Sweet Georgia Yarn in Lomo Love for the Yarn Story Collection
We’re pleased as purple punch about this month’s Yarn Story Collection yarn from Sweet Georgia.
This vibrant, saturated colorway is called Lomo Love after Sweet Georgia founder Felicia Lo’s love of lomography. You’ll find an overall rich jammy purple with dark raspberry highlights in this hand-dyed yarn
You can buy this one of a kind yarn in store & online starting today. Just remember: there’s a limited quantity available, and when it’s gone it’s gone.
We love sharing not only the story behind the yarn, but the story of the people behind the yarns you love. Today we bring you a conversation about the power of color, being passionate about your work, and reclaiming creative time with Sweet Georgia founder Felicia Lo. Enjoy!
When you were little, what did you want to be? Are there any activities or aspects of this you still enjoy as an adult?
When I was little, oh there were so many things I wanted to be. Fashion designer. Opera singer. Computer programmer. They seem like such a random collection of interests, but looking back now, they reflect exactly what I still continue to love and am doing today — crafts and textiles, fashion, art, music, and delivering it all through different online media.
What did you do before starting SweetGeorgia?
Before starting SweetGeorgia, I was a graphic designer and web developer. I designed and worked on everything from cookbooks to annual reports to database-driven websites. And before that, I worked as a community pharmacist. In university, my self-directed studies involved delivering pharmacy education through video- and web-based platforms.
Tell us about how SweetGeorgia began.
In 2004, I started a blog called “SweetGeorgia” because I wanted to write about my bread baking adventures. I wrote one post about baking bread and then proceeded to write for the next 12 years (and still going) on knitting, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and a bit of quilting.
Who’s Georgia, anyway?
Good question! Georgia isn’t a person. It’s a place. It’s a little reference to our Strait of Georgia which is the water between the Vancouver mainland and Vancouver Island. To me, it’s the heart of my little corner of the Pacific Northwest.
For people who haven’t played with your yarn before, tell us what makes Sweet Georgia yarns unique.
Colours have always been a part of my story. The lime green pants I bought for myself as a kid. The mustard yellow wool suit I sewed for myself in high school. The hot purple ballgown I made for myself during university. I believe the thing that makes SweetGeorgia unique is how we share our joy and our sorrow, our trials and tribulations through colour. We make more than 120 colourways for our permanent collection, plus 12 additional, exclusive Club colourways each year. I used to describe them as “stunningly saturated” and they did start off that way — vibrant, tonal, rich, and colourful. But now we have a truly complete palette of hues that ranges from light to dark, jewel-toned to sophisticated neutral. And each one has a story. Like one of our latest Party of Five mini-skein set colourways, Jellybean, is the merging and blending of my life (fuschia) and my husband’s (orange) as we celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary this past summer.
Why do you play with color and yarn? What does it do for your soul?
Colour is power. Colour changes lives. Colour has the ability to change and shape your perception and influence your thoughts. The vivid and golden yellow of a single skein of hand-dyed silk yarn changed the course of my entire life and redirected me to focus completely on SweetGeorgia. That’s why I play with color and yarn. It’s a practice that allows me to express my creative ideas, but like meditation, it gives me access to my intuition.
Tell us a little bit about your Yarn Story Collection yarn and colorway.
This colourway is called “Lomo Love”.
Many, many years ago, when I took a sabbatical from dyeing and SweetGeorgia, I travelled to London to join a friend in the Lomography World Congress. At the time, I was suffering from creative burnout and exhaustion and just needed to rest and let myself wander. But a Lomo conference? What is Lomography, anyway?
Lomography is a photographic movement founded by Viennese art students in the early 1990s. Using small, toy, or analog cameras such as the Russian LC-A compact camera, Lomographers are encouraged to push the boundaries of their creativity by employing the motto, “don’t think, just shoot”. Cameras used for Lomography are deliberately low-tech. Some cameras don’t have the ability to control much more than the exposure of a shot. And other cameras were not much more than primitive pinhole cameras. The Holga camera is well-loved for its erratic performance and spontaneous light leaks. This is a plastic camera that is literally held together with black electrical tape.
Other favourite techniques used by Lomographers included using expired film stock to produce unexpected results. Another popular trick was using film designed for slides and “cross-processing” it using chemicals designed for print film. The results would be strong, almost harsh, contrast and increased vibrancy and saturation. The colours would just POP from the photographs.
