Since the beginnings of Viola way back in 2010, my studio space has always been rather makeshift. That's actually an understatement; it's been in my parent's basement! And so, for the first time ever in the life of Viola, a proper dye studio is about to take shape!
This new studio will allow me to do so many things I've only been able to dream of in the past. Most importantly, I will be able to dye a lot more yarn. Designing my studio from scratch has allowed me to get the most out of my space (which is a lot bigger than my former basement cave!) More yarn will mean larger online updates, returning to select wholesale as well as the odd knitting show. I know how difficult it is to buy yarn in a frenzied online update, and am doing my best to offer a few more options for those who don't feel up to battling cartjackers… I'm looking out for you!
With this larger studio space, proper equipment and efficient new dyeing setup I will also be able to focus on colourway development, experimenting with technique, tools and process. The goal here is to offer a larger selection of repeatable colourways alongside the ever changing limited colourways that I love so much.
So, how is all of this going to happen exactly? The shed is already in existence. It has a red metal roof, cedar shingles, electricity, and one very cute chipmunk living in there too… it will be sad to see him go. The renovations have already begun, financed with my savings and credit cards, but I have nowhere near enough money to finish the job. And that’s where you come in! By supporting this campaign you’ll be financing the completion of my new studio space, a permanent home for Viola from which I’ll be able to dye more yarn, more efficiently and share it with MORE people around the world!
This is not just any new work space I'll be moving into either. Viola's future home is the side shed of a 100 year old general store in Mooresburg, Ontario, a tiny little town of about 17 people smack dab in the middle of the wide open farmland of Grey County. Apparently there has been a store in this specific spot from the mid 1800s (that's old for Canada!) and I am pretty happy to be continuing the tradition in my own little way.
In all of the renovations and modifications we have made and plan to make, the goal is to retain as much of the store's original character as possible. This is why selecting natural and local materials has been very important to us. Spending time there conjures thoughts of life in the county 100 years ago; inspiring the rustic, wild and simple lifestyle of Canada at that time (even if the neighbours do have a diesel powered log splitter...it's pretty fun!) In short, it's a beautiful place that makes me feel so lucky to be Canadian and I cannot wait to share it with all the lovely knitters out there!
Happily, everyone involved in this project has been creative, resourceful and very hard working. So many friends and family members have been unbelievably generous with their time and energy in order to get the project to this point. I've managed to come quite a long way through thinking (and shopping) out of the box, finding more affordable solutions to some logistical problems. But I can only get so far on my own. That's why I'm asking for help with the remaining costs of this project.
Here’s what needs to be done:
- New doors: The current doors are beautiful and very old indeed, but would let in a dreadful draft come winter time. We intend to make replacement doors that are still in keeping with the building, but a bit more cozy. No more drafts and no critters wanting to make a nest in my yarn! ($2000)
- I will be adding a second cooktop to my setup in the new space, which will double my production. ($500) So I’ll be buying an additional dyeing tray as well. ($200)
- Undyed yarn storage space: Yarn waiting to be dyed has no home at the moment. It is a nomad traveling around the house in boxes and bags. In the new studio It will be safely tucked away in moth resistant storage carts ($600).
- Drying units: This is one of the most exciting parts of the new studio for me. I have grown used to drying yarn anywhere and everywhere I can find space (the backs of chairs. dangling from stair railings, clothes lines outside...you name it!) This drying hodge podge is about to be replaced by wooden racks suspended from the ceiling where yarn will be able to dry in peace. ($400)
- Insulation! Once this is done, work in the space will be a lot easier (and warmer through the long and snowy winter) ($2000).
- There are quite a few other little bits and bobs that will be needed (something squishy to stand on rather than the hard cement floor, chalk board for dyeing schedule / list making fun, stainless steel work surface, faucet for sinks, hose for directing water about the room, buckets and washtubs for wet yarn, gaskets for draining sinks, broom and bucket for clean up - I can be a little messy - lighting fixtures, kettle, stereo, you get the idea) ($2000)
Here’s what we’ve done already:
- Remove the old earth floor and replace with a concrete floor. ($1,400)
- Electricity (for my dyepots, lighting and spin dryers) ($3,000)
- New Windows. Because more light helps when you’re looking at colours ($300)
- Wallboards (from the Amish sawmill down the road) ($600)
- Things get pretty steamy in there with all that simmering. I have upgraded to a stronger ventilation system to battle the damp. Luckily I tripped over a used one for a great price! ($50)
- Before plumbing running water into the space, I need to have all the water that I pour down the drain tested for any dangerous bits that might cause trouble to the frogs and snapping turtle who live in our pond, plus the livestock, plants, wells and river nearby. ($1500)
- Plumbing in sinks ($300)
As I said above, I have managed to pay for much of the renovations already, but need help to finish the project. So I am asking for $5000 from this Kickstarter campaign.
I think I’ve come up with some fabulous rewards too...
The Favourite Sock pattern is knit in Viola Sock yarn, and is available as a PDF download as well as a kit! You can also choose to have Viola Sock dyed in a selection of 6 favourite Viola colourways! The sock options are endless.
The brand new Mooresburg colourway and Mooresburg Double Knit yarn are exclusive to Kickstarter backers at the moment. The colourway is inspired by the colours and the landscape of Mooresburg, Grey County. Mooresburg DK yarn is raised and spun close to the new studio, just about as local as it gets!
This brand-new-for-kickstarter colourway is available on Sock yarn as well as Mooresburg DK, and will be exclusive to Kickstarter backers until the very last rewards are sent out!
There are some more ways to get your hands on Mooresburg DK yarn, one is through the first ever Viola yarn club! Over the course of 2016, you will receive 4 packages, each containing 3 skeins of Mooresburg DK in exclusive colours for club members only! Each colour will be inspired by a season of life in Mooresburg.
The last way to get your hands on Mooresburg Double Kknit yarn this year is through the surprise leeleetea kit! The lovely Natalie Selles is designing a top secret pattern using Mooresburg DK, and you can get the kits here first!
Rewards and not cumulative, meaning that they are specifically listed for each level.
If it happens that I surpass my goal of $5000 through your support and generosity, the extra money will be well spent. Beyond all of those unforseen expenses that inevitably pop up with a project such as this, any funds that surpass my goal will be put into building up an inventory of yarn that I have not been able to afford or sustain as of yet. With my efficient new dyeing set up, I can't wait to get cracking on bigger lots of yarn. Being able to keep more base yarns permanently in stock will mean filling orders faster as well as larger and more frequent online updates. I will also use any extra money in developing more specialized lines of yarn, sourcing more local wool and fibre up in Grey County and developing more yarns with my friends at John Arbon Textiles as well! So that's all good, isn't it?!
I'm thinking big here, and my long term plans for the studio and Mooresburg include all of this stuff too...
- solar panels
- harnessing the energy of our river
- skylights. because more natural light is a good thing!
- another shed for yarn drying...which means more space for dyeing!
The goal is to be as self sustainable as possible and minimize the effects I have on the surrounding environment...and to dye lots of yarn!
Very big thank you to Jane Smart for creating the video!
Thank you so much for reading over my proposal!!!
Risks and challenges
This plan relies on being able to do lots of things at the same time, but luckily I'm used to that! I feel that I have given myself a reasonable amount of time to complete the project and deliver rewards on time. Ready to get going, bring on the multitasking!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)