Strider

Take a deep breath, enjoy the view, walk a few miles in a bizarre landscape that was left behind by the gravel mines surrounding our village – that’s what I enjoy every day. “Strider” is a scarf that has proven immensely useful during my walks: In the middle, it is pointy as a shawl for extra warmth on the chest, but the ends are square. This fun geometric construction is accentuated by a pretty color-changing yarn. Entirely knit in garter stitch with super simple and short instructions, it is perfectly suited for a beginning knitter. Bonus: You can make this bigger by using more yarn – just knit until everything is used up. 

The yarn “Edition 3 Hanf” was spun for us in 4 exclusive colorways by Zauberball maker Schoppel and is only available at Strickmich! Shop.

In Strickmich! Shop we also carry kits with 3 balls of the yarn (sufficient to make the scarf in the size shown in the pictures), the printed pattern, stitch markers and a Strickmich! fabric tag at a knitter-friendly price.

Horizonte

“Horizonte” (German: “Horizons”) is the name of this shawl that I designed for the second instalment of Strickmich! Club 2018. Just as looking at the horizon will calm your nerves and put things into perspective, this combination of yarn, color and simple to knit pattern will feel soothing and relaxing. I feel that this is just what you need when life is loud and complicated.

Horizonte is knit entirely in garter stitch, so it’s a very relaxing knit, but the construction with its different parts will keep you interested. The yarn “Blacker Swan 4-ply” is spun out of ultrasoft Merino fiber from the Falkland Islands combined with a small amount of colored Shetland wool, resulting in a beautiful heathered effect. In Strickmich! Shop we do have a limited number of kits with the yarn Sue Blacker had dyed exclusively for Strickmich! Club. And if you would rather choose your own colors, we do carry “Blacker Swan” in a range of beautiful alternatives. You will need 100 g (2 balls) of the main color plus 50 g (1 ball) of the contrast color (more if you wish to make your shawl larger). The pattern is available on Ravelry and in Strickmich! Shop (printed and as a download).

Pimp your Strickplaner – Giveaway!

Only a few short weeks and Strickplaner 2019 will be my permanent companion – I always carry my planner with me in my little Bag
(“Side Kick” by Tom Bihn). This way, I always have all info about appointments and my knitting projects with me, which gives me peace of mind. And if something comes up or I have an idea that needs to be written down, I have everything at hand.

For the second time now we have produced Strickplaner jointly with the calender experts at weekview: The weekly layout is about the same as in the “Compact Note” planners, but a few important details are different: the colors, our knitting inspiration on the bottom left, the headlines for the to-do-lists. Instead of “goals” we just have an arrow pointing to the right because I figured that sometimes, you would rather write down a weekly motto or an important event that takes place in that week.

The measurements are the same for both planners – and that’s a big advantage, as all the accessories that weekview offer for their Compact Note will also work in Strickplaner! I have been using the little colorful tabs in my 2018 planner, and I knew I wanted to use them in my 2019 planner as well, as they really help me find things quickly.

So I added them to my 2019 Strickplaner and am very pleased with the result:

I also added a pen loop – not the one by Leuchtturm I used in the past years, but our very own in matching pink. They are a little wider and will accomodate thicker pens and the color looks just great:

As an experiment, I wanted to try the expandable inner pocket that weekview offers: It can be added to the back of the planner and comes with adhesive tape attached. It’s not as pretty as our cute endpapers, but hopefully vey useful! The pocket (“Froschtasche”) is available from weekview here.

You need a steady hand to put it in place, but it’s much easier than, say, adding a screen protector to your phone. Voilà!

I just love the tabs and I know many of you would love an interior pocket in their Strickplaners, so I asked weekview for some to give away. The pockets come with black pen loops and weekview stickers, and I added 3 Strickmich! Sticker sheets plus pink pen loops in case you prefer them to match your planner. I have two pocket sets to give away and one with the tabs, stickers and a pink pen loop.

To enter, send an e-mail to mail (at) strickmich.de (using “Giveaway” as the subject line), and we will draw the winners on Friday. Good luck!

