Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts, part of the Green Books Campaign

Green Books, button by Susan NewmanI talk about books here all the time, but I don’t often talk about the paper those books are printed on / consist of. This review is part of the Eco-Libris Green Books Campaign.

spinning in the old waySpinning in the Old Way: How (and Why) To Make Your Own Yarn With A High-Whorl Handspindle by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts (Nomad Press, 2006), 176 pages

Spinning in the Old Way is an introductory guide to making yarn. Gibson-Roberts focuses on high-whorl handspindles, as the tool of choice, for a number of reasons. She delves into the history of spinning and gives clear, step-by-step instructions for the beginning spinner.

One of the first things I learned in this book is that my spindle (my one and only spindle) isn’t good for much. Just one example: My spindle weighs 42 grams (1.48 ounces), less than the 2 to 2.6 ounces recommended in this book. While this makes me a little sad, I didn’t spend much money on it and I do most of my spinning on a wheel. I also knew I wasn’t a top-of-the-line spindle when I purchased it — I just wanted something to play around with, that would allow me to try my hand at spinning.

The book is good at explaining the myriad vocabulary of the craft. It’s also good at giving tips to allow the reader to maintain proper body alignment and thus prevent injuries. It’s optimized for easy reference, with subheads and summaries in the outside margins, as well as lots of illustrations. The history of spinning and knitting Gibson-Roberts uncovered through her research is fascinating.

Overall, though, it wasn’t as helpful to me as I hoped it would be. I think I encountered this book at the wrong stage of my spinning journey. I’ve mostly moved past spindling to using my spinning wheel, and while this book tempted me to give spindling a try again, I wasn’t ready to buy a quality spindle just to try it.

Nomad Press is part of the Green Press Initiative. They honor this commitment by using paper that contains at least 30 percent recycled fiber and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (simplified: Not from endangered forests or an area of social conflict and doesn’t result in native forests being turned into plantations; designing for efficient use of inks and papers; printing their books in North America; planning to minimize use of energy in transporting books; and making decisions about everyday practices that minimize consumption of resources.

About the author
Priscilla Gibson-Roberts discovered high-whorl handspinning after she had used spinning wheels for years. She has opened the way to the craft and artistry of fiber for many thousands of spinners and knitters; she’s the author of Knitting in the Old Way; Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy; and Ethnic Socks and Stockings.

Other reviews

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 books printed in an environmentally friendly way. This campaign was organized by Eco-Libris, which is working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. See here for more Green Books Campaign reviews.

More information about green printing and the publishing industry.

Earlier this year I reviewed Only Milo, which also meets the standards of the Green Books Campaign.

I received this book from the publisher.


13 responses to “Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts, part of the Green Books Campaign

  1. Cool! This is a subject I know absolutely nothing about, but I would learn to love more. And it’s a green book! Hurrah!

  2. I had no idea you’re a spinner! You definitely need to write a post about that!

  3. Your 1.5-ounce spindle is fine; it’s just probably not the easiest type to learn on or the most versatile, because it’s best suited for making relatively fine yarns and not as easy to control as one that’s a touch heavier. I learned on a 4-ounce spindle, because that was all that was available when I started. I’d rather have a new spindler on a 1.5-ounce than a 4-ounce!

    “Expensive” has nothing to do with the value of a spindle. Some of the nicest little spindles I’ve ever seen were made from wooden toy wheels (from the craft store) and dowels (there’s an article in an old issue of Spin-Off, and a few referenes online although I haven’t checked them out).

  4. I agree with Deb:-)

  5. this sounds like a fascinating book.

  6. Way cool that you are participating in this – I wish I would have known about it! I love the post and the book sounds interesting!

  7. I know nothing about spinning but the process fascinates me. I’m with Kathy — I’d love for you to post about it. As a knitter, I’m all about learning more about all things yarn.


  8. Excellent post. I have Robert’s Knitting in the Old Way and love it for the inspiration she gives me. I also have a spinning wheel (an Ashford) that I am probably going to have to sell. As my hands have aged it’s become more difficult to do. But my mind still loves to spin so I still read about it. I don’t have a problem knitting so I’m thankful for that. I agree with Kathy – I’d love to read posts about your fiber experiencers. I’ve noticed lots of book bloggers who also love to knit and/or spin.

    I’m also glad this is a Green book – an important move in the right direction.

    • Oh, I’m sad you (may) have to sell your wheel! What Ashford wheel do you have? I seriously considered the Kiwi when I was looking. I really love spinning. I’m glad that knitting doesn’t bother your hands, though, too.

  9. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: November 14, 2009 : Semicolon

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