During the many years I’ve been knitting, I’ve met a lot of talented and creative people. I bet some of you also know them and would love to learn a little bit more about their knitting or yarny adventure.
One day my dear friend Zara and I thought it might be fun to host small interviews with people we like and admire a lot. We noted down some questions that we found interesting and invited them to “talk knitty” with us.
Here is the first interview with lovely Melanie Berg. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Hi Melanie, thank you for talking with us. Can you tell us a little about how you began knitting? Is your educational background connected with knitting?
I first learned to knit when my mother taught it to me – I think I was thirteen years old. I made a terrible, curling stockinette scarf and was so disappointed with it that I didn’t want to knit anymore. I put it down and only picked it up again when my first daughter was born. I wanted to create something for her, something warm, something to protect her, and knitting seemed like the natural thing to do. I’m passionate for it ever since!
I have an IT background – I’ve worked as Unix system administrator for more than ten years. But as our family grew and my designing career, too, I didn’t feel connected to that job anymore. I quit it more than a year ago and now work fulltime as a designer. However, that IT background is helpful in so many ways for me! Being a knitwear designer is not only about knitting, you know. You have to be skilful in many fields – photography, layout, technical writing, basic math, social media, just to name a few, and my technical education definitely comes in handy now.
What inspired the name of your brand? And Rav Id?
Mairlynd is just a word – no special meaning connected to it! I like the way it sounds – it has something mysterious, something very interesting, but is clear and straightforward at the same time.
How do you name your designs?
Oh, naming my designs is one of the hardest things! I can spend the entire time that I need for knitting a pattern thinking about a name for it! I do keep a list, though, and every time I find a nice word, or a phrase that I like, I’ll add it to that list. This is like a small treasure box for me – when I need a name, I can always go there, open the box and search for what’s inside. Sometimes I’ll find the perfect name in there.
What would your ideal day consist of?
Oh, that is easy – I’d spend it knitting, of course! Start with a good coffee in the morning and then have lunch with my husband and my three kids. We just found a great new restaurant here in town, so that would be a good choice. Then later, after some more knitting, we would meet with good friends and drink a bottle of Federweißer together – that’s a local specialty, a very young and only partially fermented, sweet wine. It’s delicious, and it’s only available in early fall.
What is your favourite weight yarn to design for and knit with?
I just love fingering weight yarns! They’re perfect for really all kinds of knits – for shawls, for small accessories like hats and mitts, and of course for garments. Especially for garments. A lot of knitters are scared of knitting up a sweater in a fingering weight, but it’s oh so worth it: Yes, it will take more time, but a thin yarn is usually more flattering on our bodies than a heavier weight, and it will also usually be better for showing small details and such.
Can you describe your own core style and do you design with that style in mind?
It’s hard to put my entire style in only a few words, but “modern” and “wearable” are probably the best ones to describe my way of knitting. I don’t design with these in mind – it just happens automatically!
Why do we knit? It’s because in the end, we want to have a finished object that we love. One that we wear a lot, one that we enjoy. With my designs, I try to offer this. I don’t want my knitters to end up with a piece that’s unhandy in their everyday life – I want them to be able to use it whenever they wish. At work, when chilling on the couch, or even when going out at night.
Do you knit other people’s designs and if so, can you tell us a few of your favourites
I would love to knit more other designers’ work, and this is a New Year’s resolution for me every year! So far, I haven’t been able to fulfill it this year. But there are so many wonderful designers out there who inspire us with their ideas. Justyna obviously is one of them – I love her work! But I’m also a huge fan of Joji, Alicia Plummer and Norah Gaughan, and of many, many others! I wish my day had ten hours more so I could knit more of their beautiful designs.
If you could only knit with one colour, what would it be?
That would be grey, of course. :) Grey is a color that goes together with pretty much anything else. It’s easy to dress it up or down, and it has a certain elegance to it. The larger part of my wardrobe is grey, too, which makes it easy to combine. And you can always add a small color pop to it to make it more interesting!
What do you do while you knit? Read? Listen to podcasts/Audiobooks? Watch TV?
I listen to podcasts and audiobooks! My favorite podcasts are the Woolful podcast and Kristen Finley’s Skein podcast. Both are lovely and interesting, and they sweeten my day when I have a lot of knitting to do.
For audiobooks, I have a pretty wide variety of what I enjoy. When I was younger I used to read a lot, but nowadays I don’t find a lot of time for that anymore. So I’m very happy to have my audiobooks, because that way I still get a lot of reading done, somehow. :)
Are there any crafts or hobbies you do (other than knitting of course ;-)?
Not really. I have three little kids, aged 3, 4 and 6, and they do keep me busy. – there’s simply no time for another activity! But I enjoy just hanging out with them, watching them play. So they are my hobby, I guess I could say.
Do you dream about knitting at night?
That’s a funny question, but thinking back, I guess no. I dream all kinds of crazy things at night, but I don’t recall any knitting dream.
What are the 3 most important knitting items you use?
Obviously my knitting needles come first! Second would be a pair of scissors, and the third is probably a measuring tape and a gauge measuring tool. Sounds pretty boring, no? But they’re really the tools I use most.
Melanie Berg is a former IT specialist, mother of three and (in her own words) a semi-successful housewife.
She lives with her husband and three children in Bonn, Germany, where she spends her time combining colors, shapes and textures into freewheeling designs that are uniquely her own.
Make sure to visit Melanie’s little spots on the internet. I believe she has a lot of seriously gorgeous designs that you’ll love!
See you soon,
Zara & Justyna