Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Today the mail brought a copy of The Fleece and Fiber Source Book.
I am a big proponant of weavers (and other fibre craftspeople) having at least a basic understanding of the nature of their materials. While each fibre shares inherent characteristics, natural fibres come from living things - whether plant or animal sources - and as such are at the mercy of their environments and individual health systems. Most fibre characteristics fall within a spectrum and we ignore those and the nature of the individual yarns in our hands at our peril. Or the peril of attaining a successful textile at the very least.
It was with a great deal of anticipation that I learned that Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius were putting together a book about fleece and fibres and I am delighted to add this book to my personal library.
The book is beautifully presented and organized. Each category of sheep has an overview and then individual breeds within each category are presented in more detail - i.e. a description of each breed of sheep/fleece is then followed by a Fact 'sheet' with fleece weight (approx), staple length (range is given), fibre diameter (measured in microns, again a range), lock characteristics, and natural colours available. Additional info is given for dyeing, preparation/spinning tips, knitting, crocheting and weaving, and then 'best known for'.
Additional material in the form of a glossary, maps showing the location of the breeds, some history, systems for measuring fibre diameter, a word about allergies, information on rare breeds - there is much to digest in this hefty book.
In addition to sheep, information about the following is also included: goats, camelids, and Other Critters (dogs/cats, bison, fur and pelt animals, horse, musk ox, rabbits and yak).
Deb Robson spun the samples and even knitted or wove small swatches.
It would be marvelous if every guild on the continent bought a copy of this book for their libraries. And if an individual really wants to know more about their raw materials, they might well consider their very own copy.
The more we know, the better able we will be to create textiles that are not just beautiful in appearance but appropriate for their intended purpose.
Fantastic reference book not to mention pretty coffee table book if you like photos of sheep. :) Well done Deb and Carol!
Currently reading Songs of Love and Death edited by George R. R. Martin