We had a lovely conversation with Alison and Cath about their new spinning book ‘Inspired to Spin’
We should preface this review by confessing to being novice spinners who have little or no technique behind our methods of method of making a yarn. That said, ‘Inspired To Spin’ feel very much like a book for someone who has taken their first steps into spinning and is looking to improve
There are lots of lovely photographs throughout the book, and even better are the illustrations drawn by Alison, to demonstrate how certain procedures should be completed. They help you to understand how you should be holding your hands to achieve certain techniques.
There are chapters that cover the basics of types of wool, preparation of fleece to start with before beginning with spinning techniques. There are some excellent diagrams to show how to handle the fleece to create yarn in different methods, but also more technical discussion of how to create the yarn you want. This includes twist, blooming, draft length and creating the best handle of the yarn. At the end of many chapters there is a pro-forma record sheet to encourage us to keep accurate records to make yarn repeatable, but also so that we learn from our experiments.
Each different fibre has its own chapter, with its history, uses, techniques to use, useful equipment, how it dyes, weaves or knits. There are also troubleshooting tips for the moments when things don’t go quite as planned.
The chapters further on in the book are more focussed on creativity. There are explanations of different fancy yarns, both created by spinning and plying. These chapters have some gorgeous photographs and had us itching to get our carders out.
A step by step approach to design is given by Alison; a very experienced weaving and spinning tutor, but the approach is then followed by Cath, who confesses to not being very confident with design. This step-by-step approach should give even the most timid designer confidence to give designing their own yarn and project a try.
Throughout the book, the authors reference their own tutors and the community of textile artists who have helped them in the writing of this book. We really liked this as it underlines our philosophy that we are all part of a wider community, sharing our love of all things yarn and fibre. This personal approach was also enhanced by the regular text boxes where the authors gave their own opinions. In this respect, the book is like having a spinning friend beside you at the wheel.