I know a lot of you are shopping for gifts for spinning friends, making gift lists for others to shop for you, or maybe you’re like me – I buy myself a little something to help soothe the stress of all of the holiday crazy.
I want to mention a few books that are handspun friendly that aren’t spinning books. These books have patterns that work well with handspun, they enhance your handspun, or they get that other yarns exists beyond big mill produced yarns. Here are some of my favorites from this year.
Five Fabulous Field Guides
Mason Dixon Knitting Field Guides
These tiny books have patterns that are perfect for handspun. Ann and Kay are the champions of knitting that is fun, engaging , but not too tricky. While knitting almost all of these patterns you can chat, watch tv, or have a cocktail and not drop a stitch or get lost in the pattern. The also celebrate the beauty in simplicity, the patterns in these books are the ones you’ll get the most compliments on, or be asked to knit for other people. They are the patterns for things you’ll wear or use the most. There are five, each with it’s own topic: Stripes, Fair Isle, Wild Yarns, Log Cabin, Sequences. Each book has 3-4 patterns designed by a bunch of my favorite designers.
Mittens and gloves with a variety of gauges
Knit Mitts: Hand-y Guide to Knitting Mittens and Gloves by Kate Atherley
Why would a spinner love this book? Well it’s by Knitty’s own Kate Atherley, and the patterns are great. But for those of us with baskets of handspun, the portion of the book that teaches about construction and fit, has a basic pattern for mittens and gloves and tucks in charts for using just about any gauge yarn in a range of sizes to make mittens and gloves, is gold.
Hannah gets us
Slow Knitting: A Journey from Sheep to Skein to Stitch by Hannah Thiessen
Sometimes I just want to read about fiber, yarn and knitting. Most knitting books don’t have a lot to say about the people that make yarn, where it’s from or how it’s made. This book celebrates those folks and the yarn they make. It’s a luscious read and the patterns are beautiful and worth the time it would take to spin for them.
Liz helps me not stress about my weaving
Weaver’s Guide to Swatching: How to Fail Faster and Weave Better by Liz Gipson
I am certainly better at swatching for knitting with my handspun than I am for weaving, and it always shows. Sometimes I’m straight-up disappointed most of the time, it’s just not what I want. Liz’s book is an excellent reminder why to swatch and she teaches quick and pain-free ways (my favorite) to make it happen. Liz is the brilliant mind behind Knitty’s weaving column, Get Warped.
Liz started an online weaving school this year, Yarnworker School of Weaving, check it out!
The Geometry of Hand Sewing: A Romance in Stitches and Embroidery from Alabama Chanin and the School of Making by Natalie Chanin
No, I am not going to advocate spinning for stitching (though it is delicious to stitch with handspun), this book will make you want to embellish everything you make with your handspun. What makes this book special for handspinners is the core of the book. The stitching and embellishing comes from the work of Alabama Chanin whose kits, clothing, and classes are based on making and embellishing clothes from jersey. Yes, embroidery, incredibly creative, organic and beautiful embellishment suited to knitted and woven fabric. Get stitching.