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
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.

July 15, 2013

My little boy will be 9 tomorrow. 9! And he is so very excited. In the past we would celebrate his birthday at my parents’ in the countryside. This year will be different. For the first time ever J really wanted to have a birthday party with all his friends. So we sent out invitations …

“There were ten in the bed and the little one said, roll over” Are you familiar with the lyrics? In case you’re not: at the end it says “There was one in the bed and the little one said, ‘I’m lonely…[sigh]'” – that is pretty much were we are right now. French kids spend summer vacation at their grandparents’. And as we are in the middle of summer vacation most of his (French) friends are gone. If it wasn’t for two there would be no guests at all tomorrow.

Fortunately, J makes the best of it. He suggested we’d go to the movies (something I would have never done with 10 kids) followed by a barbeque in our garden. And that’s what we’ll do.

crochet heart

I started making a garland for him the other night. A heart garland … But after I made two hearts my son would catch me (unprepared), take those hearts and use them as bookmarks. There was no need for him to say anything. Even I understood: No more garlands for the beautiful boy he is – inside and out. He has outgrown heart garlands.

But if you feel like making one – here’s the easy and very lovely pattern.

little yellow chicken

Dilly Tante inspired me today with those lovely chickens she found at Red Ted Art


But as I can’t sew I spent the afternoon knitting a distant cousin. Here’s how: First, I would knit four traingles


Then, I would knit the legs (i-Cord),; beak and crown are crocheted (Picot).


Next, I would crochet the yellow triangles together, fill the little chicken and finally attach everything red. Little black beads make for the eyes.


yellow chicken

Animal Scarves

Morehouse Farm has some awesome patterns. So far, I have tried the alligator, the rat race scarf, and the cat wrap. All of them were easy to understand and not too complicated to follow, once you’re used to their idea of increasing and decreasing.


For the white one I invented the idea of a “belly” by knitting a plain second scarf (no “scales”) and joining both halfs with single crochet.



cat wrap