At fibre space, we’ve been fans of The Fibre Company (rav link) since before we opened our doors. From Canopy‘s (rav link) luscious drape to Terra‘s (rav link) delicious color palette, we can imagine knitting an entire wardrobe using nothing but FC yarns. So how did they get as good as they are, and how do they stay that way? We caught up with Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley of The Fibre Company to find out what makes their yarn so gloriously stashable.
Founded in 2003 as a processing mill by Daphne Marinopoulos and Iain Stanley, The Fibre Companyquickly gained a following when they added a dye studio and began wholesaling their yarns. “Since Daphne and Iain spun and dyed all the yarns in Maine in the beginning, as the company grew they couldn’t keep up with the demand and customers were waiting a very long time for their orders to be fulfilled,” Kelley told us.
When Kelley and Osborn learned that Marinopoulos and Stanley were looking to change their business model, they founded Kelbourne Woolens to serve as The Fibre Company’s exclusive distributorship. Now, most of the yarns are spun and dyed in Peru, leaving Marinopoulos and Stanley free to focus on the creative side of the business.
“The Fibre Company yarns were practically unavailable for an entire year as [Daphne and Iain] traveled to Peru to work with the artisans there to perfect the yarns and teach their dyers the techniques they had developed,” said Kelley. Now, the yarn is sold all over the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with fiberphiles buying it in local yarn shops or online. The company hasn’t stopped innovating, either, adding new colors and patterns — and a new yarn this fall.
Savannah (rav link) a blend of cotton, linen, wool, and soya fiber, is produced entirely in Pennsylvania, by a mill that has been family-owned and -operated since 1907. This makes The Fibre Company one of a handful of American yarn companies who support the textile industrial tradition of the eastern United States.
One of the reasons fiberphiles love The Fibre Company’s yarns is the care the company puts into every part of the process. When developing a new yarn, Kelley said, “We first start with an end result we desire, whether it be the hand, spin, weight or fabric characteristic, and work backwards from there.” One of the most important considerations for their product development is that the end result be unique and classic, resulting in “a quality and lasting product inspired less by fads and more by longevity.”
When it comes to color, that focus on innovation and practicality comes through in colors that are dazzling yet still wearable. “Daphne’s eye for color is really wonderful. She has a great way of tweaking colors just so, so that they are slightly different from what is expected,” said Kelley. The principals of the company choose new colors every few years, and the process is rigorous. Marinopoulos prepares hundreds of different color samples for consideration, and those that pass muster are “colors that will be relevant for many seasons to come, so ultimately we try to balance what is (and will be) popular, and what will still be relevant years from now.”
Pop on down to the shop and see what the fuss is all about — fibre space carries Canopy in both fingering and worsted weights, and Terra.