Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thursday at YLI

(Click on any image to enlarge. Above: Inside of YLI in Rock Hill, South Carolina.)

One of the final CYBER FYBER "1" details that required my attention was returning the artwork to my new friend Fulvia Boriano Luciano in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Rock Hill was actually a "secret" destination on my FANTASY WISH LIST!

While I was in Maine at the MacNamara Foundation residency, I needed more thread. I went to the Mariner's Compass in Bath, Maine. I found plenty of thread...including the most wonderful...truly most beautiful....absolutely stunning variegated, cotton thread on WOODEN SPOOLS. My heart went pit-a-pat! I bought one of every shade. It was a REAL FIND!

(Above: Wooden spools....actually made from the wood of an ash tree and distributed from a company in Maine!)

While making my rather substantial purchase at the Mariner's Compass, I noticed the spool's label. Clearly, it said ROCK HILL, SC. YLI jumped to #1 on my travel plans!

I'd come all the way to Maine to find the perfect thread from my home state of South Carolina. Of course I wanted to visit this Rock Hill. Returning Fulvia's artwork made a perfect excuse. I called Fulvia. She was only too eager to join me on this travel excursion!

(Above: Just look at the extremely large cones of the most beautiful variegated cotton thread! Yes....I want the little spools....but not as much as I'd like the great big ones!)

(Above: These packages had Fulvia and I making sound that could have been dubbed into X-rated films. There were packages of hand-dyed, pre-cut postcard backgrounds....packages of hand-dyed silk hankies....packages by colors or moods or seasons of the year.....!)

(Above: YLI stands for YOU'LL LOVE IT....and we certainly did!)

(Above: Jane Garrison.

Fulvia and I toured the YLI facility. Jane Garrison, an amazingly talented instructor/educator, was our guide. Jane shows us EVERYTHING! She knew exactly what to show us....she UNDERSTANDS! Jane is "one of us"... she's someone who oohs and aahs over variegated yarn, gets frustrated with uncooperative bobbin tension, and finds pleasure in the various weights of thread. Her experience is deep. Her generosity in showing us YLI will not be forgotten!

(Above: Jane holding an incredibly large cone of the most beautiful variegated blue thread imaginable! Fulvia and I plotted as to how we might escape with it! Alas....we were panting too hard to make a mad dash with the spool in tow!)

(Above and below: Just some of the many shelving units devoted to THREAD!)

(Above: More thread!)

(Above: I couldn't stop myself. I had to snap the photo above because everything at YLI seem larger than life and this image certainly expressed this NOTION!)

(Above: RIBBON!)

MACHINES....oh, yes....YLI has plenty of machines! I found each and every one more fascinating that the next. Jane explained them all. I forget just about everything she said...but...I assure you, it was all very, very interesting!

Some of the machines took large....really enormous...spools of thread and spun smaller amounts onto smaller spools.

Some machines wound thread onto cards. Some machines created the cards!

Some of the machines braided thread into ribbon. Other machines created thicker, stronger twists from several smaller threads. It was all too much to absorb....but wonderful to watch!

I have a video of the braid machine....eighteen bobbins of thread spinning at dizzying speeds into complicated, figure-8 patterns to make braided ribbon! It was electrifying to watch!

With all the modern technology and intrigue machinery, some of the work at YLI is still necessarily done by hand. Putting on the label, fastening the end of the thread into the end of the plastic spools, and arranging various spools in packaging units....well....that's the HAND WORK!

(Above: Labels for thread!)

(Above: One YLI employee doing the last HAND WORK needed before send the wonderful threads into the world!)

(Above: Another YLI employee fits assorted threads into variety packages.)

YLI is a giant place. The visual information is too much to take in. Yet, it is also an extremely efficient business. Just twelve employees manage to do all the work. I was stunned....overwhelmed...truly awed!

Above: These were about the most beautifully, pure gold and silver threads I've ever seen!

Above: Try to imagine all the threads that will be wound onto these empty bobbins!

YLI is a complex facility....just look at one of the electrical systems!

Above: The braiding machines work at an alarmingly fast pace! Just see my very, very short video here...two quick seconds!

It is no wonder that many of the spools of thread must be separated into smaller quantities...just look at the size of these thread cones!

Most of the smaller, individual spools of thread are encased in plastic by the shrink wrap system, above.

Above is the desk of the BOSS! Hopefully, within a week there will be a proposal for CYBER FYBER 2 sitting among the sparkling, luxurious threads on this desk. It is the "boss' desk" at YLI! I hope he wants to support CYBER FYBER 2 with some sort of a contribution!


arlee said...

Hey, that was fascinating!

Doreen G said...

Thank you for this post Susan it was very interesting.

Chris said...

What? Made in the USA??? Amazing!I must have some.

Julie said...

I am drooling here! YLI thread is wonderful and I could so have run off with that cone of blue variegated too! Thank you for your amazing tour!

IDESIGN said...

I am SO jealous!! This reminds me of my trip to the Monsanto fiber factory in Destin...they spin the polyester into fiber, and fiber into yarn, then tuft the yarn into les voila!! How fascinating--thanks for sharing this wonderfully detailed account of your visit! I wonder if they would take a group of designers 'on tour!'

Jane Garrison said...

Jane at YLI says: If your guild or other group would like to have a tour please contact me. We would love to show you YLI. We are most proud of our products and team.

Jacquelines blog said...

Looks like a lot of eye candy :-)

Wanda said...

Wow!!! I would have never thought of a tour like this! And YLI is my favorite (thanks for letting me know that I was calling it the wrong thing all along!). I got my first YLI thread in Orlando...remember? I cried!!! I didn't know that there were so many threads. Now...well, I've got a little thread collection. And no, it isn't ALL inventoried!! ha ha One time I organized a private tour of the HK gun factory. That was cool but this sort of is more my thing!! And I had no idea it was made in the US either....and not so close to you at home!! wow!!