When I started knitting (total duration : 22 minutes), and then crocheting, I wasn’t really selective in terms of my yarns. I preferred quantity over quality for sure. In fact, I had no idea there was quality to be looked for. Biggest thrill : finding liquidation anything. Now I know that there IS such a thing as quality, and that quality is a gift every fiber artist gives him or herself. I’m not even talking about spending insane money… just about being able to tell excellent from just ok.
Anyway. I’ll come back to the full story at some other point. Just know that the very first quality hand-dyed skein I ever purchased was a Felix skein, by Biscotte & Cie (known in English as Biscotte Yarns; Rusk & stuff would be the most literal translation), in the Betterave (Beet) colourway. The yarn smelled delicious & sweet as I worked with it, and the beret I crocheted remains a favorite to this day. I’ve never hesitated between quality and quantity again.
The people behind Biscotte Yarns are married couple Louise and Patrick. I got to ask them a few questions recently and it makes me happy to introduce you to this couple that added quality to my creative life.
(Q) Can you tell me about your relationship to yarn? Are you a knitter, a crocheter, a designer? What’s your story?
(R) Biscotte Yarns is a family business my husband Patrick and I operate. I learned to knit from my mom when I was a teenager. For a long time, I only knit scarves. Then in 2007, I needed some more variety and took a knitting class.
I crochet very little, but I know the basics. I also spin yarn on a spinning wheel, but don’t have much time for that. And I like patchwork too: it’s a great way to play with colour and let my creativity take over.
(Q) Tell us about your family, pets, and where you live?
(R) We have 3 kids, 11, 13 and 14 years old. Yep, we got hit by teenage years like a ton of bricks! We have 2 Peterbald cats and live in the beautiful town of Saint-Bruno, on Montreal’s south shore. We love this place which is why we set up shop here.
(Q) How did you come up with the name Biscotte & cie?
(The most literal translation of the name is Rusk & stuff, or Biscuit & stuff).
(R) Biscotte & Cie was initially a blog that had no idea of becoming a business. I created the blog with the intention of keeping in touch with our relatives who live far away. I talked about everything on that blog: the kids, leisure activities, etc. At the time, we had a cat whose name was Biscotte. I added & cie (and stuff) for everything else that I talked about.
(Q) What inspires you? How do you come up with all these colourways? Do you have a favorite, or a bestseller?
(R) Inspiration comes from just about anything: nature in general, film or novel characters… Something it just strikes. Our most popular colourway is easily Watermelon, a self-striping yarn. I’m not sure what my own favorite is, but I know I love to dye Rainbow and see the magic of the colours mixing to create it.
(Q) Biscotte & cie is also a physical shop. What will visitors find there?
(R) We offer many different yarns : our own hand-dyed yarns of course, but also many commercial brands. We have notions and accessories for knitting, crochet, and loom knitting, etc. For a little over a year now, we’ve also created a space for those interested in sewing, so we offer exclusive fabrics, Juki sewing machines, and other notions for sewing. And we offer knitting, crochet, and sewing classes.
(Q) Okay before you go, can you tell me something about yourself that’s maybe a little embarrassing?
(R) When I was about 5 years old, I cut up my mother’s dishcloths to make clothes for my doll. I literally cut a long-sleeve sweater shape into a striped cloth and I remember my lines weren’t all that straight! It was rather a primitive way to work, and it makes me smile when I think of it… I think my interest for fiber arts (and stripes!!) has been in me since the very beginning!
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