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A Fine Fleece: Knitting with Handspun Yarns Hardcover – 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lisa Lloyd specializes in traditional knitting and classic looks. She custom-designs yarns, and her knitting patterns have been published by Harrisville Designs, Interweave Knits magazine, and Wild Fibers magazine. Visit her online at www.afinefleece.com.

From Booklist

It is clear that Lloyd is conducting a love affair with Aran designs (those wonderfully cabled knits from Ireland) as well as with the concept of blending the best of classic design with contemporary sensibilities. What does that mean? It means a judicious use of cables and twists with body-skimming shapes. Moreover, she figures out how to fashion each of the 26 patterns in hand-spun and in commercial yarns, presented beautifully in photographs and detailed instructions. For those unfamiliar with sheep breeds and “outputs,” there is a primer on hand spinning, selecting appropriate yarns, and other topics. The patterns present skill level (with clear definitions), measurements, gauge, materials, step-by-step how-to’s, and, of course, photographs and graphs, whenever appropriate. Dream of these names—Espresso, Le Smoking, October Frost, Gaelic Mist—then begin stocking, er, stitching up. --Barbara Jacobs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft; 18758th edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008SLDVS6
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.6 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Elizabeth Metz VINE VOICE on April 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book might be geared towards spinners who are looking for beyond-the-basics use for his or her handspun (and provides tons of great information for those that do), but even if you've never spun a foot of yarn in your life, you can get something out of this book.

The patterns included are *fabulous*. Beyond fabulous. They're rich and intricate and have a nice mix between smaller things and to-die-for sweaters. The photography is amazing and inspiring, and for a closer look at each garment, there are diagrams and stitch charts provided for every wearable. (One of the previous reviewers commented that the photos weren't clear -- not all of them, no. But the charts make up for that, plus some. And the photos are inspirational, so it's all good with me.)

Each pattern gives you not just the required amount/wpi of the handspun yarn needed, but also gives a commercially-spun equivelent AND shows the knitted item in BOTH variations (hand/commercially-spun), so you can see how the handspun aspect changes the nature of the fabric (if it does)...it's an amazing extra that the author gives us.

Speaking of extras -- the sizing on these patterns ROCK. Being one of the Large Chest Brigade, it's often hard to find books that go beyond the 32 - 34 - 38 sizing for miniature people and get into the sizes more realistic for my...uh...front additions. Not a problem here. I think the smallest size I've seen has been 48", and that RULES. I loved the author just a little bit more than I did before after noticing that little (big?) detail.

I've been paring down my Stuff lately. Getting rid of a lot of the extraneous posessions I've been hoarding. Knitting books are included in that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would have liked to give Lisa Lloyd's writing five stars and the photography two stars or perhaps just one. The text is well-written -- a pleasure to read, and informative; and the projects are classic -- many cabled sweaters,a bit of lace. The information provided for spinners is both inspiring and useful; although I would have liked more details about the fiber preparation and spinning techniques used for each project.

The photographs, however, which should clearly illustrate the stitches and techniques, are in such soft focus that they are almost useless for that purpose. In some instances, the entire project is fuzzy because the photographer has focused on a prop instead of the sweater. Are the photos pretty? Yes, very pretty. Are they helpful? Absolutely not. I checked the photographer's Web site and found that she is known for photos with a shallow depth of field. I think the book designer or publisher should have looked into this before selecting her.

The designer made another choice that reduces the value of the book to spinners -- the primary customer base. There are no photos of the handspun yarn used in each project. The reader must deduce what the yarn is like from the brief description.

Am I still happy that I purchased the book? Yes. But it would have been so much better had the designer or publisher made different choices.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge Lisa Lloyd fan and have been for a long time, so this book is never going to make it to the shelf, it's going to stay in the pile next to my knitting chair. I want to make every pattern in this book. The patterns are classic, this book will be just as valuable in your knitting library in 30 years as it is today. Everyone always wants The Perfect Sweater, the one to wear on your autumn walk to go kick leaves, and there are a dozen of them in this collection. There are patterns for a variety of yarn grists, and patterns typically go up to about 52".

The beginning section on spinning and wool characteristics is a good intro to new spinners, or wannabe spinners. It was good information to get new spinners thinking about spinning for a big project. I've been spinning for years and it didn't have any new information for me, but reading it got me whipped up to start spinning with one of these projects in mind.

However. The photographs, while beautiful and artsy and fun to look at, leave a lot to the imagination - not a great thing in a knitting pattern book. They're teaser photos - look good in the picture, but if you come to a question in your knitting you won't be able to figure out what you're doing by looking at the picture. I don't think there are more than a couple of patterns with good photos you can really tell what the pattern looks like. I'd expect this would be a struggle for a person who hasn't had a lot of experience knitting cables. I've been knitting them for years and I still need to refer to pictures, it's really a shame they aren't more available. "Harriet" has a diamond lace pattern, but you would never know that the bottom third of the sweater has an entirely different lace pattern.
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Format: Hardcover
While the photos in the book are pretty to look at, they're completely worthless for a pattern book. Most of the models are wearing sweaters that are far too large for them. Some of the sweaters have obviously been pinned to give them the appearance of being more fitted or having waist shaping. You can't even tell what some of the sweaters (like October Frost or the bottom half of Harriet) actually look like.

Why even bother to have photos if they're useless or misleading as to what the finished item will actually look like? The person responsible for the photography shouldn't be working with knitting books. People who like the looks of the photos may be disappointed in the results, and people who are turned off by the photos might have actually liked the patterns if they'd been properly photographed. Frankly, I think the book would sell better if the photography showed what the sweaters really look like. I don't like buying knitting books when I can see the photos don't reflect the real pattern. I would never have purchased this book after looking through it. It was only after seeing some finished sweaters from the patterns that I decided I would actually be interested in making some of them.

Photography aside, the patterns themselves are very nice. But be aware that they're very boxy designs (no waist shaping, regardless of what the photos appear to show). If you like boxy cabled sweaters, you will probably love this book. If you prefer waist shaping, you'll need to figure out your own modifications or look elsewhere. The smallest sizes start around 37-38", so it's not good for women who need extra-small sizes unless they like a lot of ease, but they do go up to around 50-52", so it's nice for larger women.

Bottom line: If this style of sweater appeals to you, there are some great designs. If you like fitted, shaped sweaters, you may be disappointed. Either way, ignore the photos and study the schematics.
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