The Spinner’s Book of Fleece

A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose

Beth Smith
spinners book of fleeceAs spinners, knitters, and weavers know, the characteristics of fleece — its structure, grease content, and fiber diameter — vary widely depending on the breed of sheep the fleece comes from. These factors are crucial when you’re deciding how to spin your fleece and use your finished yarn. In this comprehensive reference, Beth Smith presents a thorough overview of 21 sheep breeds, including each breed’s characteristics and history, a photo of the animal and its locks, the best methods for washing its fleece, and specific techniques for preparing, spinning, and finishing the fleece. You’ll discover how to select the fleece that is best for your project and how to spin exactly the yarn you need.

 Review from

Lora Milton

This is a very practical book about spinning which gives a little background, but focuses mostly on types of fleece and their respective purposes.

The author explains the value of raw fleece and the differences in different types such as longwools, downs and multicoated breeds. Relative strengths and advantages to different breeds are covered as well as the options to buy raw or processed wool, how to find sources, how to get consistent yarn and what wools take dye best.

There is a chapter on buying fleece dos and don’ts that contains a lot of valuable information. Cleaning, storing and tools are all discussed in detail and spinning basics are included for noobs like myself. The information about different fibers and how much to buy for specific projects was something I found very valuable. How to keep bugs out of your wool was also of great value.

There are chapters that go into detail about each type of wool, how to wash and comb it and just about anything you might want to know about how to prepare your wool for spinning.

This is the most thorough book about spinning and choosing/preparing yarn that I have come across. It finishes with a glossary of terms plus charts and resources that make the idea of taking up this craft feel much less daunting.