I am so excited to be able to finally share a project with you that I've spent the last several months working on! The Mon Sheepworks Shawl is the result of a collaboration between Boyland Knitworks and owner of the French yarn shop Mon Sheep Shop, Cindy Héteau.
In addition to owning a yarn shop, Cindy also dyes some of the most gorgeous yarn I have had the privilege and pleasure to work with! We met through the magic of the internet this past winter, and instantly hit it off. Cindy is mom to a baby boy, and we connected over a shared love of yarn, knitting, and the challenges of balancing small business ownership with the responsibilities of motherhood. She is a passionate artist, and I love her drive to create and share her love of knitting with her community! Cindy and I recently had a conversation in which she shared some of her journey with me, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Hi Cindy, can you give us a little background on yourself? Where do you live?
Hi Caitlin! I’m 35 and live in rural France with my husband, our 10 month old son and our three (shall I say wild) dogs.
What was your path to opening Mon Sheep Shop?
I used to work as an interior designer for ten years. the exact same year I started working I also started knitting and never stopped since! As years went by I had this crazy dream (as many fellow knitters I guess) of opening a small LYS (local yarn shop).
I lost my job two years ago and decided that it was the right time. I don’t know how it works in the US but here in France, it is really hard to professionally change direction. You study one subject (and one only), you graduate and so it means you only are able to work in one particular area your entire life. That is very odd!
Also another point is that crafts in general are not really seen as valuable. Knitting especially is still considered as a "grandma thing". Maybe I’m wrong, but for me the UK and the States are more welcoming for crafty people. You can’t imagine how many times people just laughed out loud while I was explaining my project! A woman, a banker, even told me once that she would not lend me the money I needed because I was a woman moreover, expecting a child, "you’ll never make it," she said… Thank god I was sitting on a chair, I could have fell!
With my husband’s support and help, a lot of faith and stubbornness my crazy dream finally came true last year.
Of dream it only bears the name I’d say for it is very hard and a lot of work too. It is so fulfilling at the same time! It is also an everyday struggle/ challenge between being a (good) mom, a wife, a boss and make everything right so that everything falls in the right place. But , again, it is such an achievement, one of the biggest in my life and I’m really proud of it.
How do you come up with your colors? What inspires you?
Like most creative people I’m very much inspired by nature: skies, the change of colors and hues in vegetation always strikes me. I often take pictures. I place those in a specific folder just to make sure I don’t forget these magical colors.
Can you tell us a bit about the dying process?
Well creating a new shade is always a surprise for I rarely end up with what I had in mind at first! In the beginning I tended to find it frustrating but letting go is part of the creative process. I find dyeing is a good school for that!
Once I end up with a color I like, I write down every step that led me to the final hue.
I find that re-making a color is the most difficult part of it all. I’m always scared when doing so, doubting I’ll be able to do it again. But that’s where my notes come in handy! It’s the lead I need to follow that gives me enough confidence to start up with. Then, creativity does the rest I guess.
What is the favorite product you've made?
This is a tough one Caitlin!!
Maybe the "coque de bateau" (boat hull), for I found the name of the yarn matches perfectly the yarn itself. Finding the right name always is a tricky business!
That is really not my favorite part. I toss and turn many names in my head for quite some time (finding them all stupid) before choosing the one. I do like very much "Caramel au beurre salé" (Salted butter caramel) too for it’s my favorite edible thing ever!!! I have a sweet tooth you see and this caramel from Brittany is definitely to die for!
That sounds delicious!! Thank you so much for chatting with me today Cindy, I love your yarn and have really enjoyed collaborating with you!
You’re welcome Caitlin I did enjoy our collaboration too, and this pattern like all of your work, is a beauty. I’m glad we made it together! Thanks!
I had so much fun working on this project with Cindy. This shawl was so fun to design and knit- and it is such a fantastic layer for the upcoming warmer months!
Kits for knitting this shawl in both colorways are available now from Mon Sheep Shop. Additionally, Cindy and I will be hosting a fun little KAL for this project, it is a great lightweight spring/summer project to make, and there will be prizes! More info to come, sign up for my newsletter to get the latest updates on that and other happenings in my shop! You can also follow both Mon Sheep Shop and Boyland Knitworks on Instagram for more fun tidbits!