Folk Mittens: Techniques and Patterns for Handknitted Mittens Paperback – 1 Sep 1997
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About the Author
Marcia Lewandowski spent her first twenty-five years in Minnesota where the long winters taught her to appreciate warm serviceable mittens. She currently resides in the south of Bolivia where she is working with the Mennonite Central Committee to strengthen women’s groups.
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Top Customer Reviews
Other mitten books fall down on the fact that the designs are too similar;this book features many styles of mitten, using many types of yarn andmany design motifs. There truly is something to suit all tastes here andthe variety of designs will keep even the most speedy knitter happy.
This is an absolute must for any keen knitter, new or not to the art ofmitten making. Buy It!
Clear instructions and, more importantly for me, excellent photography.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For sheer number and variety of mittnes, this book can't be beat. My personal favorites are a beautiful pair of cabled aran mittens and a fairly simple but elegant two-color pattern from the Faroe Islands. I do, however, have one criticism. The section on thumbs is, well, pathetic. The different kinds of thumbs are each given a short paragraph, but there are no diagrams or proper explanations as to how to go about knitting them. Thumbs are not terribly difficult, but as they are particular to mittens and gloves I do think that a book devoted entirely to the mitten should cover their construction clearly and thoroughly. A relatively new knitter, or even an experienced knitter who has never made mittens before, will likely need a step-by-step book with diagrams or a personal teacher to show them the thumb on their first attempt at mittens.
Thumb section aside, this book is very fine, with simple but clear photography that more than adequately shows what the mittens really look like. No specific yarns are listed for each pattern, but the weights and gauges used in ihe models are listed, so unless you want to make an exact copy of the model (and where is the fun, or for that matter the "folksiness" in that?), it should not be a problem. Overall, I highly recommend this book.
This book includes the following patterns:
Basic Mittens section:
Basic Mittens - sizing for men's/women's/children's mittens.
Lined Mittens - two mittens joined together at the cuff for extra warmth.
Double-Knit Mittens - two layers knit simultaneously
Houndstooth Double-Knit Mittens - Scottish tweed houndstooth pattern.
Mittens from Europe:
Danish Hotpad, knit in Denmark's damask knitting.
Danish Fisherman's Mittens - mittens with two thumbs, to last longer! I've never seen anything like these in my life, fascinating! Mitten pattern done in brown-and-white checkerboard with brown ribbed wrists. When one thumb wore out, they flipped the mitten around and wore out the other thumb.
Gotland Island Mittens - pattern illustrating the islanders' close ties to nature, with wildflowers, vines, and ivies of local meadows. Red and white diamonds for the hands with pretty green vines on white background for the wrist. Just lovely.
Lovikka Mittens - thick felted mittens in cream colored wool, with embroidered colors for the cuffs.
Mittens from Halland - From the heavily forsted Halland area of Sweden, tightly knit, red and black patterned in small diagonals with cuffs in ribbing with a block for initials.
Bohus Stickning - this famous knitting style is known for its combination of color with fabric texture, and these mittens do not disappoint! Lovely color changes with combinations of knit and purl stitches.
Setesdal Mittens - pretty flecked pattern of worsted weight wool of white on black at a tight gauge, with a pretty star pattern for the wrists.
Selbu Mittens - Norway's oldest knitting tradition is two-stranded knitting with both strands from the same strand of yarn. These pretty mittens are blue & white with the eight-petaled rose, known as the Norwegian star.
Fana Mittens - pretty blue and white flecked stripes edged with a checkerboard pattern, lined with wool in a technique called "tufting."
Finnish Mittens - pretty stars and diamonds and squres, a collection of Finnish patterns from mittens knit in Tjock.
Mittens from Lapland - these are just pretty! Beautiful white, red, and light blue patterned colorful mittens.
No book on folk knitting could be complete without a mention of Latvian (Baltic area) knitted mittens and the courtship and marriage traditions of mitten-giving. A little Latvian song, or daina, is included:
Good evening, maiden's mother,
As you see my hands are freezing;
All the while my mitten knitter
Snugly in your room is sitting.
