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Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn Hardcover – April 15, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn + Adventures in Yarn Farming: Four Seasons on a New England Fiber Farm + The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307394034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307394033
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“With her perceptive profiles of life on farms from Maine to Oregon, Joan Tapper introduces us to passionate people whose lives are beautifully tied to the land. Gale Zucker’s rich, human photographs show us these stunning places, tender faces, and the most gorgeous fiber. Shear Spirit’s stories will stay with you long after you finish the book and will weave through your imagination as you create the lovely projects.” –Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner, Authors of Mason-Dixon Knitting

“Set down your knitting needles, kick off your barn boots, and put on the kettle before becoming absorbed in every page of this book. Whether you are smitten with fiber or warm wooly faces, Shear Spirit provides a cozy window into modern-day fiber farming. Get ready to spend an afternoon on the farm without tuning up the tractor, and enjoy colorful patterns that will keep you happily counting stitches well into the night.” –Linda Cortright, Wildfibers Magazine

About the Author

GALE ZUCKER is an award-winning location photographer and avid knitter. Her work has appeared in books, advertising, and magazines. Her portraits and feature stories appear frequently in Smithsonian, Newsweek, Yankee, and the New York Times Magazine.

Before becoming an editor of the award-winning Islands magazine, which she headed for 13 years, JOAN TAPPER was the founding editor of National Geographic Traveler. She is the author of Island Dreams: Caribbean and The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns of California and writes features about people, arts, and culture for a variety of other national publications.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I loved the stories about the folks behind the fiber.
Stacey M Smith
She tells these unusual stories with an intimacy that gives the reader the feeling that she really knows something about the lives of these farmers.
K. Kassap
Wonderful book, a must have for any knitter/yarn lover.
Kathie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K. Kassap on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you are not familiar with Gale Zucker's photography, then you are in for a real treat. Her portraits have an amazing way of compassionately capturing many facets of an individual. Her landscapes and narrative work express joy and excitement for color, light and texture. She takes a personal pleasure in photographing sheep and animals and somehow brings out a human quality in her subjects. These photos make it obvious why the fiber farmers love their work.

Joan Tapper is equally talented at providing an engaging and interesting text for this book. As you read each chapter you feel transported to another location. She tells these unusual stories with an intimacy that gives the reader the feeling that she really knows something about the lives of these farmers. There is nothing typical about their lives and stories, and they are frequently quite inspiring.

This is a book that will remain off the shelves in your home and on hand. You cannot devour the gorgeous photos in one or two sittings. Nor can you keep yourself from checking your recollection of interesting facts. For example, who knew that the Icelandic sheep being raised in Minnesota are genetically the same as the sheep the Vikings first brought to Iceland? I am familiar with a Navajo story about a Spider Goddess and weaving, but I had never heard about Talking God who created sheep from clouds, willows, rocks, plants and rainbows. And although I have spent close to 20 summers vacationing in Maine, I did not know that the Damariscotta River could provide seawater to fix the dye in fiber.

While knitting has gained in popularity as celebrities are seen carrying their knitting bags, this book pays homage to a wide variety of fiber arts.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By College Kid on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am a knitter who dreams of owning her own sheep. This book was perfect for me! It shows you what it's really like! Beautiful pictures and long descriptions! It look me over an hour to read it all! I loved seeing close-ups of life on a fiber farm - shearing, carding, dying etc. Most of the profiles follow the owners through a day of work and interview them about their farming, so you get both the specific and the general picture. Lots of text and lots of pictures! Most of the farms are very concerned with being environmentally friendly / sustainable, which is nice too. The actual knitting patterns are no big deal - nice but (shrug) - the real attraction with this book is the inside view of working fiber farms, and low impact living on a working farm.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Vera on April 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When this book arrived last night I sat up savoring it cover to cover: very much in the spirit of Knitting in America, this fresh take of notable and varied fiber farms include all the major fibers(wool, cashmere, angora, alpaca, etc.), together with their special cultivation, processing and suggested patterns. These are some of the best of the best in all categories -- a glimpse into the places that some of us know only from fiber festivals. The photographs and texts flow easily and delightfully.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Anderson on May 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. I've looked through it layer by layer. I started by looking at the photos over and over. Beautiful bucolic landscapes. Captivating portraits of camelids. As I turned the pages, I felt like selling my house and buying a farm.

Next, I looked at the patterns. While the yarn rocked my socks off, none of the patterns did. The downside is that, for the most part, the yarn isn't available. Beware of falling in love with a specific "look." The author kindly provides a list of yarn substitutions that should be available in your LYS or online.

I was inspired enough by the yarn to learn how to crochet a granny square pot holder. Also, I got some Pastaza to make one of the bags. But it was the yarn that inspired me--not the patterns.

Finally, I started reading the story of each farm. I'm enjoying the little details about life on a fiber farm--the daily schedule, the shearing, the philosophy.

If you're looking for great patterns, this book is not for you. But if you love rural photography or dream of living on a fiber farm, this is a perfect book for you.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Egan on April 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book combines gorgeous photography, travel writing, and knitting patterns, what more could you ask for? Every section lets you peek into the dreams and creative process of small holding fiber farmers. It's a beautiful book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer R Scudiere MD on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is beautiful to look at and informative to read. This is not primarily a knitting pattern book, but a book about sheep and wool. The photos are gorgeous and the stories are about families and animals and farms--compelling and enjoyable for anyone who enjoys fiber arts and anyone who sometimes feels like chucking everything and going to a farm somewhere to raise alpacas.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Danco on September 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I find myself at a loss for words in reviewing this book. As a fiber artist who raises sheep, spins, dyes, and knits, I was awestruck! This is a "must buy" for anyone who aspires to this lifestyle. The yarns are fantastic, the patterns are great and geared towards handspun yarn... everything about this book is just beautiful! A++++ !!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kerry on June 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Almost every knitter and spinner I know has dreamed of having a hobby farm with sheep of their very own. This book tells stories of those lucky ducks who get to live the life we imagine. It tells of the romance (skirting a fleece with a glass of wine *sigh*) but also tells what an incredible amount of work these people go through to get us our pretty yarn.

The photography is gorgeous. Drooly gorgeous.
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