July Subscriber Inspiration Colors!

The limited edition Subscriber Inspiration colorways have just been added to the Spirit Trail Fiberworks shop!

This month’s limited edition colors are inspired by a photo sent to me by Amy (who also happens to be the podcaster behind Hudson Valley Knits). She sent me a photo of bits of colored glass she’s found on her walks along the Hudson River.

There are three colors inspired by this month’s photo: River Walk, a subtle speckle of the glass colors on a soft gray background; Bottle Glass, a light blue reminiscent of the little bit of blue in the photo, and Beach Treasure, a soft amethyst-pink (which I used some artistic license and darkened up a bit, to create a color with more depth and richness).

All three colorways are now available on the Dyed-to-Order page at Spirit Trail Fiberworks. The listings will be open from July 19-July 25, 2018. Click the shop link for more details!

June Subscriber Color Inspiration Colorways!

The June Subscriber Color Inspiration colorways are now live at Spirit Trail Fiberworks! This month’s colorways are inspired by a photograph sent by Kate G.

Kate said this about her photograph: “I took this photo in April when we spent a week in Ogden, Utah, for work training for my husband. We were at the Ogden Botanical Garden one evening having a picnic and this bright orange flower hidden among the woody shrub caught my eye. It was easily missed and such a neat find!”

Kate wins a free skein of yarn in her own special colorway! Congratulations, Kate! (If you’d like to get in on the fun, just subscribe to my newsletter on my homepage, and send me a photo you love! I pick a new photo inspiration every month for these limited edition colorways.)

Botanical is the main colorway. It’s a speckled blend of grays, soft browns, greens, yellow, and oranges on a soft gray base color. Pretty much all the colors in the photograph.

Little Flower is the bright, happy yellow-orange complementary colorway, based on that pretty little flower.

And Leafy is the rich, nearly iridescent green complementary colorway.

All three colors are available on the following bases:

Aurora: fingering weight 100% Superwash Merino single-ply, 400 yards per 100g skein.

Philomena: fingering weight 100% Superwash Merino 4-ply, 438 yards per 100g skein.

Sunna: fingering weight 75% Superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% silk 3-ply, 356 yards per 115g skein.

Andromeda: DK weight 100% Superwash Merino single ply, 240 yards per 100g skein.

Verdande: worsted weight 75% Superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% silk 4-ply, 220 yards per 115g skein.

Please note that each base has its own listing for each color (because I haven’t figured out how to add variations to a listing on Shopify, when the variations have different prices).

Dyed-to-order listings will be open from June 19-June 30, 2018. Once listings are closed, all yarns will be dyed and shipped between July 15-25, 2018.

Spirit Trail post-move shop update!

I’ve just completed a giant shop migration from my old website host to Shopify! There are lots of new colors on every base, including loads of my Lucky Pot colors (one-of-a-kind, totally nonrepeating colors). Update includes tonal solids, speckles, and softly variegated colors.

Also in this update is lots of Andromeda, the yarn used in my new Panier hat pattern (available on Ravelry).

Thanks for checking it out!

Jennifer

MDSW sneak peek!

Can you believe it’s May already?! I sure can’t! Every year just seems to fly by faster than the last. It’s hard to believe it’s already time for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, but it is!

We’ll be there in our regular space in the Main Building, Booth A30 (about 3/4 of the way down the left wall from the front door). This is our 14th year at the Festival, which also confounds me!

We’re bringing loads of yarn: Nona, Aurora, Sunna, Andromeda, Birte, Selene, Verdande, Luna – everything from heavy lace weight to worsted. This year, I’ve dyed a bunch of new repeating colorways and, new this year, a whole bunch of my one-of-a-kind, totally non-repeatable Lucky Pots. I’ve been posting a lot of sneak peek photos on my Instagram feed, so do go check it out if you’d like to see more.

