With every encounter, in person or virtually, I was uplifted and nearly overwhelmed by her expertise and passion for her subject, particularly rare and endangered sheep.
I became inspired, obsessed really, with the idea of spinning a wider variety of fiber. Exposing my spinning and brain to breeds beyond BFL and Merino.
Then I tried not to freak out.
There was so much I didn’t know, where should I start- the book has 200 fibers to spin, the DVD set 38 rare and endangered breeds of sheep? What was I really going to spin? And where would I find the fiber?
So I did what any 21st century fan girl would do – I emailed Deb. I asked the expert how to narrow down the enormous list of fibers to a manageable list. She helped me out. I have lists. I’ll share them in a second.
Then I had to find the fiber. There are two women I know, both owners of spinning shops who feel as strongly about the survival and variety of sheep breeds and animals fibers as Deb. Beth Smith of The Spinning Loft and Jennifer Heverly of Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I contacted them about fiber. For each fiber listed below I am getting raw and prepped fiber too, when it’s available.
I asked Deb to give me aÂ list, up to ten fibers that every spinner should try to spin. She asked, “just animal fiber or rare breed wools?” I said yes. She graciously sent two lists. Here’s what she sent, and what I’m going to spin over the next 10 weeks:
Deborah Robsonâ€™s Must-Spin Lists 2011
Animal fibers that every spinner should know and try:
wool, one of the following: Cotswold, Lincoln, Leicester Longwool
wool, one of the following: Shropshire, Southdown, Oxford
alpaca, huacaya (most is huacaya)
Rare and endangered wools
Lincoln or Leicester Longwool*
Wensleydale or Teeswater*
*These are not totally interchangeable, but giving alternatives means that it’ll be more possible to locate supplies.
I’m ready to spin outside of my comfort zone, and to learn about new fibers. I have my fiber and I have my lists. I have Deb’s book and DVDs to keep me from getting lost.
Jillian is the author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts.
She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing.
Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com