Info

Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOGAfter a week of surfing in Costa Rica (sorry… but not so sorry. We all need a (short) break in life sometimes), I arrived in hot and steamy Lima last Saturday. Ready for 10 days of intense travelling, cooking and… hugging alpaca’s. A girl’s gotta love her job!

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG10This time, the trip will be a little different than normal for me. There seems to be somewhat of a baby boom going on among my inner circle, people I love dearly and who are close not only to me but also very close to LNKnits. My lovely sister (and business partner in crime), Anneleen, and my friend & photographer, Griet Hendrickx, are both expecting a little one later this summer. I don’t need to tell you I’m very much excited for both of them! But since travelling to Peru can be very intense – and with the threat of the Zika virus – it was safer for both of them to stay home.

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG9I’m going to miss them for sure but I’m also excited to have a whole new & very promising team by my side in Peru this year! Please let me introduce the talented Joshua D’hondt, who will capture this whole adventure for us, and freelance production talent Camille, who we also learned actually is an excellent flirter – in Spanish, yes sir – with any local Don Juan. And yes, then there’s good old me. I’m what you may call the ‘old timer’ of the group, ready to embark on my 7th Peruvian adventure, and 4th time in Ayacucho. But even for me, there’s a first on this trip: besides the production follow up of AW16/17 and SS17 – and some major Alpaca lovin’, obviously – we will be focusing on the delicious Peruvian cuisine since we are writing a third book, named #LNFairfood.

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG5#LNFairfood will be a Peruvian inspired ‘lifestyle & cookbook’ with very easy recipes for everyone. Recipes inspired by the way Anneleen and I eat, which means 100% organic produce, tons of healthy greens and veggies, a minimum of wheat & dairy , no meat, some fish and plenty of healthy fats. And, obviously, with lots of Peruvian influences, as we consider this country to be our second home.

Just a little note on the side, we do not dare call ourselves ‘chefs’. We are active women who need decent food to get through the day. Food that is easily made and is as fresh as possible. And that’s exactly what our book will reflect. Nothing more, nothing less.

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG6The most typical dish from Peru most definitely is ‘Ceviche’, a raw fish lime-marinated dish full of healthy proteins. Fresh, light & full of flavours… in a few words: the perfect lunch.

Ceviche is popular in several South & Central American countries but I do think the Peruvian version is (by far) the best one. And… we now have our hands on the best recipe out there! Thanks to Vincente, local Chef & Don Juan of Barranco’s best Cevicheria ‘La Cantarana & Cantaranita’. If you are ever planning on visiting Peru… Make sure to save some time for a visit here so you can go crazy on the best local Peruvian food.

The exact recipe of this delicious ceviche we cannot reveal yet… You will need to wait until mid-October for that, when our third book will be released.  But, just as a teaser, here are a few happy shots of yesterday’s indulgence.

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG4

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG3

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG7

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG8

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG2

2016 LN Knits Peru_dag 1_Lima_Cevice BLOG8Stay posted for our next blogpost, more info and news on our #LNFairfood… straight from the Peruvian Andes in Ayacucho!

Cheers,
LN

Advertisements

Image

Picturesque is the perfect word to describe our last few days in Ayacucho. Of course we’re not only here to dance with the lovely knitting ladies and to cuddle with the cutest alpaca’s, we’re also here to follow up the production of theLNAndes FW2014 and the LNBeanies FW2014 collection, and to shoot the lookbook of LNAndes FW2014 in the streets of Ayacucho.

Being a fashion knitwear brand that is completely handmade, is far from being a piece of cake. It takes a lot of time and effort to have the perfect sample to be remade by 150 knitting ladies who all knit differently. No LNKnit will ever be completely identical to another LNKnit.

Image

Where LNKnits started off 2,5 years ago with a basic collection of only scarves and beanies, today the collection for both brands has extended way more. LNAndes now exists of 3 sizes of scarves, 3 sweaters and vests and a matching baggy beanie. LNBeanies offers even more beautiful knits, for women, men and children. Beanies, scarves, sweaters, vests, headbands, mittens, bed socks… You name it!

