Happy November everyone! How was your Halloween? I just got back from an amazing weekend near Milan and I’m still so excited about it, that I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve been up to.
After four long years, I’ve finally went back to my favourite Italian yarn shop, Unfilodi, where I met up again with the owner, Luisa, and a few knitting friends from the past. Needless to say, I had a blast! I really missed visiting this shop during my stay in Australia and I’m happy to be back and be part again of this awesome bunch of people. Knitters are great, let me tell you.
Anyhow, do you wanna know what, or better who, brought me there?!? Nothing less than one of my knitting heroes, Stephen West! I’m using way too many exclamation marks and you can guess by that how freaking happy I am to have had the pleasure to meet him! What made everything even more special, it’s the fact that this was the only Italian stop of Stephen’s European Tour. Cool, right?
Stephen arrived on Friday and Luisa and I went to the airport to pick him up, using a very special sign. This is my very own version of one of his shawl patterns, Esjan, which now belongs to my sister.
Stephen was in Knithouse on Friday afternoon, talking about his love for colors, showing everyone his beautiful garment samples and teaching how to knit the brioche stitch, his latest addition. He used two of his patterns, the Askwes Me Shawl and the Bundled in Brioche scarf. It has been very interesting listening to his color-approach and talking about all the different color options the brioche offers, it really is a cool stitch to play with and if you like pairing and combining colors you really should try it! It may be a bit complicated at the beginning, but once you get the hung of it, it gets easier and easier and it gets super fun.
On Saturday morning Stephen was back at Unfilodi, this time talking and dancing and teaching about short rows, or shorcat rows as he funnily calls them, with the support of another pattern, Dotted Rays. And in the evening we had more fun chatting about knitting and trying on his colourful and crazy samples.
I personally didn’t knit a stitch, as I was asked to be the interpreter for the occasion, but also because I was too busy chatting with everyone and just having a very good time!
I’m a huge fan of West and I still can’t believe I met him. For the non-knitters, this might sounds sort of crazy, but I hope there is someone out there that can understand my happiness!
Anyhow, do you wanna know what I learnt from this hero of mine? Here you go!
1. Stephen said he never chooses all the colors all together, but he begins instead with a combo or trio that he likes and then he keeps adding colors and textures to them as the knitting grows. This is very unlike me. I like to have everything planned beforehand and being organised, but I’ll try to play with this concept and experiment with color combinations a bit more, which brings us to the next point:
2. If you want to knit something, then do it, but do it crazy. I totally agree with this. Maybe I don’t often go for very crazy patterns or yarns or colours, but I always look for something different to knit. With different I mean something I can’t find in RTW stuff and that I can only have. This often means easy patterns, but specials yarns or limited edition colourways, not super bright things, but still unique. After seeing and trying on Stephen’s samples thou, I’m ready to give unusual shapes and color combos a go and honestly, I’ve already bought another pattern of his, Parachutey. I tried it on and loved it straight away!
3. Short rows were invented by someone who got bored of knitting, walked away from his/her work leaving half a row done, then came back to it, forgot where he/she was up to and knitted back. Strange idea about how a knitting technique was born, isn’t it? Anyhow, I think short rows are like magic and they can shape and dramatically transform a garment and I’m pretty confident Stephen shares my same opinion.
4. Last, but not least, if you start knitting a scarf or a pair of socks, you might end up with a jumper instead. I reckon this resumes very well Stephen’s knitting process. He declared some of his more famous patterns, like Enchanted Mesa and Royally Striped, were born right this way. So guys no worries, just knit happily and see what happens!
And see that awesome purple, red and pink shawl Stephen is holding in the photo above!? Yes darlings, it’s my own version of last year MKAL, Exploration Station! His original sample is instead the neon peach/graphite one at the bottom right hand corner. I can assure you, meeting Stephen is probably my personal 2015 knitting highlight and before I cut it off, let me tell you how tall and blond and beautiful he is IRL! I really hope to see him again somewhere, sometime, and in the meanwhile I count down for the beginning of his fifth MKAL, starting this Friday, November the 6th. I got my trio of yarns from Stephen and Penelope and can’t wait to cast on The Doodler! Are you joining in??
That’s all from me….and sorry for the blurry phone pics, it’s all I got!