Knitting Book Reviews

The Knitter's Book of Yarn
by Clara Parkes

Ever wondered why your experience of knitting is sometimes one of ambivalence? Clara Parkes suggests that it may be the materials you are using. Curious to understand why yarn had such an impact on her knitting, she quite her high tech job and applied her experience to providing knitters honest and in-depth reviews of yarn. Her search to understand if there was such a thing as “good” and “bad” yarn led to the birth of KnittersReview.com in September 2000.

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: the ultimate guide to choosing, using, and enjoying yarn collects seven years of knowledge that has led Parkes to be considered by some a “yarn whisperer.” Her goal is to help knitters avoid “yarn-related errors” and match the right yarn to the right project, “to hold a skein in our hands, look at it, touch it, listen to it, even smell it, and instinctively know what the yarn wants to become.”

In The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, Parkes explores common fiber types, methods of preparation, spins, and ply combinations. The yarns discussed are meant to serve as examples of type and lead to a better understanding of the yarns in your stash or those found at the local yarn shop. The main body of the volume is called “Ply Me a River,” where Parkes explores the qualities of classic single ply, two-ply, three-ply and four-ply (and more) yarns. Within each section are patterns designed to showcase the best qualities of this type of yarn. Each pattern is by a designer who Parkes admires for “their instinctive love and understanding of yarn.”

The end of this main body is used to explore “modern” yarns; cabled yarns and textured yarns. Parkes also includes information on the “care and feeding” of yarn; that is, how to wash and care for your garments once they are knit. Additional tips are provided on the special handling each fiber requires when it is wet and for removing odors (especially important if you are sensitive to the smell of wet silk). Savvy knitter will reach for The Knitter’s Book of Yarn before their next yarn purchase.

Reviewed by Janelle Martin

Janelle is an addicted reader and a book reviewer for Armchair Interviews. A passionate knitter in what remains of her free time, she wonders, "Why can't we knit at work?". Her blog can be viewed at http://antheras.blogspot.com

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