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Worthy of hard-earned shelf space

Anne Merrow is editor of Interweave's spinning and knitting eMags. We've invited her here to share some of the treasures she's discovered in the pages of Spin-Off while researching for future interactive articles.

Charlene Schurch's Topflappen Vest from the Fall 1999 issue of Spin-Off.

Anne Merrow: Most of the magazines I own—the ones I keep rather than recycle—sit on my shelf gathering dust until they have taken up a whole bookcase of their own. (Having moved three times in the last year, I have to confess that some heavy boxes didn't make the cut.) When I open them up years later, I often wonder why they earned such a long time on my shelf.

By contrast, the 1999 year in Spin-Off feels so fresh that I had to double-check the dates on the front. Wrangling your first entire fleece, straight from the sheep, for the first time? Jane Fournier told me how back in Spring of 1999, in the same issue as Deb Robson's thoughtful piece on why rare sheep matter to spinners.

I see flax everywhere these days, so how could it have been over 10 years ago that Rita Buchanan offered six practical tips for making smooth linen yarn? And surely Harley Stevens's article "Preparing Raw Wool in 30 Minutes, or "The 'Heat 'em, Harley' Device" was written for the fast-paced digital age, not the summer of 1999.

Charlene Schurch's Topflappen Vest looks like a project I'd see at this fall's fiber festivals, but it debuted in Fall 1999 instead. The modular garment makes wonderful use of hand-dyed roving in mitered squares. I found lots of forgotten tips for using my favorite colorful painted rovings and yarns in this issue.

Rust-colored Gonometa rufobrunnea moths from Botswana are included in Richard S. Peigler's article on silk in the Winter 1999 issue of Spin-Off.

The Winter 1999 issue is a particular favorite of mine. As I was editing the most recent issue of the eMag SpinKnit, the 11-page article on wild silks by Richard S. Peigler just blew my mind. The number of different kinds of silk found around the world, the variety of their colors, and the beauty of those silk moths opened a new world beyond the tussah and Bombyx that I thought I knew. Earlier this year, Sara Lamb brought some of those kinds of silk into the studio for the taping of her Spinning Silk video.

Now that all these great issues from 1999 are available as a Collection CD, perhaps it is time they earn a space on your shelf as well.

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