Book review: “Knitting Hats and Mittens from Around the World”

Sometimes, skimming through a book is like travelling the world, picking up new experiences every time you turn a page. Seriously, when getting my hands on a copy of (the German version of) Knitting Hats & Mittens from around the World (Voyageur Press) the photos made me long for the faraway.

Knitting Hats and Mittens from Around the World Haekelmonster.com

by Kari Cornell (Editor), Janine Kosel (Photographer), Sue Flanders (Photographer)

The books 34 patterns cover an awesome variety of traditional knitting techniques from lace to braiding, from Scandinavia to Central Europe, Asia, South America, New Zealand … including knitting customs and history. You’ll find a French beret as well as a Peruvian Ch’ullo, the Greek fishermen’s hat next to a Finnish hat named after their sun goddess Päivätär, a Japanese Sashiko and an American Fenceline hat, just to mention a few. I particularly like the twisted rope cables, a pattern based on Maori tribal creation myths and pretty much all of the two-color designs. Most of the hats come with matching mittens or gloves.

Mützen und Handschuhe von Welt haekelmonster.comEach pattern covers several pages with written instructions, charts, and extra notes that seem to be elaborate and according to custom.

However, when surfing the net I happened to read a rather critical review that should not be overread. So I gave the book a closer look. Unfortunately, most complaints are true for the translated (German) patterns as well: not all of them are correct, charts are missing, and mitten seizes are weird. However, there is an (English) errata list on the publisher’s homepage for the Min Ulla hat, the Greek Fisherman’s hat, and the Aran Islands hat. (Thank you!).

Nevertheless, some of the patterns look highly complicated to me, long-winded and awkward. To find out whether this is actually true I decided to knit the French lacy fingerless gloves (“Französische fingerlose Handschuhe” p.69). I had to start over once after rereading the pattern, but that is me: I tend to be confused if a pattern exceeds two pages. However, so far I am doing good with my 2nd attempt and I am perfectly happy with the outcome. The lacy part is an easy 6-row-repeat that looks spectacular und the medium size instructions work very well for me.

IMG_0766Summing up, I would still recommend the book, if only to experienced knitters or as a source of inspiration for any armchair tourist.

A little bit about my choice of yarn: “Wannsee by schoenstricken” is a beautiful, luxuriously soft, 100% cashmere yarn, very nice to work with, while perfectly showing off the lacy pattern. Its color fuchsia isn’t even for sale (yet) – Jessica gave it to me for testing purposes. So far, I have used one ball (25gr., 115m) wth both fingerless gloves being done, except for the thumbs. Definitly a must buy🙂.

The book was not sent to me for review. I didn’t receive any financial compensation for what I wrote. Opinions stated are my own.

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