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Yarn, Organic and U.S. Mfg. - Design & Dye yarns from wool, cotton & other natural fibers in an organically certified U.S. Dyehouse!
592 backers pledged $41,782 to help bring this project to life.

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$41,782

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Skeins of wool yarn waiting to go into the Dyehouse - Photography by Peter Hageman
Skeins of wool yarn waiting to go into the Dyehouse - Photography by Peter Hageman

REWARDS UPDATE and Stretch Goal #2 - July 14, 2013 - 72 Hours & Counting!  $9500 and an organic cotton yarn production run! 

So - we have a plan! 

First and as always, thanks to everyone - we have accomplished so much more than expected.  But then we shouldn't have been surprised - our target - knitters, fiber artists and the organic world! 

Second, Ken has started the "intense" negotiations for the package dyeing equipment. 

www.negotiations.com
www.negotiations.com

Even better we have dollars to think about more product development.  Two weeks ago - we added socks - organic wool, washable and organically dyed.  Still - the feedback was - what else can you do?  After all - we live in the world of textiles.

Photo by Sandra Cunningham, Stocksy
Photo by Sandra Cunningham, Stocksy

 So we started talking about organic cotton.  If you read the updates - we have a source, we have our "Mad Scientist" Dyemaster, and we will have the equipment.  Remembering that package dyeing is about doing finer yarns - this is a perfect project to test our new equipment!  So - if you are a weaver - our new 1lb. cone reward will be right up your alley!  If you are a knitter and if there are enough $$$ - we will follow very quickly with a 1000 lb. production run in time for the holidays!  As always - we could not have done this without our backers and now what is quickly becoming our Dyehouse Kickstarter Team!  

Reward #1

Oh -what should we do with the extra $$$ besides being incredibly thankful?

Easy - support what our backers are telling us! 

Maine and Organic Socks, Photography by Deirdre Malfatto, Stocksy
Maine and Organic Socks, Photography by Deirdre Malfatto, Stocksy

We are able to source some organic wool for socks that can be spun right here in Maine!  With a Sept. delivery, we can have colorful, organically dyed socks in your hands by late October. (The sock knitter needs a little time as well).

If this trial sock run goes well and we have a lot of satisfied Kickstarter backers - we will keep "trucking" with a growing line of Dyehouse Organic Socks out of our package (cone) dyeing equipment!  Who knows what might be next!  

Oh, by the way -  did we tell you our "Mad Scientist" is pricing equipment?

  Reward Update #2

A huge group of loyal Dyehouse followers are those of you who use the Paternayan, 3 ply wool for various projects - needlepoint, rugs and liturgical pieces.  For any Paternayan backer who wants Paternayan yarn instead of the organic skeins - no problem!  We will substitute skein for skein.   

Claudia and Ken 

The Project - Designing and producing the first Dyehouse line of organic yarns.

Saco River Dyehouse is the only U.S. yarn dyeing facility certified under the international Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).  Combining the talent of our two dye-masters with the commitment of our Dyehouse team, the Dyehouse is ready to launch its first organically dyed line of yarn.  The Best Part - with your help, the Project will result not only in the production of this original Dyehouse yarn, it will also help take us to the next step - by adding "package dyeing" equipment.  The goal is to use environmentally friendly packaging dyeing as part of the process in developing beautiful organically dyed yarns while decreasing energy and water consumption by up to 40%. 

 Why Support this Project? 

  • You believe in the importance of using organic dyes for organic wool and speciality fiber yarns, knitting yarns that are difficult to find in today’s markets.
  • You believe in the resurgence of small U.S. textile manufacturing.
  • You believe in local businesses creating jobs in their communities.
  • You believe a knitter can never have too much yarn - especially yarns made of alpaca and other natural fibers -  yarns that are part of the Project Rewards.
  • More Importantly:  What do you get for your support?  A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who contributes to and supports this project.

What will $25K accomplish?

  • $25K allows us to purchase raw wool, design a color palette for the organic line and purchase two small package dyeing machines. Old or new, this equipment uses less water and energy compared to the traditional skein dyeing process. 
  • Stretch Goal:  If we are lucky enough to exceed our goal, we will add the machine seen in our video and move on to design and produce our next lines of organic yarn. 

You ask - What is Package Dyeing? 

Package dyeing is a process allowing the Dyehouse to dye yarn on perforated cones, complementing our current skein dyeing system. Package dyeing machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have common factors such as decreased water and electricity consumption (up to 30-40%), decreased chemical costs and shortened processing times. To learn more about the differences visit our website at www.sacoriverdyehouse.com.

