Friday, 27 April 2012

Fibre & Fleece & All Things Nice

After having a look through my handspun; I was looking at one of my favourite books The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius.

As a spinner, I felt that I was sadly lacking in even basic knowledge of different breeds of sheep and other animals and what each fibre was ideal for. This book helps to fill in all those gaps. It only covers fibre that comes from animals; so there isn't anything about cotton/linen/banana fibre etc. but what it does cover is very comprehensive.

I love the maps inside the front and back cover that show where in the world each animal is native to. There is clearly a very strong history of sheep and wool in the British Isles because an individual map of the UK is needed to show all the different breeds.

For each fibre there is a, wealth of information succinctly shown. There are clear photographs of the fibre in all sorts of different states; raw, clean, spun, knitted and woven samples. I like that it shows that they've actually tried the fleece and are talking from experience. There are photos of the animal; as well as some detail of the origins / history of the animal. There is a good list of facts including fleece weight, staple length, fibre diameter, lock characteristics and natural colours. The most interesting part for crafters is the section for what the fibre is ideally used for which includes how well it dyes, what fibre preparations and spinning tips they recommend, whether it works well for knitting, crocheting and/or weaving and what it is best known for.

There are lots of sections throughout with extra information of the more well known breeds as well as some well placed photos from companies that use the fleece to make commercially available yarns.

The majority of the book is taken up with the myriad breeds of sheep but there are some more unusual animals such as angora rabbits, wolves, dogs, bison, goats etc.

It really is a fantastic and comprehensive book.

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