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The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being a Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinion on the Noble Art and Craft [Hardcover]

By Alden Amos & Stephenie Gaustad (Illustrator)
Our Price $ 38.24  
Retail Value $ 44.99  
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Item Number 295210  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   495
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 7.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   2.35 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 1, 2001
Publisher   Interweave Press
ISBN  1883010888  
EAN  9781883010881  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Alden Amos shares his deep knowledge of wheel mechanics, spinning fibers, wheel construction, and yarn, as well as a wealth of spinning history and traditions. Every aspect of handspinning is explored, including dissolving lanolin, washing fleece, rotating wheel position, and choosing types of wool. Also discussed are various hand positions, which can result in everything from smooth, fine thread to funky, bulky yarn.

Buy The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being a Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinion on the Noble Art and Craft by Alden Amos & Stephenie Gaustad from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781883010881 & 1883010888

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More About Alden Amos & Stephenie Gaustad

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Alden Amos has been building spinning wheels for nearly 40 years and is the author of "Spinning Wheel Primer" and the coauthor of "101 Questions for Spinners". He lives in Jackson, California.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Spinning made easy (to understand)  Feb 17, 2008
This is a wonderful, informational book. I really like that it seems (to me), to be written in a way that new spinners will understand and be able to try this wonderful art. The additional historical notes are great as well - you could just spend time reading them. Plans/drawings for making your own (or having someone make) spinning wheel, accessories, are drawn beautifully. Other spinnning books are excellent too (Mabel Ross, etc), but I have found Mr. Amos style of writing very smooth and easy flowing. I highly recommend this book to any spinner at any level.
Amos pats himself on the back  Feb 15, 2008
I was expecting a useful compendium of information to help me to become a better spinner and to be able to better evaluate the differences and limitations of various spinning wheels, however, Mr Amos seems to be more intent on patting himself on the back for his own achievements (footnotes abound) and gets so technical with the rest of his info such that only production spinners would find it useful. For example, in one paragraph he writes off all castle wheels as useless (his reason is that they are not useful for production). He also disses double treadle styles as being something of a morphodite set-up (as mentioned by another reviewer).

He allows a "generous" two pages each explaining bobbin-lead vs flyer-lead and scotch tension as compared to about thirty pages extolling the virtues of the double drive system (can you guess which one he prefers). He then devotes another two chapters to the mathematics of whorls, ratios, grist and twist in relation to, of course, the double drive system (without a lick of info regarding how to keep consistency using a single drive system).

All in all, though the book is full of worthy information, if and only if you have a double-drive, saxony-style wheel, the presentation was annoying and biased. I really feel that it didn't impart the knowledge that I was expecting at all. I'm glad I checked this book out from the Library, as I will NOT be purchasing it.
Not For Complete Beginners  Jan 17, 2007
This book should be read with a critical eye. Some of the information in it is flat-out wrong. One example (not the only one by far, but a potentially disastrous one) is that Mr. Amos recommends winding off a drop spindle by hanging it from the ceiling and then routing the yarn down to a chair and through the top rail of the back, so that the yarn pulls off the end of the spindle. Please do not do this. Every time the yarn comes off the spindle tip, a twist will be added or removed, depending on how you've wound the yarn. This is the same principle that a Great Wheel works on. On some yarns, the extra or reduced twist won't matter. On others, it can either unspin it until it drifts apart, or twist it until it starts kinking. At the very least, winding off the end is inviting tangles and frustration. Drop spindles are best wound off from the side.

Besides incorrect information, there are also a number of omissions in the book. My personal favorite (again, not the only example by far) is when Mr. Amos is discussing umbrella swifts. He states that plans to build one are included later in the book. The book has no plans for any yarn swift, umbrella or otherwise.

The book is poorly laid out. Information on equipment is spread between 3 or 4 places at least. Similar with discussion of twist and related properties. On the other hand, the break between chapter 4 (Determining Character of Yarn) and chapter 5 (Accurate Measurements) seems completely arbitrary. Mr. Amos also has an annoying, and perhaps unethical, habit of plugging his own products -- without noting that they are his. He also often goes out of his way to avoid mentioning a competitor by name (i.e. referring to "a certain nearly ubiquitous New Zealand manufacturer" instead of using the name Ashford), UNLESS he is criticizing said competitor. Then he'll drop the competitor's name with no trouble whatsoever. I was also less than impressed when he spent the better part of two pages complaining about specific previous customers.

This is not to say that the book has no good information. It is worth reading if a spinner has enough experience or has read enough other material to be able to judge the value of each bit of information. It has the best explanation of a long draw I've seen yet, and his idea of storage bobbins is so brilliant and yet so obvious that I'm shocked it isn't standard practice. I don't think the book is worth owning, however, because of the omissions and errors. And, of course, nothing in the book should be taken at face value. See if your library has a copy, and judge for yourself before you buy a copy.
It covers just about everything  Jan 3, 2007
Yes, he is opinionated. But the man does have a sense of humor and can laugh at himself. This is a reference book, not necessarily easy armchair reading. I found myself with tools in hand and my nose in the book on more than one occasion and when I followed his advice step-by-step, it worked! The math, quite frankly, at first intimidated me, but again, when I was working on an actual project and needed the math guidance, I turned to this book. I'm hoping to take this book down to our local blacksmith shop (Colonial period re-enactors and a smithing guild) and see if they will make me a set of combs following Amos' directions.
Wonderful, a delight to read!  Oct 16, 2006
I completely disagree with 'belacane "the cashmere cat"'. This book is just unbelievable detailed with all kinds of interesting info. He even tells you how to make the soap that you wash your wool with (if you are so inclined). After having read so many reviews that said he was opinionated, well the cover of the book has the word OPINION on it, and the introduction he admits he can at times be hard headed after years and years of his way working. However the how-to's are wonderful!

I was told by a local sheep farm that you can place the cleaned wool in the washing machine on the spin cycle (no agitation) and you can dry the wool fast this way. Well he even mentions it in the book and basically says 'research it and try at your own discretion' so while he clearly would never do it, he didn't even have to mention it, but he did because it's something other people may have success with.

I find him a delight to read, there is no other single book with all this wonderful information in it. You can tell Alden loves his craft. I am very much enjoying reading it and I am about 40 pages in.

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