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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
A paperback copy, from around 1986, but chock-full of great information.

Lara's Library (Sort Of): The Ashford Book of Spinning

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
A method for long-draw spinning.

I've been learning to spin yarn in fits and starts. A friend of mine lent me an Ashford Kiwi and gave me a quick lesson in forward short-draw.

It didn't take right away. The fiber I had didn't draft easily, and the wheel was a bit squeaky and stiff. I ordered some new fiber and an Ashford care kit. When it came, I oiled the heck out of the wheel and tried out my lovely new fiber. It was a completely different experience! The fiber finally seemed to be flowing, but I still didn't have a lot of control over the experience, or the yarn.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Scotch tension explained.

I had watched some videos on YouTube, and even read a little about spinning, but what I really wanted was clear photos of someone actually spinning.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Short backwards draw - my current favorite.

I decided to go to the source. When I saw that there was a copy of The Ashford Book of Spinning in my library, I snapped it up.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
This is a lineup of different "novelty" yarns.

It's a little hard to find now, but if you can get a copy, I recommend it highly.

The photos in the book are sharp, black-and-white portraits of spinning, as seen from the spinner's perspective.

Anne Field's tone is light and fun, while staying informative. I especially love her little jokes. She says that the "long draw" method may sound like "something done in the wold west." Really, it's just too cute.

Anne also covers Navajo plying (she calls it "Navaho." I forgive her because she isn't from here), which I haven't seen in very many other spinning books.

I really focused more on the photos of the spinning hands, but there is a lot more here, for people who are obsessed with other things.

The chapters are:

1) Learning to spin

2) Wool (types, cleaning)

3) Carding (and combing)

4) Wheels

5) Other Spinning Techniques

6) Novelty Yarns and Other Fibers

7) Q & A

8) Dyeing

9) Felting

10) Patterns for Handspun Yarns

The patterns aren't exactly to my taste (what do you expect from 1986?), but I can see myself potentially using at least part of every other chapter in the book.

And, who knows, maybe I will need a pattern for a bias-knit garter stitch sweater (it might be cute on a baby).

Overall, a great book for the beginning spinner, anyone looking to add to their fiber knowledge, or for just a fun read about spinning.