“We are inspired by nature, art, urban life, cities, trends…
Inspiration can be anywhere…”
If you’re a knitter, crocheter, weaver or all-around yarn enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with malabrigo yarn. Known for their super-soft skeins in a myriad of colors, there isn’t a fiber artist around who hasn’t reached for a skein and noticed how simply luscious it is…
I personally love how they have grown to be one of the biggest names in the industry, but have also so beautifully kept to their core values of sustainability and low-impact to the environment. I had the opportunity to talk to Kristel and Tobias (just the most lovely people ever!) to find out more about malabrigo — see below for the Q&A with some really happy surprises!
We’re also delighted to include malabrigo as one of our fabulous 2018 sponsors, PLUS we have the opportunity to share with YOU about their fantastic new collection of Rasta named TriBeCa — available now! The same incredibly soft and chunky wool in a new beautifully curated palette, TriBeCa is not to be believed, They sent us a few skeins as a raffle for the Spring gathering, and Amanda Cook knit this fab cowl overnight — don’t you just love quick-knit cowl?
Sprinkled throughout this interview are some patterns highlighting the new TriBeCa colors! Hope you find these knits so inspiring 🙂 xo
Tell us a little bit about malabrigo?
We are a family owned yarn company located in Montevideo, Uruguay. We started off in 2005 with two brothers-in-law dyeing yarn in a small kitchen. After achieving good results, they started selling a few skeins to the US and before they knew they had quickly grown to other countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
All the company’s wool comes from Uruguay, while the Alpaca is sourced in Peru and the Silk from Italy.
In 2010 the factory added a flat-plate thermal heating system to decrease the environmental footprint. Using the power of the sun, the water tanks are heated for the various processes to make malabrigo yarns.
The company employs environmentally safe practices using as little water and as few chemicals as possible. All of our colorants also meet EU standards for environmental pollution.
We took another step in 2017 when we migrated the majority of our energy solutions to renewable wood pellets! These cylinders are 100% biological and made of wood from runoff waste which would otherwise naturally decompose. The pellets have no chemical binding agents or dangerous additives and burn cleaner than other forms of wood-based energy meaning they have already significantly reduced our carbon footprint and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Our products are made out of the softest fibers available and inspired by nature, as well as landscapes, places, art and day-to-day life. This is what we try to represent when naming our more than 18 yarn varieties and the range of over 300 colors they come in.
Barclay Hat by Kali Sierra Berg (left) // Chambers by Kalurah Hudson (right)
What is something fun that most people don’t know about the work day/environment at malabrigo?
Time passes quickly at the mill and every day can be different because we are responsible for different areas but we are all prepared to do tasks outside our roles too. For example, if we have to prepare a special order for a yarn fair or a yarn store, we all collaborate to get things done. We can leave our desks and prepare and close yarn bags, put labels, put them on boxes, etc.
Some people might not know that some of our employees are relatives and work together every day. We have mothers and daughters, cousins, sisters, siblings and a couple. Sometimes we feel that we are all part of a big family!
What trends/surprises are you seeing in the yarn + fiber industries that are surprising?
We take a look at fashion and yarn industry trends but we always try to select the ones that fit our brand’s style. Sometimes the industry trends is not exactly our consumers trend, so not all that is trendy works for us.
We also can say that part of the work is quite intuitive and that we like to develop something different, original, new. That’s really important for us.
Antonio is a co-founder but also our creative director and he is the person behind most of our famous colors and yarns. He is an architect and has great knowledge about visual and plastic arts. If you ask him about the creative process, he would say that he does it in his own way. He enjoys thinking that processes could be done in a different way in order to obtain different results.
malabrigo yarn is extensive and gorgeous; the color palette is SO stunning and vibrant — from where is inspiration drawn when creating a new product and choosing color elements?
We are inspired by nature, art, urban life, cities, trends… Inspiration can be anywhere, but sometimes we are not that creative and we try to complete a palette by developing some colors that we don’t have. We take a look at pantone colors, especially when we need to find the shade we want to start with.
We love making test skeins because it’s a great way to see the results and change what we don’t like. Some of them are just part of the process and never get to be released, but there are other that are a complete surprise and become part of the malabrigo colorways.
Tell us about the new Tribeca color collection of Rasta — what is the fiber content? How does it feel when knit or crocheted?
Rasta’s TriBeCa is different from the usual malabrigo colorways and definitely is a challenge. From the beginning we thought of it as something that doesn’t deviate too far from the style of the brand, because the colors of this collection work very well alone or as an accompaniment with older colors.
When we thought about the colors of TriBeCa, we decided that we should include soft shades of pink, orange, blue, green, yellow and purple. But we also wanted to have neutrals,because they are basic for clothes and decoration. So we worked on them for this collection as well.
Three of the colors are already available in other yarns: Whole Grain, Cape Cod Gray and Valentina. We wanted all the names to be in English to be more accessible, so we named the new ones Fog, Melon, Cosmos, Ivory, Almond Blossom and Cucumber.
This yarn is 100% Merino, single-ply and Super Bulky weight. It’s very soft and Perfect for quick projects and cozy accessories.
Warren Cowl by Kirsten Kapur (left) // Murray Cowl by Kali Sierra Berg (right)
You can keep up to date with malabrigo via their Instagram (@malabrigoyarn), their Facebook (click here), or sign up for their newsletter on the Homepage of their website (click here). All photos are credited to malabrigo.