This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of Indie Across the Pond, taking place from March 19-21, 2021.
Back in 2019, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Barcelona Knits, a new festival then in its second year. It was great to feel the warmth of a yarn community across the Atlantic and see the creativity of new indie businesses. Soraya García, a knitwear designer and the publisher of Yedraknits was a big part of that experience.
Yedraknits, formerly Bellota, is a modern knitting magazine published in Spanish (an English translation is available) with a focus on independent designers and yarn producers. It is built on community and Soraya is bringing that spirit to Indie Across the Pond and collaborating with fellow Spaniards David and Jackson of El Robledal to create a special kit for the show.
Tell me how Yedraknits came to be?
The idea of creating Bellota (which has now become Yedra) was to be able to grow and evolve the knitting community at the local level. Two years ago, there were no books or independent magazines in Spain, and those associated with brands had a very classic aesthetic. My idea was to “change the rules of the game” and raise the knitting community’s level in my environment. Almost three years later, I think I have succeeded. More magazines, on paper and digital, have been born, and the panorama of publications in Spanish begins to bloom.
How do you decide on which patterns to publish in Yedraknits?
First, we choose a topic and submit it. Among the proposals we receive, we think about those adapted to the theme, about the techniques that they bring together so that there are proposals for all levels and tastes. We try to find a balance between large garments and accessories and difficult and easy garments. Also, I like to give opportunities to at least one designer who has never published on paper. And in the last issues, you start to see designers from different parts of the world!
What did you do in your pre-design and publishing career and do you find any parallels between it and your business?
I studied art history and specialized in contemporary art. I have been knitting since my teenage years and have always seen it as a way to create and customize my clothes. I was very well known in my high school for my scarves and sweaters and they were always a way to express my personality and also (almost without knowing it) to empower whoever wore one of my pieces. For years, I didn’t knit anything. I studied, I set up a store with handicraft products, the store closed and I started working for a multinational company. At that time, I started doing yarn bombing installations and I started knitting again. So, I decided to study pattern making and little by little the weaving conquered everything again. It has helped me to be myself again. Rediscover me and see if I had a vocation. The years with the multinational company taught me to run a business and to make it grow and the years linked to art to work with creative teams and to be up to date with trends. Now it’s like everything fits.
You moved from Spain to Amsterdam in early 2020. Can you tell me about that decision?
After five years in the office, my work in Madrid was starting to stagnate. My boyfriend’s family is from Amsterdam and we always toyed with the idea of “changing of the scene.” So when we fulfilled our rental contract in Madrid, not finding a house that we liked, we thought about leaving there. My boyfriend was mobile and I wanted to go back to work for myself.
Can you share some of your plans for Indie Across the Pond?
Indie Across The Pond is a total experiment. The number 1 issue of Yedra sold out in a month, so I would like people to continue to know the project through our digital version. Also, we have started to create kits for my patterns with the original yarns with which I work, to publicize the dyers with whom I collaborate. I want people to ask about the process of creating the magazine or about the patterns in the private sessions. Also, El Robledal has created a special color for my special Moffitt sock pattern for the festival!
What inspires your own designs?
As I said above, I think what I want to wear myself inspires me. Those clothes make me feel like myself. My other passion is music, so sometimes I think about the sweaters Kathleen Hanna, Patti Smith, or Blondie would wear. Designing reminds me of who I really am. I like to put song names on my patterns!
When and how did you learn to knit?
My mother taught me to keep myself entertained. But, I remember perfectly that when I took it more seriously it was to be able to make a replica of the Mike Kelly doll that appears on the cover of Dirty by Sonic Youth. So I started compulsively knitting scarves and they became fashionable in my high school.
What are your favorite skeins in your stash?
Oh! this is hard. I have skeins that come from the hair of the goats of my friends Jackson and David that are like a treasure. And I have four skeins of Brooklyn Tweed that I bought on a trip to Philadelphia years ago that I am unable to use because of the memories they bring back.
What are some of the best things you’ve learned running your business?
I have gained confidence in myself, I have learned to motivate the people who work with me, and I have distilled more than 10 years of learning to which I did not find meaning and that, suddenly — click! — they fit together. My passion for art, my ability to lead teams or connect people, my creativity, and my need for freedom! They have joined in a job that makes me be myself: D and that makes me happy and makes many people happy!
Thank you, Lisa! It’s fulfilling and lovely to work with you and all the Indie Community! 😀