Pre-Rhinebeck Untangling: Aimée Gille of La Bien Aimée

Aimee Gille of La Bien Aimee in an orange sweater

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.

The yellow storefront of La Bien Aimée yarn.

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.

The interior of a yarn shop.

When and how did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit from 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.

Steel dye pots in a row.

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.

Yellow yarn with pink and purple speckles.

La Bien Aimée’s new Lyra colorway, which will debut at Indie Untangled.

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!

What to stash this week: the last of Automne

The remaining skeins of La Bien Aimée’s popular colorway from last year’s Indie Untangled, the speckled Automne à Rhinebeck, are available for sale in her squishy Merino DK — which will be perfect for your Indie Untangled sweater. 

And speaking of exclusives, I have one extra skein of the Knitting Our National Parks colorway called Hoodoos dyed by Into the Whirled. Happy to send it on to its forever home!

Eden Cottage is having a shop update today with a focus on BFL.

What to stash this week: yarn deadlines

In honor of the new year, I’m offering 20% off all in-stock items in the Post-Rhinebeck Pop-up with the code INDIENEWYEAR. This includes a few kits with Jill Draper’s exclusive Knitting Our National Parks colorways along with a code to download Kirsten Kapur’s stunning Joshua Tree Cowl (because most of us would love to be in the California desert right about now…). The discount runs ‪through January 15‬.

Today is the last day to guarantee your skeins of Aimée’s Automne à Rhinebeck on both Merino Singles (pictured above) and Merino DK! Aimée is sending me her shipment right after the new year, so preorder today to make sure your yarn is in one of the big boxes I’m expecting from Paris in a couple of weeks.

You have ‪until Sunday‬ to get four exclusive colorways from four indie dyers based on these picturesque locations, and patterns to go with them.

Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit.

What to stash this week: Wild yarns and glaciers

When Sandra of Duck Duck Wool signed on to create a colorway for the Knitting Our National Parks series, I was thrilled. When I saw her inspiration photo, a shot of Glacier National Park in Montana, I got even more excited. Then, when she emailed me the photos of her colorway, Glaciers and Wildflowers, I may have done a little yarny happy dance. How stunning is this?! And Sandra is dyeing it on not one base, but two — her Silky Singleton, a blend of 70% Merino and 30% silk for shawls and summer tops, and DK Limited, a Superwash Merino that you can use for hats, cowls, mitts and, of course, sweaters you can wear now. The yarn will be available to preorder here through Friday, Dec. 22, and will ship the last week of January 2018. As always, 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

Another Knitting Our National Parks installment means we get a limited edition POP Thru The Parks souvenir from That Clever Clementine! Vicki has saved one of her most POPular products for the final one of her collection. These fabric yarn bowls (which don’t have to be used only for yarn) will be available to preorder today starting at 9 a.m. Eastern time until sold out (previous batches have sold out in less than two hours so… head on over!).

If you’ve been looking around for that special shawl pin, or one to add to your collection, or if you just like looking at shiny things, I suggest you head over to the Porterness Studio website. Jen makes her shawl pins and buttons using the 5,000-year-old lost wax casting process, with each piece either hand carved out of wax or 3D printed in wax, cast in sterling silver or bronze and hand finished by Jen in Los Angeles. Her regular jewelry is pretty lovely, too. Indie Untangled readers get 20% off with the code Indie20.

Fresh off her trunk show at Woolyn, where I drooled over her yarn and samples, Lauren of Old Rusted Chair has released four new colorways. From top to bottom are Starboard, Prankster, Glint and Heatwave, which are available on Lauren’s Squish base, a 4-ply Superwash Merino.

Also fresh off her appearance at Woolyn last weekend, Julia of Pandia’s Jewels has released some perfect heavy-weight bases. Just in time for winter, you can now find a variety of DK weight yarns in various blends of Merino, nylon, Cashmere and sparkle. She even has a few fade kits. 

Katie of Never Enough Thyme has updated her shop with Christmas colorways, including heel/toe sock sets in Sugar Plum Fairy, Mistletoe’s for Two and Christmas Cookies. There are also lots of Cozy Christmas mini sets, perfect for knitting ornaments for your tree (don’t worry, there is still time).

For Week 2 of their annual holiday sale, Bijou Basin Ranch is giving you 15% off Tibetan Dream sock yarn and Xanadu Mongolian cashmere yarn, with no coupon code needed, through midnight Mountain time today. And all U.S. orders also ship free through Dec. 24.

If you’re short on time and yardage, but need some holiday gifts, Robynn’s Nullkommanix cowl just might be what you’re looking for. It’s named for how long it takes to make — 0.0 seconds — and is free for Robynn’s newsletter subscribers.

Since I’m waiting until after the craziness of the holidays for Aimée to ship her yarn to me, I’ve decided to extend the preorders for Automne à Rhinebeck a couple of weeks. My husband just requested a hat in the DK, so the magic of these skeins is real!

Here’s a look at the first-ever colorway for the first-ever installment of the Indie Untangled Where We Knit Yarn Club — Ami of Lakes Yarn and Fiber’s Drops of Honey. You can expect breathtaking exclusives like this if you sign up for the 2018 club. Next year, four indie dyer/designer teams — Hue Loco & SweaterFreak Knits, Pandia’s Jewels & C.C. Almon, Little Fox Yarn & Caitlin Hunter and Dark Harbour Yarn & Amy van de Laar — will collaborate on an exclusive colorway and accessory pattern inspired by the places they knit. Sign-ups run through Dec. 31.

Dye is Cast yarn is having a shop update today featuring new colorways, and a chunky beanie hat pattern will be free to download throughout the weekend.

Wild Hair Studio has new Star Wars-inspired colorways on mini batts and rolags, which are 15% off before Dec. 15.

What to stash this week: Still Automne

La Bien Aimée is dyeing up another batch of the breathtaking Automne à Rhinebeck for me to sell online. Aimée has put me on her calendar and is planning to ship the yarn to me before Vogue Knitting Live NYC in January. In the meantime, preorders of the yarn are now open! I will be taking them through Dec. 8 so we can get a better idea of the demand before she starts creating more of this Indie Untangled exclusive. It is available on La Bien Aimée’s Merino Singles fingering weight and Merino DK.

You don’t need a degree in yarn (though it may feel like you have one) to appreciate the knowledge that IU newcomer Katrina of Fluffy U Fiber Farm brings to her business. Based in Dover, Pennsylvania, Katrina and company raise various British breed and heritage breed sheep, including Blue Faced Leicester and Leicester Longwool, selling both natural and small-batch hand-dyed yarns in their shop. You may be familiar with them from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Virginia.

IU newcomer Marian of Marianated Yarns has put together the perfect knitter’s Christmas gift. Her limited edition Knitmas Kits include a set of six mini skeins, a cowl pattern from Katinka Designs, notions, treats and fun extras.

Christine of Skeinny Dipping had a post-Rhinebeck shop update with tons of yarny goodness, including her new Polwarth Silk DK base. The squooshy non-Superwash yarn made its debut at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Today at 9 a.m. Pacific time, Laura is listing the second Slipped Stitch Studios Outlander-inspired Bag of the Month for sale. They’ve also once again teamed up with Forbidden Woolery for matching yarn.

There are only a handful of skeins of Jill Draper Makes Stuff’s exclusive Joshua Tree colorways available to preorder through the end of the day today. I’m looking forward to getting my own in a couple of weeks and casting on Kirsten Kapur’s Joshua Tree Cowl, pretending I’m on a road trip through the SoCal desert.