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Folk Mittens: Techniques and Patterns for Handknitted Mittens [Paperback]

Marcia Lewandowski
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 23 2003 Folk Knitting series
Offering mitten patterns from around the world, this introduction to folk knitting is followed by a generous section on the techniques of knitting mittens. Among topics covered are gauge, wool selection (including techniques for washing and felting wool), casting on, plait edging, ribbed and unribbed cuffs, and a long section on the ever-elusive thumb. Also detailed are techniques for hand-knit mitten cords, finishing, and sizing.

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Because mittens are useful, warmer than gloves, and fast to knit, the art of knitting them is highly developed and has resulted in many traditional patterns unique to a geographic region. In Latvia, a young woman would knit mittens for all the guests at her wedding; in colonial America, mittens often carried a knitted-in Bible verse or poem. Folk Mittens details these and other traditions of various countries. The basic shaping instructions are clearly written, and all color charts are shown in color. Although the few monochromatic knit-purl patterns have charts that are difficult to read, most knitters will be too thrilled by the marvelous color patterns to notice. If you don't knit yourself, this would be a wonderful gift to inspire your favorite knitter (especially if you need a new pair of mittens).

From Library Journal

Following a section on knitting techniques, including valuable information on the Eastern method of circular knitting and on working with double-pointed needles, Lewandowski launches into some 40 different projects for mittens based on the traditions of Europe, Asia, and North and South America. She includes full-color charts, graphs, and instructions, along with the history of each type of ethnic mitten. Although a beginning knitter could learn to knit mittens from this book, Robin Hansen's Sunny's Mittens (Down East, 1990) would be a better choice for those with no previous knitting experience. Highly recommended for all knitting collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition to the knitter's library Dec 29 2003
I love this book! This book is the best (only?) mitten book I have ever seen. The patterns were clear and easy to read, the color charts were easy to follow, and the stories behind every mitten were interesting to read. I read the book cover to cover before I knit a single pattern. The book is also laid out well, with great photos and diagrams for each mitten.
This is not a book for inexperienced knitters, however. Some prior knitting knowledge is required, because many patterns have color-work techniques that are difficult to master, and some patterns' charts could be very complicated if a beginner were to attempt them.
Over all, I thought the book was fantastic. It is also a good reference source for charted designs to include in other knitting projects. It is a must-have for the well rounded knitting library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A really good book of patterns June 18 2003
This book has lots and lots of nice patterns for mittens. There are fancy mittnes and plain mittens, many colored mittens and some textured mittens. There is also a "basic mitten" pattern, which is nice for people who either have never knit mittens before, or who wish to have a template from which to branch off in designing their own mittens. The informational sections preceding the patterns from each country, though not extensive, are interesting.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best mittens books I've found... Jan. 5 2001
OK, so I haven't really found that many mitten patterns at all, but I looked almost everywhere before I discovered this book. This book gave me a multitude of patterns ranging from the very complex to the very easy...I ended up knitting Halland mittens for myself and am going to make the Norwegian Selbu mittens too. The charts are easy to read but I was slightly confused by the description of thumb gussets (gores) and how to knit them. It seems that she slightly glossed over their descriptions, although you can extrapolate (to a degree) what she means. The patterns are nevertheless gorgeous and generally straightforward. Aesthetically, the photography is beautiful too. I like the fact that this is a collection of mittens from around the world, & doesn't just focus on one particular region so the selection is large.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book that got me back into knitting July 27 2001
This is the book that made me want to knit again, after years of doing needlepoint and quilting. I have problems with my shoulders, which makes sweing hard these days, but knitting small projects does not require a large range of sholder motion, so I bought this book and I was hooked. Wonderful information about other cultures and exceptionally beautiful, unusual patterns. I have worked my way through half of the book and have made mittens as gifts and for sale. The patterns are very easy to follow and the text is very easy to follow. This is a wonderful teaching book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautiful book! March 25 2000
I loved this book. The instructions are easy to understand and the mittens are really beautiful and colorful. I would like to make them all. Some of the mittens look very challenging, however. But there are some easy ones too.
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