Spinning with Deb Robson and a Dreaming of Shetland Giveaway!

Dreaming of Shetland
Dreaming of Shetland

Deb Robson is one of the people I most admire in the spinning world.  For as long as I have know her ( is it 20 years?) she has passionately championed rare and endangered breeds of sheep.

Yesterday, the Rare Breed Survival Trust in the UK updated their Watchlist. The Watchlist covers  cows, horses, chickens, pigs as well as sheep. Of all of the animals listed on the RBST Watchlist sheep have the most positive numbers. Deb Robson has had a hand in this. She has helped to bring an awareness to spinners and knitters and other fiber folk about different breeds and their properties that just was there before. The fiber world is richer for it.

Deb’s North American Teaching Schedule

Deb is teaching 3 four-day breed intensive retreats this year, and that’s all she’s teaching in North America 2014. Here’s some information:

Using individually selected and prepared fleeces, in each retreat she’ll lead a small group of participants in a relaxed, information-rich exploration of fibers, history, and spinning skills. All of the retreats accommodate a wide range of skill levels, from those who have recently gained confidence making a two-ply yarn to those with a great deal of experience.
Deb spends the year preceding a retreat sourcing and preparing the fibers. Her goal is a combination of featured materials that provides a variety of experiences—and that result in a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The retreat days combine presentation of materials and techniques with independent time for rest, further fiber work, and exploration of the local area. There’s lots of time for visiting and informal, personalized instruction.

Dates and locations:
* Explore 4 Fiber Retreat, a potpourri of fibers, March 17-20, 2014, Friday Harbor, Washington
* Explore 4 on the Eastern Shore, focusing on locally sourced fibers, October 13-16, 2014, St. Michaels, Maryland
* Wild Card Fiber Retreat, featuring an array of Shetlands in 2014, November 10-13, 2014, Friday Harbor, Washington
For each retreat, participants arrive the evening before and depart the morning after.

For information on the Washington retreats (March and November), contact Deb directly, deb@drobson.info, with “Explore 4 Spring 2014” or “Wild Card Fall 2014” in the subject line.
For information on the Maryland retreat (September), organized by Blended Threads, visit the retreat announcement or contact bobbi@blendedthreadsworkshops.com.

April 5 – 6, 2014 – Iowa Federation of Handweavers and Spinners, Waterloo, Iowa (a one-day rare breeds workshop and a couple of talks)
May 1 – May 5, 2014 – Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival  (a one-day Shetland workshop and a two-day 3Ls and 3Cs, with the three Leicesters and three Australian/NZ breeds), plus the two half-day barn walkabouts)

Dreaming of Shetland

Several designers, editors, tech editors and knitters got together last year and donated their creativity, time and money to publish Dreaming of Shetland. It is an e-book in seven sections (four have been released so far)  of knitting designs inspired by Shetland. All of the proceeds go to a fund to keep Deb doing her fiber and sheep research on the Shetland Islands. Deb talks about it here.

We have one copy of Dreaming in Shetland to giveaway, retail value $20.00.

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday February 7th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the e-book. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other spinners and knitters a chance.

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Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com

127 thoughts on “Spinning with Deb Robson and a Dreaming of Shetland Giveaway!

  1. mollysusie

    I’ve recently been OBSESSED with everything Scotland and in particular the Shetland Islands. I don’t know if it’s knitting related, pony related, or sheepdog related … but I just must go there. This book looks like a great resource on the fiber there! Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  2. lisa

    Oooo. The book looks amazing — ans some of my favorite designers are showcased! Not to mention the place itself!

  3. Cindy

    I would love to win the book, I am just getting my feet wet spinning, and I love all the info that Knitty blog has on spinning.

  4. Carrie

    Deb Robson is so knowledgeable and I am so grateful for her work. Would love to win a copy of this book and would really love to go on one of her retreats! Thanks for getting the word out there.

  5. Maura Stone

    What a great way to raise money to save endangered sheep! The collaboration is terrific and I hope the research keeps going and going. And I love Shetland yarn — size 2.5mm needles – it doesn’t get better than that. May you all have the same success that Beatrix Potter had with her Herdwick sheep.

  6. Diane

    Nice! Love Shetlands…the way they look, they way they feel and how easy they are to process. I process a lot of Shetland fleeces; they are pretty common in my neck of the woods.

