*Note. This post was written over the course of 3 days worth of nap-times. Obviously my son felt the need to sleep little, hence the reason this post is dated Jan 2nd instead of Dec 31st. 😉
What a year. A lot has been going on and each step of the way I’ve thought to myself “I need to write a post and update everyone”, but then in the wee hours of the night I find myself editing a podcast, replying to emails or working on patterns instead of writing this. But now I sit here, in our little cabin in Idaho, with hopefully about an hour of peace and warmth in front of the fire to share with you, where we’re at now.
I have always been one to jump in head first, take on what some might say far too much and work as hard as I can to execute said work with both intention and determination. Passion is one of the drivers, but more than that, is my family. Balance has never been a strong suit of mine, however as I’ve taken more on with my career as a designer, and with Woolful, I’ve tried to be cognizant of the fact that my first love and desires belong to my family.
When I started Woolful in April, I had no idea where it would lead me or what it would become, and I still don’t really, but I have gotten a glimpse of where it’s going and I’m excited…and humbled. I didn’t expect to start a shop, but it just kind of came to be after spending time with these amazing fiber folks for the podcast. I hope in some small way I can help bring light to what they were doing and inspire fiber enthusiasts to take a closer look at and create a connection with the material they are using and creating. In the same vein, I launched a podcast which focuses on helping build that same connection, sharing fiber journey’s of some of the most dedicated, loving and passionate people I know.
And the mill. In September we closed on our 40 acre ranch in Idaho, with the plan (and dreams) to build a fiber mill. My parents and David and I bought the property together, with hopes to build a legacy for our family there. My parents live in the cute little cabin, which has it’s fair share of rough spots that we’re working through. Busted pipes, rotting subfloor, janky staircase, drafty walls and windows, etc. But it doesn’t really matter. You work through it as you do with anything in life and you come out on the other side, better (and hopefully more skilled) because of it. The truth is, we didn’t buy the ranch for the cabin, we bought it for the land it sits on. 40 acres of breathtakingly beautiful timber and pasture. Our field of dreams.
We’re up in Idaho now, and each time we are, it’s both restorative and agonizing. Restorative for the obvious reasons, agonizing because we long so badly to be here permanently, to raise our son and future kids in the fresh air and open land instead of the big city. But all in time, and there is a plan, albeit one that could very well change as many plans do. The plan is to save for the next several months and then buy a yurt. Spend next Summer building the platform for the yurt, then setting up the yurt itself and building other things such as an outhouse (a nice one, don’t worry we have expert outhouse builders guiding us 😉 and possibly a mud room. This will most definitely take more time than we anticipate, but our goal is to have it complete by the end of 2015. At what point we move and live in the yurt permanently is yet to be decided…could be a year, could be 2 or more. I’m learning to go with the flow and be flexible.
Meanwhile, we have begun the grant research and writing process for a variety of grants that will help us build the fiber mill and business. This stuff is a lot of work, and something we’re considering hiring a grant writer for, we’ll let you know what we decide. 🙂 The other thing we are working on is deciding funding. Our goal is to do this without loans. A lofty goal we know, but one we’re confident we can achieve with the support of our community, grants and lots of penny pinching. I’ll write about each of these things in more detail as we progress through the process and have helpful information to share.
We picked the site for the mill on the property! It’s a beautiful spot with great access to water and power, it sits right next to a wide creek with wide spread wooded views. When I stand outside I can see everything. The stone and log wood structure, with windows lining each side. A small front area that welcomes guests with it’s pot belly stove and rockers, baskets full of yarn and fiber ready to knit and spin. Then you walk through large french doors that lead to the milling machines. A picker, carder, pin drafter, spinning frame and more. Large canvas laundry carts on wheels helping move the fiber along through each step. In the back we’ll have a special enclosed area where all the fiber is scoured using sustainable methods, including a greywater system. Then you step out the back to a porch that overlooks the creek. Here is where the evenings end and future dreams (of sheep) will be discussed. Like I said, I can see it, can you? 😉
One of the exciting things that’s happened since we got the property is we converted an old milking parlor into a natural dye studio. We’re slowly setting it up, and by Summer it’ll be in full swing. I’ve been dyeing it in non-stop for the Natural Dye Yarn Club and it’s been wonderful, but I’m excited about some improvements we have planned, such as a small wood stove. I’ve been dyeing this whole past week in sub zero temperatures and it’s been interesting. More on that adventure in a separate post…I have lots of great photos and notes to share.
Lastly, I wanted you guys to know how incredibly supported we’ve felt this year, through all of our ambitious endeavors. Naturally I’m a bit of an introvert, but I realized quickly in life that if I want to help build awareness, connections, advocacy, relationships, etc…I needed to put myself out there in some way and you all have greeted me with encouragement and grace. I appreciate it more than you will ever know. And as always, please please never hesitate to reach out here or by email or wherever. I may not have the chance to reply in a timely fashion (I’m trying!) but I read everything and it keeps me humble and full of thanks.
Much love in this new year, 2015 is going to be magical.