Year Three – Finding Our Groove

Jasper with a mess o'fingering weight
Jasper with a mess o’fingering weight

This Fall marks the third year of ModeKnit Yarn’s existence. Shocking.

In some ways it feels like we just started last month, in other ways it feels as though we’ve been doing this for five or ten years.

We have some new ideas coming down the pike (new ball sizes, new NO SPOILER colorways, new patterns & classes), while we continue to tend to existing projects (mini skeins sets, FLOW, yarn clubs) and handle increasing wholesale orders (so good to hear that shops love our yarn!)  It’s been a very good year!

MKY Studio and 400 Skeins of Mercury
MKY Studio and 400 Skeins of Mercury

The new dye studio is insanely helpful in this portion of our growth, we lucked into an incredibly usable space at just the right time. Kathleen and I have both made major investments into the biz this year in terms of personal purchases which we will be using for the biz (an SUV for Kathleen, a house for me!) We’re not yet a large enough company to buy our own fleet of cars or build a workspace, but we’re getting there – slowly and surely.

I spent the weekend sick – I called it a cold – but it just felt like pure exhaustion. I have been pushing myself pretty hard for the past few weeks, finishing a HUGE order and getting the dye studio set up when I wasn’t actively dyeing.  Apparently the cold turned into stomach flu, but it feels as if it’s on the wane, and one of the great things about working at ‘home’ is that when I’m feeling good for a few hours, I can scoot out and get a bit done.  And there’s always computer work to do, too!

mercury_worsted_pileIt doesn’t do me any good to ignore the fact that I have a chronic condition (Fibromyalgia) so I try to be intelligent in my work habits, take time to care for me (bike rides, physical therapy, acupuncture, rest, etc.) so that my body has the strength to do the work that I love.

I realized on Sat that 250 skeins I’d dyed had dried lighter and less intensely than I liked, and will want to re-dip them (not a HUGE undertaking) but the pain of lifting and carrying so much wet yarn to wring out, etc., is the hardest part of my job. Re dyeing – overdyeing – is sometimes necessary.

The color we’re going for with these skeins is so deeply saturated that I’ve come to the conclusion that it takes two dips to get it, it’s just something I need to accept and move on. So we make our way – slowly sometimes – and create the colors in the yarn that make us (and hopefully our customers) happy!

As with any job, if you don’t find the parts that make your soul sing, you won’t be able to stick with it for long. I love what I do, and in addition to constantly trying to improve our colors and selection of products, my biggest hurdle is trying to improve my own ability to create those products.

Becca, hard at work and loving it.
Becca, hard at work and loving it.

Weeks like this, with a HUGE dye job in front of me, I’m so grateful to have an assistant like Becca. She makes this whole thing possible on several levels. So after resting (sleeping!) for most of the weekend, I embark on a new week of dyeing and thinking up new colors, coming up with ideas for new designs and continuing on the never ending task of organizing our new dye space. And I’m so happy and proud to be able to do it with Becca by my side.

Another new thing we’ve added in this, our third year, is our Podcast.  We’re still finding our feet, putting out episodes in an erratic manner but moving toward a more serious schedule.  We do what we can do, but I hope that you’ll find some of the conversations Kathleen and I have been having with knit folks interesting and inspiring!  Here’s to more – and more regular – episodes in year FOUR of ModeKnit Yarn!

TO DYE FOR!

Dye Studio looking SE
Dye Studio looking SE toward house

Well, we’ve moved!

ModeKnit Yarn, LLC is now in a new space, which is conveniently located right behind Annie’s new home in St. Paul, MN!

Gerry took care of the move while Annie & Kathleen were in Wisconsin teaching and selling yarn.

Jack, aka "Lucky Marco!"
Jack, aka “Lucky Marco!”

We hired movers, and very good friend-of-ModeKnit-Yarn, Jack, came to be with Gerry for the move so he wouldn’t push himself too far (it’s always good to have a wing man to let you know when you’ve done enough!)

It was so odd to leave from one home on Thursday morning, travel to the WI Sheep & Wool Fest (as always, an AMAZING and lovely festival!) then come home to a DIFFERENT address.  The house is filled to the brim with boxes, but the important stuff (bed, food in the fridge, litter boxes) are in their places.  Yay!

2016-09-07-17-55-33Annie took the ceremonial “shower with no shower curtain” last night, baptizing the bathroom, and she must admit that this slightly smaller house will take some getting used to.

