Meet the Koigu Wool family: Maie, Taiu and Kersti Landra
Koigu Wool Designs has a history as bold and unique as the yarns and colors they produce. The name Koigu was chosen to honor the ancestral home of Maie's late husband, Harry, which is located in their native Estonia. The farm that now serves as the Koigu headquarters was purchased by Maie and Harry Landra in 1972. It was to be their weekend home located a few hours outside of Toronto, a much needed escape from hustle and bustle city life. Ten years later, Maie moved her family to the country permanently to follow her destiny as an artist and purveyor of fine wools.
In the early years, the farm was home to Maie, Harry, their three children, Karl, Karin, and Taiu, and of course, a flock of sheep. Though she knew next to nothing of raising sheep at the time, Maie was quick to learn. At the beginning, Maie used her home grown fleece in her elaborate, woven tapestries. With so many textures and colors to explore, Maie found that knitting was a quicker means to an end and her needles soon began churning out sweaters and swatches of her colorful woolen creations.
As the business began to grow towards knitwear design and the hand knitting market, it became apparent that hand spinning their herd's fleece was not a cost-effective means of production. After graduating with a degree from the Ontario Agricultural Business, Taiu focused her energies on making Koigu Wool economically viable. Eventually the mother-daughter duo decided it was time to put the herd to pasture and work with a commercial woolen mill.
The impressive building is 5500 square feet of yarn creation paradise and now more lived in than the farmhouse itself. There are separate areas for dyeing and drying the wool, reeling it into skeins, warehousing, shipping, and a showroom. Taiu has a large office, Maie finally has the studio of her dreams to design, and granddaughter Kersti has her own space as well. While they use the efficiency of machines where they can, every skein sent out into the world is lovingly painted by hand and is a truly unique work of art.