In our occasional peak behind the scenes in the yarn industry, we had the chance to talk to Debbie Bliss about introducing a new yarn to her range.
How do you decide to introduce a new yarn? Is it driven by trends or fashion or does customer feedback come into it?
First of all I have to fall in love with the yarn and feel excited about it! I think trends are important because we all influenced by what is around in ready to wear even if only subliminally. I go to the trade fair Pitti Filatti in Florence twice a year to see the new yarns that have been developed for the following year and will pick the ones that interest me and have them sent to me.
When they arrive I will swatch them because sometimes yarns that feel fabulous in the ball do not feel as good in the knitted fabric and it may be that I can work with the manufacturer to change the blend to improve it.
You’ve just added a sock yarn to the Debbie Bliss range, why did you decide on that?
I have been asked for a sock yarn over the years but hadn’t found one that I really loved until now. I love the fact that Rialto Luxury Sock has beautifully shaded colour combined with bands of a tweed look.
How do you decide on the colours?
When it is a new yarn the feel of it will inform the palette I think it should be launched in. For example a soft cotton may make think of ice cream, sorbet shades. On the other hand a silk blend is more likely to point me towards intense brights.
When I am choosing new shades to introduce to existing yarns I will look at the colour predictions and if they fit in with the existing shades to make a harmonious range take them on board. It is important to be aware of colour predictions as those shades will be appearing in ready to wear.
When you launch a new yarn what else need to happen?
After choosing the yarn and colour range we think of names. This isn’t always easy because often after a search has been done the ones I like are already in use.
Then it is researching and swatching for a pattern collection for the yarn. The I pull the ideas together so that the pattern compiler can write the patterns, which then go to the sample knitters.
When the work is ready to come back, I work with the team to set up photos photoshoots so that we have images ready for Handarbeite or reps meetings.
There are a lot of stages before the yarn and the patterns are on the shelves of your local yarn shop.