Final Shop Update at Spirit Trail Fiberworks!

  • Three skeins of orange yarn

The last shop update is now live at Spirit Trail Fiberworks!

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. They were toddlers at the time, so 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 one-of-a-kind 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.

It’s been a great ride, but it’s time for me to retire my dye gloves and move on to my next adventure. My last shop update is now live! Thanks for checking it out!

May 2019 Subscriber Color Inspirations!

  • Hanks of grey, bright blue, variegated purple and blue and purple yarn.

This month’s colorways are based on a photo of a tile that newsletter subscriber Cindy received, which is a beautiful mix of colors. It immediately fueled my imagination on all the different colorways I could create.

I’m so happy with how this month’s colorways turned out, because I think I really nailed those tile colors :-D. All four of them work well together for colorwork, and of course individually.

Bright magenta/purple is “Create Your Self,” Soft Gray with a tinge of pale pink here and there is “Infinite Possibilities,” rich royal blue is “You Only Live Once” and a pretty speckle of pinks, blues, grays along with some of the yellows and oranges in the tile is “Imagine It Real.”

All four are available for preorder from now through May 26, or while supplies last. All orders will ship out by no later than the week of June 24, 2019.

You have your choice of two bases this month: Birte, DK weight Superwash Merino, Cashmere and silk, and Verdande, Worsted weight of the same blend. Be sure to choose the correct base from the drop-down menu on each product page.

Patterns I love for Birte: Soldotna, The Purl Code, Anker’s Summer Shirt, Campside, Copenhagen Calling, Pop Crop Cardi, Beatha, Milis Mitts, The Rain Outside, Baby Cables and Big Ones Too, Panier and Stream of Consciousness.

Patterns I love for Verdande: The Weekender, Humulus, Citrine, Hipster Shawl, Lillet, Vancouver Fog, Sinistram, Stream of Consciousness, Veronika Cardigan, Koivua and Just Enough Ruffles.

Want to play along? Subscribe to my newsletter and send me photos you find inspiring. If I choose your photo, you’ll get a a free skein of yarn — your choice of one of the inspiration colorways based on your photo, on one of the bases I’m dyeing that month!

Lucky Pot Shop Update at Spirit Trail Fiberworks!

  • A trio of blue, grey and olive green single-ply yarn.

The May Lucky Pot Shop Update is live! Lucky Pots are one-of-a-kind, never to be reproduced colors. Me getting spontaneous with the dyepots; nothing is written down and when they’re gone, they’re gone! I’ve dyed a bunch of springtime colorways, and another bunch of autumn-y/earthy shades. Each batch works well as a grouping for multicolor and fade projects!

This is an update of Lucky Pots dyed on Aurora, my single-ply fingering-weight Superwash Merino base. It’s a super yarn, and has quickly become a favorite for many. 400 yards per 3.5 ounce/100g skein, it’s a dream to knit and creates a really wonderful, soft fabric.

It’s a great yarn for shawls and scarves, hats and other accessories and sweaters. Check out the Ravelry projects for Aurora to see what others have knit with this lovely yarn. Patterns that would work well in Aurora include Tegna, Marettimo, So Faded, Yoga Shawl, Spector, Stormy Sky Shawl, Wildheart, Breathing Space, Lilli Pilli and Plein Soleil, but there are SO many more!

You can see all the colors on the Special Shop Update page (linked to the Visit This Shop button). There are sweater quantities of many colors, and also lots of potential color combinations. If you see something you like, I’d recommend ordering quickly to get the best selection, and to ensure there is enough of the color you want. All yarns are ready to ship!

January 12, 2019

2019 New Beginnings Yarn Club is Open!

It’s time for the 2019 STF Yarn Club to kick off! This year’s club is appropriately named the New Beginnings Club, after the new beginnings I’ll be experiencing in 2019 as a newly single woman, moving all by myself almost all the way across the country to New Mexico (new state of living, new state of being, just new states all around!) and what new colors I anticipate will come from all this change in environment and life.

