This one’s for Fiona Ellis, who has been going crazy being sneaky!
I first met designer extraordinaire Fiona Ellis last summer, over an outdoor movie and coffee featuring Mary Poppins. Fiona had recently had an interesting observation, which she shared with great enthusiasm. “I work with my hands all the time and so it is important to me that they are well cared for. And because I used to work in cosmetic formulation (in what I call my former life) I have, over time, developed a fancy for having my nails match my current knitting.”
She continued, “when Julia Grunau (of Patternfish fame) showed me a newly completed pair of fingerless mitts I told her I knew exactly which polish she should wear with them….in that moment an idea was born. How cool would it be to have yarn dyed to match your favourite polish?” As Fiona declared her passion for nail polish, the collaboration with Soak was initiated. Her seed of an idea was expanded upon, thanks to my love of product development, to become an even more exciting package. And, I got to go nail polish shopping, how could I turn that down?
Polish with matching yarn? A bit out of the box, indeed. As a designer at heart, I knew I could make that happen. Accessing premium nail polish was hard to do, not to mention choosing Soakworthy colors. Coincidentally, we were just in the beginning stages of developing our new hand crème, Handmaid. It seemed like the perfect fit. Of course we already have Soak, now we just needed some yarn.
Enter Beth, owner of Lorna’s Laces. As Beth recalls it, “A couple of months ago, Jacqueline called and asked if we’d be interested in collaborating with Soak and Fiona Ellis on a super-secret project that involved Soak, Handmaid, nail polish and an exclusive pattern. Interested? Ummmm…..YES!”
(I feel a bit like now is the perfect time to share one of my favorite photos from this project. It’s jumping ahead a bit, in terms of my “big reveal”, but it’s so lovely, I just can’t keep it in any more. I also feel like I have to make a poster of this image for the Lorna’s Laces office, it’s just that pretty.)
Beth continued, “we picked Shepherd Sport for this project. It’s soft, machine washable (always use Soak) and a nice weight for mitts. And you can get a pair out of just one skein! The whole idea of creating color ways to coordinate with nail polish seemed like a total win. Even better, Jacqueline offered to come down to Chicago and play in the dye pots with me to make it happen! We spent two lovely days up to our elbows in dye.”
As we began to plan the Soakboxes, Fiona worked on the patterns (tech edited by the lovely and talented Kate Atherley),and we, at Soak, worked on the rest. Labels, packaging and the new bottles. It was all a work in progress, for what seemed like an eternity.
It was pretty exciting to spend a few days at Lorna’s Laces. We watched other colorways being created, and I learned how to mix and dye yarn.
By the time we were done, we were so excited to have yarn to match our polishes, we couldn’t wait to get back to work on the rest of the project and to share the new colours with Fiona. She had some serious pattern design work to do. Did I mention? There’s a unique pattern designed for each colour, in the Soakbox! There are 4 in total. More tomorrow.