** About My Yarn Bases and Dye Process **
Spirit Trail products are dyed in small, artisanal batches at my studio in New Mexico, where I live on a ranch in the Gila National Forest.
The ranch is owned by my brother and sister-in-law, and is available for rent via http://www.sapillocreekescape.com. While it is too small for me to hold full-blown retreats, I welcome knitting guests interested in taking a dye workshop, and am happy to create an individual workshop or workshops for you. The ranch has three bedrooms, and there is an adorable motel located within minutes with six additional rooms and a cabin (www.lakerobertsmotel.com). So, get a group of friends together for a relaxing weekend in some of the most beautiful country in the United States! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to talk about the possibilities!
My yarns are all sourced from Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States, from farms which do not practice muesling. Most yarns are sourced by my suppliers from small farms with caring and careful animal management programs in place. Two of my superwash yarns (Selene, and Luna) are called "non-shrink eco-wash" because they are produced organically to GOTS standards for animal care and processing, including the process of making them machine washable (not all of the materials in my dyes are organic, however).
I use professional, heavy-metal free acid dyes which are light and wash fast. I fully exhaust each batch in the dyepot, typically allowing it to cool and soak overnight for the best color retention and dye exhaustion, so little to no dye is dispersed in rinsing. I dye with care to ensure that yarns are not oversaturated with dye, which can cause bleeding when soaked for blocking (some minor bleeding may still occur for some colors, but I work very hard to minimize and prevent this by not over saturating the yarn in the first place).
I have created a system for dyeing which uses as little water as feasible, as I continually work to reduce and reuse as much as possible. Since each dyelot is fully exhausted, I am able to reuse dye water, through adding additional small quantities of water and adjusting the pH level, as necessary.
You can be sure the yarn you purchase from me has been produced with fiber from animals which have been well-cared for, and that care continues in the yarn processing and dye processes, to ensure a product with as minimal an affect on the environment as possible. I'm all about good karma!
Because of the artistic nature of my dye process, some variation will occur between, and sometimes even within, dyelots. Colors are mixed and applied by hand in an organic and unique process, and may not be created in exactly the same way each time. Each batch is truly unique, and will produce an equally unique garment. For this reason, it is especially important to purchase enough yarn to complete your project, plus a little extra for good measure. I also recommend alternating skeins for larger projects (either throughout the project, or for several inches when transitioning between skeins), especially with speckled and highly variegated colorways.
** Art in a Skein **
I started Spirit Trail Fiberworks in early 2003 after taking a dye workshop at a local studio. I had been searching for a "new profession," after retiring from my commercial real estate career in Washington, DC, when our son was born. I have a degree in English Literature with concentrations in Fine Art and Philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and always dreamed of working in a creative field (the 15 year sidetrack in commercial real estate notwithstanding ;-) ). I've been a knitter since I was a teenager, and have always loved the tactile process of creating something functional and wearable. I've also always been very attuned to the power of color, not only in its ability to affect and change one's mood and daily outlook, but also in how differently and individually people experience color and are drawn to some colors more than others.
In addition to dyeing yarn, I love abstract acrylic painting, which allows me to explore the world of color in a vastly different medium. My paintings are available for viewing and purchase at my studio by appointment, or by visiting my painting website, Jennifer A Tepper Fine Art (http://www.jenniferatepper.com).
** Wholesale **
If you are interested in stocking Spirit Trail Fiberworks in your brick & mortar or online store, I'd love to talk to you! Please email me at email@example.com for our wholesale price list and other information. In order to provide you with the best colors, which look awesome together, I obtain a general idea of what you would like for your store (bold, soft, warm, cool, etc) and create a palette of colors which will both compliment each other visually, as well as working together for different colorwork projects (contrasting colorwork, stripes, etc.). If there are any specific colorways you desire, I'm happy to include those and create a balanced palette around them.
** I Love to Work with Designers **
I'm thrilled to work with designers on their special creations, and would love to hear from you about your design or idea. If you're interested in using a Spirit Trail yarn in a design, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm happy to provide yarn for your designs at my wholesale prices. If you can include information on your design (Spirit Trail base you're interested in, colorway, how many skeins) that will speed up the process. I am also open to discussing the creation of kits to go with a design, and other ways we can collaborate. I love to collaborate with knitwear designers, and truly believe this is a great way to support each other in this business!
** Thank you for supporting my small business! **
My deep gratitude goes to all the knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners and other textile artists who visit my studio and shop, my blog, and my booth at the festivals I attend. This is truly a small, family business and I couldn't be doing what I love without you!
Yours forever in color,