I recently had a chance to ask Katarina, the Director of MillaMia a little about knitting and MillaMia’s vision.
CEY: How long have you been knitting?
Katarina: I have been knitting since I was 6 years old. My grandmother taught me to knit when we used to spend our summers at our countryhouse in Sweden – on a rainy day there was not a lot to do as it was quite remote, and knitting became a favorite pastime. I then had a long break from knitting, coming back to it again when I first became a mother 7 years ago.
CEY: What is your favorite type of project to knit?
KR: With three young children (2 months, 4 and 6 years old) I obviously love to knit kids’ stuff. I love how you can be really bold and adventurous in your color choices, and above all I love how ‘do-able’ these projects are due to their smaller size. The feeling of achievement when you finish a piece of knitting is a real buzz and keeps me hooked on the craft!
CEY: Who is your biggest knitting inspiration?
KR: My grandmother was obviously an important early influence, but at this moment I would have to say Max – a friend who is now a colleague and has been helping us with MillaMia for the past year (managing our MillaMia blog amongst other things). Max is so passionate about knitting that it is really infectious – and her skills (she is by far the best knitter I know from a technical perspective) and willingness to help others makes all of us in her environment braver about the knitting we chose to try.
CEY: What made you want to start a yarn company?
KR: I loved knitting when pregnant with my first born 7 years ago. But I quickly found that I had exhausted all the patterns that I wanted to knit and was struggling to find modern, stylish designs that I would both enjoy knitting but more importantly also enjoy her wearing. Luckily I have a sister who is a fashion designer by trade and so we started creating our own patterns. And so MillaMia was started…
CEY: In the past, you have focused on children’s patterns. In your new books Country Escape, Colour Coded and the upcoming High Society you have adapted many of your patterns for adults. Can you tell us about that?
KR: As you say as a company we are pretty much known for our children’s patterns. However a constant request that we would get by email and face to face at both trade and retail shows was for us to also create our designs for adults. The number of times we had people look at one of our samples and say ‘ I would wear that’ meant that in the end we felt we really had to listen to this feedback. In creating our adult collections we have taken this customer feedback at face value – adapting some of our most popular children’s designs directly to adult sizing and shaping, other designs are an evolution from our children’s styles and still more are completely fresh and new. It felt like a risk but the response has been phenomenal – it really has opened MillaMia up to a new audience of knitters which feels great.
CEY: Do you have plans for any more children’s patterns?
KR: Of course! We love designing for children and with my 7 week old son now available to join the MillaMia modeling stable expect some more stuff for babies too!
CEY: Any other plans for MillaMia that you are willing to share with our readers?
KR: We are thrilled to be launching some new Naturally Soft Merino yarn colors – 3 new colors in our core collection and 2 exciting shades as seasonal colors. This will be in the Fall. And of course we need to make sure we have fantastic pattern support for these new colors too.
CEY: I know you are a new mom; do you still have time to knit?
KR: I have to be honest and say juggling 2 school kids, a new baby and a business is a challenge – there were never enough hours in the day even before Johan (my new son) came along, and now with the demands of nursing and sleepless nights there seem to be even fewer! However – even if it is just a few rows that I manage – there is nothing as relaxing as knitting, so it tends to be my treat when all three are finally asleep at the same time.