Interview with Stephen West — Knitting Designer

One of the biggest mysteries in the knitting world is how to achieve success as a designer.

I’m thrilled to introduce Stephen West of West Knits.  I happened upon his FREE pattern for Purl Ridge Scarf and fell in (headfirst).

My knitted version

I sat down, cast on my 200 stitches and began this fun, fast, and fabulous find. It’s the kind of pattern that requires no attention; you either knit the round or purl the round. That’s it. I kept track, but that’s just because I get distracted easily.This is my version on the right.

So, this drew me in further and I searched for other things on Ravelry that said West Knits or Stephen West. Bingo! He has a Fan club. Who wouldn’t love to have a fan club. *me…jumping up and down with my hand flagging back and forth* Well, yes, almost 7000 followers.

Well, what are we waiting for, Let’s chat with him:

Stephen, What inspired you to design such a fun, fast and fabulous Purl Ridge Scarf?

I said I would make a scarf for one of my friends with the beautiful Hedgehog Fibres Merino Silk yarn. I didn’t want anything too complicated, so I stuck with stockinette stitch and garter ridges. The combination of those two basic stitch patterns never cease to amaze me.

Stephen’s Scarf

I love that Stephen! that this design is not complicated. Okay, is there anything in particular that inspires you to design?

I get the most inspiration from yarns. I love all types of yarn from wool and alpaca to silk and linen. I am intrigued by fiber characteristics and their effects on various stitch patterns. I am inspired by playing with color combinations and mixing different yarn weights and textures.

I always get excited when someone wants to learn to knit. THIS would be a perfect pattern. What advice can you give to a new knitter?

Play with all kinds of yarns to see what you like best. My taste in yarn is always developing and changing. I recommend saving up to get a little bit of yarn that you absolutely love that is a higher quality rather than purchasing a lot of cheaper yarn. Knitting is a physical experience and emotional too. The materials you choose to work with directly affect how you feel and think. It’s fun to educate yourself about different fibers so you can make more informed choices at your local yarn shop.

I totally agree with you; knitting with higher quality yarn is a better overall experience. So, Stephen, how long have you been knitting?

7 years

Nice! What was your first knitting project as a new knitter?

I knit a chunky turquoise garter stitch scarf with acrylic yarn. I have no idea where it is now. It made me happy at the time, so I’m glad I made it…but I feel nauseous when I think about it.

Stephen, I’m sure you’re like every addicted knitter, and it HAS somehow changed a portion of your life? Can you tell us how?

I met some of my best friends through knitting. Wherever I travel I meet the most friendly and inspiration people. It makes me practice my math skills. I am always warm. I always have something to do and knitting entertains me. I have learned a bit about photography. Knitting challenges me by making me problem solve and make educated choices. Knitting is emotional and physical, but it’s also just knitting. I take it very seriously and devote my creative time and energy to it, but I constantly let go of that serious passion and use knitting as a playful medium to explore color, form, texture, and rhythm. It has taught me to share and make different choices.

Taught you to share, I love that, though I am still learning that myself. *smiling* So, let me ask you, what is your favorite knitting project and your favorite type of yarn?

I love shawls. I have more than enough, but I use them to explore different shaping techniques and yarn combinations. Fingering weight wools and wool blends are my favorite type of yarn to use.

This has been fun, Stephen. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I have several new patterns and books coming out this fall and winter, so you can look forward to new patterns including several garments. I am especially excited about the beautiful photography in all the collections, and a couple of the books are collaborative, which result in a more eclectic and playful presentation. 


Wow, how fun was this? He’s amazing. I realized he also tweets, you can follow him here. AND he has a Flickr page.

Dear Readers, I’d be honored (and I’m sure Stephen would too), if you checked out his designs. He’s an inspiration to all of us. 

Many, many thanks to Stephen for joining me today. Please tune in each Wednesday for a new knitting designer. You WON’T want to miss a single week. I promise!

So, as I always say, 

Knit On!

Deb

 

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6 thoughts on “Interview with Stephen West — Knitting Designer

  1. Love Stephen West designs. I'm definitely going to knit the Purl Ridge. Four duaghters and a fast, fun knit in time for the holidays? SCORE!

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