I’ve been feeling a bit lost on the knitting-front recently. Despite many afternoons spent trawling through the patterns on Ravelry, I haven’t found anything that I really want to make. But it would seem that knitting patterns are rather like buses: you wait for ages and ages, losing heart and then, just as you are about to give up, suddenly three or four rumble into view (or at least that’s how it was with both the 37 and the 137).
On Friday morning, when I was up to my elbows in mud, Jane Brocket’s latest book, The Gentle Art of Knitting, arrived and suddenly I had at least five things I wanted to make, one of which is already on the needles. Other projects now in my queue include a lovely slouchy jumper, a really pretty little bag (Matilda’s birthday is looming), a group of tea cosies (possible presents for relatives and friends), and a squishy cable blanket. There is also a fun bunting pattern which I think the girls might like to have a go at – they can just about knit, but need constant assistance.
As with Jane Brocket’s book on quilting, each project starts with a short essay on the way the idea evolved followed by notes on yarns, colour choices and the ways in which the pattern might be adapted. And these musings on yarn, design and the pleasure of the craft itself are what give the book a freshness and charm that sets it apart from many other knitting books (and I have quite a collection). Each pattern comes with a variation: five scarves in double moss stitch that, should you wish, can be sewn together to create a fabulous patchwork blanket; a basic hat pattern that can be worked a couple of ways and a tea cosy that can also be knitted up as a hat.
But what I like most about the book is its emphasis on simple, pleasurable knitting – things you can make without going cross-eyed trying to keep up with a You Tube knitting clip that goes too fast and fries your brain. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the challenge of following a chart, or learning a new technique, I do, hence my familiarity with You Tube’s knitting clips, but there are many evenings when I just want to make something small and sweet, and to reduce my guilt-inducing moth-attracting stash. More often than not, on those occasions, I find that the only patterns I have require either more yarn, different yarn or further swatching (Gah! how I hate swatching). Not so now that I have my copy of The Gentle Art of Knitting.