Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 20: Stephen West – Rhythm, Improvisation, Supermodel and Amsterdam

May 5, 2015

I’m very excited to share the twentieth episode of the Woolful podcast. Today we get to meet an incredibly talented artist and creative who brings a whole lot of personality and ingenuity to the fiber world, Stephen West.

have company

Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Have Company, a special shop, gallery and space in Grand Rapids, MI, with a focus on handmade and apothecary goods, textiles and helping encourage artists and building community. They host artists from all over the country who teach workshops in the shop as a part of their artist residency program. You can visit Have Company in person when in Grand Rapids or find more information and shop online at


Fiber folk: It’s not hard to notice today’s guest, whether it’s by his inventive designs and exciting use of color or his enthusiastic personality and Southern charm. Stephen brings to the world of fiber, a fresh voice and inventive style, that makes me excited about knitting in a whole new way. When we were talking before the interview, Stephen coined himself a fashion farmer, and I couldn’t agree more. You can find Stephen at and on Instagram @westknits.






And stay tuned this week to Stephen’s Instagram, Facebook and Ravelry group for his newest Knitalong, which he’s releasing as a collection of 10 scarves throughout the knitalong. The KAL starts next Friday, May 15th. Based on this photo alone, I think I might have to join.


Man on the street: For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked a question, shared by Mary in our Raverly group. “How has knitting or another fiber art changed your perspective of your wardrobe?” We had a great reply from Alex @withtwohandsknits.

Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaway, is Gabrielle! You’ve won a weavers fiber pack from Serene Fiber Arts! Congratulations!

The giveaway this week is sponsored by Westknits and Have Company, and we’re giving away a Westknits e-book pattern collection of your choice and a Wiksten tank sewing pattern. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below.

Today we’re launching the Summer quarter Woolful Natural Dye Club. Each person who joins will receive two skeins of naturally dyed Cormo and Organic fingering weight yarn. To grab a spot (or two) in this quarter’s club, visit


We’ll be at the ranch for another week or so and we’ve had some exciting additions to the farm. This past week we welcomed three Maremma puppies, Fritz, Ernst and Bertie who will serve as guardians of our sheep and other animals. I’ll be posting more photos on Instagram so you can watch them grow (and because they’re so cute). We also welcomed seven guinea fowl who’ve become quite comfortable in their new home and are busy patrolling and eating bugs. Tomorrow we pick up four Icelandic Ewes who will be the first members of our flock. I can’t wait to share photos of the new ladies.


Music by Jónsi.


Transcription coming soon!

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  • Reply Carlene May 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    OMG. No way. I’m almost too excited to listen to this one…WESTKNITS! YES!

  • Reply Jennifer Edwards May 5, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I SO enjoyed this podcast as I have admired Stephen Wests’ knitting designs since I was recently introduced to them. They are art pieces and are lovely in their simple construction. I would love to win this giveaway and knit a Stephen West Design!

  • Reply Brittany May 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Another fabulous podcast!

  • Reply Claire May 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Just started listening. Thank you for another great podcast and fantastic giveaways!

  • Reply Annie May 5, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Absolutely adore your new fur babies!

  • Reply Amber May 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Another new listener here…what a great podcast! Now I need to go back and listen to all the previous episodes. Thank you for 42 minutes very well spent and the chance at the Stephen West (Supermodel! cracked me up) giveaway.

  • Reply Cady May 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I have seen so much about Westknits and I’m incredibly curious to listen to this on my way home. Thank you as always for making my commute feel like precious time and not wasted time. xo

  • Reply Meg May 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    OMG I’m in heaven! I adore Stephen West and Have Company is one of my favorite online shops. In fact, I have the Have Company website open right now in another tab in my internet browser.

  • Reply Carolina May 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I was so excited to listen to this week’s podcast! One of my favorites so far 🙂

  • Reply Chris May 5, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Thankyou for this amazing episode with stephen west. He is entirely responsible for taking my knitting to a new level this year and I’m immersed in trying out his patterns and joining in with KALs and groups. This podcast is enhancing my knitting and my love of fibre too, so thankyou.

