So who is the man behind the beautiful skeins of MJ Yarn we have all fallen head over heels for? We asked Jonathan to share some of his thoughts about his work, his yarn, and his love of knitting.
What were you doing before you started MJ Yarns? ~and~ What was the inspiration for starting MJ Yarns?
My “grown up job” was as an Ops Manager for a major shipping company. While the pay and benefits were unmatched, I was miserable. It was an environment where nothing was good enough. The work we did was important but I had no passion for it. I could find no joy in processing tens of thousands of packages every night.
I’ve learned that, if a situation isn’t working, change it. I had been knitting for years by this time and found every bit of joy in it that I could hope for. I began to wonder how I could turn this passion in to a career. I talked to several people in the industry, most notably Maggie Casey. She was clear: “dye yarn!” Life has also taught me to listen to the people who have experience. I listened, and MJ Yarns was born.
What is your favorite part of your craft?
“For me, this is not a job. MJ Yarns is about creating something beautiful that makes me and others happy. Each morning I walk in to my studio to find the ever changing landscape of my drying racks. I’m always struck by the glory of the field of colors stretched out in front of me. As I dye my yarns, I can’t help but enjoy the constantly increasing complexity that appears as each color is added.
My life now is surrounded in beauty and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
How do you come up with the names for your yarns?
“Each colorway has a story. Some names came from suggestions from others. Cerulean Twilight got its name from a friend on Facebook. Other colors start with a name before they are ever made. Fire Dragon was made to fit in with its siblings Green and Purple Dragons.
Other colors were named because they brought to mind very specific things: Peasant is one. When this yarn went on the drying rack for the first time, I couldn’t help but see it on the back of a medieval serf.
Yarns with proper names (like Katelyn or Mazlyn) were named for specific people who either suggested the color or the yarn brought to mind.
Then there are my favorites: the yarns that demand that they receive a specific name. Mice and Men simply wouldn’t let me call it anything else. From the moment I put the first coat of Grey on this yarn, the name Mice and Men was in my head. I spent the entire day that I created that color trying to come up with another name that seemed more fitting or at least made some sense, and most of the next as well. My mind was blank and Mice and Men was born.“
And a question we can resist asking anyone we come in contact with,
What is on your needles?
“I am something of an anomaly in the knitting world. I absolutely refuse to have more that two projects on the needles at any given time. I heard about “startitis” early on in my knitting life and decided that it would never happen to me.
That being said, I finished one project last week and another one today. At the moment, I have nothing on the needles! This is, of course, a crisis and tomorrow’s first priority will be some time on Ravelry searching for a perfect pattern. I know where I’ll get the yarn though.”
Jonathan’s skeins of yarn are featured in the shop right now and we hope that you can visit soon to take a look at his beautiful work. We know that these skeins are destined for stunning projects and we can’t wait to share photos of those with you as they come of the needles.