I have so much fun with these Lucky Pot colors, and oftentimes I really wish I’d written down the recipe and the instructions. They’re so good, and I love them so much, I wish I could make certain colors again. But that would defeat the intention of them, which is fresh, spontaneous creation. A potter friend, Del, once told me: “You only create something once. After that, it’s production.” For artists, no matter what the medium, creation and production can at times really be at odds with each other. It’s sometimes easy to get into a “rut” of reproducing the same thing over and over again, no matter how beautiful or popular these items might be. My friend Del, an incredibly talented potter, built himself a salt-fired kiln to force himself out of production, which was, of course, a huge, necessary, and integral part of his business. It made him switch gears and get into that truly creative space, with no concern about being able to do the same thing again, because he could not predict or fully control the results of these salt firings.

I’ve always remembered his words, how excited he was about his salt-fired pieces, and how truly amazing this work was. And I realized that I was in the same place in my own creativity: creating repeating colorways is necessary and integral to my business; they’re fun and I love them. But, I create these colors once, and then it’s reproduction. I needed to do something that was completely spontaneous and unreproducible. This truly creative process is freeing, and it’s also amazing how it spills over into everything else I do.

That’s a long explanation for what and how my Lucky Pots came to be. I hope if you’re coming to MDSW, you’ll swing by my booth and check them out! I have lots of them dyed on very base!

Also for MDSW, I have special 2018 MDSW-themed stitch markers sets from Katrinkles (while supplies last), and a new order of my popular camp mugs which include my personal mantra – Life is short, knit the good stuff.

Hope to see you at the Festival! But if you can’t make it, I’m planning a shop update for when I get home which will include lots of Lucky Pots and more!

New Hat Pattern! Panier

As soon as I felt my new yarn base, Andromeda, I knew I had to start playing with it immediately. Andromeda is a DK weight single ply 100% Superwash Merino, and it’s unbelievably soft and cushy. It just begs to be knit into something worn right next to skin. The next thing I’ll be knitting is a cowl or scarf for sure.

Andromeda is making its debut at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this coming weekend (I’ll be in my regular spot, Main Building A30, if you’re headed to the Festival!), and it will debut online soon, in an upcoming shop update. STF Yarn Club members got the first taste of this new base, with the April Yarn Club shipment (my Panier hat is knit in the exclusive Club Colorway, Dutch Masters).

It’s a fabulous pattern for variegated or speckled yarn: the all-over textured basket pattern highlights these kinds of colors, and the pattern doesn’t get lost in them but rather accentuates them. Panier is an easy, fun knit

I love how this pattern turned out so much, with it’s slouch ending in a fun ruffle and dangling i-cord. Panier is now available on Ravelry!

Camp Mug!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved enamelware. Something about the feel of it in my hands conjures cool mornings by the campfire with a steaming cup of tea. We have the traditional speckled enamelware as part of our camping gear, and many times I think about bringing it into the kitchen so I can use it on a regular basis. It’s nearly indestructible, and lasts forever. We’ve had ours for over 20 years and it shows little to no sign of wear and tear.

A few months ago, I was on an internet search for something (I don’t even remember what it was now), and came across these cut enamelware mugs that I could get my logo put on. I ordered samples (which my kids have since claimed as their own), and loved them. So, I had some made.

These 12-ounce mugs are white, with a dark gray lip. Just like traditional enamelware, they’re a go-anywhere kind of accessory, no worries about breakage. Of course, they’re not microwave safe, since they’re made of steel, but they are dishwasher, campground and travel safe. Take it along to a knitting retreat, or knit night. Or, of course, camping :-).

My logo is on both sides, and then my current mantra — “Life is short, knit the good stuff” — is on one side, too. I have so many conversations with people who have that special skein of yarn lovingly held in their stash that’s too special to use. To which I say, while I totally understand the feeling, phooey! Find a pattern you love, and go ahead and knit it. And then enjoy wearing it for as long as possible :-D. Carpe Diem!

Mugs are $12 each.

Subscriber Inspiration Colors for March!

