The Knitographer interviews… Outlaw Yarn
I mentioned in an earlier post that a new and beautiful local yarn brand was launching - I chat with the Stitch Seekers, Deborah and Rhiannon, about their very special new venture, Outlaw Yarn.
Outlaw Yarn just launched online last week. How did it all begin?
Our own yarn brand was always in the long term plan - we really weren’t expecting it to happen so fast! Sometimes opportunities present themselves and you just have to run with it. The Outlaw name came about after a very long brainstorming session. An outlaw is defined as a person who refuses to be governed by the established rules or practices of any group so a rebel or nonconformist. We feel it’s a good description of the way we work. We like to do things our own way. Our cheeky little magpie became part of the logo because we are collectors too - we love adding new and interesting yarn to our stash!
What makes Outlaw Yarn stand out from other yarns?
If you’re familiar with any of our work then you know that we are theme junkies. We're not satisfied with luxury and quality alone. We have infused our yarn with as much attitude as we bring to all our creative projects. Telling visual stories is a core value of our brand so of course that has influenced Outlaw as well. We won’t just give you soft yarn and pretty colours - we want to take you on an adventure!
Tell us a bit about your bases - are they local or international and what's the fibre content?
Our bases are all made in New Zealand and we are committed to keeping our production here. It’s very important to us to support our local wool industry. New Zealand is famous for the quality of the fibre we grow and it would be crazy not to take advantage of that. We may need to source some fibre (such as silk) from overseas but whenever possible the fibre we use will be homegrown.
The first base we have released is called Vanitas and it is 90% Alpaca and 10% Organic Merino in a DK weight. The second base is in production at the moment and due to be released in early November. I can’t give too much away yet but I can’t wait to get it on the needles!
The colours are stunning - where did you get your inspiration?
In the arts, Vanitas is a type of symbolic artwork especially associated with still life painting from the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Latin word means “vanity” and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. Anyone who knows us well knows that we are not the ‘fluffy bunnies’ type and we were totally inspired by these paintings of skulls and rotten fruit alongside butterflies and soap bubbles!
Did you do a lot of dyeing and colour testing before you finalised the range? How did you pick your final 10?
We wanted a ‘grown up’ colour range that would be directly related to our theme so the colours are sampled from Vanitas paintings. An enormous amount of work goes into creating the colour stories for Outlaw yarn. Each range is meticulously planned so colours coordinate effortlessly with each other and offer the crafter a sophisticated palette from which to create their own masterpieces.
Even though you're based in New Zealand, your prices are in US$ - is the international market a key market for you?
We are very grateful to the Kiwi crafting community for all the encouragement and support they give us but the simple fact is that our largest market is the US and Europe due to the sheer size of the population bases over there. It makes sense to price in US$ since that’s what the largest segment of our customer base is familiar with.
You are also behind the amazing Stitch Seekers - how do the two complement each other?
We are so proud of Stitch Seekers and Men in Knitwear! We’ve come a really long way in the last 12 months. Stitch Seekers Edition Two is due to launch any minute now and we are well underway with the planning for Men in Knitwear 2015. Also, the samples for Edition Three have started arriving on my doorstep already. Outlaw Yarn is a natural progression of the Stitch Seekers brand and will allow us to design in our own yarn as well as promote yarn from other companies. We have great relationships with yarnies who have supported us and our designs, and we look forward to paying that forward to other designers with our yarn.