Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recommended Reading (and Viewing)

We've not discussed crafty good reads in some time. Not that I've stopped purchasing books mind you. I've just neglected to share my acquisitions. So, let's get those spines cracking!

Okay, so it's no secret that I've been working with yarn outside of my familiar box during the past year. I am spinning, dyeing, weaving and even embroidering on a regular basis in addition to my usual knit and crochet regimen. Needless to say, learning or relearning these processes (as with weaving) required a certain level of research material for me to make an honest go at these new frontiers. I perused and even purchased many a book before deciding which ones were best suited to both my learning style and reading comprehension. What follows are the new essentials in my yarn library.

Addicted to the application of color to fiber? You need this book...



Upon first perusal I began making notes, depositing Post-Its amongst the pages and became completely immersed in personal stories of the dyers profiled in this book. This compendium is filled with dye recipes for a variety of chemical processes and fiber contents, clear step-by-step instructions with requisite pictures, is well organized and just a delight to thumb through for the experienced and novice dyer alike. There are also plenty of mostly knitting patterns throughout in an effort to show off the plethora newly painted fiber wares.

All of the pros aside, could I pick this book up (having had no previous dye experience) and get colorfied? Ah, that's debatable. If you're detail oriented, love a challenge, operate with a
high degree of reading comprehension and have tons of space in your domicile with which to experiment in the messy world of hand dyed yarn, sure, this book will get you off and running. However, if you are a hands-on learner, I recommend that you take a class and then purchase this book to supplement the base of knowledge acquired in class. And the knitting patterns? They are nice to have, but really not necessary. The type of patterns found in the book are pretty average knitting fare, easily found in the wealth of knitting books available on the market today.

Wanna make some yarn? Here are two excellent additions to your spinning library!

First is a DVD featuring Mabel Ross titled, Handspinning: Advanced Techniques...



This instructional DVD is 112 minutes of Mabel's spinning genius. It was mesmerizing to watch this woman handle fiber and wheel. She teaches such varied techniques from preparing and spinning different lengths of fibers to making worsted and woolen yarns for weaving or knitting and using short draw and traditional long draw techniques. She also demonstrates how to create a plied yarn of any exact thickness with just the right amount of twist, for various purposes, and how to repeat it exactly at any time. Besides yarns of average thickness, very thick, soft knitting yarn and extremely fine gossamer for knitting lace are spun. Although, some spinning experience is required in order to make use of the DVD, as a novice, I found the entire DVD to be illuminating. I plethora of lessons on a disk!

My second spinning library acquisition is another Mabel find. This one in book format titled, The Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners.




This book is basically the DVD above and then some. I recommend purchasing both. They make a great set! Both of these items can be found online at Paradise Fibers and The Woolery amongst other sources. I buy lots (and I mean LOTS) of weaving, spinning, knitting and crochet supplies from both of these stores and I can vouch for their high quality of service. Paradise Fibers is, however, the source I buy from first and foremost. Family run business, amazing customer service and just all around nice people! Love them!

You can never have too many stitch dictionaries! I bought the new versions of the Harmony Guides (for knitting) by Erika Knight.

Knit & Purl...



Lace & Eyelets...



Cables & Arans...



I loved these dictionaries upon opening. The instructions are clear. The images are wonderful and I like that the techniques are separated into three separate books. In fact, these appeal to me so much that I was actually disturbed by the amount of negative feedback about them on Amazon. Basically, the reviewers seem to be dismayed by the lack of charts. Hey, what can I say, I'm old school. I learned to knit 31 years ago where the written pattern was queen! I could give a sheep's butt about charts. So, for me, these dictionaries are awesome.

I'm at home with my rebel within...

8 comments:

Batty said...

I'm still waiting for my first paycheck, now more impatiently than ever. That yarn dyeing book will be mine -- and the others too, if I ever have a little extra cash around the house.

Christina said...

Nice books! I need a stitch dictionary.

noricum said...

Oooo... tempted by the spinning references... however, I've just spent a bunch of money, so I think I'll wait a wee bit.

Deneen said...

I love my copy of "Yarn Lovers Guide to Hand Dyeing" and plan to use it later this week.

I just bought two spinning books, stop enabling me...

MLO said...

I was actually very unhappy with the stitch dictionaries since there were no charts. I don't think that that is reasonable for today's international audience.

Caroline B said...

Oh I love stitch dictionaries - can't get enough, the more complicated the better!

Pam said...

You rock on reviews Lady.

nstssj said...

"Cheaper than Therapy?"--brilliant! "Kooky Crochet?"--hell yeah! And looking for a book, a big ole book, by just your brilliant self :)