I’m incredibly pleased to get the chance to talk about a new book by Sue Blacker that I really, really like. Pure Wool: A Knitter’s Guide to Using Single-Breed Yarns is the sort of book you’ll love if you liked Clara Parkes’ The Knitters’ Book of Wool or Deb Robson’s The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn. (The book is available used on Amazon US right now and new via Amazon UK, though hopefully that will change shortly for US readers! The US publisher, Stackpole, also offers it for sale directly on their page here.)
Sue herself farms Gotland sheep, as seen in the photo below, and as she explains in the introduction, not only is wool a natural fiber with many qualities to recommend it (we knitters already know that!) but it is ecological and even…entertaining?
She tells the story of her very clever sheep who spent 30 minutes trying to break into the chicken house to get at their grain — if you’ve ever watched sheep for a long enough time, you know that this is not even one bit unlikely. They’re as food-driven as my dachshund! It’s the sort of delightful anecdote that makes this book such a joy to read.
Every breed addressed in the book includes information about its history, breed societies and other places you can find more information, fiber qualities (including a yarn user’s guide with information on what that breed’s yarn is particularly good for, knitting-wise), and then patterns by a variety of designers. I’m a big fan of Sue’s own Hebridean Handbag (page 70), and not just because I’m a sucker for the color “sheep black”!
So jump for joy like the sheep below and get your hooves…I mean hands…on a copy of this ASAP! You’ll be glad that you did. (And on a not-terribly-related note, but as something of interest to me and CP recently, I was excited to see that this book was printed on matte paper instead of glossy, it’s more environmentally friendly and in my opinion, easier to use when you want to commit the lazy sin of writing all over a pattern to keep track of where you are without making a fresh working copy on the photocopier!)
The next stop on the blog tour is with my friend Dee over at Posh Yarn. Head over there…
Perhaps confusion about availability in the USA is due to the book having a different cover and a different title here. The USA version drops ‘Knitter’s’ from the subtitle. It’s readily available.