Though I breezed right past it in last week’s round up of the shop’s newest books, there is one book in particular that I am really excited about: The Knitter’s Book of Wool, by Clara Parkes. I flipped through it once or twice at the shop, and quickly realized it was the kind of serious resource I’d have to take home to add to my own knitter’s library. I spent the better part of a Sunday with this book, learning more about yarn in general and wool in particular than ever before in one sitting. Though I am a serious and devoted lover of wool, and though I consider it by far my favorite fiber for knitting, I realized as soon as I began reading that I actually don’t know as much about it as I thought I did. Different spinning and dyeing processes, different breeds of sheep and respectively different qualities of wool, the variety of ways and reasons to combine wool with other fibers–all of these pieces of the puzzle I had only a vague understanding of.
The Knitter’s Book of Wool brings specificity and clarity to these issues, which only makes sense, given the author. Clara Parkes is the author of The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, a similar tome which tackles fibers of all kinds, and of Knitter’s Review, a weekly e-newsletter where she reviews yarns, knitting books, needles, and other knitter’s tools. For each yarn reviewed, she describes not only the experience of knitting, but also the washing and wearing, making sense of the fiber content and best uses for the yarn along the way. Parkes brings this same thoroughness to every aspect of wool, from sheep to skein, in this book. And then there are patterns, of course, from well-known designers like Cat Bordhi, Pam Allen, and Nancy Bush, for sweaters, mittens, shawls, and scarves, among other things. The patterns, too, are full of helpful information regarding the behavior of wool yarns.
I reached for The Knitter’s Book of Wool because I wanted to know more about wool, and now I do, of course, but what really excited me about it is that it made me aware of how very much more there is to know about wool, and how much can be gained from looking more closely at each skein. It is the kind of book that makes you want to read more books, and I know I’ll return to it regularly, for information as well as inspiration.
Come to the shop to peruse Clara Parkes’ books for yourself, and in doing so, become a more informed lover of fiber.