Fibreshare

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I finally have participated in a fibreshare round! In case you never heard of it, it is an organised, Instagram based, international fibre arts swap with one swap every few months. The short sign-up period of one week is announced on Instagram, so you have to check the fibreshare account on a regular basis to make sure you do not miss it.

The procedure is easy. You pay an 8$ sign-up fee, fill in a short questionnaire, and wait for an email with your fibreshare partner details. The questionnaire not only asks the usual colour preferences and allergies, but also your craft preference (knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, punch-needling, macrame, felting), your skill level, your fibre preference (natural yarn, vegan, sustainable/ reclaimed, any yarn) and whether you like to ship a domestic or an international package. You then get matched with two partners, one you are receiving from and one you are sending to. This means, you can and shall contact both of them as fibreshare puts an emphasis on building a community. There are two shipping deadlines, one for domestic and one for international packages to have a limited period of time for all packages to arrive.

The only restriction for the package you have to send is that it must contain at least 200g of yarn. You can send some of your stash, some specifically ordered or both. Fibreshare also teams up with a group of indie dyers where you can order discounted yarns for a short period of time. The rest is totally up to you! Find a nice card, sweet treats, crafty accessories, handmade items or whatever you think your fibreshare partner might like. If in doubt, check your partner’s Instagram account or just ask. I did ask and I was asked, both conversations were a win!

However, this is the wonderful package I received from Norway:

300g of gorgeous, untreated Norwegian yarn in colours I adore, tea, accessories, vegan chocolates and a lovely note. I can only recommend Fibreshare! Although it might be stressful to put together the perfect package on time, most people try to make their partners happy. Apart from that, you’ll meet a lot of nice people via Instagram. It was a blast!

Fun fact: I had a lot of problems to take proper pictures of my package as my cat instantly claimed the yarn, laid itself on top of it and started to defend it against me. He obviously shares my yarn preferences.

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H+H Cologne 2018, Part 1

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Like last year, I was allowed to visit H+H Cologne as a blogger. Sadly, I could spend only one day there due to other appointments I had that weekend. This was definitely too little time although I had planned my visit in advance. However, I nonetheless have found a lot of inspiration.

Textures

I was happy to see so many designers play with textures. At Habu Textiles, e.g., I found this subtle texture:

At Lana Grossa, I unexpectedly stumbled upon this beauty:

At Novita, I instantly fell in love with this coat, a stunning combination of lace, cables and bobbles:

Bobbles seem to be quite popular at the moment, another example from Katia,…

…from Nako,

…or in a pom pom interpretation from Lana Grossa:

Schoppel once again surprised with very unusual textures:

Another great find was The Fibre Co.‘s latest collection using their new yarn base Lore. A small excerpt (thank you, Daphne!):

To finish this section, I just have to show you Katia’s texture samples. They were too beautiful:

Yarns

I am always looking for interesting yarns. But as I am not that much into colours, I tend to fall for structure instead. I am not surprised to have spent quite a lot of time at Blue Sky Fibers. Their range of yarns is stunning, particularly because of their composition as well as their construction. The sport weight Metalico, half baby alpaca, half silk, comes in natural shades only, which, together with the single-ply structure, underline its natural shine. Next to it, you can see the sport weight Baby Alpaca, which comes in a large range of colours. It has a plied structure, but is beautifully soft.

Another fantastic yarn is their worsted Organic Cotton. It is unusually thick and soft for a 100% cotton and I am looking forward to try it out in a project soon. It even is available in different shades of grey and has a great stitch definition.

As I was invited to The Fibre Co.‘s blogger and designer event, I was further introduced to their exquisite range of yarns and was able to take a look at Lore, their latest addition:

It is made of 100% Kent lambswool and has a yardage of 250m per 100g. I almost can’t wait to try out the greys and the dark purple!

But there are also other really interesting yarns, e.g., Terra, an aran weight alpaca, merino and silk blend, …

… Knightsbridge, a light worsted weight baby llama, merino and silk blend, …

… or Meadow, a merino, baby llama, silk and linen blend you probably already know.

At Pascuali, everybody was invited to try out their luxurious yarns:

One of their new products is Soffio, an aran weight blend of 90% cashmere and 10% silk. It is extremely fluffy and soft, perfect for winter garments:

Pascuali also have an extraordinary new pure cotton yarn, Suave. It is lightweight, fluffy and pretty far from anything you might expect from pure cotton with 162m per 25g. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of it. Maybe I was too busy admiring it.

