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


Expand Your Spinning Repertoire!

Explore the exciting possibilities in wool and wheel with Sarah Anderson as she invites you into her yarn library and demonstrates how to spin everything from classic fat and fine singles to dozens of boucle variations and one-of-a-kind novelty yarns. Featuring step-by-step instructions on making 80 distinctive yarns, this is the primer every spinner needs to begin building a unique collection of luxious yarns.

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

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Expand Your Spinning Repertoire!

Explore the exciting possibilities in wool and wheel with Sarah Anderson as she invites you into her yarn library and demonstrates how to spin everything from classic fat and fine singles to dozens of boucle variations and one-of-a-kind novelty yarns. Featuring step-by-step instructions on making 80 distinctive yarns, this is the primer every spinner needs to begin building a unique collection of luxious yarns.

64 unique reference cards appear throughout to illustrate step-by-step the singles and twist combinations that comprise each yarn. A second set of the cards, in a handy take-along format, is packaging in a separate envelope at the back of the book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This inspired resource for spinners details the dizzying array of techniques and tactics that turn fleece into yarn. Veteran spinner Anderson has created a veritable spinner's cookbook, detailing 80 lovely concoctions and confections, with suggestions for variations and further exploration. The opening chapter covers basic fiber preparation and spinning techniques. Chapters on singles, the spinner's basic building block, detail techniques for stand-alone singles and singles for plying; subsequent chapters cover spiral yarns, opposing plies, boucles, cable, crepe, coil, and novelty yarns. Delicious varieties such as spiral "flame yarn," "bubble crepe," "cloud yarn," and distinctive "pigtail yarn" are detailed. Beautiful illustrations and clear step-by-step diagrams are offered for each of the 80 yarns that are discussed, and pop-out boxes with tips, tricks, and food for thought (for example, "lace knitting: two-ply versus three-ply") pepper each chapter. The pages have thoughtful side tab labels to make finding the right section easy. Inventive, accessible, and fun, this book is an invitation to spinners of all skill levels to venture into uncharted territory and try out something new. This beautiful reference is an essential addition to any spinner's library. (Nov.)
This is the spinning book every spinner will rush out and buy this fall. This book doesn't teach you to spin —it teaches you the potential of your spinning.

Sarah Anderson guides spinners through the making of 80 different yarns, each building on the techniques of the yarn before it. The writing style is concise and at the same time thorough and inspiring – I wanted to spin every single yarn I read about the second I finished reading.

Beyond the making of yarns, Sarah reminds spinners of the basics: twist and balance, woolen vs. worsted, washing fleece and an excellent section on fiber prep carding (hand and drum) and combing. Throughout the book, she talks about a sock knitting experiment she carried out while writing this book – what yarn structure is the best for socks? You'll have to read it to find out. There are tips scattered through the book that focus on tricky bits of some of the yarn structures and invaluable tips for knitting with different types of yarns.

The book is filled with photographs, more than I think I've seen in any other spinning book – excellent process photos, beautiful project photos and lots of inspirational photos. It's wonderful to see a book take the space to satiate visual learners.

This isn't a book for the most beginning of spinners, but it could be a second spinning book. There is little discussion of how different breeds affect the yarn spun, but that's a book in itself.

The joy in this book is the instruction of 80 yarns spinners now have at their fingertips. What the Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting pattern books are to knitters, The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs will be to spinners.

Library Journal
According to Anderson, "This book isn't meant to teach you how to spin." Instead, it is a well-illustrated introduction to the basics of fiber preparation, spinning, and finishing of new spun yarns. Her examples are primarily based on spinning wheel techniques, but she does not ignore drop spindles. A great resource of inspiration. (LJ 11/15/12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603427388
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 258,525
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Anderson learned to knit at a very young age and has been hooked on the fiber crafts ever since. She taught herself to spin at 13, but it was not until 1992 that she became serious about her spinning. She developed a new technique she calls “wrap and roll,” which won her a cover on Spin Off magazine in 2008. She has taught at the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR), contributed knit designs to All New Homespun and Handknit, and teaches at many venues. She lives near Snohomish, Washington.

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Read an Excerpt

The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs

Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns
By Sarah Anderson

Storey Publishing

Copyright © 2012 Sarah B. Anderson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-60342-738-8


Endlessly Fascinating Fiber

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 used 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.

Because my focus is on the construction of the yarn, I made the samples all in white (or mostly white). Color is a whole separate, fantastic subject, but because here I'm focusing on construction, I feel color can be a distraction. As the library grew (there are now more than 70 examples), I was pleased to see spinners' reactions to the white smorgasbord of skeins. One comment that stands out in my mind is from a spinner who said, "When I see all of these yarns you've made, it makes me believe that I can do it, too." 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. It is my contribution to the growing pool of spinning books and videos now available. We are in an age rich with information, and because creativity breeds more creativity, I look forward to the coming years.

From Bread and Butter to Cake

Most of the yarns I use every day in projects are simple 1-, 2-, or 3-ply constructions. These are bread-and-butter yarns. I would never be without them, but sometimes it's fun to make something different or unusual. Designer yarns are like dessert, and as you take the time to learn the new techniques required to make them, your skill levels grow, improving every yarn you create thereafter, from the simple singles to the most ambitious novelty.

This book isn't meant to teach you how to spin. It is for spinners who want to learn more about spinning and try something different. It is not the definitive word on the subjects it covers, but it's my experience and opinion in book form. It is meant to be a resource for you to draw from as you grow in proficiency. The methods I use aren't the "only" or "right" way. As a mostly self-taught spinner, I didn't have teachers to show me the right way to do things. That said, you may find that I do some things differently from how you previously have been taught. Just look at any technique as a choice. Consider why you do things the way you do and then find the way that works for you and produces the result you want.

No one is, of course, truly self-taught. Every time I am exposed to what other spinners are doing I learn from them. Just watching how someone uses their hands as they draft out the fiber or seeing an exciting new project inspires and primes my creative pump. In actuality, I have had hundreds of teachers and continue learning every time I teach a class, gather with spinners, read a spinning book, or see other spinners' work. The community of spinners has to be one of the warmest and most generous groups of people I have ever been involved with. The art-yarn movement is pretty exciting, too. Many of the techniques are challenging and stretch the spinner's coordination while also stretching his or her imagination. Even if you never plan to use these yarns, I encourage you to be open to trying to make them. It is great mental and creative exercise and most certainly makes you a better spinner. Even the most conservative spinner may have dreams infiltrated with beehives, coils, and knots. A few of these little elements can be used to make your project uniquely yours—they don't have to dominate a finished piece. They can be that one sassy little detail that turns your project from plain to unforgettable (in a good way).

I did not invent all of these yarn constructions and techniques. What I've tried to do is catalog both what I have personally discovered and also what other people have developed over many years of spinning history. I've offered credit whenever possible. There is always the chance of more than one person discovering the same thing independently. In fact, this happens all of the time because of the many combinations and permutations possible with handspun yarns. My goal has been to put together a collection that will inspire and encourage spinners. Because yarn is the foundation of almost all of the fiber crafts, any innovation we spinners make will most certainly have a ripple effect that will spread throughout the fiber arts world.


Excerpted from The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson Copyright © 2012 by Sarah B. Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Judith MacKenzie

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




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