Book Review: The Joy of Spinning

What wonders are to be found at the local library!

I was wandering through in search of a book on Microsoft Office for my mother (try as I might to teach her, she just needs to have instructions open in front of her), when I stumbled across this title. A book on spinning, written by someone who started out with no knowledge at all and got to be an expert? Sounds like a good read to me!

Before you pick the book up, realize that it was published in 1971. This may make it seem a bit "dated" if you're expecting glossy pages, artistic photographs, and modern prose. You're not going to get any of that. My copy smells a bit musty, there are no photographs, and the writing style isn't like the knitting books I'm used to. What you do get is well-drawn (and sometimes funny!) black-and-white illustrations, and an interesting approach to the subject matter.

Rather than writing as an instruction guide, Marilyn Kluger tells you a story. She starts with her first exposure to spinning at her grandmother's house, gives you tips on finding a wheel based on her own experience, and explains what she found was the best way to detangle and clean a raw fleece. Reading her book, you feel like you're learning right along with her, not being lectured.

The book does focus mainly on wheel spinning, but even as a spindler I found things to appreciate. There is one chapter on using a hand spindle, and the sections on finding, preparing, and dyeing fiber are useful to spinners of all tool preferences.

Maybe someday I will pick up a wheel and put more of the book to use, but for now I'm happy to appreciate what I can. After all, we're all just making string out of sheep.


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M said...

You didn't make a square for Pratchett's Pratchgan did you? I knew you were talking about it...

August 18, 2008 at 4:55 PM

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