Here we are at the end of October, and for those of us in the northern part of the world, we are fast approaching mitten time. Toward that end, I have a trio of mitten books to tell you about – two of them new and one a bit older.
First up, Knit Mitts (October 2017) by Kate Atherley. If you are familiar with this author’s Custom Socks book, you will find it familiar. She starts the books with a discussion of hand size and measurement methods. Next is a discussion of yarns, with emphasis on which ones will be useful for which applications. Then she discusses methods for doing the various things you will need to do, such as adding thumbs, dividing out the hand section for fingers if you are making gloves, and so on. Finally, there are a set of example patterns. The patterns encompass a couple of different types of mitten, fingerless mitts, and gloves. You can use this book a couple of ways. You can use the formulas and methods to make up your own patterns, or you can use your measurements to personalize the existing patterns to fit you properly. I would say the information in the book is broad, but not that deep on any particular topic.
In contrast, The Mitten Handbook (October 2017) by Mary Scott Huff, is very deep indeed on just mittens. This book likewise contains information on measurement and sizing and yarn selection. And then dives off the deep end of the different things you can do with just mittens. There is a section on different cuff treatments, one on different mitten tops, and one on different thumbs. Mittens are knitted cuff up, top down, and side to side. Like Knit Mitts, you can use this book to design your own mittens, or you can use the measurement information to personalize the included patterns to fit you perfectly. If you want a book to give you a lot of detailed options to create mittens, this is a great book.
If you were trying to chose between these two, I wouldn’t know which one to tell you to pick. They are both excellent – well written, lavishly illustrated and complete packages in themselves. I suppose that it would depend on whether you wanted depth or breadth on your topic.
Finally, I wanted to tell you about a slightly older book. Knitting Hats and Mittens From Around the World
(2012, Edited by Kari Cornell). If you are interested in ethnic knitting, this book is a great resources. You won’t find much by way of design or measurement information in this book, but you will find lots of patterns in an array of styles from around the world. Some of the patterns are indeed true to the style of certain areas, such as a Peruvian Ch’ullu hat or Latvian gloves. Some of the patterns are of the “inspired by” type, such a Japanese Shashiko hat and mittens, which are a set of hat and mittens inspired by a Japanese textile technique. But either way, the included patterns do give you an array of styles and techniques to play with. I got my copy at a library book sale, and I have seen it at a local used book store. Although it does not seem to be in current production, it does seem to be somewhat available for anyone willing to do a little poking around.
Whether you love it or hate it, mitten season is right around the corner (or already with us, for those in the extreme north). Fortunately, we have some great new books to help us get on knittin’ our mittens!