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Fiber Guru Deb Robson in Two New Videos and a Chance to Win Unicorn Fibre Wash!

Mar 15, 2011

Tuned In To KDTV's weekly blog invites fiber expert and author Deborah Robson to talk about her experience taping KDTV. A guest on Series 600, Deb's knowledge about natural fibers is unmatched. Watch her segments for tips on cleaning your natural fibers, ways to keep your wool from being too itchy, and how to care for your knitwear and keep your yarn and designs from pilling. Plus, Deb will let you in on some behind-the-scene KDTV secrets! Here's Deb:


I'm not much of a television person. We don't have cable, and didn't weather the so-called digital transition well. So when I was contacted by Jaime Guthals at Interweave to ask if I'd be willing to fly to Cleveland to tape two segments for Knitting Daily TV, I felt like I was being invited to visit a foreign country.

Before you travel to tape the show, there are the required preliminaries.

First, you are told the theme for the season and what your segments will be about (roughly). Then you fill out forms that explain what the informational points in each segment will be; what supplies and materials will be needed, who will supply them, and exactly how they will be used; and again, what the message will be.

Second, you need to cope with the wardrobe requirements. Most important is the shirt or sweater you'll wear, because that's all that really shows in the finished video. Specifications include:

  • color-NOT white, and preferably not red or black; best are jewel tones or pastels; blues can be very good
  • style-button front, so clothes can be changed without messing up makeup and hair (which is done ONCE for the day) and so a lapel mic can be easily attached
  • style-three-quarter-length or long sleeves

Another wardrobe requirement is a manicure, with either clear or French polish.

On Wednesday, I drove to the park-and-ride and caught the shuttle to the airport at 9 a.m. By 9 p.m., I was in Cleveland at the recommended hotel. Via e-mail, I learned when and where I was to show up the next morning: 7 a.m. in the lobby, to catch a ride to the studio with Jaime.

So it was Thursday, 7 a.m., and we headed for the studio, where I got a quick tour and then we all settled into the green room, which really is green. I think it's intended to be calming. It's right next to the studio. It's large enough to have somewhere between 10 and 12 large work tables set up simultaneously, maybe more. We set up our supplies for each segment on big, metal trays (like commercial bakers use) and carried them into the studio when we were called.

I taped one segment with Shay (#612) and one with Eunny (#603), in that order. The segment for 612 is about the wide range of types of wool, and the one for 603 is about the transformation from raw fiber to clean yarn and then to a finished item.

When I moved into the studio with my trays of materials, we set them up on the "real" table and then the producer came along and rearranged them so they'd work better from the cameras' points of view. She talked with us about what the segment was intended to convey. In 5.5 minutes, you have to keep your information extremely focused. We discussed briefly what the sequence of ideas would be, and how we would move the items that would be shown on camera. I was told never to look at the cameras, always at the host. Then we started for real.

We did the lead-in for each segment a couple of times. The first time we began the first segment, I looked at the cameras. It's hard not to be curious about the studio process, including the cameras! It's also sort of weird to just look sideways at the host while the host is looking at a camera to introduce the segment. That was only a few seconds in, though, and on all the subsequent takes I managed to maintain the requested focus of attention.

After we finished the first full taping of the 612 segment, producers conferred in the other room, reviewed parts of it again, and said it was fine but they'd like us to try one more. We did. They said they liked both and will choose the one they like best later. I'm guessing they'll settle on the second version. We had a lot of ideas to cover, and we did it a bit more smoothly on the second take, although there are parts of the first version I might like better. I didn't have a chance to look at any of the stuff we recorded (and that's okay).

Watch Deb's segment with Shay:

With the 603 segment, we did a couple of starts but the first complete run-through was deemed perfect and I was done with my official time in the studio. The rest of my stay involved enjoying the cookies Shay Pendray had baked, packing up, having soup and salad with the whole cast and crew, and getting a ride back to the airport from Jaime.

It was fun. I'd do it again. The hardest part was talking for less than several hours about wool!

Watch Deb's segment with Eunny:

You can learn more about fiber from Deb with her new book The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More than 200 Fiber from Animal to Spun Yarn, available this summer. Or, watch more of Deb on film with her new workshop DVD Handspinning Rare Wools, available now. In this DVD, Deb goes beyond her tips and tricks seen on Knitting Daily TV, and explores fiber from 38 rare and endangered breeds of sheep from Great Britain and North America. Her knowledge of their history and characteristics is deep, her stories intriguing, and her passion for saving and savoring the basic materials of spinning is palpable.


