Book Review: The Intentional Spinner

Book Review: The Intentional Spinner
By Judith MacKenzie McCuin
ISBN 9781596680807 (paperback)
Interweave Press
151 pages

For nearly the entire first half of this book, Judith provides fairly in depth background information on fiber before you get any information on how to spin. However, if you’re actually interested in making a yarn for a project, it’s important to understand where your fiber comes from and what it can do. The first three chapters go over the three different sources: animal, plant, and factory. The last chapter goes over fiber characteristics in depth, and even includes a chart to identifying fibers using a burn test (an excellent way to find out what the mystery yarn a well meaning person gave you actually is).

The second part of the book goes into actually spinning giving fairly good explantions for worsted and woolen draws, though I found myself wishing she had gone into more depth on that topic. There is also a brief explanation to preparing the fiber using hand carders and combs.

Judith provides great information on plying, and what the plys can mean for future completed objects. The book is fairly in depth, and it’s an excellent reference when learning what to do. However, I found there was too much information of novelty plying as opposed to absolutely no information on chain or andean plying methods. So, these are methods you have to learn from other sources.

I did find it odd that she didn’t include any information on wraps per inch (wpi), at all. Also, while twists per inch were alluded to, she didn’t really cover that information. It’s information I could have used when I was starting out on my wheel, and its basically absent from the book.

Can I just say that while I understand the aesthetic appeal of novelty yarns in and of themselves, I still kind of hate them? I don’t see the point, aside from putting them on a shelf and looking at them. Am I ever going to use a fingering to superbulky thick and thin yarn with skull beads woven in? No. I am not. I do not care for them, and I refuse to make them. Hell, I have issues even using wildly variegated yarns. *sigh*

The last portion of the book is dedicated to a handful of patterns. They weren’t anything special, in my opinion, and I would have found more use in a section of swatches showing how the same fiber spun in different ways makes entirely different fabrics. That would have been cool.

The appendix includes care information, which is actually incredibly useful. (Although I could have used a section on protecting fiber from kittens, augh!) It has great information on preventing insects getting into your fiber (worth a pound of cure) and some good information on storing and displaying fibers.

The point: I would totally buy this book. While I found it lacking in spinning information, the background information necessary to understand your fiber is top notch. I would actually combine owning this book along with Spin Control (which I will get to, next week, hopefully) to really get the most information possible. Together, these books fill each other’s gaps and make a super great reference.


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