New Home Forums Course Ideas & Outlines Wool types course

20 replies, 5 voices Last updated by  Bradley Morris 6 years, 10 months ago
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    Deb Robson

    I was about three-quarters of the way through the transformation exercise when I came across JoAnn’s question about the point system for evaluating on the spreadsheet. Being a little ditzy right now, I’d ranked each column on a 1-10 scale. I just went back and reworked the sheet with the 1-20 and 1-50 scales, as noted in the headers. I’ve also expanded “painkiller” to include the Spirit’s “entertain” and “teach” benefits. In both cases, I completely winged it, just assigning numbers as I felt them to be slightly higher or lower than the others on the list.

    Here’s my list as it came out from the first run-through (wrong scales):

      Wool types 45
      A Border Leicester sweater 45
      Anatomy of a wool fiber 44
      Shetland wools 43
      Rare wools 41
      Primitive sheep and wools 39
      Physical and chemical properties of wool 37
      3Ls and 3Cs 35
      Longwools 33
      Down wools

    Here’s the list from the second run-through (weighted):

      Shetland wools 175
      Wool types 173
      Rare wools 166
      Physical and chemical properties of wool 161
      Anatomy of a wool fiber 160
      Longwools 153
      Primitive sheep and wools 151
      3Ls and 3Cs 145
      Down wools 142
      A Border Leicester sweater 142

    The only one that shows up on both lists is

      Wool types

    All except the “Border Leicester sweater” are workshops or other things that I already teach, and that people sign up for. Wool Types is basic knowledge that I think everyone who works with this natural material needs. “Border Leicester sweater” just randomly showed up in brainstorming: a start-to-finish project from fleece to washing, prep, spinning, design, construction.


    Deb Robson

    Giving up on preferred spacing. System appears not to believe in break codes. I’m a book designer. This stuff itches me {wry grin}.


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    Great work Deb. How do you feel about your findings? Do you have a course topic you’re excited to dive into?


    Deb Robson

    So I’m working on Wool Types, because it was the topic that came up in the top three on both weighted and  unweighted surveys. It’s also basic information that I think everyone who works with wool needs to have at hand–and because when I did the transformation step, I came up with an interesting result that expanded the course just slightly beyond what I’d originally envisioned.

    Here goes:
    1) What is the final destination or transformation you are leading your customers to?
    Wool types: Understands that there are differences between types of wools, in structure, in function, in application—what those differences are, and how they affect the performance of the fibers in yarns and textiles.

    2) What is your customer ACTUALLY paying for?

    Wool types: Confidence when selecting a fleece or going into a yarn store. More satisfying results for time and money invested.

    3) Make a list of the tangible benefits they’ll receive from going through your eCourse.

    Wool types:

    1. Know about crimp, length, fiber diameter, and basics of fiber structure.
    2. Understand how the following differ from each other: fine wools, Down and Down-like wools, longwools, and multi-coated wools.
    3. Be able to match each type to appropriate projects, and know why one or the other is best suited to a given application.
    4. Know the typical ways to prepare and spin each of the fibers, and know that sometimes the results they want to achieve will come from taking another approach.

    4) Describe what their life will look like after going through your course. What has changed or improved? You can even write it as a short story about the character you’re niching.

    Wool types:

    Last year, A. walked into the fleece-sale barn at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival when it was opened to the public despite the crowds and her own sense of overwhelm. Squeezing her way through the narrow aisles and past the people grabbing this or that fleece—sometimes out of someone else’s hands—she felt like she wanted to go home with a fleece, but she also wanted to run away. She didn’t know which fleece to choose, or what she would do with it. Some of them were awfully expensive. Others were cheap. Did that mean the expensive ones were better, or the cheap ones were flawed? Finally, she bumped her way out of the packed building, giving up, feeling like she’d failed. It would be another year before she could come back.

    This year, A. was ready when the fleece-sale barn opened, but she also let the first frenzy pass. She knew that there would be good fleeces left after the initial rush, and that the overpriced ones would likely be out of the way, having been bought by those who wanted the latest fad type. She knew she wanted to make a blanket, and that one of the Down and Down-type wools would be the most suitable for her project. She knew the names of some of the breeds to look for, and how they would function in her finished project: they’d be cushy, lightweight for their bulk, ready to be cosy and wear well and be easy to spread out on a bed. She expected to prepare the wool by carding it, and to spin it woolen-style, although she also intended to try worsted techniques on it and see if she enjoyed that process more. Under one of the tables, she found a Dorset Horn fleece that weighed about 5 pounds: plenty to make a blanket from, even after it lost some weight in washing and preparation. After the other spinners had all run off with the Cormos and the Bluefaced Leicesters at $25/pound and more, she wasn’t surprised to find that her Dorset Horn, which tested as sound for strength, was $15/pound—and she knew that would be a good return to the shepherd as well. She walked over to the cashier, hugging her fleece and smiling.


    Deb Robson

    I have no idea how to get rid of the blue type on the numbered list. I can’t see the code that’s making that happen so I can remove it. I did copy-paste from Evernote, and brought in a lot of code that was visible and that I did manually remove.


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    Holy Cow Deb, this is awesome! You are going to create such a cool course for people wanting to learn about Wool Types. I can see you finding such a fun way of delivering the content too.

    So exciting to see everyone with their passions and finding a fun way to share it with others.

    Way to go!!


    Deb Robson

    Thanks to the Wizard for the note about perfectionism. I *am* a perfectionist. Having to move fast so I don’t fall into that.


