Claudia The Wollmeise in The Loopy Limelight!

Today it seems appropriate to learn more about Claudia, the master dyer behind the Wollmeise yarn we all love (since we have more Wollmeise going up sometime this week.) Claudia and I became friends through email, and I’m so thrilled that she is coming to The Loopy Ewe Spring Fling so that I can meet her in person. She has such a unique way of making everyone feel like they’ve known her forever, and I know a lot of you have experienced that. She’s also a bit of a practical joker. One time she called and pretended that she wanted to pre-order a bunch of Wollmeise yarn and I was trying to kindly explain that we don’t do pre-orders on that line and she burst out laughing and then told me who it was. (And if we hadn’t had other customers call from Germany before, the accent might’ve given her away – but it didn’t. Now I know to be wary, indeed…..)

Loopy: We’re so honored to have you in The Loopy Limelight this week! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
Claudia: Hi Loopy it´s nice to talk with you and soon I’ll see you in person and hope to be allowed to squeeze your belly. Sorry I have no latest pictures of me, only some when I was small. The biggest fear in my life is the dentist and cameras around me and I prefer the dentist. It’s not my look, I’m looking really normal – I swear without crossed fingers – a camera steals my soul. Here is a little impression about me: I’m 45 years old, 168cm t(sm)all, have short black curly hair, looking pale, brown eyes, bad teeths wondering why, normal weight, no second nose and no warts. I have three children, two boys and one girl and they are almost grown. My husband Andreas is “Rohrspatz” and my 85 year old mum lives with us.

Today I found my first schoolday picture – I’m the second from the left.

carpetLoopy: Nice picture! We’re glad to have one of you, even if it’s from awhile ago. That probably means that people shouldn’t follow you around with cameras at the Spring Fling, right? We don’t want you to feel like we’re stealing your soul here. We want you to have a good weekend. We’ll make note of that. So tell us how you started dyeing?
Claudia: The beginning was serendipity or pure obsession. A long time ago I had a special project in my mind but can’t find the right colors to realize it. I started with spinning my favourite yarn to knit this wall carpet/picture and it’s still hanging in our living room (best alarm for the first moth flight).

You know spinning needs a lot of time and I got some Koolaid bags from a friend as a Christmas present (hi Thea – you’re guilty). Decorating the Christmas tree was no longer important. I dyed my first handspun yarn with Koolaid and a fruity-sheep smell went through our house (a Christmas tree smells better). That was the exact date when I started dyeing, Christmas 2002 and I never stopped.

Loopy: That wall hanging is beautiful. What an inspiration of colors! (Of course I personally like the grass-green colors the best. I’m partial to things that look like grass.) You’re known for your wonderfully intense colors. How do you typically come up with your new color combinations?
Claudia: Mostly I have an idea about a new colorway. Some years ago my husband made me a cute Valentine present. It was one single parrot tulip in amazing brownish orange colors standing in a small teal pottery, and that’s “Türkis and Karneol”. Sometimes a colorway just happens, as Rhabarber.

wolm_angleLoopy: What is the best part about your business, and what is the most challenging part?
Claudia: The best part is definitely dyeing. The second part is the possibility to jump into my stash, to keep the yarn if I want and I need no excuses for a big stash. Isn’t that yarnheaven? There are much more other fantastic parts, my own little world became bigger and I know so many lovely people allover the world.
The most challenging part! My first impulsively thought is “every new day is a challenge”. There are so many things I have to learn and honestly it’s the office work. I’m a crafter and not a business woman.

Loopy: You’re very busy dyeing yarn for all of us – do you ever get time to knit anymore? And if so, what is your favorite thing to knit?
Claudia: My daily rows are necessary to calm down after a long day. These months I love to knit fast and extraordinary little projects. I have no patience for a lifework like a complicated shawl or a faire isle sweater. My favourite designs are from Lynne Barr “Knitting New Scarves”. There are so many spectacular funny ideas. This book forced me to read the instructions. I never read instructions – a picture is enough for me (okay, I read a pattern chart too).

Loopy: Do you have any yarn shops close to where you live?
Claudia: One and a half, the half one has very less yarn and more fabrics. The bigger store hasn’t a good choice, mostly stuff for grandmas without internet. Internet spoiled me!

Loopy: We’re glad for the internet here at The Loopy Ewe, too! Who taught you to knit, and how long have you been a knitter?
Claudia: My mother taught me the first steps in knitting, crocheting and sewing when I was four. I knitted little plaids for a dinky plastic dog. My first children’s sewing machine was more dangerous, I ruined all living room curtains (my first stash) on a creative afternoon.

