Over the past years indie dyer “Wollmeise” has gained an incredible popularity allover the world. When I first ordered a few skeins of 100% Merino yarn with Claudia it was a small affair with the distinctive, cute flash based Wollmeise website. The page showed yarns in maybe 20 interestingly named, bright colorways that you could order via email. Some knitting enthusiasts spread the word and in short time Wollmeise was a well known protagonist in the young and hip knitting world across Germany.
I ordered a few skeins back in 2007 and thought they werequite nice. Great colors, maybe a bit difficult to knit with. Apart from that, the 100% Merino so called sock yarn was useless to me. I had walked holes into a pair of Wollmeise in under 3 months. The second Wollmeise skein stayed the only ones in my stash for a number of years.
While I was pretty much ignoring the Wollmeise hype the yarn became higher and higher in demand. The small scale Wollmeise business couldn’t keep up with demand. And to makes things even worse with the advent of Ravelry – a social community for knitters worldwide – the Wollmeise yarn became an international hit. Somewhere along the way the Wollmeise online shop went online but the high demand couldn’t be met with a steady stock. The weekly updates were introduced where the shop would be stocked once a week and thousands of people were trying to snatch up a precious skein of Wollmeise. It’s been a crazy race and the shop couldn’t handle all the orders. I rediscovered the magic of Wollmeise yarn when using my second skein for a Beret and matching scarf. When I tried to get my hands on some more Wollmeise I found that things had changed considerably. Ordering became a frustrating experience and people had started to vent their frustration openly. I think it all cumulated in some online auctions where Wollmeise yarn went for immense sums of money. I decided to just give it a rest and not bother with the stress. Up until this day Wollmeise yarn and the whole cult around it divides opinions. People are usually not on the fence about it but are shouting loudly at each other from opposite sides of the fence.
The thing is, you can try to resist all you want, Wollmeise is going to seduce you with its lucious colors 😉 There’s just something about the yarn that makes even – or especially – the most basic patterns stand out. And the ladies in my knit circle brought so many pretty skeins of yarn and projects to our meetings. They finally had me when Claudia introduced her semi-solid range. So I jumped the wagon again and tried the shop updates again. Some Fridays have been disappointing in terms of yarn or color choices in the updates. But somehow things seemed to have calmed down a bit.
Nowadays it’s not impossible to at least rescue a few skeins from your basket to the cashier. And then there’s always the wild idea of the “We’re different” grab bags. The bags contain colorways that didn’t quite turn out as intended and you can only choose a yarn type, the color range or opt for a complete surprise. Last Friday I chose to order a small grab bag “Kunterbunt” which means there can be anything. I got a lovely multicolor skein of “We’re Different Franz” and one not so hot skein of “We’re Different Brombeere”. But it might work out nicely as a pair of socks. That’s the deal with the grab bags. You never know what you get. And sometimes I’m totally in the mood for a little surprise 🙂
And what happens with all those pretty skeins? Well, knitting with Wollmeise is certainly different. The yarn is somehow different from other wool yarns. Very smooth. Not very elastic. Almost like cotton. Knitting with it can be a chore sometimes but the end result is ALWAYS worth the bother.
If you haven’t had a chance to try Wollmeise yarn I would totally suggest you check the shop for the Friday afternoon grab bag update. Things are bit more relaxed there because not everyone is in the mood for a surprise. So snag yourself a Wollmeise grab bag and check out the 20’000 and then some Wollmeise projects on Ravelry for some serious inspiration. And if you’re not interested that’s just fine, too. One word of warning though, it’s getting and addictive habit very quickly 🙂