Donita Westman learned to crochet from her mother as a child. She returned to crochet in college, then learned to knit in 2010 and has scarcely been seen without a WIP since. After declaring that she didn’t understand why anyone would ever waste time spinning yarn when there were so many beautiful yarns available, Donita ate her words, learned to spin in 2014, and can’t imagine how she stayed sane previously. In just a few years, she has spun over 18,000 yards of yarn and has more unspun fleeces than she cares to admit.
Drawing on her background as a teacher, Donita is an adamant reader, researcher and student, and has spent a lot of time with learning resources from Judith MacKenzie, Abby Franquemont, Maggie Casey, Amy King, Deb Robson and more. For the first several years as an avid fiber artist, Donita didn’t have any local fiber community, so her ‘knitting group’ was podcasts she could download and listen to on the go, such as The Knitmore Girls. After moving to Columbus, she found LYSs, knitting groups and joined the Central Ohio Weaving & Fiber Arts Guild, where she has served as the newsletter editor, webmistress, and co-chair of the educational programming committee.
How did you first learn to knit?
A college friend, fellow crocheter and knit evangelist, Amy, insisted I must learn to knit. She was SO right.
What’s the first thing you ever knit?
My first knitting WIP was a cowl, from super bulky wool yarn and a pattern called Wham Bam Thank You Lamb! The name made me giggle, and still does.
My first spinning was a 2-ply, super bulky yarn in undyed ‘medium’ wool, which became a lovely cowl!
My first weaving was a kitchen towel from worsted weight cotton that I still have and use!
What’s your best knitting memory?
Time spent with friends while creating our fiber art of choice!
What’s your best funny knitting story?
When I first learned to knit, I wrapped my stitches wrong, creating twisted stitches for every stitch. Twisted stitches don’t stretch like knit fabric. Some of my first knitting was hats for my then-fiance, now-husband, because he couldn’t find hats to fit his XL head. He willingly, and quietly, wore hats with next-to-no stretch or give for about a year before I realized they were all too small for him! I promptly knit him all new hats, as he had definitely proved his knit-worthiness!
What’s on your needles (or hook or spindle/wheel or loom) right now?
Soundtrack by Marie Greene, Gemini by Jane Richmond, and a hat on the needles.
A baby blanket on my 32″ Ashford rigid heddle loom.
Merino/silk roving on my Tibetan spindle; Polwarth on my smallest cross-arm spindle; Texel on my e-spinner.
What’s your favorite place to knit?
Anywhere I have to wait. A project bag in my purse makes me a patient waiter.
What are your favorite kinds of fiber projects?
I love simple, classic pieces done in more modern colors!
What’s your most irresistible fiber temptation?
A nice wool/silk blend gets me every time!
What’s your best advice for beginners?
Practice every day!
Why do you love to teach?
I love seeing the lightbulb moment students have when they ‘get it’! Facilitating that is so rewarding!