Inside Schoeller

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I was super happy when I received my invitation to the Schoeller blogger event, particularly as it included a factory tour at their dye works in Hard, Austria. A perfect combination of my degree in engineering and my love for knitting! Of course, I confirmed the invitation and was delighted to meet Rebekka, Alice, Kiki, Miki, Fritzi, Stefanie, Janine, Jasmin, Katha, Simone, Steffi, Marco and Julia-Maria. We were welcomed with a cup of coffee in a beautifully decorated conference room.

First, we were introduced to the company, whose main branch are industrial yarns. With their dye works located within sight of Lake Constance, they had to fulfill a lot of environmental requirements very early. The result is, that their yarns are bluesign approved, the treatment for their machine-washable yarns is chlorine-free and as a bonus, they are mulesing-free as they use south-american Merino only.

The tricky part is, not all their handknitting yarns are manufactured by themselves. So the Austermann Merino yarns, Schoeller Zimba and all sock yarns are produced to the Schoeller standards, other yarns may or may not be chlorine-free or bluesign approved, depending on the individual case. However, I am deeply impressed, Schoeller is working on a sustainable production.

If you are interested in my pretty technical summary of the factory tour, you can find it in my Instagram story highlights. Nonetheless, I want to write about some details here.

This is a poster showing the fineness of sheep wool depending on the animal part it is shorn from. The lower the number, the finer is the fibre. As you can see, the shoulder part (1) is where you find the finest hair with only 14,5 micrometers in diameter. This is how it looks like as a wool top:

Sadly, this quality is so hard to spin that fine hand knitting yarns usually start from 16,5 micrometer fine fleeces.

As industrial yarns are knit on knitting machines, they must not have considerably thicker or thinner sections. During quality assurance, these sections are cut out and the yarn is joined with a technique known as “Russian join” in hand knitting:

After lunch, we were introduced to the design philosophy behind the Austermann and Schoeller+Stahl hand knitting yarns as well as their knitting patterns. They also had brought a lot of their knits to take a detailed look at them. As all of us had received a large package of yarns to play with beforehand, we were asked to show our projects and to share our opinions about the yarns we had used. My favourite projects were a cardigan and a hand bag knit by Fritzi and a cowl by Alice. I will show you my own projects in a separate post, soon.

Thank you so much for inviting me, it was a blast! It was totally worth the 20 hours I spent in Flixbuses to get to Lake Constance and back. The day passed by way too fast with an amazing insight into the company and some really good talks. Well done, Schoeller!

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A package from Finland

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Maybe, you remember me freaking out about the Rowanberry Sweater I saw at this year’s H+H Cologne at Novita‘s booth?

Well, Novita just has sent me the pattern booklet! I couldn’t be happier! They even have included yarn samples of Nalle and Nordic Wool in colours suitable for the sweater! I mean, it’s not a secret I have a weakness for Shetland and Scandinavian style yarns, is it?

I’m so looking forward to knitting my Rowanberry Sweater, thank you so much, Novita! But I wonder why they still do not have a German distributor. Are you so focused on ultra soft Merino wool, Germany?

Saturday Surprise

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When I checked my mailbox this morning, there was a small package from Mirjam in it. I had expected it, as we had discussed swapping some yarn leftovers, recently. But when I opened it, I was completely overwhelmed:

I had expected a package of leftovers, not this! Look at how beautifully the yarn is skeined and labelled! The greeting card is handmade, a stitch holder added and everything was nicely stored in a small project bag alongside a lavender sachet. This totally made my day and I can’t wait to try out the Retrosaria and Onion yarns! Thank you so much!

Wollfestival Düsseldorf 2018

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After several years in Cologne, this was the first Wollfestival to take place at Rheinterrassen in Düsseldorf and I prefer this location a lot from the old one! The market place was located in one large hall instead of three smaller rooms before. The charity events were on a small stage, the designer booths perfectly visible in the corridor in front of the hall and there was an array of different spinning wheels to try out in the basement.

The Saturday opening queue was pretty long, as usually, but I got inside the building in less than 20 minutes, which I find very appropriate. The overall colour concept was bright pink, which I dislike a lot, but the concept was implemented very subtly, with small yarn samples hanging at the handrails, e.g.

As shortly after the opening the market place was so crowded that I could not make it to any booth, I decided to take the opportunity to knit a while and wait for the afternoon. There were a lot of lovely places to sit and knit, inside the building as well as outside in particular. Apart from using the restaurant terrace behind the building, you could sit on the quai wall and knit overlooking the ships sailing the Rhine.

