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

Tip jar

for the sheep!

Tip Jar

« The Project has a face! (that is, a cover) | Main | Cheviots divided and conquered (maybe)--and a new sheep book »

November 13, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Yikes, you'd better keep the pill bottle close to hand!


Deb Robson

Thanks, Laura. A friend gave me a ticket to the local symphony tonight, so I will be taking a forced break as well.

L.M. Cunningham

Yikes! And I think some of the stuff I'm writing is turning me into a babbling fool.

(And you'll definitely want more chocolate too. Plus wine. Lots of wine.)

Deborah Robson

Turns out the American Miniature Cheviots may have more names: Southern Hill Cheviot and Small Cheviot.

Wine, you say?

Susan J Tweit

Wine indeed, and whatever you do, don't follow your instructions at the beginning of the post! *{head->wall} Repeat from * to end

You'll sort it out clearly, even though you don't have time. It's one of your talents...

Anna McCarthy

I have loved Cheviot from the start. First fleece I ever spun and not very fashionable now but a Cheviot hogget is a delight. I will be fascinated by anything you say about them....Good luck.

Deborah Robson

. . . there are three strains (not breeds, but subtypes) of North Country Cheviots: Hill Cheviots (not to be confused with South Country Cheviots, sometimes called Hill Cheviots), Caithness type (not to be confused with Caithness Cheviot, the early name for the entire breed), and the Border type (not to be confused with Border Cheviots, also another name for South Country Cheviots). . . .

It's a good thing I like Cheviot wool myself!

Jane Cooper

Wow! You and your 'team' are probably the world experts on anything and everything Cheviot now - strongly suspecting the publishers wouldn't realise what a little gem your above research would be if put into the book, I shall print it out to include in my own copy ☺

BTW - this probably isn't the time to let you know that at the North Pennines Wool Event last month (yes, the Brits now have an annual wool week!) I was informed, by someone who knows about sheep in the north of England, that there is a variation of the Scottish Blackface, called the Hexham Blackface. Although, on 2nd thoughts, you probably already know!

Hope you enjoy your teaching.


I am looking forward to this book so much, especially now I have watched with interest and sympathy how much work it's taken.


I can't wait to get a copy of this book, believe me, all your hard work will be much appreciated!


Huh. This is why my breed sample collection is a giant cardboard box full of vaguely labelled baggies.

I can't wait for this book!!


Wine AND chocolate. I've been gently introduced to the... interesting... pastime of researching the history of sheep breeds courtesy of the Shetland (and yes, there still are double-coated Shetlands in Shetland even if the fleece/wool isn't widely available) land the North Ronaldsay. Or Orkney.

We put sheep under such strong selective pressure, without our noticing or by breeding for something we think is 'cute,' that it's no wonder new breeds develop so quickly.

Love Ryder's book, and I joined the nearest University Library to get access to their periodicals section too.

Deborah Robson

This flurry of comments is warming my heart.

One of the cool things about really getting into Ryder's work was discovering a place where he revised an earlier statement he'd made about a breed's wool because it turned out that the fiber he'd been given was misidentified. Another was finding his reference to the "crocheted" shawls of Shetland (Sheep and Man, p. 517, third full paragraph, line 3).

Every time I open that particular book, I am in *awe* at the work. (Add on Ryder and Stephenson's Wool Growth and it's even harder to believe what the man knows.) Yet these crumbs give me the courage to keep going, because if Michael Ryder got handed the wrong bit of wool, well, maybe it's okay if the work *we're* doing is (just) as close to correct as we can humanly make it. . . .

Yes, Scottish Blackfaces. And YES, Shetlands! Very interesting, and took about a week. MOST of what we found is *not* directly in the book, because there wasn't room, but the work had to be done to get the parts that *are* there right (or as right as we can get them).

You folks are encouraging me, however, to write down more of the process, perhaps in the blog. . . . And not immediately. I need to get the book done!

Deborah Robson

P.S. I love North Ronaldsays, and have found out cool stuff about them, as well.


It is quite an undertaking, this 'encyclopedia'... reminds me of genealogy.. gathering truths, half-truths, and pure fiction and determining what is the most accurate information (ie. born in 1751, married in 1755)... huh?

This is an important work for the fiber community. Though, as a spinner, I want to know what I will find out there here and now. Maybe that would take off some pressure from making this the most historically accurate genealogy of every known sheep breed that has ever walked the planet?

Look forward to seeing you in Michigan. I'll bring some cheviot ;-)

Deborah Robson

Sue, so my Cheviot escapade will have done me some good in Michigan! Looking forward to meeting you.

Yes, the goal is "what's out there now?" The trick is getting enough of a handle on the history to give guidelines. . . .

Genealogy. Yes. I found a bit of tricky stuff about that while I was in the U.K. this summer. I thought I was going to be in a village that some ancestors had come from. Same name, different place. . . .


Hi, Deb. Showing my computer students blogging.

Deb Robson

Good idea, Lynn! Welcome. I was a guest author in some high school classes a few years ago and was incredibly surprised that the students didnt know about blogging. Wow. Its so much fun.

cathy in va

Oh, boy, do I want this book. Stay determined and keep going. I'll cheer you on!

Deb Robson

Theres absolutely no way were turning back. We took off on the toboggan and theres no stopping until we get to the bottom of the hill! Im really glad you want the book. Cheering is most welcome.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Networked blogs