Following up the samples of the new collection of LNBeanies FW2014 is quite challenging. We are now working with a 2nd new type of 100% baby alpaca, that is a lot lighter and less fluffy, but that is as soft as the heavier type we use for smaller LNBeanies items. But a new type of yarn, asks for more follow up since it knits differently.

Fitting, measuring, trying, explaining, fitting once more … Before we leave to Lima this afternoon, we have another great amount of samples to fit. All very exciting, yet stressful! Read all about the new collection of LNKnits later on the blog.

Image

In order to thank all the great work all 150 knitting ladies have done and still do, we surprised them with 10 huge typical Peruvian, extremely sweet, chocolate-cream cake! They just had a tournament of football, so all the sportive ladies (and hey, they play pretty darn good!)were more than up for a yummy piece of cake! Hopefully by next year, Anneleen and I will be able to pass by with 15 or even more pies!

Image

As we would say in Belgium ‘in between the soup and the potatoes’ we also had to shoot the entire FW2014 LNANDES lookbook. 10 killer pictures all taken in the streets of Ayacucho, against the typical pastel stonewalls. Thank god my skin is looking better than ever thanks to a loyal usage of Clinique. It’s only Griet and me. No make-up artist, no Roxane Stevens aka my ultimate stylist by my side, but I must say, darn good pictures! Thank god for beautiful Peruvian light. Very excited to show you the pictures soon. First all eyes on the current beautiful LNAndes SS2014 collection.

Off to work!

Ready to start fitting,

Next blog post will be one from Lima, before we head back to Belgium on Wednesday.

How time flies…

Love,

LN

Alpaca's!

Anneleen and I woke up as a little kiddo’s going to Disneyland on Thursday. We were going to the alpaca farmers high in the Andes! Cannot describe how much I love these little fluffy, a bit silly looking, alpaca’s. Every time I see one, whether it’s on the huge picture I have hanging in my office in Antwerp, or I bump into one here in Peru, they make me smile, always. Very much excited I was (and the joy continues, so I still am J).

On top of my already existing joy, the sun was out and it was nice and warm. Since it is rainy season here in Ayacucho, it tends to be chilly and rainy in the morning, so we were quite lucky. We left at a reasonable hour, not 4AM like the last 2 years, thank god for that!

After a stunning 2h drive through the Andes, we arrived at a little Alpaca village on 5000m altitude where we were welcomed by ‘Fortunato’ and his community. Fortunato is one of the rare older alpaca farmers who speak Spanish. They original language in Peru is ‘Quechua’. All the Peruvians living high in the Andes, mostly only speak Quechua. So, we were pretty lucky to be able to communicate with him. Such a warm and lovely person. I took a selfie of him and myself, J. By far the coolest selfie and one of the funniest one made as well. You can check it out on Facebook (LNBeanies). You can find only the beautiful pictures of Griet on the blog. No low quality iPhone pictures of myself J.

At the alpaca's

At the alpaca farmers.

At the alpaca farmers.Before we were ready to hike up to the alpaca’s, we first got a little tour around the village. The alpaca farmers do live very basic, in ‘huts’, with no water resources, and barely any electricity. The size of one’s hut is about the size of a standard bathroom in Europe. In this room they sleep/cook/eat, with a couple of people. Yes, they are poor, very poor if you compare it to our life and even to the one the knitting ladies have in the city. But the life they have is pure, and it is what they know and have known for ages. It’s tradition.

 

The farmers have a very hard life. Living on 5000m altitude, where it’s cold, rainy, windy, is something we cannot imagine. They get up at 4AM every morning to take the alpaca’s to the fields for grazing. It depends on where they have them graze, but mostly it’s long hike to get there, and a long hike to get back. Once the alpaca’s are where they should be, the farmers go back to the village and they cook dinner and eat. Mostly this is around 16PM. After a soup of alpaca (which we even got served, but I regret to say that I kindly passed…) they hike back to their fluffy alpaca’s to guide them back to the village, where they spend the night. At 19PM lights go out and they all go to sleep.

