The story of skacel starts in 1957 with German born Hans and Ingrid. The adventurous pair met in London, married, and set out for America soon after. They spent their earliest years in Florida where Hans was the first stateside instructor for all things mechanical on the brand new “people’s car,” the Volkswagen Beetle. Ingrid had two daughters two years apart, Susanne and Karin. During her spare time, she worked as a disc jockey for a German radio station.
In 1964, the entire family moved out west to Portland, Oregon, home of Volkswagen’s Northwest Regional office. Hans spent the next 12 years moving up the corporate ladder while Ingrid started her own import business. She introduced America to copper kettles from the Netherlands, ski sweaters and fondue pots from Switzerland and lederhosen from Germany. Knowing that America was where they wanted to stay, they both became American citizens.
In the 70’s, Hans and Ingrid bought a Volkswagen dealership in Auburn, Washington. It was at this time that a marketing expert changed the Slavic pronunciation of the name “Skacel,” to rhyme with the dealership’s newly coined slogan “excel with Skacel!”
When their daughters left the nest in the mid 80’s, Hans and Ingrid sold the dealership and returned to Germany for a visit. It wasn’t long before there was news of grandchildren, and Ingrid began knitting in earnest. She discovered that Germany was well stocked with beautiful yarns that weren’t readily available in the United States. Thus in 1987, Ingrid and Hans established skacel collection, Inc., a distributorship for Fine European yarns.
A year later, while on a buying trip to Germany, Ingrid discovered a lone pair of circular knitting needles in a shop. Knowing she had access to her mother’s incredibly large stash of needles back home, she did not purchase them. But that night, Ingrid dreamt of those same knitting needles flying through the air. Several days later she followed her intuition and went back to the shop, hoping the needles were still there. They were, and this was her sign to find the manufacturer.
Several days later Ingrid had her first meeting with Thomas Selter, the 6th generation owner of addi. As a result of that meeting, Ingrid began to import the circular needles into the States. They were initially met with skepticism at trade shows, but Ingrid gave free mini lessons on how to knit in the round and sent shop owners home with a sample pair. They were instantly smitten with the newfound ease and speed of knitting in the round and they loved the lightweight needles’ flexible cords, snag-free joins and nickel plated tips.
Getting just a few needles into shop owner’s hands had a snowball effect. The addi Turbo Needles took flight, this time, not in a dream. As a matter of fact, Gail from Vail (Gail Newman) – a shop owner back then, once told Hans they sold off her shelves at “Turbo” speed! Thus, the addi “Turbo”® name was trademarked.
In the late 90’s, a teacher and author invested in a few pairs of addi Turbo® needles. She discovered a way to knit socks more quickly and easily using two circular needles instead of double points. Excited to share the method with everyone, she wrote a book appropriately titled “Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles.” If you guessed this was Cat Bordhi, you are right. Her book, distributed by skacel at the time, took Cat, the addi Turbo® circular needles, and sock knitting to new heights.
Ingrid and Hans have handed over the reins to their youngest daughter, Karin. An avid knitter and self-proclaimed fiber addict, it was a natural fit. “My parents established a company that values quality in all areas, from the precision of the products sold to the health and happiness of the employees. They established a tradition of attention to detail, generosity, and caring for our fiber community, a tradition that I honor and proudly carry forward.”