This year’s club is a bit different than past years’ due to my relocation to New Mexico. I’ve decided it would be best to simplify the club offerings for 2019, as I’m really not sure what the future will be bringing me. I’ve changed the club to a quarterly shipment in March, June, September and December. And I’ve added more sizing options, from one skein per shipment up to four skeins per shipment.

For more information and details about which yarn bases will be included in this year’s club, check out the Visit This Shop link on this post. Up-front payments are already sold out, but there are monthly payment options available for U.S., Canada and international shipments. The clubs will be closing soon, though, so don’t wait!

And to read about my relocation to New Mexico, and see some gorgeous photos of where I’ll be living, check out my blog post.

I’ll hope you’ll consider joining me on my adventure!

November 21, 2018

Suicide Prevention Fundraiser!

This year, I’m doing something a little bit different for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all.

Instead of a discount, I’m donating 25% of all sales to help prevent suicide. Suicide rates are on the rise in the United States, while at the same time funding for mental illness is mediocre at best, and most insurance policies severely restrict mental health coverage. Up until recently, I had not been directly affected by suicide, but the suicide of Anthony Bourdain (who I adore) hit hard.

That changed in October, when one of my daughter’s best friends, Emma, committed suicide. It’s devastating, and absolutely heartbreaking to lose a loved one this way.

From now through November 30, 2018, I’m donating 25% of all sales in my shop to help prevent suicide, to help with research into the brain, and to help those left behind. This is in honor of Emma and all who have left us by their own hand, and with hope that our donations may help prevent this from happening to others, and may also help scientists learn more about how the brain functions and how to heal mental illness. This 25% will be split equally between five organizations: the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Trevor Project, the National Veterans Foundation and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, which is “committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research” and is an organization I learned of from Emma’s mother.

I’ll also be donating a portion of that 25% manually to the Alliance of Hope, which is an organization founded in 2008 to help those who have lost loved ones to suicide. I had hoped to add this organization to the automatic donations on my site, but Pledgling is still in the process of adding it as an organization in their system. Once Pledgling adds it to their list, I’ll adjust the automatic donations in my shop to include this organization as well.

Beginning December 1, 5% of all sales moving forward will be split between these five organizations, so know that a portion of every purchase you make will be going to help others. I hope together we can help make a difference.

Read more about these organizations here.

For all U.S. readers, I wish you the very best Thanksgiving, full of family, friends, love and joy. And for everyone, I wish you all the love and joy of your family and friends, each and every day.


October 17, 2018

NYSW Preview and Changes at Spirit Trail Fiberworks

I’m headed to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, where I’ve been a vendor for the past 14 years. You’ll find us in our regular spot in Building A, Booths 3-4 (just inside the main entrance, on the right side and down a bit).

I have a lots of new colors coming with me to the Festival; I’ve included just a few here. 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.

Fun extras coming to my booth are logo enamel camp mugs, temporary knitting-themed tattoos, gleener de-piller tools, and a special set of stitch markers made for me by Katy at Katrinkles.

I have been in the midst of some huge personal changes this year: both my kids headed off to college, and my husband and I are splitting up after 22 years. I’m in some major transitioning, and may actually be moving pretty far away from where I now live. I’ve written about all this in much more detail on my blog, so if you’re interested in reading more about it please check out my blog. Suffice to say, it’s been a crazy, stressful year!

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.

I’m offering 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 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m. (while supplies last):
• A free temporary tattoo with purchase of $50 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.

1-5 p.m. (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 a.m. 1 p.m.: 15% off all yarn in the booth; no minimum purchase required.
1-4 p.m. (closing): 25% off all yarn in the booth; no minimum purchase required.

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!

I’m looking forward to seeing you at the festival!

September 12, 2018

September Subscriber Inspiration Colors are Up!

Wow, did I get some great inspiration photos for September! This month’s photo comes from Karen, who sent me this gorgeous photo of an early wintertime scene, complete with clear aqua waters, the last leaves of autumn, storm clouds and towering snow-capped mountains. 

