Big News at Spirit Trail Fiberworks

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I had planned to send this out as a newsletter today but, ah, somehow I managed to delete my entire subscriber list (yeah, big, giant ::headdesk:: moment there). If you’d like to keep in touch via my newsletter, please go resubscribe, with my apologies.

Who would have thought, when I took that dye workshop with a friend at Stony Mountain Fibers in Charlottesville, VA way back in 2002 that, 18 years later, I’d still be dyeing yarn? When I came home from that workshop and announced I was going to start a business dyeing yarn, my family thought I was more than a little bit wacky. Yarn? Really? Who’s gonna buy yarn from you? It was pre-Etsy, pre-Ravelry, pre-Instagram. It was even pre-Facebook. Hard to believe.

It was one of those weird experiences in life: I just knew I was going to do it. I had such a strong image in my mind, it’s no surprise it happened pretty much the way I saw it. The picture in my mind was that strong and vivid. It was a “lightbulb moment.”

I never really thought about how long I’d be doing it. I wanted a business where I could work from home, so I could be with my kids and have a flexible schedule. Toddlers at the time, their whole lives up until this point have been Mom dyeing yarn in the laundry room (or, starting in 2016, my studio), and stinking up the house with that wet sheep smell (I kind of love that perfume; the rest of my family, not so much).

It’s been a great ride, and was a helpful second income for our family. This business did just what I needed it to do: it allowed me to stay home with my kids but still work. It gave me a job that was creative and flexible. It permitted me to bring color and a little bit of beauty into my life as well as yours, and gave me the great honor of creating something which, in turn, sparked your creativity and inspiration to make beautiful things.

I can honestly say that every moment of dyeing yarn has been a joy, and that’s remarkable. It’s been the best experience – creating colorways, playing spontaneously with the lucky pot colors, having the great fortune to meet customers in real life at the festivals, retreats and other events I’ve done over the years – and having many of you become friends in real and cyber life. Traveling to shows with some of my best and closest friends – who I met because of this business. It’s given me so many gifts, and I’ve treasured each moment, each friendship, each meeting, each email and each message.

Moving my studio out to New Mexico was a giant, expensive, and delayed, undertaking. Over the last 6 to 8 weeks, my stay in New Mexico has come into question and, until a few days ago, I planned to move from my brother’s ranch in mid-August. At this point, I’m not sure whether I’ll be staying here or moving elsewhere – back East, or someplace else. It’s all very up in the air.

What I have come to realize, though, is that I cannot move this business again. Trying to find a place to live, with my dog, and run a studio like this is more than I can contemplate. And I simply don’t have the financial means to pay for a separate, commercial studio space, as much as I may wish it were so.

It’s with truly mixed feelings that I’ve decided to close Spirit Trail Fiberworks in mid-August. While I never imagined I’d be a dyer for 18 years, I also never imagined what it would feel like to no longer have Spirit Trail Fiberworks as part of my life. It’s really kind of heart-wrenching. But in order to move forward, sometimes we have to leave some things behind, no matter how dear they are to us. This business, and you, are very dear and have meant the world to me.

I’m working on one final, big shop update for mid to late July, and I’ll post here when it’s live (since I no longer have a newsletter list. Ugh).

The Shop by Color listings will be open for a while, so if there’s a yarn and a colorway you’ve been wanting, you can still order it. I’m not sure how long I’ll leave the Shop by Color listings open, as I need to make sure I have enough time to get everything dyed and shipped before I close up shop. But, for now, they’re all open and available!

I’m not sure what my next phase will be. It’s funny (in a way): as I thought through all of this, I realized I spent 18 years working in commercial real estate, and I’ve now spent 18 years working as a dyer. I’m not sure what the next 18 years will bring, but I’m excited (and also, frankly, more than a little bit scared!) to find out. I hope it’s good!

I know I’ll be focusing more on my painting, as I haven’t had the time to paint as much as I’d like to, so if you’d like to keep in touch you can follow my painting accounts on Instagram and Facebook. I also have an art newsletter if you’d like to sign up to hear about new releases, shows and other art events.

