Indie Across the Pond Untangling: Yedraknits

1

A person in an orange coat holding a bouquet of flowers in front of their face and a magazine called Yedra.

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!

A woman in a red knit beanie smiles at the camera.

Soraya García

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.

Pink socks and a skein of green yarn with the words Moffitt Socks Hiedra Special Kit.

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.

A person hlding open a copy of Yedraknits magazine.

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!

Partying with the Poms

Kettle Yarn Co. goodies on the table at the Pom Pom Quarterly Christmas party. / Limited edition Shibori-dyed Islington.

Kettle Yarn Co. goodies on the table at the Pom Pom Quarterly Christmas party. / Limited edition Shibori-dyed Islington.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to hop a cheap flight across the pond and attend amazing fiber events in the UK like last week’s Pompom Quarterly Christmas party, which is organized by one of my favorite knitting mags. Recently, Ali, the awesome moderator of the Indie Untangled Ravelry group, suggested I could do the next best thing, and have the people I know who are able to attend these events cover them for the blog. So, I asked Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. to write about the party. Reading her recap is really the next best thing to being there — minus the pressure to buy yarn!—Lisa

Last Friday, I prepared some extra special goodies, packed up my heavy suitcase of yarny goodness and boarded the train for the two-hour journey from my sleepy seaside Hastings to the big city for the Pom Pom Quarterly Christmas party. It was held in the shiny new Foyles bookstore on Charing Cross Road, in the bustling heart of the London shopping district, where the Christmas lights were a-sparkle!

There was so much to look forward to this year and so many talented people in one room. The vibe at the party this year was relaxed and warm. I saw so many people catching up and ran into lovely folk I hadn’t seen since last year’s party!

Image © Anna Maltz

Image © Anna Maltz

Naturally the Pom ladies – Meghan, Lydia (above), Amy and Sophie – were all in fine form and the hostesses with the mostest!

The big news of the evening was Pom Pom’s move into publishing with their first book, Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Journey by Fiona Alice, which was just released. It’s a beautifully packaged book of cozy knits, including a new design I’ve been dying to see for months. Called Ketch Harbor, Fiona used my Islington DK in the Icicle colorway for this dreamy shawl that seems to hug your shoulders like angel wings. What a beauty! I kept heading back to Fiona’s table to fondle it and marvel at the shimmering shapes and may have tried to walk away with it. Maybe. Once or twice. ;-P

Images left © Julu Vail

Images left © Julu Vail

Released earlier last week was a bundle of pure joyous fun: Penguin: a Knit Collection, self published by the ever-playful Anna Maltz, aka Sweaterspotter on Instagram. I’ve known Anna for a few years now and her book matches her effervescent personality – it’s full of stunning designs presented with mischievous humour. This animation Anna posted on Instagram pretty well sums it up:

Too. fun. ;-P

I may have picked up a signed copy at the party, despite a firm resolution not to buy anything after a boiler mishap this week. It was seriously difficult to pick a favourite in these designs, but I’ve narrowed it down to two I simply MUST make: the furry Teenguin and cropped Humboldt.

Images © Anna Maltz / Skein of Clara yarn © me

Images © Anna Maltz / Skein of Clara yarn © me

There was even a visit this year from the Yarn Whisperer herself, Clara Parkes, my yarn hero. A skein of lofty Clara Yarn – version 3.0 – may have worked it’s way into my bag, as I just couldn’t resist this skein of the most deliciously fluffy Cormo. Especially as I’d followed along with Clara’s Great White Bale adventure last year! I also managed to squeeze in a quick chat with Clara herself, and only wished I’d had more time to pick this wool maven’s brains. She is just as lovely in real life as I’d hoped, if not more. I did my best not to fangirl all over her. Sorry Clara. ;-P

All in all the most lovely and inspiring Christmas party yet. Can’t wait till next year. xo

Post-Rhinebeck winners

PLY and Spark

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Indie Untangled Trunk Show recap post! The winner of the stitch markers from Leticia of A Bit of Spark is Carol B, while Dee and Christine will each get a copy of PLY Magazine.

I still have a bunch of samples from Leticia that she generously sent to give out at the trunk show, and I will include them with any orders of post Rhinebeck stock, which you will hear about shortly.