Yarns & Fibers Are My Canvas
** About My Yarn Bases and Dye Process **
Spirit Trail products are dyed in small, artisanal batches at my studio in Sperryville, VA, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. My yarns are all sourced from Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States, from farms which do not practice muesling. Most yarns are sourced by my suppliers from small farms with caring and careful animal management programs in place. Three of my superwash yarns (Eos, Selene, and Luna) are produced organically to GOTS standards for animal care and processing (not all of the materials in my dyes are organic, however).
I use professional, heavy-metal free acid dyes which are light and wash fast. I fully exhaust each batch in the dyepot, typically allowing it to cool and soak overnight for the best color retention and dye exhaustion, so little to no dye is dispersed in rinsing. I dye with care to ensure that yarns are not oversaturated with dye, which can cause bleeding when soaked for blocking (some minor bleeding may still occur for some colors, but I work very hard to minimize and prevent this by not over saturating the yarn in the first place).
I have created a system for dyeing which uses as little water as feasible, as I continually work to reduce and reuse as much as possible. Since each dyelot is fully exhausted, I am able to reuse dye water, through adding additional small quantities of water and adjusting the pH level, as necessary.
You can be sure the yarn you purchase from me has been produced with fiber from animals which have been well-cared for, and that care continues in the yarn processing and dye processes, to ensure a product with as minimal an affect on the environment as possible. I’m all about good karma!
Because of the artistic nature of my dye process, some variation will occur between, and sometimes even within, dyelots. Colors are mixed and applied by hand in an organic and unique process, and may not be created in exactly the same way each time. Each batch is truly unique, and will produce an equally unique garment. For this reason, it is especially important to purchase enough yarn to complete your project, plus a little extra for good measure. I also recommend alternating skeins for larger projects (either throughout the project, or for several inches when transitioning between skeins), especially with speckled and highly variegated colorways.
** Art in a Skein **
I live in Rappahannock County, Virginia with my husband, our two teenaged children, our huge dog, Phoenix (a 185 pound Great Pyrenees / Anatolian Shepherd Cross) and 15 very silly chickens.
I started Spirit Trail Fiberworks in early 2003 after taking a dye workshop at a local studio. I had been searching for a “new profession,” after retiring from my commercial real estate career in Washington, DC, when our son was born. I have a degree in English Literature with concentrations in Fine Art and Philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and always dreamed of working in a creative field (the 15 year sidetrack in commercial real estate notwithstanding 😉 ). I’ve been a knitter since I was a teenager, and have always loved the tactile process of creating something functional and wearable. I’ve also always been very attuned to the power of color, not only in its ability to affect and change one’s mood and daily outlook, but also in how differently and individually people experience color and are drawn to some colors more than others.
In addition to dyeing yarn, I love abstract acrylic painting, which allows me to explore the world of color in a vastly different medium. My paintings are available for viewing and purchase in the gallery and shop at my studio.
** Thank you for supporting my small business! **
My deep gratitude goes to all the knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners and other textile artists who visit my studio and shop, my blog, and my booth at the festivals I attend. This is truly a small, family business and I couldn’t be doing what I love without you!