For all this hard work they get paid very little. For every KG of rough alpaca they get an inhuman amount of Peruvian soles. It are the ‘parties’ in between the Alpaca/yarn companies and the alpaca farmers who are to blame for this. They drive along all the little alpaca villages to collect the rough baby alpaca and sell containers of this soft and precious fibre at a high price to the yarn companies. It are the yarn manufacturers who turn the rough alpaca into usable yarn through different process. Of course the price to the end consumer is extremely high in comparison to what the farmer actually gets.

At the alpaca farmers.

At the alpaca farmers.We at LNKnits want to somewhere break down this vicious circle by having a part of our yarn coming straight from the alpaca farmers themselves. In that way we can skip the 2 other parties and make sure the alpaca farmers get a fair price for their hard work. We invested quite some money in the research and development of this idea.

After we took a hike to the Alpaca’s together with Fortunato, where we cuddled with the little fluffy babies and where we took a few great fashion shots for the new FW2014 LNAndes collection, we got back to the village where we got to see the process in real life on how a hank of alpaca is made, live at the alpaca farmers.

First they shave an alpaca. Did you know an adult alpaca more or less offers 3KG of rough alpaca? Once shaved, and no worries dear animal friends, the alpaca’s are shaved such as sheep, and not killed. Otherwise your beanie would cost 500 euro’s instead of 50 euro’s. That’s just common sense; the alpaca’s are very precious to the farmers. The rough alpaca in the second step is ‘spun’ into a usable, knittable, yarn. Normally, for own usage, the farmers to this by hand,  but since we are to invest in our own ecological and human yarn, we invested in very basic machinery to do the spinning. Once spun, the yarn is washed and rolled into a usable hank. Of course these are just the basic steps within the procedure, but I will devote another blogpost soon to go into more detail about this process.

At the alpaca farmers.

At the alpaca farmers.

At the alpaca farmers.

At the alpaca farmers.We are very proud to announce that this year you will find 100% baby alpaca natural ecological friendly knitwear at the new LNBeanies FW2014 collection. This is a dream I have had since the very beginning of LNKnits, in 2011. I’ve first writing about it 2 years ago, as well on this blog, read it here: ‘Meet the Alpaca Farmers’. This year we are to test the production with only a basic collection of this beautiful yarn. By next winter 2015 we are hopefully able to extend it. We are one step closer to a complete human production cycle of an LNKnits. Offering a fair price for the work of the alpaca farmers and offering a human and steady income for the knitting ladies.

 

Nice evolution.

 

Let’s do this!

 

Love,

 

LN

 

 

 

 

ImageTime to dedicate a blogpost to the marvelous women of Ayacucho who knit the LNKnits collection. As I’ve explained to you in my last post, every piece of LNAndes and LNBeanies is handmade in Ayacucho by Peruvian ladies of all ages, offering them an honest income that is up to 3x times more than a local work employer would offer.

What all these ladies have in common is that they struggle with the same difficulties in life. Things that seem so natural and normal to us, but that are far from standard to them. A warm home, good housing, education, … but also even a closet to put their clothes into, a toilet, a shower or toys to play with for their youngest children.

ImageImageThe atelier tries to provide work to the poorest or most ‘tragic cases’ (if I can describe it that way) first. Those are the ones who need it the most.  Every lady decides for herself how many times a week she would like to check in to start knitting. All the knitting happens at the atelier in Ayacucho. This offers them a nice and cosy work environment.

The ladies do not only knit to earn a human income, they also chat with the other ladies about their situation, their past, and their difficulties. In some way or another they are all very much alike, and by talking about their problems they seem to find a way to cope with their current problems and find the courage to seek for solutions.

ImageImageImageImageBLOG3_008Yesterday Griet, Anneleen and I went to visit 3 knitting ladies at their homes, to see in what way the knitting of ‘chalinas (scarves), ‘gorras’ (beanies) or ‘chompa’s’ (vests) has contributed to a better life in some way. Even small changes can lead to big differences in their quality of  life.

