Giving the Gift of Needlework and Literature: The Mitten by Jan Brett

I was raised by two book lovers, and was “reading” photo albums long before I could make sense of words on a page. As a young child, I really appreciated when books had both words and pictures, and The Mitten by Jan Brett is among those books that have stuck most vividly in my mind.

I can still hear my parents’ voices making sense of the cryptic markings on the pages while my eyes were filled with beautiful illustrations. With gorgeously detailed artwork, Brett’s stories follow the adventures of humans and animals alike, through all sorts of landscapes and on all different kinds of quests, but my favorite of these books was always The Mitten, which is about a young boy who loses a white mitten in the snow, and the animals that find it. Told with a grateful nod to Ukrainian folktale tradition, the story is charming and sweet, a wintertime escape into a wonderful world.

Jan Brett

Young and adventurous fans of Jan Brett’s timeless and enchanting book The Mitten will love Kathy Augustine’s sweet version of the mittens Nicki’s Baba knits for him in the book. This pair is decorated with colorful embroidery based on the design featured on the back cover of The Mitten. Photo by Joe Coca.

Kathy Augustine designed mittens inspired by this story for the September/October 2016 issue of PieceWork, with the addition of lovely embroidery that pays homage to the design on the book’s cover. I always wanted to make white mittens because of this story, but was fearful of losing them in the snow. The added pop of color from the embroidery helps make sure that doesn’t happen!

cover Jan Brett The Mitten

The Mitten by Jan Brett.

Fortunately, Interweave now has the Mittens to Knit from Jan Brett’s The Mitten Kit so you can make a pair for yourself, and read the book as well! Including Kraemer Natural Skeins Merino Wool Blend (white), Brown Sheep Waverly Wool (red and green), a print edition of the September/October 2016 issue of PieceWork, and a copy of The Mitten, this kit is perfect to keep for yourself or to give to a book-loving knitter. So much of knitting is rooted in traditions and stories, and these lovely mittens pair both together beautifully. Whether you’re new to The Mitten or merely due for a revisit, this kit is sure to bring you both literary and knitting joy!

For other thoughtful gift ideas be sure to check out the rest of the Holiday Gift Guide, which is full of things to make, to give, and to share.

—Louisa

Featured Image: Make Kathy Augustine’s mittens inspired by of Jan Brett’s book The Mitten. Photo by Joe Coca.


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