Shawl Mashup Class with Stephen West


This past Saturday, I finally did something for me. I know a lot of people think I’m already selfish because I tend to disappear and not talk to anyone for entire weeks at a time - fine. My work life is going bonkers and if I don’t sit and stare at a wall sometimes or turn my phone off/ignore all my incoming texts, I would probably jump off a cliff. That’s just self care. But this was actually investing in myself.

No, I wanted to look forward to something that would feed my soul (if I even have one left) so I booked a shawl design class with one of my favorite knitwear designers, Stephen West.

Yes. That Stephen West.

Back in December, I received an email from one of my LYSes, Conversational Threads, that he’d be hosting a couple classes over a weekend in February. I debated whether I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and show up to a knitting class by myself with one of the most modern, talented, and prolific designers of my time. Spoiler: I did. Once registration opened, I spent 30 minutes trying to get around the perpetual busy signal and reserve a spot (space was limited and the classes were popular) and lucked out. I feel like someone, somewhere knew I needed this.

The class itself was great. I’ve always been too terrified to knit with yarn and no intention. I think it’s because I might single-handedly support the hand-dyed fiber industry with my income so I felt like I’d be wasting my money if I screwed up my own design. But it turns out that’s nearly impossible to do. As long as you know the basic shapes and understand how to get there, you can make anything a design feature - even unintentional holes (ask me how I know).

It also helps that Stephen West might be one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. It’s rare to run into someone who’s passionate about their chosen field so everything about the class was refreshing, probably contributing to the calming loveliness of the day. But he also has the patience of a saint and that’s not common, either. I’m a terrible teacher, which is why it’s almost comical that I’m a consultant who occasionally travels to speak about how to do stuff, so I always 100% appreciate anyone who can take a step back and instill knowledge in another human being without getting riled.

I also walked away with a few new friends and realized I need to start meeting more of “my people” at knit nights. Knitters are an interesting breed and I love surrounding myself with the uncommon and unboring. It’s kind of cool how I never leave a yarn shop without a good conversation or connection with someone else, all because we fell in love with textiles or a certain colorway, and I need more of that mojo in my life.

Suffice it to say that this was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in a long while and I felt 100% happy and in my element. If you ever have a chance to chill with Stephen West in a fortress of yarn, do not hesitate.

Anyway, I’m off to keep working on my shawl design and probably watch a terrible true crime documentary of some sort. If you’re interested in seeing more, check out the rest of my fangirl-squee pictures below.

More Photos from Stephen West at Conversational Threads: