Q&A with Karie Westermann

Ahead of Loch Ness Knit Fest 2017, our fantastic workshop tutors have shared a bit more about themselves and their love for knitting.

First up, we’ve been chatting to the lovely designer and crafter Karie Westermann, she’s actually from Scandinavia but now lives in bonnie Scotland. Having gown up in Denmark surrounded by her arty family, there was a steady supply of handmade garments, knitted jumpers and interesting paintings.

“…a definite and pervasive sense of self-expression”

Karie was inspired and taught to knit by her great-grandmother from the age of five.
Karie told us why she’s drawn to knitting and loves teaching others the craft… 
“I don’t think enough people spend time making things as most people consume other people’s work rather than make things for themselves. I want to help people discover just how amazing it can feel to wear something you’ve made yourself. I have personal milestones, of course, but my job in life is really to inspire & empower other people to feel creative. Knitting is also a fantastic way to make new friends and explore the world in a whole new world. There is always something new to learn and something new to make but it is rooted in heritage and history. I love that”. 
Here’s some insight into her favourite fibres and styles… 
“I like yarns that feel ‘alive’ in my hands as I work with them. There is a definite Scandinavian aesthetic and it is hugely important to me both as a designer and as a crafter: it involves a controlled palette, it is fairly minimalist, and it is decidedly non-fussy. I’m a big fan of clean lines and I can spend a lot of time thinking about the right shade of off-white! But there is also the whole Scandinavian love of story-telling and using craft to tell those stories. I looked at an old photo album the other day and I had to laugh when I saw all the amazing jumpers kids were wearing to school when I was young. There is a lot of continuity to Scandinavian knitting: it is traditional but it is a living and breathing tradition. It’s on the high street as much as it’s in a textile museum. I like my yarns to be able to tell a story”.
Karie is inspired by other crafters out there…
“There are so many amazing knitters, designers and dyers. I have been lucky to work with many inspiring people throughout the years. Collaborating with Susan Crawford was a real treat because what Susan does is so, so difficult. She knows so much about dress history and textiles which she incorporates into her work seemingly effortlessly. She has this incredible eye for editing a design or a shoot which you cannot teach. I learned so lot just through observing her at work. I’m also a big fan of people telling their own personal stories through knitting. I use Instagram to keep up to date with talented people using local yarns and interpreting their own heritage through the clothes they make”. 
We really look forward to spending some quality time with Karie in October. If you have a spare second, check out the workshops she’s teaching during the festival, all details are listed in the programme.
“I am looking forward to returning to Inverness. I have not visited for many, many years and a trip north is very much overdue! I’m really excited about meeting all the knitters, especially seeing everyone’s products in the marketplace, that’s a real treat”.