Thursday, 5 February 2015

Review: Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook

A book I had on my Amazon wish list since its publication in 2011 was Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius's American publication The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. Last Christmas it became mine at last and I have enjoyed looking through it and comparing the different wool breeds, but I know it is not the kind of book I am ever going to read from cover to cover. It is a reference book, but far more interesting, ideal for dipping in and out of. As a spinner, this book is a wonderful addition to my library and if I ever wonder what on earth to use a certain yarn for, this book will be able to help me make a decision, too.


What you get

The book is packed with photos of over 200 different fibres, both in their spun and unspun state. I especially like the presentation of the wool from the unwashed fleece all the way through to the knitted sample. It gives me a clear visual of what a fibre or yarn will give me if I knit it up.

There is a lot to learn about what each type of wool is best used for, the history of the breed, and best of all, the book includes pretty much all breeds worldwide. There are maps on the inside cover marking where you find each breed, which is wonderful to see. More importantly, though, the book does not restrict itself to sheep breeds alone. There are also chapters on yak, goats, bison, dogs, horses and more!


Who is it for?

The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook is really well-priced, I think - you get a lot of information and great photographs in 336 pages of this heavy hardback. The index makes it easy to find what you are looking for, should you have questions about something very specific. It is not just a book for spinners and knitters, however. Anyone working with wool will benefit: felters, crocheters, dyers, weavers, and more.


What you won't get

I like how the book is structured, too, and so clearly organised in easily digestible chunks. If you are expecting knitting patterns and other projects, you will be disappointed as this is solely a reference book, albeit an incredibly beautiful and well-produced one. The text reads like you would expect from a reference book, so be prepared if you were hoping for an entertaining read instead.



If you are looking for a comprehensive book about fibre, this may be the very best you can get. This is why I had it on my wish list in the first place. I do not know of a book that covers any more and is presented as beautifully as The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. Now, if there is an equally good book about vegetable fibres for spinning, then I'll be all set. 

It is incredible to think that the authors have sourced and worked with all the fibres they present in their book. There are so many sheep breeds alone that I had never heard of before opening this book and now I want to spin them all!


  1. I love this book so much! I keep it handy on my desk and often open it when I hear of a specific breed or see a new kind of fibre/yarn. I love seeing examples of how the fibre will work, and how you'd use it. I also have the Kindle version of the "pocket sized" book too. I refer to that often. I like to bookmark fleece that I have been able to handle or experience.

    I think the "missing" part might be specifics of recommendations for preparation or spinning. For that, I think the Spinners Book of Fleece is a great companion to this. Beth's book doesn't going into ALL the breeds, but she covers the larger categories. Then you can cross reference with the Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook.

    1. Thank you for your informative comment! I like the idea of bookmarking the fleeces you have had the chance to handle. I think I will do the same - it will help keep track of all the breeds and it will also make for an interesting read when I go through the book at random. I picture it being a large album containing information and personal mementos.

  2. This is a beautiful and comprehensive reference. I also love the companion pocket guide which will be going to wool festivals with me.

    1. I will have to check out the pocket guide. This could be really useful when on the go.