Our Story Continues

Present-day, from L-R: Jan and Trudy Van Stralen with Jonathan Heap of Wadworth Heap, supplier of our Canterbury Prize Wool Group.

A few months ago, we began to share the history of Louet North America, a family-owned company located just west of Montreal in Prescott, Ontario. In our first installment (found here), we shared the story of LNA’s creative vision through the guidance of Dave’s parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen. Today, we continue that story as Dave recounts the early years of the company. Enjoy!

In the 1980’s, the manufacturer of Louet equipment in Holland (Louet BV) established a Canadian company to distribute their products in North America. Jan Louet and his partner Clemens Classen, approached my parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen to run this company in 1989.

Trudy had been operating her own business, Hilltop Wools, but soon found she could not do both. She initially sold spinning fibers and some weaving yarns under the banner of Hilltop Wools, but streamlined the process under one roof – Louet – soon after taking on distributorship. In 1992 Jan and Trudy purchased Louet Sales from Louet BV.

During that time, I had left home for University and eventually joined the Canadian Airforce. I also met and married my wife Pam and we started our family.

While still serving in the military, I joined my parents in Washington DC for Convergence in 1992, helping them in the booth and driving truckfulls of looms…some good quality family time! It was a very positive show; we picked up the distributorship of Gaywool Dyes and Fibers and I also met Jane Stafford. Little did I know how integral this relationship would be towards the long-term success of Louet North America!

In 1994, my military career was at a crossroads, so I offered my services to my parents on a permanant basis; my other option was to go into computer programming. I had already been assisting them via remote access software working on databases and newsletters; they accepted my offer and I began my full-time employment for Louet Sales.

In our next installment, I’ll take you through my early years at Louet and how we came to manufacture knitting yarns.

5 replies on “Our Story Continues

  • Mary Ann Geiger

    I first saw a Louet at the Yarn Market seminar in Asheville NC, way back in the 80’s. I was intregued. I had never spun before, but after watching how to do it, I tried it and I could do it. I have several families of professional spinners and weavers, back a century or two, in my geneological tree!!!!!! That must be why it was so easy for me to TRY AND DO. When I got back home to my shop Knothings By Mary Ann here in Butler, north of Pittsburgh Pa, I ordered a wheel. I have taught at least a hundred or more men and women and children, to spin on a Louet.

    • Trunks

      That is SO CUTE. (I’m a cat prseon, not a dog prseon, but my parents have a wiener dog and I have to admit he’s precious.)Intarsia. Eeeeek. (Fair Isle with a hundred colours? Sure. Intarsia with two? Eeek.)

      • Natalia

        Need one more for Green Valley. Trudy, I spoke w/you at Montaup. You mentioned that you e-mailed me a name to try(tech at Kent), I didn’t reevice the e-mail Thanks again! Pat Reidy Great day today!!or 401 782 0255

  • Hassan

    How clever! Sportweight would denteaifly be much quicker on socks, it won’t do for my weather as I live in Southern California and there is really no need for it. They are probably extra comfy and cushy though. I love knitting socks in the softer colors as they really seem to show off the more complex designs so that you can really see the stitch definition (like anyone is really checking out my socks, but I know its there!) I look forward to seeing your finished project.

    • Tsuneo

      Hi,I’m a breeder of Sherino’s in the Netherlands. We’ve sartted this cross 4 years ago. At the moment we have moorit, fawn, black, white and light grey.We choose between Shetino and Sherino for a name for our new cross. Interesting to see the name on your website. Our goal is 75% Shetland and 25% merino. The wool is very fine and incredibly soft.Cheers, Betty

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