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The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn Hardcover – Illustrated, October 16, 2007
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 2.18 pounds
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307352161
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307352163
- Dimensions : 9.5 x 1 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Potter Craft; Illustrated edition (October 16, 2007)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #140,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Unfortunately, that information is only about a quarter of the book. The rest is knitting patterns! What?!! Granted, Parkes apparently commissioned the patterns to showcase various yarns and their qualities. But there is nothing in the book's description that would lead one to recognize that it is really just a pattern book organized by yarn type.
In that sense (its organization) the book might be unique, especially given that it was published over ten years ago. The fiber world has changed significantly since then; this book was probably cutting-edge at the time. I imagine the average North American knitter wasn't thinking much about the specific fibers, spin, ply; they just wanted a cutesy pattern. And for yarn, acrylic would do as well as anything--or better! because it's cheaper and you can throw it into the washing machine and dryer. The book's secret plan may have been to entice people with the patterns and then educate them a little about the yarns used and introduce them to new ones--expand their horizons. Nevertheless, the book is marketed under false pretenses. But this is most likely the publisher's, not Parkes's, fault.
I have another book by Parkes on order: The Knitter's Book of Wool. I now see it also has "more than 20 patterns," though I cannot tell how much of the book is taken up with them. To access more complete, detailed, in-depth information about fibers and yarns, I think books about spinning (rather than knitting)--from sheep breeds and their fleeces and other fibers, to spinning techniques, plies, and combining fibers, to the distinct qualities and characteristics of the many difference yarns produced--might be closer to what I'm looking for.
I still read yarn reviews on Ravelry. Now I have more information with which to make buying and use decisions. I direct reviewers to Clara's book, and other online resources. Now my yarn stash is better aligned with what I like to knit. Thank you, Clara!
The first half of the book is devoted to explaining how the yarn gets from it's source (the animal, plant, or mineral) to you. There is a really fun overview of all the different yarn sources--everything from alpaca and oppossum to seaweed and coal! This is followed by a brief description of the processes of creating, spinning, and dying the yarns, along with discussion of farms, mills, and even large yarn festivals to visit throughout the year.
The second half of the book is broken out by ply and type of yarn (e.g, single ply, two ply, boucle, chenille) and has several pattern examples for each ply/type. Most knitting books tend to have fairly hideous patterns, with maybe a few "interesting but NOT ME" patterns, and one or two "I love this and must knit it NOW" patterns. However, The Book of Yarn surprised me by having many patterns I would actually knit, including some cute mittens, hats and shawls.
The last section of the book is very practical, and includes useful tips for cleaning your yarn creations, calculating how much yarn you have, and a glossary.
My only small critique? The glossary and index could both be greatly expanded--I don't have much background in sewing or fashion or textiles, so I've been going nuts trying to figure out what "drape" is!
Top reviews from other countries
As the author says, "Some [yarns] make our hearts and hands sing, some get the job done without much fanfare, and some cause nothing but frustration and disappointment." Been there, done that, folks! Eventually I began to wonder why some yarns are such a delight to knit with, some are simply tedious, and a few seem designed to wreak havoc with our blood pressure.
Now I wonder no more, because Clara Parkes has put together a book that not only describes the various fibres in depth, tells you where they come from, how they're made, how they're best used, and where examples of each type can be bought - but (icing on the cake) also gives you project patterns by such designers as Cat Bordhi and Norah Gaughan using each of the fibres she describes.
I actually hesitated to buy this book because I wasn't sure that I would be interested in something that might possibly read like a yarn dictionary. Thank goodness I went ahead and bought it anyway! When it came, I picked it up to browse through it - and simply could NOT put it down. I read this fascinating book every spare moment, from cover to cover - including the dust cover. It is beautifully and systematically organized, with excellent close-up colour photographs throughout; and the author writes in a clean, conversational style that is a pure delight to read.
P.S. If you're interested in getting a sense of her writing, Clara Parkes has a website (and weekly e-newsletter) entitled "Knitter's Review," here: [...].