My next stop was at Habu Textiles‘ booth. Well, I just do not know where to start, so I’ll start with a picture:

This is paper yarn and maybe I’m a bit in love.

Another interesting find is this 100% silk yarn …

… or these textures…

…or these tiny pom poms on thread:

When I arrived at Baa Ram Ewe, I was surprised not to see the colourful Dovestone range which was introduced only last year. But it has a worthy successor, Winterburn. The only difference to Dovestone is that they have exchanged the Wensleydale fibre for Masham, which makes Winterburn a bit softer than Dovestone. I am looking forward to combine the Winterburn sample I have received with my remaining Dovestone bits to compare them directly. Dovestone, by the way, is still available undyed and at baa ram ewe directly.

I want to finish this section with two new yarns by Lana Grossa. There will be a sparkly aran weight yarn in the Lala Berlin range and a fingering weight merino and linen blend. They both look pretty interesting:

I will stop for now as this post already is quite long and will tell you more about H+H Cologne tomorrow.

Leipzig Wollefest

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Now that I live in Leipzig, I finally have made it to the annual Leipzig Wollefest! I was pretty surprised how big and beautiful this festival is.

Of course, you can find some of the famous indie brands there, e.g. Wollmeise, DyeForYarn, dibadu, Zauberwiese, or das Mondschaf, but I am sure you already know about their beautiful yarns. So let me show you some smaller booths that have caught my attention.

I was super happy to meet Claudia Eisenkolb aka Himawari knits! at her designer booth. She had brought a lot of samples, even an unpublished design. It was so good to see all those gorgeous little details live. You miss a lot of them when you just quickly browse them on Ravelry. The samples also show how nicely the yarns and her patterns play together. She focuses on shape and texture, which I, myself, have been experimenting a lot with, recently. Apart from that, I always enjoy our talks a lot.

Another designer I was happy to meet in person is Nicola Susen. I like her idea of a sweater pattern as a detailed guide to how and where to adapt your knitting to your body measurements. In addition, she has a cool way to play with lines and colour. I already have knitted her Longitudinal socks, a fantastic sideways socks pattern. You definitely may want to take a look at her designs!

As you already know, I have a weakness for unusual, ethically sourced yarns. So I was pretty happy to see Seidenhase at the festival.

They keep angora rabbits for the love of the animals, collect their hair without hurting them and sell it as knitting yarns, batts or ready-made items. They have a small manufacture in Germany and are my number one choice for future angora acquisitions. Definitely worth supporting!

My most surprising find was a woodworker. Rainer Mewes has a range of classic wood products, but he also produces writing instruments, spindles and spinning wheels. I do not spin, but how cool would it be to have a handmade spinning wheel according to your requirements? I love the idea!

There also were a lot of places to sit and knit at the exhibition hall. My favourite one was the catering area on the balcony-like first floor.

It was a wonderful weekend. I have met so many nice people and had a lot of good conversations, on knitting as well as on life as such. So, see you next year, Leipzig Wollefest!

Wollfestival 2017

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Of course, I had to attend a yarn festival so close to the place I live! I went there last Sunday with my friend Rebekka who even had organised our tickets (thank you so much, again!). Apparently, Sunday was a lot more enjoyable than Saturday as you could breathe, rest a moment and even take a relaxed look at the yarn stands.

As I am still trying to destash, I had strictly planned possible yarn acquisitions. I needed black and white fingering Merino Singles to combine them with a hank of Tosh Merino Light in Tart for a Black Lodge Shawl. When the pattern was published, I instantly fell in love with it. It combines so many things I like, Inspiration from the Twin Peaks TV series, darkness and an edgy, very talented designer. Just take a look at Lisa Mutch‘s other designs if you haven’t done already and you’ll understand why I like her style so much. A lot of her designs are in my favourites and my queue just waiting for me to find yarn for them. By the way, Lisa much also dyes her own yarns and carries wonderful, dark colourways.

