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. 🧡

June Color Inspirations!

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Newsletter subscriber Meghan sent me a photo she found online, totally different from the photos I usually choose for color inspirations. Meghan said, “I saw this photo on Pinterest, and was immediately intrigued by how you’d create colorways from an abstract image.”

I was intrigued, too. I love the technique used in this photo, which is called “bokeh.” This technique creates out-of-focus areas in photographs, either in the background or, in this case, the whole photo. The word “bokeh” is Japanese, and translates literally as “blur.” I always love photos which incorporate this technique which serves to draw the eye to other, in-focus portions of the photo or, in this case, creates a visual that’s entirely out of focus, and beautiful.

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I created two colorways from this photo. The first, Sweet Denim, is a tonal solid of the blue background. I went a tiny bit lighter so that it wouldn’t end up black, and I’m super happy with this colorway. Blues can be so tricky. Most especially navy, which can very easily have a purplish undertone. This blue is a perfect blend of denims, from dark to faded.

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The second colorway, Fire & Light, takes all those bokeh bubbles and plays around with them. Red, green, and warm browns are layered over soft gold (again, I took artist license and toned down the bright, neon yellow just a bit because I didn’t want such a bright contrast for the denim).

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I love both colors, and I love how they look together. They’d be great for contrasting colorwork, especially in the yoke of a sweater or any colorwork accessories.

Both colorways are available on the following bases:

Fiona: Fingering Weight 85% 19.5 micron Merino,15% Bombyx Silk, Two Ply. 3.5 ounces (100g), 491 yards (448m) per skein.  22-32 stitches / 4 inches on US Needle Size 0-4 (higher gauge for socks, looser for lace). $35.00 per skein.

Soleil: DK weight 50% Superwash Merino / 50% Cotton, Four Ply. 3.5 ounce (100g),  231 yards per skein. 22-24 stitches / 4 inches on US Needle Size 3-6. $30.00 per skein.

Zaftig: Super Bulky Weight 100% 20.5 Micron Superfine Merino, Single Ply. 5.29 ounce / 150g, 90 yards (82m) per skein. 8-10 stitches / 4 inches on US Needle Size 13-19. $30.00 per skein.

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Listings for both colorways are open now through July 5, 2019 for pre-orders. All orders will ship 3-4 weeks (if not sooner) after the listings close.

And a quick side note I noted as I was adding these listings to my site: since I added Pledgling to my website for donations to five different organizations working to prevent suicide, we’ve donated (as of writing this email) $2,626 to this cause! I’m so proud of that, and hope you are, too!

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