In Ali Pate’s mind, people all over the Denver area are doing TikTok-style happy dances and it is all because of her latest adventure into the world of fiber dying. Under the umbrella of her Herd of Cats brand Pate started a line of yarns that people could use on their road trips (Road Trip Sock Yarn®️ ), one of them being the Greener Front Range 50 yarn sold exclusively at Fancy Tiger Crafts. Each yarn is inspired by a Colorado location or item found on a road trip in the state.
“I really wanted it to be as local as possible,” says Pate from her homegrown business in Denver. “In my mind, I think about how many happy dances did we make here? For me, I am the dyer, so there is my happy dance. The mill, the farmer, the sheep. It’s everybody in this area. It’s nice to help small businesses. That’s another happy dance there. On the more serious side of all of those happy dances, every single aspect of this is a small business so that purchase is impacting multiple small businesses not just one. The profit is shared and distributed within the community and throughout the Denver metro area.”
Her vibrantly colored wools are created with such care and attention to sustainability that it was not a question for Jaime Jennings and Amber Corcoran, owners of Fancy Tiger Crafts, that the store was going to carry the yarn. “She has created these with such love and intention,” said Jennings. “It’s just really beautiful.”
For Pate, she did her research and knew when she read the values statement about sustainability on the Fancy Tiger Craft’s website that her yarns and the store were an obvious pairing. The soft skeins of Greener Front Range 50 are sourced from sheep within 50 miles of Denver and are processed at Willow Creek Fiber Mill in Hudson, Colorado. Not only is the wool local, but Pate does small batch dying in her shop using sustainable measures to cut down on her use of water and her shop is powered by wind energy.
“The topic is so big and that oftentimes I feel overwhelmed by how can I possibly make an impact on something so gigantic?” said Pate. “ I just made up my mind that every little bit helps and anything I can do to make things better is better. And that’s across the board. It’s switching how you think about things. Small things do add up.It makes you feel good. You feel like you are trying to improve the situation and doing something.”
Pate’s garden would agree. All summer she attempted to collect rainwater (there was not enough to produce what she needed) and once her water was thoroughly used in the dying process she gave it to her vegetable garden. Before that, Pate reuses the water as many times as she can and even uses a salad spinner to extract more water for useful purposes.
“I think it could definitely be better, but whatever I learn from this set up I can just make it better in the next set up.”
This is not Pate’s only foray into making the world a brighter and better place. When she is not working on her GFR50 line, she is busy creating yarns for her Road Trip Sock Yarn®️ store on Etsy. In addition to creating yarns that are inspired by personal road trips some of her yarns are inspired by cats that are up for adoption through the Denver Dumb Friends League. Pate donates 10% of the profits from each skein sold to the organization. She has a few of her own cats at home to inspire her as well.
Take a look at Pate’s Greener Front Range 50 (GRF50) line here or visit Pate’s store to be inspired by her love of cats. Either way, you will be helping her make the world just a little bit better one skein at a time.
Check out Ali’s tour of her sustainable workshop and an introduction to her business at the link here.