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In my last post, I wrote about some terrific online resources for learning how to spin. In this post, I’ll share some of the books and magazines on the subject.

Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin

This book’s title is a bit deceptive. It doesn’t just teach spinning. As a matter of fact, the actual spinning section is just a small portion of the book. It also includes helpful chapters on fiber identification, preparation, dyeing and even instructions for building your own weaving looms.

What I liked: Lots of clear pictures helped me to quickly grasp the basic mechanics of spinning, and also showed me what not to do.

What I didn’t like: As the title says, this book is intended to be more of a visual guide. The written instructions at times were difficult to follow, and left me craving more explanation.

Bottom Line: If you’re a visual learner, this book will be a helpful addition to your spinning library. I bought several spinning books when I was learning and this is the one that I continued to refer back to.

Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn by Maggie Casey

This book is truly lovely to look at, and includes information on fiber types and preparation.

What I liked: Really beautiful photographs make this book very enjoyable to read.

What I didn’t Like: Not enough photos for me to feel like I was really getting a grasp of the process.

Bottom Line: If you don’t need lots of images to learn, the written instructions in this book will serve you well. The photos that are included are gorgeous and will inspire you to keep working at it!

Creative Spinning by Alison Daykin and Jane Deane

For those who have gotten the basic mechanics down, Creative Spinning is a great next step in exploring the creative options in spinning.

What I liked: Lots of inspiring images of yarn! The book also shows a knitted swatch of each yarn type, which is very helpful in visualizing a finished project.

What I didn’t Like: Nothing- except that I didn’t see anything made from Rambouillet fiber! Rambouillet is a fine, crimpy fiber, like merino. My husband’s mother has two of them and I’m lucky enough to get their fleeces.

Bottom Line: If you intend to do anything beyond basic, balanced yarns, you will like this book!

Spin-off magazine from Interweave Press

I will admit that I’m a magazine junkie. I love them! And this magazine is no exception.

What I liked: This magazine has it all- Beautiful photos, technical articles, and interviews with well-known spinning instructors and authors.

What I didn’t like: I have to wait another month before I get a new one.

Bottom Line: If you’re interested in spinning and you like to receive fresh reading material each month, you will want to give this magazine a try. There is an offer for a free trial issue on their website.

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handspun yarnA few months ago, my crafting muse dragged me into a full-tilt obsession with spinning wool. Looking back, I see how I allowed it to happen. You see, I had recently gotten back into knitting after a 20-something year hiatus, and had just gotten an invite to Ravelry. (If you love knitting and haven’t been to Ravelry, go. Now. I’ll still be here when you get back!) You can imagine my amazement when I found not only knitting information, but whole groups of people who spin yarn. I was fascinated and spent more time reading on the spinning boards than the knitting ones.

Over night, I found myself obsessed with all things spinning. I started out quite reasonably by ordering a drop spindle kit from Hello Yarn. It was all well and good, but drop spindles don’t move quite fast enough for that impatient muse of mine. Before the end of the week, I had decided to purchase my first spinning wheel. After reading many reviews on the subject, I decided that the Ashford Kiwi was the wheel for me and in a flash it was on its way to me from the Woolery.

To say that my first attempts were frustrating would be a drastic understatement. My poor, sweet husband nearly lost his head when he asked how it was going. But, I persevered and after about a dozen spools of lumpy, bumpy yarn, I was able to create a reasonably consistent yarn.

When spring shearing season rolled around, I managed to score three fleeces from a family member for free. Then, I found an ad in my local paper selling 55 pounds of fleece for $25. I knew that this was a sign- spinning was, indeed, my next crafty destiny.

Learning how to process a fleece and get it ready for spinning is a subject unto itself, and not one I want to get into with this post. Suffice to say it’s a lot of work, and not for the faint hearted crafter.

Back to spinning. If you are lucky enough to have a spinning guild or a yarn store that provides classes, the hands-on approach is definitely the way to go. While spinning is not an exact science, there are some very wrong ways to spin a consistent yarn. To avoid them, it’s helpful to see experienced spinners in action.

If you’re not able to see someone in person, the internet comes to the rescue! There are several notable spinning resources on the internet that helped me immensely.

The first was The Joy of Handspinning, which includes detailed written information as well as videos for various spinning and fiber preparation techniques. The second, not surprisingly, was Youtube. A search for “spinning yarn” will bring up many videos showing people spinning with different techniques which really helped me to grasp how varied the “right” way to spin could be.

And then, of course, are the spinning groups on Ravelry. The Beginning Spinners group is especially helpful, as many experienced spinners make a point to stop in regularly to answer newbie questions. No need to be embarrassed there!

The down side of Ravelry is that there is a massive waiting list of people waiting for membership there and it can take a few weeks to get an invite. If you are into any of knitting, crochet, spinning or dyeing wool, however, you will most definitely find it worth the wait! You can request an invite from the main page of their website.

Next post: Spinning books and magazines. Stay tuned!

Photo by ellenspun. Used under Creative Commons License.

I am a maker. I have been for as long as I can remember. All throughout my childhood, making things was what I did by nature, never realizing that this wasn’t what all children did for fun.

Over five years ago, I took my love of crafting and turned it into a successful business. Now, my husband and I are working on starting a new, family-operated division.

I was very fortunate to be born with a special kind of muse. A childlike muse filled with wonder who is always enthusiastic about creating something new. She has led me from photography to ceramics, from jewelry making to sewing, from knitting and crochet to spinning and dyeing, as well as to many others.

After the challenge of learning a new creative skill has been met, my muse grows impatient and is on to the next adventure. I, the perpetual student, am happy to go along, learning as much as I can along the way. I find websites, books, and other resources and absorb them all into my ever-growing catalog of crafty knowledge.

This is why I have started this blog. I’m going to take you along on the journey of creation with my muse. In this blog, I will post reviews of craft books, websites and podcasts, share great wholesale and retail suppliers, and any other items of crafty interest that I may find. When a new craft grabs my attention, you can believe that I’ll be searching out the best resources and sharing them here, with you.