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Shear Spirit: Life on America's Fiber Farms and Ranches

Overview

An artisan who captures Maine’s summer air in her sun-and-sea-dyed yarns. A weaver and a poet whose Buddhist stupa sits near the barns of their Massachusetts farm. Two scientists turned sheep farmers whose flock grazes in the shadows of Montana’s Bridger Mountains. A Navajo sheep herder and craftsman in the Black Mesa region of Arizona whose endangered breed of sheep were rescued from extinction. These are just a few of the captivating portraits of America’s fiber farms and ...
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2008 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift-quality. No remainder marks or cuts. Fully illustrated, oversized hardcover. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With ... dust jacket. 160 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Includes 20 knitting patterns. Read more Show Less

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Overview

An artisan who captures Maine’s summer air in her sun-and-sea-dyed yarns. A weaver and a poet whose Buddhist stupa sits near the barns of their Massachusetts farm. Two scientists turned sheep farmers whose flock grazes in the shadows of Montana’s Bridger Mountains. A Navajo sheep herder and craftsman in the Black Mesa region of Arizona whose endangered breed of sheep were rescued from extinction. These are just a few of the captivating portraits of America’s fiber farms and ranches featured in Shear Spirit.

Part coffee-table book, part inspirational work, and part pattern guide, Shear Spirit connects knitters to the yarn-producing community in a new and intimate way. Filled with stunning photographs, fascinating essays, and heartwarming profiles, this book follows the writer and photographer to 10 fiber farms and ranches across America-from the Willamette Valley of Oregon to the coast of Maine-capturing the essence of the people, places, and animals that, together, create yarn. Twenty projects featuring yarns from the farms surveyed will inspire knitters everywhere.

A visual journey to America’s fiber farms and ranches plus a rich inside look at the challenging but rewarding lives of the people who have devoted their lives to harvesting and spinning fleece into yarn, Shear Spirit takes fiber enthusiasts of all ages and interests right to the source of their common passion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“With her perceptive profiles of life on farms from Maine to Oregon, Joan Tapper introduces us to passionate people whose lives are beautifully tied to the land. Gale Zucker’s rich, human photographs show us these stunning places, tender faces, and the most gorgeous fiber. Shear Spirit’s stories will stay with you long after you finish the book and will weave through your imagination as you create the lovely projects.” –Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner, Authors of Mason-Dixon Knitting

“Set down your knitting needles, kick off your barn boots, and put on the kettle before becoming absorbed in every page of this book. Whether you are smitten with fiber or warm wooly faces, Shear Spirit provides a cozy window into modern-day fiber farming. Get ready to spend an afternoon on the farm without tuning up the tractor, and enjoy colorful patterns that will keep you happily counting stitches well into the night.” –Linda Cortright, Wildfibers Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307394033
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/15/2008
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.84 (w) x 11.17 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

GALE ZUCKER is an award-winning location photographer and avid knitter. Her work has appeared in books, advertising, and magazines. Her portraits and feature stories appear frequently in Smithsonian, Newsweek, Yankee, and the New York Times Magazine.

Before becoming an editor of the award-winning Islands magazine, which she headed for 13 years, JOAN TAPPER was the founding editor of National Geographic Traveler. She is the author of Island Dreams: Caribbean and The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns of California and writes features about people, arts, and culture for a variety of other national publications.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2009

    Ideal for armchair travelers - and knitters too!

    This well written and beautifuly photographed book is a bit different from the usual armchair travel. It's the next best thing to visiting the ranches themselves. Any creative knitter will be delighted to receive this as I was myself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    If you are not familiar with Gale Zucker's photography, then you are in for a real treat. Her portraits have an amazing way of compassionately capturing many facets of an individual. Her landscapes and narrative work express joy and excitement for color, light and texture. She takes a personal pleasure in photographing sheep and animals and somehow brings out a human quality in her subjects. These photos make it obvious why the fiber farmers love their work. Joan Tapper is equally talented at providing an engaging and interesting text for this book. As you read each chapter you feel transported to another location. She tells these unusual stories with an intimacy that gives the reader the feeling that she really knows something about the lives of these farmers. There is nothing typical about their lives and stories, and they are frequently quite inspiring. This is a book that will remain off the shelves in your home and on hand. You cannot devour the gorgeous photos in one or two sittings. Nor can you keep yourself from checking your recollection of interesting facts. For example, who knew that the Icelandic sheep being raised in Minnesota are genetically the same as the sheep the Vikings first brought to Iceland? I am familiar with a Navajo story about a Spider Goddess and weaving, but I had never heard about Talking God who created sheep from clouds, willows, rocks, plants and rainbows. And although I have spent close to 20 summers vacationing in Maine, I did not know that the Damariscotta River could provide seawater to fix the dye in fiber. While knitting has gained in popularity as celebrities are seen carrying their knitting bags, this book pays homage to a wide variety of fiber arts. The authors explore knitting, crocheting, Navajo weaving, felting, spinning, and dying. Patterns accompany each chapter which beginners and experts can enjoy. If you are any sort of crafts person, if you are not a crafts person but appreciate the beauty and effort of well made crafts, if you are interested in small agruicultural businesses, or would like to vicariously experience a more rural life, then this is the book for you. I foolishly purchased only one copy. As soon as it arrived I realized that I should have bought at least three more as gifts. 'Which I promptly did.'

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