The March Subscriber Inspiration colors are live at Spirit Trail Fiberworks! This month’s colors are based on a photo sent by STF newsletter subscriber Allyson, who said about her photo: “This was taken in Alaska on a ferry ride from Haines to Juneau. When I saw your photo yarn color challenge I realized the memories I would love in yarn is something that would commemorate and combine all the years and adventures in Alaska. Looking back through all my photos this is the one. Even the grey days had beauty if you were willing to be outside and find them!”

And beautiful it certainly is. I have always been a complete sucker for rainbows. They’re just magical (whatever the real science behind them may be, I prefer to think of them as magic). I found myself coming back to this photo over and over again, loving the interplay of colors, the haziness of the storm clouds, the tiny strip of sun along the coast, and the clear, bright sky peeking out from behind. And that seems to be how it works: folks send me photos, and I look at all of them over and over again until, finally, one seems to say “do me, do me!” louder than the others.

Meet this month’s limited edition colors:

First, the primary inspiration colorway, “Rainbow Over Juneau,” features a rainbow of colors (both softly speckled and blended) applied in the correct order (ROY G BIV) across the center of the skein, with cloudy grays at either end. Next, “Rainbow Deconstructed” takes the colors of the rainbow, shakes them up and speckles them indiscriminately on a base of soft grays and creamy white. Then two tonal solid colorways compliment these rainbow skeins: “Skies After the Rain” is a soft, clear blue reminiscent of that sky peeping through, and “Stormy Waters” is inspired by the shadowed water under the storm clouds (I took some artistic license with this and added more blue to it, because I wanted a colorway more blue than charcoal).

These limited edition colorways will be available for pre-order through Friday, March 30, 2018. Orders will ship approximately three weeks after the listing closes.

This month, all four colors are available several different bases instead of just one:

Aurora (fingering weight single ply, 100% Superwash Merino, 400 yards per skein, $28.00 per skein)
Sunna (fingering weight three-ply, 75% Superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Bombyx Silk, 365 yards per skein, $34.00 per skein)
Andromeda (DK weight single ply, 100% Superwash Merino, 240 yards per skein, $28.00 per skein)

Subscriber Color Inspirations happen on a monthly basis, and whoever sends me the winning photo receives a free skein of their own special yarn! Photos can be sent until the end of each month for the following month. The only rule is you have to be a Spirit Trail Fiberworks newsletter subscriber to play. Subscribe to my newsletter (link at the top of my shop homepage) if you’d like to play along!

Happy Spring!

Jennifer

Shop Update is Live!

Spirit Trail Fiberwork’s shop update just went live! This update features Birte, my Superwash Merino/Cashmere/silk DK weight yarn, and Luna, my organic non-shrink wool blend worsted weight yarn. Both in lots of colors, from tonal solids to speckles. Both of these yarns are featured in new patterns just published by some fabulous designers: Luna for both Tanis Gray’s Chickaloon cowl and Bristol Ivy’s Titan Hat and Cowl and Birte for Jennifer Wood’s Teddy cardigan and Jennifer Tepper Heverly’s (that’s me 😀 ) Milis fingerless mitts. Check them all out on Ravelry!

Many of the colors in this update are my “Lucky Pots.” These are one-of-a-kind, never to be repeated colors – the luck of the pot, or the pot at the end of the rainbow, if you will. They’re lots of fun to create, always a surprise, and truly, I don’t write anything down so I cannot re-create them. Super fun, and super special. You can see all the Lucky Pots on the “Lucky Pot” page in our shop.

I’ve also put several yarns on sale at some really great discounts. These are all fabulous bases, but I’m retiring them for a little while so I’d like to move them on to their forever homes so I can have more room in my studio for some new bases and new colors. So, if you haven’t tried Spirit Trail Fiberworks yarns yet, this is a great time to give them try with some really great savings. All these can be found on the “On Sale!” page.

Happy Stitching!

Jennifer

February 14, 2018

Dyed-to-Order Listing Open!

