“I’m a knitting nomad obsessed with yarn”
Stephen: Umm, I haven’t done too many. I did these three trips and I was in New York in January. I usually go there for the Vogue Knitting Live event every January. And then there’s a few more. We’re going to…let’s see I’m going to Denmark next, and then we’re going to Oslo and Barcelona this fall. I’ve never been to those two countries, so that’ll be fun.
“I moved to Amsterdam in 2010. With nothing but two suitcases. One filled with yarn and one filled with clothes and personal belongings. That was all I had”
“I always told myself ‘If it becomes a job and it feels like work then stop doing it’ because I love it and I don’t want the job and the work to take over my passion for it”
“Sometimes you don’t really get to the good stuff until you let loose, improvise, and totally go wild”
Stephen: It’ll come out in the fall. It’s going to be the third WestKnits BestKnits book. There’s BestKnits one that’s shawls. BestKnits two that’s sweaters. WestKnits BestKnits three is going to have a lot more shawls in it. I can say that it’s going to be an explosive series of shawls from simple to splashy and colorful. It’s kind of a celebration of ten years of knitting. It’s my ten year anniversary of designing patterns. So this book is going to be a ten year celebration of shawls through the years. From my early style going through the years of how it’s sort of changed and evolved.
“When you do something you have to think about that sacrifice. What does that really mean? If you’re doing something that means that you’re not going to be doing something else. What do you want to do more?“
Stephen: I think when I first started out, a struggle that’s changed lately was treating it like a serious business. I think for a lot of years there was a limbo stage of “It’s a business, and I’m so lucky that it’s a business, because I love it”. Then you have this ambiguous relationship to it. Like you’ll sacrifice so many things, because it’s something that you love. You’ll say yes to things and you won’t get paid for so many types of things. That is sometimes fine if you’re really decisive about it. But for me I was easily… not forced to do things, but I forced myself to do things that I really didn’t want to do early on. Having design deadlines, certain trips and travels, piling too much stuff on my plate. Because I’m like “I’m lucky to do it and people are telling me to say yes and take advantage. When you get an offer say yes, because that chance might pass you by”. But when you do something you have to think about that sacrifice. What does that really mean? If you’re doing something that means that you’re not going to be doing something else. What do you want to do more? Do you want to go off for months and months and months and travel but not have a home? Or do you want to be home a little more, be productive, nurture the behind the scenes of your business and not let that get too out of hand?
“Don’t overwork yourself, you have to space it out. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Try to be a little bit more thoughtful when it comes to how much you work and how much energy you’re putting out there“
“I’m really a no rules kind of knitter”
Thank you, Stephen for taking the time to chat with me. And for sharing this fun peek into your crazy life with all of us! I definitely suggest taking a look at Stephen’s website for more information on his designs and the Stephen and Penelope website for more information on the shop.
If you have suggestions for whom I should talk to next leave a note in the comments section. I’m always on the hunt for inspiring crafters. Also, don’t forget to follow along on my Instagram account @bobbleclubhouse for your daily dose of all things knitted and to stay up to date on our upcoming NYC events. Until next week, happy crafting!