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Adventures in Fleece: Cozy up with a build-your-own breed study

This crochet blanket from the Spring 2015 issue of Spin Off highlights a variety of sheep breeds and only requires about 30 yards of handspun per a square..

Melanie Smith Jan 13, 2021 - 13 min read

Adventures in Fleece: Cozy up with a build-your-own breed study Primary Image

Photo: Joe Coca

A few years ago, I came across a breed study kit that offered 1-ounce fiber samples of numerous breeds, and I bought one. Once the kit came, I washed the samples, spun a few, and put everything away for another day. I recently brought it out and decided to work on it. By the time I had gotten back to the collection, it had grown to an overstuffed box of samples, partly from the original kit and partly from other small samples of fiber that I had collected over the years. As I started going through them, I found that there were fun parts, there were difficult parts, and at times there were parts that made me want to cry!

In the end, I not only ended up with plenty of great samples and a future project list, I learned a lot about my spinning and so much about all of the breeds of sheep I sampled. A breed study is a great way to add to your spinning enjoyment. If you only work with one type of wool, you really are missing out on a huge palette of fiber.

Finding Fleece

The first place to start is with learning about sheep and their breeds; see Resources. Once you have read about breeds and are ready to start collecting samples, there are a few things you need to think about before you buy:

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