My Cart (0)

Handspinning Rare Wools (DVD)

Deborah Robson explores fiber from 38 rare and endangered breeds of sheep from Great Britain and North America.

Availability: In stock

Click on image to zoom


In Handspinning Rare Wools, Deborah Robson explores fiber from 38 rare and endangered breeds of sheep from Great Britain and North America. Her knowledge of their history and characteristics is deep, her stories are intriguing, and her passion for saving and savoring the basic materials of our craft is palpable.

In Handspinning Rare Wools, Robson covers the most interesting and vulnerable of:

  • Northern European short-tailed sheep (plus an intriguing mystery breed)
  • Old British breeds introduced in Roman times
  • Rare English longwools
  • Classic English Down breeds
  • Welsh and Border breeds
  • American originals
  • American feral and semi-ferals.

You’ll learn that washing, carding, combing, spinning, and finishing these fibers is a never-ending experiment filled with surprises. You’ll see the unexpected variety – from wool that feels like jute to wool that stretches and bounces back like tiny bungees. You’ll hear stories about specific sheep breeders who have made a difference – a hundred or three hundred years ago.  You’ll have your ideas of fineness and softness and staple length turned on end.


About the Author

Author Bio: Deborah Robson was editor of SpinOff magazine, and a book editor at Interweave, for more than a dozen years. Her publishing company, Nomad Press, is known for spinning and knitting books of uncommon interest in those special topics most publisher will not touch. Her encyclopedic The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook (Storey Books) is due for publication in 2011.

SKU: 11SP04

Author/Speaker/Editor: Deborah Robson

Format: DVD

ISBN 13: 9781596684645

Customer Reviews

Rekindled my interest in wool Review by Lauren

I liked her relaxed manner and suggestions for each breed. It has given me a reason to explore different wools instead of just the tried and true homogenous roving.

(Posted on 1/6/14)

A must for a spinner's library Review by Laura

I wasn't sure I would need this dvd, already having Robson's encyclopedic Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, but without question, I think it is worthwhile, if not essential to have both. The dvd delves into the rare breeds of the British Isles and North America. Robson talks about the known origins and the genetic connections of the breeds, the geography, as well as the texture, types, and colors of wool available from each breed. Her genuine compassion and interest in the subject causes the information to come across not as an educational lecture, but as many enchanting short tales. Her enthusiasm is so infectious I found it difficult to watch without feeling the need to spin and comb some wool myself (and so I did). I have no doubt that I will refer to it again and again.

The only fault I found was an editing issue. Some of the images of the breeds of sheep used in the dvd were of rather low resolution. One would hope that in the future it could be revised to replace the images that were blurry with high definition images.

Outside of the minor technical issues, this is an excellent resource, and delightful and charming to boot. I would recommend it to any spinner interested in learning more about their craft.

(Posted on 12/30/13)

Tons of information Review by Julie

Very good presentation, tons of information, very technical...mostly about all the sheep. I didn't get as much about spinning from it perhaps because I was adding to my knowledge base and not completely new to the topic of spinning them. However I really appreciated the geographical presentation of the breeds of sheep, where they come from and how they came to be. I learned a lot more about the sheep and wool I've been spinning. I was amazed at how many of these rare wools I've had the fortune to work with.

(Posted on 12/30/13)

Enjoyable yet Educational Review by Karen

Deb's passion and love for wool just shone right through her. This video gave me a greater appreciation for rare breed sheep. Anyone who uses wool in their crafting life needs to see the video to get a greater appreciate for these wonderful animals.

(Posted on 12/15/13)

Preserving our Heritage Review by NULL NULL

I knew sheep were important in my life,but this DVD made me realize just how important sheep are to the world at large! Too bad EVERYONE hasn't seen it yet. The information on the sheep breeds itself is extremely valuable to the handspinner and fiber artist. Add to that the wealth of knowledge about the characteristics of the individual fibers and their best uses and we have food for thought(and our spinning wheels) for decades, if not lifetimes! I have always been interested in spinning rare breeds but this video piqued my interest anew and I promptly got on the internet and found me another breed's fleece to try! Thanks, Deb, for preserving this knowledge for posterity and I share your love and desire for preserving our rare and varied gene pool in sheep. The only problem I had with the DVD at all is a minor one: in the beginning, Deb used too many "word whiskers"- Umms and uhhs,etc. I found this somewhat distracting as I am a public speaking student myself and probably noticed this more. However, it seemed as she warmed up to her topic and got used to being "on camera", they dissapeared and her speech flowed more smoothly. This is a minor problem and in no way negates the value of this DVD. It is a gem that belongs in every spinner's library. That being said I also purchased her book, "Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook". This is the single most important piece of material to happen to spinners in the 15+ years I have been involved with fiber. Between the DVD and book, I have been talking to my non-sheep friends about the importance of saving our rare breeds! Thanks, Deb, for preserving our heritage!!!

(Posted on 6/24/11)

A rare treat and wonder! Review by Kris Paige

Yet again, Deb manages to condense her encyclopedic knowledge of rare breeds to the point that we mere mortals can understand.She then infuses us with her passion for why these breeds are important, why they should be part of every spinner's and even every fiber artist of any type's vocabulary and possibility list. She's clear, concise, and her love of rare breeds comes across clearly. She shows us the pros and cons, then guides us to truly appreciate the pros of each rare wool. This DVD deserves a place of honor. It's almost like having a cup of tea with Deb, surrounded by the miracle of fleece--which would be a rare treat indeed.

(Posted on 6/12/11)

Very charming and informative Review by Kj Anderson

I am truly charmed by this informational DVD. I enjoy spinning rare wools but have never bothered to think about how I should approach each fleece or wool differently. Also, I've never truly known how to classify the wools I'm spinning other than long or downy, soft or scratchy. Deb opened up my understanding by systematically walking through different breeds of sheep, both geographically and technically. She also describes the criteria for what makes a breed "rare." For each breed, she shows how to prepare and spin the wool and shows examples of the yarn she created. Deb also shares her toolkit and favorite tools. But the main thing Deb shares is her great love and passion for preserving these rare breeds.

(Posted on 3/2/11)