Unfortunately, during the move (or right after) Gerry locked the keys to the house/garage IN the garage, so he was not able to leave the house, or open the garage all day Sat & Sun.

So a locksmith has come and gone, the garage is open so Annie can begin to get the new dye space in order, and Gerry can actually TAKE THE CAR and go grocery shopping!  He’ll need to, as also locked in the garage was the contents of the freezer, and very little of it made it unscathed.

Large, well lit & heated space!
Large, well lit & heated space!

The dog loves the backyard – although we need to have a fence installed – and the cats were enjoying rubbing themselves all over the cement patio.  Cats love a good scratching!

Since we’re still in flux with the move, there will be precious few orders finished this coming week.

We anticipate getting the dye works up to full speed beginning Monday, 9/19, and then we’ll be in full production for the Fall.

2016-09-07-17-55-31Full production will mean TWO different Yarn Clubs, we’ll have details on them next weekend (just as soon as we do the math…)

In the mean time, enjoy these lovely photos of our  new dye studio (totally empty – soon to be remedied! Two of my stainless steel pieces have arrived already!)

2016-09-11-14-45-24

ModeKnit Yarn Dye Studio is MOVING!

Our Current Dye Studio
Our Current Dye Studio

NEW DIGS

We, Chez ModeKnit Yarns, Yarn are THRILLED to announce that we’re moving our dyeworks!

A week from today, Sept 9th, we’ll be transferring all of our material possessions, including what I fondly like to call the Dye Studio, from one address in St. Paul to a different address in St. Paul.

This means that because of packing and storage, we won’t be dyeing any new orders until after September 15 (when we return from the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Fest)

If you place an order, please know that it will be given our full and complete attention AFTER we set up in our new studio on Sept 15, and it will be all the more beautiful for that!

1005 Hawthorne exterior
The New Manse (a scaled down version of our current home – convenient, nu?)

My husband and I are downsizing as both kids are now in college.  As we searched for a new home one of our criteria was to find a good place to resettle ModeKnit Yarn Dye Studio (aka, our basement)

We found it!  We found a lovely, lovely home in a great neighborhood over by Lake Phalen (bike trails! dog paths! dragon boat races!) which is perfect.  But the all time BEST part (aside from a friend from my knitting group living directly behind us – score!) is the HUGE modern garage, built in 2012, with three bays.

ModeKnit Yarn’s NEW Dye Studio! Interior shots tk post-move, big door on right = MINE!

One bay will be for our solo car, and the other two will be walled off and will be my amazing, HEATED, ground level DYE STUDIO!  No more schlepping up and down stairs with kilos of wet yarn (my knees are very grateful!)

The current owner is a gifted woodworker who uses the space as his studio, he built it to his specs, and they’re perfect for me, too!

When we first started looking at homes in June I had tried to find something with a “garage workroom” or “studio in garage” but we could find NOTHING.

This garage, though, wasn’t even mentioned in the real estate listing!  It just was — there! — when we looked at the home.  It was love at first sight.

This means that as our business grows, and we gain more wholesale accounts and attend more fiber shows each year, we will have a large space in which to dye all that beautiful yarn!  Huzzah!

NEW CLUBS

We’re gearing up for our yarn clubs, and this year we’re basically offering two options;

Wulfentine Flow in ModeWerk Worsted
Wulfentine Flow in ModeWerk Worsted
Flow Club

There will be 3 shipments (Oct 15, Dec 15 & Jan 15) and you can choose a warm or cool color family AND choose the ball size (100g or 150g – great for shawls or large socks).  The yarns available will be ModeWerk Fingering or ModeSock.

Sock Yarn Club

There will be 3 shipments (Oct 15, Dec 15 & Jan 15) of these variegated skeins,  you can choose from warm or cold colors.  The skein size will be 100gr, the yarns available will be ModeWerk Fingering, ModeSock or our new ModeLuxe Sock.

We’ll open up the ordering for these clubs on Sept 15 and we’ll have general color concepts for each of the three shipments at that time!

PODCAST

We started a podcast and have produced 5 episodes.  We have another 5 to release, but due to computer constraints (my old MacBook is showing it’s age…) the podcast is on hiatus until I get a new setup — which should be soon.  Hmmm, tomorrow’s my birthday, maybe then?

We apologize for the long wait between episodes, but once we’re back up we anticipate regular releases every 2 weeks featuring interesting interviews with knit designers, authors, celebs and just plain folk who happen to love fiber!