more about using the internet to share information.

Do you have a formal business plan?  Does it incorporate design goals & plans as well?

I plan nothing! I know that sounds crazy to many, but nothing in my life is ever planned. I have enough trouble committing to a vacation in December six months out. I joke that I can only handle one commitment in my life at a time, and since I am married, that pretty much takes care of that. It’s meant to be humorous, but really it’s true. I do my best work and am at my happiest when I have no constraints on me and can just free associate.

What’s your favorite thing about designing?  Least favorite?  I’m including all things ancillary to actual designing & knitting – so feel free to address pattern layout, marketing, website design, etc, etc.

I love the process of coming up with a sketch, a swatch, and even a garment. I love writing schematics and figuring out how big I want a garment to be in various sizes. I have very little patience for sizing things up in the actual pattern itself. In my dream I would have a staff, and I would just draw pretty things, make notes and schematics and one garment, and then hand the whole thing off to someone else for the finishing touches – like writing the pattern in the other sizes!

Do you have a space set aside for working on your designs (or, lucky you if you do, a studio)?  If yes, can you describe it?  What would your perfect studio look (smell, feel) like?

I have an office that I had every intention of using as that space, but somehow I find myself more often sketching things on napkins while out to dinner, or making notes about a design idea in a little book I carry with me for that purpose in between errands. Most of my energy in discovering ideas and designs comes from the world around me, so the inspiration strikes when I am out and about. Or sometimes in the middle of the night – I have woken up more than once with a very clear vision of a garment or a sock in my head. I keep a notebook for that at my side. The perfect space – HUGE! Lots of natural light, white walls, with the only color coming from the yarns I have out at that moment. Tons of storage space for yarn, like the armoires I have in my office now. Lots of pencils, pens, markers and paper, and storage space for other activities as well, like my sewing stuff and my paper craft stuff. Not that I’ve thought about it!  😉

How do you balance work/life/farm chores?

I try to set a schedule, but I am flexible within it. My workday runs parallel to my husband’s, which ensures the evenings are more or less free. I might knit on a project in the evening, but I am not actively designing after 6pm. Chores are done pretty consistently at set times of the day. It used to be that this was a once a day activity, but with baby layers and baby broilers around it’s at least twice a day. I gather eggs more often than that, but at least twice a day I have what could be considered real chores – water, feed and cleaning. I fit knitting, designing, and errands around that. The farm has to come first. Yarn is wonderful, but it doesn’t need to be fed! Chickens have no thumbs, so their needs are the priority. I am very careful to make time for “life”, whether it’s Gene and I enjoying a meal on the deck, or a concert, or a quiet evening in watching something on Netflix or DVD’s. it is nice, now that the nest is empty, to get time to be alone, just the two of us. We blended our family, so we never had that “alone” time that newlyweds get.

You’ve said on your blog you hate winter — where would you like to live?

Gene once figured out that the only place on earth I could really be happy is the Cayman Islands. Apparently the climate is very stable, although maybe a little warm for me. But if it means no snow, and no temperatures over 90, I think I could learn to live with it!

What’s Yoshi’s favorite yarn? (note:  Yoshi is her darling Shiba Inu pup, who goes for the good stuff; he blogs at 100 Days of Yoshi)

For eating or sleeping on? His favorite knitted item is made with Valley Yarns Berkshire – a felted crate mat that he loves to sleep on or shake the dickens out of. His favorite consumed/murdered yarn was Artyarns Cashmere Glitter, which I try not to think about. But his real favorite yarn is Valley Yarns Charlemont that was hand dyed by Gail Callahan to match his lovely plush fur!

Thank you Melissa!

Would you like to win a SIGNED copy of Melissa’s new book? Comment on this post by midnight PST July 9th 2011 — just say something about knitting in the round.  Anything at all.

US shipping only, sorry (but if you’re not in the US, but have someone to whom it can be shipped, that’s an option!).

Please leave a way to reach you (email or Ravelry name).

I’ll contact the winner July 8th (oops) 10th 2011.


33 comments… add one
  • Anna July 2, 2011, 5:36 am

    I’m another big fan of knitting in the round, esp to avoid seaming for sleeves & bodies

  • Anne Marie July 2, 2011, 8:02 am

    Knitting in the round is the only way to go! My favorite pattern was my mom’s favorite pattern – a child’s fair isle sweater knit completely in the round from a 1960s issue of McCall’s magazine. Currently on my needles a pair of leggings, all done in the round. Rav amchart

  • InJuneau July 2, 2011, 9:12 am

    I would love to learn to knit more things in the round, esp. so I could change sweater patterns to that so as to avoid seaming (might actually want to knit sweaters then!).

    (InJuneau on Ravelry too)

  • Peppermint Mocha Mama July 2, 2011, 9:58 am

    Stockinette Stitch in the round is my most favorite thing because it feels like cheating since all you have to do is actually knit! The maniacal giggle the I try to stifle whilst working it is sometimes to much for me to contain.

  • quinn July 2, 2011, 11:55 am

    I love knitting in the round!
    quinn on rav

  • Jen July 2, 2011, 12:43 pm

    I haven’t tried knitting in the round yet, it kind of scares me. Need to get over it though, since I really really want to make myself a sweater!

  • knittingdancer on Ravelry July 2, 2011, 12:48 pm

    I like knitting in the round with 2 circulars.

