I'm a writer, knitter, freelance editor, and independent publisher. This blog is an older one that I no longer update; please visit http://independentstitch.com for all updated information!

Deb Robson and Tussah

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for the sheep!

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« Tempest's Ariel Miranda: A fine and sweet (strong-willed and often mischievous) dog | Main | Comfort and joy: Lots of wool, and Clara Parkes' new book »

December 14, 2009


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Oh, I looove that last photo. They look so happy!!!

(You are making me want to spin, even more. I can't until this pattern finishes. Crossing fingers that is today...)


Susan J Tweit

Lovely, Deb. Thanks for remembering Ariel in a way that also illuminates the what and why of your work on the Project!

Diana Troldahl

What a lovely thought, to keep the memory of Arial close.


This post made me get teary! This sort of project is also how I mourned my dog Lucy--through a spinning project. I spun some cashmere late one night during a thunderstorm (Lucy couldn't stand thunderstorms and would have been up, had she lived) and it became the white Gator Gaiter that you helped tech edit. I wear it now with some frequency, and I think of Lucy. Her fur was a bit hard to spin, but her soul? A little of it is in that cashmere, for me.

Deb Robson

I cant start really working on this Ariel project until Ive got The Project out of the office for a bit, but the big plus is that I can be cruising among the fibers here for the perfect blending match.

Linda Peterson

What a lovely, warm post. These four-leggeds really do weave themselves in, don't they? Many sympathies.
I come to you via Susan Twiet and her blog. I'm sitting in my Michigan livingroom with a box of Marr Haven's Merino-Rambouillet (from downstate), in love with real yarn, and realizing I have so much to learn. This lesson on crimp is just wonderful.
I'm finding comfort just in the scent of this one box. (And my local yarn shop said there were no Michigan producers--yikes!)



Deb Robson

Thanks and welcome, Linda. I love Susan Tweit. And her blog (http://bit.ly/6jmDFg ). And her books (heres one:http://bit.ly/5UWJ55 ).

Your local shop thought there were NO Michigan producers???? Egad! Almost everywhere has local producers. Michigan

Marr Haven is truly lovely, wonderful, nearly magical yarn. The fibers are *not* carbonized (a chemical treatment that removes vegetable matter but also takes some of the life out of the fiber) and they *are* mule-spun, which also helps the resulting yarns stay lively--preserving the qualities of the original wools as much as anything this side of complete hand processing. Marr Haven yarns are a treasure--real stuff, reasonably priced, and (some of us love this) available on cones (worsteds are also in skeins, and sportweights can be special-ordered off the cone). No, I dont know the Marr Haven people, nor are they paying me a single penny for this untempered enthusiasm for their yarns. http://www.marrhaven.com/

Stop by again and let us know what you do with your Merino-Rambouillet yarn!

Meanwhile, heres another Michigan option:http://www.sheepstuff.com/FWS.html

There are more. Happy hunting. . . .


Deb, Oh God! Another site of lovely stuff. Thanks--I think. You've got the Marr Haven down to a "T." I could add that because it is so carefully processed (that word sounds too harsh), it is lanolin rich. I haven't been able to work with it yet, but I do stop by to pet it and make sure it's happy (It does seem alive, I have to say). My hands and nails come away healed.

I found Marr Haven via Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Wool, which your reviewed highly here. (You were right about it too.) She has a sweater named the Allegan (little town near the Marr Hhaven farm)designed just for the yarn.

I have dealt with Barbara, one of the founders of the farm. She is a delightful email correspondent, even at this busy time. And I had my yarn in 3 days--of course, I'm in the state, but still! I will be making a pilgrimage in May.

I will stop by again; thanks for the encouragement. Keep the information coming when you can. I look forward to The Project.


(And, yes, everyone of Susan's books, and her blog, are insightful, well written and generally wonderful.)

Deb Robson

Alive is why I love working with handspun yarn. Or any fibers that feel like they have been handspun.

On The Project, I am spinning some machine-processed fibers, but almost everything is coming to me--by my request--straight from the sheep. Its the only way to get the wools personality. While Ive spun a lot of wools in the past, Im needing to do some comparisons. While I can only compare one sample from each breed (except when Ive got several . . . takes longer, but worthwhile), its still incredibly revealing.

The write-ups I do without wool in hand are, to me, boring. The ones where Ive taken the grease wool (some jacketed; some so NOT jacketed) and processed it all the way through are the fun ones. Thats almost all of them.

I have a long review of Claras book coming. Ive been working on it for weeks, but I keep getting interrupted by various emergencies. Itll get here.

Barbara Marr

Thank you for your lovely comments about our yarn, Linda sent me the link to your blog. I still get excited when someone talks about our yarn.

I relate to losing a 15 yr old Border Collie. Unfortunately with the number of years we have had sheep, we have had to experience this more than once. Still have all the great memories of those loyal, hard working 4 legged members of our family.
Barbara Marr

Deb Robson

Welcome to the blog, Barbara. Thanks so much for doing what you do. Its a pleasure to be able to acknowledge the quality and care with which you treat your sheep and their fibers.

Ah, yes, you would have lost a number of Border collies. I grew up with other wonderful breeds, then by chance ended up with an Aussie and a Border collie. I knew when I took them on that they would require more of me than the other dogs had: it was true, in ways I couldnt even begin to imagine. But they also rewarded the partnership beyond my wildest dreams.

Well rescue another when the time comes.

Anna McCarthy

Some years ago I spun my daughter in law's beloved elk hound's fluff. It was awfully short but very soft. I blended it with CVM and made her a nice lace scarf. I don't think she wears it much, living as she does in LA, but there he is, on tap as it were and it does sometimes get cold there.

Deb Robson

The evenings in LA can get cool, and a lace scarf sounds perfect. I thought I was going to get to spin the CVMs this past week and check them out, but then I got a box with 23 new samples that needed to be washed. I think CVM is probably what Ill use with Aris fur. Or one of the colored Romeldales. Im so glad you could do this for your daughter-in-law. Even if she mostly looks at the scarf and strokes it whenever she wants to.

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