  7. Lety

    Great news on the Rare Breed Survival! I’ve been trying to purchase fleeces from farms with critical breeds.

  8. Emily

    Those retreats sound wonderful! It’d be a great experience to go to one someday. Then of course I had to go check out what patterns are in the e-book so far and think the Lester felted bag is adorable. =) Thanks for bringing Deb Robson to our attention!

  9. Susie in Minnesota

    What a beautiful book! Who wouldn’t want to spend a winter’s afternoon dreaming of Shetland?

  10. Ruth

    Very intersting work. I wish I could help out by adopting a few rare breeds of sheep, chickens and more!

  11. Genny

    I frequently find myself dreaming of Shetland…it’s the perfect title for a book of lovely knitting.

  12. Amanda

    I live in MD and might have to dig my heels in with the hubby and kids to get to her retreat. I can’t always figure out how to spin the heritage breeds but I love having the different sheep around. Deb is doing great work. 🙂

  13. Lesley Barnewall

    I wish…I wish Deb all success in her endeavours and would love to peek inside ‘Dreaming of Shetland’.

  14. Leela

    Pity I live so far away! I watched Deb’s Craftsy class on different types of wool and it was fascinating.

  15. Reb

    Our entire family loves her Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. We’ll have to find a creative way for her to “sign” the ebook at MDSW. . . Looks like a lovely read!

  16. Amy S

    Oh my stars and garters, what a beautiful collection! Please count me in on the drawing, I’d love to own this and make everything inside.

  17. janet

    What a wonderful project. There are reasons breeds developed in the first place. During the early blizzard in South Dakota last fall, many thousands of cows were lost. Even though there has been a significant response sending replacement heifers to the area, ranchers are very concerned about having lost the cows that were generations into adaptations to the particular climate and conditions. And these weren’t even endangered breeds, just the result of heifers being retained on a ranch to help build the herd over a number of generations. Herd building is the same with sheep with the daughters of ewes of desirable traits being retained. We kept a few sheep when I was growing up in Iowa, and myh dad said they were direct descendants of the ones brought to the state in the 1880s. I was interested to see Aberdeen Angus listed as critical for cattle–my dad had a small registered herd of them in Iowa between 1965, when he started with a few cows, and his retirement in 1985 when he sold about 40, having sold a number of fine young bulls during those intervening years

  18. CeltChick

    A fascinating project; my DD wants me to get some sheep or goats someday, and I’d love to have a few. Might be a bit of a stretch, since I work full-time! But I’d love to have the book.

  19. Laura Walters

    Deb Robson is a national treasure. She is the reason I now raise Gulf Coast sheep, an endangered American breed. She is an inspiration.

  20. Renee Cook

    Thanks for the opportunity to win. I love that the rare and endangered sheep breeds have a champion in Deb Robson and others.

  21. Linda T

    Deb’s book looks very interesting. The room I go to weave in has beautiful UK sheep breeds staring at me – all different and quite stunning but unfamiliar to me. I would like to read more about this worthy venture!

  22. Sue T

    Deb has done so much for rare sheep breeds, and we spinners are all thankful for helping keep such a variety of sheep available to us! I am very much interested in what she is doing around Shetland sheep who have such unique fleeces.

  23. Dorothy

    Shetland is the featured breed at Rhinebeck this year, and I’ve been trying to learn all about it and find something to knit for the competition!

  24. Laura C

    Oh, I would love to read this book. I have lately been reading/learning a lot about fleece and how its properties affect the yarn made from it and its subsequent best uses. Thanks for the opportunity

  25. Laura

    I love Shetland! My very first raw fleece was an amazing single coated Katmoget colored lamb fleece. I have been hooked ever since.

  26. Linda

    I always enter and haven’t won yet, but someone’s gotta win this one, and who knows? It might be me this time! Would LOVE to have the book!

  27. Diane Mountford

    I heard about this project last year and have loved the patterns I’ve seen … it would be great to get a copy for myself!

  28. LisaRR

    Thanks for another amazing contest.
    It looks like a very interesting project. Your blog post will raise awareness!

  29. Mimi

    I’m a fairly new spinner and so far only spindle. I’m loving learning about these different sheep and other fiber breeds.

Comments are closed.