Prizes were gifted by weekview. The email addresses of participants are only used to contact the winners. All addresses will be deleted once the winners are drawn and received their prizes.

Strickmich! Club Cast-on Event 4/2018

It’s a grand finale for Strickmich! Club 2018 with a beautiful yarn and an extraordinarily creative dyer: Let’s celebrate our Cast-on Event!


(external link to vimeo)

P. S.: and don’t forget to tune in live at 12 pm German time, we will be broadcasting on youtube! (youtube link, will open in a new window)

… looking for support

We’ve got our plates full here at Strickmich!, so we’re looking for a freelancer to help us out with social media and online marketing. If you love knitting (which I suppose!) and are fluent in German and English, let us know: bewerbung@strickmich.de

Find our ad here as a pdf.

Strickmich! Club 2019: Skudderia

So here she is, the fourth yarnie for Strickmich! Club 2019: Maike Schnichels and her yarn collection “Skudderia”. Skudde is the name of a rare middle European sheep breed, and Maike happens to have five of them grazing in the meadow behind her dyeing studio close to Frankfurt – for obvious reasons: “It’s really hard to mow here, and I had seen these pretty sheep with their spectacular horns, so I decided to get a couple of them”, Maike said.

Maike learnt to dye during her training as a hairdresser. “That has always been the fun part: Finding the colors that look good on people and help them choose.” In her little salon in Frankfurt-Bornheim, she started dyeing yarns in the small kitchenette in the back. It did not take long until her salon looked more like a yarn store with a hairdresser’s chair in the middle. “When I started out, I used lots and lots of colors on each skein. But then I started talking to knitters and asked them what they would like and need”, Maike said. It turned out that many knitters were asking for hand dyed semisolids that were easy to combine and useful for making large shawls and garments, so Maike went on to specialize in those. “I really enjoy making kits out of differently colored yarns and I love to help knitters find the ones that suit them best”, she said. If you happen to visit her booth at a fiber festival, she will help you pick the right colors for your project among a wall of beautiful colors, all dyed on special yarns made from natural fibers, among them exotic ones like Llama fiber or a lace yarn out of linen and alpaca.

Maike obviously loves to knit projects that make use of several shades of her hand dyed yarns: “I love shawls, they are easy to take to fiber fests and show them to customers. I would love to knit garments, but I have lots of respect for those and have not really found my way to start one…” Her favorite colors to knit with are blues and teals: “Turquoise, mint, bright pacific blue – that’s what I love most, but now in the fall I also like mustard, a rusty brown and bright green”, Maike said.

In Summer 2018 Maike made two important decisions: She closed her little salon to focus entirely on dyeing yarn, and she renamed her brand “Skudderia”. Until then, she used to offer her creations as “Regenbogenschaf” (“The Rainbow Sheep”), but she felt this name was not a good fit anymore: “I have learnt a lot as a dyer and developed my signature style, and I felt that I had grown out of the cuteness that the old name suggested”, Maike said.

Here at Strickmich! Club we are happy that Maike decided to celebrate this new step in her dyeing career with a new exclusive color for our members. We’re excited to have you!

Find all information about Strickmich! Club on this website. Sign-ups start November 5th at 12 noon CET.

Strickmich! Club 2019: SweetGeorgia

Felicia Lo is one of the big names in the world of hand dyed yarns: “SweetGeorgia” is synonymous with intense, brilliant and fascinating colors – Felicia’s signature style. “My favorite colors are pinks, purples and plums – whenever I pick up a skein of yarn for a project, it’s one of those!” she said, “but when I am dyeing yarn, all the colors are fun!” A whopping 85 colors are the standard repertoire of her dyeing studio in Vancouver, Canada. Small collections of limited seasonal colors are added every couple of months. In her online store, you can also buy hand dyed spinning fibers, knitting patterns and online classes through her latest project “School of SweetGeorgia”. “I feel very strongly about helping people to explore their creativity by teaching them the skills they need to knit, weave or spin”, Felicia said, “so that’s my focus right now.”

