Spin to Knit
by Shannon Okey
It was at least a year after I started knitting that I realized that one could actually make yarn. From sheep pelts! It was a wild realization. Still, I have no desire to do it. Kinda of like hand-dying. I love the results but after trying it myself once, realize it's not my fiber cup of tea. Still there are so many talented knitters in blogland who have been hit with the spin bug that I have slowly gained a basic understanding of the process and tools needed to spin yarn just from reading the blogs.
But if you want to learn how to become a circle of life knitter - from the hoof to the human, this book is an excellent reference. It has a thorough equipment overview explaining niddy-noddy, a McMorran balance and even a nostepinne. The section entitled Fiber 101 takes you covers the characteristics of spinning fibers, the different fiber formats (now I know what a sliver is!), washing the fleece and carding.
Then it is on to spindles including directions on how to make your own followed by spinning wheels. I'm not sure if the directions on spinning are sufficient to learn from the book since I didn't try but the pictures are good and the instructions seem clear. It can definitely augment some personal teaching which seems to be how most people learn.
What I really liked was the 20 patterns that were all geared to the homespun yarn (many by the author)and the uniqueness of working with it. Also intriguing was the 13 profiles on different people and companies who are involved in spinning. It gave a cool look into how many different ways people can be involved in a craft.
So if spinning is something you think you might want to try, I recommend picking up this book.
Reviewed by Allison Linehan
Allison's blog, Neophyte Knitter, can be found at http://gumdrop.typepad.com