We count ourselves very fortunate to have found some incredible distributors to spread the Millamia love across the rest of the world. Working with Nordic Yarn Imports has introduced our yarn and patterns to a impressive selection of retailers across Canada - a country we know to have a true love of all the textile crafts, and a long history of knitting. The company is based in beautiful British Columbia, run and owned by the Sopiak family who specialise in distributing products from Norway, Sweden, New Zealand and Uruguay to all of their Canadian stores.
We thought an interview would be a great way to introduce Tina and the Nordic Yarns team to you, so read on for an informative insight into a long love of yarn and knitting and some completely gorgeous pictures of Tina's recent wedding in Whistler.
Firstly, what are you currently knitting?
Right now I’m working on a multi coloured cowl in a fingering weight. It will be a gift, but I haven’t decided for who yet.
When did your love of knitting start and why?
My mom was always knitting, so when I was little I wanted to do it too. I didn’t quite have the patience to see anything through however, so I really didn’t get into knitting until I was a bit older. It was during our craze of eyelash yarn that I really got into it, and it was the perfect yarn to start getting hooked. It was fast, disguised bad tension, and I could still proudly wear my creations!
How did Nordic Yarns start out?
My mom started the business when I was little because she felt she couldn’t get the yarn she wanted. She’s from Denmark, and she was used to having many more options available, especially for little kids sweaters. After a few meetings overseas, we became distributors of a Swedish brand, and we grew from there. My mom translated the patterns while my dad ran the office.
How do you find time to knit when you are running such a busy business?
I’ll always find time. There are quiet moments in the office, and I always knit in the evenings when I watch tv.
Who is your favourite knitwear designer and do you have a favourite garment of all time that you have knitted?
I’m a bit biased when it comes to designers, always favouring our suppliers’ pattern support. Also I usually don’t use a pattern properly, instead using it for inspiration and making my own adjustments. But if I must pick one outside our range, I really love Churchmouse Yarns & Teas patterns. They are well written and creative. And as for favourite garments, I must admit I don’t knit full garments very often. I love accessories, partly because of that lack of patience, but also because I’ve always got new yarns to knit with. My most loved items are my chunky Punta merino cowl, which is so cozy in the winter, and my Fritidsgarn felted slippers. I would wear those slippers at work if I could!
What are Canadians knitting with at the moment and are there any particular trends in pattern choices?
I get asked that a lot, and it’s hard to put all Canadians in the same box. From what I’ve seen overall, knitters are making less sweaters and more accessories. The popularity and accessibility of handpainted yarns has sort of caused that, with the bold colours suiting scarves, hats and cowls. The last 10 years have really been great for fibres too, with knitters more educated in the quality of alpaca, merino, silk, cashmere, and others.
Do you have a favourite MillaMia pattern and yarn colour? And if you could add another colour to our palette, what would it be?
I don’t have a favourite yet, since it’s still so new to us. I want to knit more with it, but we’re sold out right now, so I’m stuck until our shipment arrives and everyone gets their yarn! I love blues and greys, so I’ve been eyeing Storm, and the new special edition Cobalt blue is gorgeous. You have already added Black to the palette, which would be my first choice. Otherwise, a charcoal grey or pale mint green.
Can you tell us something unusual about yourself or even share some of the plans for your upcoming wedding?
Well, the wedding has now come and gone, and it was wonderful. We only had 25 guests up in Whistler. Parts of it were fancy (like my dad in a tux), yet we had many DIY aspects. We did the flowers ourselves, mom made the cake, and my friend was the DJ. And something unusual about me... I have yet to knit my husband a sweater! He’s tall and broad, and there’s my patience thing... But his hands, feet, head and neck are always covered.
Tina with brand new husband Chris and with her Dad on her wedding day
What is your number one tip for knitters out there – the most important "purl" of wisdom you could share from your experience?
Make a tension swatch. Everyone says that, not many do it.
We would like to let our readers know which of your stores offer MillaMia yarn and patterns … can you help us with that?
Here’s the link to all our stores - it doesn’t specify who just carries MillaMia, but I hope the that list will grow.
(posted by Kirsten)