If you're interested in diving into the world of natural fibers and spinning, we're offering you the opportunity to win a Unicorn Fibre prize pack to get you started. Deb used this innovative fiber care package on her Knitting Daily TV segments, and you can see how they deep clean your fiber without damaging the natural characteristics of the fiber. Simply comment on this blog post for your chance to win 16 ounces of Fibre Wash, Fibre Rinse, and Power Scour--graciously donated by Unicorn Fibre Wash. Tell us what you thought of Deb's segments, about your own exploration in natural fibers, or your favorite fiber to knit with. Maybe you have a clever tip to share for others that spin their own yarn? Tell us your tips and ideas by leaving a comment before noon Mountain Time on Wednesday, March 23, and we'll randomly select a winner of the Unicorn Fibre care package. Good luck!

Watch Deb Robson and other guest experts on Knitting Daily TV, now available on a 4-Disc DVD Collection! Click here to purchase DVDs of this season or previous seasons of Knitting Daily TV.

ABOUT THE SHOW: Knitting Daily TV is an exciting needle crafts how-to program on public television covering everything from knitting and crochet to stitching, felting, and spinning. The show guides viewers in learning to make fun yet smart one-of-a-kind designs using the latest products in yarn and fiber. Download free patterns, meet trendsetting knit and crochet designers, and improve or learn new skills and techniques.

Click here to find the PBS station nearest you airing the program. (You can enter your zip code or click "view all schedules/get listings" to see all the cities that air the show and when.)

Knitting Daily TV is airing on PBS stations nationwide and new markets are being added to the schedule all the time. Each individual public television station chooses when and if to air the program. If it is not airing in your local market, please call, write, or email and let them that know you are a viewer of the station and would like to see Knitting Daily TV. You can help bring Knitting Daily TV to your local PBS Station. Thank you!

Unicorn Fibre This post was sponsored by Unicorn Fibre. For more information on the innovative fiber care you've seen on this post, please visit




Featured Products

Handspinning Rare Wools (DVD)

Availability: In Stock
Price: $34.95


Deborah Robson explores fiber from 38 rare and endangered breeds of sheep from Great Britain and North America.


Knitting Daily TV Series 600 DVD

Availability: In Stock
Was: $39.99
Sale: $35.99


Enjoy all 13 epsiodes of Knitting Daily TV Series 600, now on DVD! Plus, you'll receive two never-seen-before bonus segments with host Eunny Jang!


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knitdeila wrote
on Mar 23, 2011 5:15 PM

Would love to win and try this wash. I am a newby and have washed wool with Dawn dish soap. Found these videos and article very interesting. Thanks.

AnnieB wrote
on Mar 23, 2011 11:48 AM

Hurry and post your comment before we close the Fibre Wash giveaway Wednesday, March 23rd, at noon Mountain Time. Feel free to continue to comment on this post after the giveaway has ended, we love to hear what you think.

CarlaP@9 wrote
on Mar 21, 2011 4:49 PM

Last summer a friend and I flicked, scoured, dyed (with natural dyes) carded, and spun a Dorset fleece. We used lots of really hot water and dishwashing detergent, and it was a lot of hard work. Deb's way looks MUCH easier. I think we'll give the Unicorn products a try next time we process a fleece.

Thanks for the information. KDTV is always interesting and educational.

Vickienj wrote
on Mar 21, 2011 2:50 PM

Thanks for these videos. I'd heard of "worsted" and "woolen" spinning, but never knew what that meant. I also didn't know that shampoo leaves residue - that what I've always used.

conharwell2 wrote
on Mar 21, 2011 1:41 PM

I've been spinning for several years and tried ONE time to prep a fleece. I wanted to go from sheep to shawl. However, it was the most difficult and messy thing I'd ever tried to do.  I had not heard of Unicorn Fiber Wash.

If I win the Unicorn package I will dig out  my fleece that I gave up on and prepare it correctly!  Deb made it look and sound so easy.  I love Knitting Daily TV and never miss an episode.

naycha wrote
on Mar 21, 2011 10:07 AM

I just got reacquainted with knitting and have become an obsessive the point where I wanted to learn how to spin so that I could spin my own yarn.  I recently took a drop spindle course at my LYS.  So now I have yet another obsession to feed!!  Thank you for the plethora of great information and the chance to win the Unicorn Fiber Care Package!!

JHKdesign wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 8:57 PM

Nice vids!  Thanks for the chance at the Unicorn giveaway!

Yarnananda wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 7:46 PM

I learned quite a few new things about washing fleece. I did not know that mohair needed a cooler temp to prevent the fibers from getting harsh and more itchy. I have boiled it many times in the dyeing process. Makes me wonder what it would have been like if I had treated it more carefully. I really want to try this product and see if I can rescue some itchy knits that I rarely wear, beautiful as they are due to the discomfort.

