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The Intentional Spinner [Paperback]

Judith MacKenzie McCuin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2009
Offering a blend of technical knowledge, history, and easy-to-use tips, this inspiring collection of spinning wisdom deftly explores the three fundamental areas of yarn production: understanding fibers, managing yarn structure, and making yarns that precisely meet the spinner's needs. The rich, historic traditions of plant and animal fibers are fascinatingly juxtaposed with recent advances in synthesized fiber and mankind’s use of fibers in the past, present, and future, while detailed, image-laden instructions for four intermediate projects demonstrate the range of possibilities, from sturdy, plied yarns to playful, novelty yarns. Spinners are also offered guidance on planning a project from start to finish, as well as how to care for and store completed projects.

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"In this complete overview of the art and science of creating hand-spun yarn, McCuin covers characteristics of different types of fiber, techniques for spinning yarns, and caring for hand-spun yarn and includes a few basic projects."  —Library Journal



"Not just a collection of information, but to a large extent a collection of wisdom."  —Cast-On.com



"5 out of 5 stars. Fascinating reading. This is an excellent, detailed book with lots of technical information."  —Knitting News



"If the words 'warp' and 'weft' spark off a dream of sitting by a spinning wheel on a wintry afternoon, this book can make your dreams come true"  —AllAboutYou.com



"Of course it's good! What did you expect? Judith MacKenzie-McCuin + Interweave = spinny goodness."  —Knitty.com

About the Author

Judith MacKenzie McCuin is a textile artist with more than 20 years of experience. She is the author of Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning and has contributed to a variety of industry publications, including Handwoven, Interweave Knits, PieceWork, and Spin-Off. She lives in Augusta, Montana.

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Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Barbara TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with this book! At first I hesitated to buy another spinning book because I already know how to spin but I was hoping to learn more--I'm learning lots more now! I decided to buy it because I've been reading the author's very helpful articles in Spin Off Magazine. The book is loaded with great colour photographs of yarns, wools, fibre, and everything to do with spinning fibre. Its visual presentation is excellent and the book is better than I expected.

The first section covers the different types of fibres - animal, plant & manufactured (there's history in this section but it's really very interesting and is accompanied by photos). Many different types of fibre are covered, both old and new.

The next section covers fibre preparation and spinning techniques - all fully illustrated. The info on drafting methods is invaluable. It also fully illustrates techniques to ply your fibre and yarn design - planning the perfect yarn.

There are four knitting projects included in the book as well - a shawl, socks, scarves and a kese (a bath loofah done on a loom).

The book finishes with how to care for your fibre (storage, dealing with moths, etc) and a bibliography and index. FYI - Not covered in this book is dyeing fibre. It's presumed you know how to set up a spinning wheel but you can get that info from the author's other fabulous book Teach Yourself VISUALLY Handspinning. I'm very happy with both books.

This book is a great mix of the historical and the practical aspects of spinning.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars informative and inspiring March 27 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a spinner for many years, and I found a lot of helpful information in this well-written book. The projects are designed to teach specific skills, which they do. Judith is a superb teacher, and she has a wealth of knowledge. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to spin and who wants to improve their skills.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spinner's spinning book Feb. 13 2009
By Constance - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the second book by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. The first being, "Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning". The first book was a good overall introduction with many techniques that are touched on but was not intended to be an in depth study of spinning and fit the format of the Teach Yourself Series.
With this new book the author's own voice is on every page and her hands are in the photos. This is a month long workshop in book form and not to be missed for new and advanced spinners alike. Sometimes one idea or photo is worth the price of admission and with this book there is something on every page that makes the book a worthwhile purchase.
As from the title, Intentional Spinner, the information in this book seems designed to allow you to start from the raw fiber and to produce the yarn that you need for the project you desire to make.
I have quite a few spinning books on my shelves that are good books but too dense to get a good reading. This format is open and easily accessible for quick reference and later study. Many tools for spinning are shown and discussed. Fiber types and history are covered and the types of spinning used on each fiber is included. There is a wonderful chart on woolen vs worsted spinning that clarifies the characteristics of each type. I would like it engraved on my wheel!
This may not be the last word on spinning but it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the use of fibers and using fiber for many purposes, from spinning to knitting to weaving. Anyone who is interested in how fiber is processed to become so integral in our daily lives will enjoy this book.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for spinners March 17 2009
By C. Kauffman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book does a great job of taking the next step from the many beginning spinner books out there. She clearly addresses the technical/mechanical aspects of spinning and helped me understand how to step back from the "intuitive" yarn I've been making (which is pretty good yarn) and pay attention to the details so I can repeat my successes. A lot of the information she provided on fibers is excellent and the details there answered several questions I had. She has raised a storm in the spinning community with the sideways drum carding idea... but that is NOT addressed in this book.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a class with Judith in your home March 25 2009
By Gypsy Queen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book will save you airfare and hotel costs. It discusses everything she teaches in her classes. You have to read it slowly and carefully because it is so packed with information. I don't recommend reading it from cover to cover...pick out the sections that are relevant to the spinning question you are asking, and read it at the wheel.

Know also that there are other ways to do the things that Judith doesn't teach that are good alternatives. Most of us do a short woolen draw that isn't forward. She doesn't endorse that. But it works.

She is one of the most knowledgeable spinners of our time. Her book is a necessary addition to the spinner's library.
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of technical details, but difficult to follow April 10 2009
By Kim Unertl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I find it interesting that so many reviewers commented that this book is full of the author's voice, because to me the book read mostly like a technical manual, with very little personal feeling in the writing. In fact, the tone of the book seemed very "dry" to me.

I bought this book after repeatedly seeing it described as a "must have" addition to everyone's spinning book library. I would classify myself as an intermediate spinner, someone who is proficient but still has plenty to learn. I thought this book would be perfect for someone with my level of experience, but didn't find that to be the case.

I felt the author presented each topic in a very precise but very rigid way, ie there is one right approach for each part of spinning and if you don't do it that way then you're doing it the wrong way. That doesn't really mix well with my personal experience of spinning, which is that there are many different approaches and techniques and while some techniques are right for you, that doesn't mean they're right for everyone. The "one right way to spin" tone of the book was a real turn off for me personally and definitely reminded me of Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning. I have a feeling that if you are the kind of spinner who isn't a huge fan of the Amos book, you'll probably not enjoy this book either.

I also felt the photos in the book were too small and were not good illustrations of what the author was discussing. There are tons of photos, but I didn't find the majority of them to be helpful.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite spinning books Oct. 28 2009
By Joan M. Jurancich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been spinning for over 30 years and seldom purchase "how to spin" books anymore. But this one has found an honored place in my bookcase. And I've been recommending it to all my spinning friends, many of whom have taken classes from the author. I don't recommend it to absolute beginners, but to anyone who has been spinning for while and wants to get beyond being a purely intuitive spinner (which is where I am coming from).
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