  • Reply Nancy May 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Fun interview, I have seen his videos on Instagram and made several of his patterns. My LYS has had classes with his patterns. Looking forward to the issuance of the shawls this week that he mentioned in the interview.

  • Reply Susan May 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Really fun to hear Stephen’s story. Always wanted to knit one of his patterns, so would love to win the ebook!

  • Reply Lesley May 5, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Fabulous!!!!! I am so excited to listen to this while I knit some brioche! <3

  • Reply Sully Morales May 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    What an inspiring interview! Thank you so much for this. I loved Steven’s advise for new designers to just go with it. It’s kind of funny but that’s what I do with my socks. He is so creative and such a wonderful person!

  • Reply Ally Belser May 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you so much for this interview. Stephen is such an inspiration. Thank you also for introducing me to Have Company which is right in my city and I had no idea that it was there. Have a great day.

  • Reply Lesley Barnewall May 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Too many things that get in the way of my woolly activities. Nothing better and more relaxing than spinning for a whole afternoon and listening to woolful podcasts. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Dana May 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I love Stephen West! Thanks so much for featuring him, and thanks for the chance to win. 🙂

  • Reply Bente Simone May 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Ohohoh… This episode, really looking forward to listen to Stephen West. Super excited.

  • Reply Patty Gnass May 5, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I see something I want to knit.

  • Reply Roopali May 5, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I loved listening to Steven share his knitting story. And I can’t wait for the next KAL!

  • Reply Jenifer May 5, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Stephen is a true artist! I would consider it an honor to have his ebook. It is so exciting to think what patterns he might have created. Do you have a recommendation on what of his patterns would go well with your naturally died yarns? Hint hint. I am trying to go stash-less but can purchase yarn for a specific pattern. 😉

  • Reply Emiko May 5, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I am loving this podcast! Thanks for introducing me to so many lovely yarns and fiber folk.

  • Reply Roz May 5, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Such an inspiring knitter, creator and just a really nice person. Thanks for this episode and the chance to win some WestKnit goodies.

  • Reply Louise Dietz May 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I am so excited to listen to this one… Your podcast really change my way of seeing all fiber arts and encourage me to go deeper and deeper in my commitment to it ! Thanks a lot !

  • Reply Fräulein Rucksack May 6, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Love it! I love how you interviews (and those wonderful creative people) change my view of creativity. Does that make sense? Anyway, thanks.
    Would love to win, too!

  • Reply Marielle Milot May 6, 2015 at 4:59 am

    What a fun podcast with Stephen West! His overflowing creativity is contagious. And Have Company is such a nice shop. I will definitely browse around some more in the near future! Thanks, Ashley, for your podcasts; I look forward to them every time.

  • Reply Karen May 6, 2015 at 6:16 am

    another super fabulous podcast (and giveaway!)

  • Reply Antje May 6, 2015 at 6:49 am

    I enjoyed this podcast so much… Thank you!

  • Reply Mathurine May 6, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Thanks a lot for this new wonderful podcast and this gifted introducing of a so colorful designer. Nice week to you !

  • Reply Nicole Massenzio May 6, 2015 at 8:27 am

    What a great episode! I’ve always wanted to hear an interview with Stephen West and I’d love to be more unpredictable with my knitting too. What an inspiration!

  • Reply danielle May 6, 2015 at 8:43 am

    thank you! lovely podcast!

  • Reply lea May 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

    loved the episode!! Stephen’s mind is so inspiring, love his works!!
    on a totally unrelated note: those puppies!! <3

  • Reply Savannagal May 6, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Stephen is certainly an interesting character. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  • Reply Colleen Davis May 6, 2015 at 9:22 am

    So in love with Have Company!!!

  • Reply Jackie - Luna Grey Fiber Arts May 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Oooh…Yes Please! Fingers crossed on this one ; )

  • Reply Paula Castro May 6, 2015 at 10:42 am

    OMG! such a wonderful giveaway! I would love so much to win it.

  • Reply Stephanie Shoemaker May 6, 2015 at 11:08 am

    This made my week…thank you so much for ALL your wonderful podcasts! I’m hooked.

  • Reply Reb May 6, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Great episode! Stephen West needs to hurry up on that new project idea – kids! Mine love his designs and are growing fast but they knit slooow.

