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!

27 thoughts on “Islay colourwork

  1. Dear Kate,
    Dear Kate,
    The highlight of my weeks of late, are your projects and messages. I have only returned to knitting in the last 12 months and my oh my, have you got me inspired. Amazing what a difference one person can have your life. I haven’t done any colourwork before, and while I am very fond of the idea of making the Oa hoody, could you suggest an easier first timer project, that I could successfully finish without giving up in despair if I were to attempt a bigger project…Thankyou for your efforts and creativity that obviously brings so much joy to all of us, cheers from Nives (Melbourne)


  2. Dear Kate, I recently signed up to follow your blog, not sure where I saw it first. Perhaps at Global Yell, where I had a fun day last summer weaving lots of heathery pinks and greens. I grew up in Shetland from 1966 to 1980 and recall the knitting teacher Florence Shearer having a great queue of us with dropped stitches. The first thing we learned to knit in Primary 7 was a pair of fair isle mittens which I gave to my best friend’s baby sister!! Later on in 6th year, I thoroughly enjoyed machine knitting as part of my community learning. Although I did not continue into my adult years, I always like handling wool, fabric and loved it when dyed coloured wool became more fashionable in the late 70s. I bought a super tank top the colour of the landscape and ankle warmers to match. This made a great departure from moorit! I am writing to ask if you know of anyone who takes on knitting projects as I would love to wear your Islay hoodie!! I currently live in Edinburgh. Here is a photo of one of Nell’s designs. I have a few over the years. Best wishes from [image1.JPG] Alison Sent from my iPad


  3. This hoodie looks like a very delicious knit. I am usually rather frustrated with colour knitting but I might learn to do it properly just so I can make this beauty. Your work is stunning, as always.


  4. Your presentation and commitment to excellence in all that you do
    is what interests me. Thank you for lovely products, beautiful photographs,
    insight into your culture and the gorgeous landscape in which you live. I
    came for the knitting and got so much more!


  5. Loving being in the club (little pun from an obstetric sonographer). The anticipation while awaiting the next pattern and the pleasure of opening the email when it arrives. Then downloading the pattern and reading through it. Next task is to look in your online shop to plan colours (but can never improve on the ones you selected). By then it’s Friday and time your informative blog and Tom’s tasting notes. Will be sorry when it’s over. But then, there’s still going to be the book to enjoy, your yarn to handle and actual projects to knit. I think it will be colour work first. Was sold on Oa till Carraig Fhada came out, torn at the moment, that’s what makes it such fun.
    I feel the effort you go to is quite simply breathtaking and very much appreciated.


  6. I really am smitten with Mel’s version of the vest. I can’t believe that one row of one color every so often can make such a huge impact on the overall finished product. I really struggle in putting colors together & this is a great lesson in color & design for me.


  7. The entire membership is worth is for this pattern alone. Love this club idea, Kate, thank you for it.

    But I must ask – is that really Tom?!! Jarl squad member indeed! Happy Up Helly Aa, hope we read about that too.

    All the best from Canada


  8. I’am so happy that I joined the club. I’am loving every pattern I’ve received till now. I can’t choose which one I will make and there are six more comming to choose from! Love the luxeryproblem :) but hope to order some yarn soon because that means I can cast on one of the beautifull designs. Thank you Kate for your inspiration.


  9. Each design and photoshoot has been well up to your standard of excellence. I’m eager to see the rest!

    PS: Thank you for giving us club members first crack at Moonlicht Nicht, but please let us know whether it will be a permanent addition to your yarn-color spectrum. It certainly deserves to be more than a limited edition.


  10. I am loving the club. I am a newbie at knitting but find your patterns very clear and easy to follow. I have ordered the wool for Singing Sands and I am looking forward to steeking even if the thought is frightening the hell out of me! :)


  11. This is a beautiful garment! I’ve been thrilled to receive all of the patterns so far, and I’m looking forward to receiving the remaining patterns in the series. Thank you for creating such wearable, stylish items.


  12. Gorgeous! Islay is such a wonderful place, and we had a great holiday there a couple of years ago – staying in a lovely cottage up on the hillside about that very lighthouse. The cliffs of the Oa did give me palpitations though! So high!


  13. All I can say is… I love them all and as soon as my yarn arrives for the Oa hoody, I will drop everything and start. Thank you very much for such great patterns. Greetings from Switzerland, Christa


  14. I am a very old friend of Mel’s sister-in-law, Audrey, who has encouraged a few of her old university friend’s to start knitting again. I’ve signed up to the newsletter but was interested in joining the club but I don’t know anything about Ravelry.


  15. I am not sure which I admire more, the projects themselves or your patience in waiting to show these. How did you manage keeping them under wrap for so long? I am ready to post a finished product before I weave in the ends! I want to knit both vests before LEJOG. Beautiful!


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