{Designer of the month}

If you want to tell Melanie Berg's story, you can write a lot about knitting. About the leap from public service to self-employment. About the emergence of pattern, about Ravelry groups, about friendships that reach around the world.

If you want to tell Melanie's story, you can't avoid events that initially have nothing to do with knitting. There are diagnoses that turn everything upside down. And then they find their way back into the knitting community. Melanie Berg is a knitwear designer who is so multi-layered that one text is probably not enough. But you have to start somewhere.

First modified, then self-designed

Knitwear designer Melanie Berg. It's hard to imagine the scene without the Bonn-based designer.
Photo: © Melanie Berg

As is so often the case with knitting, Melanie's contact with needlework began as a child. Learned from her mother and then rediscovered with the birth of her first child, knitting has therefore accompanied Melanie for quite a while. "In the beginning, I didn't even know there were real knitting pattern," she recalls. Her own mother always calculated and knitted her designs herself. And so the Bonn native quickly broke away from the existing pattern and modified them. "At some point, the changes were so great that I started designing myself," she says.

In the beginning, she offered her pattern for free. Who would knit that after all? Well - quite a few. "At the time, I thought 'This is really cool,'" Melanie recalls with a laugh. She dared to join in on calls and offer her ideas for publications. "I was totally blown away when something was accepted." I wonder what it would be like to make knitting and designing your full-time job.

This question inevitably came up. After all, Melanie was now the mother of three children. On top of that, she had a part-time job in IT in the public sector. "That was exhausting," she says. Knitting had long since ceased to be a hobby. So taking the famous plunge? In the end, the step wasn't that drastic: "It was more like warm bath water," Melanie says. Thanks to parental leave, she was able to gradually establish herself. That took about three years. And today? It's hard to imagine the knitting world without Melanie Berg.

Suddenly everything is upside down

It takes her four to five months in editing to write a tutorial. In the beginning, there is usually a yarn. "Each wool has different characteristics and is suitable for different things," Melanie explains. The 43-year-old does most of the work around her label "mairlynd" - a name she came up with herself. As soon as the pattern are ready, testers and two tech editors check what has been written. There is also support for the newsletter and the introductory texts for new designs. After all, Melanie's designs often tell a personal story. And for almost two years now, a very special aspect has been added.

It was spring 2021, Corona was still the talk of the town, when Melanie was diagnosed with breast cancer. One in eight women will experience this in their lifetime. And Melanie was now one of them. The diagnosis: a shock. "Everything was upside down." It never occurred to the designer that she might get cancer one day. Not with her healthy lifestyle. "I didn't know what to write at the beginning," she recalls, and for this reason first dives under. Her profile on Instagram: silent. There was no energy for anything to do with social media.

Perfect Stranger
Wearable everyday fashion that's stylish: that's what Melanie's designs are all about.
Photo: © Melanie Berg

Only when her doctor says "We can cure this" does Melanie start to think that she can get out of this situation. And she begins to make her story public and takes her readers with her. "I'm so grateful for all the encounters," she says, "it's made me stronger." She receives many messages from those affected, has many beautiful and deep conversations. "It's very easy to feel understood."

The work has helped

What also carries her through the difficult time, which is marked by examinations and chemotherapy? Work. "The professional environment helped me a lot," she says. "I was able to continue to feel important." And so some designs were created during that time, too - including the Pink is for Power and Peach Fuzz sweaters. To this day, they remind us of dealing with cancer or how hair slowly grew back after chemotherapy.

The first book by Melanie Berg: Shawls.
Photo: © Topp Verlag

Whether the diagnosis has changed her? "I'm not as blue-eyed as I used to be," Melanie says, after some reflection. "And more uncompromising." Today, she's quicker to say when something doesn't suit her. Her style, on the other hand, hasn't changed much over the years. "Today, I'm still all about designing wearable fashion," she explains. With her designs, you should be able to be stylish on the go in everyday life and "just feel cool."

"Cool" is such a word that is often used today when you want to describe something you like. Maybe that's why it's already a bit worn out. But it's exactly what comes to mind when you talk to Melanie. The knitwear designer is simply "cool". Likeable, approachable, honest. She is committed to helping others, supports charity campaigns and still has many plans. The topic of breast cancer still occupies a considerable part of her everyday life, because prophylactic treatments are pending. But that doesn't dampen her appetite for life, for trying things out and for knitting. On the contrary. Melanie Berg is currently working on her third book. One thing seems certain: it will be cool.


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.

Show all posts by Sophia

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Have the snow cloth on the needle
I don't know if there is an increase at the beginning and at the end of the stitch.
Could you maybe help me


Dear Beate, unfortunately I don't know which section of the pattern you are in. But in section 1 for example you increase at the beginning and at the end and in section 2 for example only at the end. The abbreviations are in English. Kfb means "knit front back" - so you knit the stitches once from the front, but leave them on the left needle and then knit them again interlaced right. Just knit as it says, row by row 🙂 Often that helps! And otherwise, Melanie also offers help in her Ravelry group (you can ask the question in German, of course): https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/designs-by-melanie-berg/3448402. Good luck and best regards! Sophia


Hello all. I wanted to ask you if I start knitting from the top it is always crooked. What could it be, I knit too tight.

Sincere thanks
Maria Brücknet


Dear Maria,
unfortunately this is difficult to answer from a distance. Actually, it should not depend on the knitting direction whether you knit tighter. After all, the knitted piece always lies the same on your needles or in your hands. I knit differently with different materials and also in rows and rounds. Maybe it goes in a similar direction for you. Maybe you try a little bit with a simple pattern to get to the bottom of it. So knit several times the same section with different needles or also different thread position.
Best regards

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