Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book Review + Giveaway: The Gentle Art of Stitching by Jane Brocket

The Gentle Art of Stitching: 40 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket is one of the most elegant and tranquil books about the art of needlework that I have read in a long time. 

Ms. Brocket's goal in writing The Gentle Art of Stitching was to inspire readers to create beautiful projects in a meditative, easygoing, and non-competitive manner.  Given the hurried pace of our lives we artists and crafters are often so pressed for time and so stressed out that we become numb to the actual creative process while we work on our projects.   Sometimes we become so caught up in having a "perfect" project that we find out that we haven't really enjoyed the time we spent creating our project when we have finished.   What could have been a joyful, relaxing pastime was instead another source of stress!

In order to help us focus on "happy, gentle stitching," and perhaps find an antidote to life's stressors in the process, Ms. Brocket selected forty small and simple projects that don't involve elaborate charts, graphs, or special materials to complete.

via Jane Brocket
Most of the projects use traditional needlework techniques such as embroidery, cross-stitch, quilting, and appliqué:

Ms. Brocket also introduces a few techniques that are common in other parts of the world, such as the delightful projects that incorporate sashiko,  a type of traditional Japanese stitching meaning "little stabs":

Ms. Brocket also included two quilt designs inspired by kantha, a traditional form of handwork from rural India and Bangladesh that encompass a wide range of designs that use only the running stitch:

Of course I also particularly liked the chapter about vintage embroidery that includes instructions to make a Vintage Garden Party Quilt with vintage tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and tray covers:

The only potential challenge some readers may encounter in using this book is the very small typeface; some readers may need to magnify the text.

Ms. Brocket also included a long list of resources that focus upon modern, simple, and colorful  needlework designs and features books, magazines, and inspirational websites and blogs.  The author also includes a list of talented and inspirational artists whose work is taking needlework in new directions.  The resources for fabric, yarn, and sewing notions focus mainly upon shops and websites in the UK but may prove useful for online shopping.

via Jane Brocket

The Gentle Art of Stitching was my first introduction to author Jane Brocket, and it made me want to read more of her books (such as her newly released book, Vintage Cakes!).  I think you will also enjoy visiting her blog, Jane Brocket.


Dear readers you will certainly want a your own copy of The Gentle Art of StitchingJust enter to win below.  The winner will be announced on this post on December 8, 2012.  Best of luck!

EDIT 12/13:  As the first giveaway winner did not respond to multiple attempts to contact her I've had to chose a different winner.  Congratulations!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a copy of this book for review but as always, my opinions are my own! 


  1. The Vintage Garden Party quilt is awesome. I did a few ornaments using embroidery last year and was surprised at how easy it can be with the proper diagrams. Youtube helps too!

    1. How nice to hear from you Reagan! I love that quilt too. The two kantha-inspired projects are quilts. There is truly something for everyone in this book; perhaps even new techniques for seasoned quilters like you!

  2. This book looks wonderful! How can you part with it?

  3. Oh wow! That sashiko apron is beautiful!


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