First stop was at beautiful Hilda’s ‘casa’. Hilda is one of the hardest workers at the atelier. Since she started knitting for LNKnits, about 1 year ago, she was able to build a new kitchen, new sanitary (and very clean it was, I can speak from experience J) and to finance the studies of her son who is studying to become a veterinarian. Such a beautiful family with good future perspectives.

BLOG3_009BLOG3_010Second stop was Adelina, a young mother of 18, who lives with her brother. She is no longer together with the father of her child. It wasn’t easy for her to start knitting at the atelier since she had no experience in knitting or crocheting. But after a couple of months hard work started to pay off. She’s now knitting a couple of days a week, which makes it possible for her to feed her child with good and nutritious food and buy her son, Edgar, some toys to play with.

BLOG3_011Third and last visit was at Virginia’s. Virginia, her husband and 4 beautiful children moved from the countryside to the city, namely ‘Ayacucho’, to make it easier for their children to go to school. They used to walk 2 hours to get to school, and yes, 2 hours to get back home… Her husband is a truck driver, who leaves the house at 5AM in the morning and returns at 10PM in the evening. Virginia herself used to work as a road construction worker. This is very very hard labour, almost inhuman. Thanks to knitting and crocheting she was able to pay the mortgage of her house.BLOG3_012These are only 3 beautiful stories, the 147 others still need to be told…

What we can summarize here, is that thanks to the growth of LNBeanies and LNAndes the last couple of months, we, you, together, we are able to offer them better living standards and a better future.

Thanks for that.

Love,

LN

ImageAfter 1,5 day of soaking in energy and long morning rungs along the Miraflores coastline, sunny strolls and a overdose of Omega 3 (healthy fishy fats), we were more than ready to take our next flight to our final and most precious destination: Ayacucho.

Ayacucho is a small city high in the Andes, located between touristy Lima and Cuzco. Ayacucho, however, is all but touristy. The rare western people you see here are working for a ngo or good cause organisations. This pitoresque city has had quite a dramatic history of terror and violence not so long ago (80’s-90’s). Poverty has held stuck ever since. But the presence of  several ngo’s has made a big impact throughout the years in the quality of living among the inhabitants of Ayacucho. One of these ngo’s is Solid International. A good cause organization that offers stabel income to plenty of Ayacuchian Peruvians by creating jobs and offering a human, steady & fair income.

LNKnits works with Solid International in the production of the LNAndes and LNBeanies knitwear collection. As you by now propably all know, every LNKnits item is made by hand, for about 90% in Ayacucho by Peruvian Ladies, and about 10% in Belgium by grannies. All handmade in human conditions at a fair price.

ImageImage2,5 years ago I started off, as Griet calls it ‘a 23year old roockie’ , with my company LNknits and with the first production of LNAndes scarves all handmade in Ayacucho. At that very moment, year 2012, I was able to offer work to 25 young Peruvian ladies for a couple of months a year. Thanks to devotion, great brand ambassadors and ofcourse you, I was able to more than triple the work in 2013. 12 months a year knitwork for more than 70 beautiful ladies of all ages. One crazy winter that lasted over more than 6 months (winter 2013 that was), my sister Anneleen and I doubled once more the workload… Today the LNKnits knitting team exists of more than 150 amazing ladies, all year round. This all-in collaboration with the beautiful team of Solid International.

This steady income creates a better life for all 150 ladies, not only for themselves, but also for their families. They are able to invest in their homes, their lives, their future. They knit, chat, smile. Happy to have a steady income, which gives them chances. Chances that are rare in Ayacucho due to the past.

ImageImageImageImageFor more than 14 months (since my last trip to Ayacucho), I have been looking forward to this day, namely, the welcome ceremony at the LNKnits/manta knitting atelier. Hardly slept 4 hours last night, due to jetlag, but mostly because I was extremely nervous to meet the 150 ladies. Every welcome ceremony is so touching, it makes me more than speechless, stunned, but also turns a smile upon my face. To see and feel the gratitude of these women.

