Designer Spotlight: Karie Westermann

Karie Westermann is a Danish designer based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work combines two of her greatest
passions; storytelling and craft. As a designer, she believes in a strong, modern aesthetic that draws upon her Nordic roots and sensibilities. Karie's impressive portfolio includes Rowan Yarns, Susan Crawford Vintage, and major UK knitting publications. She teaches regularly at select UK yarn shows and shops, and frequently lends her expertise to museums, art galleries, and other cultural institutions. Karie has just finished work on the "Doggerland" collection - a collection of accessories inspired by archaeology, submerged landscapes, and art. You can learn more about Karie and her work on her website, Ravelry, and Twitter

KP: How long have you been knitting, and how did you get started designing
KW: I was taught to knit by my great-grandmother when I was five or six years old. I grew up in rural Scandinavia – mine was the local arty family. Everybody was creative in one way or another. We never had much money, but there was a steady supply of handmade garments, knitted jumpers and interesting paintings. Of course my family still obsessed over football results and pop music, but there was a definite and pervasive sense of self-expression and creative exploration. I learned to knit, crochet and sew as a very young girl and I have never really stopped wanting to make stuff.
I got into designing when I worked for a yarn company and they needed a quick project to sell some leftover beads. My pattern did really, really well for them. Then  in 2011 an indie dyer friend was launching a new yarn line at a prestigious London event and pressured me into doing my first self-published design. And that pattern did really well too. I began thinking that maybe I should look at doing more design work and now I'm a full-time self-employed knitting designer. It's amazing.

KP: Where do you get inspiration? What your design process? 
KW: Inspiration is all around if you look. It’s possible to find inspiration in the most unlikely places. I really love a specific pedestrian footpath over the motorway here in Glasgow – its combination of colour and form is extraordinary. I also love Pinterest as I can create moodboards on all kinds of topics: colours, textures, themes. I keep notebooks with colour swatches and design ideas – I take a notebook with me wherever I go.
There is a definite Scandinavian aesthetic and it is hugely important to me both as a designer and as a crafter: it involves a controlled palette, it is fairly minimalist, and it is decidedly non-fussy. I’m a big fan of clean lines and I can spend a lot of time thinking about the right shade of off-white!
But there is also the whole Scandinavian love of story-telling and using craft to tell those stories. I looked at an old photo album the other day and I had to laugh when I saw all the amazing jumpers kids were wearing to school when I was young. There is a lot of continuity to Scandinavian knitting: it is traditional but it is a living and breathing tradition. It’s on the high street as much as it’s in a textile museum.

KP: Of all your designs, which is your favorite? 

Vedbaek Shawl by Karie Westermann
KW: I always say that my favourite design is the one I have just finished! But there are designs that have huge Vedbaek Shawl which has resonated with knitters around the world since the moment I released it. I also recently released my first garment designs and I cannot wait for the samples to return so I can wear them myself!
personal significance for me because I remember where I were when I came up with the idea or when I knitted the sample. Right now I'm really proud of the

KP: Do you have any knitting horror stories/mishaps?
KW: Constantly. I rip out so much you wouldn't believe it. Without mistakes I wouldn't learn a thing, so I embrace all my crazy mishaps. The funniest one, though, was one time I was teaching a class on lace blocking and I was urging the students to really block their swatches hard. Then I heard a gasp of horror from my students, I looked down and my own swatch had snapped because I had pulled it too hard. Without missing a beat I went "and there you have a prime example of what not to do!"

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jennifer Jipping, you're our lucky winner of a Karbonz Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set! We'll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize. Thank you to everyone who participated, and we wish you a warm and happy holiday season! 

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