3 pounds 10 ounces (1.6 kg)

Yesterday the first six (6) copies of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook arrived at the publisher's. This morning, I received an overnight box.


What you probably can't see on that package is the weight on the label: 5 pounds (that's 2.27 kg). Of course, that includes the packaging. Yet it's unquestionably a substantial shipment.

I want to share with you one of the most magical moments in publishing: the first glimpse of the completed book. It's still thrilling, even after all these years in publishing. Despite the fact that it's a given that the work will not be perfect (no book ever is, no matter how hard everyone works to achieve perfection). The experience of seeing and opening the REAL book for the first time is an event to savor.

There are lots of photos in this post. I have made them as small as possible; I hope they won't tax anyone's internet connection, so you can enjoy this process along with me.


Packaging components = outer carton, bubble-wrap, and lightweight brown paper protective wrapping.


The people at Storey understand how special this moment is. Editor Gwen Steege made sure this copy got shipped to me as soon as possible, prepared like the treat that it is.


Wonderful paper, tied with yarn. Need to examine the wrappings properly. There's a little hide-and-seek involved.


And a variety of critter variations—I'm only including those that regularly provide fiber.


Turning the package over to open it without tearing the paper, more sheep show up:



Inside: a real book. You mean we've been making a book? That's been the theory, but this is when it feels like something other than a mirage that keeps receding into the distance instead of getting closer.


It's thick.


I took it downstairs to the office and weighed it. Book alone: 3 pounds 10 ounces (1.6 kg).

Opening up: We ran out of room for the maps inside, so a creative decision put them on the front and back endpapers. Editor Deb Burns masterminded this piece. Easy to refer to!


Here's the official first spread:


And looking at a few familiar pages, out of order because I'm just browsing, seeing them finally in the form they have been destined for:


. . . I remember spinning those . . . and these. . . . 


Those are the Lincoln Longwool samples up there. Here's part of the treatment of the Romneys:


Co-author Carol Ekarius is especially brilliant at locating material for fascinating sidebars. We all ended up searching for just the right animal photos, but Carol did the heavy lifting on that part of the book, in conjunction with photo editor Mars Vilaubi at Storey. I'm especially fond of that Romney photo, although don't, please, ask me to choose favorite pictures. I can't; there are too many candidates.

Shortly after the book arrived, Carol and I were on Skype, typing messages back and forth. She had meetings all afternoon and was going to have to wait until she got home to see if she had a box, too.

Here's some of the Karakul information. . . .


And something I'm seeing for the first time: the index, prepared by Kathryn Bright, who is a fiber and animal person as well as a professional indexer (among her other amazing skills). I'm so pleased that she was available for this job.


Area maps from the back endpaper, and photos of two relieved writers (my photo was taken by Kristi Schueler, another multiply gifted fiber person—thanks again for making me look so good, Kristi!).


And the back cover, with a bunch of wonderful quotes by people I didn't know had seen advance copies and sent such encouraging words to introduce the work to potential readers (and browsers: the book is really friendly both to random-and-casual and to linear-and-comprehensive encounters).


Returning to the front. . . .


Both Carol Ekarius and I thought we'd see copies for the first time at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It's delightful to have this opportunity to get to know the book ahead of time.

Yes, this is the book I have wanted to consult myself. It's in a form that is beautiful and, unlike the clutter of research notes and files or even the proofing pages, easy to leaf through.

Wow. It's real.


John Polak, who took all the studio pictures, was interviewed recently on how to photograph fiber.

Interviewer: "Tell me about a particularly interesting shoot or challenge that you have taken on, in photographing fiber arts/textiles."

John's response, shortened: "A new release this Spring titled The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook authored by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius. . . . The process of shooting that book with the author and the art director, here in my studio, and keeping all these fibers organized and labeled was immense. But the result is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever worked on."


It is indeed beautiful, thanks to all the folks associated with Storey who worked to make it so—more wonderful folks than I can mention here, but Mary Velgos devised and implemented the most amazing design concept I've ever worked with. Maybe ever seen. I'm very, very grateful to everyone involved.

And I'm delighted that it's almost ready to share with other folks . . . as soon as the main shipment arrives on the ship, clears customs, and gets delivered to the various warehouses. Soon!


46 thoughts on “3 pounds 10 ounces (1.6 kg)”

  1. Wow – a bouncing baby – er, book!

    Congratulations! So wonderful to see it in actual form instead of the fibre dream is has been for so long! 😀


  2. Ach, Deb – what a moment! Thanks for sharing it, in detail, with all of us.
    Can’t wait to get my hands on one!
    As a newbie spinner, this makes my hands ITCH!

  3. It is beyond beautiful, Deb. I am SO proud of this new child. May all blessings rain down upon the book and from within the book to all who encounter it.

  4. Oh what a beautiful book it is Deb! I makes me shiver only looking at your photos, so I will probably go down on my knees when I hold it in my hands 🙂 Congratulations to all of you involved in this project, and especially to you!

  5. Congratulations Deb!!! I’m so looking forward to having this book in my hands (though I hope that Barbro is sitting when she first gets it:-)).

    Have an absolutely great week, you totally deserve it!

  6. I am amazed at your patience and thoughtfulness. I would have ripped the whole package open in excitement and then wished I had taken photos. You, as always, are an inspiration.

    Plus, it’s gorgeous and I want one NOW!

  7. Congratulations! I’ve been following the progress of this book since it was a big secret, and I can’t wait to get my copy!

