Crafty Reads: Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs

I am not the cook in my household. It feels like there are so many steps between the raw ingredient and the finished dish, so many places to make a mistake and not be able to make what you want. That’s also how I felt about spinning when I first started. From fiber prep to color handling to drafting style I had to make so many choices. I did not understand the ways I was limiting my outcomes each step of the way, only that I was doing so. The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson is like a cookbook for handspinning, complete with reference (recipe) cards to refer to while you go.

The first chapter covers spinning basics like woolen vs worsted, z- vs s-twist, etc. The second describes spinning singles and different ways to ply then. Once these principles are spelled out, the book gets to the fun part – a menu of different yarns and how to create them.

Each yarn has a name, description, and pictures of each component of the recipe – each single through each plying step. There are also photos of the finished yarn. Often there are multiple examples and swatches. The yarns are split into types, each described in a chapter that also covers the general characteristics of the yarns.

One of my favorite sidebars in the book is a running inquiry into different kinds of sock yarns. The author spun sock yarns of many different kinds and tested them head to head in matching hand knit socks. She even alternated which feet she wore them to make sure she was testing the yarns and not the peculiarities of her feet.

Most of the yarns are unsuitable for the kinds of items I like to knit, so this book is staying on my shelf as eye candy. Nearly all of the samples are done in white, making it easy to compare the yarn types without being distracted by color. If I ever get into art weaving this book will be the first place I go to plan my yarns!

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