onsdag 3 april 2013

Intervju med Stephen West

Who taught you to knit and how old were you? 
Some friends in high school taught me to knit when I was 16. I learned backstage during rehearsals for a musical and it was very dark so I couldn’t see well and it was big mess, but that was my first attempt. I later taught myself more with the internet and books.

Would you like to describe your path from publishing your first design to when you became a fulltime knitwear designer?
My first design was the Boneyard shawl and I offered it as a free pattern on Ravelry. Several knitters made it while I published a few more for sale patterns and those first patterns quickly became very popular. Seeing everyone’s interest in my first designs like the Botanic Hat, Daybreak, Herbivore, and AKimbo prompted me to make even more patterns and I soon had a shawl pattern called Colonnade Shawl in a fall issue of Knitty.com which brought a lot of attention to my patterns as well. After all of that I quickly made more and more patterns and then wanted to do my own pattern book inspired by the work of Ysolda and Jared Flood. Now I have Westknits Book 5 out on Ravelry along with other knit alongs and pattern collections and I have my books and patterns distributed to yarn shops worldwide. It’s gotten pretty crazy! 

What are you working on right now? 
I am releasing the last update this Friday for the Westy’s Besties KAL. It was a collection of garments and accessories I designed last summer with Jared Flood’s Brooklyn Tweed yarn.

I’m working on a new pattern collection with Quince & Co. using their yarns and I’m working on a few other individual designs for various publications and events.
I’ll be traveling to the U.S. next month to teach in New York, Washington D.C., Denver, and Minneapolis with my friend Ragga from knittingiceland.is so I’m gearing up for those classes and teaching events.

Many consider your designs to be unique, were to you find the inspiration to your designs? 
A lot of my designs are variations of one another so often one design will lead to several other ideas. I knit a lot and constantly make things so I usually start with a yarn and color combination that I love and figure out how to best display it with lines or texture. I like walking around Amsterdam taking photos of inspiring color combinations and I browse shops and markets a lot keeping my eyes open for interesting shapes and fabrics. Most of my inspiration though comes from doing. There’s only so much you can plan and control, but a design doesn’t really exist for me until it’s an actual knitted fabric.

Can you tell us a little bit about you latest book? Is there any particular reason that you shot the pictures for your book on Iceland, beside the marvelas scenery?
Iceland is my favorite place and I always get so much inspiration and creative space when I’m there. After my first visit to Iceland, I knew I wanted to go back and photograph a collection there so I photographed two collections there last summer. :) Jared Flood came to take photos of all the designs that are in the Westy’s Besties KAL. We traveled to Hofsós in the north of Iceland to spend a weekend taking those photos. Ysolda Teague was later in Reykjavik and she took photos of Westknits Book 5: Midgard which is a collaboration between myself and my friend Cirilia Rose who works with Skacel in Seattle. Skacel distributes Addi Turbo needles and several German yarn labels to the United States. Cirilia and I were teaching with Knitting Iceland so we took advantage of our time together to plan and create a collection to photograph in the Reykjavik.

Do you have any tips for knitters who want to design and publish their own first creation but who are not quite sure how to go about it?
I learned so much by following other patterns and making modifications to them. Once I became familiar with different pattern writing methods, I gained confidence and comfortability writing my own patterns with my preferred language and style. The first few patterns took several weeks to create or write, but with practice it became easier. Knitty.com is a great outlet for designers because they reach such a large audience and they always curate and fun and creative selection of patterns that knitters can access for free.

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