In Sheep’s Clothing

I can’t believe it is already festival season! I’m packing my bags and getting ready to head out to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in West Friendship, Maryland. I’ll be traveling with Lorraine Goris and Stephanie Griess, also from Interweave, to host our booth (Main Building, booth A18A)—please stop by and say hi! I’ve decided that I’m going to expand my breed vocabulary on this trip. In my job, I get to fondle a lot of fleece and yarn from a variety of sheep (it’s one of the perks!)—but I can’t always place a face with a type of wool. So, my plan is to take Nola and Jane Fournier’s book, In Sheep’s Clothing (Interweave, 2003), with me as a handy-dandy guide. I’ve been poring over this book for years—but it just occurred to me to actually take it with me to Maryland (doh!). And I think I’ll try to sync up my photos of sheep from the festival with the paragraphs in the book about each breed. Do any of you have tips for how to do that efficiently? I don’t know about you, but I find that I get easily distracted at festivals—Ooh! Pretty fleece! Ooh! Buttons!—so staying on track will take some concentration.
In Sheep’s Clothing has an honored place in my library—I’ve used it as both a reference and have read it cover to cover—it works well both ways. I use it when I’m scheduling our Fiber Basics series of articles to make sure we’re getting a variety of fleece types in the breeds we review each issue. But it also has a special place in my heart because it was written by two of my favorite people—Nola and Jane Fournier—a remarkable mother and daughter team from New Zealand (though Jane now lives in the United States).  I even got to spend two weeks traveling around New Zealand in 2001 with Nola when I helped her lead the New Zealand Journey—but that’s another story.
Nola and Jane both really know their way around sheep’s fleece and there is a whole chapter in their book devoted to selecting a fleece, sorting it, and storing it. Hmmm. With Jane and Nola’s book as my guide, I may be coming home with more than photos of sheep . . .

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