    It will be the impetus and the guideline for organizing my collection…

  8. What a powerful post. Thanks for sharing the luscious details of getting the first copy in the mail. You really made the experience come alive. I hope you have time to do something fun today to celebrate!

  9. It looks beautiful, Deb. I can’t wait to get my copy. I’d love to hear about the technical book specs. Paper, binding, software, etc. I think people like that part, too. Or did I miss it? Or am I geeking out? 🙂

  10. Congratulations, Deb, on a hard-won, well-deserved, adn beautiful volume. I love your comment that this is the book you have wanted to consult. Me, too! I’m grateful for your precision of language, research skills, discipline, sense of play, and sheer joy in the work. What a rare package.

    Isn’t it funny that you yourself have given this “first look” moment to others, but it obviously didn’t pale for you. 🙂

    Thanks also for the compelling series on the COE (as well as the entry about Maryland, which made me tear up a bit bec I want to go, never have, and can’t do it again this year). I have the same sense you and so many other readers have about the COE: it’s a superb program and tool for learning skills, as well as showcasing them, and it never hurts to have good documentation about your work. Yet I wish there were an Academy Awards version. You know, some body to select deserving handspinners and award their excellence spontaneously. “May I have the envelope, please…” If such a body existed, you would be writing an acceptance speech.

    Asking an obviously skilled handspinner about the COE is a bit like people finding out that I run, then asking if I plan to run the Boston Marathon. Um. Well, as exhilarating and fascinating as it would be to invest the discipline and training, I would begrudge the price of time. Other parts of my life, like nursing my aging parents, animal rescue, volunteering as a driver, not to mention my second job (for $$), all add too much richness to give up. I would miss all that terribly.

    Everyone would agree that handspinners would ALL be poorer if you had passed up this brilliant book. I appreciate all the light you’ve put on the COE and your other work.

    (*There’s a congrats up there from Cat Bordhi!*).

    And equally breathless: *See you at SOAR! I got the Thursday class!*

  11. *squeeeeeee* You are bringing it to knitting on Monday so we can all ooo and ahhh over it, right? I can’t wait to see it.

    I’m so glad you used the photo I took. Though I have to wonder what 3 more years of photography knowledge and experience would now produce…

  12. Oh Deb! Congratulations again and again and again. It’s absolutely gorgeous & you’re incredibly generous (like we didn’t already know that) in giving us the pictorial sharing of seeing your book for the first time. You’re a such a gift to the fiber world and to the effort of the preservation of rare breeds.

  13. Huge congrats to you and also Carol and all the others who helped to make this book real. It’s absolutely GORGEOUS!! A magnum opus. I can hardly wait to get my very own copy!

  14. Well, your poor coauthor is still waiting for her copy, but is ever so grateful for this amuse-gueule to wet her appetite! (Mine is lost in transit, boo hoo.)

    When you weigh it, Deb, it is understandable why our pregnancy lasted for several years for this baby!


  15. Super excited for you! Thrilled it came out so well and that you were able to see a copy before your signing.

    What an unbelievable amount of work you both put into this baby. Astounding!! Time to get those royalties rolling in. I hope this will quickly establish itself as the must-have book for every spinners bookshelf.


  16. How exciting – hearty congratulations! Loved the teaser and the wonderful wrapping paper – I can’t wait to see the book.

  17. OH! How exciting! I can’t wait to get my hands on my copy – but this is droolworthy eye candy etc etc.

    Major congratulations to you and Carol!!

  18. Thanks for the wonderful comments! It’s such a delight to share this with the folks who have been providing support all along.

    Alison: Oh, I would have loved to have been in North Ronaldsay for that conference. I appreciate knowing that it happened. I had the pleasure of meeting Liz Lovick in Scotland last year.

  19. Fabulous! Beautiful! Wow! Looks wonderful from front to back and all in between. Plane is loading for departure from SB. Must go — congratulations!

  20. Having actually been *extremely* privileged to see this book in “person” yesterday, the pictures don’t do it justice–it’s incredible, beautiful, so well put together it’s a blessing to read, and the information–and the pictures–oh! Hope Storey realizes how many are going to be demanded all over the world!

  21. Susan, I look forward to when you can see a copy “for real.” It’s crammed with information–lots of questions that I wanted to answer for myself that took a bunch of research and thought to assemble. It was fun! But wow. I needed those several writing retreats that I was grateful to have access to. I can remember *exactly* where I was when I solved certain problems.

    And Kris, I’m glad you got to peruse the real thing: the one copy that’s been in my hands!

  22. Thank you, Deb, for making this event a real occasion for all of us who’ve been cheering you on. I can’t wait to have the actual book in hand; what a lovely treat to anticipate!

  23. Kathryn, we’ll figure out how to get you an autograph. You’re around *sometimes,* and so am I . . . those events will coincide (of course, the book will need to be there, too).

    Penny, I’m really glad you enjoyed this. I’m still stunned by the physical object, which is sitting on the table in the middle of the living room.

    I’m hoping to get to your part of the world in May, Sherrie, and I’ll bring this with me.

  24. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing this special moment with us. I can hardly wait to see it for real.

  25. Wow…
    It’s so beautiful! I can’t even imagine what a thrill it must have been to open that package.
    Congratulations, and thank you so much for all your hard work!

  26. I sure appreciate the comments. Looking at the book amazes me. Just like after my kid was born. Not the same, of course, but more echoes than seems logical.

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