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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
This book is full of fun projects.

Lara's Library (Sort Of): The Gentle Art of Knitting

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
The chapter headings are all presented in this darling, colorful format.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
The pattern for hot water bottle covers is one of my favorites. Buttons really amp up the cute factor, and reduce the amount of wrestling it would take to remove the bottle from the cover.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I am concerned that some of the patterns might not photocopy well - and knitters with weaker eyes might have a hard time reading off of dark-background pages.

The Gentle Art of Knitting: 40 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket is a beautiful, hardcover book that hovers between the coffee table and knitting bag.

The book is broken up into chapters with headings like "Comfort," "Charm," and "Style." I think that's a fun way to deal with the different projects throughout the book. There is also a section toward the end about finishing touches, and notes about inspiration and resources.

The introduction is lovely and includes ruminations on a Gentle Knitting Philosophy, which is "for comfort and to create comfort," but is also about a lot of other things. It traces, just to name a few, Brocket's early (unpleasant) runs at knitting, her (enviable) move to Germany and her (uncomfortable, but also enviable) pregnancy with twins. She credits her pregnancy, and German yarn, with giving her the time and enthusiasm to fall in love with knitting, once and for all.

The book is very well-laid out and the photography is gorgeous. The clear images allow the inspiring and fun projects to shine.

However, there are no diagrams or charts, and the color backgrounds on some of the pattern pages might make them difficult to photocopy well. This is especially troubling for a book of this size and weight (it's a little larger than an 8" by 10" photograph, and is hardbound).

Also, many of the yarns Brocket has chosen for her projects may provoke nosebleeds with their prices, but she does offer substitutions, and advice about how to choose alternatives and how to know how much to buy, so that helps a lot.

This is just a super-picky thing, but if you do buy this book and are an American, you might want to print a chart of conversions. Lengths are only given in centimeters. I would simply tuck the chart into the cover of the book.

Overall, a book full of very nice, pretty and simple designs, which should work well for just about any knitter.

P.S. - Jane Brocket has a blog, if you'd like to learn a little more about her.