GAL 2014 Designer Interview: Steven Hicks aka RodeoKnits

Steven Hicks – also known as RodeoKnits – is one of the designers participating in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2014. He blogs over at rodeoknits.com. He is a very experienced knitter and designs great accessories. To have a look at the portfolio of Steven Hicks’ designs just follow this link to ravelry.

Quarry Creek Wrap, Plaits and Twists Bag and Steven Hicks.

Quarry Creek Wrap, Plaits and Twists Bag and Steven Hicks.

Hi Steven, welcome to herrlichkeiten.net. A little known fact is that I started this blog about 8 years ago to have a place to share my experience with sewing (and knitting) patterns for guys. That’s where the name comes from: „Herr“ is German for Mister. So let’s start with why your blog is called Rodeoknits?

Many years ago, I was at dinner with some friends and we decided it would be funny to make up nicknames for ourselves. I picked, with the help of several margaritas, “Rodeo” and it stuck. When I needed a screenname for Ravelry, I picked RodeoKnits and that’s the big origin story.

You have been knitting and crocheting a long time – when and why did you start designing?

I came to designing from the teaching side of knitting. I started teaching knitting classes at my local yarn store and found that I needed patterns that taught a specific skill, like cables or lace. Instead of searching for the pattern, I wrote one up myself. All of those first patterns were scarves.

What do you think is your signature as a designer. What makes a design „you“?

I’m still working on defining “me.” Because of my beginning as a teacher, I still find that I classify a pattern as “good” if the knitter will most likely learning something new. I’m learning to accept that a pattern can be “good” even if it’s a simple garter stitch project. I’m also a big fan of lace and texture and prefer to work on projects that look complicated but are actually fairly simple.

I read your great post about the thoughts you put into creating a baby blanket for some friends. I’m going to link that post here So I’d like to know, what do you suggest are questions any knitter (or crafter) should be asking themselves before deciding on a hand-made gift?

I think the most important question for me is “Am I okay if the recipient never uses the gift?” If I’m not okay with that, then I’m definitely not making it. I also try to match a gift to the recipient’s style, but not just fashion style but life style. For example, if they’re not very neat and don’t take care of their belongings, that person is likely to get a small project in easy-care yarn.

Please tell me about a hand-crafted present that you particularly liked – and why so?

One of my knitting students gave me a scarf she knitted following the Noro-striped scarf pattern but using a different self-striping yarn. It meant so much to me because she knew I’d like it but she didn’t know that, even though I already have a lot of scarves, I am very unlikely to spend the time knitting six feet of 1×1 ribbing. I added it to my scarf rotation and wear it frequently in the winter.

My favorite pattern of the ones you have participating in the Gift-A-Long this year is the Bluestone Hat. As you state you want “help a knitter learn a new skill or try a new yarn you love“ with each pattern, my question is, what was the design process and idea behind this pattern and is it the yarn or technique that spruced the idea for this particular pattern?

I read a blog posted by Webs (http://blog.yarn.com/tuesdays-tip-easy-knitted-plaid/) that described a new-to-me technique for plaid that uses a crochet hook and slip stitch to place the vertical plaid stripes. I tried it in a hat and, while the knitting was easy, it was very difficult to get the vertical stripes. So I rethought my process and decided I’d just knit all the stripes in but using separate strands of yarn. It’s a little bit like intarsia but there is no way to get a hole when changing color because the background color is carried over the single vertical columns.

Bluestone Hat by Steven Hicks

Bluestone Hat by Steven Hicks

Thank you Steven for the great interview.

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