Karen says the photo came across her Facebook feed; she loved the color and wanted to knit some Fair Isle using this photo as inspiration. It just so happens that the colors I’ve created will work great for Fair Isle (and I didn’t even know this until I emailed Karen to let her know I’d chosen her photos!), in addition to lots of other projects, of course.

I was so taken by all the different colors in this photo I ended up creating five colorways around it! The cold, clear aqua of the water became “Crystalline,” the rich red of those lingering leaves became “Last Leaves,” the deep charcoal-with-a-hint-of-blue of the mountains and tree became “Winter Shadows,” the multi-gray hued clouds became “Snow Clouds,” and finally, all were rolled up into a soft, dainty speckle named “Winter Revelry.”

This month’s colors are offered on Aurora (singly-ply fingering-weight Superwash Merino), Philomena (three-ply fingering-weight Superwash Merino), and Birte (DK-weight Superwash Merino, Cashmere, and silk). As usual, there’s a listing for each color on each base.

September Subscriber Inspiration colors will be available for preorder from now through September 23, 2018. That’s a bit longer than usual, but I’m off on an adventure with 10 of my high school girlfriends, which we do every five years to celebrate our joint birthdays. So, I figured I’d just leave them open until I return. Then, I’ll get to work and get them out to you in about three weeks.

I’ll be skipping October inspiration colors due to New York Sheep & Wool preparations (read: marathon dyeing!), but will resume Subscriber Inspirations in November, so if you’re a newsletter subscriber please feel free to send me an inspiration photo anytime between now and mid-October, for November’s colors (and, if you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up over on my website, and play along with me!).

And, don’t forget, whoever’s photo is chosen receives a free skein of yarn in any of the bases being offered, in one of their special colors!

August Subscriber Inspiration Colorways are Live!

August’s Subscriber Inspiration colorways are based on a photo newsletter subscriber Melanie sent me, of a gorgeous Autumn-hued mandala. It made me think of the ancient Silk Road, rich tapestries and silks. And, of course, the beauty of Autumn in the eastern United States (and I don’t know about you, but I am ready for Fall!!).

After looking at Melanie’s photo for a while, I knew it was the one to use for August, as summer comes to an end and autumn is on the horizon. Evenings are cooling off, and there’s a crispness to the air on some mornings (not today, though!) that tells me Autumn is definitely on its way.

“Tamrin” is based on the palest colors in the mandala. It’s named for the Tamrin Basin, in Northwest China, made up part of the Silk Road route.

“Taklamakan” draws from the rich golden hues, and is named after the desert which dominates most of the Tamrin Basin.

“Kashgar Market” is based on the rich chili red-orange in the mandala, and is named for the colorful markets along the Silk Road.

Lastly, “Jingdezhan” draws from the muted teal in the mandala, and is named for the kiln responsible for the highly reconizable ceramics of China c 1300-1340.

All four colors are available for pre-order now through August 30. Then I’ll get busy dyeing them up, and plan to ship by September 15-20, 2018. Just in time to officially welcome Autumn to the Northern Hemisphere!

And hey, don’t forget! If you’re a newsletter subscriber (link on my website), send me an inspiration photo for September. It can be a photo you’ve taken, or something you’ve come across online. If I choose your photo, you’ll get a free skein of yarn in your special color!

Happy Almost-Autumn! Woohoo!!

New Design! Stream of Consciousness

This summer has been a giant heap of crazy for me. If you’re one of my newsletter subscribers, you know both my kids went away to college last week (my son to James Madison University, as an incoming junior, and my daughter as a freshman to Duke University), 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.

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.

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 …

But it’s all about having fun and relaxing with your knitting. 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 (and it’s pretty long as designed – I may have gone just a bit too stream of consciousness 😉 ). 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).

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. With all the complications in life these days, I’m all about comfort knitting.

I have loads of great colors available on my Andromeda yarn base, which is a fabulous DK weight single ply superwash Merino, which I’ve linked to this post. It’s soft and lofty — knit yourself a scarf in this yarn, and you’ve knit yourself a wonderfully soft hug!

“Stream of Consciousness” is available on Ravelry.

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!