Inspired by the North Sea island of Juist, a windswept place where Berlin-based pattern designer Anke Wulffen has been spending summer weeks away from the mainland world of cars and bustle since her childhood, Ahoi: Seaside Sweaters is a new e-book that I describe as knit-erature. Anke blends travel writing, memoir, photography and five new knitting patterns inspired by specific island experiences and imagery.
It was a joy to translate her beautiful descriptions of local color on Juist and how she transformed her many observations of the island — from striped shells and beach chairs, to the wild surf and the wind, and even the crossing on the ferry — into a knit design.
When I met Anke she was known for her graphic design work and her independent press that published the Balkon & Garten zine and other books at the intersection between flora and art. Since she shifted gears to knitting just a few years ago, her unique Ankestrick patterns have gained a worldwide following, thanks not only to the hip yet relaxed designs but to her innovative work with a top-down technique which was relatively unknown when she started experimenting with it. It allows her understated sweaters to be knit in one piece, in the round, doing away with the much detested step of sewing on sleeves.
I love that she is now taking the opportunity of having a loyal following to experiment with a new kind of knitting book. It’s a deep exploration of local color in a place little known outside of Germany, and a love letter to her favorite island.
Alas, I am such a slow knitter that I have not yet had the courage to tackle an Ankestrick sweater, as a hat or gloves will take me an entire winter. But if you’re handier with knitting needles than I, or are looking for a holiday gift for a knitter you love, do check out Ahoi on Ravelry.