Your Yarn Story: Karie Westermann June 07 2018

Glasgow-based designer Karie Westermann is teaching at A Yarn Story for the first time later this month and we can't wait! Karie loves crisp, woolly yarns and bright colours. We got Karie to tell us her Yarn Story in advance of her visit to Bath.

Karie Westermann

Q. What is currently on your needles?
A. I am currently working on a shawl - I cannot get the edging quite right from an aesthetic point of view, so it's in Time Out. I'm also working on a colourwork project and a hat. I tend to about three things on the go at the same time. 

Q. You travel a lot to teach - how do you plan your travel knitting for those journeys?
A. It needs to be portable, easy to work in a small space (so no project that requires 12 different balls!) and fairly easy to remember. I like knitting hats and shawls when I'm on the road.

Karie's great grandmother with her mother

Q. Who taught you how to knit? Knitting only or crochet too?
A. I was taught to knit by my great-grandmother when I was very small. My aunt Tove taught me to crochet. I come from a very crafty family, so I don't think there's a craft out there I didn't try as a kid.

Minuscule mittens by Karie Westermann 
Q. What influences and inspires you as a designer? Where do your ideas come from?

A. My ideas come from all over the place! I'm Scandinavian, so I take my inspiration from a lot of the various Scandi traditions. I'm very much rooted in storytelling too: everything I work on has a background story (even if it's not visible in the finished design,  it is still in every stitch). Previously I've explored archaeology,  psychogeography, and book history in my work - so you never knows what is next!

Karie's Rubrication shawl in Travelknitter Tanami

Q. Do you have a "yarn crush"? What's your favourite yarn to work with?
A. This is a tough question! I like yarns that tell a story, that are unapologetic about what they are and where they come from. Jamieson's 2ply jumperweight, for instance. I also love handdyed yarn where the dyer has a sure sense of their colour identity.  I used Travelknitter Tanami in my book, This Thing of Paper, and it is a glorious yarn. I used to work for Rowan Tarns many years ago and I still love Felted Tweed.  And I have quite the impressive stash of single ply laceweight in various sheepy colours. I think I just love yarn!

Q. What is your design aesthetic?
A. Rather classic with Scandinavian influences (no fussiness!) and a strong sense of colour. 

Karie Westermann selfie
Q. What advice do you have for knitters wanting to make a leap to designing professionally?
A. Work hard. Find out who you are as a designer. Be patient. Be smart. Be nice. 

Q. How has knitting affected your life? What role does it play and how does it keep you coming back?
A. Knitting has given me a wonderful life! I get to meet so many amazing, kind knitters who all have such interesting stories to tell. I use knitting to explore storytelling and also make stuff that keeps me warm. It is truly fantastic. 

Karie will be teaching her Little Effort, Big Effect: Mock Cables & Twisted Stitches and Design Your Own Lace & Shawl classes at the shop.