ImageImageImageToday’s welcome by 150 great woman was one big party. All the ladies were singing, dancing, laughing, … Anneleen, Griet and I got such a warm welcome. Fresh baskets full of typical Peruvian fruit, a traditional Peruvian rope filled with beautiful flowers and a typical Peruvian hat. Loved every single second of it. This is a feeling very hard to express into words. I hope these pictures will you give you slight idea of what it must feel like to be a part of such joy and gratitude. I would like to thank you once more for your trust in LNKnits. If it weren’t for you, this would not have been possible. So, gracias a todo!

Image_MG_4469After a morning packed with emotions we went for a healthy lunch at a local restaurant, Zuca, in Ayacucho run by young Peruvian mothers as well, one of the many projects of Solid International. Delicious!

Late afternoon: photoshoot of the LNAndes FW2014 collection.

More about that later!

Now, time for a glass of Vino Blanco Dulce and a local Peruvian Quinoa/trutcha dish.

Love,

LN

Image

Finally, writing again straight from, what starts to feel like my second home, Peru.

Yesterday morning Griet, Anneleen, my lovely sister that joined the LN team officially last month,  and me travelled off to Lima. A 24h trip that started off great. Apparently LNknits is starting to become quite known outside of Belgium too, since I got recognized as ‘beanie!’ by a lovely KLM crew member, Claudie. (Apparently my name this these is no longer LN but ‘beanie’ J). Her son is a proud owner of an LN Baggy beanie. Cute! We got pampered during the entire flight. Thanks for that!

Since there is a 6-hour difference between Belgium and Lima, being jetlagged is quite standard. Waking up early calls for an early morning work out! A 10K run along Miraflores Coastline, best wake-up call there is! Since today is one of the very rare ‘leisure’ days we have during this business trip, we took full advantage of it. My palest skinn is a very long time was very happy to soak in some vitamine D. 27 degrees and a chilly sea breeze calls for endless long strolls around town (did you know that ‘strolling’ is one of the things I love doing most?).

ImageImage

First stop: Barranco. During my last trip in January 2013 I discovered this beautiful old neo-colonial surf-feel borough of Lima and fell immediately in love with it. Not only with its romantic architecture, but also with its yummy food! The best Cevicheria in Lima: La Canta Rana! Ohw my… Did I indulge on fresh seafood ceviche, grilled salty corn knibbels and yes (sorry personal trainer Johan), a vino blanco dulce. This is heaven!  Ceviche = finger licking good. (You should try my own version Peruvian/Thai ceviche version… even won a prize for it J).

ImageImage

Since weather in Lima at this moment is sunny and nice, but tends to get chilly in the late afternoon and evening, my LNAndes is always close by hand. The fresh summer colours of this season SS2014 fit perfectly into this scenery. (Note to that: If you are interested in an LNAndes, packages are being made and will be shipped every Tuesday and Thursday during my stay here).ImageImage

So yes, a ‘holy Sunday’ as today cannot go without a frozen yoghurt, my Peruvian “moochie”!

Tomorrow Anneleen and I will be going for a 15km run (we’re training for the ten miles J) before we leave for Ayacucho! Ayacucho is where all the magic happens. Where Alpaca’s are herd, Alpaca yarn is being made and where young Peruvian mothers and ladies are turning rough alpaca into beautiful knitwear, and that, all by hand.

We’ll be staying 8 days in Ayacucho and our work schedule is quite packed I must say. From sampling follow ups, to photoshoots, to writing blogposts, to negotiate and to get inspired by life in a non touristy-Andes village. Add the extra work of Belgian mail traffic and you know that we will not be sitting on our ‘petites feces’. (It’s French, you can look that up J).Image

In total we have got 7 killer blogposts for you!

Hope you will enjoy them!

