Today, I'm so happy to introduce a brand new segment to Making Stories Online called, ‚ÄòWhere In The World Is Making Stories'! Through the posts in this segment, we want to feature and celebrate our fantastic stockists. We have some wonderful businesses that stock our books, and we want to share them with you and give them the chance to tell us a little more about themselves and their work.
For this first post, I am so excited to share the extraordinary fibre business that belongs to Andrea of Laines & Co. Andrea has taken the concept of a Local Yarn Shop to the next level. She has created such a unique environment to share her passion for fibre and knitting, and I could honestly go on for another ten paragraphs describing how unique and beautiful Laine & Co is, but nothing compares to the joy of the below video that shows what it is like to spend a day on the Laines & Co yarn truck.
Q & A With Andrea
Tell us a little about yourself! Where in the world are you?
I was born in Austria but I've been living in the east of France for over 30 years now, the region is called Alsace, it's close to the German and Swiss borders. I've been knitting since the age of 6 or 7, I've learned it at school and at home. My mother is a fantastic maker: knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery ... and there was (and is) always lots of fibres at home. Knitting has always been part of my life, since childhood but when I discovered the knitting community via Ravelry, I was just blown away by all these new techniques and beautiful yarns.‚Ä®
Tell us more about Laines & Co! What was the inspiration behind opening such a unique yarn store?
To be honest, the first reason was an economical one. After my first business plan, the rent for a brick and mortar shop was just too high. I was ready to abandon my project when my daughter said: why not open a yarn truck? The idea, at first, made us laugh but little by little, I said yes, this could work. I then started to look for a truck and very quickly I knew that I would love to find a vintage truck. And lucky me, I found my Citro√´n HY, called HYpolite. I really love to take the road with HYpolite (even if sometimes it is really cold in my little truck and the driving of this vintage truck is not easy) and I like a lot the special atmosphere early in the morning on the farmer markets. My only regret is that I have not a lot of space, I would like to have much more brands in my truck!!! ‚Ä®
Unlike most yarn stores you travel around to your customers instead of them coming to you. Does that mean you have lots of little knitting communities or one big one?
I was very surprised in the beginning about the customers' feedback - in many places a lot of them were really grateful that it was me coming to them and not the other way around. And yes, there are several little communities around the little truck. ‚Ä®
How do you decide what yarns and supplies to stock? What attracts you to a certain product?
Regarding my yarn selection, the first criteria was to have only natural fibres, no acrylic (except for sock yarn) and a least one French brand. I'm very happy to have the great yarn of Solenn De Rerum Natura in my shop for example. It is great to know the people behind the products and sometimes I decide to have very small brands in my truck, even if I will have only a small butch of skeins, just because I love the person behind the project (for example l'atelier fibre laine). ‚Ä®
What made you want to add Making Stories to the products you sell?
I think we have the same philosophy, promoting if possible local and sustainable yarns! ‚Ä®
Do you have a favourite type of knitting project?
Not really, I like to vary my projects, having always a pair of socks and one "no brainer" project on my needles which allows me to knit everywhere and being able to talk to others while knitting. But I appreciate a lot as well to knit projects where I can learn new techniques. It is really fantastic, you can always learn something new!‚Ä®
What is your favourite making tool?
My circular needles - you can knit just everything with them!‚Ä®
What is your favourite making memory?
Several notebooks for my knitting, dying, sewing projects. ‚Ä®
What do you do when you knit - watch a movie, read a book, nothing?
I love to listen to audio books while knitting! And I have the great pleasure to have a friend who comes often with a book to my store, reading novels for me when I'm knitting in front of my little truck.‚Ä®
Is there anything else you want to share about Laines & Co?
The truck is a place to meet knitters, discuss yarn and projects, give a hand when needed and of course gives the opportunity to discover new yarns. My dream is to go on a long trip with my truck, meet knitters all over France, perhaps one day? ‚Ä®