Big News at Spirit Trail Fiberworks

two-roads-in-a-yellow-wood.jpg

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. 🧡

Advertisements

New Design! Meet Stream of Consciousness

This summer has been a giant heap of crazy for me. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll know both my kids are heading away to college this week (my son to JMU, as an incoming Junior, and my daughter to Duke), my husband and I are in the process of splitting up, and I’m not yet sure where I’ll be come 2019. So, big changes! It’s all scary-sad-exhausting-exhilarating. Such a gamut of emotions going on over here these days.

FullSizeRender

There were times this summer when I was so frazzled and exhausted, I couldn’t even knit. When I did, I needed something relaxing and uncomplicated, something that would keep my hands busy while my brain could do it’s own thing. This scarf is the result, so I’ve aptly named it Stream of Consciousness.

IMG_2210

Stream of Consciousness is designed in sections of garter stitch and striped garter stitch, with sections of textured stitches mixed in. It’s knit on the diagonal, so the only “hard” part is remembering to increase on one side and decrease on the other, every other row. And pay a little bit more attention in the textured stitch portions.

I’ll admit I even messed that up here and there. Forgot to increase or decrease, knit too many rows of one color here and there …

IMG_2209

But it’s a forgiving design, so I just adjusted and kept going. There are even a few places in my scarf where I didn’t follow the pattern, but the beauty of this pattern is that it doesn’t really matter.

Stream of Consciousness is all about having fun. Knit too many rows in a section? It’s no big deal, just keep on going. Switch sections up if there are some you like more than others, and knit until you run out of yarn. Use one, two, three, four, or even more colors! Use up all your leftover scraps! Leave sections out to make it shorter if the length is longer than you like. Swap out the DK for fingering weight for a lighter weight scarf, or choose worsted or bulky to knit a more substantial shawl (just be aware yardage requirements will change if substituting yarn).

IMG_2211

Can I just say, good grief, I’m going to miss seeing this face every day. We’re off to Duke tomorrow.

This design is meant to be a starting point for your own unique accessory. You can even leave the end a diagonal for a different look, and not worry about the final decrease section. It’s all about having fun with your knitting, relaxing, and putting your own unique spin on it.

I think it’s a perfect pattern for knitting while watching kids’ Fall sports, play practices, and other activities. Also perfect for watching TV or any activity where your attention is split, and you don’t want to be knitting something you need to be constantly looking at or checking. And it’s definitely perfect for when you want to be knitting something, but you don’t have the bandwidth to give it enough attention. With all the complications in life these days, I’m all about comfort knitting.

And, of course, I’ve dyed up a bunch of Andromeda so you can knit your own. As designed, it takes two skeins each of two colors, but I’d love to see it knit in four colors, or with all kinds of leftover scraps. So many options for this pattern; you’re imagination is the limit.

When you’re done, you’ve knit yourself a soft, cozy, warm hug.

IMG_2213