Book of Wool – the finale!

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally done with Clara Parkes wonderful book. Before you even ask – it’s a keeper.

In this blog, I’m going to discuss Chapter 4 – blended fibers and Chapter 5 – patterns along with a bit about the end material.

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Chapter 4 – Plays Well With Others

Mixing wool with fibers such as silk, mohair, alpaca, cashmere and angora bring the best of all worlds. Clara talks about blending wool for different effects. The results are wonderful for knitters.

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Chapter 4 – blending with angora, alpaca, cashmere

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Chapter 5 – Patterns

Now that we know so much about wool, having patterns to use the yarn is a “no brainer”.

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Chapter 5 – socks

Wool is a natural for socks. It’s warm, it wicks and it lasts with wear.

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Chapter 5 – Instructions

I’m always looking for clear instructions, charts and schematics. This book doesn’t disappoint.

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Chapter 5 – Charts

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Washing Wool

How do you wash wool? Hand washing is outlined step-by-step. Good advice. The next page covers keeping moths at bay. More good advice.

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Resource List

The resources plus processors on the next spread are a great follow up to the book. The book ends with abbreviations, a glossary, recommended reading and info on the pattern designers. What a way to end the book!

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Sweet Fern Mitts

My mitts are above. Notice that the one of the left is a disaster. The cables are wrong and I really wanted a few more rows between the cables (decided part way into the mitt. The right mitt is much better. I need to make another pair now that I’ve corrected my mistakes!

 

 

Book of Wool – Chapter 3

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

The whole chapter today is on breeds of sheep broken down into five categories.

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Meet the Breeds

By the time I got from page 38 to page 78, I was introduced to more breeds of sheep than I ever imagined existed. Clara has broken them down from the finest fleece to the most course.

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Breed Categories

The chart on page 40 gives a good overview of all the breeds covered in the following pages. There are 37 types of sheep. Many were breed from combos of other sheep to refine the best qualities of the bred sheep. Lots of history throughout these pages.

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Sweet Fern Mitts

When I first started writing this blog several years ago, I thought I would make a project from each book I covered. Silly me! That lasted for one book – The Book of Yarn. When I saw these mitts – I said – why not? I’ll post a pic of my work-in-progress soon.

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Finewool breeds

This is an example of a spread from the finewools section. Each breed is discussed, a chart covers the facts and the chart is followed by a lock of fleece and finished skein of the yarn. This reference section makes it worth keeping the book on my bookshelf!

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Longwools

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Down wools

The final page of Chapter 3 features a list by month of various fiber festivals around the United States. There you will see many different sheep breeds.

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Fleece Friendly Fiber Festivals

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding-ebook/dp/B004IK8PYG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453411911&sr=1-1&keywords=book+of+wool

 

 

 

Book of Wool – Chapter 2

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

Today I’m going to cover Chapter 2 and tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned.

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Turning Wool into Yarn

The chapter begins with getting wool fleece off the back of the sheep and I found out that there are many steps in the journey. Big ah-ha moment – using a skilled shearer makes all the difference. They need to get the whole fleece off at one swoop to avoid getting “twice-cut” fibers that are shorter than the first cut fibers. A real no-no. Who knew how much was involved?

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Scouring and Lanolin

Before the fleece can be processed it goes through a washing process called scouring. Depending on the processing some or all of the lanolin is removed. Sometimes less processed yarns  from smaller mills leave some of the lanolin in the fleece.

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Worsted and Woolen spinning

Clara gives a good explanation of the difference between the woolen (oldest and easiest way to make yarn) and worsted (produces smoother, stronger yarn).

She then goes into the various ways that yarns are dyed – as fleece, as fibers, as skeins.

Spoiler alert – Chapter 3 covers breeds and their differences. It’s 40 pages long so it will take me a while to read.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Vogue Knitting this weekend. Maybe I’ll even get to rub shoulders with Clara Parkes or at least say hi to her! Lots of knitting and yarn – yes, yes, yes!

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

Book of Wool

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

A new year and a new long book! One of the first books I reviewed when I started my blog was Clara Parkes’ Book of Yarn. I read and reviewed it over a number of blog posts as it was full of information and text. It was a perfect book to cover for my “away from home in Florida” time of year. So here we go with Chapter 1 of The Knitter’s Book of Wool.

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool – back cover

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Book of Wool – Preface

What better way to begin a book about wool than with a photo of a flock of sheep!

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Chapter 1 – What is Wool?

The first chapter begins with the fibers and their make-up. Did you know that wool is a resilient fiber than can be stretched to 30 percent of it’s length and return to it’s original size? I sure didn’t.

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Book of Wool – sidebar boxes

This book (besides being full of insightful info) has wonderful called-out sidebars with extra tidbits.

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Chapter 1 – Scales and Felt

As you can see by this spread, there is lots of text to read. This will be a slow blogging book for me!

What did I learn from Chapter 1? Wool from different animals is wildly different and result in very different types of the end product – yarn.

More to come…

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding/dp/030735217X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451937652&sr=8-1&keywords=book+of+wool

 

 

 

Officially done with Book of Yarn

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AtKnitsEnd

Well, I’m almost done!  It’s only been a couple of months with this one book. I do admit that I still have to finish my 2nd Princess Mitt so I’m still hanging on to a few pages for awhile.

By the way, I thought I was done with the book and then I got to the last section called “Putting It All Together”. Wow! That could be a whole book. How to care for knits, abbreviations, a comprehensive glossary, recommended reading, etc, etc. Clara Parkes sure did her homework!

I’ve decided that while I’m on this journey, I’m going to add a little thumbs up, thumbs down or as I like to say: keeper or ebay fodder.

Book of Yarn: Definitely a keeper!

Next book: At Knit’s End, Meditations of Women who Knit too much by The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl McPhee.

I’ve cheated a little and am on page 68. It’s a laugh a page or sometimes a “yeah, I get that” moment. It’s nice to be actually reading and not trying to absorb much about yarn/knitting. This is a pleasant diversion.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not sure that I can give this one up. It’s personally signed to me by Stephanie. Got to keep the autographed books forever…

Got books!

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So I’m back in my office with ALL my knitting books. Well, not really all of them, but let me say MOST of them.

What to read next. That is the question. Clara Parkes‘ book was so technical, so I think I’ll go for something a little lighter.

Truthfully I’m not quite done with Book of Yarn. I’ve promised myself that by next blog, I’ll be finished. Ok, almost finished. Still have to knit the 2nd Princess Mitt!