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 Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning
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Mike
Seriously Hooked

649 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  10:06:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mike's Homepage Send Mike a Private Message

Any issues with Alden Amosí Big Book of Handspinning?

I was steered away from this book when I first started asking questions about spinning and spinning wheels.

I received my copy on Monday and have been reading through it. I think itís a great book. Alden is a bit irreverent and I like it. He cracks me up with humor and editorializing.

I was just wondering what it is that has put so many people off of this guy. He defiantly doesnít buy into the politically correct point of view, he clearly states his opinions as nothing more than ďHis opinionsĒ. I donít know how much of the book is research or how much direct knowledge but I get a feeling that he is holding back both in attitude and laying on of the knowledge.

Like I said above I like this guy, he reminds me of someone Iím very close to :o)


Mike

RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  10:19:46 AM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
I just got this about a week ago too. I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to, but I like it too. I had been warned that he was highly opinionated, and he may be, but as a spinning teacher who was saying something contradictory to his "teachings" said: "Alden isn't here now" - I like his sense of humor a lot (reminds me of someone, too, Mike, maybe we know some of the same people? ) and I'm enjoying the info so far.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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Mike
Seriously Hooked

649 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  10:28:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mike's Homepage Send Mike a Private Message
Yeah, his discussion of scouring wool was above and beyond anything I've read so far. He surely doesn't tell people what they want to hear.

"Alden isn't here now" maybe I'll have to carry the book around :o
Mike
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CynthiaW
New Pal

26 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  10:37:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit CynthiaW's Homepage Send CynthiaW a Private Message
I'll have to check it out (it's at my local library...). I had read similar things about his book - very opinionated, etc..
The way I look at it, if you go to the trouble to write a book that big, you might as well include all the opinions you want!



- Cynthia
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Martheme
Sustaining Member

USA
1565 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  11:06:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Martheme's Homepage  Send Martheme a Yahoo! Message Send Martheme a Private Message
HI Mike,

I've had this book for a few years now . . . actually bought it before I started spinning!

I think he puts a lot of people off because his approach is very technical. Most spinners (okay, broad generalization to come:) prefer to work by sense of "feel", they spin and process by what feels right to them and what works with practice. Amos is all about measurements and the technical aspects of what we are doing to the fiber . . . way more than a lot of us want to spend time doing.

Personally, I think there is some great information in the book and use it as a reference all the time. I do however take it with a grain of salt.

Here is an example. He reccommends scouring at 120 degrees not higher, not lower. My tap water can get up to 150 degrees if I let it and I've found that for scouring really greasy wool (Merino etc) the hotter temp does work better, you just have to be really, really careful not to felt it.

Basically, I like to read the book, know the technical stuff and then do what works best for me at the time.

Happy reading!

Martheme

visit my sites:
http://www.inspirationsyarn.com & http://martheme.blogspot.com/
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Lissa
Permanent Resident

USA
4942 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  1:00:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lissa's Homepage Send Lissa a Private Message
I've not yet read it, but have read many comments to the effect that he often states as fact things that really are just his opinion. Other than that, I understand that it's a great book. Enjoy!

Lissa

"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian." --Dennis Wholey

Oh, and I now have a blog:http://knittnlissa.typepad.com/knittnlissa/
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  1:08:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
Yeah, but I know lots of folks who think their opinions are solid fact.



"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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RiverRock
Chatty Knitter

USA
283 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  4:59:29 PM  Show Profile Send RiverRock a Private Message
I've wanted this book since it came out. Didn't he just die this past year? He sure seems quite the character. I think I will put it on my wish list.

Mike what did you pay for your book? Where did you buy it? Hope you don't mind me asking.
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  5:40:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
The best price I found was on amazon, I think it was under $27 and free shipping.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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marfa
Permanent Resident

USA
2058 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2005 :  7:04:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit marfa's Homepage Send marfa a Private Message
How do.
RiverRock, from what I was heard at MD, he is still alive & kicking & still generating lots of tho't as these posts indicate.
Someone was talking about him & said that he is doing a workshop for a guild in Maine, I believe, this spring or summer. Apparently he does not do many lectures any more & this was a big deal for this (or any) group.
It's good timing that you would start this topic, Mike, as I have been considering the purchase of this book.
Martha
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Mike
Seriously Hooked

649 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2005 :  08:54:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mike's Homepage Send Mike a Private Message
Yeah, I guess I'm kind of a techno geek. His point about the water temp, over 120 was when adding soda to the bath, that the temp and the soda in combination will harm the wool. Of course I have no clue.

