As you may know, my multi-talented friend Felicity Ford (aka Felix) frequently helps me out by producing illustrations of my designs, for reproduction in my patterns and books. I found her Yokes drawings really pleasing, and particularly so when they were illustrated collectively, as they are on page 5 of the book, and above.

So I decided to get some new tote bags made.


When you start manufacturing and printing things, whether that’s bags or books or whatever, you find yourself having to consider all sorts of matters that would never have crossed your mind before . . . paper stock, glues and bindings, types of fabric, different printing and stitching processes, labour conditions, environmental practices, and so on. I can honestly say I never imagined I’d spend as much time as I do thinking about the weight of printed paper, or, in the present case, tonal printing and gussetting. As I’ve made a few of these totes now, I have a good idea of the sort of thing I like, and the sort of thing that is possible to produce. The Yokes totes are a little different from my previous bags in a few respects. First, we’ve used a few shades of grey in order to best reproduce the pleasing tonal effect of Felix’s pencil drawings. . .


. . . and I’m really pleased with how the illustrations have turned out on the finished fabric.


Second, the bags are made from a good quality 5oz cotton and are gussetted, which makes them pleasingly robust and sturdy.


They are also manufactured from fairly traded cotton, and printed in the UK, by a company with fully transparent environmental and ethical policies, which is important to me.


In short, I am pleased with these totes, and if you fancy one, you’ll now find them on sale in my shop.

And if you are interested in Felix’s process when illustrating my designs, you may like to read this post.

10 thoughts on “yokes totes!

  1. ‘a few shades of gray’, I guess there weren’t 50. Leave me my claim to negative fame – I haven’t read the book, and don’t intend watching the movie.

    The totes are gra(y)te! I wish you every success. I am sure they will be snaffled-up.


  2. Thank you for going the extra mile for all your goods! I have attended at least one conference a year for several years now, so I have a mound of tote bags of dubious manufacture. Once they wear out… Will you bring back your tea towels? I am always eager to add another tea towel to the pile!


  3. Dear Kate

    Hello from New York on a very chilly Sunday afternoon.

    Kate, I wanted to tell you how moving I have found the posts you’ve written about experiencing your stroke, recovering from that stroke, and your reflections on how your life changed. I do think that you are a wise and generous woman, and a marvelous designer. I am pleased to report that I have almost, almost finished knitting my hap from your excellent pattern and have enjoyed every stitch along the way.

    Your interview with Gudrun, who’s another very fine designer, was very interesting. My friend Lori Ann Graham went on last summer’s Shetland tour with Gudrun, and I hope to travel on one of these tours one of these days. Meanwhile, it was great fun to listen to the BBC program about Shetland knitting. I’ve also ordered a copy of the winter issue of 60N, to expand my armchair travel experiences.

    Before this message gets too long, I would like to thank you again for all that you do give your readers. It is much appreciated by this reader.

    Best wishes, Frances Oakley



  4. So very pretty! I adored your book “Yokes” and this looks like the perfect tote for me! What was so neat to see in the book “Yokes” was the mention of the Royals coming to Saint John, NB Canada in the 1980’s and the people wearing the yoke sweaters at that event. I was wearing mine, knit by my cousin, when I shook Prince Charles’ hand.


  5. ‘we’ve used a few shades of grey’…………cracked me up!!! NO I haven’t read the book or seen the movie!
    The tote is wonderful, I really appreciate the effort taken re the production of these for fairly traded cotton etc. Good Job to both of you :)


  6. Lovely to hear the totes are back :) I browsed the shop past weekend and was sorry to see that there was non of Felix’ designs left… Will there also be new tea towels?


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