Monday, January 28, 2008


In case you think I’m overly critical of the books I’ve been reviewing, I’ve now found one I can actually gush about: “Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns and Creative Spinning” by Lexi Boeger (aka Pluckyfluff).

It just came yesterday and it’s absolutely wonderful! I haven’t read it all yet but I’m totally impressed with its combination of beautifully produced hardbound book, delicious photographs, personal writing (including guest spinner/writers) and multitudinous ideas for wonderful art yarns and ways to use them — or not. There is a lot to think about in the philosophy presented here. For someone like me who spins fairly fine and relatively boring yarns to an end purpose and who’s been doing it for a very long time, this is a revelation. That a yarn can just be…yarn. No purpose necessary; an end in itself. Art. Totally mind-boggling really.

I never got a copy of Lexi’s self-published first book “Handspun Revolution” mostly because it is a thin book, expensive at US$36 and not available through my usual book pushers…er, suppliers. I wasn’t sure whether it could tell me anything new. Maybe I’m changing my mind on that, though I’d still like to see a copy first to evaluate. Lexi herself considers the new book a continuation of the first one, without overlap in techniques. It definitely doesn’t have room for the detail this second one has though.

This book is not for the rank beginner spinner, though I’m sure they would get a lot of encouragement out of it. There are no basic how-to-spin lessons and the directions specify wheel rather than spindle. (Not that you couldn’t use a spindle for most things if you wanted.) There are specific techniques explained like tail-spinning, add-ins, crescents and lots more which could probably be undertaken by someone who at least knows how to make good continuous yarn and how to ply. They really have the advantage over me with this since they don’t have a lot of ingrained spinning habits yet! For instance, it’s really hard for me to spin fat and lumpy. I always find myself smoothing out and going finer and finer if I don’t concentrate totally on what I’m doing. Heading for my “comfort yarn” which is somewhere around fingering or laceweight. My handspun is often mistaken for commercially spun yarn. I’m not sure that’s a compliment? Maybe, if that’s what I was aiming for. However I’m planning to try to shake myself out of this rut. This might be the book to do it.

Included are specific recipes for yarns and patterns for using some of this unusual stuff, including knitting, crochet and even rudimentary weaving. But in keeping with the philosophy of creating your own versions, they are all quite adaptable to alternatives. There are also lots of hints and tips and techniques you won’t find described anywhere else. Spinning with fabric, how to attach all kinds of odd items, working with combinations of things you would never have thought of to make yarn with, and lots more. This book is going to take me awhile to digest. I think I’ll go read some more now.

1 comment:

magnusmog said...

I'm so glad you liked this book - I've been eying it up but didn't want to buy it before I found out what a more experienced spinner though of it. (Off to the book people right now....)