Loop’s 10th Anniversary Book – With Viola and Meghan Fernandes

Viola 'Speckled Mist' Custome Colour at Loop,London. www.loopknitlounge.com

Onto the next instalment in our series of 10th Anniversary blogs, where each week we’ll be revealing a little bit more about our new book, coming soon in September. A collaboration with ten of our favourite dyers and ten brilliant designers, this special project is a beautiful assemblage of all things Loop.
This week we chat to designer and friend Meghan Fernandes and the talented Emily Foden of Viola yarns about their involvement with the book.

First up we have Emily of Viola yarns. Emily is currently based in Canada where she is busy creating beautiful hand dyed yarns, after a few years having wool based adventures in the UK.  We found out more about her and the exclusive colourway she has dyed for Loop.

Emily Foden of Viola
Emily Foden of Viola

Tell us a little more about your knitting/dyeing background, and how you came to start ‘Viola’

I seem to be a person who wants to try everything creative (I still believe that I will manage to make large-scale mobiles, sew my entire wardrobe and grow all my own food!) so all it took to get me hooked on knitting was walking past the little knitting store in Toronto where I would later work. Whilst working there, I became completely obsessed with yarn and knitting. It didn’t take long before I was analysing the hand dyed yarns that we stocked in the shop, making little changes to their colours and deciphering their techniques, and eventually taking over my parent’s kitchen with my messy business of colouring in yarn. Viola grew out of a desire to experiment and dye the colours that I really wanted to see. I never set out to create a business from it, but one day I realised that I had done just that. It was great fun!

What were you initial ideas when you were approached by Susan to make a custom colourway for Loop? 

When Susan initially mentioned the bespoke colourway I was so excited! It was at a point when I was preparing to leave England (where I had been living for the past few years) so I had already spent much time reflecting on my life there. The timing was ideal, as I instantly envisioned a colour that evoked all of  my favourite memories of England (Loop being one of them!)

One of Emily's inspirational photos, taken in England
One of Emily’s inspirational photos, taken in England

What was your inspiration for the colour ‘Speckled Mist’?

Having spent most of my time in England on Exmoor, it was impossible to avoid drawing inspiration from the moors and the sea that surrounded me. I wanted to capture these soft, natural colours that were such an important part of my time there. When Loop stocked Viola yarn in the past, I recalled the colours that Susan chose to have in the shop. They were always such a pleasure for me to dye as I found the palette to be so different from many North American shops. Subtle and natural colours are what came to my mind for the Loop colourway because that was how I interpreted the colour choices in Susan’s orders. Having since visited Loop, I know that the shop’s selection is about much more than just understated colours. So I set out to create a colourway that has a bit of both the subtle and bold, a process that was lots of fun. There are a lot of very bright colours that have gone into this, but the result is more delicate. It’s complexity means that each skein is quite unique, but I like to think that they each have a mind of their own anyhow.Viola Bespoke Colour for Loop, London

Is there anything you want to knit in the new colour way, or what would you love to use it for?

Oh man, I sort of want to knit everything in this colourway. At first glance it is very subtle, but upon closer inspection, its many complexities appear. I have been thinking of project ideas ever since the first skein emerged from my dyepots, and have decided I want to knit something large, in order to get the colour’s complexity across. Probably a big, ol’ floppy jumper or cardigan, in a simple stitch that does not distract too much from the colour. But knowing me, this plan will change about a million times before I cast on!

Tell us about your first visit to Loop

Loop is very special to me, as it marked the beginning of my time in England. I visited Loop when I first arrived in the UK, with Ce Persiano, who was was instrumental in my move to England in the first place, how fitting! It was such a treat to see the shop for the first time, and compare the real thing to what I had imagined. It is such a beautiful and inspirational place! I wanted to buy most of the yarn and goodies in the shop, but settled on a bit of Ce’s yarn that was too beautiful to miss. It was 3 skeins of her BFL sport / light DK in Zitouni. It’s been almost knit into a great many things, but the right project has still not appeared – it’s too pretty!

Thanks Emily!

