Monday, June 11, 2007

Your Yarn Dollars At Work

Thank you very much for all the Anniversary wishes. I enjoyed reading those. Doug and I went out for dinner, a movie (Waitress -- very cute and heartwarming), and dessert.

You might hate me when you're done reading this post, and I wouldn't blame you. I'd hate me too.

I get a lot of questions about how it works around here. Well, dyed yarn sells...

And I pack it up and mail it out. I usually have a lot of packages to ship on Monday. Orders that come in between Friday and Sunday go out on Monday, and it seems I get a lot of orders between Friday and Sunday. This is last week's weekend batch. This week's was huge as I had a sale on Saturday.

Mail out means income in, so for the first few months, I have used a lot of it to build up a large to-dye-stash. That stack of stacks is about 2/3 of what I have on hand to dye. Yes, that is a lot of yarn.

Where do I buy my yarn? People ask. Everywhere! I buy it from a lot of different local and internet yarn retailers in the US and Canada. Whenever someone posts a good sale or close-out deal on quality yarns, I get in there and buy a lot. I have a wonderful whole-sale arrangement with Wool2Dye4, an online shop in the US, and I buy Trekking Superwash Sock yarn in bulk from the UK. I buy from independent farm operations, basically any place that offers a product I will enjoy dyeing, and that knitters will enjoy knitting.

Yarn-to-dye-stash gets converted into dyed-stash and listed on Etsy. Many yarns do not make it into those bins. They go straight from the drying rack to the mailer pack, and out the door.

I get asked variations on this question: What's it like to own all those amazing dyed yarns? Or: What's it like to have that stash in your house? Or: How can you part with all those yarns?

The answer: I used to work at a bank, where I handled thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. The money was no temptation since it did not feel real. It felt like Monopoly money to me, and so does the yarn. The yarn in stash for dyeing and the yarn I dye and send out do not feel like "my" yarn, and I keep them in a separate room and bins from my personal stash. Unless I take one of them for myself, they do not feel like they are mine, and I do not feel a sense of loss as they go. I love the idea that others will get to own them and knit with them.

But the money that comes into my account from all these sales, now THAT feels like mine. And it's a really cool feeling because I haven't earned my own money for nearly ten years. This job has been a regular paying event around here, and I am loving it. The money goes into my Paypal account, and I use it from there to buy more yarn for dyeing. I transfer cash into our bank account to pay off my start-up costs for launching this business. And, we do need to pay off a car as well as re-build a fence and put a new roof on our house over this next year. It feels good to be able to contribute towards those expenses too. I just gave Doug his birthday present a month and a half early, and I paid for it myself. A very cool feeling.

And...(and this is the part that might make you hate me). I buy myself amazing treats that I wouldn't have bought before. It all comes out of Paypal without ever touching our regular family finances. To me, it feels like barter. I dye yarn and "trade" it for all sorts of other wonderful things. The things I buy from etsy, and treat yarn purchases. Like this:

Yes, that really is four skeins of Tilli Thomas Pure and Simple Silk in a colorway called Forest.

And yes, that really is two skeins of Tilli Thomas Rock Star in Olive

Don't they look amazing together? Little knits had a sale on TT, and I've had my eye on that Simple Knitted Bodice by Stitch Diva for the longest time. I don't have as much knitting time as I used to have, so I figure I'll make it count by making something extra special. This stuff is sooooooo dreamy.


Terri said...

I think it's wonderful that you are able to do this, and you should be able to spoil yourself with TT! My question is HOW do you dye these yarns in such spectacular colorways? I want to learn in the worst way!

Joan said...

No jealousy Jayne just happiness for you. And for me, I'd rather have a Jayne hand dyed wool yarn than a TT yarn anyday. But you enjoy!

jayne said...

Aw, Joan, aren't you the sweetest!

Terri, I posted how to dye on my blog a while back. I'll re-post the link. The method itself is a lot of fun. You can play and see what you come up with.

Lisa W. said...

Well Done Jayne! It's so great to make some moola! doing what you love to do. Good job on the self spoiling too...i had to pass on that TT due to the SF trip.....but I'll enjoy yours vicariously! It's obvious this makes ya happy and that's just the best!

Les said...

Yay Jayne! so glad that your biz is doing what it should. You have to very organized to be able to do this and keep the business end of things in order! Lots of behind the scenes work! Good going!
Must be very hard to keep the hands off the TTomas. I've never seen it in person! Hurray for treats!

Anonymous said...

I don't hate you, I am very happy for you, and I am glad that business is booming. You deserve it!

Anonymous said...

No worries about being hated. We, too, have jobs we love which enable us to provide for our families AND buy your yarn! Dyeing yarn sounds dreadfully boring to me...but I love knitting it so I'm glad you like to do it. You've posted before about all the jobs you've had...I hope this is the one that brings you satisfaction. You are very good at it. One suggestion: if one of the stitch markers in your sets of six was slightly different from the others (to mark the beginning of the round), I'd be more inclined to buy them!!

jayne said...

Hey, cool idea, Anonymous! I love it!! I'm going to go post that idea right now.

Here's what I'm going to do: I like keeping my stitch marker sets at 6.00, so I will include a mystery marker with each set sold to use in the way you described.

If you would email me and identify yourself, I would love to send you a free set of markers for coming up with such a grand idea!

Having a Knit Fitt said...

Good for you, Jayne. Finding such a great way to earn income for your family and treats for yourself.

Madge said...

It's so great you're having such success with your dying business, Jayne! No jealously here, just happiness that it's enriching your life AND allowing for some Tilli Thomas (ah, those colors!) to enter the stash.


Ann-Marie said...

i love this post. it echoes how i am feeling about my little etsy shop.
i like that even though i am home with my kids, i am doing something i love and using "my money"..
no jealousy here--good for you!!!!