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               Wild Fibres - Natural fibres for spinning & felting


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Educational fibre packs

Fibre discovery packs for schools, colleges & fibre enthusiasts

We also sell natural dyes, extracts & mordants

Wild Colours natural dyes, extracts & mordants

& handmade paper for printing, artists & gift wrap

Wild Paper handmade paper for printing, artists & gift wrap

Books and other Sources of Natural Fibres Information

  1. Books
  2. Wool
  3. Fibre size
  4. Sheep History
  5. Sheep Breeds
  6. Alpaca
  7. Silk
  8. Cotton
  9. Linen and flax
  10. Nettle and Hemp
  11. Bamboo
  12. Spinning & Spinning Wheels
  13. Timeline
  14. Glossary

Hisao Aruga (1994) “Principles of Sericulture”. CRC Press

E. J. W. Barber (1991). Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean. Princeton University Press

Elizabeth Wayland Barber (1994). “Women's Work: The First 20, 000 Years - Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times”. WW Norton & Company, New York

Rachel Brown (1979) “Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book”. Routledge

Rita Buchanan (2003). “A Weaver's Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers”. Dover Publications

Andre Charrier (2001). “Tropical Plant Breeding”. Science Publishers

Grahame Clark (1977). World Prehistory in new perspective. Cambridge University Press

Other sources of natural fibres information

Eileen Power (1941) “The Wool Trade in English Medieval History” re-published in the McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought,

Munro, John H.A., "Industrial Change in the Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Low Countries: the Arrival of Spanish Merino Wools and the Expansion of the ‘Nouvelles Draperies’

Fibre size
Melanie Barkley of Penn State University on “Wool Production Basics”

John Carlson of Western Illinois Uni on sheep breeds - “112 Breed Identification – Sheep”

Rosemary Brock of Textilelinks on “Wool Breeds”

SGS Wool Testing Services – Animal fibres other than wool – Possum

UN FAO – The yak. Second edition – Fibre production and hides

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History of Sheep
M L Ryder (1981). “Medieval sheep and their wool types”, in D W Crossley (ed), Medieval Industry – this is published on the Archaeology Data Service site as 3 separate but consecutive sections;



and ML Ryder (1984). “Medieval Sheep and Wool Types”, The Agricultural History Review pp. 15-28, is published on the British Agricultural History Society’s site at

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Breeds of sheep
Oklahoma State University (OSU) Breeds of Livestock Project:
The Breeds of Livestock Project lists the livestock breeds worldwide and illustrates many of them in this alphabetic section on sheep breeds -

see the Sheep and Wool links page for more info.

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Other fibre animals - Alpacas, Rabbits, Goats etc
Mary-Russell Roberson of the Smithsonian Institute’s extensive article on the origin of South American camelids – “Discovering South America's Camels” in the January-February 2008 issue of the Smithsonian Institute (SI) magazine Zoogoer,

Mike Bruford “Alpaca DNA: From Wool to Genes (And Back Again!)”

Heather Pringle “Secrets of the Alpaca Mummies - did the ancient Inca make the finest woolen cloth the world has ever known?”

http://www.bartonalpacas.co.uk/fibre.php   - record fibre sizes ranging from 21-41 microns with their individual alpacas of different ages

Wikipedia on Angora rabbit

European Fine Fibre Network (EFFN) Project covers fibres from Angora goats (mohair), Angora rabbits, Cashmere goats and fine wool sheep

Understanding cashmere from Fashion Technology Magazine, Sept 2007
http://www.sgsgroup.com.hk/~/media/Global/Documents/Brochures/Cashmere_Leaflet_German_English _HR.pdf

IUCN Red List - Vicugna vicugna

UN FAO – The Yak. Second edition

see the Sheep and Wool links page for more info.

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James Rennie, John Obadiah Westwood (1835) “The Natural History of Insects” J. & J. Harper, Printers. http://books.google.com/books?id=Rtc4AAAAMAAJ&pg

Wormspit’s site on silkworms, silk moths and silk - types of silkworms and how to breed them

Llyn Payne “Mawata: Handspinning Silk Caps & Hankies” – preparing Mawata silk caps and hankies for hand spinning

Hadley Leggett (2009) “1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth” Wired Science.

Jason Palmer (2012) “Spider silk spun into violin strings.” BBC News

Herodotus (c 440 BC), The Histories – Book 3. CVI – is available on the Perseus Digital Library,

Sir John Mandeville (1371) “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville” is available on Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/tosjm10h.htm

UNCTAD Infocomm article on Cotton

Angela Box – “Cotton: The fabric of our lives”. Southern Illinois University Ethnobotanical leaflets,

Answers.com Veterinary Dictionary: Gossypium

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Linen and flax
The Swiss Lake dwellers inhabited Switzerland from 4300 to 800 BCE

Ancient Egypt: Dynasties - the Old Kingdom was c.2686-2181 BCE & the Early Dynastic Period c.3100-2686 BCE

Ancient Egypt: Flax - harvest, linen production

Egyptology online: fashion and style: dress and costume

“Life in Flanders in the 18th and 19th Centuries” is a Rootsweb site presenting a detailed social and economic background to rural life in Flanders in the 1700s and 1800s, with 4-5 pages closely related to flax and linen production:-

Life in Flanders in the 18th and 19th Centuries - Flax and Linen

Life in Flanders in the 18th and 19th Centuries - A family working with flax into the 20th century

American Frontier: YouTube video: Flax Processing

American Frontier: YouTube video: Flax Spinning

Read more about flax in Christian and Johannes Zinzendorf’s The Big Book of Flax

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Nettle and Hemp
Wikipedia on hemp

Wikipedia on cannabis

Georgina N Riall on Anglo-Saxon Textiles at

Making Mosi (fine ramie cloth) in the Hansam Region, Republic of Korea

Weaving ramie cloth in the Niigata Prefecture, Japan

Article on the organic credentials of bamboo fibre – “Bamboo: Facts behind the Fiber”

Spinning and Spinning Wheels
Cesare Marchetti (1979) A postmortem technology assessment of the spinning wheel: the last thousand years. Technological Forecasting and Social Change vol. 13, pp 91-93.

Joseph Needham (1965) Science and Civilisation in China. Vol. 4 (2). Cambridge, England.

Lynn White (1974) Technology Assessment from the stance of a medieval historian. American Historical Review. Vol. 79 (1), pp 1-13.

Read more about the viking longship Sebbe Als -

Historical Timeline
BBC History Timeline

Ingeo™ Fibers

Qiviut from the downy soft under-wool of the Arctic Musk Ox

Ramie: Old Fiber - New Image

For an explanation of Fibres words & phrases, see the Wild Fibres Glossary.

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Teresinha at Wild Fibres
Studio I-319, Scott House, The Custard Factory
Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4DT, UK

Contact Teresinha for enquiries on
Tel:  +44 (0)7979 770865
email: info@wildfibres.co.uk

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Last updated on 31 January 2017
Website and photos by Mike Roberts © 2008-17 Wild Fibres