Loopy: That must’ve been a fun afternoon. Do you have other hobbies besides knitting, dyeing and spinning that you enjoy?
Claudia: The tragedy of my life! I have a lot of hobbies and I started each Hobby very enthusiastic. Gardening was/is a great hobby of mine, now my garden is an untended jungle because I’m obsessed with dyeing.

Loopy: I have to say that we all benefit from your garden being untended. We like that you’re dyeing instead. What is your idea of a “perfect day”?
Claudia: That’s my favourite question, space for dreams how could be a perfect day! I wake up in the morning, please not too early, my bones are smooth and my back doesn’t hurt. After a yummy breakfast I would take my first horse riding lesson and if I survive I would need to take rest with knitting. In my childhood I had bad experiences with horses. My friends and I were Winnetou and we borrowed (NOT allowed) some nervous trotters. Bad story, but now I’m fearless and want to try it again on a legal way!

Loopy: I think the Loopy Lady will have to make sure that you don’t try to sneak me home in your suitcase, won’t she? Because I’m sure you’ll want to borrow me, too. What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
Claudia: Hahaha, my best friend is my husband and it’s not a good idea to ask him, he must live with me.
Three things I appreciate by my friends are loyalty, to be warm at heart and they are pure themselves because that’s the reason I love my friends so much.

Loopy: Do you have any book or movie recommendations for us?
Claudia: Don’t laugh – my favourite book is the atlas! So less time for books, only when I’m ill with a cold. Time to get a cold is autum and winter and that’s Harry Potter time. Not the most intellectual reading but it feels well. Movies are much better, but I don’t know the American titles from my favourites. Mostly I prefer German or British movies they are convinced in dialogues and sometimes in wicked humor.

Now I talked a lot about me and know nothing about Loopy. I hope the next interview is about you and your life with Sheri, we want secrets!

Loopy: :-)
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Sheri hopingyouenjoyedlearningmoreaboutClaudia


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35 comments on “Claudia The Wollmeise in The Loopy Limelight!

  1. Sure did, am gonna miss not being able to attend the Spring Fling :-( But will be looking forward to all the Blog entries about it after its done! So….When is the Wollmeise gonna be “Sneaked Up” hmmmmmmmmm?

  2. What a fun opportunity to get to know my favorite dye artist! Thank you, Sheri, and thank you, Claudia, for participating. I’m sure Spring Fling will be all the richer for your presence! (I’m partial to the blues and purples, myself!)

  3. A great interview as always, Loopy! I love hearing Claudia’s German accent in her answers. Can’t wait to meet her…and I promise not to take her photo (at least not when she’s looking!)

  4. Thanks for the interview! I loved reading about Claudia. I like to look at my beautiful Wollmeise and know that each skein came from the hands of a nice human being.

  5. Claudia at the Fling-can’t wait to meet here. Her colors are so gorgeous and she sounds like a very fun person-now I want to squeeze Loopy’s belly, too!

  6. Thanks for the great interview Loopy! I have shared a few emails with Claudia myself, and she is just so sweet and kind. Now I REALLY wish I could have made it to Spring Fling so I could meet the Wollmeise in person! I am definitely looking forward to hearing more about you too, Loopy!

  7. I love reading Claudia’s responses. Her German to English translation quirks are so cute. She should be the first Loopy Saint, dyeing like a mad woman for all us crazy knitters.

    I hope loopy survives the update this week.

  8. What a great interview! I love Harry Potter too Claudia! I have all the audiobooks and really enjoy listening to them when I knit. I understand your fascination with atlases too – I actually like historical atlases for understanding more about how people lived, where they moved, languages spoken, etc. It’s a more accurate way to think of the world prior to recent times because national borders/culture are such a recent phenomenon and way of thinking.

    Have a wonderful time at the Fling! You’ll be very popular :-)

  9. BEAUTIFUL YARN!!! I can’t wait to have some for my own. Now I understand why it’s in such high demand. I’m looking forward to meeting Claudia at the Fling. I promise not to take any pictures.

  10. Great interview with Claudia, Loopy! I too enjoy meeting our favorite dyers. Looking forward to meeting you at the Spring Fling Claudia. :) You too Sheri and Loopy.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful interview with Claudia! I, too, have exchanged email with her and she is the warmest person. I’m wish I could be there for the Spring Fling to meet her in person. Not to mention the gorgeous colors—she’s an amazing artist. And I completely understand about reading the atlas—I like to do that, too!

