Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 71: Deborah Robson – Weaving, Editing, Heritage Conservation and the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook

November 21, 2016

taproot mag

Sponsor: Taproot Magazine, is a quarterly print magazine full of delightful stories and photos written by and for people living fuller and digging deeper. Each issue is created around a subtle theme, featuring amazing recipes, crafts, and tales, all with the intention of inspiring people who are interested in deepening their connections to their families, communities, and themselves as they strive to live locally and closer to the ground. The content in each issue consistently blows me away. It is fulfilling and inspiring. This coming weekend, Nov 26th is Small Business Saturday and Taproot will be launching their pop up shop, featuring all kinds of handcrafted goodies from tea to jewelry to ceramics and even a lip balm making kit. Make sure to visit on Saturday to shop and support this very special curated selection of goods from makers we know and love. 

And later this month the next issue of Taproot magazine SHARE will be arriving in your mailbox. And if you’re not already a subscriber, they’re offering $5 off a subscription or renewal with the code WOOLFUL. There is so much goodness in each issue. You can visit Taproot Magazine online at and on Instagram @taprootmag.


Fiber folk: There’s a very good chance today’s guest Deborah Robson is someone who you’re familiar with from her incredible book Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, written in partnership Carol Ekarius. This book became a staple in my fiber library, introducing me to the vast array of sheep breeds and the qualities of their fibers. There’s a special story behind how this book came to be, along with Deborah’s rich fiber journey as a weaver, spinner, knitter and editor. I hope you enjoy getting to know this incredibly knowledgeable woman as much as I have. You can find Deborah at

deborahrobson_1 deborahrobson_2 deborahrobson_4deborahrobson_3deborahrobson_6deborahrobson_5deborahrobson_7 deborahrobson_8 deborahrobson_9 deborahrobson_10 deborahrobson_11 deborahrobson_12

Photos from: Deborah Robson, Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, Mary Macgregor, and tomofholland


taproot mag

Sponsor: I want to thank Taproot Magazine again for sponsoring this week’s episode. With the natural, easygoing and heartfelt focus of each issue, I find myself continuing to go back to it throughout the quarter, gaining a little something each time and looking forward to the upcoming issue. Make sure to renew or subscribe and receive $5 off with the code WOOLFUL. You can now also find the 2017 Taproot calendar with art by Jessica Roux. Visit and on Instagram @taprootmag.


Giveaway: The winners of last weeks giveaway are Leslie and Sara. Leslie you’ve won the Churchmouse Pressed Rib Cap pattern along with two skeins of mYak medium yarn and Sara you’ve won a caddy of Harney & Sons Cranberry Autumn Tea. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Taproot Magazine and we’re giving away a year subscription to this wonderful publication. To enter, leave a comment on this post.


Music by Jónsi.

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  • Reply sandra November 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Fingers crossed because l looove taproot magazine!

  • Reply Susan November 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    This book has been on my to buy listening for awhile. Loved Deborah’s final comments about why what we do is important (and not anachronistic!)

  • Reply virginia Sattler-Reimer November 21, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    This magazine is new to me, I have been hearing about it here and there and am really excited to check it out! How did I miss it for so long? New episodes are such a joy!

  • Reply Debbie G November 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I am so excited about this contest to possibly win a subscription to Taproot Magazine! Ever since I heard you talking about the bread issue I couldn’t stop until I found an issue on eBay because it was discontinued on the website… We are building a earth oven, so this issue is like gold to me. Now I can’t wait to go back and get the other issues that I have not read… Good luck to everybody on this contest and thank you to Ashley and Taproot ❤️❤️

  • Reply Lianne S November 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    I’ve always wanted a taproot subscription and never managed to get around to signing up. Awesome sponsor, awesome giveaway, awesome podcast as usual!

  • Reply Francesca November 21, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Crossing my fingers the giveaway is open internationally! I love Taproot magazine ❤️ can’t wait to listen to the new podcast this evening near the fireplace!