LN

Image

Almost a year has passed since my last blog-post..April 2nd, 2013…Crazy! It’s been a really hectic and exciting year. And as we all know, time flies when you’re having fun!

But don’t you worry…For the coming 2 weeks, I’ll be blogging on a regular basis, because I’m going back to Peru this Saturday! Can hardly believe that in 2 days’ time I’ll be in Lima enjoying the beautiful weather and the yummy Peruvian culinary delights, and in less than 7 days I’ll be in beautiful Ayacucho, home of the DIA and LNKNITS workshop.  As you all probably know, every LNKnits Item, whether it’s an LNAndes or an LNBeanie, is handmade in Peru or handmade in Belgium by a granny. Slow fashion with a heart!

LNBeanies and LNAndes both started with two winter collections made from 100% baby alpaca wool. The LNBeanies winter collection is heavier and more “sporty” than the LNAndes winter collection. Every LNAndes item is made from a pure alpaca bouclé yarn, giving it volume but making it extra-light.

Since winter 2013 was one of the chilliest winters or springs in Belgium for years, I noticed that I almost never left the house without wearing one of my “ladies” (scarf or vest). It was/is the perfect accessory to keep me warm on chilly mornings and evenings. And apparently I’m not the only one thinking that way!

ImageImage

That’s why I’ve decided to design/create a spring/summer collection for LNAndes.  Yes, you heard that right: 100% alpaca in spring and summer. There is nothing artificial in the yarn I use, which makes it lovely to wear and adaptable to different climates. LNAndes will keep you warm if you need it and cool if it’s rather hot.

Let me introduce you to the new LNAndes SS2014 collection. These seasons are all about pastels, so LNAndes can’t be behind the times! Have a look at the beautiful pictures in the look-book below.

ImageImageImageImage

Pictures by Griet Hendrickx.

Makeup by Clinique.

Styling by ItRox, Roxanne Stevens.

I’ll be wearing nothing but the new LNAndes collection on my trip to Peru, so don’t forget to check the blog on a regular basis. J You’ll soon fall in love (with Peru and with the collection, that is!) and yes, maybe a little bit with the alpacas too!

Next blogpost will be coming straight from Peru!

LN

The lovely ladies

About 2 months ago I left beautiful Peru behind to head back to cold & snowy Belgium after 2 weeks of amazement, work and pleasure. Seems like it has already been 2 years… How I can miss Peru… I was literally Peru-home-sick for over a month. I call it my ‘post-Peruvian’ depression.

2 weeks… 2 months, ok, but 2 weeks? But yes, 2 weeks. Why is that? Well, because every time I arrive in Ayacucho, where my knitting & crocheting workshop is located and where my lovely ladies & girls work really hard to make the beautiful LN|Andes collection, I feel so welcome and therefore very much at home.

Blush Camel

analyzing an LN vest

LNBeanies vests

Weekend Knack

Pie!

Exactly 1 year ago I was in Peru for the very first time, not knowing what to expect. First meetings with my Peruvian yarn manufacturer, making crazy ‘yarn calculations’ in my tiny little hotel room in Lima, not knowing how ‘LN’ would take off for winter 2012-2013.

Taking a step into the wilderness… Ordering yarn, a lot of yarn, for the LN|Beanies collection, to be shipped to Belgium for production by my kick-ass team of grannies, and… yarn to be sent to Ayacucho, to my knitting ladies, for production of the LN|Andes collection.

Last winter LN got noticed by the media and therefore got a chance to ‘boom’. The grannies were knitting their ‘pretty little butts off’ here in Antwerp, and in Peru, more and more young ladies got a chance to join the ‘knitting-team’ in order to earn a steady income.

And it’s all thanks to you! Every LN item, whether it’s a pair of mittens made by Granny Lydia or whether it’s a Long Lucy made by Erlina in Peru,  is helping out someone. An extra penny on top of their small pension, or a penny to go out and buy some nutritious food.

Knitting is part of every day life in Peru.

Quality check: perfect

Thank you

Workshop

And yes, of course, you’re helping me out too.

