A little navel-gazing.

Although, frankly, it’s not my own navel I am gazing at…

I have always liked Steven West’s patterns. 34 items in my favorites are his; I have purchased at least eight of his patterns. Back in the early days of Ravelry, it was never a surprise to me when I saw a scarf or shawl pattern I particularly liked, only to discover it was one of his. More recently, however, much of his work leaves me cold. Part of it is that speckled yarns, with which he is currently quite taken, do not appeal to me; another part is that his designs have become busy wild unsupervised weird not my style.

Seriously, compare these two hats. Try to guess which is from 2009 and which is from 2017.

Yeah, I bet you had no trouble with that one.

I am not alone in this. To wit:

Hat at left: 7 projects.
Hat at right: 7,139. (approximately 24 in the first six months the pattern was available, which is roughly the same amount of time the pattern at left has been out)

Look, I totally admire the guy’s creativity and his productivity. I just don’t get his newer vibe. I freely admit that that is probably because I am a straight Midwestern female on the shady side of 60 rather than a 30-something gay man living in Amsterdam. But I am not alone in this. Check out which of his patterns have the most favorites. Hint: it’s not the more recent designs.

I am all in favor of a person letting his freak flag fly expressing him/herself, but c’mon

::descends from soapbox, totters away muttering to herself, leaning on her cane::

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6 Responses to A little navel-gazing.

  1. I agree. His newer stuff is more art than fashion.

  2. ninlouise says:

    I love his artsy ones best but have no illusions about being able to successfully recreate my own beautiful versions using what bits I have… I love his creativity. Michelle Wang is the designer I end up bookmarking most often. Her designs are complex but at least predictably possible. I am so frustrated by own rigid little sensibilities sometimes.

  3. Silvernfire says:

    I’ve liked some of his earlier stuff and haven’t bothered to look at his more recent patterns. But even with those earlier patterns, his lack of attention to detail was frustrating. For one pattern, my notes on my second project say, “Instead of doing yo2, k2tog, k2tog, I did yo2, k2tog, ssk. I thought that kept the fabric from biasing as badly, plus the columns looked neater and symmetrical. I also went down a needle size when I started the gray section. I was hoping to keep it from flaring as badly.” In another pattern, I ended up reworking the traveling cables so that they overlapped smoothly. All of which he could’ve done, but didn’t. Couldn’t be bothered?

  4. =Tamar says:

    The multicolor hat could be done in plain yarns, and it would still use EZ’s method of dipping down to cover your ears without covering your eyebrows. Even the striped parts could be done in two strands of the same yarn for thickness and warmth.

  5. This post made me laugh, I love how you critiquest WestKnits designs. But I have to disagree. As he’s evolved, I love his joyful/playful presentation of the crazier knits. I see them more as performance art, or celebration of handknitting that we can also adapt and wear. Sort of like runway fashion. I figure it’s a spot on the knitting entertainment spectrum he fills well, with so many good solid more traditional sweaters and hats and shawls available from others. I’m not a neon plus speckle person either (usually)….but I recently saw his eyeball shawl in person—-online I thought it was kitschy . IRL it’s pretty cool, I think I have to knit one.
    PS worried that I am also on the shady side! not even sure what that means but I love how it sounds.

  6. Oh thank goodness, I was starting to think I was the only crafter in the world who doesn’t like speckled yarn! They just look messy to me

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