The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook

If you have the slightest interest in the animals behind the yarn, you will love this book!

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The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook is an outstanding resource for any fiber enthusiast!  It's a reference book you will return to again and again as you grow as a fiber artist.  This one-of-a-kind photographic encyclopedia features more than 200 animals and the fibers they produce.

It covers almost every sheep breed in the world - from the longwool breeds of the United Kingdom to the Tasmanian merino, the Navajo churro, the northern European Faroese, and dozens and dozens more. It also includes goats, camelids (such as alpacas, llamas, and vicunas), bison, horses, musk oxen, rabbits, and even dogs.  Each entry includes photographs of the featured animal; samples of its raw fleece, its cleaned fleece, and yarn spun from the fleece; and samples of the yarn knit and woven. You'll find everything you want to know about each animal and its fiber, including the fiber's color, density, strength, and staple length, and recommendations for processing and using it. This is the essential reference no fiber-lover can be without.

To find appearances, presentations, and classes by the authors, please visit the Fleece & Fiber website.

Table of Contents
Part 1. Ewe-reka: Oodles and Boodles of Wool
Blackfaced Mountain Family
    Cheviot Family
    Dorset Group
    Down Family
    English Longwood Family
    The Dartmoors
    Feral Group
    Merino Family
    Northern European Short-Tailed Family
    Welsh Hill and Mountain Family
    Other Sheep Breeds
    Wider Circles of Sheep
Part 2. The Rest of the Menagerie
    Other Critters
Fiber Donors
"Every once in a while there is a book that lives up to it’s hype. Only once in a blue moon are we lucky enough to get a book that surpasses all the stories that have led up to it. The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook is a blue moon book. The spinning world has been buzzing about this book for years, and Deb Robson has been kind enough to share writing the process on her blog, but that still didn’t prepare me for the completeness of the book.

The sheer complexity of the subject made clear, useful and not just interesting, but fascinating. More than 200 animal fibers and breeds laid out and dissected by an animal expert and a spinning expert jump off of the page in concise prose that speaks to the history of the breed; fleece, fiber and lock characteristics; using the fiber in dyeing, spinning, knitting and weaving. The photography is crisp enough to count crimps and shows fiber as washed and unwashed; prepped and spun, and sometimes knit or woven. The authors manage to do all of this using 2-4 pages per breed.

Spinners (and knitters) this is the book you’ve been asking for: more photos and breeds than In Sheep’s Clothing and more sheepy and animal goodness than The Knitter's Book of Wool.  A labor of sheepy love and a stellar book." ( )
About the Author

Carol Ekarius has been surrounded by critters since 1983, when she and her husband first started farming and ranching. She is the author of several books, including Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep (with Paula Simmons), Small-Scale Livestock Farming, Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, and Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle, and Pigs. She lives in the mountains of Colorado where her four-legged and winged family keep her busy. In addition to ranching, Ekarius writes on agriculture and the environment for a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Hobby Farms, Mother Earth News, and Green Builder. She is active in the sustainable agriculture movement and has served on the boards of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota and the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.

Visit Carols Website at

Deborah Robson is co-author of The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook and Knitting in the Old Way. She is a former editor of both Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot and Spin-Off magazine, and she is currently the editor and publisher of Nomad Press, which publishes books on traditional and ethnic knitting and spinning. Robson is also an artist, working in textiles, printmaking, and oils. She lives in Colorado with her daughter.

SKU: QM1225

Format: Hardcover

Customer Reviews

A very comprehensive collection of fiber sources. Review by Kathy

I was amazed by the depth of coverage of the material in this book. I am new to spinning and wanted a book to help me in my fiber selection. Well, I got that and so much more, all laid out in an enjoyable format. A rare combination, an educational read that tells a story. Every library should own a copy of this book, great job ladies.

(Posted on 12/6/13)

So helpful for a beginning spinner! Review by Angela

I am still trying to learn about all the different types of wool and this book is so helpful! I have already used it to help me purchase fiber for spinning. I had been checking this out from the library and didn't want to take it back. Now I don't have to!!! I L.O.V.E. this book!!!!!

(Posted on 12/1/13)

A Constantly Referenced Source in my Collection Review by Quinton

I have turned to the is book countless times in the short time I have had a copy. In fact I bought two copies so I could have one for our local spinning/weaving groups raffle.

I turn to this book for all kind of information. It is a wealth of knowledge regarding not only the breed information but specifics regarding the fibers themselves.

The only additional I could make to this book is that I laminated the cover to assure that it would stand up to the abuse I put it through toting it around in my bag and constantly thumbing through it.

(Posted on 11/23/13)

Excellent and fascinating Review by Annie

When I began spinning a few years ago, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn about fibres. This book came out, my wool guild got a copy. I looked though it and ordered one for myself asap. I turn to it constantly, for three reasons. 1) I like to spin breed specific yarn. All the information I need to understand each fleece that comes into my hands is here. As I begin to sell my spinning, my customers like knowing a little about the origin and characteristics of the fibre (they often get to know something about the specific animal too!). 2) Some fleeces that come to me have mysterious origins. They have characteristics I like, but not much info, though I sometimes know the name of the sheep.. Using this book, I often can identify something about the which breeds may have contributed to this particular fleece. This is interesting to people buying yarn too, a change from the completely anonymous commercial wool most of them are used to. And not least: 3) It is fascinating to learn the history of how the various breeds developed over time and how they are related to one another, That alone has enhanced my appreciation of the craft that chose me and of the wonderful fibres that connect me to people of centuries ago.

(Posted on 9/10/13)

Ultimate book on Fleece and sheep Review by Betty Ann Lloyd

OMG! This is the most comprehensive book on sheep wool that I have ever seen. I have a couple of others and they're fine but don't have all the things that this one has. There are pictures of the sheep, raw fleece, cleaned fleece, spun, plied and in cloth. It's amazing! I let my best friend (also a fiber nut) look at it when I was in her town and made sure to get it back before leaving! Her son sent her a copy for X-mas! She didn't even have to tell him to. This is absolutely the definitive book on fiber coming from sheep. They even have some info on cellulose fibers and other animal fibers. On top of the information, it's just a lovely book.

(Posted on 1/15/12)