I love fiber. I love spinning, I love color theory, I love playing with wool.
When I was growing up, I must have heard my Dad say a million times ” I get to do what I love! I would PAY to do this job! I can’t believe there are so many people out there doing jobs that they don’t enjoy.” Because this was my model, I grew up with the expectation that I would always enjoy my work. And I have. Sure, I’ve had the occasional annoying boss or certainly had a bad day here and there but I’ve always loved all of my wage earning activities. If I wasn’t able to affect the bad boss or long commute, I would simply find away to keep doing the thing I enjoyed in another venue.
I have always been crafty. Over the years I’ve had quite a few small businesses…from candlemaking to clothing. I even spent a few years hawking macrame hemp jewelry and crocheted bags to wholesalers back in the early 90s. My seamstress friend Amy referred to me as “The Redneck Martha Stewart” quite a few years back and although I have mixed feelings on the title, I suspect it’s probably at least a little true. My friend George asked me if I was related to Frederick Taylor, who is credited as the father of the industrial revolution through his work in scientific management. George asked me this because of my natural tendency towards efficiency and production-something about a one woman industrial revolution. He said this as sort of a backhanded compliment because Frederick Taylor is also credited as helping bring about the end of the craft era, which doesn’t suit me at all. Being an anarchist, and a luddite at heart… I eschew capitalism, favoring collectives/co-ops/mutual aid and although I can’t help wanting to make each movement and action count as much as possible in the production line, I much prefer a peddle powered tool to one powered by fossil fuels or hydro-electric dams.
So I’m kind of in this interesting situation with the yarn business. I make this beautiful handpainted, handspun yarn at home with non-electric tools. I do use chemical dyes but they don’t contain heavy metals and my only mordant is vinegar. I can do what I love, have flexibility in my schedule, and am producing (to me) a sustainable and ethical product. Unfortunately, I live in the woods about 7 miles from a village of 800 and it’s basically impossible for me to sell my wares locally. I must rely on the almighty internet with all of it’s toxic accoutrements to market my goods and I mail my skeins all over the world. My business is also a sole proprietorship, which doesn’t exactly match my worker owned collective/anti-capitalism ideology. But I’m working on it, and I keep trying to find a good balance.
Sales have been increasing since I began. I am in favor of slow and steady growth and although I’ve probably passed up golden opportunities I’ve also never been unable to meet my overhead costs or borrowed a dime. Yarnarchy has been providing my family with about half of our needed income for the past two years and I have recently been considering some modest expansion concepts with the idea that I’d eventually prefer for the business to cover all of our household expenses. Which would be outrageously awesome. With that in mind I will now be offering handpainted rovings and more kits. I did a bunch of dyeing last week and here are some photographs:
And this is what they look like after the roving is dry and ready:
I must admit, although I dearly love fiber and dyeing is oh so fun..I’m finding it terribly difficult to spend time on yarn when there is so much to do in the garden! Here’s just one photo, but if you’re interested in the farm you can visit the blog at http://www.finneyfarm.blogspot.com If anyone has suggestions for my new product line, please do send me a comment!