In a fit of May Day fervour, I have decided to release CATKIN! Catkin is really two designs: a tunic-length sweater, and an accompanying slouchy hat.


I called these designs CATKIN because the soft hand and haze of baa ram ewe’s Titus yarn reminded me of . . .


. . . and also because the twisted stitch cable panel that runs up the centre of both sweater and hat is caktin-reminiscent.

These designs are simple and classic, so I thought it would be fun to style them in two completely different ways to give you a sense of how they might be worn. First of all, I donned some tweeds and took to the woods. . .


Styled this way, the garments have an almost Edwardian feel. . .


The sweater is tunic-length with sleek tailored lines that sit really nicely with a long skirt.


. . . and neutral yarns work very well with tweeds.


. . . but worn with jeans the sweater suddenly seems much more contemporary


Now, here’s a thing: for about the past decade I have not possessed a pair of jeans, and for the past five there have not been long trousers of any kind in my wardrobe. The only breeks I wore were short ones, in what passes here for Summer. But I got hold of this particular pair especially to style Catkin — and I have honestly found that I cannot take them off. They are just so bloody comfortable for pottering about in, and absolutely ideal with a pair of boots for Bruce-walking. These breeks are a revelation! I am a breek convert! I heart my breeks!


Ahem. Returning to the sweater, you’ll see that it has gentle waist shaping and neat set-in sleeves.


The Titus yarn is lovely to wear next to the skin.


The sweater is knit completely seamlessly, and mostly in the round (the exception being a little back-and-forth to construct the upper body). The sleeves are knit top-down, with short rows making the length easy to adjust for the perfect fit. The end result is very versatile, and is, I think, a style that will suit most women’s body shapes (the size range in the pattern is from 32″ to 50″). Adding, or removing length from the body is very easily done, and there is a note in the pattern about this.


The idea behind the hat was that it could be whipped up over the course of an evening or two, both as a gauge swatch for the sweater, and as a means of familiarising yourself with the structure of the cable panel.


I love the lines of those twisted stitches!

My intention with these designs was to provide a simple, wearable showcase for a lovely British yarn, and I’m really pleased with how they have turned out.

Oh, and if you’d like to see an actual CATKIN for yourself, baa ram ewe currently have the sweater sample that I’m wearing in these photos in their Leeds shop. Why not pop in and have a gander?

I’ve produced both patterns together as an 8 page booklet, which is now available digitally through ravelry, or in print via my Mag Cloud Store. If you are just interested in the hat, a separate pattern for that is also available.

Happy knitting!


68 thoughts on “Catkin

  1. Oh, Kate! What a beautiful Spirit you are! You look fabulous in your breeks, but I am over-the-moon with that skirt! There’s room for both, thankfully. Thank you for sharing; once again, your knitting has inspired and transformed us all!


  2. Oh goodness, I want to knit this, and I want to knit it NOW. If only it weren’t already too warm for wearing such sweaters (and even if it only took me a month, it would DEFINITELY be too warm to wear by that time)!

    I’ll file it away wistfully for fall. Beautiful, well done. And your photos are always so nicely styled and inspiring!


  3. Dear Kate,
    I do not know how I am ever going to stay anywhere near my yarn budget if you contine to blog about such wonderful yarns and to design so beautiful sweaters… But yes, I did order Titus (the dark version) and just have to knit something like your sweater. Thank you very much!


  4. While the hat and sweater are great, what really grabs me and inspires me is all the beautiful photography and the wonderful comments. I feel as if a personal invitation is issued into your knitting wonderland with each blog, thank you.
    ps. Breeks were known to this Coloradoan.


  5. The Catkins are beautiful, you are beautiful, the photos are beautiful… love, love, love!!! And hooray for breeks – I may need to start calling my jeans that. :-)


  6. I do not know what the heck a breek is in American (maybe leggings?) but you look so cute in them! Throw away those baggy dresses and skirts you wear that make you look like you came from another era! Celebrate your great shape!
    And I love the sweater; super design.


  7. I have to say I am disappointed…I had always admired you for NOT wearing “breeks”, despite working, camping, travelling, walking and having Bruce and now this…


  8. Love, love, love the Catkin duo! I may have to run out and buy some yarn and cast on, which is not something I usually do upon first seeing a pattern.

    You rock those jeans!


  9. Oh how lovely! I can also imagine splitting the pattern up the front to make a cardigan – oooh!
    Everyone is being very polite, not asking you where the other garments come from. I am guessing Cabbages and Roses for the tweeds, but the breeks…?


  10. Oh it’s lovely. It’s going in my queue (although I would have called the inspiration “pussy willows”). I love how the neutral shaded yarn works with the cable, it looks cosy and elegant at the same time.

    You look great in your breeks by the way – I think the skinny cut really suits you. I have a lot of skirts but I have been wearing jeans much more since the skinny cut came back, goes so well with boots!


  11. Beautiful! I queued it immediately; now to see what sort of yarn I can find here that would do it justice. And jeans…. I just bought 2 pairs after not having any for years and years. I suspect I’ll wear them every day that the weather permits. Jeans aren’t warm enough for me in winter, but that still leaves 9 months of the year.


  12. Just bought the patterns and went to buy the yarn, but it is sold out! Any idea if they will be able to re-stock it and if so, when? Thanks.


  13. If I am not totally mistaken did you wear trousers on the photo in 2012 when riding your bike, while walking with Bruce 27th of February, and 2nd of April. Maybe you borought them from a friend?


  14. Kate – I really enjoy your designs, for their uniqueness, sense of history, but with Catkin, you have really done an outstanding job. The style is so classical, making me think of the 20s and 30s, but also the tailoring moves it into the 40s and the war years. Altogether, hat and tunic are superlative! Congratulations!


