{Designer of the month}

If you search the Internet for the bird species hummingbird , you will find descriptions such as "unique flying style" or "aerial acrobats" and, above all, many pictures showing the beautiful plumage of the little flying artists. The fact that they shimmer in so many colors is not due to pigments, by the way, but to the structure of the feathers. Depending on the incidence of light, the colors shine differently.

Behind the label "kolibri - by Johanna" is the psychotherapist Johanna Böhme.
Photo: © Johanna Böhme

Bright colors, texture - this fits perfectly in terms of knitting. And to the designer Johanna Böhme, who chose "kolibri by Johanna" as the name for her company (for Kolibri is the German word for hummingbird). She is the first we present in our new knitwear blog series "Designer of the month".

Brainstorming with friends 

"kolibri by Johanna " - that stands for designs that all have that certain something. Be it a sweater made of gaudy wool, heavy straps to knot a top, tension in the knitting process or a design that can be worn on both sides. The main thing is not to get bored. "When looking for a name for my knitting label, my friends came up with the idea that I always like to create something new," Johanna tells us in the interview. Just like the hummingbirds, which perform one agile flight maneuver after another to get their hands on fresh nectar.

It all started with Johanna's grandma. Knitting also made an appearance at school. Unlike many others who lose interest in needles as they grow up, Johanna stuck with it. "It wasn't the coolest hobby now," she recalls with a laugh, "but I just loved doing it." Even if "wearable things" were not necessarily created during that time, it became clear early on that it was best to make things herself.

And that didn't just refer to making clothes themselves, but also to using pattern. "I never actually knitted from pattern," says the 30-year-old. Instead, she designed for herself from the beginning. The Düsseldorf native still loves to knit in single pieces, even though many in the knitting world now prefer seamless knits. "I know that, of course," says Johanna, and designs many of her designs seamlessly top down accordingly.

Piet sweater
It may be sometimes like colorful. Like the Piet sweater, for example.
Photo: © Johanna Böhme

Full-time psychotherapist

The fact that Johanna and her label have now become a permanent fixture in the knitting world is perhaps also due to the fact that the desire to be creative in her main profession has never completely disappeared from her mind. Fashion design, for example, was on the cards after graduating from high school, or an apprenticeship as a tailor. "I once did an internship in film production, but it's hard to really get a foothold there," she reports. That's just how it often is with creative professions. And then there's always the question of security. That's why the Düsseldorf native moved to Marburg to study psychology and finally to Berlin for her license to practice as a doctor or psychotherapist.

During her training and parental leave, knitting and designing pattern often took place on the side. "Mostly in the evenings on the couch," Johanna recalls. She recently moved with her family to Saarbrücken, where she will be working in a practice starting this summer. Until that time comes, she is devoting herself full-time to her knitting business.

A lot of time goes into a pattern 

How does the idea for a design come about in the first place? That varies greatly. Sometimes she has a wool to which she thinks up something, sometimes it's a pattern she discovers. "I would say that I simply go through my environment attentively," says Johanna. Then she tinkers away and deliberately lets beginners test knitting. "That's when you become aware of problems with formulations in a completely different way," Johanna reports of her experiences. Nevertheless, she does not claim to design exclusively for newcomers to the knitting needles. Help is still available, for example in the form of videos on her homepage.

Designs with recognition value: Here, for example, the Claude Sweater.
Photo: © Johanna Böhme

When working on her tutorials, Johanna has meanwhile brought on board support in the form of tech editors and translators. The finished files are then available not only in German and English, but sometimes also in French, Spanish, Norwegian or even Korean - either on Johanna's homepage or on Ravelry. Around 50 hours of work go into a manual - "And that doesn't include photos or posts for Instagram," adds the designer.

With so much effort and passion, the question naturally arises as to whether "kolibri by Johanna" is not something for the main job? Who knows - Johanna is not sure. But she doesn't have to be. Maybe such a decision is like a knitting process: In the beginning there is an idea, you start knitting, maybe you have to rib again and sometimes start over - but in the end it is there, the finished knitted piece. Whatever it looks like then.

Designer*of the month

From now on, we will introduce you to knitwear designers on our Maschenfein blog. Who is behind the great pattern? Where do the ideas come from? And what's life like when you design knitting pattern? You'll find out all about it in our articles. Do you have someone you would like to know more about? Then send us an email to "redaktion@maschenfein.de".


About Sophia

I'm Sophia, live in Hannover and since October 2020 I've been taking care of the blog posts, the newsletter, planning the podcast and coming up with actions for social media. By the way, I also happen to be a knitting addict, which benefits me at work.

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Sabine Schrod

Great idea for the blog! This is always interesting and Kolibri by Johanna I like very much because she designs colorful and cheerful.
A question: Does this blog then also appear on Ravelry under the blogs, as the Samstagskaffee also? I look very often there for the new blogs and do not want to miss this series. 😍

Sophia Michalzik

Dear Sabine, thank you for your nice feedback! 🙂 And yes, the blogpost appears there too. Just checked and it is displayed there. Have fun reading furthermore! Love, Sophia

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