The greens, blues & greys of Ireland

Over the last ten days, our team at Blue Thistle Fibers has zig-zagged across western Ireland. We’ve been over hill & dale exploring the woolen traditions of the West Coast while also reconnecting with our ancestors in County Mayo.

Our host, Leo Murphy, has provided an exceptional experience for us, sharing his years of experience as a Connemara farmer.

If you’re lucky enough to come to Ireland, be sure to go to Galway and the surrounding areas. The lodge Leo and his wife run is well suited for exploring the Wild Atlantic Way and the region. (See the AirBnB link below for their lodge).

We’ve been inspired by the gorgeous colors of Ireland and are so excited to share them with you in our naturally dyed yarns over the coming year.  For now, we’ll offer you a sneak peek of some of the sights and sounds from our trip.

Sara & Clare @Blue Thistle Fibers

What a Whirlwind Spring Making Yarn

I have had a whirlwind spring making yarn, having fiber conversations, and meeting new friends here in West Virginia and worldwide.  Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me as I lift this business off the ground. Over and over, just when I felt overwhelmed by the challenges of starting a small business from the ground up, I’d receive an email, or an Instagram post, or a call from someone sharing how they loved my yarn or the color pallet or just the right words of encouragement.

To be up and running in six months was an all-hands-on-deck effort that couldn’t have been done without the guidance & support of some amazing organizations and mentors, especially the teams at Unlimited Future, Inc. & the WV Office of the U.S. Commercial Service,  and Kristin Artz & Amy Default .

 

Blue Thistle Beginnings

I inherited my knitting gene from my grandmother and great-grandmother, who were two north country women with amazing grit and gumption. 

My grandmother was this amazing, powerful modern woman who was determined to leave home and leave her mark on the world.  She learned this from her mother.  My great-grandmother was born in 1906 – leaving school by 6th grade – she grew up on a farm in the Adirondacks –baking, sewing, knitting, lace tatting, and more.  Like many from her generation – she made do with what she had.  My great-grandmother was an entrepreneur, starting a neighborhood shop and selling handcrafts, freshly baked bread, and food staples through the Depression and during the Great War. 

It’s taken me longer to feel the entrepreneurial spark. I left my mountain roots at 17 – I joined the military and traveled around the world. Knitting was a great way to pass the time while on long patrols in the various oceans I traveled. My WIPs were crafted during downtimes and transiting from one place to another. Each knit, pearl, and slip stitch is my own contribution to my family traditions.

Nine years later, I realized that everything that I needed, I could find right here in the mountains of West Virginia. In 2024, I started Blue Thistle Fibers to lean into this heritage- drawing from the same grit and gumption of my grandmother and those north country women before her.

I’m determined to make a quality product that meets your needs.

Variegated Moss WIP

One of my many WIPs – Colorway- Variegated Sage Sock.  You can follow along with my knitting on my Instagram @bluethistlefibers

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