Meet Our Vendor: Yarnarchy
We are happy Yarnarchy is joining our winter show. A perfect gift for your knitting, crochet, crafty friends and family!
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jennie Bryan-Goforth, and I am a fiber artist and teacher. I am the owner of Yarnarchy, which offers Radical Yarn for Radical Projects. Featuring handpainted, handspun yarn as well as kits, patterns, fiber, and accessories. Art yarns, handspun single and plied yarns, handpainted sock yarns…made in small batches, sustainably produced in the foothills of the North Cascades. A fourth generation spinner and lifelong craftsperson, I ply my trade in a little stone cottage in the middle of a hundred acre wood, playing with color all day long. My process is unique in that all of my work may be done without electricity. I use spring water or collected rainwater and an antique gas/wood stove for dyeing and I spin on a non-electic wheel.
Any new exciting news you’d like to share with our readers?
My work is absolutely handmade, and my entire process may be accomplished without electric tools or other modern technology. I have intentionally kept my business at a level which allows me to produce my goods by hand. This may have some effect on my profits, but I feel that my handmade process is really integral to the product, image, and ethics of Yarnarchy. When people ask me about my process, or about handmade yarn…I wish there were an opportunity to make and share a little video about what I do with each person. Handpainting and handspinning yarn means that every inch of yarn passes through my fingers at least 8 times as it changes from undyed roving to finished yarn. I think this might be a more literal definition of “handmade.” Because of my location and lifestyle, there is also an intimacy with the tooling and supplies I use to create my products. From collecting and carrying gallons of rainwater for dyeing, chopping wood and lighting a fire in a woodstove to heat and set the dyes, and even the colorways themselves which are often inspired by the amazing natural beauty surrounding my workspace; there is a unique connection with the yarn that I think tells a wonderful story of art, sustainability, nature, and the value of handmade.
What is your favorite new product for 2017?
I have really expanded my Bliss Bundles, a three yarn treasure trove of color and texture. These bundles are truly one of my favorites, and I am tempted to keep nearly every one I make! All of the fiber used for the bundles is dyed at the same time, and it’s really interesting to see how the different fibers react to the dye. I’ve also expanded my sock yarn line to include a few new products including a cashmere blend, and have some great sock yarn kits available as well.
What do you love most about craft show vending?
I love to meet customers! Most of my sales are online, which really limits my ability to interact and connect with the artists and craftspeople who use my yarn. I love seeing return customers wearing amazing items created with Yarnarchy products, and hearing their own inspiration and stories. I also try to offer spinning demos at craft shows, and love to see the amazed expressions in children and adults who have never seen yarn made before. I have met some amazing folks at craft shows!
Is this a full-time business for you?
Yes! This business is full time for most of the year. Yarnarchy launched in 2007 but really became a full time gig in 2008. I’ve built my life to really be connected to the seasons…the busiest season for yarn tends starts in late August and slows down in May. At that time, I become busier with working on our permaculture farm and teaching sustainable living skills like food preservation, gardening, and homesteading although I still work on dyeing over the summer months. My yarn colorways tend to reflect the seasonal changes- for example, spring colorways are inspired by the sudden tender growth on the forest floor and lovely blossoms covering the trees. At this time of year, we’re wrapping up the final bit of farming, with a root cellar stocked full of colorful fruits and vegetables, rain and sun and snow, and autumn leaves everywhere. I live in a truly gorgeous place, and it is easy to find inspiration in my surroundings.
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?
I have had so many great experiences…the time I admired a woman with a fantastic shawl walk through an event, commenting to a friend about the amazing garment. She entered my booth to show off her wrap which had been made entirely with Yarnarchy yarn over the course of a year! Or the customer who purchased a yarn club membership and asked me to send her complimentary colors, as she knit a sweater one skein at a time over the course of the year membership. It was great fun to choose a new yarn for her each month. But probably my favorite experience has been with a woman who was a hospice chaplain for many years and has become a Buddist nun-she has been knitting prayer shawls for terminal cancer patients with my yarn. It is really an honor to play a small role in creating such comfort and beauty.
Be sure you are following us on Instagram for your chance to win a skein of single ply handspun yarn! 100 yards, 100% wool, in your choice of colorway.