  12. Thank you, Loopy for a great peek into the life of the Wollmeise! She sounds so adorable, I can’t wait to meet her in person! And Loopy, I hope you’ve been eating your Wheaties to get ready for the double sneak-up this week!

  13. Hi Claudia,
    It was certainly nice reading your interview with Loopy. I love to hear about
    creative people’s endevors and how they came about what they do. Unfortunately,
    I never got in on the Wollmeise. It’s always gone by the time I get to Sheri’s updates.
    Also, sometimes, the computer fairies let me see the pictures on Sheri’s blog and
    sometimes they don’t. Today they didn’t, so I didn’t get to see your pictures.
    Looking forward to finally getting a skein of your yarn. Congratulations on your
    success.

  14. Obsession is: having a second computer monitor on your desk at work devoted solely to monitoring TLE for a Wollmeise sneakup.

    Just sayin’.

  15. That was a really good interview. I look forward to getting some of Claudia’s yarn one of these days! And, I would love one or more good German recipes! I love German cooking!

  16. What a fun interview! I can’t wait to meet Claudia at the Spring Fling. I’ll have to dust off my German. Let’s see, Die, Der and Das. It’s a start!

  17. Thanks Loopy for the great interview. I love to hear Claudia talk. I’ve read some of her entries in the Woolmeise Group. One thing I was surprised to learn was how young she is. I imagined a lady in her 60′s – don’t know why, but it was an image I formed in my head. I’m glad that’s now cleared up:) I hope she continues bringing us fabulous colors for many years to come.

  18. I’m so jealous of all the lucky knitter who are able to attend the fling this year! I was too late in registering–my own fault! Imagine meeting Claudia! That’s going to be truly amazing because she is such a gifted person. I’m also anxious for the sale of Wollmeise………..missed when it was on her site the last time. I have some of Claudia’s gorgeous yarns but covet more, more MORE! Each is lovelier than the next. I know my Wollmeise stash is going to be a BIG problem. Congratulations Sheri, Loopy and Claudia for a great interview! Katie aka ERlady

  19. Thanks for this interview (& the others), it’s so enjoyable to know about the other side of our yarns. And lucky you! You get to meet her soon.

  20. I can’t wait to see what Claudia has dyed up for the sock club. I am sure it will be amazing! I actually received my first (and only so far) 80/20 sock yarn (suzanne colorway), from a ravelry trade. I hadn’t realized how vibrant it would be in person. The computer screen can’t capture it properly at all. Now, I understand why people go crazy for it!

  21. Enjoyed the interview, Loopy. I’m fascinated with Claudia’s “first schoolday” picture. I assume that is like our first day of kindergarten. What are the girls holding? Please tell us the story behind the picture. You’ve peaked my interest!

  22. Hi, thanks for your lovely comments (okay “60 years old” made me nervous and musing ;-))

    First schoolday is first schoolday with 6 years, Kindergarten is before. First grade you should learn writing, counting and reading. We hold “Schultüten” they are filled with sweets and the adults are knowing very well why they gave us all the sweets, pure deception for the coming years (secret: the bottom was filled with paper, swindle!). Did you see our pantyhoses? The legs are always to short and the gusset always moves to the knees, hate it.

    You want German recipes? Here´s a little brain twister

    Wollmeisennester

    100 g brauner Zucker
    75 g Butter
    50 ml Ahornsirup
    Zesten von einer ¼ Zitrone
    2 EL Rosenwasser
    75 g Mehl
    75 g Mandeln gehäutet und gemahlen

    Zucker, Butter, Sirup aufkochen.
    Mehl, Mandeln, Gewürze einrühren und kalt stellen.
    Haselnussgrosse Kugeln formen, ca. 6 Stück auf ein Backblech und bei 175 Grad backen.
    Die Kugeln laufen stark auseinander und sollen sofort heiß nach dem Backen zu Körbchen geformt werden. Als flache Plätzchen schmecken sie genauso gut, alles Unsinn.

    Translation follows after you tried it ;-)

  23. Here it is 11:32 PM and I’m checking to see if Claudia’s beautiful Wollmeise has been snuck into the inventory…my last check before I go to bed. Great interview, Loopy! And I love the picture…Claudia, you and I shared the exact same hairdo/color at that age…I still wear mine pretty much that way – a bob!!! (My dad used to tell me if our top of the kitchen stove toast burned, “Eat it, Joni! It’ll make your hair curly!” I’m still waiting!”)

    I’ve only been able to snag one skein of Wollmeise…always seem to miss out. Maybe this week???

    Joan