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The Intentional Spinner

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  316 ratings  ·  31 reviews
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 wit ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Interweave Press (first published November 1st 2008)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  316 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Normally I don't "Goodreads" (yes, I'm using it as a verb) knitting/spinning/fiber/craft books because usually I don't read them. I flip through, skim, and maybe make something from a pattern. They aren't read, they're reference.

But this I actually read, cover to cover. True to the title, The Intentional Spinner is all about spinning the yarn you want, rather than sitting down at the wheel, spinning something and then trying to figure out what to do with what you ended up with (after jumping up
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Ok, this is more of an upper 3.5. It's wheel spinning focused, while I am more interested in spindling. There's great coverage of some basics, she goes into more detail about fibers than most, as well as caring for fiber and products, pest issues, and so on. Great section on art yarn. It may not be extremely in depth but it's the best I've seen so far, it covers a good number of techniques and seems to provide quite practical information for each of them, not merely abstract definitions. Haven't ...more
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
A broad reference for fibre and technique with a lot of charm in the writing
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
[Apr 2020] This was a marvelously soothing read. When the news is bleak, there's a surprising amount of comfort to be found in reading about fiber-bearing animals of the world, or how to hackle flax. Try it and see!... Of course, it's also a thorough treatise on wheel spinning, with an emphasis on planning and control: making the wheel do what you want it to (hence the "intentional" part of the title) rather than simply producing "default" yarn. The chapter on art yarns is definitive and enlight ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awwww yeah, here's some highly technical information on the chemical and physical properties of a wide variety of fibers, the mechanics of spinning wheels and twist dynamics, all presented in a highly readable and understandable way. There's even a yarn diameter control algorithm
Because sometimes you have to
before you can
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. Chock full of info about fiber and turning it into yarn. This is one I'll reread again and again! ...more
Meagan Condon
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful resource for spinners who have the basics down and are looking to improve their yarn. The information and photos in this books are well-presented, clear, and precise. The text can be somewhat dense at times. This is a book that needs time to be digested and would benefit from multiple readings.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and well written. A history, science lesson and technical treatise on Spinning and textiles.
Renee Gordon
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite how to spin book. The accompanying DVD is especially helpful.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
TIS opens with a wonderful run down on different types of fiber, including a lot of different more rare and luxury fibers that I had never even heard of before. I did find the technical explanations about different approaches to spinning hard to follow at times - due to the layout of the book, you would have to bounce between the text and the pictures they were referencing, which made it hard to follow along. I also didn't particularly click with her technical explanations - it was hard for me t ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from the library in order to browse through it & see if I could find anything interesting in it. I think I will actually have to buy this book, however. Judith MacKenzie has included so much valuable information, and I think I could use this book as a reference for years to come. Highly readable style, too. With all the detail, this could easily have been a dry read, but it's not at all. ...more
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spinning
Fantastic book that is rich with Judith's knowledge of spinning and fiber. Very high-level and abstract in some ways and I kept feeling that I wished some topics were covered more in depth, but I'm still processing the information I gathered. I think this is a book I will come back to repeatedly in order to figure out more spinning skills in the future. ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book to help you master your wheel and figure out what the different types of fiber mean to you as a spinner. It provides enough information to make you feel comfortable enough to start experimenting more on your own. I'm glad I took the time to read through it, and I imagine I'll refer to it often as I'm spinning. ...more
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is really a great resource, and I'd like to read it again sometime. It's definitely based on wheels rather than spindles, so it's not very useful to me now (I don't think I can do most of the plying tricks with a drop spindle--not enough hands), but if I end up with a wheel someday, I might go and buy it. ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly detailed book. As a more experienced spinner I rarely find something new in spinning books but this one is chock full of facts!
I learned the most from the fiber sections - detailed info on how every fiber goes from plant to yarn! Awesome!
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spinning
This is one of the best books I've seen on handspinning yarn. It covers all the different fibers extensively and contains interesting information on them that I haven't seen elsewhere, and it is filled with great tips and information. I highly recommend it to anyone who spins. ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The DVD (included) helped with with plying--I'm a beginning spinner, but the early chapters with a taxonomy of fibers, where they're found, how their processed, what they're used for and why is absolutely engaging. Author seems just quirky enough to be really interesting. ...more
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: spinners
Shelves: 2011, knitting, spinning
I am trying to improve my spinning skills, and read this book for some ideas and advice to help me. As a spinner, it kept me engaged, and I did actually read it cover to cover. Highly recommended for spinners.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is exactly the spinning book I needed! I want to be able to design yarns and not just be happy with whatever comes off my wheel (although don't get me wrong, that's a lot of fun too). I'm going to do some experimenting tomorrow using the ideas in this book. I'm quite excited. ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: survival-skills
The author discusses some simple procedures for making yarn and thread from various materials without using a spinning wheel. She discusses some of the materials, provides color photographs, and even presents a couple of projects.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Just started but loving the info so far.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Haven't read every word of this, but thumbed through... well-written, lots of information, detailed. I need to remember this book when I'm spinning more again.

Read through 12/2010.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great reference book for handspinner. I espcially love the spinning for perfect sock yarn and the knitting pattern toward the end of the book.
May 01, 2010 marked it as set-aside
Rayon and tencel are the same thing. Optim is actually treated wool.
Feb 09, 2011 added it
Shelves: spinning
this was very in depth about fibers and history. most is spinning wheel knowledge vs spindle spinning. I left confused about plying vs cabling, so need to reread those.
Jul 08, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: library, fiber
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful resource book. I learned so much about different fibers, preparation & spinning methods and how to plan before I spin.
Oct 09, 2011 added it
Recommended to Sabrina by: Heather from Highland Handmade
Shelves: 2012
great for fiber enthusiast
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Luann by: my friend Melissa
Shelves: library, handcrafts
Very good information. I would highly recommend this book for others like me who are just getting into the world of fibers and spinning.
Tara Choate
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Quite wordy and (frankly) above my head. Shows a lot more more advanced techniques as well as history. Just a little too much for me.
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