Daphne Marinopoulos, founder of The Fibre Co

An Interview with Daphne Marinopoulos, Founder of The Fibre Co.

To view The Fibre Co.'s original blog post, published August 22, 2018, click here.

To view our current selection of The Fibre Co. Lore, click here.

Daphne Marinopoulos (wearing a red jacket, a knit shawl wrapped around her neck and a furry hat) on a photo shoot for The Fibre Co. Borrowdale collection, standing next to a red-headed model wearing one of the designs, against a wooded background

What are your earliest memories of wool?

My father was a textile engineer graduating university from the Lowell Textile Institute in the heartland of the US textile industry.

I grew up in a house with bookcases full of his old textbooks. Their covers were plain fabric in dark red, blue or green with embossed titles like “The Chemical Properties of Dying Wool”, “Modern Worsted Spinning Systems” and “Textile Process & Quality Control”.

My grandmothers were both involved in the needle arts and we were regular recipients of their knitted, crocheted and embroidered items.

My mother taught me to knit and purl when I was 9 years old, but she never learned to increase or decrease and could only teach me how to make square or rectangular shapes for blankets and scarves.

It wasn’t until many years later that I taught myself to knit more than rectangles (pre-internet days!) My fibre of choice was always wool: it just felt better.

Daphne Marinopoulos (wearing a red jacket, a knit shawl wrapped around her neck and a furry hat) on a photo shoot for The Fibre Co. Borrowdale collection, standing next to a team member in hiking boots, a dark parka, and brimmed cap, against a wooded background

How did you go from knitting as a hobby to starting The Fibre Co?

When I was looking to make a change mid-career, I found a small mill and thought I’d take on the world of making hand knitting yarns.

The mill was a semi-worsted setup, which meant that the fibres weren’t completely jumbled up as in woollen spun systems, but they weren’t completely aligned either as in a worsted spinning system. I loved the unique artisanal look of the yarns we produced in our mill, but I often found myself wishing for a woollen spun product with a lofty, warm yet lightweight character.

When we outgrew the mill and began working with partner mills to make our yarns, the most available systems were worsted spinners and hence we moved to all worsted spun products, which only made me want a classic woollen spun yarn in the collection even more!

The Fibre Co. Lore in yellow, the colorway Happiness, three hanks stacked on a white surface and background

The colourways of Lore have some unusual names. Why is this?

In naming the colours for Lore, I wanted to build on the story concept and use the fact that stories are emotive and colours have emotional associations. So you’ll find names like Gentle, Courage, Bold, Reliable, and Heaven.

For example, the colour yellow is usually associated with cheerfulness, joy, and being expressive, which meant that we just had to name the yellow in the line “Happiness”.

Daphne Marinopoulos (wearing a red jacket, a knit shawl wrapped around her neck and a furry hat) holding out a green textured shawl from The Fibre Co. Borrowdale collection, standing next to a brunette model wearing a winter coat, skirt, and hiking boots, against a rocky background

Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind Lore’s first set of designs, the Borrowdale collection?

When coming up with the concept for the Borrowdale collection, I drew inspiration from the quote ‘Adventure is worthwhile’.

Adventure might mean travel to far off places, but it can equally be about everyday experiences. I wanted to express this idea of making every day an adventure because all adventures are worthwhile.

The design brief was for patterns that one could make, wear and style for life’s everyday adventures. This meant practical, wearable and long-lasting classic handknits. The collection has 16 garments graded to 6 sizes, 2 hats, a pair of mitts, 2 shawls and a crochet cowl.

The Fibre Co. Borrowdale Team, sitting on rocks, against a backdrop of rolling, snow-capped mountains with grey clouds overhead leaving space for the sun to shine through

What advice do you have for knitters who would like to try a breed specific yarn like Lore?

Not all breeds produce similar fibre and each have the potential to create yarns for specific purposes.

Romney lambswool is classified as a medium fibre, which makes it perfect for projects that will wear well. As a DK weight woollen spun yarn, Lore will make a lofty fabric that provides warmth without weight.

It is one of the most forgiving yarns that I’ve used in that a slightly uneven stitch gauge is not readily seen. This attribute makes it great for beginners who are still learning to create an even tension across their stitches.

Romney lambswool is used for handknits worn ‘near skin’, as opposed to ‘next to skin’. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a shawl out of Lore to wear near the neck, or over a sweater or jacket to keep the cold out.

Above all, I believe Lore is the perfect sweater yarn and just right for those new to sweater knitting given its reasonable price point and forgiving nature. I can’t wait to see what everyone makes with Lore!


Images and text used with permission from The Fibre Co.


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