  • Reply Regina Casner May 6, 2015 at 11:23 am

    What a great podcast and give away! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this episode of Woolful! I am going to have to check out the upcoming mystery knit a long!! Thank you!

  • Reply Hd May 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Westknits + Winston tank? Yes please! And thanks for another amazing, inspiring podcast.

  • Reply peetje1 May 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Stephen is the greatest! Love is work!
    Thanks for the splendid postcast

  • Reply susanne May 6, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you so much for having Stephen West on your podcast! Love his designs and personality!

  • Reply Annie- Boho Chic Fiber Co May 6, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I was so excited to see you have WestKnits as a guest on the podcast! As usual it was a great interview. Thanks so much for this podcast Ashley, its such an inspiration!

  • Reply asteride May 6, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Who does not like Westknits? What a great giveaway! Thank you for giving a chance, I love the sewing pattern too! Is great for summer and a little bit longer it could become a nice dress.

  • Reply Lulu May 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I love Stephen West shawls. I’m not ready for a sweater yet….

  • Reply Monika May 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for your podcast!!

  • Reply Tera May 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    This interview was so much fun to hear!

  • Reply Megan May 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Replied on the wrong thread previously. I’ve been waiting to hear Stephen interviewed! So glad you made it happen 🙂

  • Reply Baamekniits May 6, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Now that’s an exciting giveaway! I love Stephen Wests designs.

  • Reply Annie May 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I love how Stephen is always pushing the boundaries. And congratulations on all the newcomers to your farm!

  • Reply Karen Chassels May 6, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Really enjoyed the Stephen West podcast. Very inspirational!

  • Reply Kristan May 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Both of you are so inspiring!
    Especially loved hearing about how Stephen’s icelandic sweater pushed him in new design directions!

  • Reply Alison Collins May 7, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Great to hear what makes this guy tick:-)

  • Reply Cyndi May 7, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Awesome podcast!

  • Reply Anna May 7, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Hi! So I had no idea Stephen West was from Oklahoma. I’m from Oklahoma City, and Stephen, if you come back for a visit you will find that it’s much more cosmopolitan than it was 20 years ago (although still probably not as cosmopolitan as Amsterdam, which sounds amazing)! Loved the interview, and the Dustland hat is my favorite ever.

  • Reply Kathy May 7, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Thanks so much for another great podcast! The variety of guests on this podcast is fantastic. Your interview of Stephen West is so full of insight and inspiration, Ashley.

  • Reply ErinJoelle May 7, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Those pups do look adorable! Looking forward to watching them grow and hearing about your experiences with working dogs.

  • Reply Kristi May 7, 2015 at 7:49 am

    One of the best so far (sponsor and guest)!

  • Reply Kim May 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

    thanks for another great podcast!

  • Reply Kim May 7, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I loved this episode! Can’t wait for my class with Stephen in Rotterdam in May 🙂

  • Reply Madeleine Fidler May 7, 2015 at 9:11 am

    What a great interview! Thanks for all your hard work, Ashley!

  • Reply Liz Goldapp May 7, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I LOVE Stephen so much!!

  • Reply jodi May 7, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Wow, Stephen is sooo creative! I would love to push myself to do some more sewing with that Wiksten pattern, thanks!

  • Reply K. May 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Great episode 🙂 thanks

  • Reply Flongstocking May 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Loved the podcast. Thanks so much!

  • Reply --anu May 7, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I think this is my most favourite episode so far! It was very enlightening and inspiring to listen to Stephen West 🙂

  • Reply Thea May 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you for yet another great podcast! It was the first time I heard Stephen West! I’m in love 🙂

  • Reply Karen Latuchie May 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I’ve admired Steven’s patterns for a long time, so it was interesting to hear your interview. I particularly liked how he connected music with knitting – the dance with knitting concert must’ve been something to experience! It’s so interesting to me how the craft of knitting has evolved in recent years – in a way that I think is good for it. I’ve knitted for many, many years, but it wasn’t until the past ten or so years that the craft has been infused with so much energy – creative, technical, and otherwise! I’m sure that long ago knitting was a drudgery, like cleaning and mending clothes, with limited yarns and patterns. Not so today – I find it to be both intellectually and creatively stimulating. So much knitting, so little time!

