KOEL Stories

Yarn Shop

Stockist Highlight: Anna & Juan

Stockist Highlightirene hoofs

Founded by designers Josefina Eliggi and Luzius Schnellmann in 2011, “Anna & Juan” is a collective that strives to develop sustainable textiles based on the use of plant dyes. Their responsible approach to design has since resulted in a stunning suite of products of high quality, which are made available in their shop in Zurich as well as their Etsy store.  We are also pleased to stock KOEL Magazine Issue 1 in their shop, so be sure to check the shop out when you are in Zurich! 1) A one-liner about your store? How would you summarise it for someone who’s never been?

Anna & Juan is a sustainable textiles and naturally-dyed yarn shop and studio, offering different kinds of hand-dyed yarns, knitting and crochet needles and notions, specialized magazines, handcrafted textile products, and even classes.

2) Bestselling item in the store?

Aside from our crochet hooks that are made of beech wood and produced in Switzerland, one of our best-selling items in the store is the Plant Dyed Cashmere Merino yarn — soft and warm, ideal for baby clothes and accessories.

3) What is something you never expected when you opened the shop?

We had three pop-up stores in Lucerne, before moving to Zurich. Zurich is bigger than Lucerne, and we had almost immediate acceptance. We were surprised by how quickly the workshops and classes were sold out, and by how people kept coming back. We have customers of all ages and from different countries. Also some of our customers became good friends and great supporters of our project.

4) Any funny experiences with customers?

Although our names are Josefina and Luzius, many people call us “Anna” and “Juan”!

KOEL Stories | Stockist Highlight: Anna & Juan

5) Other than your shop, what is another shop you would say is a must-visit?

The area where Anna & Juan’s shop is located, is close to Ida Platz - a charming little square surrounded by bars, restaurants and nice small boutiques. Two of our favourite shops are Duplikat, a stationery and book store with a beautiful selection, and Norkind, a wonderful store with curated household goods that is owned by a couple of designers.

6) Thoughts on the yarn trend?

Usually we don’t follow trends, at least not consciously. We started developing this project five years ago while Josefina was doing her Masters. If we would have followed what seemed to be the “future” of textiles back then, we would now be working with LED lights. But we decided to follow our guts, and instead we turned to traditional processes with a modern approach. We are mostly inspired by independent designers and artists’ work, which we like to follow through social media.

7) What was your motivation to open your shop?

Josefina used to have a small clothing company back in Argentina. Luzius has a background in graphic design and illustration. We met at a sustainable summer school in Germany in 2010 and later on decided to do something meaningful and take responsibility as designers. We started studying natural dyes and local materials like wool, linen and dyeing plants that would grow easily in Switzerland. We love textiles, especially hand-made ones. Textiles tell stories. The experience of learning something new, being in contact with material (yarn, thread, fabric, color) instead of staring solely at a screen, and also sharing this passion of ours with other people is both inspiring and powerful.

KOEL Stories | Stockist Highlight: Anna & Juan

Photo credits : Anna & Juan

Stockist Highlight: Fibre Space™

Stockist Highlightirene hoofs

KOEL first came across fibre space™  after seeing rave reviews of the workshops they conduct. As a publication that supports continual learning, we of course had to find out more about this lovely yarn store in Washington DC. Owner, Danielle Romanetti, took time off her busy schedule to share with KOEL more on this community hub – a haven for a growing crafting community.

1. Tell us more about Fibre Space. fibre space™ specializes in unique yarns and fibres from hand dyed, independent, local and U.S.-made sources for knitting and crochet. We are known for our wide selection of classes, designer workshops, yarn tastings, movie nights, and other community building events. We are located in historic Old Town Alexandria, VA just outside Washington, DC.

2. What motivated you to start Fibre Space? My shop is really an extension of my original business – Knit-a-Gogo, Inc., which I opened in October of 2006 to offer knitting classes in the DC metro area. Initially, I taught beginner and intermediate classes at coffee shops, bakeries and even public libraries in and around Washington, DC. Utilizing these spaces required a solid relationship with the businesses that hosted us and has led to the collaborative philosophy that fibre space™ now maintains. As my customers grew in number, so did the community of knitters and crocheters, number of classes being offered as well as my staff of instructors. Eventually, the Knit-a-Gogo community really needed a permanent home – a place where stitchers could meet outside of classes, buy quality supplies and and share with other stitchers. In 2009, this dream became a reality when Knit-a-Gogo became fibre space™ and opened its doors in historic Alexandria, VA.

3. How did you originally get into yarn crafting? My grandmother taught me to knit when I was probably five or six years old. At the time, I made a garter stitch scarf for my Cabbage Patch dolls. I re-learned to knit in graduate school while visiting her again and haven’t really put it down since. My mother was always an avid crocheter, and she taught me to crochet when I was a teenager.

4. What’s your go-to source of inspiration when you craft? I’ve been using Instagram lately for most of my inspiration. The “maker” community on Instagram right now is really amazing, and I’m always finding new things that I want to make.  Sometimes I am even inspired by a piece posted by a local boutique that I know I can duplicate on my own!

KOEL Stories | Stockist Highlight: Fibre Space™

5. On a typical day at Fibre Space, you will see… On a typical day at fibre space™, you will find a few folks sitting in our lounge area stitching away. There are always new boxes of yarn arriving, and those who are here when we start opening boxes usually get to enjoy the first snuggles with the new yarn!

6. What’s the most popular class at Fibre Space? Tell us more about it! Our most popular class right now is still our Introduction to Knitting Class. We still have more men and women take that class than anything else that we offer. Our introduction class teaches all of the basics – from knitting and purling to “tinking” and binding off. We also cover knitting lingo and the world of Ravelry.com and other online communities for this craft. For the busy DC area, this is really a great way to relax and meet people that they might not otherwise run into.

7. Share with us your most memorable customer to date! We had only been open a day or two and had just locked the doors up for the night. A young couple came running from the burger place across the street and peered in through our front door, looking VERY excited. I went and unlocked the door and invited them into the shop. After spending a few minutes browsing around, they came to the counter with armfuls of yarn and told me how excited they were that there was a new yarn shop and that they were planning to move to Old Town soon. Her boyfriend paid for the yarn for her, and I remember telling her to keep him around because he supports her “habit.” They became one of our most loyal customers, and I never forget how important it is to welcome everyone – even after hours! Their engagement shoot was done with a pile of yarn purchased from our shop and they now own a home in Alexandria, where they are raising their toddler. She’s a good friend too!

KOEL Stories | Stockist Highlight: Fibre Space™

Photo credits: fibre space™