First, the facts:
Author: Jillian Moreno
Published by: Storey Publishing, 2016
1. The Blueprint: Yarn Vision
2. The Foundation: Sheep Breeds and Beyond
3. The Frame: Fiber Preparations
4. The Walls: Drafting
5. The Roof: Plying
6. The Paint: Color
7. The Front Door: Finishing
8. The Landscaping: Knitting with your Handspun
The In-Depth Look:
You know a spinning book means business when it’s got Forwards written by yarn luminaries like Clara Parkes and Jacey Boggs.
Rightly so, because this book means business, going into great detail on how to spin exactly the kind of yarn you want–because isn’t that at least half the point? Spinning is a pleasure in itself, and there’s something to be said for the joy of experimenting with techniques and fibers that has nothing to do with a finished yarn you could knit socks with. But usually, you’re going to want something you can use.
She says in the beginning that, “What was once a cozy, tiny group of weirdos has become a loud, brash family … Many spinners are coming from a knitting background, as I know I did. I spin to use my yarn for knitting. These spinners know about yarn, know what they want in a yarn, and want to know how to make it. They want something unique, something they can’t find in a shop.”
As a spinning knitter myself, I entirely agree with this. When Jillian goes on to say that the reason she loves knitting with handspun is because she loves the choice and control of being able to make exactly what she wants, along with that sense of accomplishment that comes with crafting exactly what you imagined.
Which is why what follows is an in-depth exploration of getting exactly what you need to make your spinning dreams come true. Using a framework of “Yarnitecture”–or the process of building your ideal yarn just like you would a house, starting with your blueprint and working through construction to the final finishing touches–she touches on pretty much everything.
What do I mean by “everything”? Here’s a quick overview: After determining exactly the kind of yarn you want, she discusses the different types of fiber and their advantages. She goes explains why fiber preparation matters, and then goes into great detail about drafting and pre-drafting and the differences between woolen and worsted, and … we’re not even a quarter of the way through the book yet. There’s still plying and color, and ways of finishing your yarn. There are notes and tips for knitting with your handspun, as well.
And then, patterns. As a spinning knitter, it would simply be wrong not to include patterns, don’t you think? (Yes, I thought so, too.) So then you’ve got 12 knitting patterns designed by Lynne Vogel, Kirsten Kapur, Rosemary (Romi) Hill, Kate Atherley, Amy King, Julia Farwell-Clay, Laura Nelkin, Briston Ivy, Adrian Bizilia, and Jillian Moreno herself. The patterns run the gamut from socks to shawls to sweaters, with some mittens and a necklace along the way.
All this detail comes in a frankly beautiful book–hardcover with amazing photos by John Polak.
I’ll sum up with another quote from Jillian:
“I love being part of something that reaches forward and back and that has a vibrant ‘now.’ I may not always be in the thick of it posting on Ravelry (I’m shy that way), but I love the underground rumble I always feel. I love that when I have an idea or question I can look at old books and magazines and search online and find a variety of answers and opinions. I love that when new magazines, books, or conversations come up, there is always something new, a new twist, a new process. In-person spinning energy is crazy. When I spin with friends or go to a fiber sale, class, retreat, or one of the big events, I am always full and exhausted afterward. It takes me a while to work through the things I learned and even longer to try them out. There is such a feeling of process and liveliness when spinners get together; it’s the best, really.”
I agree. And this book? Also the best in the same kind of way, because it feels like you’ve just spent an incredible weekend chatting about all the little details of spinning with a friend, so that your head is full but you’ve just had the most wonderful time.
You can get your copy of this gorgeous, informative book from Amazon or at your local bookstore.
This review copy was kindly donated by Storey Publishing. Thank you!