The Gentle Art of Knitting: 40 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket:
Oh, how I love Jane Brocket! I was so thrilled with her book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity (see Book Nook post here) & I figured I'd love her book about knitting as well - I was right! She has written this book with her usual charm and humor.
The projects are mostly accessories - there is one sweater. As she explains, she prefers to knit accessories because you don't have to mess around with fit at all - I wholeheartedly agree! Some of her accessories are a bit eccentric - egg cosies and tea cosies, for instance. But many of them are true classics with the Jane Brocket twist (mostly her fabulous eye for color): round cushions (which I would love to knit up), a gorgeous afghan that starts off as as individual scarves ("which kept everyone wrapped up until they were called back to be sewn together") and a beautiful open weave scarf, to name a few. I might queue up one of her slouchy hats & she's given me inspiration to knit a hot water bottle cover.
What I really love about this book is the author's absolutely laid back approach to design (and knitting in general). On the slouchy hats, for example, she admits that she designed it flat because she couldn't find the right size of circular needle. On the mustardseed scarf, she admits to choosing the yarn for the project because it was one that she had just sitting in her stash (she also gives a really funny account of how she came about naming this scarf - after one of the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream). I think that most designers would be scouring the internet for the right needle, or calling up yarn companies for yarn support. I love Brocket's approach to it all, and how she encourages her readers to do the same ("if you do have some yarn in your cupboard that would look good on the edge then use it, but if you don't then there is no need to spend more money just for a thin line of colour.").
And just like The Gentle Art of Domesticity, the author has taken many of the photographs herself. I love how she pairs up a photo of the inspiration for the project with the finished object. There's a picture of challah bread beside her cabled rug; there's a photo of flowers beside her crocheted starburst flower afghan (there are a couple of crochet projects in the book, both of them afghans I think) & pictures of sea glass and a beach to show her inspiration for the sea glass chevron scarf. I love that she shares her inspirational insights with the reader!
If you're a quilter, Brocket has also written a book about the subject. I don't quilt, but I might just check out the book anyway - I can't get enough of Jane Brocket's style!