I didn't necessarily intend to be a fan, but I guess I am. Here's what I like about Stephen as a designer:
His patterns are accessible to fairly beginner knitters, yet I usually find myself learning another trick to keep in my bag. His patterns are simple and allow a lot of room for reinterpretation; at the same time, they are interesting and have a twist to keep the knitter interested. And of course, his patterns are unique and stylish and versatile.
Stephen holds a special place in my heart because back before he became the knitting celebrity that he is today, he helped reestablish shawls as a hip accessory for men--at least among knitter-folk. I must admit that before I came across his blog, I was rather set against shawl and lace as being "for girls." Since then my feelings have changed. Not everyone agrees with my opinion that guys can pull off wearing shawls and kerchiefs without coming across as flamboyant. But Stephen eased me into a place of comfortability with shawls until I became hooked.
So when Stephen asked me if I would test knit for him, I was flattered. I still am not sure how I made it onto that list, but I love being a part of it. I get to help him see the pattern as a lousy knitter would...or that's sometimes how I feel. For instance, I got stuck on how to wrap yarn in intarsia. It's not rocket science, folks!
Anyway, that's enough words. Now to see the test knits!
Next comes Flagstone, with its interesting geometric appeal:
Here's Skinny Skid. I ruined a nice hat by binding off too tightly on the brim. I'm seriously considering knitting another one so I can try to get it right.
And last but not least comes Westward. This was a fun knit, and it is written for one of my favorite yarns--Malabrigo Twist.
I forgot to mention that, designing aside, Stephen's a gracious person. When I met him, he helped me pick the colors for the Skinny Skid. Good thing I have enough left to try again...