PamF wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 5:37 PM

I learned some new information about washing mohair from Deb's video-and I say thank you.  pam f.

on Mar 20, 2011 2:45 PM

I would absolutely LOVE to try a new way to scour fleeces!!!

I love to watch the tv show, when I can find it on my local pbs channel!

These are some very wonderful video lessons, reminds me of when I took classes at Steam Valley Fiber Farm on how to pick, clean and scour fleeces...not the most fun job, but necessary if you want to start from the fleece through the finished project!

I've heard that these are wonderful projects, but have not had the opportunity to try theim!

Keep up the shows, dvds, and on-line a spinner, crocheter, knitter, weaver and more, we can never ever stop learning!



Lynn G. wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 11:24 AM

Thanks for the great programming, which I hope someday my local PBS station will carry. I'd love to win the fiber wash, etc. I tried a sample of the wash but haven't had the chance to try the other products, which I know were very well-reviewed.

Christi@2 wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 10:58 AM

Deb Robson's segments were enjoyable and informative!

Very curious about the Unicorn Products as they are completely new to me.   Have found the eucalyptus in my current brand of wool wash to be "rejected" when used on blankets or sweaters for my "grand- dog".  Am happy to hear that there are biodegradable alternatives that will do such a good job of cleaning the wool fibers without leaving anything behind to offend the "grand- dog"!!!   :-)

LauraT@4 wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 7:59 AM

I found Deb's segments on Knitting Daily so information filled.  I am learning to spin, and love all types of wool.  I would love to win the fiber wash package.  Thank you Knitting Daily for such a great program!

Laura wrote
on Mar 20, 2011 5:29 AM

It was fun to get a behind the scenes peek at the details that go into taping the show!

AndreaS@48 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 11:29 PM

The more I learn about wool, the more I enjoy spinning and knitting.  Thank you for these segments.

Alice wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 10:54 PM

Hi Deb, I enjoyed both segments.   I am relatively new to the knitting world but with the books and dvds available, along with my lys I'm learning all the time.  Spinning is my next adventure.  When I get up the courage I'm going to try using my drop spindle..wish me of these days I shall own a spinning wheel proper.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for all things wool.

GraceT@5 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:27 PM

This is great!  I had not heard of all the Unicorn products. Or how well they appear to work! I spin a lot of wool and wool blends this would be a fantastic starting point for all of this.  Thanks

on Mar 19, 2011 8:15 PM

I have been fascinated with spinning for a long time.  My first actual fleece was a corriedale and I have been hooked ever since.  My favorite way to clean my fleece is in lock formation because then it is the best way I like to card my locks out for spinning.  I usually use dish soap because that's what I have, but I like the idea of a scour-specific gentle cleanser.  I would love to be able to try it!

farmgirl119 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:08 PM

Hi Deb,

I really enjoyed your segments, but they left me with lots of questions!  I've been spinning for more than 25 years, and I've always washed my fleeces in a detergent-either a dish detergent or Liqiud Tide.  And yes, some wool had a hard feeling to it -- years ago I found that was because I let the temperature drop too much before I rinsed it.  And I have been one of those "treat wool like your hair" people -- washing finished wool and garments in shampoo, and finishing it in a rinse with vinegar.  So now I am intrigued with the wool scouring products, although you didn't really say much about them.  I have six lovely Corriedale/Romney cross ewes that will be lambing soon, and then will be sheared.  I'l like to try out your scouring produts and compare what the same sheep feels like under the two different methods.  How does it do on older fleeces that have some yellowing?  Thanks for your sharing!  

Sharon1220 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 7:51 PM

I loved the simple explanation of washing wool.  Now I know what I can do with my good sweaters.

pasty K wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 7:00 PM

I finished watching Deb Robson's segments for knitting daily.  Learned that worset wool means how the wool is spun.  And the importance of using the correct cleaning solution. Something safe for the enviornment and won't strip the wool of its moisture and sheen.  Dissolves the dirt so a lot of agitation isn't required to clean the wool.  I found both her segments informative and interesting.

pasty K wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 7:00 PM

I finished watching Deb Robson's segments for knitting daily.  Learned that worset wool means how the wool is spun.  And the importance of using the correct cleaning solution. Something safe for the enviornment and won't strip the wool of its moisture and sheen.  Dissolves the dirt so a lot of agitation isn't required to clean the wool.  I found both her segments informative and interesting.

on Mar 19, 2011 6:24 PM

I am learning all about wool and it's proper care .  I love to knit. I have been felting some too. Thanks for all the great information. I will put it  to good use.

carej wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 5:20 PM

deb's segments were amazing! I am learning to spin on a drop spindle, and I heard about worsted spinning I just didn't know what it was. Thanks Deb!