I must say, winter has been kind to LN. Freezing temperatures and snow until April? Seems like my winter season is never- ending, but you won’t hear me complaining! I love cold, love my knits, love my red nose & ditto cheeks.

Now, you’re probably thinking… So what does she actually do when winter ends? Start the holiday season? Of course not! I’ve been really busy with the LN|Andes ‘sales’ to shops in Belgium. The more shops, the more work the knitting ladies have in Peru. Last year 7 great shops gave me a chance and it seems like it did pay off. All of them, except for one, have orders in again, being absolutely satisfied with how last winter paid off. Another 7 shops stepped into the LN|Andes story too. A big thank-you for that as well. I promise you LNAndes will be as successful as last year. The colours are stunning, the quality still perfect, the story behind it even more stunning.

Besides that (I have probably already mentioned it on this blog) I’m writing an LNBeanies book, named ‘Goed gemutst’ (literally translated: ‘Well Beanie-d?’) published by ‘De Standaard Uitgeverij’. A 144-page + thick ‘do-it-yourself-book’. The first 10-20 pages will be about how it all started… Yes yes, you’ve heard it probably already a zillion times: ‘snowboard-chick, …, grannies, …. Peru, … yarn’…’.

Yarn

Yarn

Alpaca

Spinning

Beautiful Andes

And 30 LN|Beanies items with a very clear description/pattern so you can make it yourself with… LN|Beanies yarn. From September on you will be able to buy the LN|Beanies book in a book-store near you and order the exact amount of LN|Beanies yarn you need to make your very own LN| item, online.

Writing a book is very much time-consuming but oh God… so much fun and such a great experience! Thank God I get to share it with my super team, namely Laurent Laporta (design), Griet Hendrickx (Photography), Roxanne Stevens (itRox, styling) and Patricia & co of DS Uitgeverij.

What do you think of this very first ‘teaser’? This is a leaflet that will be distributed to book-stores for them to place an order. And according to DS Uitgeverij, they are very much interested! What good news that is!

LNBeanies Goedgemutst

LNBeanies yarn

LNBeanies yarn

 

Another first announcement I’d love to share with you is that I’ve decided to launch an ‘LN|Andes’ pre-summer collection too. Same concept, same lightweight lovely yarn, same story.

Big Berthas, Long Lucys, Mini Marias, Cosy Charlenes and Baggy Beanies, in a few very fresh, summery-feel colours. Stay tuned because I will be listening to you when it comes to choosing the colours!

Because I’ll be launching a pre-summer collection as well, I will be able to offer work and an income to all my knitting ladies in Peru for an entire year,  a goal that I never thought to reach after only one year.

Very much excited for the upcoming weeks. Will keep you posted!

Hope you had a lovely Easter weekend!

I’m still enjoying my last little pieces of chocolate (stuck somewhere between my teeth, haha just joking)!

Ayachcuho skyline

Love,

LN

Dark aubergine Big BerthaI travelled to Peru early this year for 3 different purposes: to collect the winter 2013-2014 yarn of LN|Beanies  & LN|Andes, to visit the knitting atelier in Ayacucho and to shoot the new LN|Andes collection in the scenery where it originates from, namely, the Andes.

Me and Griet had a lot of fun shooting this collection. We mostly bumped into locations while working on other projects. Pictures on the road, low key, no heavy make-up and only 1 suitcase of ‘typical LN outfits’. The shoot turned out to be a good preparation for next year. We already have some great ideas. Professional model, stylist, … High fashion, as it should.  Excited already!

A few words regarding the LN|Andes collection. LN|Andes is a luxury 100% baby alpaca accessory collection. Three sizes of scarves, namely the Big Bertha, the Long Lucy and the Mini Maria and matching baggy beanies. Winter 2013-2014 will also present you the first hand knit vest, namely Cosy Charlene. Eleven beautiful colours for you to choose from.

Enjoy.

