Rainbow shades

It’s the final week of the Inspired by Islay club, and we’ve released the final group of patterns. This grouping is is inspired by the beautiful Rhinns of Islay, where the fast-moving skies are never the same from one moment to the next, and are frequently lit up by rainbows.


Each of the patterns in this grouping features a rainbow.


Last year, when knitting a square for a blanket for my friend Úna’s new baby, I felt very inspired by the collective labour of the gift, with each knitter making their contribution and being represented in the final object in his or her square.

So I decided to design a modular blanket for this collection.


Each square of the blanket features the same, simple openwork motif, which is knitted over a combination of stockinette and garter stitch in a bright shade of Buachaille. I like a really neat finish on a blanket, so devised a straightforward method of connecting each of the squares in turn, before joining each of the strips together and finishing with i-cord. You’ll find this method fully outlined in a new video tutorial, capably demonstrated by Mel.


Many of you know Mel, and if you’ve dealt with her will know just how brilliant she is. I first met her at my Edinburgh knitting group ten years ago, and immediately found a talented creative friend. Since the moment I began making knitting my business, Mel has also been my indispensable right-hand woman and I’m very happy to say that that indispensability is now a permanent state of affairs. Mel is now working with us full time at KDD. A MASSIVE HURRAH FOR MEL!


Ahem. The Port Charlotte yoke sweater is the second pattern in the series.


I’ve had the idea of a dotted yoke in graded shades on my mind for several years. It was in my list of ideas when I was working on Yokes, but never made the final list as I did not knit a swatch that really pleased me – perhaps the design was just waiting to be knit in Buachaille.


The pattern is created with slipped stitches, which only ever use one shade per round, and which create a fantastic textured effect as well as a happy pop of colour. I enjoyed the pattern so much, I used it again on the group’s final pattern, the Sraid a’Chladaich / Shore Street hat.


In this part of Islay, the island’s important Gaelic cultural heritage is particularly strong. You can read more about this in the Inspired by Islay book in an essay by Anna MacQuarrie, and this jolly hat is named for the Port Charlotte street on which Anna lived when she was working in Islay.


These pictures were taken of Tom pre-beard, but they actually now reflect the currently hairless state of his physiognomy. I do not regret the absence of the beard, but I am very sorry that we had to miss the the Bressay Up Helly Aa due to my ill health last week. But things are improving for me now, and I should be at Edinburgh Yarn Fest a week next Friday together with Tom, Mel, Gordon, and Jen, and the whole Inspired by Islay collection. We’ll be on stand E5 and will be very happy to see you. It occurred to me the other day that we will be attending the show with three more books on our stand than we had this time last year: The Book of Haps, and Shetland Oo, as well as Inspired by Islay. What a busy twelve months it has been. Every project has been incredibly rewarding, but have to say that I’m particularly proud of this one.