Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book review: The Field Guide to Fleece

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers,  by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson and published by Storey Publishing offers a bonanza of information on fleeces of 100 sheep breeds. It includes sheep breeds commonly raised in the U.S, but is an excellent reference guide to heritage and lesser known breeds. The book is well laid out with representative photographs of each breed and plenty of information.

The authors have compiled basic information on numerous breeds and distilled it into a standardized format that includes origin of the breed, size and type of each breed’s fiber, and best uses for their fleeces. I loved leafing through the pages to discover breeds I’d never heard of—many of which I am unlikely ever to see.

I read the digital version of the book, but have since seen a print version, which is somewhat larger than most books distributed as field guides. It’s a bit too large to tuck in a back pocket, but since most people carry bags big enough to carry home fleece and yarn, it’s not really much of an issue.

My only other wish was that for ease of use, I would have like to see a table of breed and the fleece characteristics for quick reference at fleece shows and sales.

This is not only a reference book that should find a place on every adventuresome spinner’s bookshelf, but one that is sure to accompany many a spinner to fleece sales—especially those that include fleeces beyond the more common sheep breeds.

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