Next in our series of posts about our 10th Anniversary book is a chat with Kristi of Shalimar and designer Donna Higgins. This project in the book is a cute baby – 4 years cardigan, using the gorgeous Shalimar Breathless which is a blend of merino, cashmere and silk. Make sure you read to the end of the post to see how you can be one of the first people to knit with this exclusive colour! (Competition now closed -but keep your eye out for more in the future!)
First let’s find out a little more about the creation of our new colour ‘Parma Violet’
Hi Kristi! Tell us a little bit more about your dyeing background and how ‘Shalimar‘ started.
My partner Paul and I own 12 acres in rural Maryland and surround ourselves with our animals. I endurance ride horses, Paul fishes and we come together occasionally to hike. We are extremely fortunate to have our bright, airy dye studio on our property. I started the company Shalimar, named after my 26 year old Arabian mare, in 2007 during the time we owned a LYS. We decided to close our shop in 2011 and focus on full-time dyeing and growing Shalimar.
Our line of luxury yarns are all custom milled to our specifications, and our colourways are unique and identifiable, with over 90 colours available.
Loop has always been a shop that I dreamed my yarn would be a perfect match for – a metropolitan store with a savvy knitting clientele, yet one that is as welcoming and comfortable as a good friends kitchen table. When I first met Susan at TNNA (a trade fair in the States) a few years ago, my first thought was that she must personify her shop and it must be as lovely as she is! Hopefully I’ll be getting back to London in the next few years and visiting Loop is top on my list (well, perhaps right after Kensington Palace).
It’s been wonderful to get to know Shalimar/Loop customers through Ravelry. Susan’s customers knit the most lovely designs. We’re always oohing and aahing at them in our group
What was your inspiration for the colour?
I was fortunate to be able to visit London with my daughter and mother in 1999. I simply fell in love with London…with the small green spaces, the charm and the amazing history. The city never seemed shrill or overly bright to me – it seemed to have a soft patina. When Susan said she wanted a colour that evoked London, it all fell into place. She named the color Parma Violet, which is quite simply, perfect.
If you could chose one yarn that Loop stocks (other than your own!) what would it be?
I’d definitely buy some more Shilasdair. I’ve visited her crofters cottage on Skye and bought some beautiful yarn. I’d love to try it again! (Check out last weeks post to see the custom colour that Shilasdair are dyeing for us too!)
Thanks Kristi! We’re so in love with Shalimar we can’t just stop at one weight. Soon to be gracing the shelves at Loop will be ‘Cush’ with the same gorgeous blend as Breathless, but in a chunky aran weight – it’s seriously soft and squishy! Cush will be arriving in the Autumn along with lots of other goodies.
Shalimar has been chosen by Donna Higgins for the most adorable baby cardigan pattern, so we had to find out more…
Hi Donna! Tell us a little more about yourself and your role in the wooly world.
Just 90 days after learning to knit (didn’t know how to purl just yet – figured I’d learn that later), I opened a yarn shop in 2004. After 18 months in business, we welcomed our 2nd child and my husband earned his MBA and took early retirement. After many discussions about the challenges in a shop, he made the decision to open his own company, Deep South Fibres. The goal for Deep South Fibres: Bring together talented knitwear designers and offer print pattern support to the local yarn shop while offering a one stop shopping experience. It was here where I met Susan. Shipping printed matter to London was a real treat – it meant we were global!
Meanwhile, back at the shop, we had another challenge. Our baby department lacked character, so I set out to find a solution and instead created a very special product. Big Bad Wool is a small company with simple ideas exclusively for baby. Our flagship yarn, Weepaca is a soft natural fibre safe for gentle wash offered in a traditional colour palette with a trendy pop. I knew Susan would love Weepaca and slipped a sample skein in with her pattern order. It didn’t take long before we shipped her first order. Once again, shipping to London meant Big Bad Wool was global.
It’s hard to imagine what my life would look like if I hadn’t learned to knit. The opportunities in this industry far outweigh its challenges.
What were your initial ideas and plans for your design?
Everyone loves a simple top down raglan style sweater. In my opinion, designing one is no different. Without a clear plan, I simply cast on and made each design decision on the fly. Bunty is a fun knit! Probably one of my most favourites. It’s the perfect child sweater to showcase an unusual pair of buttons.
Tell us a little more about working with Shalimar yarns for this project.
Given the option to work with so many different yarns, I opted for the US based yarn company, Shalimar. I’ve worked with them for years through Deep South Fibres, but never with their yarns. Can I just say, Breathless is a dream. No wonder they call it breathless.
I look forward to receiving our first shipment of Breathless at the same time as receiving our first shipment of Loop’s 10th Anniversary book.
What comes to mind when you think of Loop?
I have one thought of Loop that remains constant, everything about Loop is gorgeous. I appreciate the opportunity be involved with such a special project. I look forward to the next ten – Congratulations Loop! One day I hope to visit.
All our new custom colours will be available to purchase in September when our new book is released. However… for those of you who can’t wait… we have one skein of Shalimar in our new exclusive custom colourway ‘Parma Violet’ to give away!
Fancy being one of the first people to ever knit with this colour? Of course you do! Simply comment below letting us know what project you’d love to use the skein for and gain extra points by following the instructions on our Instagram account LoopLondonLoves (and if you do enter on Instagram too, let us know on the blog in a separate comment)
This competition closes on Wednesday 24th June at midnight GMT, the winner will be selected at random and notified on next weeks blog, Friday 26th June. This competition is now closed
Good Luck and Happy Knitting!