What I love about knitting and crochet is that there is a real practicality achieved from the projects you spend time making, something exceptionally highlighted by our August Fibre Artist feature. Steph is a generational knitter, taught by her mother and grandmother and like so many of our fibre artist community, uses her creative skill sets for wellbeing, as well as making beautiful, practical items for herself and her family.
Steph doesn't shy away from a challenge either and she has also recently helped me to showcase some of our more unique ribbons in yarns by knitting and crocheting a series of fun home wares and clothing items in sari silk, wool and banana fibre yarn.
I also love a good goal and as you read on, you will see Steph has created a wonderful challenge for herself, one in which I know she will achieve.
Lets meet Steph.
Tell us in a few sentences a little bit about yourself:
I live in Blackheath with my wife and our four children. I don't work outside of my fibre obsession because I have a disability. As a wheelchair user who can only go small distances on my feet with a walking stick to help me along, my passion for knitting and crochet is what keeps me sane!
Please share one random/ interesting fact about you.
I learnt to knit and crochet when I was 4 years old. My mother and grandmother taught me. I do that controversial style of continental knitting because my family immigrated from Poland when my mum was 5 years old. I also was taught cross stitch, long stitch and embroidery, however I didn't like those as much (I still have the skills, although my Babcia says my stitches aren't neat enough😂)
Which fibre art/s has sent you down the rabbit hole?
I am currently really obsessed with fairisle knitting or stranded knitting. Making a wonderful pattern out of string feels like some kind of magic
How long have you been creating?
Around 40 years (but I started young)
How/Why did you get into it? What motivates you to create now?
I started because that's what the women in my family did, and from the start I loved it. What motivates me now is that it is an outlet for my creativity. I love having a vision and bringing it to life
What are your future fibre goals?
I want to get to a point where I can freehand my own fairisle work. I'm also about to tackle my first steek. About a year ago I decided to try and make myself a complete hand made wardrobe and get rid of all my shop bought clothes. That's going well, buy I still have a way to go
Who do you make your pieces for?
Family, friends, myself, I also take the odd commission piece here and there
What is it about fibre art that makes you love it the way you do?
I think it's a number of things, the creativity I mentioned above, the knowledge that I am doing something that generations of women in my family have done for many, many years throughout history, makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself, and on a smaller scale I really like the tactile stimulus of holding the yarns and needles and hooks in my hands, it's very soothing and a real stress cure
What is your most challenging piece to date? Pics would be amazing.
The fairisle dress I just finished. That was a massive challenge for me
How have you learnt your craft - self-taught, workshops, books, online tutorials?
As mentioned above, originally taught by my mother and grandmother, and now if I want to learn a new something I look online and see what I can find
Do you have a favourite book or tutorial you would recommend?
.A good set of knitting and crochet reference books with stitches and techniques is essential I think
What fibre artist inspires you the most?
I absolutely love Katie Jones, she is an amazing designer and her use of colour is so vibrant and makes my heart happy
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting into the craft but isn’t sure?
Try it, you might like it!
Best Tip or Trick?
There are people out there who will correct the way you hold your hook or needles, the way you hold your yarn, the way you combine colours and patterns and textures etc because apparently "that's not the way it's done", don't listen to them! If you get the stitches where they need to go it doesn't matter how you get there, and as for patterns and colours and things, it's supposed to be fun! Let your mind go wild and don't worry about "shoulds"
What is your favourite knot/technique to do? Why
It changes all the time depending on my obsession of the day, but at the moment it's stranded knitting
Neutrals or colour?
Are you drawn to pattern or texture?
Both, but not necessarily together at the same time, it depends on how the colours and textures blend
What would you say is your style? Geometric, boho etc
What is your favourite VADA BLUE fibre to use and why?
I love the banana yarn. The colours are gorgeous and the texture adds a pop of detail. It's the best for home decor and even headbands!
Where can you find your work? Ie: online, markets, website, shop?
Mostly on my Instagram but I also have a Facebook page. My disability makes it hard for me to get out and about to markets etc
If you have a social media account – let us know.
It is incredible to see Stephs' skills at hand across so many various pieces of clothing and home wares, and I am especially in love with her creations of bowls, cushions, headbands and collars made with our Sari Silk and Banana yarns which you can view more of on Instagram. If you love Stephs work as well, head over to the Instagram link above and follow her page.. In the meantime you can explore some of Steph's favourite Vada Blue yarns. Below I have popped the links to our featured yarns seen above.