Sasse wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 5:14 PM

Washing Wool - we all need good ways to do it!  I up for trying something NEW!!

lovelily1001 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 4:26 PM

makes my fingers itch---- to try spinning!!  can't wait.

JulieC@7 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 4:26 PM


I am so excited to be a a knitter, converted to a spinner.  Thanks for helping me on this journey!

DawnD@9 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 4:00 PM

Loved the segments, we in Australia cannot get Knitting Daily TV., so it is great to be able to view it on youtube. I had the opportunity to see Power Scour at a spinning camp in Rotorua, and it is amazing. Thanks for the great programs. Dawn in Victoria, Australia

vehuddle wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 2:26 PM

Thank you so much for these segments!  I didn't know there were so many different types of wool.  I absolutely love Merino wool.  My second favorite is a merino/silk blend.

rxxanne wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 1:59 PM

I love to knit with cotton. I would love tips to keep down the "dust". Boy does it cause my nose to tickle.

on Mar 19, 2011 1:38 PM

Deb was very thorough in her explanation on the types of wool and how to wash them.  The instructions were easy to understand.

paperjockey wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 11:26 AM

Thanks for including the clip on washing wool.  My last attempt, while successful at cleaing the wool, was way too involved and the final results fell short of my expectations.  I'll try your method next time...and I'll try the Unicorn Scour.  I've read some really good reviews on it.


mommitta wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 11:16 AM

I found Deb's segments on processing fiber fascinating.  I'm gonna look around for some fiber and start washing it to see what I get. Of course, I'll need something good to wash it with.  Thanks Unicorn.


notlazykate wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 10:36 AM

By the way, would this product be good for alpaca as well - since alpaca doesn't have lanolin to begin with?

LindaHensens wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 10:00 AM

I am really new to knitting, so I do not know about spinning my own yarn. I would like to learn all about it though because I am very drawn to the fabulous hand-dyed yarns that I see at my local yarn shops. I want to make my own color schemes. I hope that my name will be drawn for this contest!

Maryann@612 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 9:52 AM

... I'm a fan of Unicorn Fibre Wash, Fibre Rinse, & Power Scour .... wonderful results using on raw fiber / handspun yarns / hand knit items.  can't be beat!

chrystalmo wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 9:45 AM

FABULOUS!!  I am new to spinning and have so many questions.  Deb's segment is amazing.  This is wonderful information and will also help with my knitting.  

Thank you

linnetknits wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 9:41 AM

It seems like the more I know about wool, the more there is to know!

rblakeney wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 9:06 AM

I'm so pleased to learn that shampoo isn't great for my wool — I didn't know it leaves a residue. I'll be sure to start using a proper rinse. Thanks for the info!

melonkelli wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 9:04 AM

I'd love to win Unicorn Fiber Wash. Though when I first read the headline I was hoping it was Unicorn Fiber. :)

notlazykate wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:56 AM

Oh, wow!  I am a relatively new spinner and so far I've only used Ivory dishwashing liquid on the resulting yarn.  I wanted something better, but have never seen anything available around here.  So far I haven't bought any raw fleece, because I wasn't sure what to wash it in.  This stuff sounds marvelous!

dlserve wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:52 AM

When my daughter bought some alpacas I just had to pick up the needles after several decades of not knitting and also learned to spin.  They were easy to knit practically from the animal.  Now she has added several sheep and I have last years fleeces to process and have not tackled it yet.  This scour is just what I need to do the job!

KatieZ@2 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:49 AM

Thanks for the information.  Great video, as usual

JoanS@3 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:36 AM

Really enjoyed Deb's segments. As a city girl who is just starting to realize where all these great yarns are coming from they are eye opening experiences on the changes that the yarn undergoes before I can get my little hands on them! Thanks Deb for the education on yarn!

DeenaA wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:36 AM

I don't have TV, thank goodness for YouTube. Very Informative , would love to have the unicorn wash. thanks

on Mar 19, 2011 8:27 AM

Just watched the promo video of Eunny Jang and Deb Robson (Show 603). Wow how informative and timely that segment happended to be. I have just got back into the creative world of knitting. The difference  being that the knitting is with natural fibers. I have just about completed a merino hoodie for my 8 year old grand daughter. The information I saw on cleaning the wool garment saved it from a disaster. There is a sheep farm (Merino, Leichesters) not far from where I live so I have access to a lot more wool. I have a few ounces of alpaca that I will be spinning into yarn. So a fiber care package would be the ticket to the projects I have planned.

jillywilly wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 8:00 AM

I have been recycling natural fiber yarn from old sweaters, and enjoy the process of skeining and washing the yarn. I would love to try the Unicorn products.