Of course, the aesthetic of this photographic movement are what you now see in your Instagram filters these days — the attempt to reproduce random and purely coincidental analog effects with the convenience of a digital medium.
Joining this group of passionate, colour and camera-crazy art students for a couple weeks in the early fall gave me a new way to look at my work. Sometimes you need to travel to the other side of the world, to meet people you need to meet, in order to spawn a season of fresh ideas and a new perspective. Looking back, that might have been the jolt of creative electricity that I needed to restart my journey with SweetGeorgia.
While I would never part with my Instagram filters and iPhone camera these days, I still have a deep love of my collection of plastic toy cameras.
Any patterns you’d recommend for people to use with this yarn?
I love that this colourway has gentle variation. It seems well-suited to something like a simple shawl. I tend to favor the top-down triangle, half-pi, and side-to-side shaped shawls since you can knit until you run out of yarn!
Where do you see your business heading in the next couple of years?
As I type, my nearly 8-month old daughter (my second) taking her late afternoon nap in a baby carrier, attached to me. These days are a bit crazy and there is still so much I want to do with the business. In the next couple of years, as I see our kids (now 3 years and 8 months) getting more and more independent, I want to lead SweetGeorgia to become a strong, vibrant voice sharing joy, inspiration, and education in the knitting, spinning, and weaving community.
What’s a typical work day look like for you?
There aren’t any typical work days these days! Work gets done basically every time the baby goes for a nap, and much of that work gets done on-the-go on my iPhone. We have a great crew at the SweetGeorgia Studio in Vancouver who handle a ton of responsibilities and then we also have our knitwear design director, Tabetha Hedrick, in Tennessee who takes care of all of our pattern and collection development and also collaborations with independent designers. We are all connected through Slack, mainly, so my work day looks like me texting and taking iPhone photos.
How do you try to balance work and personal knitting/ spinning goals?
That’s an excellent question. Boundaries between making things for work or for fun… I recently started this mission that I call “Taking Back Fridays” where I take Friday afternoon and indulge in crafting completely for myself. I’m taking it as a time to focus on expanding my skills in knitting, spinning, dyeing, or weaving outside of what is necessary for work or for SweetGeorgia. For example, I’m experimenting more with a different type of dyeing altogether. It may or may never find its way into SweetGeorgia or our yarns, but it’s my personal goal to expand my knowledge and abilities.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The flexibility. No doubt.
The most challenging?
No boundaries. When you are so passionate about what you do for work and you enjoy it so much, it’s hard to know when to stop. Sometimes the hardest thing is closing the office door and saying, ok, it’s time to shut down for the day.
Any current favorite colorways?
My go-to colourway right now is Bewitched and Mulberry. I’m stuck in a plummy purple rut, right now, but I don’t mind.
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
Re-organize my to do list, repeatedly. Or better yet, surf for new software to manage my to do list.
What are your non-negotiables?
Everything is negotiable.
Who do you most trust to tell you the truth?
Definitely my husband. No sugar coating.
Fill in the blank:
When I need inspiration: I listen to music.
My guilty pleasure is: sour cream and onion potato chips.
Every knitter needs: good yarn.
What is the best part of this knitting & yarn community?
The people. I’ve met the warmest, most thoughtful people through this work. People who have shared so much love and wisdom with me. I can only hope to do the same for others.
Any tattoos? If so, what inspired you to get your favorite tattoo?
Nope. But I vote for Grace Akhrem’s “knitting ruler” tattoo on her index finger.
What’s your current mantra?
Just keep going.
What is your favorite thing about Autumn?
What color are your nails today?
Sparkly baby pink with glitter.
What would be your fantasy animal mash-up?
Panda and a Rabbit?
If all of your weekend plans suddenly got cancelled, how would you spend your days?
If it’s sunny, I’d take my family out to a live music concert in the park. If it was rainy, we’d paint pictures and play at home. I’d hopefully get 20 minutes to finish winding a warp.
Don’t forget to show us what you bought and what you’re making with our Yarn Story Collection yarns. Tag us @StashLocal on Instagram and use the hashtags #YarnStoryCollection and #StashLocal so we can see what you’re making!