Monthly Meetings

The Valley Weavers & Spinners meetings are on the first Tuesday of the month. Social Hour starts at 6:00 pm and the meetings start at 7:00 pm. We meet at the Denkmann-Hauberg house at 1300 24th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201.

If you are a gps funster here are the coordinates:
41.4993, -90.567195

N41° 29.958', W090° 34.0317'(precision: address)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review - Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics Revised Edition by Anne Field

Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics Revised Edition by Anne Field - 2010 Trafalgar Square Books
Price: $24.95
Author: Anne Field
Format: paperback
Pages: 160
Size: 7 1/2 x 9 1/2
ISBN: 978 1 57076 464 6

I am thrilled and honored to bring you my review of the book Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics Revised Edition by Anne Field. Ms. Field is from New Zealand and has been spinning and weaving since 1962. She brings us a book that is bursting with tried and true techniques and enough photographs to ensure your ability to put the information into practice.

I was really excited about this book when I received it and quickly flipped through the pages. I dove in immediately and became fascinated with all of the information presented on fiber types, the newest wheels available, and the process to create exactly the type of wool for your needs. I have prior knowledge of the structure of the hair fiber and cuticle structure and she breaks it down and diagrams show you why wool behaves the way it does when processing and spinning.

Ms. Field recommends spinning each type of fiber according to the crimp total. A more crimpy fiber such as Merino would require more twists than a less crimpy fiber like Lincoln Longwool. I find this concept interesting. I would consider myself still a beginning spinner as I am still learning to draft evenly and keep from overspinning. I haven’t experimented with changing the setup of my wheel out of the fear of not knowing what I’m doing. The chapter on Understanding Your Wheel was the most helpful to me in this respect. Unfortunately, it made me want another wheel even more!

The chapters on Wool and the Care of Fleeces and Analysis of Wool are a wonderful resource to help you the next time you are at a fiber festival and you are looking through all the fleeces for sale. You will be able to examine and determine if a fleece is worth the cost and time to process for your needs.

Chapter four examines how important it is to take a sample of your yarn and measure the twists and make sure you are spinning correctly for the type of fiber you are using. This chapter explained a lot of things that I didn’t fully understand about getting a proper singles. I am excited to put into practice the techniques and tests that are described. The tools are minimal and the results will improve my skills and confidence.

Chapter five explains the difference between worsted and woolen spinning. Also included are semi-worsted and semi-woolen. I mistakenly thought the difference was in the direction of twist. I now know that I have been doing both worsted and woolen spinning without knowing what I was doing. No wonder my results have been inconsistent!

The projects chapter has many techniques to use your newly made yarn. There is plenty of variety to keep you busy. I was especially tempted by the Woven Fleece Rug using Lincoln locks instead of a spun weft. The instructions were clear and easy to follow.

The appendices of this book have useful charts and templates for using when you working on a project. These are not to take the relaxing aspect out of wool preparation and spinning, but to help you be able to reproduce a yarn and keep records of your work.

This book is a definite must have for your spinning library. If you are new to spinning it is a great book to help you improve. I believe even a master spinner would be able to use this book as well. It brings to mind the answer we were taught to give in martial arts class when your sensei asks how your karate is not matter if you are a white belt or black belt . “I am still learning.”

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