Giant merino wool became very popular last few years among makers and is one of my favorite yarns to work with. Today talented Italian yarn artist Greta Silva from Knitting Revolution is sharing the amazing story behind her small business and the transformation from the hectic urban life of a fashion designer into the wild slow life in the Italian Alps.
Living full city life as an accessory designer in Milan and Paris, successfully proceeding her career and her brand, over time Greta started to feel the need for change.
“I lived for my job and brand and didn’t have time to do and think of anything else,”she says about that period of her life.
She secretly craved for something wild and simple, for a new way to express her creativity. She and her companion Elio made a conscious decision to relocate to a beautiful little house near Traversella, surrounded by woods and mountains, to start a new chapter in their life.
A simple life doesn’t mean an easy life. Living in the mountains in a house made of stones and wood without modern commodities (like in “old good times”) makes even ordinary things like laundry, grocery shopping, etc. a daunting task that requires a lot of time and effort. To get to the nearest grocery shop or a post office it takes her one hour of walk. The electricity in the house is coming from two solar panels on the roof, the vegetables – from the own garden, water from the outside well, and the stove to cook is “fueled” by the wood they have to pick up in the woods every day. But that was the point – to slow down, to live mindful and meaningful life immersed in nature, surrounded by wild animals, and enjoying those little things.
Greta learned to spin yarn from a local 83 old lady Angela.
“One day, I saw an old woman with a spindle and something happened”.Greta S.
She spent many hours with Angela to learn yarn spinning, watched countless YouTube videos in different languages, and also completed a class about natural dyeing. She was creating giant merino wool and jumbo yarns which at a time was a real knitting revolution. The giant yarn barely existed in commerce, and it was impossible to find knitting needles to work with it. Angela was skeptical saying that yarn is too big, but Greta’s passion was very strong and somehow, she found the way.
“In summer I spin outside my house and it’s really funny because there are wild animals: eagles, foxes, hares, and chamoises but also sheep and cows everywhere around me!”Greta S.
Respect for nature and sustainability are fundamental for Greta. She has her little farm.
“Sheep are my passion I love them, and I love wool so I chose to breed a dwarf breed called d’ouessant (pictured above) a French breed that gives slightly bristly wool and is not suitable for spinning. When I shear my sheep, I keep their wool for pillows.”Greta S.
At first, she was spinning yarn for personal use only. Later on, she managed to set up a studio and started to sell yarns on the local markets and internationally. She has a little collection of spinning winders antique and modern ones handpicked during years of working with yarns.
The giant merino yarn is sourced from high-quality wool, coming from New Zealand – the farms that 100% guarantee that the fiber is muesling and cruelty-free. The sourced yarns are custom dyed for Greta in small batches by the local laboratory respecting all international standards aimed at environmental protection. Over 80 colors are available to match any maker’s idea or dream.
Besides gorgeous giant yarns, she is spinning stunning artistic yarns and dreamy soft luxury yarns in a bulky weight that are the best for newborn babies. In her shop you can find handmade tools from Betula wood- hooks and needles of various sizes to work with bulky, chunky, and giant merino wool.
For her artistic yarns, Greta uses ethical fibers from local breeders here in Italy, and some in the UK.
“For my made-to-order art yarns, I use a mix of Alpaca, Silk Noils, Shetland, Suffolk, Merino, and Angora wool, together with Teeswater wool locks and vegetable fibers made from rose bushes and bamboo. After I spin the yarns, I create skeins with my antique wool winder.”Greta S.
Greta is passionate about wool and spinning because working with wool makes her feel whole with nature.
“I think of wool as a soft, living material that breathes and warms up, and so spinning becomes a meditation on nature and its mysteries. You are not buying just a skein but a little piece of my heart.”Greta S.
All images are courtesy of the Knitting Revolution. Follow Greta on Etsy for news, updates, and inspiration. For custom orders and inquiries, you can always contact her via Etsy convo.