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 verschiedenen Farben|
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!
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!
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!
It took me quite a while and a couple of hours with my crayons to figure out how I wanted to arrange the colors in my new knitting pattern “Obvious”: The Brown should not be next to the Green, but the Berry, and I wanted the Black to appear twice because it made suche a nice contrast – but I had to pay attention on how much yarn I was using in each segment… It was fun! If you would like to choose your own color combination (take your pick from the entire Rosy Green Wool Color Palette that we have in Strickmich! Shop), I have uploaded an uncolored schematic for you to print out and play with. Have fun!
A big, soft stole knit in garter stitch, out of a wonderful organic yarn in great colors: That’s Obvious! I had the idea for this shawl when I was casually staring at the schematic of the knitted book cover “One for the Books” that I designed for Strickplaner (my knitting planner) 2018: That should work as a stole, obviously… and it did! I used one of my favorite yarns, Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy for it. It turned out enormous, and it’s super versatile. I can’t wait until the days will finally get a little colder, so I get to wear mine. It will be super useful in my cold-ish office. And look great under my winter coat, just adding a splash of color. And look awesome thrown over a blouse… obviously!
The knitting is really simple, there are only a few increases and decreases to work. You will need a little stamina, though, as there are 1500 m of yarn to knit!
The pattern is available on Ravelry and from Strickmich! Shop, where we also carry a limited number of kits in two pretty color combinations. Of course, you can pick your own, too – we’ve got all the beautiful Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy colors in stock. Enjoy!
I know – 2018 is only half over, but I just could not wait to get my hands on the 2019 edition of Strickplaner… and now it’s here! I am so happy and excited about the new cover material that we chose: It looks and feels like textile, but is a stain-resistant vinyl coated paper that will have your planner look great for many, many months. We have the über-cute watercolor motifs by artist Julie Levesque in our endpapers, the layout is functional, clever and clean as ever (and gives you more space to write than last year!), and we have created more special pages for your knitting needs: wish lists for yarn, knitting books and accessories, lists for podcasts, blogs and events and extra pages where you can jot down measurements of your loved ones.
Again, we worked with the planner pros from Munich based company weekview to create Strickplaner 2019 – their approach to planners is wonderful: Goal-setting and prioritizing made easy, so you can stay organized and actually find more time to knit. Plus: Strickplaner comes in a size (a little smaller than A5) that’s the perfect compromise between space to write and mobility. I find that I carry mine with me everywhere, it fits even in the tiniest purse. So whenever I need to access my appointments or my knitting project information, it’s all there in an instant – independent of battery life (and the temptation to get lost in a social media rabbithole once again)!
You can find all specifications and details of Strickplaner on this page.
I would like to give a shout-out to all our lovely sponsors, who have supported us in creating this awesome planner. You rock!
Strickplaner is available in Strickmich! Shop, where you will also find the Pro Kit containing the planner, an adhesive pen loop and two kinds of useful stickers, and the Deluxe Kit that comes with the planner, a Schoppel Zauberball to make the knitted slipcover I designed for it (“Cover Your Plans“, pattern is in the planner), two kinds of stickers, a pen loop and the Strickmich! fabric tag.
Or you order from one of our retailers!
Happy planning & knitting!
… and here comes the pattern for the Strickplaner 2019 book cover: “Cover Your Plans” is a slipcover knit on the bias in garter stitch that will make your planner look stylish and protect it when you are carrying it in your bag amongst pointy knitting needles, the banana for your lunch break and a bottle of sunscreen. The knitting is really straightforward and goes back and forth in garter stitch, all techniques involved (increases, decreases – and yes, a couple of short rows) are explained in the video below. After you have finished knitting, the cover is done – just two yarn ends to hide, no seaming required. It looks especially nice in a gradient or a self-striping yarn like Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel (which I used for the sample). You can also use leftovers of your favorite sockyarn, 50 g will be enough. If you would like to use a thicker yarn or knit the slipcover for bigger or wider books (or other boxy objects), you will find tips for that in the video.
The knitting pattern is available as a free download from this page. Happy knitting!
Vimeo link opens in a new window.
Yesterday I got a call from the production manager at our printing company, and it turns out that only a few steps are missing before Strickplaner 2019 will be on its way to us! To make the wait a little more pleasant, I have created a tiny, tiny preview video for you (not embedded, external link to Vimeo when you click on the picture):
Find all info about Strickplaner – your knitting planner here.