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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« 30 days to Maryland Sheep and Wool | Main | This year's classes and workshops--all on rare-breed wools »

April 07, 2011


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Diana Troldahl

What a rich and varied legacy you have already helped to birth.
I look forward to the next challenges you take on :-}


I can relate with your thoughts re:COE. I haven't gone there and I think it is due to spinning being the fun part of my life. I am afraid I'd be tempted to making it "work'. Tho work is so much fun as well.

I do enjoy your unique perspective and appreciate the time you took to thoughtfully share it.

Lots of wonderful books to add to my list - thank you.


This all makes good sense. And this seems like a good time & way to assess where you've been and where you're headed next. Such a rich and satisfying journey! XO

Deborah Robson

Thanks, Diana! It's good to be able to share these things. I tend to think of them as distinct items, because each book (or magazine, or article) is all-consuming when it's in process.

And Cathy, you're right: I would make the COE process into work. Let me know if there are particular books you're curious about.

Meg, thanks for your comment. It's definitely time to evaluate where I have been, where I am, and what comes next.

Lola LB

I think you, at least, deserve a honorary COE, simply on the basis of all you've done for the fiber community.

Deb Robson

Thanks, Lola! That would be fun!

I think of the pile of Spin-Off and SSD covers as my personal COE {grin}. For the first five years or so, when an issue of Spin-Off came from the printer I collected an extra copy of its cover from the pile of tear sheets, put it in an inexpensive black document frame, and hung it on the wall, in a line with its predecessors. As I hung it, Id take a few seconds to feel like Id accomplished something (I was already well underway with the next issue; the sense of stillness was fleeting). And a few weeks later, when I was planning the next cover, Id look at the whole set and think about variety of topics, colors, and so on.

After a while, though, I ran out of wall space. . . . For that reason, it was especially gratifying to assemble the electronic wall in part 1 of this series.


Thanks for this series of reflections on your journey. I can especially relate to how your yoga informs your decision.

There is a certain flow and rhythm to life and I am well past the age where I want to build dams, retaining walls, and diversions to the natural flow and rhythm of my creativity.

I have a professional license in my area of health care expertise. It was gratifying to achieve that milestone as a much younger woman. But also important to remember that those letters required behind my name in a professional context were there to inform (and protect) the public that they were recieving care from someone who met the licensing requirements in the state where I practice.

In my fiber life....there is no one who needs to know (or be protected) the amount of study and research I have done. The finished yarn, fabric, garment....is there to be handled and observed. That finished product stands on its own....the letters behind the name of the maker are insignificant.

I am gobsmacked by the breadth of your work in publishing! Especially that you've worked with Tracy Kidder. Love, love, love his work. And the same goes for yours!

Be well. Enjoy the journey.

Deb Robson

Valerie, I appreciate your comments. It was fun working with Tracy, on that book in particular. The house and people were part of the area we lived in. I helped with the last couple of drafts.

Both Tracy Kidder and Mark Kramer worked with one of the best developmental editors Ive ever met, Richard Todd (http://ow.ly/4wbNm), who, along with Richard Rhodes (http://www.richardrhodes.com/ ), helped me learn what editorial work could be--in addition to what writing could be, at its most rigorous. Ive just discovered that Todd has written a book called The Thing Itself, published in 2008 (while I wasnt noticing much other than The Project), that I intend to read ASAP. Thanks for making an observation that led me to speak of him, to look up a way to link to his work, and to the information about his book!

Editing and writing are, of course, completely different activities. Ive done enough of both to have the sense to consult trusted editorial folks about my own writing. Im too close to it to see what it needs! At the same time, as the writer, once the editor has made his or her points, I need to be the one who makes all final decisions. And when I am editing, I need to recognize that same ultimate responsibility on the part of the person whose work is the focus of our mutual effort. Its an intricate dance.


This had been fascinating to read! I have always felt that a spinning certificate program might take the joy of experimentation out of spinning for pleasure and relaxation (escape?) I almost embarked on a yoga teacher program this spring, but in the same light I thought it would take away the pleasure I get from my solitary yoga practice. What an exciting variety of books you have worked on!


I understand how you feel with not wanting to give up your independent love of spinning, as opposed to spinning for the certificate program.

I am embarking upon my own version of study for the many breeds that you inspired me to seek out in your dvd "Handspinning Rare Wools".

Thank you for deciding to continue teaching us instead of doing the certificate program. Your reasons may have been personal, but we are all grateful to keep you in the sheep arena.

Deborah Robson

Susan, I suspect that a yoga teacher training program of the right type could enrich a personal practice nicely. There are two "schools" of yoga that I would consider doing this in. Not this year, though--! I'm getting my life back together after the book.

Pandorasslave, I'm glad the DVD has inspired you to play with the rare breeds. There is so much to be learned from them. It sometimes takes patience to coax out the best of what some of those wools have to offer, but that "best" is unique and worth the coaxing. Feel free to touch back in with comments or questions as you proceed.

I've got tons of future questions about fibers, especially wools, that I want to continue exploring.

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