  • Reply Annelies Vanherck November 22, 2016 at 3:49 am

    What a wonderful episode! Being a student of paper restoration, learning about paper fibres, I had no specific interest in textile fiber until I landed on this website, but I have been listening to Woolful and now I’m afraid I am going to have to ask my grandmother to teach me how to knit. Taproot magazine looks absolutely wonderful too. We are lucky that you all give us access such inspiring stories, so thank you.

  • Reply Naomi November 22, 2016 at 5:57 am

    Taproot is an inspiring venture and magazine

  • Reply Erin November 22, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Oh, I LOVE Deb Robson! What a cool choice. I treasure her work, too.

  • Reply Belinda November 22, 2016 at 6:33 am

    I just found your podcast through Sandy by the Lakeside Podcast. I loved listening to the interview with Deb Ronson. As a new spinner and weaver, I enjoy learning as much as I can about anything fiber related.

  • Reply Liz Alma November 22, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Beautiful publication.
    Thank you for the chance to win a subscription!

  • Reply Joan Bobyn November 22, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I so look forward to these posts, and would LOVE a subscription to Taproot. I live in beautiful Victoria BC, where I am about to retire to devote my full time to knitting and weaving. Making a trip to Shetland Islands in June. So exciting!!

  • Reply Yasmin November 22, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Great interview! What would we do without Deb? 🙂

  • Reply Joanne November 22, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Great interview. Watched her Craftsy class and have her book.

  • Reply Pattie November 22, 2016 at 9:30 am

    This was a fabulous episode! Thanks so much. I ordered Your Handspinning as a result. Thanks for yours efforts and for Debbie’s wonderful inspiration.

  • Reply Arianne November 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I love taproot and need another year. Great giveaway. Loved this interview. This is one of my favorite fiber books I own.

  • Reply Alyssa November 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

    great podcast as always!!! now you’ve got me all intrigued by her book. can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Thanks again Ashley 🙂

  • Reply Louisa November 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Oh, what a lovely ending! Personal creativity, independence and connection, yes, so true. I was especially struck by the comment about how digging deep into our true interests is valuable. Words of wisdom. Thank you!

  • Reply Emilie Elizabeth November 22, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    It’s so inspiring and reassuring, in a way, to hear these stories of people who have lived and worked with fiber for so much of their lives, when you are only just starting out yourself. As always a wonderful episode and a lovely giveaway. All the best.

  • Reply Jenny Furlong November 22, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Terrific episode, as usually. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Reply Nancy November 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Loved the interview. I’m going to purchase her book. The Taproot magazine is intriguing. Will have to explore that soon!!!

  • Reply Kathy November 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Deborah Robson’s book is so fantastic. A great guest, Ashley! Thanks for this episode getting posted just a few days before Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  • Reply Marina November 22, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Such an interesting episode! loved it!

  • Reply Alison November 22, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Deb Robson is one of my favorite fiber people; thanks for having her on.

  • Reply Patricia November 22, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Looking forward to geeking out on The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook someday, sounds like it would be a great addition to my fiber library. I would also love to dive into Taproot magazine! I’ve been eyeing it for a while but have yet to get any of the issues.

  • Reply Kristin November 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Great podcast! I love the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. I read it cover to cover when I first got it, and still refer back to it all the time. I also love Taproot magazine.

  • Reply Rose Young November 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    What a wonderful giveaway! 🙂 And your podcast is the best!

  • Reply Hjördís Óskarsdóttir November 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Your podcast has become my favorite podcast. I´ve know about Taproot magazine for quite some time but unfurtunately it´s not sold in my country.

  • Reply Traci November 22, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Such a great story. Taproot is a favorite too!

  • Reply Juliet November 22, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Really enjoyed this interview–it was especially interesting to hear from someone who’s been in the fiber world for so long, and seen how it has grown and changed. I’m already a Taproot subscriber–it’s an incredible publication!

  • Reply T November 23, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Great interview! Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook is an invaluable book. It’s always right beside my wheel! And now it’s great to know about the photos!

