Friday, February 17, 2017

"The Best of Jane Austen Knits" - A Review

As part of Hamlette's "I Love Austen" week, I'm here today to share my review of "The Best of Jane Austen Knits," edited by Amy Clarke Moore.

This book is a lovely collection of 27 knitting patterns, all inspired by Regency-era fashions and designed with a certain Jane Austen character in mind. So as you can imagine, the projects are absolutely beautiful! They range in difficulty from beginner-level to very complicated, so there's something in here for every knitter, no matter how much experience.

And even if you aren't a knitter, I think you'll still enjoy taking a peek inside this book, as the photography is gorgeous! When I got this book a couple of Christmases ago, I hadn't a clue how to knit yet, but I still enjoyed flipping through it and admiring all of the delightful patterns. :)

See, even the table of contents is pretty! Most of the projects in the book are for women, but there are also a few for little girls, men, and even patterns for a book cover, a tea cozy, a pin ball, and a couple of bags. For this review, I'll just share some of my personal favorites from the book. :)

The first pattern in the book is for a very iconic clothing item from the Regency era: a spencer!

So for each project in the book, the author made sure to include all the information you'll need before beginning: a brief overview of the design and the inspiration behind it, a list of all the supplies you'll need, what the size of the finished project will be, and any other notes about the project. The pattern (instructions) are on the following pages.

This adorable little bag was inspired by Northanger Abbey! I love the description of it: "Could a reticule serve more than one purpose? Perhaps Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey carried such a bag--the heart-shaped vine entertwined with leaves and flowers carrying a subtle message of one looking for love. Who will notice? Certainly not someone as boorish as Mr. Thorpe, but perhaps the observant Mr. Tilney?" ;)

I'm actually working on this project right now! (However, being the inexperienced knitter that I am, I've had to restart over and over because I keep messing up!) This is called the Margaret Dashwood Shawl, and I just think it's so pretty. As for the pattern itself, the instructions are easy to read once you understand what all of the terms mean; thankfully there are a few pages at the back which explain them!

There are also a few interesting articles scattered throughout the book, such as this one, that talk about things like where Jane Austen lived, knitting in Regency-era England, and dressmaking during Jane Austen's lifetime.

How pretty is this cardigan? I love all of the pretty details to it, like the puffed sleeves. :)

A very fancy lace shawl named after Georgiana Darcy! Here's the description: "Georgiana Darcy of Pride and Prejudice was a lovely young woman just on the brink of adulthood--at an age when she should be preparing to attend her first ball. Along with a beautiful gown, what could be more appropriate than a demure lacy wrap edged with tiny pearls?" I just love how the descriptions help you picture Jane Austen's characters actually wearing the designs in this book!

This tea cozy is SO adorable!! 

Some lovely stockings with the cutest little details, inspired by Marianne Dashwood.

And because a knitting book inspired by Jane Austen's novels simply wouldn't be complete without it: a pattern for some lovely evening gloves!

Well, I really hope that you've enjoyed this peek inside The Best of Jane Austen Knits! This book truly is such a delight to flip through, and I'd highly recommend it. :)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2017

I ♥ Austen Week Tag!

Hi everyone! So Hamlette is hosting a week-long Jane Austen celebration over at her blog, Hamlette's Soliloquy, and to kick off this exciting blog event, she's created a tag here! Be sure to hop on over to her blog often this week for games, giveaways, and lots of fun Jane Austen-related posts.

So now without further ado, let's get into my answers!

1.) Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?

I remember watching the 90's adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Emma, and I think P&P 2005, before I ever read any of Jane Austen's books. I was probably around ten or so at the time, and I really liked the movies, so after that I attempted to read Pride and Prejudice. Considering how young I was, though, I understood little of what I was reading, so I didn't finish! I think I was fourteen when I picked up Pride and Prejudice again, read through it, and just fell in love with the story. I'd say that's when my love for Jane Austen's works officially began. :)

2.) What is your favorite Austen book?

Of the four that I've read (I've still yet to read Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and her smaller works--'tis shameful of me, I know!), I'd have to say Pride and Prejudice. It's one of my all-time favorite books in general, actually! I like to re-read it each year during summertime.

My copy of P&P. ❤
3.) Favorite heroine? Why do you like her best?

I suppose I'll go with Elizabeth Bennet, because, well, she's just plain awesome! I love her wit and sense of humor, and how she isn't afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. (I mean, can we just talk about all of her clever comebacks during the scene where Lady Catherine comes and asks her whether or not she is engaged to Mr. Darcy?)
4.) Favorite hero? Why do you like him best?

Oh, this is such a tough question to answer! Hmm...I mean, I really like Mr. Knightley, because of how kind and good he is, and how he helps Emma grow. But I love Mr. Tilney, because he's such a sweet, funny, charming, kind, adorable hero. Since I have to choose, I think I'll go with Mr. Tilney. I mean, he understands muslin! <3

5.) Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen's work?

Yes, I do! It's the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice (I did a post all about why I love it so much here). The 2009 adaptation of Emma comes in very close second, though.
6.) Have your Austen tastes changed over the years?  (Did you start out liking one story best, but now like another better?  Did you think she was boring at first, then changed your mind?  Etc.)

Well, I never thought she was boring, but as I've gotten older, I can appreciate the stories she wrote much better. By no means do I consider myself an expert or anything, though! There are still quite a few of her novels that I need to read for the first time, and still others that I've been wanting to reread. Hopefully I can get around to that sometime soon!

7.) Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)? (Feel free to share photos if you want.)

Let's see... I have two really cool Jane Austen t-shirts, a Jane Austen mug, a Pride and Prejudice tote bag and journal, a Jane Austen coloring book, a Jane Austen knitting book (which I hope to review on here sometime this week!), and a pair of socks that say, "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading."
I got this bag and journal from a company called Out of Print
This is one of my Jane Austen shirts, with a line from Mr. Darcy's first proposal on it! I love it. :)
8.) If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?

Maybe which novel she enjoyed writing the most? Or which out of her heroes and heroines is her favorite?

9.) Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads.  What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?

I'm not sure! Of the film adaptations that I've seen, I can't think of any that I would want to have redone. 
10.) Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!

"Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort." - Emma

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library." - Pride and Prejudice 

"Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again." - Northanger Abbey

"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun." - Pride and Prejudice