This is the eighth in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2019 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.
I’ve been extremely pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming lucky to have been able to work with the talented Paris-based Aimée Gille of La Bien Aimée since 2017, when I approached her about creating the first of three custom colorways for Indie Untangled. This year, I’m excited to welcome Aimée’s full range of bases and colorways courtesy of Brooklyn General Store, one of my local yarn shops that began carrying her yarns last year.
While they’re waiting to enter Indie Untangled in the morning, ticket holders will get to pretend they’re in Paris and enjoy a coffee and a croissant, courtesy of the La Bien Aimée coffee cart, which is new this year.
Aimée, an American expat living in France, founded her yarn and tea shop L’OisiveThé in 2008 and later opened a second shop, La Bien Aimée, which also houses her dye studio. Here’s a look inside her operation.
It must be challenging running two shops and a dye studio! How do you manage it all?
In the beginning year of La Bien Aimée, it was quite hectic. I ran back and forth between both shops A LOT and sometimes I would have to close one to run to the other, but after a few months I got some help by hiring another employee to help with the two shops. In year two of La Bien Aimée, my husband joined me to help me run both my businesses. I would not have been able to do it without him and from there we are grown to a current team of 13 people.
What inspires your colorways and your colorway names?
I am very inspired by nature and my travels. I am also inspired by my childhood and where I grew up, which was in Kansas, and my Korean heritage. I also have made 11 colors inspired by Game of Thrones!
Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?
I would say that one of my favourite colors to design is the color pink. I am constantly developing new pinks each season. But my absolute favorite color is yellow. I created a color called Yellow Brick Road in the first months of launching my yarn brand and it’s stayed true to itself from the beginning. Whenever a new sweater design comes out, I immediately want to knit it in Yellow Brick road. Yes, I do have a lot of yellow sweaters and I’m so happy about that.
When and how did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit form my mother when I was a child. She started off by showing my how to weave in my ends and often let me help her. I didn’t knit much after learning, and it wasn’t until I was a young adult living in Paris as an expat that I found my way back to knitting.
Do you enjoy any other crafts in addition to knitting?
I only knit. I have tried other crafts, but I always come back to knitting. I would like to learn to sew though. I have not really tried that yet.
What are some of your favorite FOs you or your customers have made with your yarn?
I really love my Mon Manet Light by Jonna Hietala in our custom spun Merino Sport base. It’s in Yellow Brick Road Graffiti and I wear this sweater all the time. I love seeing West Knits shawls using La Bien Aimée. I am also always so excited to see any FO that my clients have knit — just to see them wearing their knitted garments in my yarn bring my so much joy. Another sweater that I really love is Love Note by Tin Can Knits, I can’t wait for the cool weather to arrive. I will be wearing this all the time over my dresses.
What advice would you give an indie dyer just starting out?
I would say, have fun! I learned everything I know by tinkering around in the studio. Maybe study a little color theory and learn about safety when dyeing so that you can keep dyeing as long as you want and not get sick. Also, if you want to have a go at this as a business, be creative and don’t look at what the others are doing.
What plans can you reveal for Indie Untangled?
We will be bringing a new base called Cashmerino to Indie Untangled and we will be revealing four new colors, plus a new custom color for Brooklyn General Store that goes very well with our fall palette. I look forward to seeing all the knitters, so please come by the booth and say Hi! Show me your knits, too!