    1) What tools do you know you’ll share in the eCourse you’re creating? (tools, exercises, information, guided processes)

    • video examples
    • fiber samples (ordered from The Woolery or independently acquired)
    • info like in the wool types handout PLUS some of buying a fleece
    • spinning woolen, spinning worsted (exercises)
    • RELAX
    • testing fleece integrity


    2) How long do you imagine your course being? How long will it take your customer to get from Start to Transformation?

    • a month or two


    3) Write down the steps you know your customer must take from start to finish in order to reach your intended transformation. Create a rough outline of the main lessons or exercises you will be facilitating in your eCourse. Call them chapter titles or checkpoints.

    mind dump!!!!.

    part 1?

    • overview of fleeces
    • picking out a lock (top? fleece?)
    • evaluating crimp, length
    • what about fiber diameter?
    • the basics of fiber structure—how can there be so many wools that are so different from each other?


    part 2?

    • categories of wools: fine wools, Down and Down-like wools, longwools, multicoated wools
    • typical ways of preparing and spinning
    • typical ways of using


    part 3?

    • selecting a fleece (soundness, appropriateness to purpose, what happens in washing—loss, color shift, etc.)
    • how much fleece to get?
    • washing a fleece
    • making some samples (getting to know a fleece)


    4) What could you use that you’ve already created to leverage your time and the content for your intended eCourse Creation.

    • wool types handout (a polished publication that can be pillaged)
    • selected blog posts (I have a lot)
    • inquiries through e-mail and on the Craftsy class platform, and my responses

    Deb Robson

    1) Describe the personality of your eCourse. This will be reflected in your content, copy, branding and every aspect of your eCourse.

    Friendly, supportive, investigative, open-minded, guidelines > rules, emphasis on personal creative experience. Learning tools. Exploring materials and questions. Fact-checking.

    Natural colors of landscape and fibers: trees, grass, sky, water, wind, rock. Earth. Growing. Tactile.

    2) What is it about your eCourse and the way you choose to deliver the content that makes it unique, interesting, engaging or entertaining to your audience so they recognize it as being made JUST for them. How does it stand apart?

    Videos that are informal and that make connections: between fibers and animals and landscapes and history and science. Some part of it is heavy science made approachable and applicable to the individual fiber artisan. Infused with respect for the animals that grow the fiber. Aware of environment and culture and the value of the individual.

    3) What can you do to put your own unique stamp of creativity on your eCourse? Take your own photos, draw your own graphics, green screen backgrounds, humour, poetry, etc…

    Yes to photos, graphics including drawings, visuals, probably the video. I have video and stills of various landscapes with sheep in them. Time permitting, maybe some paintings. Original music? (If I can get the carpal tunnel issues under control.)

    Possibility of some segments with tie-dyed lab coat and/or some sort of special, colorful scrubs, for the scientific bits, to contrast with (and jazz up a bit) the overall natural palette.

    Very carefully crafted, but with a slightly rough edge to it all: the rough edge is the learning edge. I’m not a guru. I’m an explorer, someone who experiments. More dance than math (although the math will have been done to support the dance moves).


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    This is sounding so good Deb and exciting!!! Your descriptions were creating pictures in my mind. Love where you’re going with this by bringing the history, environmental awareness and science into the mix. This is gonna be so cool!


    Deb Robson

    1) WHAT is the eCourse all about that you’re inspired to create?

    An introduction to wool types for fiber folk, especially handspinners who make their own yarn.

    2) Out of all the options, WHY are you most excited to create this eCourse?

    It’s core information needed by every spinner who handles wool fibers (which is most of them). It builds on my books and my 40+ years of experience with textiles, and will offer people a more personal approach to information than can be conveyed through previous publications.

    3) Describe WHO you are creating this eCourse for.

    Spinners from advanced beginner to experienced levels who are curious, intelligent, generous, a little bit unsure of themselves, with more ideas than time and more vision than they have skill to manifest (yet). They think there are rules and that they are falling short.

    4) Describe the TRANSFORMATION or benefits they’ll receive by going through your eCourse.

    They will understand that there are differences between types of wools, in structure, in function, in application, and will know what those differences are and how they affect the performance of the fibers in yarns and textiles. They will develop confidence when selecting a fleece or going into a yarn store, and as a result will achieve more satisfying results for the time and money they invest.

    5) Using your skills and resources, HOW do you intend to facilitate the ultimate transformation?

    In three parts: (1) overview of fleeces and characteristics of wool fibers, (2) categories of wool and typical ways of preparing, spinning, and using them—with guidance for using atypical approaches as well, and (3) selecting and preparing fibers and getting to know them before launching into a full-scale project.

    6) If your eCourse was a person, how would you describe its PERSONALITY or VIBES?

    The general vibe will connect to the natural world, with relationship at the core. It will emphasize ecosystems, personal, geographic, cultural, and environmental, with a friendly, supportive, investigative, open-minded creative experience. It will be about tools, exploration, questions, and fact-checking. While math will be a component, the ultimate goal is a poetic approach to craft.


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    An introduction to wool types for fiber folk, especially handspinners who make their own yarn.

    That who is refined to a sentence. Way to go!!!!

    Love your WHY. You’ve been training to create this course for 40 years.

    I just love it all. It’s going to be fun to see how you get inspired and deliver all this Deb.



    Deb, *I* want this course when it is ready! Looking great!



    Deb Robson

    Thanks, Sherry! @prancingpixel

    I’ll make it for you {grin}.



    I’ll hold you to that!!!! I hope all is going well for you.




    Penny Claringbull


    Hi Deb,

    Having spent the last 20 years in the tropics, wool hasn’t been a topic anywhere near my mind. But I loved reading this – it made me wonder what I’ve been missing out on!

    Your knowledge is clear and the way you set it in a wider environmental/animal/landscape context brings it alive.

    I think you’ll find a very appreciative audience.


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