The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarnsby Sarah Anderson
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,… See more details below
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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.
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.
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Read an Excerpt
The Spinner's Book of Yarn DesignsTechniques for Creating 80 Yarns
By Sarah Anderson
Storey PublishingCopyright © 2012 Sarah B. Anderson
All right reserved.
IntroductionEndlessly 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.
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