Lifestyle Book Reviews

Book Review: The Intentional Spinner

By Sandy Amazeen Feb 13, 2009, 6:20 GMT

Book Review: The Intentional Spinner

Offering a blend of technical knowledge, history, and easy-to-use tips, this inspiring collection of spinning wisdom deftly explores the three fundamental areas of yarn production: understanding fibers, managing yarn structure, and making yarns that precisely meet the spinner\'s needs. The rich, historic traditions of plant and animal fibers are fascinatingly juxtaposed with recent advances in synthesized fiber and mankind’s use of fibers in the past, present, and future, while detailed, image-laden ...more

Spinners interested in learning more about fibers, their historic treatments and uses, composition, unique characteristics, origins and more will find this a veritable treasure trove of information. Yet for all the insights into how fibers are processed, measured and why they respond the way they do, this is no dry dissertation. In addition to the usual fibers most spinners are familiar with, McCuin includes fascinating information about spider silk, byssus mussels, hemp and azlon fibers.

Clear instructions, photographs and interesting charts including one that eliminates the mystery surrounding worsted and woolen spinning educate and inspire spinners to expand their repertoire. Several different draw methods are demonstrated and discussed in enough detail to allow spinners to be able to decide which technique will be best suited to their needs. The explanation of the use of a scotch brake on a double-drive wheel will interest those who wish to spin a finer, low-twist fiber. Novelty yarns include boucle, spiraled slub, encasements, cabled and more, plus an informative discussion on plying. 

Four projects challenge spinners to spin yarns specifically for fine lace and sock knitting, a woven scarf and kese. With the investment of time, money and effort spinners put into their fibers, the information about protecting their work from insect damage, including the dreaded clothes moth, is invaluable. Although written for the intermediate to advanced spinner, beginners would do well to learn about why fibers behave the way they do and how best to exploit those natural characteristics. This is an excellent reference guide spinners will want to keep near their wheel or drop spindle.

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