Before yarns, fibers and colors became her profession, Felicia studied pharmaceutical science. “You had to have very good grades to get in, and I worked really hard to achieve that”, she said. “But on the very first day in the very first lecture, I already had a feeling that it was not for me. I just felt that I did not fit in” she said. But Felicia did not want to disappoint her parents, so she pulled through and finished her degree after five years. During that time, her creativity found other ways to bloom: She joined a competitive ballroom dancing community and was soon making her own ball gowns and costumes, “in very bright colors as to capture the judges’ attention”, she said. She soon adopted the university Dance Club’s website, took a couple of classes in graphic design, and when she finished university, she had a number of design clients.

Knitting and crafting have always been part of her life: “I started to knit in grade 5 or 6 and became obsessed with it. I knit my first sweater in grade 7 but then switched to sewing because it was faster”, Felicia said. “After university I picked up knitting again, playing with yarn and colors, and began to blog about it in 2004”, she said. She named her blog “SweetGeorgia”: “Georgia” from the Strait of Georgia (the water surrounding Vancouver Island), and “Sweet” because she had actually planned to write about something else: “I had thought that I might one day open a bakery and wanted to name it SweetGeorgia, so that’s what I named the blog. But then the blog ended up being all posts about my knitting projects and so I dropped the baking and kept the name.” Lucky for us knitters!

Felicia started hand dyeing yarns for a a simple reason: “I saw all these beautiful yarns in yarn stores and I just could not afford them” she recalled. And when she started spinning and only white fiber was available, she took the plunge and started dyeing fiber as well. That was back in 2005, and she soon had too much yarn to ever knit up herself, so she started putting it up on Etsy and built her own online shop. Her yarns were an instant success, she even had a couple of wholesale accounts, but it soon became too much: “I was working 7 days a week, I still had graphic design work to do, and I was doing everything myself from the dyeing to the labeling to taking everything to the post office every day. I was completely burnt out”, Felicia said. So she decided to take a break from everything, to clear her head and re-evaluate. She made a plan and re-started her dyeing operation, this time with a pre-set color palette. She hired help and did not take on wholesale accounts right away, so everything would grow and bloom at a more gentle pace.

Today Felicia still loves to develop new colorways, but she also spends a lot of time with her two kids. Friday afternoons are reserved for big crafting projects like spinning or weaving, and you can watch her doing that on her weekly vlog (youtube-link). But what about knitting? “I knit a lot, every night when I am with my husband”, Felicia said. This year alone, she has finished five sweaters, a couple of them with stranded yokes. “My favorite yarn for a sweater is a DK weight blend of silk and mohair. It has a beautiful shine but knits up quickly”, she said. Lovely, shiny yarn bases are SweetGeorgia’s signature, and we picked one of those to be a yarn for Strickmich! Club 2019.

We are happy and excited that Felicia has agreed to dye a new exclusive colorway for Strickmich! Club – and I can’t wait to get my hands on it and start knitting!

Find more information about the club on our website. Sign-ups will start in November!

Strickmich! Club 2019: BC Garn

The yarns by BC Garn from Denmark are really special to me: My first (and only!) sweater design was made out of BC Garn, and it was published on Knitty.com (“Joanie”), which is a special honor for any designer, especially when starting out. Every time I was browsing the shelves of my favorite yarn store in Hamburg, the pretty BC Garn skeins caught my attention: shiny or matte silk, soft wools from happy sheep and certified organic cotton. Always in an amazing color palette from Scandinavian pastels to bright and deep jewel tones.

“Joanie” by Martina Behm BC Garn color range

“BC” are the initials of BC Garn founder Bo Carstensen who started his company in 1972. His love for yarns was a family matter: His mother was a passionate weaver, but she did not like the yarns that were available at the time. Acrylic yarns were all the rage, and it was hard to find beautiful yarns from natural fibers that were up to her standards. So she had wool and other fibers custom spun and dyed for her work. Bo’s father, who was in the business of trading coarse wools for carpets, knew where to find spinning mills that were up to the task.