Example of a Modern Package Dyeing Machine - Source: www.toreuse.com
Example of a Modern Package Dyeing Machine - Source: www.toreuse.com
Package Dyeing - Source: www.mh-eastex.com
Package Dyeing - Source: www.mh-eastex.com

You ask - What is Skein Dyeing-our current technology?

Skein dyeing remains important and serves the hand-knitting market incredibly well.  In operating this type of equipment, the Dyehouse is already sensitive to ensuring minimal environmental impact.  We use "friendly dyes" without strong acids and find ways to decrease water consumption. We also re-circulate and ph neutralize dye water for safe discharge consistent with Maine State environmental requirements.  

Skein Dyeing Tank - Photography by Kyle Atwell
Skein Dyeing Tank - Photography by Kyle Atwell
Skein Dyeing - Our Drying Racks
Skein Dyeing - Our Drying Racks
A Skeining Machine from the Original Dyehouse in Manhattan - Photography by Kyle Atwell
A Skeining Machine from the Original Dyehouse in Manhattan - Photography by Kyle Atwell

Our Raw Materials

Did we tell you that our raw materials such as alpaca will be sourced domestically and from small family farms?  If our raw fiber is not purchased from U.S. farms, we will work in collaboration with one of our spinning mill partners to obtain the best organic wool possible.  We use GOTS certified organic dyes and will produce our original organically dyed yarn line in a palette of the 2013 fall Pantone colors. 

You ask - How Did it all Start? 

Our story starts with a small designer and producer group of hand knitting yarns who were dismayed to hear the 100 year old dye house they were using was closing its doors in May 2012!  This is where the adventure began.    

Photography by Branislav Jovanovic - Stocksy
Photography by Branislav Jovanovic - Stocksy

As yarn producing customers, the closing of the Dyehouse was yet another hurdle we faced as we tried to expand our domestic yarn lines.  We would also lose a place to create and develop expertise for our organic yarn line.   After talking with local bankers about how one might go about buying 100 year old dyehouse equipment,

Are you crazy?
Are you crazy?

a group of us gathered up our pennies, packed our bags, and traveled to Massachusetts in July 2012 to load up the Dyehouse equipment. 

Gathering up our pennies! Photo by Shutterstock
Gathering up our pennies! Photo by Shutterstock

Returning to Maine,  our next step was to lease 18,000 sq. ft. in the North Dam Mill Complex and install the equipment! 

Photography by Pam Allen, Quince & Co.
Photography by Pam Allen, Quince & Co.

To re-open the Dyehouse doors, we got our hammers and, with a dose of Yankee ingenuity and determination, went about reclaiming space in an old textile mill.  In January, we started dyeing our first "pieces" of yarn.  

What Can the Dyehouse Accomplish? 

Lots!  Even with limited $$$, one of our first steps was to obtain organic certification under the international Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).   In having the right equipment and developing our expertise to dye organically in commercial volumes - we have a unique opportunity to now grow our own organic product line.  

There is also a lot to be said for the history and expertise of the U.S. textile industry and the local community.  At Saco River Dyehouse we have the setting, the traditions and, more importantly, the commitment of the community and its families who have worked in the textile industry for decades.  Combine this with new technology, new products and some creative thinking - why wouldn't we want to try? 

What's In It for us?

Claudia and Ken have lived and worked in Maine for more than 23 years.  Being able to say we are helping re-build a part of the textile industry in Biddeford, Maine is nothing short of a personal goal. The real secret, however, goes back to some of the "defining" moments in our lives and reaches beyond Maine. Our experience is that "yarn" remains one of those "funny little threads" that gives us the opportunity to "knit" together solutions.  Typically, the issues in our own communities are not necessarily new, sexy or even different from other local communities be they in Maine or elsewhere.  The real common thread is more about finding ways and settings to cross over borders, cultures, and genders.  So call us idealistic, but we are grateful to be part of a small Maine company that can make a difference at a time when it often seems difficult for us to “just listen” to one another.  We hope we have told our story in a way that will encourage you to support the efforts of the Saco River Dyehouse Team and become a part of the organically dyed yarns we want to produce.  

Risks and challenges

A common problem in a manufacturing process is to have the raw materials on hand to fulfill customer demands. In the event the Project were to exceed its original funding goals, we may have to coordinate the additional production of yarn. This could result in a delay in fulfillment.

Our Dyemasters have already developed the color palette for the first run of the organic Dyehouse Yarns. Sample dyeing is about to begin so we do not anticipate any risks in color development.

