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The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft Hardcover – May 1, 2001
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Just when double-treadle spinning wheels had become popular, Amos caused quite a stir by suggesting that they were not necessarily God's gift to the handspinner. As the owner of a double-treadle spinning wheel, I couldn't resist looking to see if his opinion had changed in the intervening years. Nope. Amos argues here that you don't really need this type of wheel unless, among other things, 'you are such a klutz that you cannot keep the wheel going with one foot.' Amos, who has been making spinning wheels and studying handspinning for more than 40 years, has finally distilled this experience into a definitive book deserving of its title. Even the most knowledgeable spinner will learn something and will be entertained in the bargain. This major contribution to the literature should be in any library where there is demand, though small public libraries may prefer less comprehensive books, such as Lee Raven's Hands on Spinning (1987) or Connie Delaney's Spindle Spinning: From Novice to Expert (Kokovoco, 1998) to offer beginners." - Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc., Library Journal
"A great and entertaining read...Informative and funny...[despite] the very technical nature of the book." - Spindle and Wheel online magazine
Top Customer Reviews
Besides incorrect information, there are also a number of omissions in the book. My personal favorite (again, not the only example by far) is when Mr. Amos is discussing umbrella swifts. He states that plans to build one are included later in the book. The book has no plans for any yarn swift, umbrella or otherwise.
The book is poorly laid out. Information on equipment is spread between 3 or 4 places at least. Similar with discussion of twist and related properties. On the other hand, the break between chapter 4 (Determining Character of Yarn) and chapter 5 (Accurate Measurements) seems completely arbitrary. Mr. Amos also has an annoying, and perhaps unethical, habit of plugging his own products -- without noting that they are his. He also often goes out of his way to avoid mentioning a competitor by name (i.e.Read more ›
He allows a "generous" two pages each explaining bobbin-lead vs flyer-lead and scotch tension as compared to about thirty pages extolling the virtues of the double drive system (can you guess which one he prefers). He then devotes another two chapters to the mathematics of whorls, ratios, grist and twist in relation to, of course, the double drive system (without a lick of info regarding how to keep consistency using a single drive system).
All in all, though the book is full of worthy information, if and only if you have a double-drive, saxony-style wheel, the presentation was annoying and biased. I really feel that it didn't impart the knowledge that I was expecting at all. I'm glad I checked this book out from the Library, as I will NOT be purchasing it.
This is a big book, that can be read from front to back, or sampled, as one prefers. While very readable, this book has technical sections that will not appeal to all spinners, but they exist to help those who need this information. So buy the book with the understanding that while it's almost all here, you don't have to embrace any more of it than you want to.
I bought this book for any information that will help me in building wheels. There are a few chapters on the wheels themselves that will really help a builder, or spinner, understand the why's of different designs. It was surprising to come across a reference to Super Quench, a cutting edge quench for mild steel, but it does belong here. It was also surprising to see little information on band drives, even if the author doesn't prefer them.
Amos has obviously offended some readers with comments on double peddle wheels. Yet he later mentions that with enough drag the Scotch tension can get hard to push. Hello?
If there are a few phrases in the whole book in which Amos let's go a few of his preferences, all the better. This book is an important link with the craft that will do a lot to keep spinning alive. For all that it's fun to read.
Quick update. Since I wrote this review, craft spinning wheels have moved on through several major redesign steps. This book is more about traditional wheels, not about craft wheels. Still useful, but the new gear is not represented here.
I'm still only 1/5th of the way through (it has 500 pages!!!), but I've already come across much information that I wish I had known before and have applied it to my spinning technique with great success.
One of the most interesting sections of the book contains schematics for making your own tools (niddy noddy, nostepinne, drop spindle, among others). Now I just have to find myself a woodworker to make them for me!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Received on time. Book was in much better condition then I expected. Very satisfied and happy with the purchase.Published 28 days ago by Carol Rae Jaspersen
This is now a collectable since Alden Amos has passed on. It's a very interesting book. If you're a beginner get it anyway because you'll begin to understand as time goes on and it... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Julia Hollingsworth
This is the first book to buy if you are new to spinning. Not a technical manual, but a spinner's own notes. Written in a colloquial styie, it makes good reading.Published 2 months ago by Cynthia Ball
Lots, and lots of information. I feel like it's a staple in the spinning world (no pun intended)Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
There is so much information in this book. And it is written so you can decide for yourself how deeply you want to investigate a subject but still have a good knowledge of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. G. Rowinsky
The best resource for all things spinning. A must have for anyone who loves spinning. I love this book!Published 4 months ago by ellen diane bader (prairie meadows herbal soap co.