Indie designer of the week: Stephen West!
Stephen West is his name, funky and fresh knitting designs are his game. Read more about this iconic designer’s influences, methods, and inspirations at LoveKnitting! Click here to see all of his fabulous patterns.
How did you catch the knitting bug?
My friends taught me in high school when I was 16 years old. I learned to knit in the dark backstage during a tech rehearsal for a musical. It was a horrible first start, but I was immediately intrigued so I bought a book and taught myself the rest of the basics.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get a lot of inspiration from traveling and luckily I get to travel a lot to teach knitting workshops. I love soaking up the colorful atmosphere of cities like Reykjavik and Amsterdam. I also enjoy looking at design and fashion boutiques in every city I visit to see the play of different shapes and colors combinations. I create most of my designs while I knit instead of pre-planning every garment so I find a lot of inspiration in the simple rhythms of colorwork and shaping fabric.
What inspired your love of brioche?
I took a two-color brioche class from my neighbor Nancy Marchant a couple years ago and I was immediately hooked. I admired the stitch for several years before I tried it. Once I dedicated a couple hours to the technique, it became much easier than I imagined. I’m obsessed with the spongy soft fabric and colorful reversibility that the brioche stitch yields. Brioche is the stitch of 2015!
Do you have favorites among your own designs?
Are there any of your designs you’d say were suitable for a beginner?
Absolutely! My first design, Boneyard Shawl, is a great beginner project. The Purl Ridge Scarf, Botanic Hat, Garter Squish Blanket and Urbana scarf are all ideal beginner projects with simple stitches and minimal shaping.
Who would you most love to see wearing one of your designs?
I would love to see Björk or Ellen Degeneres rock a Westknits design! Björk is a fellow bright yellow lover so I would totally dress her in the Madelinetosh Edison Bulb colorway.
If you were a yarn, what would you be and why?
I would be a blend of super soft wool mixed with fuzzy mohair and sparkle in a super bright color like Edison Bulb because I believe every knitter needs to have a pop of color, a fun texture, and sparkle on them at all times.
So you have any favorite color combinations?
My color cravings are always changing, but I LOVE pops of color with neutrals like neon yellow and grays. Recently, I’m craving bold solid primary colors like royal blue, punchy red, and bright green. I’m also using a lot of solid black combined with white and other color pops in my designs for spring and summer.
What’s next for Stephen West?
I’m teaching this spring in the Netherlands, Paris, and London and I’m working on dozens of new designs for spring and fall. I recently started the Westknits show on YouTube hosted by Stephen Eastknits. He’s very colorful, opinionated, and full of genius ideas. Stephen Eastknits is also working on a series of music videos for knitters so look out!
And finally, if you had to choose one of the below, which would you choose…
Neon or brioche?
Neon always and forever.
Structure or colorwork?
Color all the way.
Garter stitch or stockinette?
Garter until the end of time.
To purchase the designs featured here: click on the image of the design you wish to purchase; this will take you to the page where you can add the downloadable pattern to your basket. You can then continue shopping or check out using the normal checkout process. Happy knitting!
Last updated: August 7th, 2015.