March 10, 2008
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.
Loopy: 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.
Loopy: 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!