Great books for you

knitted animal scarves mitts and socks

knited animal scarves mitts socks

animals on your scarves and your mitts and your socks!

Go beyond the basics easily with Fiona Goble’s book of knitted animal scarves, mitts and socks. The book features an animal on each of the accessories created. She uses colour as well as extra bits of knitting to make each piece. The patterns are easy to do. There are no hard stitches or complex colour changes and most of the knitting requires two needles, simple knit and purl stitches.

patterns for all age groups

Some of the patterns will appeal to small children: like the duck or tropical frog scarves. Others work well for adults as well as kids. Check out the tabby or marmalade cat scarves, fox or hedgehog mitts, for example. The simplest of the patterns is the baby seal scarf, gorgeous in mohair and alpaca, easy to do and a quiet statement if you wish.

The socks are mostly meant to be worn without shoes as slippers. As a consequence, you will probably want to add nonskid dots or material to the bottoms to make them less slippery.

the technicals

The patterns use good quality, readily available yarns in a variety of weights. Importantly, the patterns are clearly written and easy to follow. Many of the patterns call for two needles although a few need dpns (double-pointed needles).

knitted animal scarves mitts socks book cover

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Knitted Mittens by Solveig Larsson – northern Swedish traditional mittens

solveig larsson knitted mittens book cover

Solveig Larsson has written a terrific book on northern Swedish traditional mittens. I love books like this. The patterns are based on excellent research of the folk tradition and the mitten patterns have faithfully copied the technique of northern Sweden. But the mittens are also intensely modern. There is good use of colour and the author encourages you to add your own special twist to your mittens by being inventive with colour combinations. Although there are lots of illustrations of finished mittens the book charts are simply done in back and white. Oh the freedom to dare with colour!

knitting details

All of the patterns are based on the same basic one, listed conveniently at the beginning of the book. All of the special techniques that will make your mittens unique are well described and photographed. There are some really interesting choices for casting on and creating the cuff of the mitten. These can be mixed and matched with any of the patterns in the book.

No tension is given for the patterns and no particular yarn is specified as Solveig made use of locally available yarns and augmented with some handspun. She suggests you use 2 ply (fingering). Jamieson’s Spindrift 2 ply knits up at 30-33 sts per inch. It’s got colours that work well with these patterns and can be found here: Jamieson’s Spindrift at Also have a look at KnitPicks’ Palette yarn. Either of these will provide a wide colour range allowing you to create a work of art.

My personal favourite pattern is the Hedgehog, featuring 3 hedgehogs on the back of the mitten and a straightforward zigzag design on the palm and thumb. This mitten pattern is crying out for earth tones for the hedgehog sections and brighter colours in between and for the floral cuff.

this book is special

Stories and poems, interspersed with the patterns, make this book extra special. Solveig gives you a feel for the country, its flora and fauna and the knitters who bring this all to life. Solveig’s husband, Leif, drew pictures that reflect the people and the places.

It was most likely a labour of love by a knowledgeable author and its nicely put together. Although it was published in Swedish in 2013 and English in 2015, it appears to be no longer available except at a very high price. You can click on the illustration above to see the Amazon 3rd party resellers’ prices which I found to be horrendous. The English publisher is Trafalgar Books, who produce a lot of great knitting books. Perhaps we can get them to put it back in the catalog at the original price of $22.95 US or something close to it. As to me, I got it in my local library which I think is the first place to go for it.

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principles of knitting encyclopedia

Knitting Encyclopedia – Principles of Knitting – June Hemmons Hiatt

Imagine, a knitting encyclopedia – who would do such a thing? Well June Hemmons-Hiatt did in her book “Principles of Knitting. The rest of us are profoundly grateful.

There are lots of How To books out there, written by better known people, like Montse Stanley if you are my age, or Vogue Knitting several times, but June’s book really stands out. This book is so good it sold out at 30,000 copies and at one point was costing $600 on the used book market. Wow!

For the first edition June spent something like 10 years putting this carefully together. It’s thoughtful and thorough with lots of pictures and diagrams for every technique. The first edition wasn’t particularly pretty (all black and white photos and diagrams) but it was very clearly illustrated. I have the second edition on order to see the what differences time and feedback have made to the project.

It’s a book to have on your shelf for easy reference at any stage of a project. You can find June at: Principles of Knitting.

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