Book review: The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs

crafty christmas

You may recall that as part of my fabulous fibre related Christmas haul I was lucky enough to get a copy of The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson (2012, Storey Publishing) and now that I’ve had the opportunity to have a good look through it I thought it might be a good idea to share my impressions and discoveries with other people. I know that it is a couple of years old now and many podcasts have featured it/ made reference to it but hopefully you will still be able to get a bit of extra information from my review in case you were on the fence about whether or not to search out a copy for yourselves.

I knew I would like this book before I even started, purely from what I’d seen of it elsewhere but the two most important things about this book as far as I am concerned are;

1) It made me want to spin an art yarn and I hate art/ novelty yarns!

2) By understanding the different techniques for creating some of the more unusual yarns in the book it has helped me to see what I have been doing wrong when trying to create an even/ balanced standard 2ply yarn and ended up creating novelty yarns accidentally.

The book is broken down in to the following chapters;

spinning basics – which talks you through choosing a fleece, preparing it, drafting techniques and how to finish yarn.

singles for plying – covering centre pull balls, Andean, chain and hawser plying with an interesting suggestions about plying for crochet rather than knitting projects. It also provided me with a very valuable lesson on how tension on your singles impacts on the balance of your plying.

Stand alone singles – covering felted/ fulled, slubbed, wrapped and energized singles

Spiral yarns – created by plying one thick single with one thick single with several variations given including a beaded one.

Opposing plies – what impact this has on the finished yarn and the art/ novelty yarns that can be created as a result.

Bouclé’s – working with mohair and the whole world of variations on a simple boucle.

Cable yarns – traditional 4ply, 8ply, textured, beaded an multi-coloured.

Crepe yarns – basic, bubble, 2 colour, slubbed, chained, spiral and beaded.

Core yarns – at least 11 different types of core yarns including the exotic sounding wolf yarn!

Novelty yarns – giving instructions on how to create knops, pigtails, beehives, cocoons and halos.

Who knew you could produce so many different yarns at home, just you and your spinning wheel?

Interesting extras covered in the book include;

– a comparison different plying techniques and the impact these have on the wear and longevity of hand knitted socks.

– 64 reference cards with the visual instructions for creating each of the yarns, very handy for keeping by your wheel.

– step-by-step instructions for winding yarn on a nostepinne which I’m hoping will help me achieve a nice round ball of yarn not my usual egg shaped one.

The one minus point is that it the book is very clearly focussed on wheel spinners rather than drop spindle users. The principles may well be transferrable but it would take some thought and working out as to how best to apply them.

Overall though a very big thumbs up from me and I look forward to trying more of the techniques covered.


About themanyknitsofnadine

Interested in all things crafty, I knit, spin, sew, crochet, quilt, grow my own and bake (although the baking these days is all allergy friendly) and I try and blog about all these things. I also host a bi-weekly podcast on incorporating slow living into all my crafty adventures
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2 Responses to Book review: The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs

  1. Thank you for your review of this book. Now I want to read it, too! I haven’t tried making art yarn yet because it isn’t really my sort of thing either, but I do want to try out all the techniques someday just to see how it all works. It may be very useful for spinning in general.

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