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