It’s done – my Stories of Inspiration ebook is finally available and lots of blood, sweat and tears went into it.

This ebook contains a collection of all the shawls I have published so far. Apart from the more obvious similiarities – they are shawls, they are lacy, I chose Drops yarn for all of them – they all have something to do with inspiration, with the things that inspire me.

Inspiration can come in a quite simple and obvious way. While browsing a book with old German stitch patterns I came across a beautiful pattern called “Donner and Blitz” (German for Thunder and Lightning) and it just begged me to turn it into a Faroese Shawl. When he reached the moon has been inspired by one of my favourite songs, “When I reached the moon” by Morten Harket.

Most of the shawls however have been inspired by the people I know and love. By my best friend Eri, for example. I am very lucky to call such a wonderful person my best friend, and even luckier that our friendship has outlasted time and space, the end of our school time, her moving first to France and then to Canada, my moving to Switzerland and getting married. We did not see each other for 10 years, but when we finally met again last Christmas, it was as if we had never been apart.

When I moved from Germany to Switzerland, a lot of friendships did not survive. But I was lucky again to meet Jolanda. No matter what life throws at her, she is stronger – which I find admirable to no end. This is another friendship that I know will survive, although she is living in Italy now.

One of the first women to inspire me was my great-grandmother Betty. I loved spending the night at her house as a kid, eating custard with strawberries and playing Ludo. I think she gave me my love for soccer (although I watch much less now because my husband is not interested in it at all), she would get up in the middle of the night to watch a match. While I was knitting my shawl with the working title “Laddered Diamonds” I suddenly knew that I had to call it Betty. I like to think that she looked down on me and liked the shawl, so she sent me this message.

Soraya was named in quite a similar way, although she took a more complicated route to let me know what she wanted to be called. I had thought about a lot of names for the shawl, but none of them was just right. When I showed Jolanda a photo of the shawl, she looked at it and said “Call it Soraya.” And that name finally clicked, even more so when I looked up its meaning. Soraya is a good queen, but also a little treasure. I think it is the perfect name for the little Queen of Hearts.

When my father-in-law died all of a sudden in May 2013, we took my mother-in-law, Margrit, to live with us because she has Alzheimer’s. Whenever she sees me knitting something, she says “Tanja, you’re an artist!” and then she will look at my husband and say “You married an artist, you know”. She especially loved a Pi Shawl I had on my needles, from the very first, tiny beginnings to the huge flowers at the end. Her birthday was just around the corner when I had finished the sample, so I called the pattern Margrit and gave the shawl to her.

And if you ever see a sweater designed by me called Hans, it will be for my wonderful father-in-law whom I miss every day and whom I admire so much for all the work he did for his wife to his last day on earth. But that will be another story.