Islay colourwork

Good morning! We’ve now reached the half-way point in the Inspired by Islay club and I thought I’d catch up here by showing you the last three patterns I’ve designed.
The collection has been created in four groups of three (each of which features a different style of knitting, and is inspired by a different area of Islay). This group of patterns all use stranded colourwork, and the designs were inspired by The Oa – a beautiful peninsula at Islay’s south-west corner.

Kate in the Oa hoody

The Oa hoody is an allover colouwork design, with a traditionally Nordic feel, but a contemporary look.


The hoody is knit all in one piece – from the bottom of the hem to the top of the hood – and features a nifty technique of two-colour grafting to make the design completely seamless (for which I’ve produced a new tutorial).


I love the look of colourwork worked boldly over two shades, and the next design – the Singing Sands features a similarly graphic motif with strong diagonal lines.


This simple pattern (known as “bean flower” in some sources) looks just as good on the reverse as it does on the “right side” – making it a great motif to use for a scarf or wrap.


Singing Sands is knit in the round, as one giant loop. There’s a small steek which, when cut, allows the scarf to transform from a loop to a long, flat piece of fabric. Great for a chilly coastal walk!


The final design in this group is one of which I’m particularly proud for several reasons – among which is its adaptability.


It’s a fairisle vest called Carraig Fhada (pronounced karr-ack at-ah). The pattern comes with several options: a choice of colourway, a choice of necklines, a wide size range (up to 60 inches), and different ease and styling choices.


Mel’s grey vest has a crew neck and is worn with zero ease and waist shaping.


While Tom’s blue vest has a V neck and is worn with an inch and a half of positive ease.


The two colourways give a different feel to the vest as well.


A neutral palette with a single accent shade allows the vest to pick up, in quite a subtle way, the colours of the garments or accessories you pair it with.


While a 6-shade palette, graded sequentially from dark blue to yellow across a large motif, lends the fabric of vest the visual mobility that’s characteristic of many fairisle designs.


I love designing colourwork, and am very fond of these three patterns, both individually and as a group.

If you haven’t already done so, and are interested in joining the club, you’ll receive the six already-issued patterns, the six to come, as well as all club newsletters, discounts and perks.

And today I can also reveal the cover of the Inspired by Islay book, on which Mel and myself are depicted in front of Carraig Fhada, in Islay. The book will go out to club members in March.


I’m having great fun working on this project, and there’s much more to come yet!