You may have by now heard or read about big changes ahead for Freia Yarns (and for me personally). A month from today I will be getting in my car and setting off on a cross-country trip to relocate from the San Francisco Bay area to Western Massachusetts. I think to call this a change is a bit of an understatement, perhaps a seismic shift is more accurate!
It's hard to pinpoint one single thing that has prompted this. One event that comes to mind was last spring, walking Freia through the local cemetery, along the same route we'd taken a thousand times, she decided it was time to lie down. She stopped on a hill and lay next to a grave marker. The name on it was my own!! To say that was a wake up call would be an understatement. My heart just about jumped out of my chest. At the time my father was at the end stage of Alzheimer's so I had become keenly aware of how fragile life is. My next reaction was "Wow, is that all there is? Do I really want to end up as just a grave marker on a hill in California?". Not the worst thing of course, but after an earlier life of travel and regularly visiting new places it struck me that I'd not pushed myself, really pushed, in a long time.
A friend had recently begun relocating to Western Mass, buying a most incredible old farmhouse for a song (compared to California prices). Out of curiosity I began window shopping on real estate websites, seeing remarkable properties that called out to my English roots. Then, looking at the financial aspects of running a business in California vs Massachusetts it started to piece together. I traveled on a few short trips to see if I liked the area, the people I met, to see if it felt "right". As I'd introduce myself to people one thing that struck me was that when I said I owned a yarn company I was not once met with the blank stare that I get here in California (what? a business that's not tech?). New England has a long history of textiles, woolen products and mills. A yarn company was a completely normal business.
A couple more visits and I'd pinned down where I wanted to work and live and the decision was made.
Move forward another 6 months and here we are winding down the California studio. My staff have taken the news like champs, a couple may come out to Mass for a bit to help get set up. The next few weeks will be challenging, but also a long time coming. I will be arriving on the East Coast towards the end of winter and have the good fortune to watch spring bloom for the second time in as many months. When I get there it will take another month or so to get the new studio space into operation, but I've done it twice before and can do it again.
I'm excited to explore the Berkshires. With a history of theater, arts, dance, a booming foodie culture, beautiful landscapes, big open skies, clean air, great hiking in summer, skiing in winter and only 2 1/2 hours from NY for those times I want that big city fix, I think it will be a good fit. I'm excited to get the new studio up and running in the NORAD mill and to set up a small retail corner that will be open a few times a year for the general public. I'm looking forward to creating a new home for myself in a house with a backyard with maple trees, bunnies (bunnies!) and squirrels, and big enough for a couple more dogs to keep Cody company.
I think this change will be good.
Now that it's public news that we're moving, be sure to follow along on Instagram as I post pictures of the studio as it gets built out, next month's road trip and ensuing chaos!
2/14/2018 01:25:44 am
So excited to hear this! My family is from Pittsfield , my mother is a North Adams native (still have family there) and I live down the "Pike" a bit in Chicopee. Welcome! Welcome!
3/3/2018 09:02:25 am
I’m an artist and lifelong knitter living in Williamstown since 1985. I’m so excited that you are coming to North Adams. Welcome!!!
Welcome Tina! We are all excited to have a fiber artist coming to North Berkshire County and establishing your business here. I am one of the local farmers who raise sheep for their fiber and we welcome you to our Community. Safe travels and I look forward to meeting you soon.
3/3/2018 10:20:02 am
Welcome and congratulations on your great decision to re-locate to our beautiful, healthy corner of Massachusetts. We look forward to meeting you and wrapping you into our warm fuzzy knitters/creators community.
3/3/2018 10:53:34 am
3/3/2018 09:04:24 pm
Welcome. I am so excited for you and our area. Just welcome.
3/5/2018 12:09:32 pm
How exciting!! I know you will love the Berkshires!! I'm a junior at MCLA in North Adams double majoring in Fine Art and Arts Management with a minor in Art History!! And I LOVE your yarn....have lusted over it at WEBS and look forward to seeing some soooo close by!! Please be in touch if you need extra hands!!!
4/5/2018 10:48:54 pm
Hi Tina! So thrilled to find Freia and all of your beautiful colors and yarns. Your site was such an inspiration for me! I was lady who jumped out of my car to greet you the day you arrived in Pittsfield. I have a degree in fashion design and my husband is a sculptor and we have a gallery in Lenox. I am not a knitter yet, but would love to learn! Welcome to the Beautiful Berkshires and Best wishes for much success!
4/6/2018 10:43:02 pm
I was sorry to read about the lose of your beautiful friend a Freia. I know how hard it can be to loose a special life partner with four paws. Welcome to the North East. I’m in NYC and envy your decision to relocate in such a beautiful place (sigh). Best wishes for your new venture. Yes. I too have used knitting therapy to get over the rough spots. No other activity will do it for me. Just the rhythm of the needles is therapeutic. I most add the glorious colors also have a life promoting effect. Lynne Dwyer
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ABout Tina Whitmore
Yarn Dyer, Designer, Dog Lover, in no particular order.. Founded Knitwhits in 2003, and Freia Fine Handpaints in 2010, introducing gradient yarn to knitting stores worldwide. Getting Hygge with it - warmth, comfort, color, texture, design, nature.