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Review: The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs

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First, the facts:

Title: The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns

Author: Sarah Anderson

Published by: Storey Publishing, 2013

Pages: 255

Type: Spinning

Chapters:

Introduction: Endlessly Fascinating Fiber
1. Spinning Basics
2. Singles for Plying
3. Stand-Alone Singles
4. Spiral Yarns
5. Opposing Plies
6. Boucles
7. Cable Yarns
8. Crepe Yarns
9. Core Yarns
10. Novelty Yarns

KS: Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs

The In-Depth Look:

The author begins, “Fiber and the arts that use fiber have held a lifelong fascination for me. My favorite things about yarn and the making of yarn are the endless variations and possibilities. For the past few years, I’ve been collecting ideas for different yarn constructions and spinning skeins that represent some of these variations. These skeins have become my personal yarn library. This collection goes with me to workshops and classes to be use as examples not only of what we are learning in the class but also as examples of what can be done beyond plying two strands together. … That my friends, is what this book is all about. It’s meant to give spinners inspiration and a sense of what is possible with wool and wheel.”

And from there? This book just takes off into … well, an exploration of possibilities. Even though she states that it’s not meant to be a book that teaches spinning outright, she begins with a really thorough look at the basics. Twist, direction, fiber prep, carding, combing, color blending, drafting … all those fundamental things that are oh, so useful to know. (You might prefer to start with commercially-prepared fiber, but why should you have to?)

But then the fun begins, and she starts exploring different types of yarn construction, ways of plying, fun things to do to make straight-forward, bread-and-butter yarns to flight-of-fancy ones that are just outright fun to do.

All of this … these techniques for 80 different kinds of yarns … is packaged in a beautiful hardcover with excellent photos, a clear layout, and tips. So many tips and sidebars, like the ongoing “great sock yarn experiment” tests for different techniques, or examples of the way certain yarns look when they’re woven. This is one of those books that is so chock-full of information, you can’t read it all at once. In fact, it would be best used propped next to your spinning wheel, experimenting with your own fiber as you go.

That, actually, is something they obviously thought of, because one of the great extras with this book is a series of 64 reference cards tucked into a pocket at the back, meant to be easily portable instructions that you can tuck into a bag or keep by your wheel for reference.

I need to go back and really read all the sections I skimmed over in preparation for writing this review–because it’s one of those kinds of books. It looks like a straight-forward reference that you can dip into and skim (and it is), but you’ll get even more out of it with a long, slow, careful read. Unlike some spinning books, there are no patterns here for what to do with your yarn once you’ve spun it (sidebar suggestions notwithstanding), just lots of detail about how to explore this ancient world of creating thread.

You can find this wonderful book at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Storey Publishing. Thank you!

My Gush: Thorough, detailed, and eminently readable and playful.

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