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. 🧡

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! and a NYSW Preview

First, a preview of just a few of the new colors coming with me to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival (and many of them will be available in future online updates):

Clockwise from upper left: Sweet Coral; Last Light of Day; Radagast; Nightshade; Ladies of the Canyon; Peaceful, Easy Feeling; Wild Mushroom; Crazy Little Thing Called Love; Camelicious; Crystal Ice

I have a lot of other new colors, but I’ve run out of time to get them photographed! I’m bringing a ton of yarn, in lots of bases – everything from laceweight to super bulky: Nona, Philomena, Aurora, Sunna, Selene, Birte, Andromeda, Luna, Verdande, and Zaftig. I’m also bringing, for the first time, mini-skeins of Philomena which will be available for purchase in a few gradient kits and lots of single skeins so you can pick your own. Here’s a peek at some of the individual mini-skeins:

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I’m also bringing my adorable logo camp mugs, gleener tools, and fun temporary tattoos:

Enamel logo mug (front and back); temporary tattoo

And, as I had last year, a special set of NYSW stitch markers from Katy at Katrinkles. I just love her work!

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I’ll also have lots of new handknit samples to fuel your inspiration, including TanisKnits’ Charlotte’s Web Mittens, Debra Gerhard’s Sinistram, and Valerie Hobbs’ Hillside Cardigan:


In other news, my life has been going through some major changes this year. Both my kids headed off to college this Fall – my daughter, Caragh, is now a Freshman at Duke University, and my son, Jackson, is a Junior at James Madison University (they’re both doing so well, and absolutely LOVE where they are and what they’re doing). Additionally, and an even bigger change, my husband and I are in the process of splitting up. Our divorce will be final in December.

I’ve spent the last 10 months thinking (ad nauseum some days) about my life, my future, and all that goes along with being on my own for the first time in more than 22 years. It’s been a bit stressful, to say the least. I have an opportunity to move quite far from where I’ve lived on the East Coast my whole life. As much as I’d hoped I’d be making a big announcement about it now, I can’t reveal full details yet as it hit a slight snag last week. I hope that this opportunity will in fact become a reality, and I’m really excited to tell you all about it as soon as I can. One detail I’ve come to realize over the course of this year is that no matter where I end up, I simply can’t afford a house payment and a separate studio payment. So in addition to moving out of my home, I’ll also be moving out of my current studio space in December.

My relocation is not going to be an inexpensive endeavor. I’m not ruling out holding a special Kickstarter campaign, but I’ve realized that’s not the best plan until I know for sure where I’ll be going and what the actual costs will be to relocate and get my studio set up.

What I’m going to do now is to offer some specials and discounts over the course of NYSW weekend, in hopes that you’ll support me and Spirit Trail Fiberworks by purchasing something from me at the Festival.

Here’s the run down (and these will all be posted in my booth, too):

Saturday, October 20:

9:00 am to approximately 1:00 pm (while supplies last):
—  a free temporary tattoo with purchase of $50.00 or more
—  your choice of a free tattoo or fun STF logo enamel camping mug with purchase of $150 or more
—  your choice of a free tattoo, logo mug, or Gleener de-piller with a purchase of $250 or more.

1:00 – 5:00 pm (closing):
5% off purchases of $50 or more
10% off purchases of $100 or more
15% off purchases of $250 or more

Sunday, October 21:

9:00 – 1:00 pm: 15% off all yarn in the booth; no minimum purchase required.
1:00 – 4:00 pm (closing): 25% off all yarn in the booth; no minimum purchase required.

Of course, the earlier you come to shop, the more selection there will be!

With everything so up in the air, this may or may not be my last year vending at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. I know it will be my last with my current booth set up (I may go back to a single booth rather than a double, and a different overall booth set-up, but everything is too up in the air right now to say for sure what 2019 will bring).

I made the decision last month that I will no longer be vending at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and, while I’d absolutely love to continue vending at NY, I won’t know until my future plans and move are finalized to say one way or the other.

So, I hope you’ll come see me at the Festival if you can, and support me and Spirit Trail Fiberworks if you find something you love!