I knew this day would eventually come.
It is very sad for me to share with you all that my beautiful, colorful, soft, shiny, drapy yarn Julia, named after my sweet daughter, has been discontinued by the manufacturer Westminster Fibers. Spun out of 25% Mohair, 25% Alpaca, and 50% Wool, this yarn was my creation - my choice for knitting and designing for the past seven or eight years (I don't even know!). The color line has been full of beautiful rich colors that duplicate how I live my life. Shades from the handmade, historic and world textiles I have collected over my adult lifetime and colors from glorious Mother Nature and my garden have been my inspiration and muse for each and every color I have introduced.
I was lucky to be able to use Julia exclusively in my two latest books - Color by Kristin and Kristin Knits. For me, that was a very big deal. Most publishers want you to mix up the yarn sources but I was able to use my yarn exclusively. That's why the books look so cohesive - because the colors are all mine and tell a story.
Yesterday I was at Webs in Northampton - where all good yarns go to fade away. I was speaking with the dynamic Kathy Elkins (co-owner, wife to Steve and Mom to two fine boys) and she was commiserating with me over the loss of my yarn. She did pay me and my yarn a huge compliment. What Kathy said was that when someone purchased my Julia, they were buying a package - a lifestyle - a vision for what life with knitting should be in Kristin's world. That was very kind of her and it made me think about what I have been doing for the past seven years while I have been toiling away trying to support my yarn, my color range, my designs, my vision. I was thinking so hard I got on the wrong ramp to 91 and headed south of home - only to be a half hour late in getting home to meet Julia at the bus. Oops!
It's an unspoken rule of the yarn biz - almost all yarns eventually fade away. Yarn companies come and go at an astounding rate. It's not an easy business to succeed in and most of the people in it are doing it for their passion for knitting, crochet, and creating. Noone is getting rich at this folks so just erase that fantasy from your mind. It is a business like every other business full of sku's, bank loans, profit and loss statements, taxes, inventory, trade shows, sales representatives, advertising costs, computers, and so much more. It really takes a lot to get a yarn to market and on that shelf of your local yarn store. I don't think most knitters think about that, nor should they. It's just that it is very complicated and not easy at all. If a yarn company sticks around, they have to change their product mix very quickly and keep turning their inventory. I know all the ins and outs of the yarn biz (I was the VP and Creative Director at Classic Elite Yarns for 16 years). I went into my Julia with my eyes wide open and with lots of experience in my business career. I was not surprised when I got the news that Westminster would not be supporting my yarn anymore and that the Nashua line would be discontinued. Sad yes but inevitable in this day in age. The folks at Nashua/Westminster/Coats and Clark have been incredibly kind and supportive to me for many years and for that I thank them from the very bottom of my heart. They are moving their company forward in other ways and my little Julia yarn just doesn't fit in anymore.
What I will miss is the colors and my ability to bring in a beautiful new shade to my knitwear design - like an artist mixing up a new paint color for their canvas. It's been a great opportunity for me - bringing my vision to the LYS world. We had a long run with it and has been a good ride. But now it is time for me to move on to other pursuits. I can't wait to see what I morph myself into next. Life is a process - a pile of papers and layers, one building upon the one just below it.
Moral of the story is this my friends - If you find a yarn you like and fall in love with it when it is on your needles - buy a lot of it when it is available because it may disappear very quickly. Sales are the only way to drive the success or failure of a yarn - yarn can't just look pretty on a yarn store shelf - it has to move to the cash register. Otherwise it will end up at Webs where all good yarns go to fade away.
Webs has got a good stock of colors of Julia right now. Here is the link to the close-out. (I was weeping inside when I wrote this last sentence.) It is priced at $3.99 per ball (which was the wholesale price). If you have always wanted to try it, here's your opportunity. If you just want to knit a whole bunch of the multi-color projects from one of my books, I suggest you order 1 or 2 balls of every color and it will keep you busy at least for this winter.
Life goes on..... My two books are still in print and as far as I know, will remain in print. They are available as always on my shop page (signed if you want). I still intend to continue designing and knitting with my Julia as I have lots of stock in my knitting stash. You just won't be able to get the same colors or fiber quality when you are knitting my designs. The Julia is a worsted weight yarn and there are many yarns available in similar weights.
I thank all of you for your kind words of support and encouragement that you so often share with me. I know how busy you all are and the fact that you take a moment out of your day to read my thoughts and stories is very special. Have a great day everyone. Farewell Julia the yarn - not the daughter!