Here are some things you may be interested to know about me:
Personal: I grew up as a military brat, the daughter of an officer promoted from Lieutenant to full colonel within weeks after Pearl Harbor. I say this because his role in our family was as a benevolent but absolute monarch. I never knew him as less than a colonel, even when he was a major for a few weeks after the war. I worshipped and feared him, but could never talk with him. My mother descended from Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians, which severely limited her ability to discuss serious topics.
And so, I began to write in fourth grade, discussing race, injury, death, war, punishment, God, and sex with myself in various persons. I didn’t learn much about the subjects, but I did learn how to write. Writing has supported me through school, university, and graduate school, as a mother, journalist, folklorist, newsletter editor, and fiction writer. I write mostly as Robin Hansen, or Robin Orm Hansen, but I write fiction as Robin Lynn Scott (my father’s name), when my publishers let me.
Published nonfiction and presentations: I’ve written seven folklore books with “mitten” in the title and have promoted these with lectures, talks, multi-image slide shows, and workshops throughout the United States, and with a single talking tour in England. Down East published six; Storey the seventh. My first mitten book was picked up by the grand doyenne of folk knitting, Elizabeth Zimmermann, and changed Down East from a strictly regional distribution to a national distribution (of knitting books). I’ve translated perhaps ten handcraft books from Scandinavian languages for Sterling/Lark, Trafalgar, and others.
I’ve written two books specifically of folklore — the silly Whistling with Olives: 54 things to do at dinner besides eating (10-Speed Press); and The Peglegged Ghost (limited edition for City of Bath, Maine, folklore survey).
Knitting: Surrounded by knitting aunts and cousins as a child, I have no memory of learning to knit. Knitting was what people did. My great grandfather knitted as well. I finished my first real garment, a doll sweater, when I was about 10 — about the same time I began seriously to write.
I’m acknowledged as having started the groundswell of interest in North American "roots" knitting. Prior to my book, Fox & Geese & Fences, there were books on traditional Baltic, Scandinavian, and British knitting, but North American knitters were assumed to be working with obsolete techniques from simplistic printed patterns and to have no knitting traditions.
As a technical knitting translator, I developed an English vocabulary for the Scandinavian knitting technique now called “twined knitting” but earlier called “tvåändssticking,” probably one of the most inconvenient words to key in on an English keyboard in the history of the world. It means “two-end knitting” in Swedish, but can easily be misunderstood to mean several other forms of knitting with two strands, or ends. “Twined knitting” captures the look and the technique succinctly and is widely used today.
Science Fiction: I am also a folklorist who loves stories that ring true but have a twist of magic or off-ness—a blond European tribe kept as livestock in central Africa, mittens that become a compass when you’re lost, a boy who speaks only in the presence of plants; kids who fall through snow down a pine tree; a World War II Zero pilot who can't stand killing. I have a writing background in journalism and knitting folklore. My articles and stories appear in regional and national publications from Yankee Magazine to Family Fun and Piecework. My writing hero, Pierre Boulle (Planet of the Apes, Bridge on the River Kwai), was also a fan of off-ness.