Are you also loving the Japandi trend? Then say hello to Johanna, the knitting designer behind three patterns in our upcoming Japandi collection. We have asked her to share everything about her knitting journey – from finding inspiration to owning her own brand.
If you love colorful and playful knitting designs just as much as we do, you may already have heard about the knitting brand, kolibri by johanna. Johanna Böhme is the talented designer behind the brand, and she has created an amazing universe that celebrates modern simplicity with a twist. And we are not the only ones loving her designs! With more than 115.000 followers on Instagram, Johanna has definitely marked herself as a brilliant pattern designer.
We are sooo excited about our collaboration with Johanna, and we cannot wait for you to see the three patterns that she has designed for the Japandi collection. All of the patterns embody the Japandi style - and celebrate simplicity, structure and elegant silhouettes. Show us your amazing creations and find inspiration using the hashtag #KolibribyJohannaxHobbii.
Psst! The Japandi pattern collection will be available in the beginning of 2024. Until then, start by stitching with kolibri by johanna!
1. Can you tell us about your crafting background?
“I have been knitting ever since I was a child, and once I knitted my very first Harry Potter inspired scarf I fell in love with the craft. My grandmother taught me the basic techniques, and I developed my skills by working with patterns in magazines.
I mostly knitted scarves, but when I started to go to university, I knitted more and more garments like sweaters and cardigans – which is now my focus when it comes to designing knitwear.”
2. Why are you drawn to knitting and working with yarn?
“I love fibers and the different colors. I love to play around with different color combinations, and I love making my own clothes. It's quite a rewarding feeling when a garment that you have been working on for hours – or even weeks! – is finally finished and ready to be worn.
I love the sustainable aspect of slow fashion and that you are able to craft your own clothes. That’s why I always try to pick yarn made from natural fibers, or with the least amount of plastic possible.”
3. What is the story behind the name kolibri by johanna?
"My designs are mostly colorful and with a special design twist. That’s why I decided to name my designs after the hummingbird which is called a kolibri in German. I believe that the hummingbird perfectly embodies all facets of my design repertoire."
4. What characterizes the kolibri by johanna universe?
“Most of my patterns are relatively simple to knit or include step-by-step-pictures or supporting video material, so that even beginner knitters are able to make a beautiful garment.
All of my designs have a special design element. For instance, one sweater is reversible, one has vertical lines crocheted all over it and one has ruffles added in a spot where you wouldn't expect them."
5. Where do you seek inspiration for patterns?
"I get inspired by a lot of different things! The yarn and the colors of the yarn are a great source of inspiration to me. When I was still living in Berlin, the people there and their way of styling also inspired me.
I always try to gather inspiration for later use. For example, I have a collection of lace and cable patterns that I would love to be inspired by for a future sweater or cardigan. The inspiration can also come from seeing something that I love but would not be willing to buy, so I try to realize the idea by crafting it myself.
Finally, I also get inspired by different occasions. For instance, I was inspired by my wedding to create a bowtie for my husband.”
6. What does your design process look like?
"I first learned to make sketches because I got so many ideas that my head became too full, and I forgot the first ideas. Now, I have a little sketchbook that I use to draw down everything that comes to mind. Sometimes, when I haven't brought my sketchbook, I just take notes on my cell phone or use a random piece of paper to draw down what I have in mind. The beginning of the process is always quite messy even if I try to organize it.
After creating the sketch, I begin to think about what type of yarn would be suitable for the design that I would love to make – and I must say that the most time consuming part is picking the colors. After that, I make a swatch and work up a sample in my size.
Then, I write down the pattern and grade it up for the different sizes and send it out to a bunch of test knitters, who have been so wonderful to volunteer with their time and yarn as well as their feedback on the fit and sizing of the garment. Then I photograph the final garment, and everything is ready for release!”
7. What are your favorite knitting techniques at the moment?
“I recently discovered jacquard knitting, and I think it’s my favorite technique right now.”
8. What are your top 3 tips or hacks for yarn-lovers and crafters?
“1 – Always make a swatch! Remember to always wet block your swatch and THEN measure it.
2 – Don’t overthink pattern instructions. Most patterns are worked very intuitive, especially when it comes to lace knitting.
3 – Youtube is always the first place you should have a look at when you don’t understand how to work a certain technique.”
9. Can you tell us about the Japandi patterns?
“The Japandi patterns are a mix of beginner patterns and advanced patterns:
The Raoul sweater is the perfect beginner pattern as it creates great results due to the special ribbed pattern all over the sweater.
The Paul cardigan is worked top down, and it’s therefore perfect for experienced knitters who want to learn some new skills like raglan increases, double knitting for the button band and so on.
The Edgar slipover is worked top down too, and it’s the most advanced pattern of the collection as you’ll have to work increases as well as decreases, make twisted stitches and not twisted stitches, do a split hem and a double folded collar - but the result will definitely feel rewarding!”
10. What did you like about the yarns used for the patterns?
“I love Friends Extra Fine Merino in combination with Friends Kid Silk! It’s a great and very versatile combo that’s suitable for many patterns out there. I love the many beautiful colorways that are available in the Friends ‘family’.
For the patterns, I have also used Friends Wool in combination with Friends Kid Silk. There are so many beautiful colorways too, and you get a quick result due to the thicker wool.”