  15. Oh that’s gorgeous! I just want to say, as an aside, how seeing photos of you in action – mid stride even, makes me break into a smile. This sounds weird to me written out (makes me sound creepy!) but it makes me happy to see you out and about with Bruce. You’re both gorgeous :)


  16. Oh if only I could knit…well knit more than a scarf that is!
    I love these and you model them beautifully. I have never heard the word Breeks before?!


  17. Oh, these are beautiful. Titus has a special place in my stash as my grandparents lived in Shipley most of their lives. I remember visiting when I was a child and the Salts Mill was abandoned with broken windows etc. The restoration has just been wonderful (and has one of the most beautiful bookstores in England – what they really need now is a yarn store!) My ancestors actually worked in that mill so I feel all sorts of connections with Titus, not to mention how wonderful the yarn is. I’ve done a fair isle hat with it but am just waiting for the new colours to come out and then I think Catkin will be the perfect project.


  18. Lovely, elegant, timeless design! Your sweater designs more than any other make me think that one day I may actually knit something bigger than a pair of socks. Til that day, I enjoy looking closely at every KD project on rav.


  19. The Catkin suite is a winner! Definitely desirable for my wardrobe. The sweater and hat do have an Edwardian appeal; I can see them on the cover of a yarn company’s pattern booklet from a century ago.

    I always look to you to show me how wearable skirts and dresses can be, but you’re looking great in pants as well. Jeans are still my personal standby – I can take long strides, and scramble through woods and fields, or sit on a bus-stop bench without worrying about ruining my clothes – but your style has definitely inspired me to add skirts and dresses to the playlist more often.


  20. Oh…Kate…I wanted to tell you…I’ve knitted 3 of your Dollheid tams so far! The ladies I’ve given them to love them…the first one my daughter wanted ended being worn by me while we were in Europe last month in the cold weather! It kept me warm…thank you…I have promised to knit a few more for a handful of my lovely girlfriends! Just ordered a Spindrift yarn sample book to pick out other colour combos…

    While traveling, I started the BMC! LOVE it…thank you for all your amazing patterns…
    At the moment, I’m experiencing a sewing phase…making some new tunics for the nice weather in Northern CA…but I can see a light wool tunic (fabric from my stash) coming my way this weekend that will match the BMC ;-)


  21. Breeks? Never heard the term. But I love the tunic and hat combo. Those and breeks look smashing on you. I love them, and am inspired to knit a set!


  22. 3 things: 1. wowsers, that sweater and hat are gorgeous. yes. 2. holy crap: the tweed blazer and long skirt! where can an American person find items such as these? 3. you look great in pants! it could have a lot to do with Catkin, but I’m liking this look for you.


    1. Great use of the Titus, and I’m so pleased I bought enough for two jumpers! Couldn’t make up my mind between the dark and light so bought both – it is a long way back to Baa Ram Ewe from here :-)


  23. Oh, very nice (and I love the hat-as-gauge-swatch)! Bruce seems to love your breeks too. :)

    FYI – there’s a rather well-known shawl with the same name, Catkin. Don’t know if that hurts or helps, or even whether or not you give a fig, but …


    1. I’m aware of the shawl – that’s why the patterns are carefully distinguished from it in the ravelry database ‘catkin sweater’, ‘catkin hat’ etc


  24. I absolutely love these two designs! I think it looks particularly good on the hat, with the lines going down on the border… just love it! Oh, and what else do I love so much? Your gorgeous vest!! I so want a tweed vest… Also so love the whole look at the beach! Beautiful! Beautiful…


  25. Gorgeous. I love the whole look of the hat and sweater and the trousers. I can honestly say I have not worn any dresses or skirts in ages unless I am going on a job interview or special event. Funny how we all are so differ but I love for your designs are the same. Always love what you put out just do not have time to knit them all. Kudos.


  26. Oh…Kate! I love it! MUST knit and have it ready for Fall…I promised my hubby I will use up all my yarn in stock before I buy more…but…this is SO tempting…

    Glad to see you are doing well…


  27. OK, you just tempted me BIG TIME and the only way to fix that is to give in to it!!! Ordering your patterns NOW……and NOW to get some Titus………..and it’s coming to the states when??? On another note I have all those wools in fleece form………hmm, now there’s a project for me :)
    You look fabulous and we are all happy to see that! Do love tweeds. Tempting to weave some, esp the Scottish District patterns.


  28. Lovely, catkins remind me of when I was wee many, many moons ago. The sweater is beautiful and the pictures of you and the beastie are wonderful. That’s this month’s budget spent ;-)


  29. Yep, this relatively well-educated American had no idea what breeks were. Had to look it up. And now that I know, I want them :) And I want that hat and sweater! They’re lovely, as are all of your designs.


  30. I love both styles pictured and the patterns are beautiful. I think it was Angelina Jolie who said that she doesn’t own a pair of jeans because she knows she would wear them all the time. I understand that…in my pre-motherhood career days I mostly wore skirts and dresses, but with two kids and being in grad school I wear jeans all too often!


    1. Wonderful Kate, thanks for those. I love both hat and sweater, and am sorely tempted to pick up my needles … which is a huge mistake, as I am the world’s worst knitter (childhood trauma, my mum had to go up to the school to sort it out). I am also so slow, and incapable of doing anything else while I knit, when already I don’t have enough time to read, write, walk, climb and sew. So … where did you get the tweed suit? Did you make it yourself? I love the skirt, how many pleats are there? It is similar to one I made years ago – I’m sure I have the pattern somewhere still – but I never thought of doing it in tweeds – re-inspiration!! Thanks!


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