'Pure Wool' is produced by Sue Blacker who is the managing director of Blacker Yarns. This is a company dedicated to British Wool Breeds and the book is a showcase of the knowledge that comes with such a company. Blacker Yarns and Blacker Designs were launched in 2008 as brands of The Natural Fibre Company, which is their specialist wool mill on the Devon-Cornwall border. The mill specialises in adding value to fleece supplied by farmers and turning it into high-quality knitting yarn which they can sell for themselves and generate a new or growing source of income from their flock.Knowing this adds a context to the book as you understand the passion of supporting British Wool and the Campaign for Wool that has been highlighted by Kate Davies, amongst others, in the past and this week for British Wool Week.
For this post, I reviewed a digital copy of the book and enjoyed finding out about the different sheep breeds, spinning processes and the characteristics of the specific yarns produced. There are a collection of patterns that have been specifically designed to showcase these yarns and their qualities and they are beautifully presented. If you're a photography nut, you will love the images in this book as each page is a mini homage to all things sheepy and woolly. It made me very happy as colder weather began to set in around my perch on the sofa.
What I really liked is that despite the British Wool focus, there was a lot of comparison between UK and US terminology and I felt that this would be especially useful if you were a novice knitter or spinner, trying to get to grips with the difference between fingering and 4ply. That's not to say this book doesn't cater for the more advanced fibre enthusiast, it really does. There's a good level of information to be found here without it becoming overloaded or dry.
The patterns are presented in a really fun way too: each breed has a kind of 'ID card' or fact file, explaining the characteristics, uses etc. Then the pattern follows with written instructions and a full picture. I liked this as I understood why a particular breed worked especially well for crisp cables etc. The patterns themselves are gloriously rustic and simple. Instructions are written and information and notes are at the start of the pattern so you know what you need before you start. Needless to say, Blacker Yarns are the featured yarns and their natural palettes really help the cosy feel of this publication. There isn't a massive choice on sizing for the garments however so you'd need to make adjustments for fit.
If you'd like to get your hands on a copy, visit the website here for more details. A huge thank you to the publishers at Bloomsbury and Blacker Yarns for letting me be part of this tour.