Author Pam Austin
£25.00 + £3.50 p&p
A beautiful book to help and inspire all spinners.
Hand spinning is joyous, calming and creative. People come to spinning for many reasons, from wanting to create their own yarn for knitting, weaving and crochet, spinning their own alpaca or fleece or simply spinning for the pure pleasure of it. Pam Austin has been hand spinning for over thirty years and over that time has taught many people how to spin using a wheel or drop spindle.
“Hand Spinning – Essential Technical and Creative Skills” is published in hardback and is beautifully illustrated with over two hundred images. Clear step by step instructions guide you through spinning methods, fibre choice and preparation, colour skills, dyeing, yarn structure, art and yarn design.
Chapter 1 – One Thread at a Time
Getting started with a drop spindle or spinning wheel and how to spin a simple woollen thread. Starting with the understanding of how wool fibres behave when you stretch and twist them, moving onto how to set up and spin yarn using a drop spindle or spinning wheel. A troubleshooting section to help identify and fix little problems that you may encounter along the way.
Chapter 2 – Bewitched and Bewildered
It is easy to become bewitched by beautiful wheels and bewildered by the choice of designs and types of spinning wheel. Advice can be conflicting and different wheels suit different spinners and different purposes! Pam explains different wheel and spindle types and gives invaluable advice about choosing your own wheel or spindle.
Chapter 3 – Essential Spinning Techniques
Traditional and new hand spinning techniques are explained in detail, covering Z and S twist, and the various methods of spinning fibre and their uses. Long draw (Woollen), Worsted, Semi-Worsted draw and Core spinning are all covered with step by step instructions and supporting illustrations.
Chapter 4 – Sheep Fleece: Nature’s Best
Wool is 100% natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable. However, not all wool is equal! Fleece from different breeds of sheep are suitable for different uses, some are soft enough to wear next to your skin, others are more suitable for making tough wearing carpets. Even when you have an appropriate fleece, there are hidden pitfalls; is it from a young or old animal, is the fibre damaged or felted? Pam teaches you how to choose a good fleece and then guides you through the preparation process, that will result in a quality preparation for spinning.
Chapter 5 – Fibres for Hand Spinning
You can spin many fibres, from both animal and plant sources. Fibre from sheep, goats, camelids and rabbits can all be spun into yarn, not forgetting silk, which derives from the secretion of a moth. Vegetable fibres, include cotton, flax (used to spin linen) and bamboo. You will learn how to choose suitable fibre for your projects, even taking into account the environmental and welfare issues associated with each fibre.
Chapter 6 – Plying and Finishing Yarn
Yarn needs to be plyed or finished to produce a balanced yarn that is suitable for the use that it was designed for. Z and S twist come into play again, working with the twist direction to construct yarns made up of two or more spun singles. Step by step instructions and images, guide you through simple plying methods using a Lazy Kate, progressing to Andean and Navajo plying.
Chapter 7 – Colour in Spinning
Playing and creating with colour is great fun. Making colour choices for your yarns is an important part of the creative process, whether working with the natural coloured fibre or dyeing with bright colours. Pam shows how to use proven colour theory skills when dyeing or mixing pre-dyed fibre or yarns, along with new techniques, to add the ‘wow’ factor to your finished yarns and projects.
Chapter 8 – Dyeing to Dye
Dyeing fibre and yarn can be a complex subject, but Pam keeps it simple and fun. Dyeing can be very therapeutic, a little time spent with a dye pot and fibre when feeling out of sorts can greatly improve mood and prove an exciting diversion. Learn how to use natural, and acid dyes in simple step by step processes, without the need for scientific skills or specialist equipment.
Chapter 9 – Yarn Structure
Outstanding yarn that has looks, feel and performs is seldom just two ply. Have you ever wondered how boucle is made, or wished you could spin cable, coils or other fancy yarns? You will learn the basic classic yarn structures such as crepe, gimp, cable and boucle. When you add structure to your choice of fibre, spinning technique and colour skills your yarns will all come together to make something that is really special and uniquely yours.
Chapter 10 – Mindfulness and Art
We all spin for different reasons, but most of all, spinning should be joyful and uplifting. This chapter aims to help you to develop your own truly individual style that brings you satisfaction and fulfilment. Pam gives examples of how to make your spinning and projects more ‘arty’ and meaningful either to yourself or the person you are spinning for. Or you can, of course, just spin for the sheer joy of it!
There and many ways to spin, lots of lovely fibre, countless tints, tones and shades of colour, endless yarn structures, and the natural world is full of inspiration. Hand spun yarn is an art form and with the help of Pam’s book, you can make this satisfying artistry happen for you. Don’t get stuck on a treadmill. Jump in, and start a voyage of discovery!