  • Reply Kath McGuire May 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Just discovered your podcast via Stevens Facebook page – many thanks for an enjoyable listen. Will be listening again 🙂

  • Reply Kath McGuire May 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Great to hear Steven and very interesting.

  • Reply Lauren May 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Wonderful podcast! I’ve been listening for a few months now, and finally came over to the blog and commented. These episodes are so great to listen to. I’m also excited to see those new ewes! So cute!

  • Reply Jessie May 8, 2015 at 5:36 am

    thanks for a great episode! I love Stephen’s fearless approach to knitting and fashion – so fun and inspiring!

  • Reply Marguerite Leahy May 9, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I adore Stephen West, I took a Craftsy class that he taught and I loved it. He is just so original. Thanks once again for the phenomenal podcast.

  • Reply Jill May 9, 2015 at 1:53 am

    I loved listening to Stephen West’s story. Thanks for another great episode and giveaway.

  • Reply Neza May 9, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    This was sooo nice – to put a voice to the face 😉 thanks!

  • Reply Sarah May 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    So exciting to see the color and personality in Stephen’s designs. This podcast is excellent at showcasing all kinds of fiber artists from all design perspectives, and I appreciate it so much!

  • Reply Emily May 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I am so glad to come across this podcast. I find it easy to become disconnected – trying to limit the screen time and all that- but learning about all these people makes me zoo excited about being a maker again!

  • Reply Cindy May 9, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    I look forward to this podcast every week. Usually I’m listening while driving my car, but this week’s interview with Stephen West made weeding my garden so enjoyable. Thank you both for all you do and for sharing with us!

  • Reply Veronika May 10, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Thank you for another interesting interview – it was such fun as well as informative. Am very intrigued by Stephen’s designs and would like to try one – this week’s giveaway is a possibility to achieve that – thank you. Have Company is another wonderful discovery – one more I can add to my list of finding through this podcast. 🙂

  • Reply Alina May 10, 2015 at 6:41 am

    I just loved listening to Stephen’s story! He sounds so “bubbly”, fun and full of creative energy! I am about to cast on his Exploration Station, it looks amazing!

  • Reply clara sonia rodriguez muñoz May 10, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I´m surprise about the personality of the one of my favorite dessigners, the one who open the door of the everithig its possible….thanks for a wonderful interview

  • Reply Ceci May 10, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Awesome interview, I really enjoyed it!

    The coat made with wool from his travels in Iceland sounds amazing… Would love to see that 🙂

    Happy knitting!

  • Reply Dorie May 10, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Excellent episode! I feel like I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of Stephen West’s designs. Fantastic!

  • Reply Jacqueline May 11, 2015 at 5:10 am

    I love Stephen West designs! It was so fun to get to know him better on this podcast.

  • Reply Kristy Glass May 11, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Never miss your podcast. One of my first sweaters was his design. Loved it!

  • Reply Vanessa May 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for such a wonderful podcast. It’s always so inspiring to hear how folks come to the world of fiber.

  • Reply Jenny Berman May 11, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    another great pod cast
    hearing Steven’s story made his knits all the more stunning
    thanks always for what you bring to our community Ashley

  • Reply Abby May 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Yes please! I love Stephen and loved hearing his interview. This would be so great!

  • Reply Leigh May 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Enjoyable as always. Loved hearing and appreciate Stephen’s artistic vision. I love that he is so true to himself and his ideas! Thanks for sharing Ashley!

  • Reply Emily G May 11, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Great interview! Really enjoyed this week’s podcast

  • Reply Stephanie S May 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I have the maddest knitting crush on Stephen West!!! This is so great and I was so excited to tune in to Ep.20!! Thank you!

  • Reply Alison May 11, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I had only heard of Stephen West in the knitting world. Great interview! I want to get involved with some of his KALs–I think I can learn new techniques with his patterns.

  • Reply Rochelle May 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Really enjoying the podcast! Thanks for introducing me to all of these lovely fiber folk!

