Keeping a secret, part 2: Assembling a sneaky team

This one’s for Fiona Ellis, who has been going crazy being sneaky!

I first met designer extraordinaire Fiona Ellis last summer, over an outdoor movie and coffee featuring Mary Poppins. Fiona had recently had an interesting observation, which she shared with great enthusiasm.  “I work with my hands all the time and so it is important to me that they are well cared for.  And because I used to work in cosmetic formulation (in what I call my former life) I have, over time, developed a fancy for having my nails match my current knitting.”

She continued, “when Julia Grunau (of Patternfish fame) showed me a newly completed pair of fingerless mitts I told her I knew exactly which polish she should wear with them….in that moment an idea was born. How cool would it be to have yarn dyed to match your favourite polish?”  As Fiona declared her passion for nail polish, the collaboration with Soak was initiated. Her seed of an idea was expanded upon, thanks to my love of product development, to become an even more exciting package. And, I got to go nail polish shopping, how could I turn that down?

Polish with matching yarn? A bit out of the box, indeed. As a designer at heart, I knew I could make that happen. Accessing premium nail polish was hard to do, not to mention choosing Soakworthy colors. Coincidentally, we were just in the beginning stages of developing our new hand crème, Handmaid. It seemed like the perfect fit. Of course we already have Soak, now we just needed some yarn.

Enter Beth, owner of Lorna’s Laces. As Beth recalls it,  “A couple of months ago, Jacqueline called and asked if we’d be interested in collaborating with Soak and Fiona Ellis on a super-secret project that involved Soak, Handmaid, nail polish and an exclusive pattern. Interested? Ummmm…..YES!”

(I feel a bit like now is the perfect time to share one of my favorite photos from this project. It’s jumping ahead a bit, in terms of my “big reveal”, but it’s so lovely, I just can’t keep it in any more. I also feel like I have to make a poster of this image for the Lorna’s Laces office, it’s just that pretty.)

 Double Pointe Pink: Polish matches yarn.

Beth continued, “we picked Shepherd Sport for this project. It’s soft, machine washable (always use Soak) and a nice weight for mitts. And you can get a pair out of just one skein! The whole idea of creating color ways to coordinate with nail polish seemed like a total win. Even better, Jacqueline offered to come down to Chicago and play in the dye pots with me to make it happen!  We spent two lovely days up to our elbows in dye.”

 Happy happy!

As we began to plan the Soakboxes, Fiona worked on the patterns (tech edited by the lovely and talented Kate Atherley),and we, at Soak, worked on the rest. Labels, packaging and the new bottles. It was all a work in progress, for what seemed like an eternity.



It was pretty exciting to spend a few days at Lorna’s Laces. We watched other colorways being created, and I learned how to mix and dye yarn.

 another colorway being created on the next table.
 measuring out color!

By the time we were done, we were so excited to have yarn to match our polishes, we couldn’t wait to get back to work on the rest of the project and to share the new colours with Fiona. She had some serious pattern design work to do. Did I mention? There’s a unique pattern designed for each colour, in the Soakbox! There are 4 in total. More tomorrow.



10 Comments on “Keeping a secret, part 2: Assembling a sneaky team”

  1. Cora says:

    Wow…do excited! I lovethe colors. My LYS is offering this in a pre-order. Definitely will beordering now that I have seen some pics.


  2. fiberdazed says:

    What in incredibly cool project. Even though I don’t wear nail polish, I could knit the project and give the polish with it. Keep up the great ideas!

  3. zenslens says:

    I LOOOOVE this pattern! I’m also a nail polish fanatic, so I can’t wait to get this project!

  4. Candy Lucas says:

    definitely want!

  5. Karen Davies says:

    Fantastic creative idea – I love it!

    Fiona always inspired me too – I have not met anyone else who crams so much into their life – she’s a true inspiration!
    I work for an excellent UK packaging company if you need printed presentational packaging for this lovely innovation.

  6. Kate says:

    Yarn dyed to match my nail polish is more or less my dream come true. I cannot wait to see more tomorrow!

  7. Need one! Please finish immediately!

  8. Laurie Hamilton says:

    I love Fiona and how she loves life, design,food,and of course Rob! I have not knitted in years because I immersed myself in building a business, but with a few more days off a week now,this has totally inspired me to knit for myself and make these for as gifts for all of my friends

  9. Isobel Watkinson says:

    I’m so pleased I can now knit in public. I’ve been in on the secret knitting samples and they are fabulous!! Love the designs, colours, names and of course, Soak so I know this will be a winning project for Fiona, Jacqueline and all. Good Luck on a fabulous idea.

  10. […] Soakboxes are retailing for $50.00. If you’d like to read more about Soakboxes, there are three excellent posts on the Soak blog about them and how they came to be. I bet The Scientist can guess which one […]

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