I thought I’d be keeping my Spirit Trail newsletter going for publishing designs, but … ah … in cleaning out my list I somehow managed to delete the entire thing! If you ‘d like to keep in touch and hear about new designs I may publish, and other news, well – go on over and resubscribe. I’ll still be knitting, and I’m sure some of those knits will turn into new designs.

Thank you for the honor of dyeing yarn for you, and for the trust you’ve put in me over these many years! It’s been the most amazing experience! And stay tuned for that big shop update, coming later this month – there will be some of everything, and a few new bases, too!

Jennifer

I am in my weeklong break from social media this week, so while I’m sharing this post on Facebook via WordPress, I won’t be there to respond to comments. You can leave a comment here on my blog, if you’d like, and of course, I’m available via email at info@spirit-trail.net. 🧡

65 thoughts on “Big News at Spirit Trail Fiberworks

  1. I fondly remember helping you dye some of your earliest yarns, freezing our keisters off in that sub-zero garage, and the end-of-retreat trunk sales. You weren’t a superstar yet, but I knew you would be. Here’s to your next 18-year adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’re just starting out on our own dyeing adventure. Came across your page looking for inspiration and ideas. Major life decisions can be hard to make sometimes, but with enough tenacity the new adventures are just as exciting.

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    • Yes, indeed! Good luck in your adventure! Dyeing has been such a joy; hard to let go but my gut tells me it’s time. Have to go with the gut!

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  3. it sounds like you are reading the signs along your spirit trail of life and have a new directioin ahead! you are an amazing courageous and creative woman and if you weren’t just a bit scared you might repeat yourself –which is something i dont see you doing… i send you a heart full of space to support your already activated listening power. xxoo

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  4. Oh, it will be good…!!! i think you are one amazing woman and if you werent a bit scared you might end up repeating yourself instead of heading into this next creative phase of your life with eyes open to the new trail you are walking . I am glad i have some of your beautiful yarn and wish you all the best for the new !

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  5. Jen–I first met you in Vienna and bought a SQ of your yarn in Lambs Ear color way before I even knew how to knit a sweater. It is still in the stash btw, but it will be used soon. Last summer my daughter and I drove out to your studio and I bought the Brigantia for the Beekeeper KAL. It’s a beautiful sweater and has special meaning for me as I bought the yarn while you were recognizing two well-known people who took their lives that same week. I very much appreciate when a business supports a cause that is important to them. I feel that at times we have traveled the same path without really knowing each other, but knowing that there are fellow travelers out there makes the journey a little easier. Like the others who have posted, I am sad to see this part end but so excited to see what the future holds. Kassie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Kassie 🧡 I love hearing that. And yes, definitely fellow travelers, and I’ll definitely post about what’s next (as soon as I know, and as it all evolves 💖).

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  6. As sad as I am for the loss of your yarns, I’m sadder that your transition West did not go as hoped. I’ll look forward to seeing what the next phase brings as you follow your personal spirit trail. I hope it brings you happiness and peace. Now there is a chance I might eventually work my stash down a bit in 2020!

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  7. Best of Luck Jen!!! I remember first meeting you at the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival and also became friends with Shelia through our local Spinning Guild. I always enjoyed seeing both of your at Rhinebeck. Great things will come your way!

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  8. Sorry to lose you and your fiber business, Jen…but congratulations on your next big move forward. As always, wishing you the best today and every day. Sincerely,

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    • I’m sorry to hear you’re closing up shop! But 18 years is nothing to sneeze at. I’m so proud that I got to work with you, a little, doing test knitting. Your color work is so lovely! I especially enjoyed spinning fiber from your club, though I am slow so could not keep up. I actually may have a bump left. I’m going to make one more order for the road, as it were. I wish you all the joys of future self discovery, and I anticipate your next adventure shall be something fabulous and envy inspiring! 😁

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  9. Intriguing story of the pioneer woman. I have admired your transition and convey the balance of success with an exemption from doubts and anxieties. My sister and mother reside in Albuquerque, and you may keep them in mind as your journey develops. Vince

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    • Thanks, Vince! I’m actually headed up to ABQ in two weeks with my daughter, to meet some Duke alum (she just finished her freshman year there) and also visit Santa Fe. Maybe one day I’ll be free (or as free as possible) of doubt and anxiety, but I think it will be a while 🙂

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  10. I’ve found, in the last year, that it isn’t always necessary to know what is coming my way. There is a lot of love and good “out there” so keep looking for it. Lots of love to you!

