I received the Spring 2009 issue of Spin-off in the mail a couple of weeks ago and haven't had the chance to post about it yet. As usual, there are some interesting things here - even for knitters!
First, the books reviewed include The Eclectic Sole: Socks for Adventurous Knitters, Knitting Art: 150 Innovative Works from 18 Contemporary Artists, Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds, and Creative Spinning. The sheep book looks like a great addition to any coffee table.
In the news column (titled "As the Whorl Spins..."), there is an interesting tidbit about spinning wheels in India. A new wheel, called the e-charka, generates electricity while spinning. Here's a related article from The Hindu newspaper. Two hours of spinning generates enough electricity to play a radio and power a light bulb for 6-7 hours. I wonder how much electricity we could generate if we all harnessed the power of our wheels at home?
Also in the category of "things I never thought of before"... an article about spinning for needlepoint. I haven't done needlepoint since I was a little girl. What a fun way to use your yarn!
There's an article about an artist named Monica Lenox who handpaints spinning wheels (again, something it never occurred to me to do). She hopes to have several at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this spring, so maybe I'll see them in person.
There is a very short article about spinning sock yarn. I want to learn more about this, but the article just didn't have very much detail. I may need to pursue this topic at Sock Summit in August. The article is excerpted from Judith MacKenzie McCuin's The Intentional Spinner, which I'd like to take a look at sometime, as well.
The pattern featured in the Handspun Gallery this issue is Clara Parkes' Maine Morning Mitts, which is included in her first book, The Knitter's Book of Yarn (pattern is also freely available online). it's shown in 6 different versions, including one made of dog hair (please, do not start saving your dog hair for me to spin!). I liked this pattern when I first read the book in December 2007, and I toted it along with me to the MDSW in 2008, just in case the perfect yarn presented itself to me. I also got my book signed by Clara at MDSW 2008 - a treat! But I have to admit, it never occurred to me to use my own handspun with this pattern... perhaps because I wasn't spinning when I first encountered it. The pattern calls for 85 yards of a worsted weight single ply yarn. I might try knitting this with my Gold Hill handspun (even though it's 3-ply).
By the way, Clara wrote a review of MDSW in 2008. If you look closely in this Flickr set, you'll spy Kristina, Kris, and I knitting away waiting for Clara to sign her book.
Even though I may never try many of the things discussed in this issue, I still love reading about them. Spin-off magazine is great fun, even if you don't spin!