That Damn Della!
I've read quite a few internet articles on growing social media accounts, and one of the top pieces of advice in every singe one of them is:
As in, try to actually interact as a human being with other humans on the platform of your choice. (Gasp!) Make comments. Share behind-the-scenes moments of your life. Be real.
I'm not sure anyone on the Knitstagram shares Real Life (TM) like Adella Colvin of LolaBean Yarn Co. Her feed invites us all directly into her life where talk is Straight Up, a toddler steals the show and the knitting notions, and grief is balanced with beauty. Adella is fresh, she's human, and, to top it all off, she dyes yarn!
She makes it easy to get to know her, and I'm thrilled that I've had the chance.
When they say necessity is the mother of invention, they mean that when a maker can't find the yarn they want, they figure out how to make it. Not finding the yarns she wanted to use locally, Adella tried dying herself (and this is my favorite part, y'all:)
Big win for knitters! Initially, my eye was caught by Adella's Ode to Deadpool colorway and from there, I dove into her feed. (Random fact about me: I really love Deadpool. I've read all the Deadpool comics, and those are the onlycomics I've read. That probably tells you a lot about my sense of humor.) I asked her about it and learned that it was an assignment for a yarn dyeing challenge (which I thought was strange... as much as I love Deadpool, he's not a character I would ever choose for someone else (unless I knew them really, really, really well. He is entirely NSFW.)) Let me tell you, she knocked the challenge out of the park and @exquisiteyarnandfibercommunity even gave her a big shout out for her results, because the colorway was that cool.
I wondered how she knows when she gets a colorway right, and she told me that it's in the reception:
(I noticed that Ashley of Blackberry Ridge said the same thing, by the way. Food for thought!)
Speaking of big hits, Adella says that her Black Panther collection has been her biggest success, though I suspect that wasn't a surprise for her. The movie was so amazing (best Marvel movie so far, in my opinion) and the reception to it so enthusiastic (so I'm obviously not alone in my opinion,) that, combined with her intuitive sense of color, it was inevitable that her Black Panther yarns would be popular.
The process to create the Black Panther collection was a little different than her usual, however. (This is another favorite part.) I love that Adella shared with me how she trusts her intuition when designing colorways:
Sometimes what makes an artist an Artist-with-a-capital-A is the simple fact that they take action on their inspiration. I can picture the moment when she gets that look in her eye that she's just come up with a color and has to make notes before the idea slips away. (And I can picture the look on her husband's face when she suddenly disappears mid-conversation. It’s cracking me up,) It's why I leave notebooks in weird places in my house. You never know when an idea will come to you and you have to be ready to capture it.
I would describe my style as bold, fun and real. My husband would say that I don’t make dry ashy creations. I don’t follow trends. I try to be as original as one can be in this business.
—Adella of LolaBean Yarn Co.
When I first found LolaBean, I instantly fell in love with Adella's style. I feel her sarcastic humor and sense of fun in the colors--to me, her work stands out in a crowded indie dyer field. And I bet it's why Gaye @ggmadeit says "Damn!" whenever she comes across a new LolaBean colorway, earning Adella the nickname, "That Damn Della!"
But, much as I love Adella's Marvel-inspired colorways, at her suggestion I ordered her newest offering, Bananarama. It's neon. Which is SO. NOT. MY. USUAL. Neon!
First of all, (and this is also my favorite part,) I love that Bananarama was originally Rabbit. (Another random fact about me: I love Rabbit. Come to think of it, I regularly identify with the sadly type-A characters in cartoons. The ones desperately trying to calm the chaos surrounding them and who always end up collapsing in a heap of grim acceptance because they can't control the crazy. Poor Rabbit, always one Silly Old Bear getting stuck in his doorway away from a heart attack when all he wants is to grow carrots and drink tea.)
Second of all, 80s neons. This colorway brings me back to third grade when I had a new set of highlighters in pink, orange and that wild, weird yellow that's so intense it hardly counts as a color because your eyes can't even process it. There's something so innocently exciting about these colors dancing together across the skein. I'm not eight anymore and my tastes tend toward rich neutrals, so I've not knitted with neons, despite their popularity with crafters who (wisely) never grew up. But I had a blast knitting this, and it sort of caps off a trend in my life lately of trying new things in my knitting. Adella, I appreciate the encouragement to work with this color!
While she says it's a constant effort for two working parents to find so-called "balance" in life with work, a side business, and kids, she says they've reached a place "that works for now," enjoying the down moments together as they can. Her family is deeply embedded in her business--quite literally with an image depicting her beautiful daughter as her logo. Adella started out as "Adella's Crochet Cottage," selling crocheted items, but once her daughter arrived in the world, she decided to go the route we see today:
I agree! I don't think anyone could resist little Lola.
I admire how Adella never separates what she does from the people she does it for. That's her family, of course, but also the rest of the community. She has long been outspoken on the importance of inclusion; I know I've felt a loving kick in the butt at her fierce observations. And I'm happy to listen because this beautiful community gives back too much for anyone to ever feel excluded from it.
Hopefully there will be more inclusion and acceptance of the different cultures and colors that make up this beautiful community. My other hope is that this inspires a new generation, or wave of folks that enjoy the fiber arts as much as I do.
—Adella of LolaBean Yarn Co.
I'd love to have a chance to meet in person someday, and maybe that's more likely to happen as little Lola gets older. Adella says that she's dreaming of getting to some events so she can meet the people who've been supporting her. (You can look for her at Stitches United in May!)
Thanks, Della, and... damn! That's pretty yarn.
*Some quotes are lightly edited to make them work in context.