  • Reply mirta November 23, 2016 at 2:56 am

    another inspiring episode and a beautiful sponsor. Taproot magazine is on my wish-list x

  • Reply Louise Gingery November 23, 2016 at 4:33 am

    A very interesting podcast with another great story. I have heard about the Taproot magazine, but haven’t made the purchase!

  • Reply Rebecca November 23, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Thank you for sharing such a great interview!

  • Reply Jason Schultz November 23, 2016 at 5:43 am

    I actually just picked up an issue of this last night, after hearing about it on a previous episode of your podcast. I would love to win a subscription!

  • Reply Kerry November 23, 2016 at 6:45 am

    I really enjoyed the episode! Thanks!

  • Reply Carol November 23, 2016 at 7:41 am

    This is a lovely magazine…just got the most recent one. Also, Deb’s pictures are terrific!

  • Reply Debra Sewell November 23, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Deborah’s work with Fleece and Fiber is fascinating!

  • Reply Pattie in Vermont November 23, 2016 at 10:36 am

    This was such an enjoyable episode. In fact, on the strength of Deb’s mention of “Your Handspinning”, I ordered the book. I look forward to starting over learning how to hand spin. Thanks!

  • Reply asteride November 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Great interview and wonderful giveaway! Taproot is so inspiring!

  • Reply Amber November 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Such a cool magazine!

  • Reply Irene Jackson November 23, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the latest podcast about Deborah Robson, and her Fibre journey through life. Thank you for finding these interesting people to listen to.

  • Reply Doreen MacL November 24, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Another very interesting interview, thank you. My copy of The Fleece and Fiber Source Book will now be extra special, knowing some of the back story. Thanks for the chance to try a Taproot magazine subscription.

  • Reply Melissa F November 24, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Loved hearing about all of the little details that went into the making of the Fleece and Fiber Source Book. Many thanks to Deb and Carol for sharing your knowledge, you are truly talented in what you do.

  • Reply Judy N November 24, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I love theFleece and Fiber Sourcebook and it was eye-opening to hear Deb’s journey. What a huge undertaking that we all appreciate. Thank you to Deb and Carol for making it happen.

  • Reply Rachel Braswell November 24, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Taproot and Woolful; two beautiful publications of material that support people who want to connect with the earth and show our gratefulness for what it can provide to us. Great connection for the week of American Thanksgiving. Thanks for a great show!

  • Reply Federica November 24, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Another amazing episode that kept me company while driving to work, Thank you so much <3

  • Reply Susan Crosby November 24, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful interview. I’ve been a long time admirer of Deborah Robinson’s work. It was great to hear her personal fiber journey as well as the story behind her book.

  • Reply Kezia Tenenbaum November 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve been interested in Taproot Magazine, and would love to win the giveaway! Thanks for an interesting episode, again.

  • Reply Peggy November 25, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Fantastic interview. Enjoyed hearing about the intricate details this team focused on to present the fiber…barn board , mat. And the intent behind the photography. All in all, gives me a feeling of fluidity. Going to the top of my Christmas wish list!

  • Reply Thea Dam Søby November 25, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for yet another great podcast!
    I have to invest in the book; it sounds absolutely amazing!

  • Reply teegan November 25, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Oh, my goodness! As a young editor, longtime knitter, brand new spinner, and sheep lover, this episode was right up my alley. Such an inspiration!

  • Reply Julia November 25, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Wow, what an endeavour! It is so nice to be seeing more variety in available wools these days. Thanks!

  • Reply Kristina November 26, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Such an adventure. Love the honesty and perspective.

  • Reply Rachel Palfini November 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Loved learning about the process that goes into a fiber book.

  • Reply Morgan November 27, 2016 at 3:33 am

    Can’t wait to listen to this episode of your podcast! My fiber journey began a long time ago but the older I get the more my passion grows. Your podcast has been a huge part of my education more recently.

  • Reply Heather November 27, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Deb Robson’s research is referenced each and every time I go to a fiber event or consider a new knitting or spinning project.