  • Reply Angeline May 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Really enjoyed this podcast! I hadn’t heard of Stephen West before this podcast and just started following him on Instagram. Looking forward to the next entry and more pics of the pups!

  • Reply Faye May 11, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    What a great interview – thanks for such a nice podcast!

  • Reply Jess May 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Loved this episode! It was interesting to hear Stephen’s journey with wool.

  • Reply jennifer May 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks for putting together such a great pocast! I’m excited to catch up on some I’ve missed now that the semester is over. Great giveaway too!

  • Reply Kat May 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I loved hearing more about Stephens family and background. Thank you for the interview!

  • Reply Henrike May 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Stephen’s patterns are so much fun! I love his colour choices aswell! 🙂

  • Reply Zoe May 11, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Stephen West’s scarf/wrap/shawl creations really pushed me to get more knitting skills- they’re all gorgeous, and cool! They’re among a few items I use to show people that knitting really is awesome.

  • Reply jillo May 11, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Can’t wait to learn more about Steven West while finishing sewing my first Wiksten Tova top wearing my Exploration Station!

  • Reply Katie Hatfield May 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Oh, how fun!

  • Reply Ashley May 11, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to Stephen and his wonderful patterns! Really hoping I win!

  • Reply claire d May 11, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    can’t wait to listen to this one! the boneyard shawl was the firat thing i made when i started knitting again a few years ago and it was great seeing westknits at the edinburgh yarn festival

  • Reply Debbie May 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Such a creative soul! Thank you for sharing this story!

  • Reply Camanoah May 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Another great podcast! Would love to knit a Stephen West pattern. Can’t believe I haven’t done so already. Thanks for the opportunity to win a Westknits eBook and the sewing tank pattern.

  • Reply Margaret May 11, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve been so busy that it took till today for me to listen to this podcast. But boy, did I enjoy it. I loved finding out more about the talented Stephen West!

  • Reply cora May 11, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Always a joy and inspiration.
    The highlight of my work commute.
    Thank you for all you do and all the wonderful makers you find.

  • Reply hope hawley May 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    i am always so inspired by the woolful podcast. Listening to Stephen this last week was such an entertaining experience. After the podcast I felt like I could create patterns if i wanted. He just made it all feel so reachable! Can’t wait to knit one of his sweaters for my husband’s christmas present!

  • Reply Siri May 11, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I have been following your Instagram for a while, and just started listening to the podcasts – so, so interesting! Really like wikstenmade and westknits as well, so would love to get a chance to enter this giveaway. Thanks for all the inspiration you spread! 🙂

  • Reply Leslie May 11, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Love this podcast. It’s my new knitting during the baby’s nap time companion.

  • Reply Heather May 11, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I have been a fan of Stephen for many years. I always enjoy hearing about his designs and inspiration .

  • Reply Kelsie May 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you Thank you Thank you for bringing a little breed specific natural dye yarn love into Kansas.

  • Reply Morgan May 11, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    How do you do it? The hits just keep coming! Can’t wait to hear this one!

  • Reply Karli May 11, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    This was a great podcast! So excited about this giveaway too 🙂

  • Reply Catherine May 11, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for a great podcast – the interview with Stephen West was fab, his approach to design and fashion is so inspiring! Thanks for organising the giveaway, too 🙂

  • Reply Estella May 14, 2015 at 11:55 am

    What a wonderful episode – thank you!

  • Reply Clara May 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    This was such a wonderful episode! I loved hearing about their different sheep and the yarns available in their shop.

  • Reply Beth December 24, 2015 at 7:42 am

    I loved this episode, and your podcast!
    Just an after the fact question that I am dying to know: what is the pattern or where did you find that picture of him wearing that amazing sweater in the pic almost at the bottom left corner of the pictures of him. The one with the Colorwork and the hood. I love it! And I was wondering if that is an actual pattern of his. I searched ravelry but couldn’t find it!
    Thanks again for creating this inspiring podcast!

  • Reply Episode 67: Astrid Troland and Caroline Skadhauge – Scandinavian roots, partnership, au naturel and Biches & Bûches – Woolful September 16, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    […] September 27th from 7-9pm, Stephen West will be spending an evening at Wool & Honey, sipping cocktails, trying on his huge collection […]

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