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Review: Judith MacKenzie DVDs

When Interweave Press had a sale a couple months ago, I splurged and bought some spinning DVDs I’d had my eye on, and thought I’d share my thoughts on them.

First, the facts:

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Title: The Gentle Art of Plying: Beyond singles–creating just the yarn you want

Starring: Judith MacKenzie

Produced by: Interweave Press, 2010

DVDs: Set of 2. First DVD 58 minutes; Second DVD 47 minutes

Type: Spinning DVD

Sections:
DISC ONE

  • Plying: the whys and wherefores
  • Getting Organized for Plying
  • DISC TWO

  • Turning Errors into Designer Yarn
  • Finishing Plied Yarns
  • The In-Depth Look:
    One of the few DVDs on my shelf that I think is a must-have. Tons of great information, a lovely, calming presentation, and good tips about the reasons you should ply in certain ways but not in others … but also why it’s entirely up to you.

    Blurb on the box:

    “Plying is not an afterthought. It’s your gateway into the vast world of yarn design. Informed and skillful plying can make all the difference between ‘just another yarn’ and ‘just the yarn you want.’ In this engaging video, master spinner Judith MacKenzie presents not just the basics–how to hold your hands, where to put your kate–but an extensive adventure into the endless possibilities.”


    Title: Popular Wheel Mechanics: How to choose the wheel you want, love the wheel you’ve got, and truly master the machine

    Starring: Judith MacKenzie

    Produced by: Interweave Press, 2010

    DVDs: Set of 2. First DVD 64 minutes; Second DVD 60 minutes

    Type: Spinning DVD

    Sections:
    DISC ONE

  • Spinning
  • Flyer Mechanics
  • Part of the Wheel
  • DISC TWO

  • Pulleys and Tension Adjustments
  • Maintaining your wheel
  • The In-Depth Look:

    There’s plenty of good stuff in here, but it DOES focus on the wheels and the hows and whys they work, which can be boring if all you’re looking for is a wheel to, you know, make yarn on. But if you’re already making yarn and you’re looking for a good wheel, it helps to be informed about those hows and whys–and this DVD will cover most of that.

    Blurb from the box:

    “The flyer spinning wheel is a subtle machine. Understanding this ingenious tool, optimizing its performance, and making it work for you is key to becoming an accomplished spinner. In this far-ranging video, Judith MacKenzie looks at several of the popular wheels available to spinners today, explains the fundamentals of how they work, dissects their differences, gives pointers on getting the best from them, and shares tips and hints on making your wheel as efficient and versatile as it was designed to be.”


    Title: A Spinner’s Toolbox: Six drafting techniques for crafting any yarn you can imagine with your own two hands

    Starring: Judith MacKenzie

    Produced by: Interweave Press, 2010

    DVDs: Set of 2. First DVD 77 minutes; Second DVD 63 minutes

    Type: Spinning DVD

    Sections:
    DISC ONE

  • Introduction
  • One Fiber Preparation: 6 Different Draws
  • Spinning Worsted and Semi-worsted
  • DISC TWO

  • Spinning Woolen and Semi-Woolen
  • Spinning and Plying slub-yarn
  • Spinning boucle
  • Conclusion
  • The In-Depth Look:

    I’m really glad I got this set, too. The “toolbox” in the title doesn’t mean things like spindles or wheels–it’s the best toolbox you have. Your hands, and your brain. The beauty of this DVD is that it teaches you how to make six different kinds of yarn with exactly the same wool–because while fiber preparation can make a difference and can work better for some methods than others, ultimately it’s the spinner who’s in charge.

    Blurb from the box:

    “As a spinner, your most important, versatile tools are your own skilled hands. With those eight fingers and two opposable thumbs, plus a half-dozen simple techniques for manipulating the fiber supply, you can spin a full suite of yarn styles. … You’ll begin by seeing the unlikely possibility of spinning the six different yarn styles with a single fiber preparation. You’ll end by witnessing this reverered master spinner, in a miracle of energetic ambidexterity, draft two fiber sources simultaneously into a strong, lofty, funky novelty yarn. And so can you.”

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    My Gush: She’s known as an expert for a reason.

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