I've just read a book I'd like to share with you, Shear Spirit Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns and Miles of Yarn by Joan Tapper , Photos by Gale Zucker.
I couldn't put this book down between the gorgeous photos and the personal stories of each farm I read the entire thing in one weekend. The book was Photographer Gale Zucker's idea and she recruited Joan Tapper (former editor of National Geographic Traveler) to write the stories. This pair visited ten fiber farms across the United States, told each farm's stories in words and pictures; most farms submitted several patterns. Although not the book's purpose I loved the pictures of all the dogs.
Most of the people in the book fell in love with their animals or land and then had to figure out how to earn a living. All tell a similar story of long hours and years of tenacity to achieve their dreams. There is a small amount of glorifying a farmers/shepard's life but for the most part they do describe all the effort needed on a daily basis.
The patterns on the whole are new to me. A good felted bag pattern that shows how to felt fiber into a bag - not a knit pattern. A heavy double knit Snowboarder Sweater from handspun bulky Churro yarn is the first double knit pattern I've seen that I might make. I've already picked out yarn for the Welsh Traveling Socks. Only down side I can mention is that there isn't much size range in the patterns but then I didn't buy Shear Spirit for the patterns.
If it has ever crossed your mind to chuck-it-all and move to a farm and raise sheep you should read this book first. You'll learn about the good, not-so-good and the bad pitfalls that would be waiting for you on the farm.
The author's have an interesting blog you might like to check out,
their latest entry: Never wear clogs when you're photographing a Yak in the Spring!
You can also find photos of the patterns here.
(seems like I should state I bought this book myself - no free publisher's copy here)