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    • Thanks so much, Donna! That’s what’s hard for me these days – I like everything known and stable, and my life has been far from that! But it’s all good xoxo

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  11. Nothing like getting a STF shipping notice and seeing this blog post on the same day. Emotional whiplash!! 🙂

    Like others, I’m selfishly sad to see you close the dyeing business because I love, love, LOVE your yarn and fiber dyeing. And I’m also super excited to see what your next adventure.

    Hurrah for painting! Hurrah for knitting! Hurrah for whatever other ways your incredible talents will show up in the world.

    Big, big hugs to you, my friend! xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Amy. You truly are one of those special customers that’s become a treasured friend. Sorry for the whiplash! 😍😍

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  12. Wishing you all the best as you plan for the next chapter in your life! I missed seeing you in May when we were in VA, and I’ll miss your beautiful dyeing! Keep in touch. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Mary! I’ll definitely still be around, knitting and perhaps publishing more designs, so this blog (as well as my FB and IG accounts) will continue xoxo

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  13. Big news indeed. All the best things I have knit and crocheted have been with STF yarn. So, a big thank you. Joining in with the clubs really expanded my color horizons, too.

    I’ve always found that the combined sadness and sense of freedom that comes with letting go of something, especially a creative endeavor, is a really fertile combo. Best of everything in the next chapter.

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  14. Jen, it’s been wonderful playing with your yarn, and getting to know you virtually… what a huge decision for you, and how exciting for you to be faced with a whole new adventure!!! Can’t wait to see what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Deirdre! I’ll definitely keep everyone posted; this blog isn’t going away, nor are my FB page / group and IG account 🙂 xoxo

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  15. I can’t imagine this was an easy decision for you, but I suspect you’re feeling a lot lighter at the moment (at least I hope so). Thank you for sharing your talent with us for all these years. I wish you many happy adventures in the coming years. (All that said, it will be weird to not see your booth at Rhinebeck this October).

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    • Thanks so very much, Nancy! I am, too, though right now I’ll admit there’s more fear and sadness in the mix. No longer having STF as just a big part of my life and focus is going to be so strange! xoxo

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  16. I spun your fibers and bought your yarn for, like, forever. Your color aesthetic matched my own so well that I feel I know you. So I believe this is just another chapter in your ongoing journey to be the ultimate Jennifer. You will land on your feet because you are strong and creative and resourceful and very, very talented. Whatever you do will be a success. I’m convinced of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Carol! I know – it’s been forever, and I both appreciate it and feel like you’ve become a Cyber Friend. xoxo

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    • Believe me, I have a tornado of mixed emotions! It was incredibly difficult to finally come to this decision, but I do feel it’s the right one, and the right course. I’ll still be around, knitting and probably designing, in addition to whatever else I end up doing! xoxo

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  17. I have always loved your color aesthetic, and I have two SQs of Zalti after making an Indigo Frost in it. lovely to knit with, comfy to wear, not itchy, and absolutely no pilling. Sold me on Targhee for sure. I just ordered a SQ of Brigantia to try the Polwarth/silk while I can still get it in one of YOUR speckles. Best of luck to you in the future, and thank you for your artistic contribution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so very much, Nancy! You’ll love the Brigantia, too, I’m sure! It pills a TINY bit, but not bad, and it’s another super lovely fabric and sweater yarn!

