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Julie Asselin is a Québec fiber artist whose hand-dyed yarns are available in local yarn stores throughout Canada, the United States and Switzerland, as well as some select online retailers. Julie is very close to her craft, and to her clients. I am fortunate in that I not only have easy access to Julie Asselin’s luscious yarns, but I also know Julie personally. She is a wonderful person, relatable, curious, completely off the wall, and absolutely contagious in her passion. I recently spoke with her about her business, her life, and her process.
Julie was happily born into a family where her artistry would thrive: her maternal grandfather was both an accomplished photographer and musician, both grandmothers are avid knitters and crocheters, mom has an eye for drawing, colours, shapes, as well as a strong sense of esthetics, and dad, working in construction, is very detail-oriented.
To Julie, music, photography, knitting, and cooking are essential creative outlets.
At a very young age, Julie was taught to knit by her grandmother. Quite the exacting teacher, grand-maman would only move to the next lesson once the previous was perfectly mastered. Julie says that this has resulted in her knitting being “as steady as a train”.
I’ve mentioned Julie’s curiosity… This is one of her strongest character traits. It is no surprise that after years of knitting, she got curiouser and curiouser about the entire process behind the skein. Spinning, fibers, mills, dyes… And this curiosity would eventually lead to Julie wanting a specific colourway she could find nowhere but in her head, and experimenting (and experimenting, and experimenting some more) with dyes to reach exactly what she wanted. She experimented so much that she ended up with too much yarn for a single person (!), and then with too much yarn for her circle of fiber-inclined friends. Shop orders were the next logical step. That was 2 years ago.
It is quite lucky for us fiberartists that this chain of events occurred as it did, because Julie never actually planned for this. It really did just happen!
Hand-dyed yarns are now a full-time gig for Julie, who keeps her operation tight with the help of her partner and husband, JF. He helps with logistics and prioritizing, while two part-time employees help with prep. Julie also relies on a close group of friends that is always there to help, comfort, or counsel as needed. Julie has also made fiber-connections and fiber-friends over time; they are one of the facets of this business that she appreciates most.
About the yarns
Julie offers a complete line of yarns from fingering to super bulky. Most of her bases are sourced from New Zealand and the United States, and spun specifically for her business in North America. All of her blends are luscious: different combinations of merino, silk, and cashmere, for instance, as well as decadently coloured – as you’ll have noticed in the photos.
Julie doesn’t use references when creating colours. No, no. This talented lady credits her photographic colour memory for the ability to recreate a colour that has caught her eye. Julie’s colours are inspired by nature, food, music and feelings. It’s usually possible to figure out how a colour was inspired through its name (and possibly some French lessons in many cases). As for the bases, those are named by Julie’s husband and are inspired mostly by the quality of the yarn: Merletto, the Italian word for lace, or Leizu the figure behind the Chinese legend of the creation of silk.
For her own projects, Julie gravitates to purples, blues, and pinks, but is a lover of all colours in general. Her current favorite is Birch, which is coincidentally quite the customer favorite. She does find time to knit, like any one of us does: in the car, in waiting lines, in front of the TV.
Julie designs a little bit, but for lack of time has largely encouraged crochet and knit designers to play with her yarns. She credits these people for having given her the exposure that lead to her current success.
Julie Asselin hand-dyed yarns are available in Canada, the US, Switzerland, and some online retailers. Check out her website for a local yarn store near you, or follow Julie on social media to know more about her yarny adventures.
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