You may have come here after reading something I wrote online about spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, and other textile pursuits (like on Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry, or abbysyarns.com), or watching one of my videos on YouTube or Facebook. Or maybe you found this page because you appreciated my best-selling handspinning book, Respect The Spindle, one of my many magazine articles, or my instructional videos.
Or maybe you're here because you liked one of my broader-ranging essays, like on Medium, Facebook, or abbysyarns.com, and you're looking for more of those pieces -- ethnographic, cultural, social, political, or personal. Perhaps you're eagerly awaiting my memoir in progress, currently titled "Dead People Stuff."
But maybe you have no idea who I am and what I do, in which case, I'd better try to explain it.
When I'm being snarky, I like to tell people I'm one of the world's foremost authorities on the topic of making string with a stick. Or that I travel the world teaching people how to make yarn by hand. Or that I was bred and raised by anthropologists in order to preserve textile lore and engage in Internet slapfights.
Some things others have said about me and my work:
"Abby Franquemont has textiles in her blood and writing in her soul. Born to noted anthropologists Ed and Chris Franquemont, she spent most of her childhood in rural Peru, learning about spinning, weaving, knitting and textiles at large the way most children in the USA learn about Big Bird and Spider-Man. Her travels since have taken her around the globe, living in places like Japan, Chicago, and Silicon Valley, finally (well, so far) landing her in southwest Ohio.
Abby has been writing on the Internet since before there was really an Internet to write on. She was a noted figure in Chicago's groundbreaking BBS scene, she was a news admin on Usenet, and there is scarcely a blogging platform out there that she hasn't taken advantage of. She writes to preserve the lore she learned in her youth, to bear witness to truths too easily ignored, and to start conversations both comfortable and difficult -- and because every time she tries to stop, the words scrabble around the inside of her skull and threaten to drive her mad."
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"Born on a 1970s commune and raised by her anthropologist parents in rural Peru, Abby Franquemont has been an informal anthropologist since her days in the cradle. At the young age of 5, she began to learn how to produce traditional Peruvian textiles along with her Peruvian peers. She attended every kind of school except military school before starting college at 16, where she focused on photography and creative writing. She spent several years as road manager for Chicago bluesman A.C. Reed, after which she struck out for the Internet frontier, working at Encyclopaedia Britannica by day and a startup indie ISP by night, eventually ending up in Silicon Valley like so many of her generation.
In 2006, she left the tech world to launch Abby's Yarns, in pursuit of her mission to become a compulsive textile evangelist. She is the author of bestselling handspinning book "Respect the Spindle" (Interweave Press 2009) and countless articles. She tours internationally, speaking and teaching about the fiber arts. In addition to textiles and textile lore, her work as an essayist spans a wide range of topics including social commentary, ethnography, and politics. She is strongly opinionated, writing with a unique perspective that comes from living and working in a variety of cultures, and her work invites people to consider their own attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Abby's life really is stranger than fiction, and her readers eagerly await her personal memoirs."
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So what am I doing here on Patreon, you ask?
Well, for starters, I want to find a way to tie together all of the varied things I do online, mostly in pursuit of preserving textile lore, but also in pursuit of meaningful online community. I want to find a single platform that lets me connect with you, and the whole set of amazing and interconnected circles we move in every day, online and off (as much as any of us are ever offline these days). I want to be able to connect more personally than I can in a print book or published video, and be able to afford to do even more of the things you've all told me that you love, but for which it can be hard to find the right market or platform.
I also want to give you -- my patrons -- a chance to help shape the work I do. With your participation, I can create new tutorials in greater depth, develop solutions that help us spread that information around and connect with each other, and build and grow the communities that sustain us all in our day-to-day lives. I love answering questions, and teaching classes, and writing instructions -- and I also love writing and thinking about the world in which we live.
Lastly, the biggest frustration I have with the business model that has sustained me for the past decade or so is that it mostly requires me to show up in person, and the cost of doing that means the price point for my classes and lectures is sometimes higher than I'd ideally like it to be. I want to find a way to make really top notch fiber arts instruction as affordable as it possibly can be.
As this Patreon grows, I expect to be able to offer many more things, including the ability to fine-tune and customize what you get as a patron. But for starters, I look forward to connecting with you more directly than we have probably been able to in the past.
I hope you'll join this community at whatever level feels right for you! I think we've got a great selection of initial rewards, and I'm confident there's one that works for you! I look forward to connecting.