There’s a fun new collaboration happening at Spirit Trail Fiberworks: Subscriber Color Inspirations! I love collaborating with knitwear designers on colors for their designs, and I thought I’d extend color collaboration to a wider circle, and collaborate with my subscribers, too! Each month, newsletter subscribers send me color inspiration photos, and each month I choose one to use for the inspiration of a new, limited edition colorway (and possibly complimentary colorways to go with it, as I did this month). The subscriber who sends me the winning photo receives a free skein of yarn in his or her special color. The hardest part is choosing just one from all the gorgeous photographs I receive!

February’s colorway is inspired by a photo sent by Rheba of a (somewhat photoshopped) Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chicken. I was immediately taken with this photo because it held a challenge: colors I don’t usually put together on the same yarn — purple and orange. These two colors can be tricky because they’re not always so friendly. If they blend together too much they can create an unattractive shade of … swamp sludge? stale strained peas? oxidized avocado? Yeah, it can be pretty gross. But setting the base color, and then adding color on top, prevents any unpleasant mingling.

Subscriber Inspiration yarns are limited editions, only available for pre-order for a limited time after they debut each month. February’s dyed-to-order options are now live for this month’s special yarn, which I’ve oh-so-creatively named Chicken Chicken, along with two complimentary colors: Chicken Butt (inspired by the pretty lilac-lavender-blue of this chicken’s heiny) and Chicken Wattle (inspired by the red-orange of its facial area).

This month’s colors will be dyed on Aurora, my fingering weight 100% superwash merino single ply yarn. Future colors may be dyed on additional bases; this is my first foray into dyed-to-order and limited edition colors, so it’s a work-in-progress.

February’s colors will be available for pre-order until February 19, 2018, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, at which time they’ll be closed and I’ll start dyeing up the orders. You can order just one skein, or an entire sweater quantity. You decide. Click the link to see all three! Orders will ship by March 5, 2018.

If you’d like to play along, subscribe to my newsletter at the top of my homepage, and send me a photo that inspires you!

February 9, 2018

Craic: a new Crescent Shawl Pattern!

Just published on Ravelry is my new crescent shawl design, Craic. “Craic” is Irish Gaelic slang for “fun, a good time, a good conversation,” and it’s pronounced “crack.” This pattern is all that: it’s a fun knit that’s a good time all around, both addictive and relaxing to knit.

My vision was for a unisex (not too frilly or feminine) pattern with texture, some easy garter stitch, interplay between colors, and simple elegance. I also wanted an uncomplicated design that would be perfect for knitting while watching TV or attending a sporting or other event. You know how it goes: you’re happily knitting along, watching a great TV show, or one of your kids / friends compete somewhere and, at some point, you look down and realize you forgot to pay attention to the pattern stitch, and you have to rip out stitches (or, heaven forbid, rows). We’ve all been there. So, this pattern was designed to succeed during those times when our concentration may be somewhat split, or you just want something fun and easy to work on.

It’s fingering weight, so any fingering weight yarn that’s at least 400 yards per skein will do; it doesn’t even matter if they’re the same ply or fiber blend. I bet we all have skeins in our stashes we can mix and match for this design, and I think mixing plies, and/or different fiber blends, would be fabulous — give it some different textures as well as colors. Use a single-ply for one skein, and a multi-ply for the other. Perhaps one skein 100% silk, and the other a blend of wool, Cashmere, silk, yak or some other protein fiber. The only thing I’d not recommend is mixing protein fibers with plant fibers, simply because they are SO different, and don’t block —or stay blocked — the same way.

I can envision this design knit in two solid colors, two speckled colors, highly contrasting colors (like mine), more subtly contrasting colors, or even all one color. Whatever you decide, you just need two skeins of at least 400 yards each, or at least 800 yards total for one color.

If you love the colors I used and need to knit Craic in those, I’ve got you covered — Bog Cherry and Painted Hills (the two colors I used), plus many more are now available on my Shop Update page on several different fingering weight bases. Happy Knitting!


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