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.

A week in Poland

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We went to Poland for a week and only got back tonight. I am way too tired to write a blog post but fortunately, my pictures speak for themselves. Look at those seagulls – can you tell they’re slightly irritated? No wonder with J performing upfront 🙂

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Most of the time it was windy and grey, at times even rainy but – suprisingly enough – no one would care. We would still spend most of our time at the seaside. Maybe I should add that we love going to this place in either spring or fall. Always the same house, almost like coming home. So we knew what to expect.

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As every year, I have extended my collection of stones, beautiful palm stones, so pleasant to the touch. M spent hours walking up and down the beach, thinking about life in general and in particular. And J? Well, J would run and jump. And jump and run. Until his rubber boots were full to the brim with sand and water. Fortunately, we had a wood stove in the cottage …

And as every year, we would buy honey along the street: acacia, erica, buckweed, and canola. One glass of each.

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Whenever they could, whenever the weather would allow for it, J and his friend (we had taken the friend and his mother along) would fly the kite together and M would detangle the strands at night (no one is as patient as he is. No one. Period).

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And in between I would knit wrist warmers, basically using one ball of Opal sock yarn, its colors ranging from pale blue to olive green and hence imitating the colors of the sea – combined with little bits of green, dark blue, and off white. Only when knitting the fourth pair, the ball would finally come to an end. Whoever dropped that ball at the YarnCamp’s “yarn swap” – THANK YOU! I love those colors!

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And I love fall! At least when we’re at the seaside. Coming home was sort of sad with most of the leaves being gone. Only last week they were bright and red, covering our house and reflecting the sun. None of that is left and apparently it has been pouring rain those last days. I really need to go to bed now – hoping to see some sun tomorrow!

Where’s my Sleigh?

This year’s wrist warmers have Christmas colors – red, green, light grey. And it’s definitely cold enough to wear them … I have packed them all this morning and will go to the post office now to mail them. Lots of snow in Berlin, it actually “feels” Christmas, if only I had a sleigh or a white beard.

wristwarmers häkelmonster.com

But there are others too:

wrist warmer blau grün

And the very warm ones:

wrist warmer grau braun

However, I start thinking about New Year’s resolutions: I really want to learn how to knit Fair Isle. It would be so much nicer not to have loops or snares at the inside of a wrist wamer. Any suggestions (whether it’d be a book or a video) anyone?

Some more Wrist Warmers

The whole weekend it has been nasty outside: foggy and cold. J didn’t care as long as there was enough light to play basketball, and M would do computer stuff. We had a friend staying with us for 2 nights. Her and I hadn’t seen each other in years. She brought her knitting along and the two of us would talk and laugh and knit, and talk and laugh and knit … It turns out that nasty weather isn’t too bad after all 🙂