A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was designing something inspired by my collection of John Clappison Hornsea pottery designs. This is the final pattern that I’ve prepared to launch at Edinburgh Yarn Fest.


This is my favourite Hornsea piece. It is a cruet called “blue onion.” Clappison created it in 1963, and like much of his work of that period, it features a surface design whose clean lines really work with the shape of the object beneath. I love its simple curves. It is strongly suggestive of an onion, without being or imitating an onion. I am very fond of it.

If Clappison’s design suggested an onion, I thought I could create something that suggested Clappison’s design. An onion twice removed. When I looked again at the cruet, what I found most pleasing about it was just how fluid its lines were. Fluidity is sometimes hard to achieve in the surface design of stranded knitting, and I wondered if there was a way to maintain that sleek fluidity by combining colourwork with cables. I saw corrugated rib when I looked at the cruet, and I felt there might be a way of using travelling stitches to make those simple ribbed lines move about in fluid fashion.

After a considerable time charting and recharting, swatching and reswatching, knitting and reknitting (for which enormous thanks are due to Mel, who together with me tirelessly tweaked countless iterations of the design) this is what we came up with:



The hat starts with corrugated rib, out of which the pattern seamlessly develops . . .


. . . the pattern is created out of the rib by moving it around with travelling stitches


And as it draws in toward the crown, the corrugated pattern simply re-emerges, swallowing up the extra stitches . . .


What a fun technique! The end result is a dramatic and graphic design, which is lots of fun to make and with which I’m really very pleased.


While Mel and I were knitting it, we referred to the hat as “the onion.” During the design process, this name morphed into “fun-ion” (because we were having fun creating it) and finally the name morphed into “fun-yin” (which is a Scots way of rendering one-that-is-fun, or that-fun-thing). Like the design itself, its name is an onion at a couple of removes.



How lucky were we with these photographs? I saw these snowdrops coming out in the woods a few miles away, and decided I would style the hat around them. We picked a lovely early-spring morning, and everything looked just right.


Thanks to Tom, as always, for some superb photography.


I’m strongly feeling the need for green right now, and have made this FUNYIN in the very springlike Buachaille shades of Ptarmigan and Yaffle, but you could of course knit one in whatever shades you liked. Mel has created a fabulous version, in which her chosen shades shine almost luminously against each other. We’ll have this on display at our stand at Edinburgh Yarn Fest, so come along and admire it!


Like my other recent design, Miss Rachel’s Yoke and Gauntlets, I am launching Funyin at Edinburgh Yarn Fest as a kit this coming Friday. And if you aren’t coming to Edinburgh, the kits will launch in my online shop on Friday too. (I will be sending out the special offer for newsletter subscribers on Thursday in advance of the launch, so do watch your inboxes!) Finally, if you aren’t interested in a kit, but are keen to knit this pattern – worry not. The Miss Rachel and Funyin designs will also be available to download separately from Ravelry on Friday morning too.

I’ve a busy week ahead so thought I’d get this information out now for those who are asking!

The Funyin and Miss Rachel designs will launch in all formats on:

Friday March 18th.


69 thoughts on “Funyin!

  1. The design name takes me back to a childhood rhyme, taught to me by my Mum. Given we are both fellow Rochdalians maybe it’s something you heard in the playground too:
    ‘Oh (insert name) you’re a funnion,
    You’ve got a face like a scally onion,
    You’ve got a nose like a squashed tomato and legs like bent pins’

    What fun!


  2. Uuups, Kate! Not only do I look a little like you, but now it seems, I have sewn the similar green coat and am surrounded by snowdrops in my garden.The hat as a logic conclusion, is a must-knit for me now. Thank you for the inspiration. It’s nice to be a feel-alike.


  3. What a lovely hat! I did have a little giggle though. Here in the U.S., we have a truly horrible snack called Funyuns. They are also several degrees removed from actual onions.


  4. off topic, but i think right up your alley. if you ever do your knitting book, and even if you don’t, i would kill to read one of your scholarly essays on the issue of elitism and privilege in the slow/sustainable fashion movement. i still treasure the insights your turning me on to arkhipov’s *Homemade* and brown’s *A Sense of Things* led to. is truly sustainable fashion only that which is upcycled from old clothes? isn’t locavore yarn for rich girls and handknits for thin ones? what is the difference between the quilts of gee’s bend, made by poor women out of their husband’s old jeans to keep their families warm, until jane fonda discovered them, and the whole brocket (and about a billion american mommy bloggers) quilt fabric collection phenom? i have always vibrated at the intersections only you seem to come up with between artisanal working class crafts and women’s history. cooooome back, dr. kate! xoxoxo


  5. 1. I love this pattern (and the coat, although I cannot wear double-breasted coats and jackets).
    2. I know what will happen with the skein of Yaffle I’ve been hoarding.
    3. I see that someone has already brought the existence of Funyuns to your attention.
    4. Thank you, finally, for posting about Hornsea pottery and Clappison’s designs. When I was a child, we had a set of his bird-patterned mugs. They are long gone, and I would never have known what they were without your posts. Now I will try to add some back to my own household collection.


