A handy book just got, um, hand-i-er
Testing for a balanced ply.
I am a big fan of Interweave's Companion series of books. Many of us are familiar with these great little books that Interweave offers for a variety of crafts. The goal of the series is to offer quick go-to information all in one place, answering all those questions that come up as you sit down to start a project. When I took weaving in college The Weaver's Companion
was our only required text, and I still return to it frequently when calculating my sett or hemstitching.
Always meant to be functional, they are a handy size and spiral-bound so you can leave them open to any page as you work. There is even an extra flap on the back cover to mark that spot to which you frequently return or you can use it to prop up the book tent-style. And now that they have been released as eBooks, they are even handier when questions arise. With a quick search on your computer or handheld device, you can find the answers you are looking for. And if you load one onto your phone, iPod, or tablet, you have the information with you wherever you are.
As a spinner, the Spinner's Companion
is also never far away when I am spinning or planning a project. I never know when I'll need to turn to it for troubleshooting advice to get my wheel going or a reminder of the best way to figure out twists per inch in singles. It also has a great chart for calculating the number of treadles needed at different ratios to get the twists per inch you want. This is especially handy for me as I am trying to spin with crimp in mind after reading Beth Smith's article in the Winter 2011 issue of Spin-Off.
Another favorite is the common characteristics of millspun knitting and weaving yarns—very handy for substituting handspun in patterns.
I love how this little book contains such a breadth of information. Every time I flip through I learn something new and unexpected. With information about tools, fiber, and techniques, pretty much all of the spinning basics are covered. With this book, I know how to choose a fleece; how to sort it, wash it, and prepare it for spinning; the best way to draft it; and all the ways to finish it. If it isn't wool I'm spinning, there is information for pretty much any fiber available, including manufactured fibers.
Now that I have the eBook version, I can't wait to see what new spinning detail I discover next within its pages.