We are so excited to present this collaborative effort between Miss Babs, Neighborhood Fiber Co., and Mary Annarella!
You may not know it, but Babs and Karida have long been friends and admirers of each others' work, and Mary's design sensibility was a perfect addition to this project. This has been a long time in the making and will be the first of an ongoing series of collaborations!
We worked together to create two complementary colorways on some of our favorite yarns for this project. While Yowza and Capital Luxury Sport are different weights and different fiber content, they work very well together in Mary's shawl design. The Mutual Admiration Society shawl pattern brings the yarns and colors together in a geometric mosaic and stripe pattern evocative of the meeting of our respective urban and rural surroundings.
I sat down with Babs and Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. to talk about our new collaboration, discuss how we got here, and so on.
Let's start at the beginning. How did you get connected?
Karida: The connection was fibre space, more than ten years ago.
Babs: And probably Danielle saying, oh, she's cool, you two should talk.
Karida: And that made me comfortable asking for advice.
Babs: I was comfortable sharing information, and as I got to know you, I knew you weren't going to share it on.
Karida: I tell people, I talk to Miss Babs a lot, she's who I want to be when I grow up.
What's appealing about working together?
Babs: We talked about doing a collaboration a few years ago but now we have the skills, knowledge, resources to really make it work.
Karida: I'm catching up, I think!
Babs: Oh yeah!
Karida: The way you run things fits with my values: everyone gets paid, people get benefits, this is a business that supports people - and I see you work.
Babs: Yeah I do!
Karida: And seeing you work through the time period when your husband passed away felt really familiar to me, because of taking care of my grandmother when she was sick and dying, and what it's like to be grieving, but also to have to be in public. It's really hard. So I had a lot of compassion and respect for you in that scenario.
Babs: Thank you. That's part of what I saw too, is that you always work, and that you're always responsible to your family -- talk about shared values. We were also able to be honest right from the beginning with each other about things, just a sense of simpatico.
Karida: It was a vibe, a really refreshing vibe. We can have a conversation and be honest and not be 100% on my guard, which is hard in this industry. I'm glad to be in a conversation with someone who takes this seriously.
Babs: We're both no-BS people. It's easy to work together and have it not be an issue. Being willing to join our logos is evidence of that.
Karida: It seemed like a no-brainer to me, I'm delighted to have my logo with yours, it just works.
Can you talk a little more about the yarns and the design?
Babs: People are surprised at shows when we'll walk them over to your booth if we don't have quite what they're looking for.
Karida: I think we're good about sending each other people, because we do have a different style. It was exciting to get to work with someone -- we don't normally do collaborations with other dyers, that's just not how this industry works. I think we have the same sense of what is good quality. I had confidence that we were both going to pick good yarns for this project.
Babs: Exactly, we needed to find two yarns that would work well together, and these weren't the first yarns we thought of, but it works. And we've both worked with Mary Annarella.
Karida: I was on a panel with her recently. I was like, wow, you're a dynamo! She also takes this seriously as a business, which is why it works so well for the three of us.
Babs: Mary really did a nice job combining the two yarns (Miss Babs Yowza and Neighborhood Fiber Co. Capital Luxury Sport) in her shawl design. They're technically different weights and they have different fiber content, but they still play nicely together when they're knit up.
Karida: And we did two different dye styles, I did more of a tonal solid and you did the lighter speckled color.
Our plan is to continue working together with a variety of different designers, developing new colorways and combinations for exciting collaborative projects. Stay tuned!