The Yarn Diaries - La Bien Aimee - Merino DK & the CAN Retreat That Got Me There
So there was a virtual retreat in early 2022 that a couple of gifted yarnie colleagues encouraged me to attend with one actually shepherding my attendance. It was the CAN Retreat, CAN being the acronym for Creative Advocacy Network. Its second year in existence, CAN promotes the success of businesses owned by racial and ethnic minority artists, all of which I am. An amazing concept with a theme of “Our Stories, Our Voices”, once in, I began to understand how much bigger our world was in comparison to what the algorithms floated on and into my SM feeds, as we came together over 3 days for presentations and discussions.
Within in the mix of those featured was a dyer and author, Aimee Gille, owner of the brand La Bien Aimee or LBA, whose yarn I once saw in one of my LYS mid 2021. Cute sheep band wrap and all, the available hanks were in weights that I don’t typically use, but I did note, the colors the shop carried were "clutch the pearls" gorgeous. My reaction, not their color names 🤣. The weight issue wasn’t an unusual experience as applies upscale yarns with the hand feel factor of the yarn GODS, but those colors were such as draw that I couldn’t get them out of my minds eye, also not unusual cause by now y’all know I live for color. Didn’t know how or when, but LBA went on the list of brands to be aware of.
Aimee was at Rhinebeck in Oct 2021. It was my first time at the event and I joyously documented every yarn-lebrity I happened upon in social media, but somehow I missed Aimee and my chance to talk about access to her yarns in heavier weights. How thrilled was I when I learned she, amongst other amazing Fiber Arts folks I vibed and wanted to meet, was a featured presented at the CAN retreat.
The CAN Retreat allowed for direct interaction and as she spoke about building through collaborations, yarn support etc...I asked if that extended to crocheters, which of course is my jam. Yes was the answer and that was all that needed to be said.
No sooner than the Retreat ended, I followed up with Aimee and her team. Some back and forth nailing the appropriate weight, with a little trepidation on my part re selecting colors on line, but WOW is all I was able to say when Happy Mail arrived. “Lise” a beautiful magenta berry color and “Yellow Brick Road” with is ochre swag, showed UP and showed OUT in Merino DK...looking as good as, if not better than, they did on line. The handfeel factor was off the skeins!!!! Kvelling accurately describes what was going on as I began to document the opening of the package along with taking in the hue chroma joy bestowed upon me. Imma tell you right now, before I even finish this BLOG, Go. Buy. This. Yarn!
“I SEE BOBBLES HAT” was the pattern submitted for yarn support and it flew off the hook. LBA’s Merino DK had just enough slip to do what I needed it to do, be it held together or on its own, with the just the right amount of bloom. Executing the number of bobbles incorporated into the Funky Crochet Goodness of the pattern, I had to take a break in the proto yarn, but in LBA’s...I was riding a ride on the wings of a yarn dove. I mean it just worked! As I transition from Lise to Lise and Yellow Brick Road together, to Yellow Brick Road on its own...it was the sample that I didn’t want to end. If you are in the designer or maker game...we have all had those magical moments be it on the hook or the needles, and this was one of them.
I vibed this yarn so much that when I completed the original version for the "Bold & Cold" with small tiny tassels attached, a “Light & Breezy” version was added to the pattern with the yarn held together for the bobbles only. Often with versions, one is kept and others go into a pile that Im still deciding what to do with, but with these two...Im keeping them both! Leaving the tops open to get that dual duty neck warner action flowing, is whats up. One for Fall/Winter and one for Spring, its all about that yarn thang.
As said earlier, Go. Buy. This. Yarn!
There are a handful of Indie Yarn Dyers that I have connected with, have worked with and desire to work with again based on several factors that exist on different levels. Aimee and her team at La Bien Aimee is one of them. Im so grateful for the CAN Retreat and the opportunity it created to connect with her as well as the opportunities it created for all POC in attendance. The under-represented, some who like me veer toward the non-traditional in their creative journey, were able to find a place to connect within the fiber arts industry, appreciating and applauding the fact that we are HERE!. Be it farmer, dyer, writer, publisher, creator, maker, the effort it takes to do what we do it no small feat and to be able to SEE representation as we did from all over the world...was absolutely amazing
BTW I have thanked the two yarnie colleagues mentioned in the opening paragraph, but for posterity, Im thanking them here as well. Tian Connaughton @tianconnaughton who made me aware of the retreat and Fatimah Hinds @disturbingthefleece #disturbingthefleece who got me there. Besos Chicas 🥰.
Make sure to pick up hanks of this amazing Yarn, via the links below
La Bien Aimee (for Yarn Bundles, Maker Accessories, Her Book "Worsted" and their stockiest lists)
Jimmy Beans Wool
Note: The “Jimmy Beans Wool” link is an affiliate link. If you purchase yarn via the link provided, I get a small percentage of the sale.