However, I chose a hank of Dibadu Funnies Simply Merino in Mondlicht and a hank of Das Mondschaf Aurora in Black Hole. Dibadu as well as Das Mondschaf are both German Indie Dyers with stunning colourways but different focuses. You will find a large selection of speckled and shaded yarns even for the darker taste on luxurious, but quite common yarn bases at Das Mondschaf, whereas Dibadu is not overly dark, but carries a lot of stunning colourways on a huge variety of common as well as less common yarn bases. I definitely need to try their Curly Silk one day, to name only one of their gems.

I had allowed myself to buy yarn for another project as long as it inspired me to knit something specific. To be honest, the Wolle Willich booth inspired me as a whole. They carry traditional British yarns and similar yarn constructions from elsewhere only, so I could have bought everything if they just sold more blacks and darks. After a long and pleasant conversation with the shop owner, I chose a Blacker Yarns Mohair Blend in purple to knit a Lestat shawl.

And here’s a picture of the beauties I bought:


In fact, I spent most of my time at Wollfestival not shopping but in the company of wonderful people. There was a lot of space to hang around in groups and have a cup of coffee together:

So we were chatting and discussing knitting ideas a lot. Thank you, RebekkaDaniela and all the other lovely people I met for a perfect Sunday knitting afternoon! See you next year!

H+H Cologne 2017, part 2

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As announced before, here is the second and last part of my H+H Cologne 2017 report.

I stumbled upon a Canadian hand dyer, Zen Yarn Garden, who stood out by offering yarn shades in colour families. This means there are different colours intended to be combined, e.g. a speckled and a semisolid shade. How cool is that, please? Furthermore, the colours are rich and vibrant, all dyed on luxurious yarn bases. I really should try them out.

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BC Garn, a Danish yarn manufacturer, well know for its natural, high-quality and often organic yarns has presented a remarkable addition to its GOTS certified palette: Bio Shetland, a light fingering weight pure shetland yarn which comes in a wide range of colours. I truly appreciate their policy of providing luxurious yet natural yarns. I salute BC Garn for this consistency and hope Bio Shetland will be available in my LYS soon! Until then, I already have a project in mind for their beautiful Lino.

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Another Nordic yarn manufacturer I was happy to see was Novita, a Finnish yarn company, namely the largest hand-knitting yarn spinner in the Nordic region. They also collaborate with WYS, who I had presented in H+H Cologne 2017, part 1. The great news is, Novita yarns will be available in Germany, soon! This means a new supplier of durable Nordic wool for me! They offer a lot of natural yarns, sometimes blended with a little Nylon for even more increased durability, in a wide range of colours. So, welcome to Germany, Novita, I am looking forward to your arrival!

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I accidentally found Merchant and Mills, a British sewing supplier with a very unique style. Their booth was pure eye candy yet! They offer working style patterns to sew a capsule wardrobe, high-quality cloths, trims, sewing kits (I LOVE the oilskin bag kit!), tools, books, stationery. But have a look at the pictures. They deserve a full blog post, soon.

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I am so glad to have met the wonderful Madame Tricot in person! This year, she brought an assortment of knit cheeses, presented adequately. As I admire her work a lot, I have set her exhibition as featured image of this blog post. Please support her art by buying her book, it is stunning.

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I will not write too much about about the large yarn manufacturers, there are other bloggers who have more insight and will write detailed posts about theses companies. Nonetheless, some of their new products have caught my eye.

Lana Grossa, e.g., has shown their large new collection for A/W 2017/18. My favourites are Silkhair 2.0, a Kid Mohair and silk blend with a slightly darker core, and Fluffy Tweed, a soft tweed yarn with a beautiful halo, from their Lala Berlin collection.

My favourite latest addition to the Rowan collection is called Sultano, a luxurious ribbon yarn made of 38% silk, 38% mohair und 24% cashmere. Definetely worth a try!

Some Madelinetosh eye candy (new colours!):

A beautiful way to show off the different qualities of Blue Sky Fibers:

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Knitted art at Kartopu

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…and Katia:

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Now to something completely different. Have you heard of Earebel yet? I had, but as an audiophile, I did not expect too much from their product. They offer bluetooth headphones to be knit into hats or headbands. They are available as kits or individually for your own ideas. I have to admit, they are pretty good with respect to their low price. The high frequencies are a bit flat, but the lows are pretty okay. In sum, they are a cool novelty item.

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I have spent two fantastic days at H+H Cologne 2017 and hope you have enjoyed my report about it. I have met wonderful people, had great conversations and have learned a lot. Thanks to everyone I have met!

