Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Book Review The Knitters Book of Wool

Photo's from Amazon

In The Knitter's Book of Wool, Clara Parkes thoughtfully explores what makes wool so dynamic - explaining how differences between breeds of sheep, components of the wool fibre, the classification and processing of wool and many other factors contribute to the finished yarn you hold in your hand. Finally, knitters have a way to intuitively grasp which wools should become scarves and which sweaters, which would make a killer handbag and which the perfect mitten. Over 20 patterns, each designed to showcase specific qualities of wool yarns, illustrate the cross-section of widely available and boutique yarns featured in the book.
In this complete guide to wool - the most popular yarn around - passionate wool expert Clara Parkes translates the vast world of sheep and their wool into the language and context of knitting.
What is wool? Clara starts with the fundamentals: what wool is made of, how it gets off the sheep, and how it is transformed from a jumbled mass of dirty fluff into a gorgeous yarn that so tempts us at our local yarn stores.
Who makes it? Parkes conducts an inspiring tour of sheep breeds from around the world - introducing us to the animals who give us their wool - and explains how to best knit with yarns made from their fibres.
Which yarn do I use? If only there were a way to read a skein to know how it would behave and what it wanted to become. Now there is! Parkes demystifies the generic (non-breed-specific) wool yarn you'll find at your local yarn shop, showing you how to best determine what every yarn longs to be.
What do I knit? Parkes went to some of the most creative and inquisitive design minds of the knitting world to provide more than 20 patterns that highlight the qualities of specific types of wool.
The Knitter's Book of Wool teaches you everything you need to know about wool - and its journey from pasture to pullover. The next time you pick up a skein, you won't have to wonder what to create with it. You'll just know.

"Un. Real. There is no other way to describe...well, that's a lie because I'll come up with more. But my first impression of "The Knitter's Book of Yarn"? Un. Real. I open the hardcover to reveal a fibre family tree. Smitten. Smitten on the spot. This book is, without a doubt, everything you ever wanted to know not just about fibre but were afraid to ask....This is absolutely a MUST HAVE book, and I don't say that often."
--MelissaKnits, blog

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: Potter Craft (7 Dec 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 030735217X

ISBN-13: 978-0307352170

About the Author
Clara Parkes left her career in San Francisco's booming high-tech industry to pursue her love of knitting. She now lives on the coast of Maine in a farmhouse full of fleece, fibre, and yarn. Best-selling author of The Knitter's Book of Yarn, she is the publisher of the top-ten knitting website knittersreview.com and a frequent contributor to Interweave Knits and Twist Collective.
"Quite possibly the only writer you will ever read who can make a discussion of micron counts absolutely riveting." - Mary Mooney, The Oregonian
Over a decade ago, Clara Parkes abandoned San Francisco's high-tech hubbub to build a quieter creative life on the coast of Maine. Since then, she has become a trusted voice in the knitting community. "Clara Parkes is the MFK Fisher of knitting: unflinching, all-seeing, mysterious--and also kind," writes Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting. 
Named by Vogue Knitting as one of knitting's "New Wave" along with Debbie Stoller and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Parkes is also the publisher of KnittersReview.com, has appeared regularly on the PBS Television series "Knitting Daily TV," and is a frequent contributor to Twist Collective. 
In her spare time, Clara loves to putter in the kitchen and is a huge fan of butter.

Chapter 1 
What is Wool?
Anatomy of a Fibre
Scaling the Surface
Into the Cortex
Medulla in the Middle

The Softness Myth
The Dance of Diameter and Softness

Creating with Crimp

Chapter 2 
From Pasture to Pullover - Turning Wool into Yarn
Skirting and Sorting
The Commercial Class System

Rub a Dub Dub Scouring Fleece
Spin City
Spinning Woollen
Spinning Worsted

The Charms of Colour
Wool 101
Quick Tips for Reading a Generic Wool Yarn

Chapter 3 
Meet the Breeds
Breed Categories

The Criteria
Staple Length
Suitable For
Felting Qualities

Fine Wools
California Variegated Mutant

Medium Wool
California Red
Finnish Landrance

Down and Down type Wools
Clun Forest
Dorset Down
Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset

Long Wools
Bluefaced Leicester
Border Leicester
Leicester Longwool

Dule Coated and Primitives
Navajo Churro
Scottish Blackface

Chapter 4 
Plays Well with Others

Blending for Luster and Drape
Mohair and Alpaca
Cellious Fibres

Blending for Halo
Angora and Alpaca
Cashmere Qiviut and American Bison

Blending for Warn Weather Comfort
Blending for Strength

Chapter 5 

Hats, Hands and Feet
Hill Country Hat
Flicka Hat
Sweet Fern Mitts
Risti Mittens
Cabin Socks
Windjammer Socks
Reversing Leaves Socks

Sweaters and Tops
Bella Baby Ensemble
The Three Bears Pullover
Comfy Cardigan
Allegan Cardigan
Leafy Glen Shell

Scarves, Shawls and Stoles
Nara Scarf
Prairie Rose Lace Shawl
Falling Waters Shawl
Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole
Lillia Hyrna Shawl

Home and Beyond
Frida Pillow
Reflecting Pools Bag

Washing Wool
Keeping Moths at Bay
Resources List
Recommended Reading
Abbreviations and Techniques
About the Designers
CYCA Standard Yarn Weight System


The Knitters Book of Wool is for anyone that loves spinning, knitting yarn/wool and fibre.

I managed to find some photo's of a couple of the knitting patterns in The Knitters Book of Wool from Ravelry 

Sweet Fern Mitts
Hill Country Hat

Cabin Socks

The book begins with the fundamentals of "What is wool?" 
 It then goes on to talk about the sheep breeds that provide their lovely fibre. This section the sheep breeds are groped into five high level categories on the basis of their shared backgrounds and or fibre characteristics. 
 This book will teach you how to identify and use the fibres in each category.
 The book then goes onto the many wool yarns that also have other fibres blended in, you will learn what fibres tend to be mixed with wool, what they add to the yarn and what other fibres will give you similar results. 
 The final part of the book is about playing with the different wools for yourself. There are some lovely knitting patterns that let you experience everything that wool has to offer. These patterns allow you to play with woollen and worsted spun yarns from fine wools all the way to longwools, primitive breeds and generic wool yarns alike. You will find knitting patterns for lace, colour work, ribbing and cables. THe knitting patterns include such as socks, scarves, hats and baby clothes, as well as sweaters, cardigans and shawls.

The Knitters Book of Wool should be in every knitting library! If you love spinning, knitting, love fibre, yarn/wool then you really do need to get this book and have it in your library!

The Knitters Book of Wool is available from Amazon

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