Inspiration and Fiber Goodies
It's called The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius. It is an excellent book for anyone who uses sheep or other animal fibers in their work. The authors have taken tons of sheep breeds as well as other fiber animals (i.e., bunnies, alpacas, yaks, etc.) and given histories of the breeds as well as how the fibers are best used. They include a lot of sheep that are endangered as well as the better known ones. There are beautiful photographs of the sheep and the fibers. The authors prepped and spun samples and made knitted and woven swatches (also pictured). They put a lot of work into this book and it is an excellent resource as it is. And super-interesting (at least to a fiber geek such as myself.)
This book has inspired me to seek out fibers beyond my comfort zone of merino, alpaca, or yarns just labeled as "wool". I've found samples of several breeds, including rarer breeds as well as a few cellulose fibers (such as ingeo and soysilk). This bag of goodies and the Zoom Loom are from Spunky Eclectic. I am not comfortable right now processing my own fleeces, but maybe that will come with time. So, for now, I'll be using top or roving.
I'll be spinning up samples (probably mostly on spindles since the wheel is usually in use for bigger projects) and making knitted and woven swatches. I'll be posting pictures and commenting on what I learn from each fiber. I am by no means an expert, but every expert has to start somewhere, right? I hope to learn which fibers are my favorites to work with, which ones I don't particularly care for, and why I like or dislike the fibers.
I'm looking forward to working on this project and sharing what I learn.