This weekend, we took a short drive into the Black Forest, to go walking in the snow. Below a certain point, we just haven’t had much snow to call it a proper winter this year. My neighbours’ buttercups are blooming! At around 1100m above sea-level, it was cold enough for me to try putting my fingerless gloves OVER my gloves. That worked a treat.
Sometimes it gets so cold, foggy, and windy that any cabin serving hot coffee, cocoa and cake (bottom letft) is a treat. No matter how run down!
… because sometimes we want something sporty (ie in our country colours) but not too cheesy. I would definitely knit this up in black, red and Gold. This takes the fuss out of wondering what to knit. All about keeping it simple.
I just watched the Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong-Chang at lunchtime, and it was quite lovely: a mix of Tradition and high-tech.
The most moving moments were when the Iranian athlete came in, almost in tears (She almost made me cry too!). And the Nigerian Bobsled ladies and a lone Kenyan Skier*(how cool are they? #BlackGirlMagic). I got a lump in my throat, when I saw the two Koreas entering together as one Team. The German commentators were also moved, because we remember when Germany was two states.
I absolutely love that countries that are not traditionally winter countries, are now participating in the Winter Games. It not only speaks to how Migration has been shaping our lives, but also to the magical effect of Sports (in particular Olympic sports) on countries big and small.
But about the knits:
I may be biased, but I thought the German team had the cutest hats. Red with cable diamonds and a pom pom. (One thing all Germans can agree on, is that there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t like the team uniform – I’m just glad they didn’t show up in some dark colours because it is supposed to be a party/ celebration of sports!)
The cutest scarves were worn by the Japanese team. Alternative headwear prize goes to Nigeria (because glitter headwraps). And the chicest outfit goes to Iran. And best non-knit outfit goes to Tonga (I hope he doesn’t catch cold). I’ll try to come back and post photos or screenshots when I can**.
So wherever you are, whomever you’re rooting for, have fun watching and knitting…
By the way, Tanis’ pattern is a free download from her site or Ravelry. I found out too late, that Ravellers are once again knitting, crocheting, ripping and Spinning along with the Games in their Ravellenics. I don’t think I have time for that this year… but it is good fun. This cowl would fit in the ‘Cowl Curling’ Event, and be even be eligible for a Colorwork Laurel Award.
*The Kenyan Skier, Sabrina Simader got a shout out from the German commentators because she grew up in Austria, and often gets a helping Hand from the Austrian and German Teams.
The wave of Hygge that has been rolling across the world, is finally settling in here in Germany. Especially in winter, we tend to look to the North: and especially to our neighbour, to learn their best tips for getting through winter. Because we forget every Spring. That and, trends take a while to waft over across the Atlantic.
So now it’s here: I was in a bookshop, buying a copy of a lovely new magazine called Hygge (surprise!), when I saw a little table set up with a bunch of hyggelige Things: thick woolly socks, candles, lovely books of quotes and, of course, mugs for cocoa.
Having lived in Norway for a bit, I get the concept of Hygge. It appeals to that part of me (In German it’s called the innere Schweinehund, who is quite lazy and would rather do this, than go for a run through ice-rain) that wants to snuggle up in front of the fire with a cookie, some cocoa and some knitting. With an audiobook or something.
Hygge is really about the time taken and time spent with other People.
And because we’re kinda behind, we’re moving chop-chop straight on from Denmark into Swedish lagom. Because it’s always a good day to learn how someone says ‘Balance’ in a different language.
I vaguely remember the opening of the MoMA Exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern?At the time, I thought, ‘What a pity that I’m not planning on being in New York to see this anytime soon.’
Well, now they’re offering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), based on the Exhibition over at Coursera.org. Enrollment is open until December 25.
The Course is run by the exhibition’s curator Paola Antonelli along with her team from the Department of Architecture and Design at the musem.
Among all objects of design, our clothes are the most universal and intimate. Like other kinds of design, fashion thrives on productive tensions between form and function, automation and craftsmanship, standardization and customization, universality and self-expression, and pragmatism and utopian vision. It exists in the service of others, and it can have profound consequences—social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental.