 

 

H+H Cologne 2017, part 1

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After some years of absence, I finally managed to attend this year’s H+H Cologne again. What shall I say, the weekend exceeded my already high expectations. I spent quite a lot of time with Sabine Berlipp who I got to now accidentally only a few days before. That seems to have been sort of karma as we had a really great time discussing ideas, fashion and music. I really hope we will realise some of our ideas soon.

As Rebekka was working at the trade fair, there was only time for a quick hello and an improvised selfie together (thank you, Rebekka!). As you can see, we were in an excellent mood.

Of course, I did not try to spot any trends. As usually, I focused on interesting yarns and colours as well as artsy things.

I’ll start with the Pascuali booth. They sell luxury, high-quality yarns, in the unlikely case you have not heard of them, yet.

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One of my favourite Pascuali yarns so far is Cairo 4, a 100% camel DK weight yarn which is available undyed (second from left) as well as in a nice range of colours. It is all soft, warming yet lightweight and supposed to be very durable. I surely will give it a try, soon.

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Another yarn that caught my eye and turned out to be some sort of love at first sight is Nepal. It is a sport weight yarn consisting of 60% cotton, 28% linen and 12% nettle. The structure is visibly plied, which gives it a slightly raw touch when knitted. It is unexpectedly very soft and urges to be knit into some goth summer top or dress. As a first appetizer, Paul Pascuali gifted me a dark green skein to try it out. Thanks a lot, I will swatch it very soon!

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My next stop was the Schoppel booth. Famous for their long colour repeats and gradients, e.g. in Zauberball, as well as for interesting yarn structures (Cashmere QueenReggae) and innovative knitting patterns, they just never disappoint.

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As I happened to knit a garment for their upcoming collection, I received a skein of their beautiful 6 Karat laceweight merino and silk yarn which is going to become a new shawl design. Thank you so much!

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I was very happy to see Blacker Yarns at H+H. I saw an almost full range of their yarns for the first time on a trip to Edinburgh 18 months ago, but they have introduced two stunning new yarns since then. Tamar, introduced last spring, is a worsted spun lustre blend of Cornish Mule, Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool. The colours come out all vibrant and shiny, in fingering weight as well as in DK weight.

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This spring’s addition to the Blacker range is a silk blend, Samite. It is a woolen spun (!) light fingering weight yarn that consists of 30% Blue-faced Leicester wool, 40% Shetland wool, 20% Ahimsa silk, and 10% Gotland wool. It has an extraordinary colour depth, beautiful shine and drape and a silky yet woolen soft touch. I am looking forward to test this beauty, especially as I have been gifted a sample. I am so happy with it, thank you!

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I’ll stick with the British for a while, as I was happy to meet each one of them and discuss their yarn ranges, which have all some sort of signature style far from classic and popular Merino yarns.

My next stop led me to Baa Ram Ewe, whose Titus, a 50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Bluefaced Leicester and 30% Alpaca blend, I already know and like a lot. Its shades are deep and underline its natural halo.

img_20170401_163001.jpgimg_20170401_163021.jpgThey also showcased their sister yarns Dovestone DK and Dovestone Natural Aran, both blends of 50% Bluefaced Leicester, 25% Masham and 25% Wensleydale. The worsted spinning adds a heathered look to the wonderful shades of the DK weight, whereas the Aran shades are undyed natural sheep colours. I am all happy to have been gifted two samples of Dovestone DK, whose structure I like a lot. I am looking forward to play with it, thank you!

 

The third British yarn manufacturer I visited was West Yorkshire Spinners. Apart from their single breed yarns (the Fleece range) and their prize-winning Signature sock yarn, two jewels caught my eye, namely the Wensleydale Gems DK collection and the Exquisite lace yarn. The first one is a pure Wensleydale yarn, the 20 colours showcasing the natural lustre and sheen of the fibre. What a rare beauty! But, WYS can do even better. Exquisite does full justice to its name. It consists of 80% Falkland wool and 20% Mulberry silk. It glows even without spotlight on it and seems like a perfect choice for intricate lace projects. I am looking forward to try their yarns, they feel and look just gorgeous!

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I will leave you with the first part for now, but I am sure you will like the second part as well. Be prepared for Northern yarns and some eye candy!