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  18. Jen- You have been a part of my knitting life and my knitting stash since my return to fiber arts in 2003. I won’t ever forget the end of the KR retreat “markets” out of the back of your trailer on Graves Mountain. Going through a divorce at the same time as you, I understand the cataclysmic change that occurs in one’s life. I wish you the best of luck and total happiness in the future. No matter what you decide to do, I’m sure it will be what you need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Cindy! And yes, such fun memories of the Truck Sales at KR! You’ve been here since the beginning! I’m sorry to hear of your divorce, and send love back to you xoxo

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  19. Well, I didn’t see THAT coming! Before I pile on with everyone else is saying what a treasured and integral part of the best of my knitting life you and your yarn are, all wrapped up in the KRR bundle but its own strand as well (oh, I guess I said it …), hearty applause and a big Mazel Tov for knowing when its time. Don’t let our sadness be your burden. You are sending us out to discover new yarn horizons ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • Thanks, Miriam. Yeah, it’s been a while coming, and the developments out here just reinforced that it’s time. It certainly is difficult, and I’ll be doing my own grieving for some time, I’m sure. Not to mention finding a new foundation once STF is no longer it. I’ll still be here, knitting and probably designing, and look forward to sharing this knitting life with you in a different way xoxox

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  20. Dang, girl, when you go big, you go giant! Have spent the last week thinking I need to let you know how much I love the yarn and the color and the stitch markers were the icing on the cake. There is no other yarn I like better than Spirit Trail for color and texture, so now I have to horde! You keep landing on your feet, so there is not doubt in my mind that your next adventure will be a success! Best of luck, Jennifer!

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    • Thanks so very much, Susan! I love those stitch markers so much, and immediately starting using my set as soon as they arrived. So handy! xoxox

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  21. Oh, Jen, my heart is breaking. I know how much you’ve been through and can only imagine this heart-wrenching decision. I love your yarn, your heart, your creativity – well, YOU. Go forward and do well, my friend, knowing you are surrounded by love, hope, and spirit. Many, many, hugs!

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  22. I’m in tears. I’ve known you since my first KRR. Your yarn was the first I bought at the marketplace that year. I will miss your yarns and will treasure all that are still in my stash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Vicki. I’ve shed quite a few myself, and will continue to do so, I’m sure. But I do believe sometimes things have to be let go in order to grow and move on, so while this was a difficult decision, I do feel it’s the right one. xoxo

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  23. Your yarns will be missed. I will follow your journey. BTW 18 is a lucky number in Judaism- Chai- life and luck

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    • Well, that’s awesome to know! I thought it was a crazy coincidence when I did the math and found out both “careers” were 18 years! On to the next 18, which will still include loads of knitting! xoxox

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  24. Oh my – I feel………………. have loved you, your yarn, your designs, your creativity for all this time — but what an incredible adventure you are starting! Just got my latest subscription last week and marveled….. I feel………………. a bit lost –

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    • Oh, I know. I totally feel the same. Like, what am I going to fill my days with?! But, they’ll be filled, I’m sure. And I’ll still be knitting, and sharing my knitting, and hopefully doing some more designing. xoxoxo

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  25. Your beautiful colors will be missed, but I hope to still see you around the fiber circuit. Maybe you’ll actually get to go to Rhinebeck for fun! 😮 Keep in touch!

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    • Thanks, Rachel! And yes, I’ll still be around! Actually, already plan to attend Rhinebeck this year, for the very first time as a participant! I’m looking forward to being able to see the whole show, and visit with people without the stress of leaving the booth. xoxo

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  26. Thank you for sharing your talent with us for all these years. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I’m glad you’re looking out for yourself, and I wish you all the best in the future.

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    • Thanks so much, Regina. It was an incredibly hard decision (one that, really, I should have made before I moved but … I just couldn’t). I’ll still be around, knitting and hopefully publishing more designs xoxo

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  27. I know how heartbreaking it is to walk away from a business, but I also know what interesting things can happen afterward. You will do amazing things, as always, and as you already are with your painting! Safe travels and exciting journeys! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, we’ve both experienced this! It is so hard, but at the same time, I’m looking forward to what comes next. Just hope it’s as good! 😀 xoxo

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