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Heather Best | 26 October, 2021

            S U S T A I N

basket of yarn on a lawn scattered with golden leaves. the yarn is twisted into skeins and it's hand dyed in soft robins egg blue, egg yolk gold, ballerina pink, chocolate brown, olive green, and coral pink.

Have you met my custom, limited edition DK? It's called Sustain DK, and it's so full of life and represents such a lovely point in my maker journey that I wanted to take a moment to document why it is important and how it came to be.

It may seem like an obvious choice to name a yarn like this “Sustain”, but there’s a deeper meaning for me personally than the obvious ecological representation.

Sustain was the name of my private studio where I taught piano and voice lessons for many years before I morphed into a full time dyer. (In fact some of you may know that I was still teaching up until March of 2020 when the pandemic came crashing down and changed lives forever.) I named my studio Sustain because I wanted the work my students were doing with their music to be the thing that sustained them and fed their souls.

A skein of deep terra cotta is twisted into a little bundle
When I first started dyeing yarn I came across some "small mill" domestic merino that made my whole body light up, and I knew it was speaking to my soul. The mill had a very long waiting list (life long, she said…) and so I wasn't able to get large enough quantities to dye from them, but I kept looking for another mill that could help me get something similar into the dye pots whenever I had a few spare moments. I hit walls everywhere I turned and couldn’t find anyone to help me get what I was seeking, so I tabled that dream and kept the idea simmering in the background.

a little bundle of soft teal yarn sits twisted on a marble plate

Fast forward nearly 3 or 4 years, and I read the book Vanishing Fleece by Clara Parkes. A flame ignited once again, but this time I had more experience under my belt, and I was determined. I started emailing every mill I could find a website for just hoping for a reply.

One person emailed me back. One. So I knew. Once I finally had the yarn I’d special ordered in my hands I knew the name immediately. It feels like a perfect circle the way one thing led to the other. Sustain Music Studio lives on in some small way through this mill project, and it is feeding my soul.

I don’t know what the future holds for me and this Sustain line of yarns. It’s not the most affordable way to dye and sell yarn, and I think this project and I will continue to evolve, but something that sustains your soul is worth exploring, right?

(Watch for some sport weight and a special collaboration to come this spring, but for now...get your hands on this DK before it's gone. I don't know when it will be back.)