It's afternoon on our last day with Julie and JF. Our work is done, and we're sitting around sharing a snack and drink before we say goodbye. We talk about Julie's history as a maker and designer, and the difference between a dyer and a yarn maker. At what point can you say you made a yarn, instead of dying somebody else's?
"Nobody is really a yarn maker", says Julie. "Well, unless you're a sheep farmer who also does hand spinning. Most people need to work with somebody else to source the fiber or get the yarn spun. But I think you can say you're a yarn maker if you're involved in every step of the process."
Our conversation expands to the industry in general, and the amount of time and effort it takes to build up a viable business. Julie says the advice she gives people who are just starting out is this: "If you're going to start a business, it really needs to be your own, where you truly believe you're doing something new. It needs to have a purpose."
We reflect on that. Does our yarn have a purpose? Yes, we believe it does. We started this project hoping to learn firsthand about yarn production, and to share what we learned with our customers and readers. In those respects, we'd like to think we've succeeded. We've certainly gained a lot of insight into what goes into yarn making. And if you've been following along, we hope you've found this glimpse of the process as interesting as we have. Thanks very much for taking the time to read this!
And have we lived up to Julie's other standard, and made something new? Well, there are certainly other 100% wool, woolen spun, two ply, worsted weight, hand dyed yarns in existence. But this particular yarn feels like it has its own unique personality. Like the people whose hands have touched it along the way, it's warm, friendly, and hard working. It's beautiful, but it's not fussy. It didn't come from the fanciest of sheep, it wasn't spun on the most modern of equipment, and it wasn't dyed using the most efficient or precise process. But we wouldn't have had it any other away.
Hold a skein under your nose and inhale, and it's all there. The sheep at Noon Family Sheep Farm. The vegetable-based organic spinning oil that kept the wool moving through the machines at Green Mountain Spinnery. The colorful dyes in Julie and JF's studio. We take a sniff and can't help but smile as it all comes back to mind. We hope that smell puts smiles on the faces of knitters, too, as they imagine where their skein of yarn has been, and then start knitting their own chapter into its colorful history.