BC Garn at the mill

Out of this, Bo grew his business. He added handknitting yarns and stayed true to his focus on natural fibers for 45 years: It’s very hard to find any added polyamide in BC Garn’s range up to this day. Bo worked with small spinning mills all over Europe to make his yarn dreams come true, as he did for “Yorkshire”: “It’s a yarn that reminds me of my childhood”, Bo said. “My parents used to work with British yarns, and when I started developing yarns myself, I wanted to create one that was just like the ones I knew as a child.”

Bo & Marianne Carstensen BC Garn “Yorkshire” … in various colors

Two years ago, when Bo and his wife Marianne were about to reach the age to receive a pension in Denmark, they started looking for someone who would continue their work with BC Garn, keeping its northern European character and emphasis on natural yarns and fibers, organic and certified wherever possible. They found their dream candidate in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the north-eastern part of Germany: Britta Kremke, confessed lover of luxury fibers, experienced yarn trader and developer, was Bo’s preferred candidate continue his business.

Just like Bo, Britta grew up surrounded by yarn: Her mother owned a yarn store, she crocheted her first sweater when she was 8 years old, and when she finished her training as a banker at 21 she could not wait to return to the world of wool. She took over a small yarn store, but had to give up pretty soon as knitting was on the decline at the time. Britta decided to go to college and worked in a marketing agency in eastern Germany. During that time, her knitting took a couple of involuntary breaks: “There were just no yarn stores in rural post-socialist Germany at the time”, Britta said. “But I made sure to stock up on yarn whenever I travelled!”


Britta’s favorite yarn from the BC Garn range: Tussah Tweed, a rustic silk blend

A couple of years later, online yarn stores started to pop up and came to Britta’s rescue – which made her think that it would be a cool idea to have one herself, with luxury yarns like alpaca and cashmere, “just yarns I wanted to use myself”, Britta said. Soon she started importing yarns from all over the world and began to wholesale her goods to other yarn stores. Her own brand “Kremke Soul Wool” featuring yarns she developed herself, followed a little later. Choosing beautiful fiber, working with small spinning mills, always keeping sustainability and eco-friendlyness in mind, the goal being a pleasant, luxurious experience while knitting – that’s what Britta is really good at. BC Garn founder Bo Carstensen was impressed, and he found that his company would be in very good hands with Britta, who has been using her talents for BC Garn since spring 2018. A big task, but a very charming one as well: “BC Garn has a unique look, simple but very clear, so I am very happy to take it on” Britta said. Her ideas for the future include new organic and breed-specific yarns that will be GOTS-certified (a very strict environmental and social standard for textiles), “everything very natural, not your usual superwash”, Britta said. We are excited to find out more!


BC Garn’s focus: Organic Yarns

At Strickmich! Club we are very happy to work with BC Garn for our 2019 club – we will get a beautiful yarn in an exclusive colorway for one of our instalments.

Find more information about the club on our website. Sign-ups will start in November!

Strickmich! Club 2019: Buntwurm

If you have been to a fiber festival in Germany, chances are that you know her colorful yarns: Nicole Seelbach, also known as “Buntwurm” (in German it means something like “color-worm”…), loves to present her creations live and enjoys to see how knitters react to them: “That’s just so much fun!” she said. Her love for fiber fests may stem from her professional background: Nicole has trained and acquired a “Meister” title granted by the German Guild for her profession, which deals with creating and installing illuminated signs – so she’s part electrician, printer, metal worker, painter and typesetter. And she really knows who to catch the attention of people strolling by!

Colors and design were also a part of her training, so that brings us close to the topic of dyeing wool. “After my Meister exams I took a job in Hamburg, and that’s when I started to knit again”, Nicole said. She loved to browse the yarn stores in Hamburg, but one day she just could not find the color that she had in mind for her next project. “I was looking for a mustard yellow, and at the time it was so out of fashion that there was just no yarn available in that color.” But Nicole really wanted to make a hat and arm warmers in that specific color to give a friend on her birthday – so she dyed it herself. It worked: “My friend loved her gift!”

