With the prompt for our Summer Stories Along I realised that this would be an opportunity to share some more stories about our wonderful stockists of SweetGeorgia Yarns. More and more knitters and crocheters are discovering our beautiful colours thanks to our yarns being more available in the UK and EU.
Wollschmiede is a shop in Germany that started carrying our yarns last year. They’ve become big fans of our Merino Silk Fine and Party of Fives, Cashluxe Spark, Silk Fog and new Flaxen Silk Fine. I had a chat with owner Birgit to get her to share her shop with us. Read on for her story…
Having spent a number of years in Australia and having had the pleasure of working for a wool exporter in Sydney for three months I realised that there is not enough hand knitting yarns around. It was great fun knitting on the porch during my lunch breaks surrounded by wool. I learned a lot about wool and sheep.
When I came to Germany I still couldn’t find any interesting hand knitting yarns so I started to buy wool from farmers around Bonn, Germany and started dyeing and felting. I presented my artworks on markets, shows and galleries. Workshops for adults and kids followed. I taught felting at several schools.
Throughout these years I was still fully employed, at first with a huge Dutch Bank in Sydney, afterwards with an American Healthcare Company in Bonn and at the end with an international company also near Bonn.
I worked for the finance and personnel departments and later on I managed the Export Department. When our second daughter was born we decided to buy a 350 year old farmhouse near Bonn. The new farmhouse offered enough space for living and working and so we decided that I would also start my own business.
I did a lot of research in regard to hand dyed yarns, hand spun yarns, web shops, workshops and events to see what happening in the local marketplace. My company was founded 2005 and since we bought the old farmhouse, which was the house of the local farrier, we named our company “Wollschmiede”. Schmiede means forge or smithy and in German it also means scheme or design, so basically being creative. And I added the prefix “Wool”. :-)
I started with yarns from South America, Uruguay and hand spun yarns from Germany as well as raw wool from New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland and Germany, as well as offering workshops for felting and knitting. During the first five years we grew fast and I decided to expand the wool business. Since then we started our webshop and restored the old main house. It took quite some time and we somehow managed to get everything organised.
In 2011 we started to also import from the USA and later from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Canada.
We simply love the yarns from SweetGeorgia, Madelinetosh, Artyarns, Hedgehog Fibres, Cowgirlblues, Manos del Uruguay, The Fibre Company, Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play, Ito and Atelier Ztron. Altogether we carry more than 30 yarn suppliers and more than 200 different yarns from all over the world. We also sell knitting accessories and buttons as well as all kinds of knitting needles and crochet hooks.
Since the yarns we offer are from all over the world, we also have knitters from all over Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg who actually visit us in our store located near Bonn. We are specialised in English written patterns and prefer patterns from international designers. A lot of people are still knitting in this area of Germany and a number of local schools offer knitting as well, so the next generation will follow… Most of our customers love knitting and they are knitting shawls, cardigans and jumpers.
The best thing for me to do is to find new yarns. Yarns which are of great quality. Obviously it is great if these yarns have a huge range of colours, so the knitter can be creative. It is a great pleasure to feel the excitement of each knitter when they enter the store. They can’t believe that there is much more to knitting than just knitting a thread. It is wonderful for me to help finding the right yarn for each individual project, so that the knitters can enjoy their wonderful artwork.
I love knitting and felting. I constantly knit (as long as I don’t have to do the bookkeeping and other office duties) cardigans and big shawls and I enjoy felting faces and animals, hats and shawls.
Our workshops are more specialised now, and our first workshop at the end of July is focusing on a new shoulder construction for cardigans. More workshops will follow. We also offer “Strickcafés”, means knitting afternoons with coffee and cake, so the joy of knitting can be shared with other yarn lovers.
Thank you so much to Birgit for sharing the story of her shop with us. Wollschmiede also has a group on Ravelry, or you can find them through their Facebook page or website. Stay tuned for more stories from our stockists this summer!
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