EssieB wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 7:11 AM

Oops, I've been advising baby shampoo for washing my wool products.  That will have to change.  Thanks for the info!

Mary janeB@2 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 7:11 AM

I really enjoyed these segments with Deb. It was very helpful and interesting to hear her explain the properties of wool and how best to care for it. I have tried other no-rinse wool washes to clean my raw wool and knitted wool items but haven't yet tried Unicorn. The no rinse wool washes are absolutely the best to wash anything wool and with very little agitation. I would love to try this product.

km.k33 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 6:39 AM

Wow, very informative. The difference between raw fiber and cleaned fiber is amazing. -Kathryn

rdwmrs wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 6:37 AM

I have washed fleeces before but have never tried the Unicorn Fibre products before and I'm very interested in trying the Unicorn products.

ccearl wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 6:00 AM

Enjoyed your informative talks!

MaryH@52 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 5:40 AM

It was good to see a sample of your TV show. We live in a rural area and don't have access to your programming or to affordable highspeed internet. So, I had to wait quite a while for the video to download. It was worth it- the information was excellent.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video clip must be worth millions.

Vanessa@6 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 5:29 AM

Thanks for the youtubes!

Susancolleen wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 5:07 AM

Never thought I would like to spin but now I want to know more!

VirginiaD@11 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 5:03 AM

I always wash my handknit scarves and sweaters, but have never tackled washing yarn still in a hank.  Your KDTV segment on washing raw unspun fiber inspired me to wash a large skein of lace weight wool that is soiled.  Thank you for the inspiration.

beach-wolf wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 3:42 AM

Intereresting segment! I love working with and now spinning natural fibers.

CrystalC@11 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 3:34 AM

I've sooo been hankering for some Power Scour ... Crossing fingers here! ;)

One of my favorite painless techniques for fleece washing is to put my fleece in small portions in a mesh bag when washing it. That way I can get it out of the soapy water and into the next tub without having to grab at it with my hands, which saves me from agitating the fiber AND saves me from getting soapy dirty water all over my hands. ;) And then when I'm gone I can hang the bag to let the fleece drip dry. Wins all around...

MarthaD@6 wrote
on Mar 19, 2011 3:30 AM

I liked deb's segments very much.  But I was surprised that she didn't mention what products she uses, I have spun llama for 12 years, which has no lanolin and is easier to clean, but I now own 5 Jacob sheep and I icelandic, so I am interested in learning more about cleaning the fleeces.  

mandolin wrote
on Mar 18, 2011 10:19 AM

I've been spinning for about a year now and I'm finally ready to jump into processing my own wool-- I'm the proud owner of a pair of hand carders! I am trying to find where I can buy Power Scour locally (found the fiber wash and rinse, not scour) so I will check their website. In the meantime, it wouldn't hurt to win a package!

WordLily wrote
on Mar 18, 2011 8:49 AM

One of the things I love about knitting and spinning is how there's always more to learn! I've been wanting to try spinning Romney for a bit now (love BFL).

KarmaKnits wrote
on Mar 16, 2011 2:07 PM

I'd love to win the Unicorn package!  I washed 5 fleeces last summer and I'm hoping to buy a couple more fleeces this spring and would love to try washing them with Unicorn's Power Scour.  Thanks!

sgeorge24 wrote
on Mar 16, 2011 1:14 PM

I love Knitting Daily! Even though I'm past the beginner stage of knitting, I learn a lot of tips and tricks in each episode. I really like to see all the creative ways to use yarns and embellishments. I pretty much knit with acrylic-free yarns...the more luxurious, the better! I"d love to try the Unicorn fiber washes!

hannahbrown wrote
on Mar 16, 2011 10:59 AM

Hi Deb!!

I am new to the art of spinning! I remember helping my best friends grandmother with her spinning and I just loved it! Lately, I have been really interested in learning the art and a friend of mine offered to give me some of her wool, freshly sheared off the sheep. I'm not sure what breed of sheep it is, but I am excited to try it out. Hopefully, I can win some of this fantastic wool wash so that I can start right away!! :) I really enjoyed watching your segment, and I am totally amazed at how wonderful the fleece looks after such an easy wash!!! Thank you for sharing!!