  • Reply Sarah November 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    This was my favorite episode yet. So amazing to hear of the work, time, and passion that goes into making a fiber book.

  • Reply Julie November 27, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I completely love my fleece and fibre source book! It really interesting to hear about the woman that created it and her journey! Thanks again

  • Reply Danielle November 27, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Deborah’s deep involvement in fleece is amazing. What knowledge.

  • Reply Loretta November 27, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I’m just learning how to hand spin, so this is so fun to learn!

  • Reply Caitlyn November 27, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I can’t wait to listen to this episode! I am new to this scene and this book is next on my to buy list. I can’t wait to listen to the lady behind it. Thank you for finding such wonderful stories!

  • Reply Vanessa November 28, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Wow. Taproot sounds amazing! I stumbled onto your podcast about a month ago and have already learned so much. Thanks for being a leader in the community!

  • Reply Pat Herkal November 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Just received my first issue of Taproot. Indulgence not to have to wait for the library copy. I love Interweave Press. A good friend was editor of the Herb Companion and I would visit their magical workplace with her.

  • Reply Eleanor James November 29, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I’m new to this podcast and can’t get enough!!!

  • Reply Dominique November 29, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Hope I’m not too late! I would love to see what everybody is raving about! It looks so lovely.

  • Reply Nikki H. November 29, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I was just watching Deborah’s Craftsy class about different kinds of wool the other day. I want to buy her book but I don’t know if I’m ready to take my obsession to that level yet haha. I’m trying to be content with my drop spindle for the time being. If I learn too much about wool I’ll not be able to stop myself from buying a spinning wheel.

  • Reply Linda Gesling November 30, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Another fascinating episode. I loved hearing some of the details behind the book, which I already own but have not spent enough time with. That will be remedied.

  • Reply Lucy Jennings November 30, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve been weaving since 1979, and just discovered your podcast. I found you through Ravelry and am now listening to it on my half-hour commute to work. I love NPR, but these days I just can’t stand the political news, so I’m going to have to listen to all of your back episodes. Thank you for such a nice, easy to listen to, and informative podcast for us fiber-types!

    And now I’ve discovered a new magazine! Thank you for such a generous free offer. Whoever wins will be a lucky camper.

  • Reply Laurel December 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

    What a great podcast! I found all the info on the photography for the book very interesting. So many details.

  • Reply Jordan December 1, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Great episode. I think I’m going to have to add Fleece and Fiber to my bookshelf!

  • Reply Laurel Tuggle December 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    My Taproot subscription is about to run out! Finger’s crossed! (Also, how funny to comment right after another Laurel!)

  • Reply Annette December 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Great episode ! Thanks..

  • Reply grace December 1, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Terrific Interview! Our guild is lucky enough to have Deb coming next year!

  • Reply Vicki R December 2, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Loved the interview. I’ve put Deborah’s book on my Amazon wishlist. I loved hearing about how it was put together. Can’t wait to see the sheep. I’d love a year of taproot. Thanks for the podcast and for offering the giveaway.

  • Reply Mandy December 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you, again! Taproot is also an amazing magazine…

  • Reply Karen M December 3, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for the podcast. I love listening to the journeys of your guests.

  • Reply Linda Tytko December 3, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Love your Podcast and I want to live in a yurt.
    Never had a copy of taproot hope to win.

  • Reply Rebecca Bandy December 3, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    I’m so looking forward to this podcast, having stumbled upon Deborah’s book at the library a few months ago. Love at first sight!

  • Reply Bri December 4, 2016 at 9:09 am

    This book sounds incredibly helpful! I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of it before. I must get it, as having an encyclopedia of wool would be incredible. Also, I’d loooove to check out taproot mag!

  • Reply M Schilling December 5, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Wonderful work you are doing! Thank you! I’m looking forward to listening an learning.

  • Reply Caroline Vogl December 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Wonderful episode!

  • Reply Carolyn December 5, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I’m learning so much. Thanks for inspiring.

