FiberCrafty Files

  • Learning About Rug Yarn

    When I started down the path of FiberCrafty, I considered myself pretty educated in the fiber world. But as shops started adding products to FiberCrafty, I began seeing things I wasn’t familiar with. Turns out I was pretty educated in my own little corner of the fiber world but not in the fiber world at large.  

    Knitted rug by Julie from Alpacamom.com

    Rug yarn made appearances in the Brigadoon Fiber Farm and Alpacamom.com shops and sparked my curiosity. Then it showed up again in the Wynham Farms with GotMyGoat shop.  I guessed that since I didn’t know much about it, there were others in the same boat. So I started asking questions to see what I could learn.

    It seems obvious, right? Its RUG yarn. But what does that mean?  It means it is really ideal for sturdy, heavy duty projects like rugs (told you!), pillow coverings, large blankets, poufs (you have probably seen those knitted floor cushions or foot rests), totes or baskets. It uses much larger needles or hooks or can also be woven.

    Crocheted pouf by Kathy at Wynham Farms

    Julie of Alpacamom.com provided a really great description.

    “Rug yarns are spun around a cotton or jute core and they are considered "core spun" which means that the fibers are literally wrapped around the core and not traditionally plied. Because of that, the fibers don't have to be uniform in length or micron and that's why a lot of growers use their lower grade fibers for rug yarn. They can be spun with a variety of fibers and the mill I use likes to add a little bit of merino to my alpaca to help hold the slippery fibers in place. The rug yarns that I have aren't suitable to be worn next to the skin. They make wonderfully durable yet soft and comfortable mats and rugs, table runners, baskets and purses. I've knitted it, crocheted it and woven it. If knitting or crocheting you need a pretty big needle...18-50 needles and a "P" hook I think is what I used.”

    Core spun yarns can vary from next to skin and delicate to coarse and rugged and not all core spun yarns are rug yarns. When using rug yarn it is so much bulkier that a 2’x3’ rug might use around 100 yards.  Items made with rug yarn can often be considered easy care and may be vacuumed or shaken or maybe even hosed off.  Kathy, of Wynham Farms with GotMyGoat cautions that it can be harder on your hands and wrists since it is bulky and heavier than mill or handspun yarn.

    Rug being woven by Julie from Alpacamom.com

    It sounds like a very versatile product that opens new doors for creating things!  I would love to make a small poof to use as a footrest under my desk. If you have ever used rug yarn, what did you make with it? Share pictures in the Facebook Group or on Instagram! If you have never used it, does this give you some ideas? Let us know what you would make!

    Knitted rug by Kathy at Wynham Farms
  • How did FiberCrafty get started?

    My brother gave me this magical little book for my birthday a few years ago, called The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. He knew I had been exploring a new career path that would let me spend more time in the fiber crafting world. At the time, I was a software sales rep for the largest privately held software company in the world, and while a good career, my soul was not fed.

    Over the last 4-5 years, I explored multiple options such as dying, becoming a yarn rep and I even entered discussions to buy a local yarn store. For one reason or the other, I ruled each option out. Then I started reading the book. I usually read every night before bed but this book made my mind race and I quickly carved out time earlier in the day to read it. My key takeaway from the book was to figure out what you are good at, figure out your passions and merge the two together. As I tossed these ideas about, I kept coming back to the idea of representing small indie businesses. I knew the margins were small and bandwidth would limit how many businesses I could realistically represent. It didn’t seem like a viable path.

    Since there are already marketplace options available online, if an indie business wanted a virtual storefront, they could establish one. But then I wondered if there was room for improvement in the existing systems? As a consumer, I realized there was. After I further investigated with the perspective of a small business owner, I recognized there was. After months of research, talking to existing indie business owners, and investigating what it would take to build a marketplace, my husband and I decided to move forward.

    The idea of FiberCrafty began to feel like a virtual fiber festival. Think about it, as a shop owner, would you prefer to set up a booth at a regional arts festival? In that scenario, maybe 1 in every 100 people is a potential customer (I totally made up that number but it kind of seems reasonable, maybe even low). Alternatively, if you set up a booth at a fiber festival, almost everyone present is a potential customer. On the flip side, as a crafter or artist specifically looking for new stash or tools, a fiber festival would also offer the largest possible selection and variety.

    I began to write out all my thoughts, ideas and visions. In April 2016 I formed FiberCrafty, LLC. I partnered with a local firm to help me do all the things I don’t know how to do (like coding!). We began figuring out a look, a logo, a tagline and the best way to incorporate my capabilities wishlist. Eventually, we find ourselves here, ready to share FiberCrafty with all of you and I can’t wait.

    FiberCrafty is not a large organization. On paper, it’s just me. But in reality, it is so much more. It’s me with the support of my family. With the support of my friends. It’s also the web team helping me execute this dream. And most importantly, it’s the fiber crafting community and my hope to make a contribution to that community that has been so significant to me. I am a firm believer in community and that collectively, we can do more together. I look forward to hearing ideas and suggestions from you, the fiber crafting community about what will make FiberCrafty even better!

    This has been a huge project, full of emotions ranging from feeling overwhelmed to fear and to excitement. I left my corporate job to work on FiberCrafty full time and now, every time I “have to” work, I feel a small burst of joy because I realize I “get to” work on something that I love.

    Thank you for your time and for joining me on this journey. I look forward to our future together!

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