A fast-paced account of the year Clara Parkes spent transforming a 676-pound bale of fleece into saleable yarn, and the people and vanishing industry she discovered along the way
Join Clara Parkes on a cross-country adventure and meet a cast of characters that includes the shepherds, dyers, and countless workers without whom our knitting needles would be empty, our mills idle, and our feet woefully cold. Travel the country with her as she meets a flock of Saxon Merino sheep in upstate New York, tours a scouring plant in Texas, visits a steamy Maine dyehouse, helps sort freshly shorn wool on a working farm, and learns how wool fleece is measured, baled, shipped, and turned into skeins.
In pursuit of the perfect yarn, Parkes describes a brush with the dangers of opening a bale (they can explode), and her adventures from Maine to Wisconsin (“the most knitterly state”) and back again; along the way, she presents a behind-the-scenes look at the spinners, scourers, genius inventors, and crazy-complex mill machines that populate the yarn-making industry. By the end of the book, you’ll be ready to set aside the backyard chickens and add a flock of sheep instead. Simply put, no other book exists that explores American culture through the lens of wool.
"Given my hatred of puns, I absolutely do not want to say Clara Parkes spins an incredible yarn, but how else to describe this incredible book? Parkes is the Marc Kurlansky of wool!"actor, humorist, and author of Vacationland, John Hodgman
“While I laughed and loved Clara's prose, I was left with so much more. It's actually a lovely and melancholy look at an American industry that's quickly changing, and a beautiful story of the people who are sacrificing to maintain it."actor, director, and author of I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, Judy Greer
“Long before social media cluttered every corner of our existence, Parkes’s conversational 411 about new yarns and interesting pattern designs forged connections among far-flung knitters, who discovered they were a global community rather than lone practitioners of a cozy hobby they’d learned from Mom.”The Washington Post, Kathy Blumenstock
“Quite possibly the only writer you will ever read who can make a discussion of micron counts absolutely riveting.”The Oregonian, Mary Mooney