Wrapped in Color author Taiu Landra of Koigu Wool Designs offers a peek behind the scenes.
By Christina Behnke
Reading Wrapped in Color: 30 Shawls to Knit is almost like deciphering a family tapestry. Artist Maie Landra founded Koigu Wool Designs; Taiu, her daughter, runs the company today, and granddaughter Kersti has joined operations. Their latest book features designs from all three Landra women. Each piece reflects a unique harmony among color, shape and pattern, and it’s easy to see why: From the very beginning, Koigu yarns and designs were created to go hand in hand. Taiu Landra answered our questions about the book and what it’s like to produce one of the best-loved yarns in the industry.
Koigu Wool Designs’ first book, Knits from a Painter’s Palette, uses modular knitting techniques in everything from jackets to dresses—and, of course, shawls. In your follow-up, you focus on shawls alone. How did this idea come about?
Shawls have always been in our library of patterns. KPM and KPPPM lend themselves to shawl and lace knitting. The fact that you don’t have to end up with something that must be worn as a garment can make creativity soar.
Tell us a little about the design process for this book. Were your colorways usually the inspiration for the designs? Or was it more a matter of finding the perfect colorway in your catalog once the designs came to mind?
The stitch, the color, the shape of the shawl—all are part of the process of designing the shawl. It all has to come together.
What inspires Koigu’s signature colorways?
Nature and the world around us—also fashion trends from around the world.
What is a typical day like for you?
Making sure that production and shipping are in process, for the priorities for the day, is the first and most important. Then it depends on the day—marketing, sales, ordering product, product development, social media, problem solving, and all the day-to-day details.
Your company is very much a family operation, with your mother, Maie Landra, founding the company, you running it today, and your daughter Kersti starting to be involved. Can you tell us a little about your family dynamic?
Communication is very important, along with respect and good listening! We make a good team—we all need to be in agreement, with an unwritten order of authority, [and] of course a lot of patience. It’s family, after all.