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I am making a sweeping assumption here that if you have an interest in fibre crafts you probably have an interest in animals that produce fibre. And if that is correct sheep are going to come fairly high on that list. After all they probably have the widest range of all the fibre producing animals, with varying length, fineness, colour. So a book all about the history of sheep, and their impact on humanity might be of interest.

The book really does cover all manner of topics where sheep have a hand (foot?). Starting with their origins and how they were bred into the different types of sheep we see today. The many uses of sheep and how they have impacted human history, and even evolution (lactose intolerance anyone?) are covered. Not just a fibre animal, they have been important throughout the centuries for milk, meat, wool, leather and even as a sacrificial animal (skip this section if you are particularly squeamish but there is some interesting stuff on the preservation of ancient fibres).

Other areas where sheep have shaped our World include language, settlement location, dogs as pets, clothing, travel and exploration and the economy.

The book is quite UK-centric, although mention is given, particularly in the context of origins, to the sheep of other regions. When we get into the wool trade of the middle ages the focus is definitely on the UK (spoiler - it makes a sharp contrast to the current state of the wool trade!) and likewise following on through the industrial revolution.

The impact of sheep in more modern times has a very light mention and the mention of the potential future of sheep feels less balanced that I would like, particularly given that wool remains an excellent material for many uses with a lower environmental impact than its artificial alternatives.

Well written, full of interesting information without feeling too heavy. Excellent referencing of facts (yes I am a nerd and appreciate this) means sources can be investigated for further information. A thorough index at the back is useful for finding facts. I expect this will be read through several times and used as a reference afterwards.

Title: A Short History of the World According to Sheep

Author: Sally Coulthard

Publisher: Apollo

Publication date: 11th November 2021

RRP: £9.99

Genre: Non-fiction, historical, sheep, farming, history of food and farming

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  • ALittleBitSheepish

Have you been wondering how dyers make neat skein twists? Here's a short video showing how.

The number of times you twist will depend on the thickness of the yarn and the length of the skein. A chunky or aran yarn might only need 4-6 twists, a DK around 7-9, a 4-ply/sock usually 8-12, lace weight up to 20. Very long or thin skeins will need more twists.

There was some discussion whether this is a skein or a hank, I think it is a UK/US English thing. In the UK this is what you will get in most cases if you talk about skeins. Whatever you call it, big loopy yarn becomes a neat twist.

Sweater in photo is made from the KISS pattern using alpaca DK from Holly Hagg.

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  • ALittleBitSheepish

Updated: Mar 16

Something important to think about when designing your projects is sizing. This is important for all projects, including socks, hats and shawls, but especially if you are working on garments. Having a great size range for garments is important to help you serve your customers, think 28-64" range for the chest/bust measurement. You can increase the accessibility of your accessory patterns by offering a good size range too.

The first step to good grading is sizing resources. Having multiple sources is a great idea, you can compare between the two, and sometimes a particular measurement is missing from one, but can be found in another. The links below are some that I refer to when designing and editing.

Sizing resources:

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