Winter in Holland not only knits by hand, but also partly dyes the yarns by hand. The bigger we grow, the more difficult production gets and the more important things such as efficiency, planning, and quality become. So let me tell you how we do it:
We start by dying the yarns. How it all started? Let me take you back to the second year of WiH: I had a massive order and needed to buy my yarns from my supplier. The dyer of my supplier had run out of business and there was no way that my supplier could find another dyer for my specific request. At the time I had no idea about how to dye yarns. I had a problem I needed to solve.
I found this fabric-dye wizard located in the North of the country. No kidding, this man is a master in dying yarns and is devoted to sharing his far-reaching knowledge. He and his wife are incredible wholehearted people who were willing to share their expertise to help me out with my problem. Me and my mother went for a trip to the Northern provinces and we were taught how to dye my specific design.
From then on, I travel from Amsterdam to my elderly home in the South of The Netherlands four times a year, to dye big batches of yarns with my mother. I stay 4 or 5 days and it feels like a peaceful holiday while all the hard work is being done. In Summer we dye outside and in Winter we dye inside the house. During Winter my mothers’ kitchen turns into a dye-laboratory and her living room turns into the drying chamber for the dozens hanks of wool, hanging from the ceiling on wooden bars.
On the last day in Limburg we turn the hanks into balls of wool and I drive them up to Amsterdam where they will be knitted.
I started out knitting on my grandmothers’ knitting machine. After 3 years, I needed to upscale my production, so I bought knitting machines 2nd hand from other grandmothers and brought them to an atelier in my neighborhood in Amsterdam. I made a deal with the atelier: I would teach the ladies of this tiny production atelier how to knit on my machines, if in return they were willing to produce for Winter in Holland in the future. And so it happened.
For half a year I taught a group of ladies from my neighborhood how to use the machine and knit my designs. Knitting on the machine is not an easy task. It requires a lot of attention and patience before you can knit a product with ease. These ladies are motivated to become crafts(wo)men in the near-future.
In this article, we explain why we still produce hand-made products at Winter in Holland.