Saturday, 2 May 2015

An Interview with Karina Westermann

The magnificent Karina Westermann, over the past year or so I have gotten to know you and spend a lot of time hanging out and making you feel uncomfortable. .. GIGGLES MADLY.
Ok, now to the interview!

fluph - Coming from an art school background, i'm always interested in where people take inspiration from and how they translate it into a tangable object. Where do you look for inspiration and what processes do you undergo( ie sketchbook) to turn that inspiration into one of your stunning designs?"
Karina Westerman - 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.

f- Its Love your yarn shop day today, I would ask you who your fave yarnshop is, but thats obvious ;) so what do you love about local yarn shops?
KW - I really love that local yarn shops always reflect who runs them - every single one is different depending upon who owns it. I used to work for a yarn company (and now I travel across Britain), so I've seen a lot of yarn shops in my time and every one is different. I've seen everything from minimalist art gallery to eclectic pagan temples. It's always fun! And never underestimate what a good yarn shop can do for the local knitting community! All the best yarn shops understand and love their local knitting community. 

f- As I have mentioned you are a massive force in the knitwear design world, and I remember the first time I met you I totally fan girled. Do you have anyone that you would fan girl over?
KW - I have only been slightly daunted by famous people once or twice in my life! The first time was when I stood next to my all-time favourite musician and instead of chatting to him, I started examining a concrete pillar. The second time was at the infamous KnitCamp in Stirling when Norah Gaughan walked up to a stall I was working and said hello. I was a bit star-struck - Norah Gaughan is a North American knitwear designer that does all sorts of intricate cabling. As for fan-girling .. well, there's always Ewan McGregor! I might fangirl him a wee bit if I were to meet him!

f - How do you take your tea/ coffee?
KW - Both: milk and no sugar. I go through an enormous amount of milk with my beverages.

f - Favourite cake?
KW - Lemon drizzle, hands down.

f - I know that you are a dog person, but what is your favourite breed? (apart from spaniel obviously!)
KW - Oh, oh! Cavalier King Charles Spaniel! I used to have a Cavalier, a Blenheim one (the cream/ruby coat) and he was just the best dog ever. Cavaliers are not the brightest dogs, but they are affectionate, food-loving and appreciate the finer things in life like sleeping all day. I can completely empathise with that!
But all dogs are lovely.

f - We were both recently at Edinburgh Yarn Festival (which was amazing) did you actually have time to buy anything? And if so what? Let me smoosh! 
KW - I didn't get anything! I was so busy working that I only briefly stepped into the marketplace and then only to say hello to friends on stalls. I did come away with a new sock base sample from an indie dyer - but only a tiny undyed hank so I could swatch and see what I thought of the base. I was really gutted that I didn't have time to go around and see all the amazing stalls. Next time!

f - What draws you to a yarn?
KW - I really love rustic yarns - yarns where you can still sense the wool's come from a sheep and it hasn't been processed beyond recognition. As long as I am working with natural fibres, I am happy. I do have a soft spot in my heart for yarns that look really nondescript in the ball but which spring to life once I start handling them.
Also, half my stash is moss-green but I'm trying to grow as a person!

f - Tell me what your stash is like?
KW - Huge. I used to work for a yarn company, so I picked up a lot of yarn as a result. I also have a very kind and generous family who all like buying me yarn for my birthday. And when I first got back into knitting, I didn't know what I liked so I just picked up a lot of stuff in the sales. I'm not really loving the size of my stash because it's hard to find what I'm looking for and - because of my job - I cannot use yarns that have been discontinued. I think I'm due a good stash overhaul!

f - I know you are a huge eurovision fan, so if you were to enter yourself what would you call yourself, what genre of song would you sing and more importantly what would you wear?
KW - Oh, I'd be either be Karie Bookish singing a twee little song ala Hinemoa's song in this year's Icelandic qualifiers ( whilst wearing a fair-isle cardigan and a retro dress.. OR I'd go full out with the glitter and form a girl/boy band complete with dance routines and disco balls. Something along the lines of this Swedish entry (
Full disclosure: one of my all-time favourite ESC entries is this one from Turkey ( but I can't see myself doing the whole frontman-of-a-rockband thing..

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