Tips and Tricks for the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook!

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook lies on a table next to a navy blue skein of yarn and a gray and white marled skein of yarn.

I know, I know - it may seem weird to recommend a book for looking up information. I'm the first to grab my phone and search something (my iPhone has about a million tabs open for everything from recipes, to knitting patterns, to dog rescue organizations).

But when it comes to a reference tool for knitters, crocheters and spinners, this book can't be beat! Why? Because it thinks like a yarn lover, in a way that Google search just can't. You can look up "Romney," get to a 2-page spread with photos of everything about the history of this sheep breed, to what it looks like, to what its raw fleece and knit swatches look like, and recommendations for spinning and knitting with its yarn. I guarantee that would take you a few searches online to dig up. And once you start researching rarer sheep breeds, you'll be piecing together multiple sites for a while.

The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook is open to a page about Romney, showing a photo of raw and clean fleeces in various colors, and knit swatches. A skein of gray and white marled Romney yarn from Great Bay Wool Works lies nearby.

When we knit and crochet with blended fibers - which most commercial yarns and mill yarns are - they combine a number of sheep breeds' fibers together and you sort of learn what to expect based on that brand.

But when you start to explore the  world of single-breed fiber - what to expect if you are knitting with 100% Shetland, or Cotswold - it's really helpful to understand how these sheep differ, because their fleeces produce different textures that may surprise you, in the best possible way. And that may get your creative juices flowing in some fun directions when you think about what to make with their yarn!

And that is my #1 use for this book. For example ... I just got some fabulous Tunis from Tarheelbilly Farm. It's my first time knitting with 100% Tunis, and I plan on making a shawl with it, which will be no problem at all with this gorgeous stuff. But of course, I had to go peek into The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook to learn more about this cinnamon-y colored sheep before I start.

 The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook open to a page about Tunis, which includes photos of raw and washed fleeces, yarn and knit swatches. A creamy skein of Tarheelbilly Farm's Tunis lies beneath the open book.

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