Deb in Shetland
In Shetland, visiting sheep and shepherds. Photo by Mary Macgregor.

I’m Deb Robson, and at this point in my life—which encompasses a collection of decades and pursuits—my journey involves studying natural fibers, mostly those produced by animals and especially the wide variety of sheep’s wools, and making textiles while thinking about history, community, environment, right livelihood, genetics, and the future. I research, write, draw, craft, and teach about these concerns. If you’re like me, you love playing with fiber and generally have your knitting or a handspindle nearby. Wander through the links and panels here to get an idea of what I’m up to, and enjoy from a distance or join in as you see fit.

NOTES about the activities of Independent Stitch

(and me) in this world of COVID-19

Like many other folks, I’ve found my world turned upside down by COVID-19. I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, but I’m also in that older, vulnerable age group and have some other risk factors. All of my workshops from March 2020 through May 2021 were cancelled or postponed due to the spread of the virus.

In June 2021, we held a two-day workshop outside in a public park’s picnic area. Despite wind and rain, we had a great time and it was so good to be together in person in a safe space. Since then, I’ve been participating in a few events where safe travel; required vaccinations; diligent masking; and maximum possible physical distancing can be implemented.

Otherwise I have been offering guild programs via Zoom (use the contact form to ask for a list of available topics), facilitating online project challenges relating to The Livestock Conservancy’s Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em rare-wool initiative, and doing a lot of research and writing—and some publishing. I’ve been asked to teach workshops online but a number of aspects of those activities can’t so far be adapted to the virtual environment.

We’ll get through this and be back to our normal activities, hopefully before long. Sign up for my newsletter for information on the status (go/no-go/whatever) of any gatherings. Meanwhile, please stay safe and well.

And on to more interesting and durable topics. . . .

Left to right: Suffolk wool sweater; Bluefaced Leicester wool top, bobbin, and fresh skeins, above the start of an American Jacob wool swatch; research notes on Shetland sheep.

I believe that our craft (and our art) not only links us to each other but to

  • Tradition: maintaining relationships with the natural world and the creative spirit that have been vital for thousands of years (literally).
  • Today: pleasure and groundedness and creative engagement.
  • Tomorrow: passing along a measure of hope.

Why dedicate part of our limited time to learning apparently anachronistic skills?

  • There are cultural reasons to keep these abilities alive.
  • There are ecological and environmental and genetic reasons to keep the resources available, in all their diversity.
  • There are personal reasons to make yarn—or just to knowledgeably select yarn—and shape it into fabrics that become quietly significant parts of our daily routines.

If any of this intrigues you, let’s journey together. The whole reason for this site is so some of us who are on this path can find each other.

  • Learn more about Explore 4, the fiber arts retreat I host twice each year in Washington State.
  • I’ve also got other teaching appointments on my calendar, both in person and through digital channels (including a free class on Craftsy).
  • Sometimes I teach, both in person and through digital channels.
  • My books are full of information about fiber animals, especially sheep and their wool, for spinners and knitters who want to know more about the materials they depend on.
  • I’ve got a blog. I love writing for it, but sometimes I don’t because I’m researching or writing something else.
  • I also write for magazines and sometimes for other websites and now and then I’m asked to be part of a podcast.

Want to stay up-to-date on my adventures in wool, and be the first to find out about my new teaching engagements and retreats? Sign up for my newsletter – I’ll also send you a free guide to Wool Types as a thank you gift!

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