Don’t let Napa-based Lisa Ackerman’s Zen-like demeanor lull you into downward dog-style submission. When she’s not guiding her fellow yoginis through vinyasa flow classes she’s pouring her passion into her other favorite meditative activity: knitting positively gorgeous yoga mat bags, cowls and more using techniques she learned from her great aunt Barbara (a lady in her 80s and still knitting to this day).
Each bag Lisa creates is truly one of a kind, the patterns swirling through a lush Technicolor landscape. “I look at these bags as an artistic expression of myself. Art can be so intangible and abstract but I love that that this is tangible, it’s functional and it’s beautiful.”
Felted wool bags begin almost comically large – and as Lisa says – through hot water and lots of love are shrunk down to a perfect size. Because of this specialized process, the amount of yarn Lisa uses is staggering. “I’m an animal lover. Every time I make something and every time I buy yarn I think, this comes from an animal. How was the animal treated, was the animal in a cage? So it started weighing heavily on me.”
After lots of research, she discovered Malabrigo Yarn, a family-owned company. After emailing with the owners and getting a feel for their practices, there was no doubt in her mind. “I can use it to felt and I can also use it to knit – against your skin it’s so soft and cozy – and its cruelty free.”
Malabrigo yarn is all hand-dyed, resulting in a sumptuous array of colors that further ensures each bag has that one of a kind feel. “They’re all beautiful, but they’re not going to be all exactly the same.”
Lisa adds that “everything” inspires her designs, “ Colors in nature, wildflowers, music, yoga, all the people that accept the exploration of the edge”.