You may recognise Meghan as the model from Juju's Loops! Here she is wearing Brown Eyed Susan in Tosh Sock
You may recognise Meghan as the model from Juju’s Loops! Here she is wearing Brown Eyed Susan in Tosh Sock

A beautiful shawl to show off this unique colour has been designed by our own past Loopette Meghan Fernandes! We asked Meghan to let us in on a few shawl-y secrets…

When Susan approached you for a design what were your initial ideas and inspirations?

I was so honoured to be asked to contribute a design for the book. Susan pretty much said I could do anything I wanted and I immediately thought “shawl”. Loop has so many beautiful shawls hanging from every available surface that of course that was the first thing that popped into my head. I have gotten to know Susan pretty well over the last 5 years or so having worked in Loop myself and I know how much she loves objects and knits inspired by nature – flowers, branches, birds, etc. So did a little image research, and a little sketching and eventually settled on a two overlapping branches with leaves for the design. The whole time I was thinking, “What would Susan love?”

The full shawl design will be revealed along with all the other new patterns in September, but can you give us some clues as to what people can expect?
As I mentioned, there will be two crossing branches with leaves – these act as the border for a semicircular shaped shawl. There is texture and picots and it’s very romantic!Viola Bespoke Colour for Loop, and new shawl pattern by Meghan Fernandes - coming soon this September!London
Your shawl uses a custom colour of Viola, why did you chose this yarn?
I think I might have been the first designer who was able to choose from the incredible list of yarns Susan had chosen for the book. She told me she had a feeling which one I was going to choose and she was right! I have been in love with Emily of Viola’s yarns since I first laid eyes on them. I can remember how there was such an air of disappointment when Emily decided to stop dyeing a couple of years back – the remaining skeins were like gold! I am so excited that she is dyeing again and that I got to work with her yarn. And of course when my sample skeins arrived they were so very Susan and Loop and Viola all at once. And very me too! ;)
What other yarns would you recommend for your design? And, do you have a favourite Loop yarn?
Oh what a hard question! There are so many gorgeous options to choose from. I love Kismet and think that could be gorgeous for a version with more sheen, Isager Tvinni  (or the Spinni which is due to arrive in Autumn) would be gorgeous too for a more rustic version! As for a fave Loop yarn, most everyone I worked with at Loop knows how much I love the Uncommon Thread – especially the BFL DK.

The Uncommon Thread BFL DK.
The Uncommon Thread BFL DK.

Loop was part of your life for several years, so as we near our 10th Anniversary, what are you reminiscing about?

I have so many memories of Loop of course, having worked there the better part of 5 years! One of my favourite memories was the opening of the current location – it was so exciting to be moving to the beautiful shop and beautiful street – Camden Passage. Helping to fill those shelves for the first time was a dream. I also very much loved helping with the work on Loop’s previous book Juju’s Loops. I met some of my best friends in the world at Loop, including my now business partner, Lydia Gluck, who I now run Pom Pom Quarterly magazine with. Spending so much time in the company of like-minded knitters for sure landed me where I am today and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Thanks Meghan!

Stay tuned for next week where we’ll be revealing another exclusive colour and design.

STOP PRESS! It’s Mohair Madness as nearly all our mohair yarns are now on sale! Debbie Bliss Angel and Party Angel, Alchemy Haiku and Rowan Kid Silk Haze can be snapped up for a bargain as well as Peruvia Quick, Juniper Moon DK and Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky. These yarns are being discontinued at Loop to make way for lots of exciting new yarns in the Autumn.

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

3 Comments on “Loop’s 10th Anniversary Book – With Viola and Meghan Fernandes

  1. I can’t wait for the anniversary book and opportunity to purchase the bespoke yarn from Viola! I bought 10 skeins of Viola’s yarn many moons ago when she came to our K-W Knitter’s Guild Fair. In fact, My son was wearing his socks knit from Viola’s yarn this very morning!! I have one more colourway’s project worth of yarn left that I have been hoarding. Now that I know I can purchase this special colourway in September, I’ll go and cast on with my last bit of Viola’s yarn!

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