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Knitter's Book of Yarn, The Hardcover – 1 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft (1 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307352161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307352163
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Un. Real. There is no other way to describe...well, that's a lie because I'll come up with more. But my first impression of "The Knitter's Book of Yarn"? Un. Real. I open the hardcover to reveal a fiber family tree. Smitten. Smitten on the spot. This book is, without a doubt, everything you ever wanted to know not just about fiber but were afraid to ask....This is absolutely a MUST HAVE book, and I don't say that often."
--MelissaKnits, blog

About the Author

CLARA PARKES left her career in the booming high-tech industry to pursue her love of knitting. She lives on the coast of Maine in a farm house full of yarn. She is the publisher of and a contributing editor to "Interweave Knits."

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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By TravelBug on 23 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
When I bought this I was hoping for a comprehensive guide to choosing and substituting yarn, and understanding the effects different yarns would have on different finished projects. Unfortunately, that's not quite what I got. Although the book's much thicker than I expected (and printed on lovely quality paper, incidentally), a huge chunk of it is taken up with patterns. These are quite heavily slanted towards accessories: think plenty of shawls, gloves, hats and socks, with couple of bags and a handful of women's tops thrown in for good measure. The patterns themselves are nice enough but not exceptional, and schematics are not provided for several of the garments.

As for the actual information on different yarns, it's not as thorough as it could be. The author runs through the origins and characteristics of the various fibres available but often doesn't go into as much depth as I'd have liked: there's only half a page on linen, for example, and less than 150 words on bamboo. Much of the information which she does provide is genuinely useful, but there's simply not enough of it in the areas which would have been of the most use.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. S. Tollerton on 10 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Every serious knitter should own this book. Comprehensive information on fibres and how they behave, yarns, how they are made and how that affects their properties, patterns to suit different yarns, advice on substituting yarns, and more. Very very good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just got this book, but I have already fallen i love with the content and the stile of writing. I am sure the book will add someting to my knowledge :-)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 86 reviews
109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Everything you ever wanted to know about yarn, by the most wonderful Queen Bee 22 Oct. 2007
By R. MISKIN - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you are familiar with the, then you know how great Ms. Clara is (and the depth of her knowledge of yarns) , and have probably preordered your copy already. If you haven't visited KR yet, this is a great introduction to yarn design, and a wonderful reference work, as well as a great set of easy and fun projects. Ms. Parkes just makes it easy to understand the "how and why" of which yarn to use for what.

I was lucky enough to score a copy of "The Knitters Book of Yarn" at the NY Sheep and Wool festival this weekend, and managed to make it cover to cover in about 10 hours. Ms. Parkes is one of this countries top experts on all types of knitting yarns, and this is a wealth of yarn construction knowledge with some really useful tips and tricks about selecting the correct yarn for your project. The projects included are also range from the beginners washcloth to some great vests and the "Maine Morning Mitts" are truly excellent. I can't say enough about how well it is written, and how facinating Ms. Clara makes all the details of twist, balance, and fiber selection.

If you are a knitter, know a knitter, or want to be a knitter, you can't go wrong here. Fun to read, clearly organized, and quite comprehensive, I know I will be using this as a reference tome for years to come, as well as making a couple of sets of Mitts for Christmas gifts!
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
This is YARN 101 29 Oct. 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ever wondered why your experience of knitting is sometimes one of ambivalence? Clara Parkes suggests that it may be the materials you are using. Curious to understand why yarn had such an impact on her knitting, she quite her high-tech job and applied her experience to providing knitters honest and in-depth reviews of yarn. Her search to understand if there was such a thing as "good" and "bad" yarn led to the birth of in September 2000.

The Knitter's Book of Yarn: the ultimate guide to choosing, using, and enjoying yarn collects seven years of knowledge that has led Parkes to be considered by some a "yarn whisperer." Her goal is to help knitters avoid "yarn-related errors" and match the right yarn to the right project, "to hold a skein in our hands, look at it, touch it, listen to it, even smell it, and instinctively know what the yarn wants to become."

