I have been inspired by Deborah Robson.
First, I took a Rare Breeds class from her at The Spinning Loft.
Then, I watched her DVD set Handspinning Rare Wools.
38 rare and endangered sheep
Then, I read an advance of her soon to be published book with Carol Ekarius, The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn.
Official publication date is June 1, 2011
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
- wool, Merino
- mohair, adult
- mohair, kid
- alpaca, huacaya (most is huacaya)
- angora rabbit
Rare and endangered wools
- Black Welsh
- Clun Forest
- Navajo Churro
- American Tunis
- American Jacob
- 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.
Who wants to spin along on my fiber adventure?