On Friday I went to the “Made by Hand” exhibition at Lewes Town Hall – the biennial show of the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. It’s always a good show and the quality and inventiveness of the work on display is always a great inspiration, but this year I think it was even better. A couple of reasons for this: a) the catering was particularly good and very good value, and b) there seemed to be a greater variety of work on show.
I bought some weaving yarn and a couple of bundles of spinning fibre, but my top purchase of the day was this book:
It is a particularly well-thought out book; the layout is extremely clear, with details on how to make 80 different yarns, but each set of detailed instructions is accompanied by a couple of boxes that give the pertinent details in pictorial and “quick-note” form. These pictures and quick notes are also included as a set of separate cards in a folder at the back of the book, so you can keep the individual guide handy whilst spinning without trying to peer at a precariously balanced book. The pictures in the book are very clear and show all the yarns in natural sheep/alpaca/goat colour so the construction of the yarn is easily visible without the distraction of beautifully hand-dyed fibres. There are some full-colour pictures which suggest how the use of colour in your fibre can add to the look of the finished yarn, but the construction and technical details of the yarn take centre-stage.
The book is also enhanced (in my view) by the gentle humour and little anecdotes that run through it – for a particularly tricky technique, the author suggests that, as well as making sure your hands and feet are co-ordinated, it may be helpful to stick out your tongue a little way! This really made me chuckle as I had visions of spinners up and down the country getting ready to make a fabulous yarn: “leader – check; direction of spin – check; correct tension – check; right hand angle – check; tongue out – check; aaaand spin!”