  • Reply DaAnn December 5, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I loved your interview with Deb Robson! I have the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook – I don’t even bother putting it away I use it so often. Would love to try a Taproot subscription!

  • Reply Branwynne December 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Deborah’s remark about her friends retiring and feeling that their careers are coming to an end while she felt that hers just kept getting more exciting was so, so inspiring. The joy she feels in her fiber life and future filled me with hope and positivity.

  • Reply Julia December 6, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Love Deb Robson!

  • Reply Leslie Wiberg December 7, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I am very intrigued by Ms. Robson’s work and book. I guess I am going to have to buy another book! Or put it on my wish list. Thanks for a great podcast.

  • Reply Kelly December 8, 2016 at 7:11 am

    This was my first time listening and wow, what a way to start! I’m a new knitter and am really excited to pick up the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. What an incredible story!

  • Reply Armenuhi December 8, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Absolutely love your podcast!

  • Reply Teresa Cochran December 8, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Best podcast out there! So glad I found you!

  • Reply Jada December 8, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Love this book! I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast today.

  • Reply Nicole Vasquez December 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for these amazing stories. I love listening early in the morning while I work . They are a beautiful way for me to start my day.

    I learned about Taproot from you and it would a fantastic gift to have a subscription.

  • Reply Michelle Miller December 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Amazing Book! I’ve heard lots of great things about Taproot as well & would love to see it for myself!

  • Reply Samantha December 8, 2016 at 9:17 am

    I’d love to win the taproot subscription! Thank you for your wonderful content.

  • Reply Nancy December 8, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Wonderful episode! Thanks.

  • Reply Angelica December 8, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I’m excited about listening to this podcast later today when the kiddo finally takes a nap!

  • Reply Monica December 8, 2016 at 10:50 am

    another great interview. Would love a Taproot subscription!

  • Reply Azure December 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Completely hooked on these podcasts! Thank you for what you are doing!

  • Reply Elissa Postman December 8, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I love listening to your podcast.

  • Reply Rebecca December 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Enjoyed the episode. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Reply Dana December 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I love Taproot magazine and would love to win, thanks so much for the chance!

  • Reply Andrea December 8, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I love Taproot! What a great giveaway, fingers crossed!!

  • Reply Andrea December 8, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    What a great giveaway, fingers crossed!!

  • Reply Marianne December 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Really enjoy your Instagram posts and this site is so informative. Bet I would love Taproot !

  • Reply Kristi December 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    What a treat! LOVE Taproot!

  • Reply Martina December 8, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    What a treat! I love Taproot..and need to renew my subscription

  • Reply Cathy December 8, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Ooh, I love Taproot.

  • Reply KimW December 8, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Taproot has so many inspiring stories and beautiful art! I love learning about new people and businesses through things like your podcast and publications like Taproot!

  • Reply Jessie December 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Taproot is the greatest! I would love a subscription.

  • Reply Knittyship December 8, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Great episode! I’ve subscribed to Taproot since the beginning. I simply love it.

  • Reply Genevieve December 8, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    I love to cozy up with my coffee and knitting while listening to your podcasts. It has become my weekend ritual.

  • Reply Jeska December 8, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Wow-this is an amazing giveaway! Thank you!

  • Reply Anna Hj December 9, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Taproot looks like a great magazine!

  • Reply Mathurine December 9, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for this so interesting interview ! Yeah Taproot is a wonderful magazine !

  • Reply Cyndi December 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Loved the podcast! Also love Taproot! Thank you!

  • Reply Hd December 9, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Lovely- thanks! And congrats!

  • Reply Patricia December 27, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Love your podcast! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  • Reply Karen Mullen December 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I was going to order Taproot in the past but just never did. But today I finally placed my order. The magazine looks amazing and inspiring! While listening to this podcast I was casting on my second ever hat that I’ve knitted. I really enjoyed listening to how the fiber book was made. We really don’t realize all the hard work and time and love that goes into these lovely books we all love so much. Thanks for another great podcast!

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