Crafty Book Review - The Gentle Art of Stitching

Thursday, April 04, 2013

It's about time we had another crafty book review around here, don't you think?

Our local library has a new copy of "The Gentle Art of Stitching" by Jane Brocket.  I tucked the book under my arm and took it home.

I have long admired the Jane's writing and yarnstorm blog in its many incarnations.  It speaks of a slower pace of life, where every day is a flitting from one handcrafted distraction to another, with a few stops for inspiration along the way.  Her writing is nostalgic, passionate and encouraging.  It's like reading a Nigella Lawson cook book.  In fact, what I enjoyed the most about his book is that it was nice to read.  The text in between projects was not just some technical filler of instructions, but thoughtful meditations on the crafts themselves.  It is this writing that elevates the book beyond the overdone coffee table fare that I am sure we see far too much of. 

I have to admit not everyone is a fan of Ms Brocket.  A reviewer of an earlier book "The Gentle Art of Knitting", took to the book with a calculator to work out that even a small tea cosy from the book would cost 55 pounds to make.  Much of Jane's latest book is couched with tender encouragements to just use whatever embroidery threads you have to hand and perhaps break out the hand dyed silks for special occasions only.  Perhaps there was a lesson learnt there.

Format –  For the things that Amazon won't tell you, this book starts with a tour of what you will need in your sewing box, before launching into 13 different types of projects.  There is a very brief guide to stitches before the templates to the back of the book. 

For the things amazon will tell you - The book itself is A4 hardback with 160 pages - rather than a snuggle into bed read, its a prop up the pillows and pour a cup of tea read.

Projects - The cover of the book boldly states that there are 40 projects in the book.  I haven't stopped to count them but there are definitely 13 types of project. The workmanship in the projects is impeccable, while the techniques focus on inspiring rather than challenging.

 My eye was taken with modern  crazy patchwork you can see above.  I have a velvet couch just screaming out for equally opulent cushions.

 As always, I'm not one to post a review without trying a pattern or two.  I pulled vintage cards and buttons from my stash and set making the button cards seen above.  They certainly had my kids puzzled - why would you want to make one of those? especially, when my handy work was sewing the card shut.  In future, I would look to backing the cards with a heavier fold of card so they can still be used as a greeting card.  Overall I liked the simplicity, colours and near instant gratification of this little project and pledge to do better next time.

Who would I recommend it to? –  Someone who likes to read and ponder over a project, just as much as they like the process of making things.  The how to section at the back is brief, suggesting that this book should be read with either a few skills under the belt or accompanied by some other how too books.  If you are looking for an action packed, instant hit of poorly made craft, this is not the book you are looking for.

Would I Buy It? - Oh yes.  I must get this copy back to the library to share the love.  I fear know that someone has it reserved after me and I'm letting them down.

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  1. i've heard good things about Jane Brocket but never seen her work at all. might have to talk to my library about getting a copy if they don't have it all already. cheers

  2. I feel just the same way as you do about jane Brocket's writing and I really love that 'gentleness' which comes through in all of her books. I splashed out and bought myself this one for Christmas because it's the only one my library doesn't have. I also read what some people were saying about the cost of yarn in her knitting book but I made one of my girls a slouch hat using 20 cent balls of yarn from the Red Cross and it turned out terrifically well.

  3. thanks for the review...ill certainly check it out!


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