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Lanivendole, the art of handmade yarn - Exclusive DHG interview

from Annalisa Chelli - 23/10/2017

Annalisa Chelli

Stefania and Federica a.k.a. Lanivendole

Two friends who with a wheel and wool skeins, not only create unique handmade yarns but also life stories, theirs. As the wheel rotates and their fingers regulate fibre, their days start to take shape too.  Hours of  spinning hours of life. Wool, yarn, children, hopes, commitments and goals.

They have made wonderful yarns for DHG. A classic and soothing beauty.  Precious skeins that make you want to immediately pick up the needles! Here they are in these photos; enjoy them along with the interview.

We got to know them better thanks to a fantastic project that created a new Mood. The Ze:na Mood inspired by their city, Genoa. It’s with great pleasure that we introduce them to you. Happy Reading!

Coils - Lanivendole

You are two women, two mums, two wives. How do you keep everything together by doing the work you do?
Good question! To one with have no answer to, at least for now! The explanation that by now after some years we give to ourselves, is that we ‘float’ between one thing and another, we feel a bit like tightrope walkers in some periods. We have given ourselves a new rule, which is not to take up more than 2 weekends a month for work, and then what we manage to do in a day is greatly appreciated. One thing for sure is that we wouldn’t have been able to and won’t be able to carry out our projects without the help of our families, but to get here, looking around, in the end the fact that we literally create something every day, is a nice message to send to our children and why not to our partners too. The fact that in our homes for better or for worse, there are corners - or rooms – full of colour, material, curious looking tools to make something simply “beautiful” which in itself  has a value as well as in fact a little bit of organised mess and a few clumps of fibres scattered around.

Gradient - Lanivendole

Wool is your greatest passion, how did it start?
We love to match different natural fibres with our yarns, and over time and lots of curiosity we have learnt to know the characteristics, value and defects.  Obviously, it wouldn’t be fair to say that we consider wool better than noble fibres such as alpaca, mohair or even cashmere… but in the end, out of all the commercial or handcrafted threads that have passed through our hands, the wool ones never disappoint. Perhaps its appeal lies within the unique versatility, the varieties it can be found in, the extraordinary properties that hide behind its humble origins, but it is in fact our favourite. How did we find out? It was the first one that we knitted with, spun, carded, washed and smelt and from those moments it’s like telling never-ending stories every time.

A1 Grade Mulberry Silk Tops (Sliver) - The Classics Collection
Soft Fruit
50 g € 10,38
100 g € 19,89
500 g € 90,79
1 kg € 172,93
10 Kg. Extra Fine Merino Wool Tops (Sliver) - The Classics Collection
1 pc. € 420,95
Tussah Silk Tops (Sliver) - The Classics Collection
50 g € 7,21
100 g € 13,82
500 g € 63,07
1 kg € 120,14

How Lanivendole came about

What made you start up this type of business?
Let’s say the real tempter was the Internet, as it allowed us to find not only the resources and equipment to learn how to spin, but above all to compare other people’s experiences… maybe even from the other side of the world; then in about 2010 the first online shop portals started to catch on, dedicated to makers and this meant that once we started to create a few yarns for ourselves, we soon had the idea to start producing more and to see, even if just for curiosity, if anybody liked them. And they did, fortunately, and shortly afterwards we decided to set up our Association to be able to organize courses and workshops and to start getting to know and network with creators, artisans, designers and talents in the sector.

Where and how did you meet?
We met thanks to DHG! We were part of a group of buyers of fibre ribbon with other spinners, and as we were both from Genoa we met up to share out the order, then after a coffee and exchanging a few emails we attended out first fair together… and after years we have arrived to today… continuously creating ideas to carry out.

Flower - Lanivendole

Lanivendole – the emotion of the first yarn they made

Handmade yarns, are there many studies behind the choice of fibres and colours to use?
In most cases, yes, it’s rare to make yarns instinctively, simply by matching colours and creating a random shape. We usually study the materials first of all, which can be used to reach an aesthetic effect or necessary to use. At the same time, we think about the title and the structure we want to give to the thread, and of course the combination of colours and if we want to start with dyed fibres or mixed carded ones… so many decisions in fact, but each step is stimulating. Moreover, after all the attempts it’s rare that we don’t like the outcome, and so we started making small collections rather than a single yarn, matching colour palettes or thickness and different techniques, but interesting, at least to our taste!

What emotions did your first yarn give you?
Great strain and frustration, aching hands and shoulders, but also satisfaction and affection for that bundle of knobbly and twisted wool. Still today we ask ourselves “but why do we like this?” and we still don’t have a clear and rational answer. A little is the peacefulness of the act of spinning, the feeling that the whole world remains outside and your mind is focused on the flowing of the fibres and on the rotational and consistent movement. A meditation in motion.  Certainly the satisfaction of creating something, transforming a project into reality is exciting, and then finding out that with our yarn we make other creators happy, who in turn can make something simply wonderful and fulfilling for themselves is the best. It makes you feel like a diffusor of well-being.

Locks - Lanivendole

Lanivendole - mission Fiber Art Movement

You are trying to bring the Fibe Art Movement into Italy, what stage of this mission are you at?
It's tough. The Italian creative genius is unique in the world, but not for this certain mentalities manage to make it big here too. We have always been fascinated by the daring and innovative creations by some foreign artists, but in fact, at least from the experiences we have had so far in the courses, in Italy hardly anyone approached spinning with the idea of creating artistic works or to be so bold as to use exceptional materials and shapes. Even those who buy artistic yarns, stay within refined and plain aesthetics, and in any case designed for a precise project, be it knitted, loomed or other. This is by no means a negative opinion but more a statement, maybe in a few years tastes will change and we’ll get closer to the international mood, or maybe not, we will simply keep our Italian peculiarity… and we’ll continue to experiment!

Murrina -Lanivendole

Lanivendole is the name that distinguishes and identifies you. How did you come up with it?
The name was given to us in Florence,  it kind of speaks for itself; we were there at a fair, and talking about our project over dinner, little more than a dream at the time, and a friend replied in a distinctive Florentine accent: “so in the end you are wool sellers”  ‘lanivendole’ … and for us, lucidly, this name proved to be a revelation. It felt right immediately.

Such passion could only make us want an ad hoc project. So we didn’t let the opportunity pass us by and asked the Lanivendole to help us produce video tutorials on hand spinning.

If you fancy trying your hand at this wonderful technique then this video is for you!