This is a very bittersweet review of Barbara Albright’s “The Natural Knitter”. Barbara wrote both knitting and cooking books. Sadly she died last fall of a brain tumor at the age of 51. This was her last book, and regrettable she missed enjoying her wonderful book. The world has lost a wonderful person, knitter and author. When Barbara wrote “The Natural Knitter” it had to be an enormous task to write and illustrate. This book is like an encyclopedia of yarn all natural all beautiful. You will learn what natural fibers to use from Alpaca to Yak. We are all familiar with the new interest in natural fibers like cotton, flax and hemp and all other fibers that come from plants. Barbara introduces us to a fiber called vicuna and it is softer than cashmere and extremely protective. The vicuna is a rare wild animal which sports hair less than half the diameter of the finest sheep’s wool. Its wool is not just for show, however. Because it lives at an elevation of between 12,000 and 18,000 feet on the slopes of the Andes Mountains it needs that insulating coat. Up there, near the snow line the days are beautifully sunny but at night the temperatures plummet to many degrees below zero. I learned that you can spin fibers directly from an Angora rabbit onto a spinning wheel, which is absolutely amazing to me and that angora goats produce mohair. Did you know cashmere comes from the Cashmere goat? You will learn about different qualities of particular fibers, it also provides information about the animals and plants that provide the yarn. You will learn which plants produce fibers for each yarn and which animals yield fiber for other natural yarns. If you are in to eco-friendly knitting then this book is a must have for the conservationist knitter. The section on natural dyes used centuries ago is a must read to keep fibers toxin free. Did you know that there are yarns made from bison, guanaco (The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a camelid animal native to South America) and even yarn made from pineapples, I didn’t! You certainly see that this book was created by people who are passionate about fiber. In addition to all the great information about the yarns themselves and where they came from, there are also 23 patterns using the different fibers Barbara has introduced us too, helping you be aware of how you can use these fibers to their best advantage. Carol Cypher, is one of the contributors in this book on felting, an author in her own right, so you may want to take a look at her blog. This is a book you will definitely want for your knitting, felting and fiber library. It is a beautiful hardcover book with stunning photography by Alexandra Grablewski. This giveaway will run from July 20th through August 2nd. In the comment section simply type “enter me” I know that everyone will want this book as a living memory of Barbara Albright. This book is available at Amazon.com if you would like to purchase it. I want to thank Random House books for making this giveaway possible.
By Linda Lanese