Fashion as Design focuses on a selection of more than 70 garments and accessories from around the world, ranging from kente cloth to jeans to 3D-printed dresses. Through these garments, we’re going to look closely at what we wear, why we wear it, how it’s made, and what it means. You’ll hear directly from a range of designers, makers, historians, and others working with clothing every day—and, in some cases, reinventing it for the future. Studio visits, interviews, and other resources introduce the history and development of each garment and their changing uses, meanings, and impact over time.
Homemade lantern with storebought light and carrier/ imagemed.org
This weekend, we celebrated quite a few events in southern Germany, to mark the start of the dark half of the year.
Carnival – at 11:11 on November the 11th, the fifth season in the German year starts. And this is taken very seriously here: Karneval, also called Fasnacht and Fasching. I did say that Germans like to party, right? Well, once Oktoberfest is wound up, and the kids have stocked up on Halloween candy (yes, it’s now a thing here as well), then it’s on to Carnival, which stretches all the way around (with Advent and Christmas in the middle)to Rose Monday (where the biggest parades take place in Cologne and in cities along the Rhine!), before Lent starts.
St Martin’s Day – Kids carry around mostly homemade lanterns and sing songs about the generous saint, who cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar.
Each village (kindergartens and primary schools) often hold processions, where children go for a early evening walk with their lanterns and end up at a big bonfire, where St. Martin’s story is reenacted (with a real horse sometimes). Afterwards, punch and snacks are served.
The saint is also associated with geese, so we often have little baked geese (see above) or a Weckmann (where I live, he’s called a Dambedei) for breakfast. Many people also serve goose on St. Martin’s Day as well.
The focus of St. Martin’s Day though is sharing, which I think fits well with our knitting.
Every once in a while, we need a breather from work and partying, and that’s where knitting (in particular slow knitting comes in handy), where we can sit back, relax and start planning how to share our knitting with others:
In other words, who’s on the knit-worthy list in the runup to Christmas (or whichever gift-giving winter holiday you celebrate)?
It’s on my to-do list every year, to have a look in at the Brigitte magazine’s Knit Feature in autumn. This year it’s quite lovely. Twenty-one very wearable and very knittable designs styled with designer (and non-designer clothing).
Knit edition/ Brigitte.de
fotosource: Brigitte magazine
These are my absolute favourites (including the rainbow pullover on the cover). Oversized pieces, relaxed silhouettes, drop shoulders, snuggly hygge-inspired. And yet each piece has a little something to make it extra special – yarn embroidery, colour-blocking, ends left hanging as tassels, contrast colour edgings.
It’s shaping up to be a very snuggly (the German word is kuschelig) knit-season this year.
Are ribs ever not in? I think it’s very much about texture and structure. Solène Le Roux, a designer out of Hong Kong, has some very classic pieces (Rib and Garter Stitch Shawl right, and Ribbed Raglan Sweater top left), while Meghan Fernandes’ contribution to the Slow Knitting book, Spruce features ribbing in cozy cowl form.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I want to include my Sheep Sorrel in as a rib (because panels are also about texture and structure).
Now, I’ve been seeing ruffles for quite a while now, so I will not ask if we have reached ‘peak ruffle.’ If you like ruffles (I love ruffles, and am finally thrilled to have learned how to knit them), then I say knit ruffles.
And lastly, I was disappointed to find that there aren’t a lot of clear definitions on the interwebs about what exactly a Ruana is. So, I’ve done a bit of research for us, my dear readers.
A poncho is more or less a square or rectangular shaped outer garment, with a slit/hole in the middle where the head slips through. They can be knit on the bias (with a point in front), or straight (often referred to as a serape). In contrast, a ruana looks like a T or a Y when lain flat. Deidre at BiddyMurphy says that ruanas come from the Andes region of Venezuela, and the word originally meant ‘Lord of Blankets.’ They may or may not have a hood attached, but tend to generally be longer than a poncho.
This survey in no way claims to be a comprehensive list of all knitting magazines published in Germany. It is however a list based on what you would find in any well-stocked local supermarket or yarn shop.
Publications by Yarn Companies – like the one above, the yarn companies are now putting out their catalogues, which look more like Fashion magazines. Filati from Lana Grossa, and Made by Me – Handknitting from Rico. Depending on which yarns the LYS carries, you’ll find a variety of these magazines in yarn shops, but also on the magazine racks in supermarkets, bookstores and even railway stations.