Lobster bakes in Maine are always subject to weather. In the event an organization books a trip and weather is a problem, alternative arrangements will be made. If a situation exists where scheduling does not meet the Kickstarter deadline, alternative arrangements can also be made.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2 or more About US$ 2.00

    THANK YOU - Our very emotional thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Follow the Project on the Dyehouse blog and on our Facebook page. We promise to keep talking about what is happening!

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    THE DYEHOUSE KICKSTARTER "WALL OF FAME"-- Receive credit for helping to support this awesome project! We are creating a spectacular space at the entrance of the Dyehouse to thank our Kickstarter supporters. For $5 - we will list your name on the Kickstarter Wall of Fame and send you picture of the Wall to post on your website or FB page.

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    Pledge US$ 18 or more About US$ 18

    DYEHOUSE ILLUSTRATION - A signed Dyehouse poster with 1 of 3 wicked cool scenes from the Dyehouse. Numbered and signed by our Dyemasters - Don or Malik, the posters are suitable for framing and hanging in your apartment, studio, workspace or wherever. Your name listed on the Dyehouse Kickstarter Wall of Fame.

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    Pledge US$ 32 or more About US$ 32

    STRETCH REWARD #1, THE KICKSTARTER ORGANIC SOCK ADVENTURE!
    Since we were funded by our backers from the knitting and fiber artist community so quickly, we looked at new rewards that would promote development of more U.S. made organic yarns. This reward is for two pairs of socks made from washable organic wool with just a little nylon for durability. Your name listed on the Dyehouse Kickstarter Wall of Fame. Although Ken and Claudia have done "socks" in another life - this is our first experience with an organic yarn and socks so we need a little time to complete design and preliminary testing.

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    Pledge US$ 38 or more About US$ 38

    STRETCH REWARD #2 - AN ORGANIC WEAVER'S COTTON -ORGANICALLY DYED.
    If you have been following the Project - you will know we found a U.S. source for organic cotton. We are going to do a small test run and we would love to share the results. This level of reward is for one lb. of what we know will be a colorful and wonderful cotton weaving yarn. To product test and share with our Kickstarter Backers, we are starting our first test run with 173 lbs. of 10/2 cotton at 4200 yds/lb.!

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    Pledge US$ 48 or more About US$ 48

    "2 - 4 oz. SKEINS OF DYEHOUSE ORGANIC YARN" and A DYEHOUSE T-SHIRT of CAP - The skeins are a DK weight and will be from our initial run of the Dyehouse Organic Yarns AND your choice of an organic Tee-shirt or cap with the Dyehouse logo. Our first run of the Dyehouse's organically dyed yarn is a U.S. farm sourced alpaca and merino blend. Your name listed on the Dyehouse Kickstarter Wall of Fame

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    Pledge US$ 65 or more About US$ 65

    "KNITTER'S BAG OF ORGANIC YARN - Your choice of 4 skeins of either our DK weight of alpaca/merino blend or an organic wool/tencel blend delivered in our Dyehouse Knitter's Bag of Organic Yarn. The Bag will be produced in line with our commitment to U.S. production and use of sustainable materials. Your name listed on the Dyehouse Kickstarter Wall of Fame.

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    Pledge US$ 115 or more About US$ 115

    THE "ULTIMATE" KNITTERS BAG OF ORGANIC YARN--8 skeins in our Knitter's Bag and your choice of a Dyehouse Tee-shirt or cap. Your name listed on the Dyehouse Kickstarter Wall of Fame.

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    Pledge US$ 275 or more About US$ 275

    A GROUP VISIT - The Dyehouse is a pretty great space in an old mill setting and the manufacturing history fascinating. Schedule a 1/2 day visit to the Dyehouse including lunch. Meet the Dyehouse Team, watch the dyeing process and leave with a Dyehouse Tee-shirt or cap.

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    Pledge US$ 2,400 or more About US$ 2,400

    THE "ULTIMATE" EVENT REWARD INCLUDING A MAINE LOBSTER BAKE--Your group's name listed in a special section on the Dyehouse Kickstarter Wall of Fame, a visit to the Dyehouse, and spend some time talking with our Dyemasters about your project. The tour will be followed by a Maine Lobster Bake at the Dyehouse. Each participant will leave with a Dyehouse Knitter's Bag of Organic Yarn containing 4 skeins and a Dyehouse Tee-shirt or cap. Transportation and accommodations are not included, but the Dyehouse will assist in coordinating your visit. Touring a U.S. operated dyehouse in an old historic mill is a truly unique and educational experience. A minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 participants is required for this ultimate event!

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Funding period

- (30 days)