Ioana on Moeke Yarns:
Hello! My name is Ioana and I am the co-founder of the Lana Moeke company. I started the company together with my brother Radu and his wife Simina, in the beginning of 2014. I live in The Netherlands where I am about to get a PhD in Sociology and they have their life and business in Romania. You are probably wondering: so how did they come up with the idea of starting a wool company? Well, it is a long story but the short(er) version goes like this…
I was born in 1978 in Romania in a city called Oradea. That was still during the communist dictatorship. My brother is 3 years younger than me. During those times our parents had to work 6 days a week and the childcare facilities were not great, so our grandparents from my mother’s side took care of us. They lived in a small village surrounded by woods. We grow up in this wonderful place, with the purest air, the cleanest waters and the best food in the world. Of course, I am a bit biased but not very far from the truth!
Our grandparents were very special persons – loving, caring and hardworking. Especially our grandmother was a very important figure for both me and my brother – she was the glue that kept the family together. She was also very gifted with all things handmade. Not that she had a lot of choice – those times the shops did not have much to offer.
But life moved on: the revolution in 1989 brought the dawn of the communist era, my grandparents passed away, I grew up and followed my dream of becoming a sociologist and my brother started his own little business in Oradea. Maybe because I live now so far away from Romania and my life is so busy, I started to appreciate more and more those times when I was a child – the free and careless life following the natural rhythm of things. I took crocheting and knitting as hobbies as a way to reconnect to that part of my life and to keep alive the memory of my grandmother.
But then, last year, something happened. I went to visit my parents who now live in my grandparents’ house and looking through the things left from my grandmother I found two big bags with yarn. I remember that yarn: was hand-spun by my grandmother 16 years ago because she wanted to wave some bed spreads for us. But then she ran out of time due to a vicious illness…
The moment when I found that yarn was an inspiration to me. I realized that there is a potential there that is lost... Romania has quite a number of traditional sheep breeds and a long tradition in wool processing. But nowadays, due to bad economic circumstances, shepherds cannot sell their wool anymore so they burn it. Such a waste…
My decision to do something about it was immediate. I told my brother about my plan and he was immediately in. We would make yarns from Romanian wool, produced with traditional methods and no harmful chemicals, spun them in a traditional fiber mill and dye them with plants.
And here we are, a year after my holiday in Romania. It was an absolutely amazing adventure this year, but we managed to do what we aimed for: our first minimally processed traditional Romanian yarns are ready! I hope that you will enjoy them just like we enjoy our small contribution to the preservation of the traditional heritage of Romania!