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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ethnic Treat
I received my copy of Mostly Mittens today and it is a real treat. It focuses on designs from Russia, especially those of the Komi people. The Komi people are located mostly in Hungary and their language is of Finno-Ugric descent. Many Komi people also live in Finland. All of the Komi are originally from Central Asia and have migrated over time. Russia still...
Published on December 12, 2009 by Bonnie Brody

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intermediate to Experienced Knitters Only
18 pages of basics begin this book. This section also includes a bit of history on the Komi people. These are Russian people that lived near the Ural Mountains.

There are 35 mitten patterns and four cap patterns. Each project shows a color photo of the mitten, a bit about the mitten and the skill level, along with the sizes. The patterns were listed as...
Published on May 28, 2010 by BarbaraLyn


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ethnic Treat, December 12, 2009
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This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
I received my copy of Mostly Mittens today and it is a real treat. It focuses on designs from Russia, especially those of the Komi people. The Komi people are located mostly in Hungary and their language is of Finno-Ugric descent. Many Komi people also live in Finland. All of the Komi are originally from Central Asia and have migrated over time. Russia still considers the Komi "one of their 26 recognized ethnic minorities and they form an independent republic".

The fundamental design pattern of the Komi is the diamond. Some people think that Komi knitting is the basis for the Fair Isle tradition in Scotland. As preliterate people, the Komi memorize their patterns as they were unable to write them down. Their patterns combine a wonderful choice of different palettes and lovely colors.

This book contains 35 different patterns for mittens and four patterns for hats. The book is divided into chapters based on "pattern systems" from the easiest to the more complex. The yarns used for the mittens call for sport or fingering weight and should be 100% wool or another natural fiber such as alpaca, cashmere, llama, etc. Washable sock yarn or superwash wool yarns may be used. The patterns also call for double pointed needles, 7 inches long. Eleven inch circular needles may also be used depending on the knitter's preference. The patterns in this book are all charted out in a Fair Isle manner and are easy to read. Ms. Schurch gives general instructions for all mittens before going into the individual patterns. I found this very helpful.

The chapters are 'Basic Patterns', 'Septenary Borders', 'Wide Borders', 'Reticulations', 'Complex Borders and Complex Reticulations', and 'Alternative Ways of Working Mittens and Caps'.

Most of the mittens are knit in two or three colors, with a few using four or five colors, and they are BEAUTIFUL. It is easy to see the diamond motifs in almost all of them. The patterns are numbered rather than named. The colors go from striking and bright to subtle and soft. There is not a pattern in this book that I would not be proud to knit. I can't wait to start.

The hats are whimsical and look like fun to knit. The four included in this book are the 'Komi Earflap Cap', 'The Komi Cap', 'The Ribbed Cuff Cap', and the 'Komi Fez with Tassels'.

Whenever I purchase a knitting book I ask myself the same three questions.

1) Does the book contain patterns that I want to knit?

2) Are the patterns easy to follow?

3) Will this book be a good resource?

The answer to all three questions is a resounding 'YES'. Any knitter interested in knitting multi-colored mittens or hats with an ethnic flair will love this book. It is for the high intermediate or experieced knitter. Anyone who has done two-color knitting might be able to do the basic patterns. This is a must for my library and I've already looked through the book multiple times, smiling with the beauty of the patterns.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with lots of clear charts., December 11, 2009
By 
JL (Illinois, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
Mostly Mittens is a book that specifically focuses on the ethnic knitting designs from Russia (hence the subtitle, Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia). More specifically, it focuses on those of the Komi people, a group of people who settled in the NE part of Russia near the Arctic Circle in about 1700 (according to the book).

This book does a very good job of going into the history of the Komi, their knitting and their influence on knitting traditions. It also discusses the Komi patterns and what the characteristics of these patterns are. I actually really enjoyed this part of the book. I knew from looking at the patterns that things looked a little different than other fair isle mittens I have seen. Something about the geometry of the patterns is different. I really liked that there was explanation for this in the book. I don't normally care a lot about the history of knitting (which maybe is bad of me, but usually I am more concerned with the question of 'is it pretty?' instead of 'how did it come to be?'), but this time I was glad it was there.

But let's get into what everyone really cares about: the patterns! The book is broken down into six section, based on the type of mitten (from Basic Mittens all the way to Complex Borders, and even a few hat patterns made their way into the book). The each pattern has a full color picture of the mitten and then the usual yarn, gauge, needle size info. After that is a brief written instruction for the cuff and then goes straight into the colorwork of the mitten. The chart for the hand and thumb is in the book in landscape format, which makes it very easy to read (no flipping over pages back and forth, all the charts are on one page).

Some of my favorite mittens in the book are Mitten 4, 9, 11, 20 and 24 (not the best name for mittens, but at least they are easy to locate in the book!)

The patterns call for fingering weight yarn and the needles to go along with that weight of yarn (US 0-3). Not too bad for people that like to knit socks and things on teeny needles.

I would recommend this book to an intermediate knitter. If you hate charts, then you need to steer clear of this book. The book is pretty much all charts. But, if you are a lover of knitting charts then I think you might like this book. I would say this book is best suited for someone who has knitted some kind of fair isle before and loves those charts.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mouth watering! I want some needles now!!!, January 13, 2010
This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
Rating: 4.5

Mostly Mittens starts off with a very interesting (brief) summary of the history of the Komi people, why they knit in the fair isle style, how the patterns came around, and lots of very interesting history about this fantastic art.

The book is basically all knitting graphs. A knitting graph is like graph paper with squares filled in to represent which stitch is knit in which color. There are basic instructions at the beginning of the book, then each pattern gives the tools needed and the graph, but the basic instructions are the same for all of them.

