Yarns & Fibers Are My Canvas
I live in Rappahannock County, Virginia with my husband, Brett, our two teenaged children (Jackson and Caragh), our huge dog, Phoenix (a 185 pound Great Pyrenees / Anatolian Shepherd Cross) and 15 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’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 to its ability to affect and change one’s mood and daily outlook, but also to how differently and individually people experience color and are drawn to some colors more than others.
I’ve loved art, and color, for as long as I can remember (I’ve dabbled in ceramics, painting, pen and ink, and calligraphy, and have a minor in Fine Art as well as a BA in English Literature). I grew up surrounded by creativity: My Dad is an architect, and an absolutely fabulous artist, and my Mom is a wonderful seamstress and knitter. My Dad and I spent many fun evenings in art classes at the Smithsonian Institute in DC, and our family regularly visited museums and local artist studios.
I really wanted to do something that joined “my avocation and my vocation” (to quote Mr. Frost) and I happily found this union in the art and business of dyeing yarn and fibers.
All 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, as “variegated,” “softly variegated” and “tonal solids.” I utilize various dye techniques to achieve the results I want, from kettle dyeing, to handpainting, speckling and other techniques.
Variegated yarns include 3 to 6 complementary colors and are painted so that transitions between colors are subtle and blended rather than rigid and segmented. Softly Variegated yarns are created using only two to three colors which are much closer in hue and tone, which are then significantly blended together for a very subtle exchange of color. Tonal Solids are dyed with one color, but because of the dye methods and layering techniques I use, subtle color changes and tonal variety are created during the dye process to create depth and shading.
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, I recommend alternating between skeins for larger projects. It is also important to purchase enough yarn to complete your project, plus a little extra for good measure.
My deep thanks go to all the knitters, spinners and textile artists out there who visit my shop and my booth at fiber festivals, and now this blog. This is truly a small, family business and I couldn’t be doing what I love to do without your support!