Jane Brocket is an internet crush of mine. Her Yarnstorm was the first blog I stumbled upon many years ago. I didn't know what a blog was and I have no clue how I got there but I fell in love with her tulip photography and writing about all the domestic things she loves and does. Reading Jane's blog gave me the feeling that I had found a soul sister - someone else who shared my passions, love of color, handmade things, family, wine, chocolate, baked goods, and travel. I have never met Jane but we have written back and forth a few times. I admire her and what she does and how she writes about knitting, baking, and more and her colorful photographs.
From her little blog, Jane has moved onto other things. Her blog morphed into her first book The Gentle Art of Domesticity which was picked up by STC in the States. She got lots of press (mostly in the UK) - both good and bad - which had to have its ups and downs and highs and lows. When you put so much of yourself out there like Jane did in that book and the press and people have strong opinions about it..... well, let's just say, it had to be stressful. But ink is ink and the book sold. (BTW - that book is now OOP and crazily expensive on the web!)
Jane has written several more books including one on quilting (The Gentle Art of Quilting), some children's books, a baking book, a kids project and games book and now for all of us knitters - a knitting book called The Gentle Art of Knitting. It is lovely. Full of beautiful photos and colors and funky projects that are "vintage" looking even if when you knit them they are brand new.
Jane used my now sadly discontinued Julia Yarn in one of the great projects in her lovely new book - The School Colors Scarf and Blanket. How nice it is to see my colors knit up and shown in such a special project and book. For this blanket, Jane used double moss stitch and knit five "scarves" that were then sewn into one big blanket. I cannot imagine how beautiful this blanket would be to snuggle under. All that wool, alpaca, and mohair loveliness and drape and texture. Yum. (Check out the close-out on the Julia over on the Webs page.)
Other fun retro projects include the obligatory "hottie" or as we say in the states "hot water bottle cosy." "Hottie" sounds much more fun doesn't it?
I love the retro feeling "Wheel of Colour Cushions" which are made using a short row technique. My Aunt Boots used to have pillows like this on her sofa (she called it the settee). Are they not fab?
I've always had a penchant for luxurious handmade coverings for wooden hangers. How decadent to actually cover a hanger with handknit stitches. What a great way to treat your clothes. And what a nice shower present these would make.
It's pretty hard to resist the cuteness of Jane's knit "bunting." Although this isn't really an American kind of thing, it sure is cute. It would make great Christmas garland. Great photo - love all those plates on the shelves.
On Yarnstorm, Jane has written a lot about making crochet ripple afghans. Her book gives the basic pattern she uses (in crochet, not knit). The timing is absolutely perfect (as are the colors) with all the fever about Target and their Missoni Collection (which I never even saw!)
Each project is introduced with a page of text including her inspiration and back story to the pattern. These are my favorite parts of her book. Most publishers give an author a paragraph to wax on about the project. At least this publisher had the sense to let Jane do what she does beautifully - write about handmade things and the act of making them. This is not a sweater book although there is one easy to knit basic design. There are a few scarf, sock, hat and glove patterns but what this book really celebrates is the handknit object for the home. The projects are vintage-inspired and fun and would make great gifts for the holidays. Congratulations to Jane on her latest big project. May she have many more.
And now that you have gotten to the end of this post, I've got great news for you all. See, it pays to read to the end, doesn't it? Jane's British publisher is going to send a copy of The Gentle Art of Knitting to the winner of this Giveaway! Here's how you enter......
Answer this question in the comments section of this post: In keeping with the title of Jane's first book, What is your favorite "gentle art of domesticity" and why? Thanks for reading, as always.
Contest closed. The winner was Kristin Farrell. Congrats! Your book is coming from the UK.