Home and away

It’s been an interesting (and busy) couple of weeks. Tom has been travelling around Shetland, finalising the photography for our new book, and I’ve been here, at home, working.


Without Tom, I’ve a tendency to go a bit feral. I eat whatever happens to be in the cupboard, I leave things lying around with no pretence at being tidy, and potter about in my night attire and a gigantic lopapeysa, reading and writing. The idea was to spend the fortnight finalising the patterns for Inspired by Islay (which Jen is currently editing) and to focus my mind a little on beginning a rather different kind of project.

Over the years, I’ve been approached by several different publishers and literary agents about a few different things. Though I’ve considered all offers carefully, none has really, properly gripped me until I was contacted by an agent who had heard my interview on Woman’s Hour. Her agency represents several of the authors of the kind of intelligent non-fiction I myself enjoy reading, she’s clearly a good egg, and I’ve decided to give it a go. I’m really very excited to work with her, have been doing a lot of thinking and reading, and am now writing something in a slightly different vein for publication than I’ve done previously.

So I’ve been spending my mornings working on the new project, and my afternoons on Inspired by Islay. This has been interspersed with packing and shipping shop orders, knitting samples, dealing with the daily demands of accounts and other admin, and getting outside with Bruce. I’ve felt really busy, and have rather enjoyed the busi-ness – apart, that is, from being apart from Tom. When he appeared this morning, having endured an extraordinarily rough overnight North-Sea crossing which I’m glad to have escaped, I realised I hadn’t properly laughed for two weeks, and felt vaguely hysterical.


Shetland in October is always beautiful, but I think Tom was particularly blessed this time with two weeks of incredible golden weather.


When he wasn’t photographing woolly subjects, he was out with his camera enjoying the landscape, and has returned with many beautiful non-book-related images.


I particularly like this photo of the waterfall at the Burn of Lunklet. In order to take it, Tom held the camera on a tripod submerged into the moving water several feet below him.


But Tom was in Shetland not to point his camera at waterfalls, of course, but at wool. He’s spent the fortnight industriously photographing lots of sheep, and folk of many different ages and professions in many different woolly contexts. I’m bowled over by the images, and we are both quite fired up now about this book. The sheer diversity and vitality of the people, jobs, and aesthetics that are involved in the Shetland wool industry is pretty staggering, and we really hope Lives in Oo will get that message across. You’ll see more woolly pictures soon!

While travelling to Yell, Tom ran into Kelli Mc Kee and her husband, who were visiting Shetland from the U.S. Tom took a couple of photos of Kelli, who was wearing beautifully-knitted versions of my Stevenson and Neep Heid designs.


Kelli, these pictures made me really happy! Hope you had a great time in Shetland – I just wanted to say hi.


Talking of Stevenson brings me full circle, to the Stevenson lighthouse that inspired it and whose image begins and ends this rather miscellaneous post!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Kate (and Tom) x