Publications in women’s magazines – like Brigitte. Although Brigitte has recently branched off into the yarn market. They have launched a wool line, in cooperation with Lana Grossa, they publish a yearly knit-issue, and have launched a Special Edition Brigitte Creative magazine, with patterns and kits for sale. Another notable magazine venturing into patterns and yarn and kits is Landlust, which started out as a magazine celebrating living the good life in the countryside. Their patterns turned out to be so successful, that it seems only natural that they now offer the yarns (lovely tweedy yarns).
Publications by craft companies – for some strange reason (probably post-war Mad Men era publishers and ad-men deciding what housewives wanted) most of the craft-focused magazines have girly names like Ana, Diana, Verena, and Sabrina. There’s also Häkeln for you (for crocheters) and a Stricktrends (Knittrends).
A solid exception is Burda, well-known for years in sewist circles, they started out with Burda Stricken, and has recently responded to the growing market for more creative crafty magazines by putting out a Burda Creative with a wider mix of interesting craft projects.
Following this upsurge, we also saw the introduction of Mollie Makes in German, and of course, The Knitter, more or less recycling years-old material for German knitters.
One final note: International knitting publications from the US (like Interweave) and the UK (like the english version of The Knitter), are available mostly in railway stations or in the larger chain bookstores. Vogue Knitting is called Designer Knitting outside the US.
Where do you prefer to get your knitting magazines?
There are now a few brave independent yarn dyers doing amazing things with wool and various fibre blends. Here are a few that I know about:
Sock weight in Flaschenpost/ Message in a bottle.
Wollmeise is the nickname of Claudia Höll-Wellman (her husband is the Rohrspatz, and it’s a bit of a play on bird names plus their hobbies – she likes wool and he likes metallworking and Rohr is German for a metal tube or pipe), who just seems to have not only a hand for making lovely colours, but also very inventive colour names as well. She got started in 2002, when she couldn’t seem to find the colours she wanted to knit with. She has grown a very large and devoted following, and quite frankly has put her small town of Pfaffenhofen in Bavaria on the knitter’s world map.
She’s recently opened a brick and mortar shop and occasionally holds open days and sales, that have people all over Germany stopping off in Pfaffenhofen. If you can’t get there in person just yet, you can have a browse around her very modern and efficient web shop (in German and English) and look at the shop on her Panorama Viewer. Gorgeous!
Dye for Yarn & Dye for Wool
Gesplittete Kalk (silk merino DK weight) by DyeforYarn
Naughty Piglet (merino/baby camel fingering weight) by DyeforWool
foto source: DyeforWool Etsy shop
I love the story of how two scientists, met at work and discovered their shared love for shawl knitting. Cordula Surmann-Schmitt and Nicole Eitzinger also couldn’t find the laceweight yarns they wanted on the German market, so they decided to try their hand at importing and dyeing them themselves. Their Etsy shop DyeforYarn started in early 2010, while their second shop DyeforWool was started in October of the same year. They also opened an In Real Life shop in Fürth near Nürnberg (Nueremberg).
They have a quirky sense of humour, which comes out in their yarn names which often have to do with death, decay and things that may not sound so appetizing (Splitted Lime and Naughty Piglet above are good examples), but when translated to yarn are just lovely, show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. They do fairly small batches in lace-, fingering- and DK weights, so it’s crucial to get a sufficient quantity of yarn all at once.
It’s quite a treat to browse through their Etsy shop, especially their Cabinet of Wonders and their Cabinet of Horrors, special sections with skeins they think are particulary beautiful, and not quite successful respectively. They also do a lovely Advents calendar in the runup to Christmas, which is also worth checking out.
Jule Kebelman is a textile designer and teacher who lives just outside Berlin. She also produces small batches of organic plant-dyed regional wools. HeyMamaWolf is small but is definitely worth watching, as Kebelman is working with and sourcing her wool regionally (ie in Germany), although many yarn companies prefer to source outside Germany as the wool isn’t considered fine enough. Plus she gets some amazing colours using plant dyes.