Black Long LucyDark eggplant Big BerthaDark eggplant Big BerthaBlush camel Mini MariaRomantic rose Long LucyPetrol sea blue Big BerthaBeige Long LucyBeige Big BerthaLight grey Big BerthaWhite Mini MariaEclectic 80's blue Big BerthaDark grey Big Bertha & white Baggy BeanieDark eggplant Big BerthaEcltectic 80's blue Big BerthaLight grey Big BerthaCoral red Big BerthaCoral red Big BerthaLove

LN

Top team!Yes, you had to miss out on a fresh blog post this morning! You must have been slightly disappointed… Monday’s blogpost counted for 2! Don’t you think? Yesterday we had a rather calm day where we headed out on the streets to shoot some more fashion. A productive ‘quickie’. 4 good pictures in 1 hour… we make a good team!

While Griet was working on the pictures I headed to DIA by myself, where my ladies knit & crochet, to follow up the quality of the samples. Now, me and orientation… It’s like water and fire. Even though I’ve walked to DIA a zillion times, I of course, got lost. In the meanwhile I stepped into a hole in the ground, hurt my foot, started bleeding… Haha, it must have been a funny sight! A blond European girl, trying to ask for the way to DIA in a language that is far from Spanish, with red Keds (sneakers) from a bleeding foot, and idem dito red cheeks from running around like a chicken without a head (once more; no real English).

I eventually made it to DIA an hour late, got my foot cleaned and disinfected and was ready for a strict quality check. The ladies are so good in what they do…! They take everything very serious. They weigh the samples I took with from Belgium and make sure the sample they make weighs exactly the same. Of course that the other size dimensions are correct too. Quality seems to be a difficult thing for brands that are produced abroad. It can make or break you. I’m quite blessed I must say. All the LN|Andes items that have been made so far are all more than perfect. Good job, once more!

Since we didn’t plan to write a blog post we took the time to already make a selection in the fashion pictures we did so far. I must say… It looks more than good. Next year I’m taking my LN|Andes model, namely beauty Els Schoofs, and a stylist with me. This year’s shoot was a good test, and it tastes like more! But again… you will have to wait until Friday morning to see the result.

After a lovely dinner with great Peruvian food (hmm Trucha), vino blanco dulce, and of course the best company, top chick Griet, we went to bed really early, as always, ready for another exciting and productive day!

Perublog35Perublog36Spinning! My spinning failure!Today we headed towards Santa Ana. Santa Ana is located in Ayacucho and is a part of the village where you can find a lot of musea that focus on the heritage of the (natural) colouring of the rough yarn, and the production of beautiful typical Peruvian handmade items such as woven pieces of art.

Within ‘the chain’ the colouring process was the only thing, which I hadn’t seen with my own eyes yet. Now, within my LN|Andes collection you have a few natural colours, namely white, beige, black, … and artificial colours. The natural colours have not been dyed, but it’s just the natural colour of the alpaca. Rough white alpaca yarn is more expensive than other natural colours because of the fact that only the white is suitable fur further colouring.

You have two ways of colouring; the artificial (chemical) and the natural. My LN|Andes collection is artificially coloured, but in the future, once I have my own alpaca farm, this will be done in a natural way. The process of natural colouring is simply amazing… By boiling the rough white alpaca yarn with natural ‘ingredients’ such as leaves, cactus fungus, etc… you create the most stunning colours. Very interesting to see/learn.

Colouring procesPerublog41My new piece of Peruvian art for in my master bedroomI tried some spinning myself, but it seemed like I better stick to the designing, knitting and crocheting, ‘ahum’! Can’t wait to have an entire collection that is 100% human, natural and handmade. But it will take time. Good things come to those who wait…

A lunch, another fashion shoot, another ice cream, another blog post and another lovely dinner later… We’re ready for bed and for our very last day in beautiful Ayacucho!

Natural coloured yarnLNThursday morning we’re off to humid Lima again, the final stop before we head back to… (I hope) freezing Belgium!

Winter is where my heart is… Does it tell? 2 knit brands?

Till Thursday!

LN