What lead you to becoming a yarn producer?
Jorstad Creek’s focus is on color and how to create beautiful, multi-dimensional color. As Jorstad Creek’s founder, I (Kerry) was trained in fiber arts at the local college in my hometown, and later on took up painting as a hobby. As an avid knitter I wanted to create the yarn I wanted to knit with, yarn that would inspire. I launched Jorstad Creek out of my home six years ago.
Where do you create?
Jorstad Creek has a workshop in downtown Olympia, Washington. The Northern is a small industrial warehouse that we’ve cleaned up, painted, and made into a comfortable enclave for the creative process. We work on creating yarns with locally grown and ethically sourced wools, and we also prepare fleece to be spun at mills. We dye all yarns ourselves, in our studio, and sell it in the studio, area yarn shops, and at fiber shows. We also collaborate with the BK Collective, the design company that creates patterns for Jorstad Creek Yarns.
What inspires you to do what you do?
I am fascinated with color and the science of how we see and react to color. I am inspired by nature in the Pacific Northwest and how our unique weather makes color look particularly beautiful. The Pacific Northwest is famous for its diffuse lighting because of the frequent overcast skies that create the conditions for color to look amazing, especially in Fall and Winter.
Can you walk us through one of your yarns from start to finish?
Our fingering weight “Cornwall” is a blend of Blue-Faced Leicester (BFL), with a little bit of cashmere and nylon. I love this yarn because of its multi-dimensional qualities. It is luxurious to touch and wonderfully tactile. It drapes but also has a wonderful loft to it. It also has excellent stitch definition and works well to knit textured stitches and lace. I particularly like the way it looks and feels in simple garter stitch. In terms of color, Cornwall is a wonderful yarn to dye. You can create either saturated jewel tones or more subtle muted neutrals with Cornwall; we’ve had fun testing the range of colors and effects of Cornwall.
The BFL fiber for this yarn is sourced from Britain where this breed of sheep originated. BFL is a rare breed of sheep, and their wool has a natural sheen. Spinners and knitters re-discovered this fiber, and dyers were delighted to find that it is excellent in the dye pot. The revival of this rare breed has created a wool appreciated by knitters looking for something more durable than Merino.