This month we’re featuring
Koigu Wool Designs
a three-generation-strong family business with international scope!
Koigu Wool Designs has a history as bold and unique as the yarns and colors they produce. The name Koigu was chosen to honor the ancestral home of Maie’s late husband, Harry, which is located in their native Estonia. The farm that now serves as the Koigu headquarters was purchased by Maie and Harry Landra in 1972. It is located in Chatsworth, Ontario.
Although it began with a small flock of sheep, hand spinning, and the weaving of tapestries, it has grown into a three-generation-strong (Maie, Taiu, and Kersti) enterprise known for colour, design, and, of course, merino yarn.
Maie’s Estonian heritage and art training led her to develop a signature style of hand dyeing and knitting yarn. After graduating with a degree from the Ontario Agricultural Business, Taiu focused her energies on making Koigu Wool economically viable. Eventually the mother-daughter duo decided it was time to put the herd to pasture and work with a commercial woolen mill. As luck would have it, around this time a retired industrialist with a background in textiles came to visit the Koigu farm and put the Landras in touch with a reputable mill that would spin fine merino wool to specification.
It was this partnership with a woolen mill that brought Koigu’s Premium Merino yarn into existence. The yarn is light, so it can be worn indoors and out, soft, so it can be worn next to the skin, and of course, 100% merino. In an age when thicker yarns that yield quicker results were all the rage, KPPPM was an anomaly. An anomaly that everyone had to have. Koigu’s signature yarn became legendary, known for its wearability, its versatility, and above all, the stunning colorways.
For the first 5 years, Koigu’s Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (affectionately known as KPPPM by its many admirers) was dyed in the kitchen of the Landra farmhouse and dried either outside on the pine trees, or hung inside over the bathtub. As demand for the exquisite yarn escalated, the family began work on a wool shed.
The impressive building is 5500 square feet of yarn creation paradise and now more lived in than the farmhouse itself. There are separate areas for dyeing and drying the wool, reeling it into skeins, warehousing, shipping, and a showroom. Taiu has a large office, Maie finally has the studio of her dreams to design, and granddaughter Kersti has her own space as well.
While demand is as high as ever, the Koigu yarn is still painted, hanked, labeled and shipped by the Landra women and a small handful of local employees. While they use the efficiency of machines where they can, every skein sent out into the world is lovingly painted by hand and is a truly unique work of art.
Looking for a pattern? Try Joan’s Diagonal Faggoted Scarf.