In The Knitter's Book of Yarn, Parkes explores common fiber types, methods of preparation, spins, and ply combinations. The yarns discussed are meant to serve as examples of type and lead to a better understanding of the yarns in your stash or those found at the local yarn shop. The main body of the volume is called "Ply Me a River," where Parkes explores the qualities of classic single ply, two-ply, three-ply and four-ply (and more) yarns. Within each section are patterns designed to showcase the best qualities of this type of yarn. Each pattern is by designers whom Parkes admires for "their instinctive love and understanding of yarn."

The end of this main body is used to explore "modern" yarns; cabled yarns and textured yarns. Parkes also includes information on the "care and feeding" of yarn; that is, how to wash and care for your garments once they are knit. Additional tips are provided on the special handling each fiber requires when it is wet and for removing odors (especially important if you are sensitive to the smell of wet silk).

Armchair Interviews says: Savvy knitter will reach for The Knitter's Book of Yarn before their next yarn purchase.
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
All You Ever Wanted to Know about Yarn...a more! 25 Oct. 2007
By Melissa Weaver Dunning - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw that Clara Parkes was writing a book about knitting yarn, I didn't think that it would be a book I needed to own. But I was first in line to borrow it when our local library got a copy and I have to say that I was wrong. The Knitter's Book of Yarn is a beautiful book with some terrific patterns and it is the best resource book about yarn that there is.

The book is arranged in three main sections. First, she looks at all the different types of fiber in some depth, and you will find some products that you didn't think could be made into yarn, as well as answers to some burning fiber questions you may have had, like what the heck is rayon, anyway? In the second section, she considers the structure of yarn, how it is made and how that affects the use. Finally, Clara addresses the specific qualities of singles, 2, 3, 4 ply yarns, cabled, textured, boucle, brushed and chenille yarns, and includes several patterns for each type of yarn.

I'm quite impressed and will be pleased to add this book to my knitting library. I have already knitted 2 pair of Maine Morning Mitts. This book will appeal to knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers. Bravo, Clara! Well done!

Clara Parkes also publishes a weekly e-newsletter called Knitter's Review, which is very informative, well written and entertaining.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The Ultimate Must-Have Reference 7 Nov. 2007
By S. J. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book far, far surpassed my expectations. I've long been a fan of the author's Knitters Review website, and I pre-ordered this book merely because of that. When it arrived, I expected a slightly dry, dull, but factual book on fibers. Instead, it turns out to be not only packed full of more fiber information that I could have imagined, but that information is well written and enjoyable to read. Suddenly the light bulb has gone on, and I understand the connection between fiber content, spin and ply and my finished product. Instead of merely "going for the gauge" and expecting a sweater to work out, I can now make a far better decision about what yarn will work with what pattern and, more importantly, what yarn will not work and why. Honestly, this may be the only reference book that qualifies as a bona fide page-turner! And the happiest surprise - there are a bunch of fabulous patterns included.

This book, more than any other I own, has made me a better, more competent, confident knitter. I highly recommend it as a must-have for every knitter's bookshelf.
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
very good, but I'm still disappointed 18 Sept. 2008
By Frances K. Parsons - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a good, well-written book.

My beef is with the description, which led me to expect 256 pages of in-depth information about fiber properties, fiber blending, the effects of bleaching, dye and other processing on the fibers, and the benefits and drawbacks of various yarn constructions. I was very excited about getting such a book.

Which is why I was so disappointed when I got the book to find so much of the space was actually devoted to patterns. The patterns are certainly good, but there are pattern books by the hundreds---that wasn't what I was shopping for here, and space given over to patterns was taken away from the information I had expected and wanted.

The shame of it is that Clara Parkes is a fine writer with wide exposure to yarns and yarn types, and access to the people who create them and the people who use them. As someone who neither creates nor sells fibers or yarns, she is in perhaps an ideal position to synthesize yarn and fiber information in a readable, unbiased way - precisely the book I expected and wanted.

What appears in the book is more of a survey of fibers and yarns for the advanced beginner or intermediate knitter, while I was expecting more of a true fiber-whisperer master class. I would have bought this book anyway had it been more accurately described, but I would have been a much happier owner had my expectations not been raised so high by the description. In Sheep's Clothing: A Handspinner's Guide to Wool by Nola and Jane Fournier is closer to what I expected this to be as far as reviewing specific fibers, although it deals only in wool and does not discuss the issues of chemistry or yarn structure.

I do like this book, but I'm also still waiting for someone (maybe Clara?) to write the book I thought it was going to be.
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