Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Ich Bin Ein Woolly Berliner.

 I consider myself a bit of a Berlinerphile, I absolutely adore the place and would move there in a heartbeat if money and circumstances permitted.  I like the architecture, the culture, the transport system, the nightlife, the people and the vibrancy.  But in addition, I like that despite its capital city status, it is not overwhelming or aggressive, nor is it hectic or expensive.

Last week, husband and I had a short break, based in the Wilmersdorf area of the city which is known mostly for the Berlin Zoo and the KaDeWe department store.  What I didn't know was that it is also home to a huge craft market superstore called Idee Creativemarkt 

This chain has several stores across Germany, much like Hobbycraft in the UK, but infinitely more Uber.   It has the feeling of being a store for real crafters, not hobbyists.  And yet, the prices and variety of product do not exclude those who just want to have a go.

 For knitting and crochet fans, there is a sizeable selection of yarns and tools to whet your appetite.  I came away with four balls of Merino Plus in a palette that I seemed subconsciously drawn to: cream, dark teal, rust and mustard.

I think the city must have been seeping into my mind at this point because I seem to have  channeled the design aesthetic of the Berlin U-Bahn system at the Mockernbrucke station.  

It was nice to see that even Tilly and the Buttons has made it over to Germany with this translated book I spotted.

This wasn't my first experience of a Berlin craft store, but it was by far the biggest.  On previous trips, I've shopped in La Laine  which is the most exquisitely merchandised yarn store and Woollen in Freidrichshain which despite its smaller size manages to pack in a great variety of yarns and has the friendliest staff.   I'm a huge fan of independent stores vs chains, mainly because they tend to offer a more personal service and often more artisan yarns.  But I really liked Idee and would love to see them expand to the UK.

 Not having a pattern or even an starting idea isn't usually enough to prevent me from starting a project when I'm bored, so I happily started crocheting with the mustard yarn at the airport whilst waiting for our flight home.  I even got quite far with a hat design before we landed but then ripped it all out again when I got home.  I guess i'm a process knitter!

In addition to dragging my husband around craft shops, we did manage some culture: museum island, a rainy and cold walk through the Holocaust memorial, the Brandenburg gate and Potsdamer Platz and seeing parts of the torn down Berlin wall.  And, for our not so cultured evenings, we visited a few bars in the Schoneberg district where we spied Fashion legend Jean-Paul Gaultier!  My fashion graduate heart did a little happy dance, especially when the bar staff changed the music to Madonna's 'Vogue' and JP did a little bopping at the bar. I'm afraid this is the closest we'd dare get to sneak a photo, so you'll just have to trust me, it WAS him.

1 comment:

  1. I should probably add that I don't speak German and any mauling/mashing/plundering/desecration of their language is very regrettable and I apologise.