There is a large part of my heart that is undeniably German. My mother was born in Berlin and I spent many happy holidays travelling by myself from the age of 5, with the help of the lovely Lufthansa cabin crew, to visit my grandparents in Stuttgart. If I am lucky enough to go back to Germany it only takes a day or two before I am thinking in German. Apparently I even have a slight Berlin accent when I speak.
I love the country, the food, the sense of humour and the ingrained sense of order. My DH will find that funny, especially when he looks at my desk or down the side of my bed because there is no visible sense of order at all. But when I say order I think I also mean logic and pragmatism.
In my job I read a lot of knitting patterns and there are three designers who I am really drawn to because of the way they construct their garments and their written instructions. Two are German and one is Austrian.
I am currently knitting Jutta von Hinterm Stein’s Slanted Pockets which is a feast of a pattern. It is quite long and the construction looks extremely complex at first. But Jutta has expertly broken down each stage of the design in to easy-to-understand, bite size chunks so as not to overwhelm the knitter. As I progressed through the sections I have really appreciated how clever her pattern writing is and what a feat of engineering the cardigan is. I am using up some yarn from my stash by Gedifra called Samina which has a wool core with a nylon netting around it. Once knitted it almost looks like chain mail.
The first design I knitted by Ankestrick was Mandel, a classic top down jumper. Anke’s patterns are laid out using a system of columns so you can easily see the size you are knitting, wherever you are in the pattern. She also includes lots of illustrations so that you can check your progress. I love top down patterns – having a big bust I always want to check if a design is going to suit me. This construction is ideal and if it doesn’t suit I know I haven’t invested too much time in a design. Her designs simple in style, elegant with clever little details to keep you interested.
Isabell Kraemer has nearly 100 designs on Ravelry and all of them are timeless garments that anyone can wear. For a classic, top down cardigan you can’t beat Paulie but I also like Edie, Bubbly Sweater….. She uses colour sparingly and texture elegantly, and each design is beautifully engineered.
For me, these three designers are a bit like Delia Smith. You know her recipes will turn out well time and again, make you look good and cooking with them is a satisfying experience.