a busy week

It has been one of those weeks. Our van was involved in an accident and had to be repaired; our roof guttering collapsed under the unusual weight of four feet of snow and had to be replaced, and some long-awaited deliveries have still not turned up due to weather-related delays.

But it has been a good week too.

The West Highland Way book is now at the proof-preparation stage, which is always very exciting. I’m so very pleased with the collection of designs, and indeed feel proud of the whole project. Would you like to see Tom’s latest video from Rannoch Moor? Here it is.

The West Highland Way book will be published in a few weeks time, and there’s still time to join the club, if you can’t wait till then (you’ll receive all patterns and essays and a copy of the book shipped to you anywhere in the world as soon as it is published).

Last week I was really honoured to be included in the Federation of Small Business’ 100 Women campaign
for International Women’s Day . Only 21% of SMEs (small and medium businesses) in Scotland are run by women. I’m proud to be one of them, but I’m with the FSB in wanting that figure to rise! People occasionally ask me why I’m a member of the FSB and I always say that it is much the same thing as being in a trade union – something that really doesn’t exist for individual small business owners in niche creative fields like mine – who are very often women, and who can often feel isolated or unsupported. From being a sole trader with a fledgling microbusiness, to the well-established three person (plus one dog) creative enterprise that we are now, I have always been able to turn to the FSB for advice and support on a whole range of matters, legal, personal and financial. Through the FSB I have been able to have meaningful conversations with politicians and policy makers, and local contacts I’ve made through the organisation have become my suppliers, my customers and my friends. Some of the issues the FSB campaigns on may not be directly relevant to me or KDD, and sometimes there’s a difference of opinion between my take on an issue and theirs, but the experience of such differences is completely routine among members of political parties – or indeed, trade unions – and I’m totally comfortable with that. I’ve found that simply being a member of the FSB has made me usefully attentive to the current political and economic climate (essential at the moment) as well as offering an important source of clear information about forthcoming likely changes to which businesses like mine must adapt. So I was really proud to be part of the 100 Women campaign and particularly so when my MSP, Bruce Crawford, mentioned KDD in the context of that campaign in a motion in the Scottish Parliament. Thank you, Bruce, and thank you FSB!

On Saturday I gave a talk about my forthcoming book, Handywoman at a TEDX event organised by Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. It was a great day, with talks on many fascinating topics including developing specialist scientific signs in British Sign Language and the ethical implications of creating AI with the capacity for empathy / suffering. I really enjoyed the whole event (and will let you know when the talks are available on YouTube). I also want to say a big thank you to the lovely knitters who came along to hear me: I definitely felt I was among friends when I saw handknits and working needles in the audience! I will be talking more about Handywoman this weekend at Edinburgh Yarn Fest (EYF), and later in the spring at Woollinn, in Dublin. If you are coming to EYF, I look forward to seeing you there. If you aren’t attending, and have not already done so, why not sign up for our shop newsletter and keep your eyes peeled for an EYF-related promotion we will be running later this week?

As well as being Mother’s Day, the week closed with my Dad’s birthday, and we joined my sister, Helen, for a lovely meal, to celebrate my parents (about whom you’ll hear more if you come along to my EYF talks this weekend!)

My dad just turned 81, but is still happy to scale a 5 bar gate to lark around with us in a mirrored cabin by a loch.

Happy birthday, Dad!

PS – because I know you’ll ask – yes, I knitted my Dad’s hat – from a lovely skein handspun in Islay by talented Susan Campbell.