  • lorinda July 2, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Knitting in the round is great! Favorite project? Probably a bag or felted bowl. I’d love this book!

    lorinda on rav

  • Judi A. July 2, 2011, 7:46 pm

    I like knitting in the round, knowing seaming and weaving in ends is miminal. 🙂

    Zowmom on Ravelry

  • Melissa Z July 2, 2011, 11:54 pm

    I have been knitting in the round for small projects but still have some trouble with complex patterns. It is so much easier to undo stitches on straight needles if you mess up. I need to look to get a smaller cable for my interchangeables. The smallest I have is a 16” and is just a little too big for baby hats. Such a great review and interview! Thank you for the opportunity!

  • Karen T L July 3, 2011, 1:16 am

    I am so pleased to say I have found a rather large storage bin filled with yarn, some knitting needles, and crochet hooks.
    Must use it up, and start again!
    Thanks for the first two wonderful books you wrote.
    Maybe someday we will meet up to have them signed. :o)

  • jerre dawson July 3, 2011, 1:49 am

    I also love knitting in the round. I started as an exchange student in Copenhagen. I wanted a scandinavian sweater and couldnt’t afford one so I got a Lopi book, yarn and circs and made myself one! I have loved this type of knitting and used MMO’s books to learn to knit socks. Now I try to adjust all patterns if I can to use circular needles!

  • Rebecca July 3, 2011, 8:30 am

    I love knitting in the round. My most recent “round” project was a whimsical bobble bag that was designed to knit flat, but I would have none of that: http://ravel.me/knittingwithwords/bb

    Next on my learning list are intarsia in the round and steeks (eek!).

    knittingwithwords on Ravelry

  • Rebecca July 3, 2011, 8:31 am

    I love knitting in the round. My most recent “round” project was a whimsical bobble bag that was designed to knit flat, but I would have none of that: http://ravel.me/knittingwithwords/bb

    Next on my learning list are intarsia in the round and steeks (eek!).

    knittingwithwords on Ravelry

  • Marilyn Nance July 3, 2011, 8:59 am

    Would love to learn knitting in the round!

    Thank you

  • Geraldine Scott July 3, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Love knitting in the round to avoid seaming!

  • Diane July 3, 2011, 2:03 pm

    Who likes to seam? Not me. I even dislike sewing buttons. Knitting in the round is the only way to go.

  • jessica l'heureux July 3, 2011, 4:00 pm

    I’d love to add this reference to my library – there really isn’t enough out there about knitting in the round and I often find myself converting patterns to it (as I hate to seam!).

  • Deb July 3, 2011, 8:08 pm

    How exciting!! I would love to add knitting in the round to my skills and to be shown how sounds perfect . . thank you for making this an opportunity 🙂

  • Emily July 4, 2011, 8:31 am

    I love knitting in the round, but really only on circular needles. DPNs vex me. One of the things I’d like to learn is how to convert a flat-knitted pattern to round, like sweaters, so you don’t have to seam them.

  • Suparna Vinod July 4, 2011, 11:27 am

    I learnt to knit flat before trying on circular knitting. I find knitting in the round easier since there is no need to turn the piece on the wrong side. I would love to learn more in this technique and to become proficient in it.

  • Dvora Geller July 4, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Thanks so much for a great interview. Would love to win as I would love to learn magic loop method of knitting in the round. All the needles are very pokey.

  • Carmen July 5, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I haven’t tried knitting in the round yet, but I do know that I learn better visually than trying to learn by just reading directions. This sounds like a great book!

  • Angie S. July 5, 2011, 8:53 pm

    I love to knit in the round for hats, but i have not mastered the magic loop method or knitting with two circulars. Maybe this book could help.

    knitterlydesigns on Ravelry

  • Margaret Walton July 6, 2011, 11:11 am

    Love knitting in the round and would love to learn more about it!

  • Kitten With A Whiplash July 6, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I do most of my knitting in the round, but I know there’s still a lot I could learn. I love a book with lots of pics and illustrations. Words don’t always work for me, but sometimes I can figure something out from just a picture. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Lynn July 6, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Would love a chance to have this book. I love knitting in the round – socks at the moment.
    LynnIL ravelry

  • elizabeth lowe July 6, 2011, 7:12 pm

    I love to knit in the round…I am left handed and I think I knit backwards?! I made a baby hat this weekend and had to PURL the whole thing?! I am hoping this book will help me turn things around!!


  • Connie July 7, 2011, 3:18 pm

    I prefer knitting in the round and would love to have this book. Thanks for the chance.

  • Vicki McKay July 8, 2011, 7:55 pm

    Love, love, love knitting in the round. Socks are my favorite thing to knit and when you think of sock knitting, of course you think…knitting in the round. Melissa comes up with so mant clever ideas. I’m sure this book is full of great tips & tricks! Would love to have a copy!

  • Eliana Bahri July 9, 2011, 9:36 am

    Knitting in the round is the best! You can just keep on knitting without worrying about the ws, you don’t have to worry about your gauge changing since you’re not purling, and best of all, NO SEAMS! LOVE it!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway, I’m a huge fan of Melissa’s work!

    (IknitCupcakes on Rav)

  • Monica Owens July 9, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I have just recently learned how to knit in the round.WOW!!!
    I don’t know how I knitted this long without it. I am
    Now addicted to socks and in the process of making my
    first sweater. I am now unstoppable!

  • Jan July 9, 2011, 5:39 pm

    Knitting in the round changed my knitting life! I love it!

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