Monday, 7 July 2014

Unwind With (Vi)laines

Continuining the European part of our Vendor Countdown, we move over to Lyon. Marion of (Vi)laines will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked her to answer a few questions and share some of her crafting experiences with us...


Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
(Vi)laines are yarns & fibers born out of my loving hands and wild imagination, in Lyon's suburbs, in France.

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?
Lots of things !

There will be hand-dyed yarns for all tastes : organic merino, Blue-Faced Leicester, alpaca, silk blends... And in almost all existing repeatable colors (you can see them all listed here and in colour assortments here). In fact, there will be special releases for Unwind : two new colors and a new yarn base in two weights. You will find 'Cinnamon rolls' and 'A pocket full of potpourri' in Pr├ęcieuses fing and Pr├ęcieuses DK, a yummy blend of 70% Blue-Faced Leicester, 20% silk and 10% cashmere. You can see them below :

'Cinnamon rolls' (below) and 'A pocket full of potpourri' (top), © (Vi)laines

I'll also bring goodies : project bags and badges. Large foldable canvas bags will also be released at the festival.

And I'm very happy to say that I'll also sell patterns from 3 french and belgian designers. Two of them will be here : Christelle Nihoul will be at the (Vi)laines stand on saturday afternoon and Mam'zelle Flo on sunday afternoon. The third one, Lili comme Tout, can't make it sadly, but I'll have some of her patterns available.

Please explain your intriguing brand name….
It's a play-on-words done with the french words ‘vilaines’ (naughty girls) and ‘laines’ (yarns). Hence, you’ll find vivid and muted colours, inspired by the stories of little naughty girls who play angels but are also little devils inside.

Some of the skeins hoping to meet you at Brighton ! © (Vi)laines

All colors are named from 4 different themes relating to the vilaine's activities :
·         what is she doing when she plays truant ? She's training squirrels, she's cloudwatching, she's taking a nap in the larch.
·         What does she like to eat ? Grapefruit with sugar, Granma's tarte tatin, chestnuts&macaroons.
·         What kind of mischief does she like to make ? Sticking chewing-gums under the table, stealing Daddy's slippers, hiding love notes in her grey smock.
·         Who are her heroines ? Wednesday Addams (she's the inspiration behind the brand logo, in fact), Anne of Green Gables, and so on.

These colournames are inspired from my own childhood memories, from my reading (I read a lot of XIXth and early XXth centuries books, and some are children books), from stories I've heard (in fact, a few colours have been named by other knitters!), from songs and nursery rhymes...

I think it's one of the things knitters love the most with these yarns : remembering their own childhood, feeling a little naughty... Who doesn't want to be a child again ?

What colours do you enjoy dyeing the most?
Well, I love dyeing all colors, especially those I can see in nature : the lichen hues -a greenish grey-, the tones of a sea shell -all turquoise with dark brown spots-, the fragility of a cherry flower -a translucent pink-... There's so many colors in the world, and they are all so very beautiful when we take the time to look at them.

'Ink stains', 'Getting pink cheeks' and 'Aniseed lollipops', © (Vi)laines
When choosing your yarn bases, what criteria do you use?
My yarns doesn’t come from France, mostly because all woolly crafts dwindled here for about 40 years (from the 60s to the end of the 90s) and this mean that there are not many active mills around here who produce soft wools without blending it with acrylic. Some do, like the one Polo&Co (who will also be attending!) is working with. But they are very few at the moment, so I’m working with UK suppliers, because I pretty much prefer buying European if I can’t get things locally, and have always asked for the origin of the fibers used for transparency.
Because of the little choice of yarn we have in France (even though things are changing), I wanted to have a wide range of bases for all tastes : sturdy yet soft yarns, organic merino and luxury bases, in as many weights as possible. I choose these yarns by knitting/weaving/crocheting/spinning them, trying them on, seeing how they feel, how they wear. But I also try to limit myself a little, as I work at home and have to share the space with my companion – If I went all crazy and took all yummy bases in as I sometimes want to do, he would certainly protest much ! ;)

Project bags, © (Vi)laines
What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?
Everything ! The town, the beach, the people... It will certainly be very happy and inspiring moments ! I can't wait to be there !
A big thank you to Marion for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find Marion’s etsy shop by visiting (Vi)laines. To keep up to date with all of the latest (Vi)laines news, keep an eye on Facebook, the Ravelry group and the newsletter.

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