Thursday, November 26, 2009

From Fleece to Yarn

These books discuss more about the spinning process and what to do with your yarn once you're done.

A Fine Fleece: Knitting with Handspun Yarns by Lisa Lloyd

The patterns in this book are separated into three categories: Light and Shadow (Studies in Contrasts), The Forest and the Trees (Scale and Perspective) and Conceptual Stitches & Emotive design.

The designs are very classic, and to quote the forward author Clara Parkes, the book contains "26 patterns that were conceived from the very start for handspun yarns." Every piece is shown in handspun and commercially available yarn.

There is little in this book about how to spin, so it is not a book to use to learn that craft. (There are some details about caring for your yarn, gauge, different breeds of sheep, and other concerns when you are dealing with a non commercial yarn.) It may, however, help answer the question... so I've spun this yarn... and now what?

Many of the pattens are sweaters, and they are pretty loose fitting, and some are even unisex. (The patterns are beautiful, but they are not my style and similar types of cabled sweaters etc can be found on the internet.) These are projects that would be for an accomplished spinner, as you would need yards and yards of yarn to complete something. Not all of the pictures have both the handspun and commercial yarns in focus, so the comparison is difficult. For some projects, it is clear which garment was handspun (before reading the caption), but for others it is difficult to tell.

In conclusion, I am neither completely satisfied with this book as a spinning book or as a book of knitting patterns.

Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney

There is a nice intro section discussing important things for spinning yarn (troubleshooting, measuring yarn thickness, to ply or not to ply etc.) Then (to my joy) there is a section on dyeing raw fiber, and how to deal with color while spinning. Color blending... I want to blend colors!

There are sections talking about the different kinds of yarn you can spin, such as adding slubs in on purpose (at this point with my hand spinning, I'd be happy for no slubs, thank you very much! I can certainly understand the appeal, however, of creating a yarn that looks very handmade.)

The book is mostly in black and white. I would have loved more photos, but as a reference it is one of the best I've seen thus far. I have not yet seen in a book descriptions on how to create so many different types of yarn. I think this would be helpful once I've mastered the basic spinning techniques, so I may be picking this up for myself someday!