Now to my personal selection of sellers, that I would like to introduce you to. First of all, I was more than happy to see Wolle Willich once again. They are one of my favourite German yarn shops and specialise in Shetland yarns and rarities. They even have started their own range of locally grown natural yarns recently.

Sadly, I did not have the time to visit the Atelyeah brick and mortar shop in Mönchengladbach before I moved to Leipzig last year, so it was a perfect incident they were showing a selection of their product range in Düsseldorf. Very lovely booth!

Another interesting seller was Alice im Wunderladen. They carry a lot of high quality and rare yarns from the US, UK and Scandinavia, The Fibre Co., Fyberspates and BC Garn, e.g., to name some of my favourites. They even have a seller from Leipzig! 😎

Lanaphilia also had a booth and it was a pleasure to see the beautiful colours of Zen Yarn Garden and Olann. They also had brought some String Theory Caper Sock, a yarn I particularly like for its softness and stitch definition at the same time.

It was a pleasure to meet Bodolina in person and to have a look at her handcrafted knitting needle organisers. They come in a large variety of colours and sizes, so have a look at them if you still have not found your perfect storage solution.

The biggest surprise was Mohairdesign, actually a breeder of angora goats, who sells yarn from her own goats. I particularly liked the bouclé yarn, but everything there was stunning.

Of course, I have bought some yarn. I needed two Madelintosh unicorn tails to contrast some leftovers in Victorian Gothic, so I bought one in Silver Fox and one in Duchess. My purchase of two skeins of black Lanamania Pearl fingering was completely unplanned, but I just could not resist. As currently I get more and more disappointed by my KnitPro needles, I bought a pair of interchangeable Chiaogoo Red Lace circulars to try out their system. I already like their fixed circulars, so hopefully, the interchangeable ones are just as good.

I spent most of my Sunday visit at Kölner Herzkissen knitting a charity hat. I do not exactly remember why I cast on an intarsia in the round hat, but at least, the result is pretty unusual.

My next public knitting event this year will be YarnCamp in Frankfurt. Do you have your tickets, yet? If not, the last ticket opportunity will be September 12th, 19:30 on their website. Good luck and see you there!

Summer Knitting/ WIPs

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I am a winter person. I love the cold and long nights. I truly suffer when the temperature rises above 30°C, which has been the case since weeks. As German summers usually are a lot cooler than this year, I tend to just knit finer wollen yarns in summer. This year, I do not feel like even touching any wollen yarn, so I had to change my project schedule heavily.

The good news is, I have almost finished a lacy, silken top I had been working on since 2016 as the pattern is full of mistakes. I also have started with embroidery, something I had been keen on trying out recently. Deep down in my yarn stash, I found some aqua (!) Lana Grossa Mare, a linen/cotton/rayon tape yarn. As it should be easy to overdye it with black, I have started a Sugarcoated cardigan with it.

I also have ordered some black Raffia yarn to DIY myself an oversized sun hat.

Now to the bad news, postponed projects due to the hot weather. I am eager to try out my Schoeller yarn samples, but all of them are wollen. I wanted to surprise two friends with handmade accessories later this August, but I am not sure if this will happen. My dad has asked me to knit him an argyle sweater for this fall and I haven’t even started. I also wanted to knit two baby cardigans to give them to two friends in September, apart from a mohair sweater for myself that is almost finished.

I am fully aware, these are first world problems. People in other countries have been facing extreme summer weather since years. Nonetheless, it is a different experience being exposed to it for the first time in Central Europe.

Inside Schoeller

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So, I’m invited to Inside Schoeller, a German blogger meeting organised and hosted by Schoeller Süssen. I’m really looking forward to get a little more insight into their production and corporate philosophy. Hopefully, I’ll meet Rebekka, Alice, Miki, Janine, Steffi and get to know some more fellow knitters in person.

I already have received a box full of yarn samples to play with:


I am not overly happy with the colours as you can imagine, but I already see two hats, a shawl and a scarf (possibly two new designs!). Are you as excited about the results as I am?

Thanks a lot to Schoeller for everything so far!

Intarsia

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I recently have been interested in intarsia knits, particularly the complex ones featuring a lot of colours or even landscape views. As this technique was quite popular in the 1980s, I am currently looking for some old pattern books to get a deeper understanding of what others already have done. My research so far has led me to Kaffe Fassett (of course), Patricia Roberts and Sweaterscapes. Do you have any other good suggestions?