When I moved to Aarhus at the age of 18, I started at an art school and worked with contemporary art. That was when it really hit me, that I get highly affected by and can’t get enough of shapes, materials and colors. I think it lies deep in me to think visually - for example, I am really bad at expressing myself in writing and much better at communicating visually. Therefore, this task to write about myself is a bit of a challenge ;)
I went to the school for about a year and then I moved back to Aalborg where I met my husband. Shortly after we moved together and I became pregnant - or I actually became pregnant first and then we moved in together. We had our first child, Karla, when I was 21 and I started studying to become a nurse. I was the only one in my friend group who got children at that time and the women I met through mothers’ group were a lot older than me.
At this point in time, I had not been knitting much, but the sewing machine was glowing on a daily basis. Our daughter Karla used modern fabric diapers - if you do not know them, they are pretty smart and are not just "vmot-cloths", but look more like a real diaper, only in cooler colors and, for example, with buttons in the side. I found out that you could sew these diapers yourself, so I started doing so and soon I found out that there were actually many who liked what I was doing - including the older and more experienced mothers, whom I think I admired somewhat at the time.
I started a web shop where you could buy the fabric diapers and they became so popular that the web shop broke down when I put them up for sale and the customers had to go in vain, as there was not enough for everyone. At this point I found out that I could make something special, so I expanded the store and began importing materials from abroad, and got sewers to help with the production. Unfortunately family life, the studies and web shop did not work well together, so I had a meltdown and ended up with stress. I chose to close down the store and focus on the family.
"During my maternity leave
I started to knit - a lot.
I was captured by the
almost meditative state ..."
It took some years, a change of studies and some psychology lessons to get back on my feet and then our son Otto came. During my maternity leave I started to knit - a lot. I was captured by the almost meditative state I could come in when I was in a good knitting flow. I became a test striker for Signe Strømgaard and was thereby invited into the more technical part of knitting. And then I figured that it would not be that hard creating patterns (I became wiser...). I quickly ran to a yarn store and took all the fresh colors from the shelves and was so excited with all the color combinations I could create and which I really though was lacking at the time. I knitted something that looked like a sweater, but the fit was horrible, so I made it my goal to learn more about shape, measurements, descriptions and techniques.
I then told my husband that I would make a knitting book. Unfortunately, he was not as excited about my idea, since it did not go that well with my previous project and it was a hard time for the entire family to get back on top after a longer period with stress. I also gained a lot of respect to starting up new things, but I was so passionate about making this book, so I agreed with my husband and myself, that it should be a good experience for everybody and that the book was to be the last priority, to make sure it would not take all my energy or time from the family. I lived up to that agreement all the way through. I had no deadlines and no date as to when the book should be finished, so I could work with it at my own pace. This resulted in the book "Spektakelstrik" that I published in the summer of 2016.
Short facts about me:
Mie Firring Christiansen, owner of Spektakelstrik and work on a daily basis as Art Director at an advertising agency in Aalborg. I run Spektakelstrik while maintaining family life and work. Husband and 2 children.
The book was my stepping stone as a designer in the knitting world. Since then, I have published designs for several different yarn brands and been displayed in different magazines.
In 2017 I got the idea for costume jumper when I saw an old-fashioned uniform with shoulder details, which is called "Epåletter" - it looks like small lampshades you put on the shoulder and I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into knitwork. I wanted to make a cool sweater that catches the eye and it would refer to the theater world - hence the name. The sweater itself has a short, slightly wide cut with deep raglan and narrow sleeves. This model is suitable for most people and is pretty basic. The neckline is deeper in the front. The sleeve details are made in loop stitch, which almost gives a fur effect. I'm a big fan of looking at design through unpretentious glasses and it's important to me that it's fun.
The yarn should be soft with a cool color scheme and this is where I fell for Önling’s yarns. The yarn that I like the most, is the yarn that looks alive, meaning when the structure isn’t ruined or superwash treated. Therefore, I quickly became a fan of Önling, which is also sustainable – something I think that too many yarn manufacturers do not prioritize high enough. The first impression of the yarn is "wow – this is just so soft and nice, and even the label is super exclusively designed". Since my first encounter with the yarn, it has turned out that this choice was not bad at all – everybody is so surprised to how soft it really is when they get to feel it. The design is one of my bestsellers and goes from size 2 years to XL.
At this moment, I am working on a new design – the Olga dress. It's a dress with sharp graphic lines in colorblock and the technique used is Intarsia. On the yoke there is a circle, which is placed asymmetrically across the front and back, so it is longer on the back than on the front. The design of the dress arose from graphical curiosity and my desire to challenge the shape of knitwear. This dress is one of the most challenging patterns to put on paper that I have ever made, because the circle on the yoke should be completely round, but be crooked. When stitches are wider than they are tall, and sleeves, front and back do not form a circle, it has taken many hours on the drawing board to make it work. But I have to say that I am very pleased with the result.
For the costume jumper I used Önling No. 1, which is 100% merino wool. For the dress I use Önling No. 2, which is 75% wool and 25% angora. Angora adds fibers that are a little longer, so it almost gets a mohair-like look. It's super super soft, even a bit softer than No. 1, although you would not think that was possible.
All the best,