Books lately

Books lately

In addition to the two gems that went into the shop recently (ALJ and The Artisan), there have been a lot of beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking books piling up on my table over the last … uhhh .. nine months or so that I’ve been wanting to tell you about. Here they are all at once!

The New Garconne: How to Be a Modern Gentlewoman by Navaz Batliwalla has no DIY angle and isn’t even specific to slow fashion, per se, but the women featured are the sort who take their wardrobes seriously — in the sense that they add pieces with thought and intention and expect to wear them for years, whether they’re bought new or vintage. I.e., the normal attitude from the days when we didn’t need a special term for it! It’s a collection of interviews with a variety of women — artist, fashion editor, perfumer, etc. — about their clothes and their lives (peppered with informal shots of their homes and workspaces), followed by a one-page tribute to each of the key wardrobe elements and a bunch of great street-style shots of additional women of great style. It’s beautifully designed, fun to flip through, definitely on the aspirational side, and I’m rationing the 14 interviews for myself to make it last a while. (Hardcover)

The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees grew out of the wardrobe-planning blog Into Mind, which you may remember me raving about here. It’s an encyclopedic guide to re/building a wardrobe, with guidance on everything from choosing a color palette to understanding what works for you to being a more conscious consumer. It’s quite dense and I haven’t gotten to read any of it yet but have seen lots of raves, and would love to hear below from anyone who’s spent real time with it. (Paperback with French flaps)

In Search of the World’s Finest Wools by Dominic Dormeuil and Jean-Baptiste Rabouan is a big, gorgeous glossy coffee-table book — a tribute to the farmers and herdsmen around the globe (from Australia to Central Asia to South America and beyond) who are literally preserving ancient traditions on which we all depend but who are under increasing global pressures. From the intro: “We must never forget that a splendid cashmere garment worn by a model in a Paris fashion show only exists thanks to a Mongolian nomad … . [Rabouan’s] photographs capture the beauty of traditional methods of animal husbandry, amplified by the magnificence of diverse natural environments. However, this beauty must not blind us to the difficulties facing wool growers everywhere. … [C]an we do enough to ensure the survival of the last guardians of these beautiful and rare fibers? Their disappearance would take with them part of the history of human civilization.” It’s stunning from cover to cover. (Hardcover, sent to me by the publisher)

Color Confident Stitching: How to Create Beautiful Color Palettes by Karen Barbé (I love her) is the perfect intro to color for those who didn’t go to art school and study color theory (as I tend to forget not everyone did). It’s not a textbook — it’s slender and beautiful and accessible — but it’s a fantastic overview of how color works and how you can make it work for you, from how to use and think about the color wheel, to how color affects us and our moods, to how to create a palette for your next project, whatever it may be — colorwork yoke, cross-stitch sampler or living-room decor. In the back of the book are a handful of lovely stitching projects, incorporating embroidery, cross stitch and duplicate stitch on knits. (Paperback with French flaps, sent to me by the publisher)

Cocoknits Sweater Workshop by Julie Weisenberger is one I’ve mentioned before but wanted to include here anyway. This is Julie’s master explanation of her modified top-down methodology which leads to sweaters with English-tailored shoulders and set-in sleeves rather than the common top-down raglan method. She describes the process in the front of the book, explains how to calculate and track the numbers you’ll need, and all of that is followed by eight (highly adaptable) sweater patterns and a detailed run-through of the abbreviations and techniques they employ. Another gorgeous book, and I’m dying to try out her method!


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9 thoughts on “Books lately

  1. Oh this is great! I have some downtime in a few weeks due to foot surgery and will be ordering a couple of these to read, esp. the color theory one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have the Cocoknits book. It is #3 on my list of things to knit. It would be nice to take a class from her, sometime, when she is closer to me.

  3. I’m in progress with the Curated Closet right now and my biggest concern is that it will be due at the library before I’m done with it (after waiting months (!) for it to be my turn in the holds list). I have found the activities to be really helpful so far and I like how she encourages the reader to dig deeper about WHAT it is exactly that they like/dislike about any given look/outfit. I find that I get so overwhelmed with thinking that every single pattern on ravelry is ~pretty~ and have a hard time deciding what is actually my style. I can see these activities helping me already.

    The colour theory one looks intriguing as well! Although I’m willing to bet that my small town library doesn’t have it in circulation :)

  4. I’ve had the Cocoknits book on my list for a while now, and you just pushed me over the edge (thanks!). The great thing is that it comes with a downloadable pdf to use & enjoy until the book arrives–can’t wait to get started!

  5. What an exquisite collection of books you have compiled here! I am particularly interested in “The New Garconne” and “The Curated Closet.” I am currently challenging myself to wear a handmade item for 100 days in a row in summer, and I am only on day 4! I definitely need inspiration to get through the next 96 days. I am posting a photo of my daily outfit of handknit/handsew/handcrocheted item + resale items on my blog and wish more people like you would do the same so we could inspire each other! It is great to see the outfits you plan on your blog. If you want to check out what I’m doing my blog is:

  6. I worked through The Curated Closet earlier this year. I loved it. It helped really hone in on what I prefer to wear and helped me define it. It’s helped me be more thoughtful and intentional about the garments I am knitting as well as create a short list of pieces that need to be replaced in my closet. The exercises on creating outfits in your closet I keep on hand to remind me of new combos I created that weren’t the first thing that come to mind. I no longer feel that I have nothing to wear even though there are less clothes in my closet. I was also able to remove pieces that no longer fit (I’m still figuring out my post children shape/fit) with little angst because I am aware that they don’t really fit into the type of clothing I wear now and fit my current life. I would highly recommend this book and know I will continue to reference it.

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