I set my twist at 180 and try not to shock the wool by bringing the temp. up from room temp. When I dye I bring the wool up to temp in a pot before I add it to the dye bath. So far he makes no mention of this and I have read in different sources not to shock the wool, I think this has more to do with inadvertent felting than anything else.

Taken with a grain of salt is always a good idea. When it comes down to it all we really have is our experiences with a process and when our conclusion differs from traditional fact we are pretty quick to find fault with tradition. Chemistry is involved in much of this, one little particle added to your process can make the results significantly different than tradition states, your results are still true for you but the traditional process still stands for everyone else.

I would meet the man if I ever have the opportunity to do so.

I think I paid about $39.00. I got the book from Carol Leigh along with some Addi Turbos I needed in 47 and 60" I know that I can find the stuff cheaper but Carol is a friend and I give her my business when I can. She has taught me so much and has only charged me for the tools I buy from her.

Mike
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purlwise
Chatty Knitter

259 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2005 :  7:37:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit purlwise's Homepage Send purlwise a Private Message
I'm one of those spinners that loves to read about all the technical aspects of spinning even though I don't always adhere to what I read. I like hearing and reading all the opinions of experienced spinners and then adopt what seems to work for me.

I'm not sure why, but this is the one spinning book that I haven't had much of a desire to purchase, although I have checked it out of the library. It's been awhile since I've looked at it but remember being impressed with his section on plying. I also remember that it had lots of details on how to make spinning tools, which is probably great for some folks but unfortunately I don't do woodworking.

My favorite author on the topic of spinning is Rita Buchanan. She has written so many excellent articles in previous issues of Spin-Off on topics that just aren't covered in any books. Lucky for me, I get to attend several of her classes next weekend.

Recently I've been collecting back issues of Spin-Off, and find them the best source of information. Some even include articles from Alden Amos.

Regards,
Melinda
www.purlwise.com
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2005 :  06:45:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
Mike, I thought of you last night when I was reading this - I just laughed out loud at a footnote about knitters (in the plying section)... something to do with them being so opinionated...

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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Lissa
Permanent Resident

USA
4942 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2005 :  08:38:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lissa's Homepage Send Lissa a Private Message
" Yeah, but I know lots of folks who think their opinions are solid fact."

Indeed, Amie, so do I.

Lissa

"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian." --Dennis Wholey

Oh, and I now have a blog:http://knittnlissa.typepad.com/knittnlissa/
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pjkite
Permanent Resident

1198 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2005 :  11:07:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit pjkite's Homepage  Send pjkite a Yahoo! Message Send pjkite a Private Message
I bought this book within the first few weeks of publication as an 'intermediate' spinner. I enjoy Alden's irreverent sense of humor, don't always agree with his opinions, and learned a tremendous amount from the book. Of course he isn't always right - we all funnel our knowledge through our own experience. But I must admit that this is the first book I go to when I have a question about some technical aspect of spinning. As far as I'm concerned, it was well worth the money!

Pamela Kite
East Tennessee
http://fiberlife.blogspot.com/

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curlyq
Chatty Knitter

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2005 :  2:13:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit curlyq's Homepage Send curlyq a Private Message
I just got this book recently and I have yet to crack it open - I'm intimidated by the sheer size! My LYS owner said the publisher cut Mr. Amos off before he was done because the book was so large and was overdue to the publishers. Apparently he had a LOT to say!

As for people who think their opinions are fact...that would be like, 3/4 of the online knitting/spinning community, I think. And really, a lot of the LYS owners I've met have had DEFINITE "opinions as facts" on how things should be done. As a newbie, I soak it all up, evaluate the source, try things myself, and make my own decisions. The best teachers/sources/friends offer their opinions and views, and then support you while you try to figure it out yourself. That's why I think I learned more from Lissa yesterday in an afternoon of spinning than I have in 2 all-day classes. :)
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RiverRock
Chatty Knitter

USA
283 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2005 :  4:16:49 PM  Show Profile Send RiverRock a Private Message
Mike I think the reasoning behind the temp and the soda may be that soda is a base and protein fibers love acid. Too much base will sort of dissolve the fibers. OMG where did I pull that out of? I have no idea but it seems to me that I have read this or heard it somewhere.

I'm glad to hear that he isn't dead. It would be fun to attend one of his workshops.

Melinda, you will love Rita. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is a great teacher with tons of patience.

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