Thursday, April 23, 2015

Still, No Signs of an East German Textile Success.

At a second hand store I picked up a bag of filet/crochet yarn. Two different former East German companies were represented in the bag.

The first yarn this time takes us to the small river town  of Premnitz located in Havelland (district), in Brandenburg Germany. Premnitz is situated on the Havel river about 75 km west of Berlin.

Back in 1915 the chemical industry moved to this town. To be specific the company that moved to town was the precursor to a factory by the name of VEB chemical fiber factory "Friedrich Engels". 

In 1949, now part of the DDR this company like so many others was expropriated and made a state-owned enterprise. In 1960, this factory got its name VEB chemical fiber factory "Friedrich Engels". 
I am no longer surprised to find pictures you can click on to see what is left to the new plant, the old one was torn down year before. You can also read more about the history if you would like. Translation might be necessary if your German is not so good, 

In the same bag was yarn from VEB alwo Altenburger wollspinnerei.

The building of the Alwo Altenberger wollspinnerei was built in 1871 in Meerane Germany. Meerane is located in the Zwickau District of Saxony Germany pretty close to what is now the Czech border. In the 1920's this town was very prosperous. Due to what was manufactured, the factory was not updated when it became part of the DDR (I guess actually I should be calling it the GDR, but everything says DDR on the labels). During the time the factory was state owned by the GDR, the factory employed nearly 900 employees. In 1993, the company existed as the Neue Altenburger Wollspinnerei. Unfortunately, the company did not make it. Today the building is used as the largest nightclub in eastern Thuringia. 

You can see pictures of the factory ruin here.
All yarns in the bag are "silk" Rayon and are the thickness of #5 pearl cotton. I plan to play with these later. Rayon dyes so nicely. 

What strikes me as I am finding these things at flea markets and second hand stores is the shear number of jobs that were lost when the wall fell. Although we tend to think, in the west, that the free economic model is the best model, there was a good side to Communism as well. Jobs and worker's child care quickly come to mind. Jobs like these, the ones that make thread or yarn now with a few exceptions, follow poverty.Where ever they can be done the cheapest is where they are manufactured.

To change topics off of unemployment, I am working on a crazy patch quilt so I might add some of this yarn as I go. For now, here is a little of what I have been working on:
The pearls were part of a large necklace with pearls of many sizes that I picked up at a second hand store. Since the necklace was broken it was easy to re-purpose some of them. 

The search continues for buttons, beads and whatevers to put on my quilt as well. The latest find was around a nice lot of mother of pearl buttons, a few of them carved, and some assorted other buttons were tossed in for good measure. A few were glass or metal. The vintage glass red one in the center won't work for this project but it is so pretty. I get so excited when I find vintage glass or carved mother of pearl as I am wrist deep in other peoples old buttons.
I have also found some beads of all types as well. Mostly in hobby shops, but the prices are reasonable so I have collecting.

This week I am joining My Salvaged Treasure Vintage Inspiration party.


  1. Your embroidery work on your crazy patch is lovely. I'm sure it will be wonderful after you have finished embellishing it with all the beads and buttons you find.

  2. Beautiful treasures. It's sad to see the factory in ruins, but it looks like there's so much that could be salvaged. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  3. I love what you are doing on the crazy patch! So, so pretty. And other peoples' button collections are hard to never know what wonderful things are buried deep in the jar or tin. I bought a glass jar of buttons at a tag sale, and I am saving it for a day when I need a little magic.