  6. Amazing work!

    Unfortunately I look absolutely horrid in that style of hat. Same for my sister. I’ve never knit any of your great hats. Trying to rework one into something with a wide, rolled brim would just destroy the design. Oh well. The eye candy is great fun, as is reading about the process.


  7. Being here in western Canada, I won’t be going to Edinburgh for the yarn fest. Sigh. I won’t be eating any product called Funyun, potato or otherwise, but I will knit the Funyin hat! Likely more than once!
    Hope to see many photos of your booth and all the beautiful things you and Mel have made. I love the projects and the photos, The patterns are so satisfying and enjoyable to make. Many thanks to all of you.


  8. Genius is putting it mildly! everything in concert, the hat, your clothing and the snow drops!! Thanks to you and Tom and of course Mel!


  9. Wow! I just love the hat and will definitely be knitting it! Your whole outfit is, as always, beautiful and so in harmony with your surroundings. Enjoy Edinburgh!


  10. Love the play on words, and it is especially lovely that Funyin can mean something besides a fake onion ring that you get a hunkering for when you are tipsy.


  11. Can’t believe you have woods actually carpeted with snowdrops! We’re lucky to have a few sprout in our gardens. In another 6 weeks, we might have a carpet of trilliums in the woods, but it seems a long way off right now. Best wishes for a successful time in Edinburgh. Wish I could be there instead of here with the snow and ice. Sigh…


  12. Oh, this so makes me wish I didn’t look just awful in a hat. I think it’s perfect! Those snowdrops are the most lovely backdrop for your photo shoot. Did the coat inspire that shade of green when you were creating your color palette?


  13. Love this, the inspiration and the styling! Thanks for sharing your creative process and what inspires you. You are inspirational yourself! xx


  14. The first photo is nearly perfect. I want the skirt, the jacket and the hat. I very badly want to go sashaying through snow drops!


  15. What an interesting pattern that translated very well to a hat!
    Thanks for explaining your process – always intrigues me.
    Tom’s photography is absolutely spectacular and your modeling is exceptional.
    Love, too, the gorgeous country-side.


  16. Snow drops & spring onions….two of the best things to find at this time of year. Your spring fun-yin makes my mouth water! How perfect. Did Tom climb a tree to get the topmost photo?


  17. Oh Kate..what absolutely beautiful and stunning photography and the perfectness of the jacket, dress, hat and snowdrops!! I agree with the others :) you are a genius!!


  18. WOW! Elegant and fun. You are amazing! A visual and textural choreograph that dances to my heart! Once again, well done! You will be a sensation at the EYF ;)


    1. Yes I can see that imagery perfectly now. :) Doctor Who, my favourite programme, and I love this hat as well. Needs to be done in blue and white the other way around. If that makes sense :)


  19. Love the hat. It’s funny – here in the US, we’ve got potato chip type snack called Funyuns. They’re supposed to taste like fried onion rings & are considered really yummy or really disgusting, depending on your position.


      1. They’re one of the more odd things you’ll likely ever eat (considering that they’re ‘snack food’). They’re actually not too bad, but the flavored coating leaves the most terrible flavor in your mouth when you’re done eating them. While you’re still consuming them they’re weirdly delicious in the most disgusting way.


  20. Isn’t it a lovely day. Hope it is like this tomorrow. Come at 10 that is OK. See you then.


    Sent from my iPad



  21. What an absolutely gorgeous design and photo shoot. You have managed to capture the essence of spring in the photos and it made my morning. Thank you once again Kate. I can see why you are so fond of that cruet. Mid-century at its finest.


  22. Gorgeous! Somehow I missed the snowdrops this year but oh, those woods look fantastic. I do have daffodils and crocuses blooming in the backyard though. Can’t wait to see your stand at EYF. I’m thinking a Funyin in Coo and Ptarmigan is just the thing!


  23. Gorgeous design, gorgeous colourway and gorgeous photos. This pottery reminds me so much of everyday tableware when I was a child, lovely memories :-)


  24. This is crazy beautiful! I can’t wait to knit it. As always your photographs are perfect and exquisite. Have great fun and much success at the Yarn Fest.


  25. This is crazy beautiful! I can’t wait to knit it. As always your photographs are perfect and exquisite. Have great fun and much success at the Yarn Fest.


  26. Dear Kate,
    “Luvin” the Funyin. Thank you to Tom and your keen eye to capture such a beautiful spring meadow to display your creativity. Still dreaming of spring hiding under several feet of snow in Canada. You shall have such fun in Edinburgh at the Yarn Fest. Best wishes and may the event by fun-yin for all. Take care,


comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.