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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I'm notexaggerating when I say that this book saved my sanity, at least for 11 hours.

Lara's Library: The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Every featured breed has at least one photo, and most of them are adorable like this little Beulah Speckled Face lamb.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Each fleece is photographed, usually in raw, clean, spun, knit, and woven forms. Here is part of the spread on the traditional 11 colors found in Shetland sheep.

When you are ready to jump into the deep-end of fiber obsession, this book is the perfect diving board.

I resisted The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook for a while. It kept popping up in sales and various other online bugaboos and I managed to not just click "add to cart" several times.

There are hardcover, Adobe ePub and kindle editions.

But, then I found myself far from home and my local library, and without a book to read for my flight home, which was supposed to take one layover and about 6 hours.

I stopped by a wonderful book shop in Minneapolis, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, hoping to find a cheap and cheerful little paperback to read for when I needed a break from knitting on my trip. I know myself well enough to know that, if I don't have something to read, I end up annoying my seatmate by reading over their shoulder or impulse-buying a too-expensive book in the airport.

I found a cutish little paperback, then decided to check out the craft book section. One can never pass up the chance to stumble across, well, anything.

That's when I saw the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, and my fate was sealed.

Lovely, thick paper. Gorgeous photographs. Tips on finding, using, spinning, and knitting up fluff from over 200 breeds of fleece-bearing critters.

So, I bought it, and made fun of myself for getting such a large book to haul around. Then, fate intervened and I was very, very happy I had this book with me. So should everyone who was at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport that day.

To make a long, sad story a bit shorter, I ended up staying in the airport from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., when the last flight I could have possibly taken that day was finally cancelled, and I called my sister-in-law in tears to come get me.

In the interim, I was very glad I had a nice little bit of the wool world there, to keep me occupied. I read through about half of the book that day, and finished it about 10 days later. I almost couldn't put it down.

I'm definitely happy this is part of my library. It has already expanded my horizons in spinning (moving me to widen my tastes beyond my beloved Corriedale), and has led to an alarming number of pins on my "Learning to Spin" pinboard.

I love that I can find a new (to me) fiber and find out not just where it came from, historically, but also learn what might be the best way to prepare and spin it. That's important to me, even as a newbie spinner, because I don't want to try to treat a super-soft wool as if it should be hard-wearing or plan to use something like California Red for a scarf.

Overall, a fantastic book that is perfect for anyone who wants to really dive in and learn about specific sheep breeds.

p.s. - If you weep openly in the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, people will stop, hug you, and make sure you are ok. I love "Minnesota nice."