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Clara Parkes Writes a Second Wonderful Book for Knitters
on October 13, 2009
Clara Parkes has written another sensational book for knitters, this one focusing on nine different types of wool. She calls this 207-page book a "love letter to wool", and indeed it is. Her book is based on her lifelong love of wool and her experience with spinning, knitting and observing wool. For many of us knitters, we look forward to Clara's regular KNITTER'S REVIEW which she sends over the internet. In it, she often reviews different yarns and their uses, along with providing knitting tips and resources.
Clara has no favorites among the nine wools that she describes in this book - - she loves them all equally. Each has their own hand, purpose, and texture for knitting. Beaverslide Dry Goods produces a wool that smells like flowers. Made in Canada, Clara says this wool is a joy to wear and work with. The Elsa Wool Company produces yarns from Cormo sheep. Originating in Colorado, the fibers in the yarn are "soft and vibrant". One of the patterns in this book, the Sweet Fern Fingerless Mittes, uses this yarn. Foxfire Fiber and Designs produces beautiful alpaca. The Nara Scarf in the book is made from this wool. Green Mountain Spinnery is one of Ms. Parkes' favorite yarn sources. I second that, having loved Green Mountain Spinnery yarns from my first encounter with them. Their new book, 99 Yarns and Counting: More Designs from the Green Mountain Spinnery was recently published and it is full of wonderful patterns and information about their cooperative. Clara loves Nature's Palette Green Sheep Columbia Worsted Yarn. She describes the yarn as "plump, pure and colorful". It is durable yet also soft to the touch. The Comfy Cardigan pattern in the book is made from this yarn. Marr Haven Yarn is a knitters paradise for wool. The Allegan Cardigan pattern in the book is made from this yarn. The sheep raised at Marr Haven are Merino/Rambouillet and the wool is minimally processed and rich in lanolin. Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds is a "truly British yarn made from the fibers of four notable British breeds: the Bluefaced Leicester, Jacob, Black Welsh, and Suffolk". She describes these yarns as "full-bodied, the knitterly equivalent of rye bread". There is a wonderful hat pattern in the book that uses this Rowan yarn. Wellspring Woolens Poppi's Worsted comes from Icelandinc Sheep raised in Minnesota. Ms. Parkes describes Icelandic sheep as a pure breed, not messed with genetically over the years.
Ms. Parkes helps knitters understand how wool behaves and how particular yarns can be used in knitting. The book takes the knitter from the sheep's initial shearing to the transformation of this wool into beautiful yarn. Yarn becomes demystified in Ms. Parkes' hands. The knitter is shown the potential of each yarn to become what it wants to be.
The patterns in this book are lovely. My favorites are the Flicka Hat, a Fair Isle pattern made from sportweight yarn; Bella Baby Ensemble, a sweet girl's sweater in blue sportweight yarn; the Baby Bear Pullover for children, made with bulky weight yarn in an aran white color color; and the Lillia Hyrna Shawl, a lace shawl knit with 2-ply laceweight yarn in a beautiful cream color.
Whenever I purchase a knitting book I ask myself three questions:
Am I likely to knit the projects in the book?
Are the patterns easy to understand?
Is the book a good resource?
The answer to these three questions is a resounding 'YES'. Ms. Parkes has provided a wonderful book for knitters that will have a special place in my bookshelf and that I know I will read over and over. I've ordered more than one copy because I also plan to give it out as a gift to some knitter friends. Thank you Ms. Parkes!!!