Stricken in Deutschland

Every week, my husband and I Skype with his parents. We catch each other up on what we’ve been doing (in our case, either traveling like crazy or being lazy while we recover from traveling). After a while, the big topics of the conversation start to wind down. And that’s when my mother-in-law and I see our chance.

“Now, I had a question for you about this hat that I’m making…”

There’s no stopping us. The more we talk, the more glazed-over and robotic my husband and my father-in-law’s faces both become. Even over the graininess of Skype, it’s clear that his brain is screaming, begging him for mercy, though his face betrays not a hint of displeasure. Matt has started staring into that three dimensional spot up and to the left. It’s the same place he looks while I’m talking about Germany’s Next Top Model or he’s thinking about some really good cheese sticks he had once.

This is what reading this post could be like for a lot of you. Be thankful that we are not Skyping, and just click away to something else. I’ll try to do a post about football or monster trucks next week.*

A few people have asked me what kind of yarn they have here, as compared to the States. The short and all-encompassing answer? Not as much. As with a lot of other things in a WalMart-free society, it’s hard to find the huge discount deals that are offered at places like Webs, Herrschners or Jimmy Bean’s Wool. Shipping between the U.S. and Germany, for those who are fortunate enough never to have done it, will cost you a small fortune.

Unlike Michael’s or Joanne’s, craft stores here aren’t large enough to have more than a few balls of yarn. Any knitting yarn must be bought at the yarn store, though I’ve also found some in larger department stores. At a local yarn store here, if anything is on sale, it’s put in baskets up front. Most shops sell a majority of Lana Grossa wool, though the larger ones will have more variety in brands and types. I just ordered a bunch of yarn from a local store, Jules Wollshop. She sent along a little “Stay Calm and Knit On” pin for free, winning my heart forever. Oh, and the yarn is great and a good price.

A shawl I made with some Bielefeld-bought merino yarn

A big difference is that there is not nearly as much of a knitting culture here as there is in the U.S., at least for younger people. One of the reasons that this difference in knitting culture struck me so hard was because 1) I love to knit, 2) I’m not working full time, so I’m knitting a lot right now, 3) knitting is by default a welcoming community but 4) when you don’t speak the language and don’t know your way around, it can be especially daunting to have to seek out places to indulge your comforting interests and then wonder if the exchange rate will permit you do it.

Despite that, I’ve been able to get some German-borne projects off the ground. You can check out their Ravelry pages below:

Tighman Island Pullover

New Year’s Resolution

Lines and Dots Cowl 

Germany Quick Scarf

Bear Tracks 

Orange Lined Mittens 

November Pulli 

*Hint: I won’t really do this.


4 responses to “Stricken in Deutschland

  1. Wow Sam, I had no idea. Will you please talk to Rachel about the knitting workshop we are planning for April, she has offered to do it. You two could get together, as I have a feeling we might need two facilitators to show us how to hold the sticks…? needles?
    We were also thinking if we could do some sort of a collaborative/communal knitting project, any ideas?

  2. I really want to start knitting but I’m not sure I’m dexterous enough…is it fairly easy, once you pick up the basics? Or do you really need a talent to get on? I think I’d be happy enough if I could knit a simple scarf..!

    • Trust me, no talent required! Just patience. The great thing about it is that you can teach yourself on the Internet – there are lots of videos where they show you exactly how to hold the needles and yarn while knitting a stitch. After you practice doing that a bit, a scarf would be very doable!

      This is one particularly good site. I usually rely on photos and diagrams rather than videos, but this one has tons of videos as well.

      • Thanks a lot for the link 🙂 When I’m not working so much I’ll give it a go. I really wanted to go to a handicrafts shop next to our flat (which is called Fingerhut, sweet!) and ask for some info, but was a bit too daunted…so I think I’ll teach myself a bit then pluck up the courage to pop in…

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