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Featured Shop: Nina Fuehrer

Oct 23, 2015

by Nina Fuehrer

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Nina Fuehrer, and I’m a knitwear designer. I live in the Netherlands.

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I was born and raised in Germany, within walking distance from the point where Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet. I studied design at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design, and when I completed my studies I worked as a tailor. After having two kids, I started designing my own collection of skirts and dresses made from military tents. I sold a lot at fairs, and taught tailoring and pattern construction on the side.

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It wasn’t until I purchased my first home knitting machine — an old Brother — that I started designing knitwear. It took some practice to learn how to use the machine and spare parts were hard to come by, but it was exciting to make pieces in 3-D and explore a new approach. When I discovered Etsy in 2012, it changed how I work: I’ve always used English lambswool and high-quality yarns like merino with cashmere, but I quickly noticed how much more popular colorful designs were online than the more basic black and gray items that my customers prefer at fairs.

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Inspiration for my work comes from modern art, wildlife, and the fables I heard when I was a child. When I make a new design, I start with sketches and then attempt to knit whatever shape I have on paper. In the beginning it’s a bit like groping in the dark, but after failing many times, the design slowly starts to get better. Once perfected, I write the pattern down in my sketch book.

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Being on Etsy feels good; my customers here are very kind. The next step for my business will be to add home and living accessories to match my current collection. In the future, I would also like to design jumpers and fashion items again. I get a lot of requests for patterns, but it’s too much work at the moment — maybe in the future I will work on a book of them.

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All photographs by Sabine Edel.

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