Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: Magnificent Mittens & Socks

Title: Magnificent Mittens & Socks: The Beauty of Warm Hands & Feet
Author: Anna Zilboorg
Publisher: XRX
Approximate Retail Price: $24.95
ISBN-13: 978-193306416-1

Have you always wanted to knit mittens?  Well, this book is the book for you.  Anna Zilboorg has crafted a book that leaves no mitten question unanswered.  As Zilboorg opens her book, she explains that mittens are oftentimes overlooked, but are not only functional pieces, but also pieces of art that she likens to quilts.  Zilboorg touts her love of Turkish sock design and carries that same toe down design over to mittens, creating fingertips down mitten designs (though she explains that each pattern could be converted to cuff up).  She also prefers large cuffs for the aesthetics and for keeping snow out of one's mittens.  ;p

Zilboorg creates an interesting thumb design in several of her mitten patterns: what she calls "invisible" thumb.  As she explains, this is an older shaping from the Baltic region that creates a seamless thumb without gusset shaping.  But not to worry if you prefer gussets.  Zilboorg has created some of her patterns with thumb gussets and some with the sore thumb construction that EZ preferred.

Talking in depth about mitten design, construction, sizing, patterns and design, casting them on, shaping the mittens, and finishing, Zilboorg leaves nothing to chance.  The book utilizes wonderful illustration as well as in-depth instruction.  Though the pictures of the patterns in her book are brightly colored, unconventional looking and really take advantage of highly contrasting colors, Zilboorg explains that these are mere suggestions and that every knitter should make the mittens to suit his/her own taste. She even includes a Design Your Own page complete with charts that can be photocopied for notes on creating one's own patterns.  A big believer in letting creativity be your guide, Zilboorg includes heaps of info on embellishing and personalizing your mitten knitting experience.

So now is the part where you are asking where the socks come in.  Every pattern in this book can be turned into socks!  Zilboorg explains that since we are all quadrupeds, the number of stitches for socks and mittens is roughly the same and one only needs to replace the thumb with the heel to create a sock!  So Chapter 7: Socks is all about how to do just that!

Chapters in this book: Notes and Comments, Beginner's Mittens, General Directions, Small-Patterned Mittens, Large-Patterned Mittens, Sore-Thumb Mittens, Socks, Finishing Edges, Lining, Techniques and Abbreviations, Dyes, and Design Your Own

Disclosure: XRX, Inc. sent KnitPurlGurl Magnificent Mittens & Socks: The Beauty of Warm Hands & Feet free for review.  This is an unpaid post.  The opinions in this post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of XRX, inc.


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