BIG ANNOUNCEMENT, KNITTERS!
If you’ve been bopping over to this space for the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed something different with my header: Tributary Yarns.
Just six months ago, I never would have guessed that I would be launching this new indie yarn label–Tributary Yarns–right here, right now. Yet here I stand (sit? knit?) before you to make it official.
It’s almost serendipitous how pieces sometimes come together in life, never quite how you expect and maybe not even how you hoped. Eventually, though, the pieces DO assemble, lining up just so, clicking together to reveal that bigger picture that was always off in the distance, blurry and out of reach.
I have traveled down so many dead end and bumpy roads to arrive at Tributary Yarns, all of which could be characterized as failures in their own right. Yet, together, these roads have woven together to land me exactly where I needed to be.
Originally there was the neighbor’s herd of alpacas. I thought their fleeces need a home and made a dozen calls to small mills scattered here and there. I learned so much in the process. As it turned out the fleeces were spoken for. All for not.
Then I found even more alpacas wandering these lonesome hills of Humboldt County, but the math never penciled out. I was patiently waiting for a new local mill to open to see what might come of that. (It’s been a year. They’re still not quite operational.) It was one not-quite-right after another.
Throw a failed marriage and a big move in the mix, and suddenly milling random alpaca fleeces didn’t feel like much of a priority. It was a daily battle just to keep my head above water and make sure Reed was okay.
Eventually the fog of my personal crisis began to lift and I started to think clearly again. It occurred to me to skip the hassle of milling and seek out local, sustainable, happy yarn that was ALREADY milled. This realization was a significant junction in the narrative of what was to become Tributary Yarns. A few spontaneous emails later, and I was set. Just like that. Stars = aligned.
That’s the thing about hitting a wall–you can quit, you can keep hitting the same wall over and over, or you can back up and keep trying until you find a new angle. The one you were meant to find all along. You just had to suffer a bit first. (How would we appreciate our joy if we didn’t know sorrow?)
Just like that, my kitchen has become an indie yarn dying studio on my weekends without Reed or when he is asleep. It’s been a bit exhausting, keeping crazy hours between working at my Actual Job and the relentless yet completely fulfilling job that is sometimes referred to as Parenting.
The learning curve has been significant. I’ve dyed my share of ugly yarn, tangled plenty of skeins in the dye pots, and even felted a couple. I can’t say I have any sort of innate talent for color, which is fairly critical for a yarn dyer, but I’ve been embracing the art and sorting it all out in my own right. That’s the thing about color–there are so many pretty ones that you’re destined to land on a good one sooner or later.
Redesigning This Knitted Life to support Tributary Yarns and has been a huge process that’s not even over. (Why can’t I just snap my fingers and make my website look and function like I want it to???!!!???) I’ve taken it all in stride and tried to be patient. I’ve also spent many a moment impatiently waiting for a faster computer.
The process of launching Tributary Yarns has been much slower to emerge than I had originally hoped. They hours have flown by. The mill is behind. (Something is always behind, right?) Nonetheless, I’ve persevered. Determined. As always.
I hope to be ready to ship my first skeins in a month or so. In the meantime, I’m sorting out my color palette. The fun, upbeat part of me loves the bright, crazy colors and part of me is drawn to the natural, muted colors that I see in the landscape around me. So far, I’ve done a bit of both. I suspect I always will. Reed is also eager to comment on the skeins as they dry. He seems to prefer the brighter colors and has asked me to show him how to dye yarn. For now, I think we’ll stick with water colors and glitter glue, both his favorites.
Tributary Yarns was inspired by the pursuit of sustainable wools from happy sheep, and I feel fortunate to have found bases of varying weights that are both luxuriously soft and squishy. My special knitting friend likes to remark that I have high-end yarn standards, and I admit I do. I like the good stuff, so you can be sure that I am going to dye up some amazing fiber.
While the mill works up my happy wool, I’ve been dying some sock yarn and silk-merino blends from regular ol’ sheep (happiness and sustainability factors unknown and possibly dubious, along with the rest of the Global Economy). Like all things in my life, Tributary Yarns will also offer some balanced bases. A little of this. A little of that. (Although I do plan to work with local producers and their mills to pursue blended fibers as well.)
It’s easy for me to get caught up in all the things that could go wrong with Tributary Yarns. It doesn’t take much to convince myself this could very well be yet another imminent failure. One more wall after a long string of dead ends. And maybe it is.
Despite the tremendous potential for one more disaster, I have chosen to manifest greatness at this fork in my life. To remain focused on the bright side and all the possibilities that await. To hone in on the desire to be successful and happy. I feel fortunate to have found a path that I truly enjoy and that brings me fulfillment as well as the flexibility my life as a mother to a young child requires.
Mostly, I’m just a teeny tiny bit sad because my knitting time has taken a small hit.
P.S. In my typical mom-crazed fashion, this BIG ANNOUNCEMENT made it to Instagram a couple night ago, a bit ahead of the blog. The positive response was simply remarkable. I was so touched. Thank you to everyone for the support. Really. Thank you.