I really liked this book! Parkes (of the very useful site http://knittersreview.com/) provides detailed information about the various qualities and classifications of yarn available on the market. I appreciated the fact that she examined so many different varieties of yarn sources (eg vicuna) including hybrid sourced yarn, starting off with a family-tree” of fiber types. She discusses different methods of plying, ways to prepare fiber, as well as the various sources of fiber (animals, plants, manufactured).
I learned a lot. For example I learned about woolen-spun versus worsted-spun yarn – most yarn on the market is woolen spun, where they leave the short fibers in, creating a loftier and warmer yarn and therefore warmer material. The worsted-spun yarn takes only the longer staples of wool, and creates a more tightly plied – and therefore less warm – yarn, that really shows off stitch patterns, and its probably more expensive since they’re using more refined material, going that extra step.
She also provided many side by side comparisons of a given wool in one form versus the same wool but in another form (eg worsted spun versus woolen spun). She provides patterns specific to each yarn type that she examines. Though I liked that she provided brand name examples of the various yarns she discussed, I really wish her lists had been longer with more diversity. For example, for the worsted spun yarn, all her examples were 100% Cotton, cotton has no elasticity and hurts my hands, so none of the examples were helpful to me.
Overall though a really great book, I’m so glad we have it in our collection! I think I need to read all of her other books.