Baltic Mittens - These are simply lovely color-patterned mittens of blue, white, green, and red, you just have to see them, I can't describe them in a way that does them justice.
Mittens from the Island of Runo - blue mittens with white diamond and star patterns on the back. Maritime tradition has it that the more remote the island from the mainland, the higher the skills of its craftspeople.
Wool at one time served as Iceland's legal currency, and knitting has always been an important part of Icelandic tradition.
North Iceland Mittens - pretty pattern in white, red, and black.
Lopi Mittens - these mittens are done in the pattern of "Jacob's ladder" and are simple black and white mittens that look so warm. Lopi is the famous wool from Icelandic sheep.
Northern European Fisherfolk:
Fisherman's Mittens - textured one-color pattern, after some of the patterns used by communities that lined Europe's Atlantic coast.
Faeroe Island Mittens - light and dark blue in diamond pattern with stars in each diamond, dark blue ribbing.
Greek Mitten - black and white geometric design, knitted with the Eastern method, beginning at the fingertips and ending at the cuffs.
This little country is on the Balkan peninsula in the eastern Alps, which has been referred to as "Little Switzerland" and its high elevations are known for its long severe winters. They are known for their sheep and sheep dogs, as well as knitting.
Bosnian Mitten - black and white pattern with pretty flowers/stars down the back.
Albanian Mittens: intricate patterns of black, yellow, pink, red, magenta, green, and navy.
The English Dales Mitten - salt and pepper patterning for thumb and the body done in shepherd's plaid.
Fair Isle is one of the Shetland Islands, located where the North Sea becomes the Atlantic Ocean. Fair Isle knitting has become famous for its lovely intricate color play.
Fair Isle Mittens - beautiful multi-colored mittens.
The Aran Islands:
The islands of Aran lie off the west coast of Ireland in the mouth of Galway Bay, and are known for their heavily textured knit tops called jerseys.
Aran Island Mittens - lovely textured cream-colored mittens.
Austria and Bavaria:
Tyrolean Mittens - lovely textured cream-colored mittens sprinkled liberally with brightly embroidered flowers, these are just pretty! Great way to use your spare bits of colored yarn for embroidery.
Mittens from Asia:
Anatolian Mittens - white and red patterned mittens in Turkish tradition.
Kashmiri Mittens - these are so strikingly beautiful, possibly the most beautiful pattern in the book! Lovely patterned flowers knit onto a cream background. The Himalayan heights of Kashmir are home to the Kashmiri goat, whose fleece yields one of the world's finest wools.
Pakistan and Afghanistan:
Mittens from Pakistan: this geometric diamond pattern is more then 1,000 years old and was typically used in men's footwear. Done in tan and dark brown with a bit of blue and red.
Mittens from North America:
Salish Mittens - the Salish tribe lives in the southwest province of British Columbia, and were highly skilled in weaving before European settlers introduced them to weaving. They quickly adapted their geometric designs to a knitting tradition distinctly their own. Done in brown, black, and cream.
Greenland and America:
Minnesota Mittens: these are gloves with a top covering to cover the fingers and turn them into mittens.
Mittens from Colonial New England: these mittens have a whole Bible verse worked into them, Matt 6:19-21, 33 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures here on earth . . ." All I can say is, wow, what an amazing amount of work!
Mittens from South America:
Bulky-Weight Andean Mittens multi-colored geometric designs.
Andean Altiplano Mittens - unique mittens with brightly patterned motifs dating from pre-Columbian times.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum Mittens: whimsical puppet mittens for children.
Miniature mittens: adorable little 2 1/2" by 1 1/2" mittens for decorating a Christmas tree or a doll.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this little trip around the world through mitten-knitting, I highly enjoyed this book and recommend it for the collections of knitters. It is not ideal for a beginner's book, however, but more for intermediate to advanced knitters -- or to inspire beginners.