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Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 43 reviews
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!!!
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on November 1, 2009
Clara Parkes explains wool the way Alton Brown explains food - expertly, and with obvious affection for the hows and whys of it, and with a light and easy style that makes the vast amount of information shared highly digestible. This book is far more than a collection of patterns, though the patterns are great and further the "lessons" in wools and their characteristics. You'll get down into the working parts of wool - where it comes from, why felt felts or doesn't, itches or doesn't, the various types of sheep and the wools they produce, and will help you understand the animals and fibers behind the wool you buy. But you don't have to be a total yarn geek to appreciate it; it is written in a light and very readable way. You can absorb all the wisdom and walk around like a wool guru, or use it as a reference. If you've ever been to, or fantasized about, a fiber festival, reading this first would add to your enjoyment immensely. "That's not just a sheep, that's a Wensleydale! And now I know what that means!" It's like watching the Yarn Channel - you'll get smarter without much effort.
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on December 3, 2015
This book is an excellent text to learn about different breeds of sheep and the wool produced from those breeds. I learned so much from this book (and also the guide to yarn book). I am able to make use of that knowledge immediately as I purchase yarns. It is an valuable addition to my library. I would recommend this book (and Parkes' guide to yarn) to fiber artists interested in using natural fibers.

One thing though: I crochet and I purchased this book even though the title indicates it is for knitters. Even crocheters can be extremely interested in learning about wool and yarns! Therefore, I think the reference to knitters in the title should be omitted. Think more inclusively for the next edition.
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on September 7, 2016
This book tells all - about wool, that is! If you are interested in the fiber arts, this is a book you really should read! It will help you understand the source of fibers, the differences among the types of yarn available on the market, and appropriate uses for each. Clara's writing style is very conversational and the depth of knowledge in her writing is evident on every page. This is not a dry, academic accounting of wool, but a lively and impassioned story of wool, a good read for anyone - knitters and non-knitters alike.
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on December 15, 2013
Anyone who uses wool yarn for any purpose needs this book. Although all of the directions for items made of wool yarns are for knitters, Parkes's coverage of the characteristics related to the wool shorn from a tremendous variety of sheep breeds is fascinating as well as immensely helpful. I knew that I couldn't tolerate wool next to my skin through all of the decades of my life until my favorite yarn salesperson told me about merino and I bought my first ball of Meritona. That hooked me, and I bade "farewell" to synthetics and became a wool snob. 'The Knitter's Book of Wool' gave me a list of merino alternates to try. It serves as a guide for selecting yarn produced by the spinning technique most appropriate for the item to be knit. This book, as well as Parkes's earlier 'The Knitter's Book of Yarn', should be the go-to source for information and guidance for anyone who uses yarn. It isn't just for knitters. Clara Parkes will become one of your favorite authors, a trusted friend who always steers you in the right direction.
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on February 28, 2017
Loved this book to reference all my yarn questions for my knitting endeavors with Prayer Shawl Ministry. Initially, I purchased the book for a shawl pattern by Sivia Harding and not only was her pattern terrific, the whole book was fascinating!
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on February 4, 2016
This book is amazing, it's so well-researched and the information is presented in such a rich and engaging way, you just want to sink your hands deep into a skein. I love her writing style in general, but this and the Knitter's Book of Yarn have been such staples to my fiber-education!
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on February 13, 2010
I have a large collection of knitting books - both pattern and technique. I LOVE this book, and have learned SO MUCH about the different attributes of various wool breeds and the results that can and do impact the yarns, and hence the knitted products. Even looking at the drawings of the various breeds - it is sometimes difficult to believe they are all sheep.

In addition to the great education about wool, which has already helped me in making better choices for projects, there are some wonderful classic patterns I am enjoying.

A great addition to your knitting or fiber library!
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VINE VOICEon November 30, 2009
Do you need to know about the way lanolin is removed from fleeces, or where various breeds of sheep come from and what they look like? Probably not. But if you have a curiosity about your craft, love wool (like Julia Child loves butter, as Clara says!) and want to know all there is to know, this book is a delight. It is attractive, well-designed, and well-organized. And the patterns are wonderful. Pattern offer for for farm-style yarn or more commercially available yarn. There are 19+ patterns here and they are very pleasing. A great addition to your knitting library.
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on October 21, 2009
Every serious knitter needs this book. It's extremely well-written, meticulously researched and contains a wealth of information. Wool is the ne plus ultra of yarns; there's a reason no synthetic equals it on any measure. Anything as time-consuming as fine hand knitting deserves the best materials. Even novice knitters will get a huge leg up on understanding the art and craft of knitting.
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