On the Loom: a Modern Weaver's Guide by Maryanne Moodie, photographs by Alexandra Grablewski, pub. Abrams, 2016.
A gentle introduction to weaving, this book contains clear tutorials for 5 different stitches (and a tassel) on rectangular, circular, and non-traditional looms. With essential information about tools, fiber choice, and color design, it's a comprehensive guide for novices, but even experienced weavers will likely discover pleasant surprises.
The projects range from standard woven fare (rugs, wall hangings, placemats, baskets) to wearables (scarf, necklace, even a hair tapestry!) to the unusual (lampshade, teepee, party backdrop).
Many of the projects include instructions for making your own loom. Materials can be as simple as a piece of cardboard or as sturdy as wooden stretcher bars with nail pegs. Sometimes the loom is an existing object like a bicycle basket or lampshade. In these cases, and in the holiday ornaments, the loom remains a part of the finished product.
The party backdrop can be woven between two trees (a beautiful idea for an outdoor wedding). The tote bag (below right) is made from an existing rag rug (homemade or purchased).
The photography is well done. The tableaux at chapter openings convey an accurate idea of the contents to follow. The project photos contribute to the book's air of gentle fun. The colors used are pastels with punches of vividness which is harmonious without being monotonous.
This book would make a great gift for someone who likes crafts. Many of the projects are of manageable size and require nothing more than cardboard, yarn, and a tiny bit of time. Maryanne's instructions and photo tutorials are excellent, striking just the right tone. She covers many techniques of weaving besides the different stitches. I recommend this book for anyone interested in weaving or learning new skills.
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a review copy of this book. Kangath was not otherwise compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in Kangath's reviews are her own.
I have another yarn to highlight today---Llamalini from Fibra Natura. This amazing yarn (40% Royal Llama, 25% Linen, 35% Silk Bourette) lies flat in stockinette when knit at the right gauge. It is incredibly soft with a luxurious feel, yet the fabric is relaxed and could be dressed up or down. It has a little bit of a tweed look (due to the bourette?) and is as comfortable as your favorite T-shirt but with the sumptuousness of llama and silk. For more photos see my previous post, Using the Nostepinne.
The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013
What secret does the great cellist Pablo Casals know about swatching? Which knit stitch is like whole-grain bread? And what does Barbara Walker's husband have in common with mine?
Clara Parkes answers all these questions, as well as others you never thought to ask, in her collection of 22 free-standing essays subtitled "My Unexpected Life in Knitting." Parkes runs the popular and useful on-line magazine Knitter's Review and is the author of The Knitter's Book of Socks, The Knitter's Book of Yarn, and The Knitter's Book of Wool---the last two being helpful tomes of use to anyone in the fiber community.
Parkes has a poet's appreciation for the interconnectivity of seemingly disparate aspects of life: an old sweater and a run-down farmhouse, a yarn stash and a flower garden, a sailboat and a Stradivarius. I have a sense of affinity with the metaphors she chooses, which are drawn from music, gardening, baking, and of course knitting. Her language dances and gallops, chuckles and sings.
This book has a lightness to it, an ease. It made me laugh and even filled my eyes with tears once or twice (the Acknowledgments got to me for some reason). And I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader.
Comment on this post by September 30 and say what kind of fiber you would be made of if you were a yarn. I'll use a randomizer to draw the number of one comment and identify the winner on that day's post. The winner will have a week to contact me with shipping information, and I'll send the book.
If I were a yarn, I would be linen. Tough and stringy when working up, but softening with use. I would like to say I'm organic merino, fluffy and elastic, but that would be a lie. Still, linen is beautiful and takes dye well. And my husband loves it.
Disclosure: Stewart, Tabori & Chang sent Kangath a free copy of The Yarn Whisperer for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Stewart, Tabori & Chang or Clara Parkes.
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knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
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