At the time, Nicole was not really aware that hand dyed yarns were a thing: “I realized that they were kind of trending when I went to my first fiber festival”, Nicole said. She started dyeing yarns on the weekends and sold them on facebook and on small fiber festivals, and since she returned to her native close to Frankfurt in 2016, she has been dyeing full-time: “My dyeing workshop in our basement works just fine – for now! I have a feeling that I will grow out of it pretty soon…”

When Nicole knits, she loves to use yarn with alpaca fiber: “I am a big fan of laceweight alpaca for a shawl and also of the heavier qualities.” She also likes breed-specific yarns from sheep, even if they tend to have a bit more structure to them than merino yarns: “To me, one of the most important aspects when choosing a yarn is that it has been produced in an animal-friendly fashion”, she said. Nicole is not tempted by industrially dyed yarns anymore, but regularly shops at other handdyers’ booths: “I love that every one of us has their own style of dyeing yarn, and I think it’s super fun to knit with them.”

Nicole’s yarns cater to every knitter’s needs: She carries yak and viscose yarns for those who are allergic to wool, cotton and bamboo blends, sturdy sockyarns and supersoft merino. “I constantly strive to improve my dyeing skills and to challenge myself”, she said. How a yarn behaves in the dyepot, how to achieve a certain effect and the best result – for Nicole, that’s a question of knowledge, experience and the art of the craft. But it also depends on her mood how a day in the dyeing workshop will go: “If I feel like using lots of colors, I will choose a sockyarn. Otherwise, I will work on yarns more suitable for shawls and sweaters”, she said. Right now, her favorite colors to dye are berry tones from deep purple to light lavender, “which is funny, because for myself I would always choose colors from the autumn pallette”, Nicole said.

Here at Strickmich! Club we are overjoyed that Nicole has agreed to contribute one of her beautiful Buntwurm yarns to Strickmich! Club 2019.

Find more information about the club on our website. Sign-ups will start in November!

Strickmich! Club 2019 is coming

Exciting news: Strickmich! Club will continue in 2019, and we will be more exclusive than ever: luxurious, soft fibers and exciting new designs by Martina Behm. For the first time in Strickmich! Club’s history, the yarn colors that will never be available anywhere outside the club.

The yarn will be dyed especially for Strickmich! Club and the new pattern I will design with it. New in 2019: The colorway will also be exclusive to the Club for all time, i. e. it will not be available from the dyers or from Strickmich! Shop. Only Club members will be able to order additional skeins in our Club Shop. The 2019 Club will deliver 485 g of yarn in total (minimum 100 g per shipment) if you choose the Single Yarn option. If you like your shawls and cowls very big, we recommend opting for “Double Yarn”: You will get twice the amount of yarn (970 g in total, minimum 200 g per shipment). Martina always includes instructions on how to make the club projects bigger.

The supersoft and pleasant yarns we have chosen for the 2019 club contain fiber from Merino and Bluefaced Leicester Sheep, Silk, Cotton and Bamboo.

Examples of yarns from past Club shipments


For me as a designer, Strickmich! Club is the one project that is closest to my heart, and it has been for the past five years: I work with the most beautiful yarns that were created especially for me and my Club members by the most gifted dyers and yarn makers of the planet, and it enables me to provide knitters with a perfect combination of yarn, color, design and pattern. A dream come true! I am especially excited about our 2019 yarns, as they are extra luxurious and soft – I can’t wait to cast on the samples for the new club patterns! I am happy about every single member and am striving to make the club experience a great one for every one of them. Starting with the choice of dyers, yarn base, color, design, layout, knitting experience, packing the cute little parcels and shipping them – I do work on every single step and personally do take care that in the end, everything adds up. That’s very important to me, because every parcel should bring you pure knitting joy!

 

 
Examples of Club patterns from the past years




 

 

Sign-ups for Strickmich! Club 2019 will start on in November 2018 on our sign-up page. You will find all information about shipping, conditions etc. on that page. See you in the club!