Tools + Supplies

Published on October 1st, 2009 | by Kelly Rand


Yearn Worthy Yarn: Spiritual Trail Fibers

This week’s Yearn Worthy Yarn comes from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Spiritual Trail Fibers specializes in rare, endangered, and unusual breed spinning fibers.

This spinnery offers many types of fibers, which are all hand spun and then hand dyed or painted in small batches.

You’ll find merino, superwash merino, cashmere, alpaca and tussah silk and blends as part of their yarn line. All the fibers come from small farms where Spiritual Trail has built a relationship with. And while they do carry conventional silk, 100% tussah silk and tussah silk blends make their way into Spiritual Trail Fibers’ offerings too.

The fibers are then dyed, or painted by hand in a process that is gentle on the environment:

Each batch of yarn or fiber is dyed individually. We utilize washfast acid dyes to obtain a vast array of color possibilities, and vinegar as a safe and gentle mordant. Our yarns and fibers are carefully handpainted with soulful attention to detail to ensure beautiful colorwork and uniform color saturation. They are wrapped and gently steamed in large pots, left to cool to ensure complete dye saturation, and hung to dry naturally outdoors in the sun and gentle breezes of Rappahannock County , Virginia . They are then rinsed several times to remove any residual dye (though some, like red, tend to bleed even after this process). Essential oils of eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender are added to the final rinse to deter pests.

The result is really lovely. Soft earth colors are found throughout Spiritual Trail’s yarn. And since each batch is dyed individually, keep close attention as to how many skeins are available to get the most relevant dye lot for your project.

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About the Author

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting. Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.

3 Responses to Yearn Worthy Yarn: Spiritual Trail Fibers

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  3. Sarah says:

    I live in Rappahannock county, so it makes me giddy to see this!

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