The patterns are all unique and intricate, but very easy to follow once you understand what you're doing. Fair isle is very relaxing and fun, not to mention warm since the extra threads add a second, third, and at times a fourth layer of warmth to the mittens.

Many knitting books try to teach people how to knit, or try to offer pictures and explanations of certain more advanced stitches in knitting. This one does not--and it's something I appreciate. The book is aimed for the educated knitter who knows how to use double-pointed needles, read a pattern, and understand the difference between a inc 1 and a M1 etc. It's nice to read a book that is aimed for the level I'm at, rather than one that tries to take a brand-new knitter and make them a pro overnight. There is a list of abbreviations in the back, because all knitters abbreviate slightly different. There's also a list of resources in the back.

My only complaint is that the basic instructions aren't written in a very clear manner, nor are the instructions for the knit-on cast-on. Luckily the photos and drawings are wonderful, and you can pretty much understand the concept. Plus, if you're using this book, you are already pretty experienced.

In the back there are four hat patterns, and instructions to take the mitten graphs and turn them into hats! With 36 mitten graphs, 4 sets of hats, and a million color variations, imagine what you could do with this book!

Basically, this book makes my fingers twitch and my mouth water. I've got to get me some fingering weight wool and size two double-pointed needles...

Recommendation: Intermediate to Experienced knitters who don't mind using small needles. No size 15 for these! Size 0-3 are the ones you'll use.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty mittens, and hats..and great charts to use elsewhere, February 8, 2010
This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
One problem with mitten books is that you think: how many mittens do I really need (unless you have grade-school kids in which case, you knit them in sets of three, pin them to jackets and hope for the best.) I like gloves, though they are harder to knit, but mittens are fun, a welcome gift and a small project that takes to beautiful colorwork.

Charlene Schurch revisits the patterns of the Komi people, a Russian ethnic group living in a very far north republic west of the Urals. They are related to Baltic-Finns and the Saami, and similarly, their knitting patterns resemble designs you find in Latvia, Estonia and Finland, notably a sort of toothed diamond motif, possibly a sun design and bands of herringbone, similar to "Laima's Broom", the symbol of the ancient Baltic deity Laima (related to Hindu Laxshmi.) The patterns are geometric, eye-pleasing and very fun to knit.

This book is essentially the same book as originally printed in 1998 and it's nice to have it back in print. A few new hats are added (one with flaps) and the mittens are beautiful. There are instructions for converting any mitten pattern to hat sections.

The charts are beautiful, showing the entire mitten including the decreases for the tops. These patterns lend themselves to startling color combinations or are equally stunning in simple shades of black, white and gray with a bit of red or cobalt blue for accent. The patterns make nice bands for sweaters, so this book is more than just mittens.

I made the Komi cap, a watch cap with a sectioned crown in shades of green, yellow and red and it's very pretty. My only problem with it is that the brim is not wide enough to be reversible, so it sits rather funny on my head. Next time I knit it, I'm going to add a rolled brim of extra ribbing, or make it into a "dubblemossa", the double Norwegian hat that is knit as a sort of capsule shape and then has the lining half pushed in to make a very warm hat indeed. Of course, you can also adapt these mittens to gloves by adding a thumb increase, stopping at the finger height and knitting in plain fingers across the top.

This is a very useful book and one that has charts that are quite useful. It has a place on the shelf of anyone who enjoys ethnic color knitting.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intermediate to Experienced Knitters Only, May 28, 2010
This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
18 pages of basics begin this book. This section also includes a bit of history on the Komi people. These are Russian people that lived near the Ural Mountains.

There are 35 mitten patterns and four cap patterns. Each project shows a color photo of the mitten, a bit about the mitten and the skill level, along with the sizes. The patterns were listed as intermediate and experienced skill levels so if you are a beginner, I would avoid this book. Yarn type and needles needed are listed next. The gauge is also listed so you can be sure the size will come out correctly.

Each project is worked with a chart. Hopefully, you will know how to work with charts but if not, there is a 2 page section that describes how to do this. There is a short bio about the author at the back of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FUN,FUN,FUN, January 21, 2010
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This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
I am a "newbie" to mitten knitting, but was more than satisfied with this book. so informative and fun to read. I have knitted hats for years and couldn't wait to get to LYS for yarn for the KOMI Cap. So much fun. This book is truly "eye candy". I have no doubt I will soon be knitting her mittens with as much enthusiasm as I did her hats. Truly a delightful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for a Beginner, January 18, 2013
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This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
I knit a lot of mittens, so this is a nice addition to my library. There aren't many of Komi pattern books in English. If you're a beginning knitter, this is not the book for you as it is mostly charts and very little direction. This is also missing the socks from the previous edition and has more hat pattern instructions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Mittens, April 18, 2010
This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
Part of the charm of this knitting book is the author's research of the Nomi people and their history of textile ornamentation. It is just a brief taste of their history, but it is a wonderful addition to the book.

The introduction to the patterns contains a Basic Guidelines section, with an introduction of the yarn and needles used. There are several pages of instructions on how to use the charts and general mitten crafting. The actual patterns are only written in chart form, but that allows room for 35 beautiful and unique designs. There are also four knitted hat patterns, three caps and one Fez-style hat.

The patterns are rated as intermediate to expert, but that may be due to learning the general shape along with yarn and needle management. If you can knit socks using the double pointed needles and can use more than one color yarn, these patterns should be no problem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful mittens, April 14, 2014
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This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
This was a great book. I was looking for some beautiful patterns and I found them in these designs. Beautiful colors and fun motifs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely eye catching mittens!, March 1, 2014
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This review is from: Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia (Paperback)
After reviewing the book, I am going to try colored knitting and increase my skills. The patterns and colors are so tempting that I do not know which one I'll try first.
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Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia
Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia by Charlene Schurch (Paperback - November 17, 2009)
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