We’ve had a lot going on in 2018!

We began the year with West Highland Way.


I created twelve designs for this book, and I also enjoyed the writing I produced for it. Together amounting to the same length as a novella, the West Highland Way essays cover a series of topics that you might not expect to find discussed in a book of knitting patterns — from the representation of Rob Roy McGregor, to the development of hydroelectricity in the Scottish Highlands; from the wonderful Gaelic poetry of Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir (Duncan Ban MacIntyre) to the surprising story of the Ben Nevis Observatory. I loved writing these pieces and have had some nice feedback about them – I’m just glad you like reading what I write as well as knitting what I design!


West Highland Way is a book about the landscape in which I live but it is a project close to home in another sense as well – encapsulating what I enjoy so much about our life: that I’m able to explore different ideas as a designer, a maker, and a writer – that Tom is able to share in that process through his photography – and that we in turn get to share the results of those explorations together in books like this.

(Highland Rogue)

I can’t ask for much more, really.

I think my design mojo was seriously reinvigorated this year by our new yarn – Milarrochy Tweed.

With Milarrochy Tweed, I produced another small collection – Shore

And edited a book of hats by a brilliant group of designers, whose work really shows the variety and versatility of this interesting yarn.

If you are looking for a copy of Milarrochy Heids the new print run is imminent, and the book will be back in stock in the shop toward the end of next week (though we won’t be able to start shipping copies until the New Year).

I think Tom’s photography makes Milarrochy Heids a particularly stunning book, and, working on his own projects, he’s had a very creative and productive year as well. Tom published Range – a thoughtful and meditative exploration of our local area . . .

And Latitude, in which he explored the making and experiencing of landscape in several different ways.

I know he particularly enjoyed making and binding the hand-made books produced as part of the Latitude project: a particularly Tom-like mingling combination of art and craft that I suspect he’ll be exploring more of (should I be worried about the appearance of mysterious cardboard tubes and strange talk of integrating me into a camera obscura?)

Tom’s projects mark one of several different directions KDD has taken this year. We’ve moved the business to a bigger space, and have also welcomed the amazing Jane to the KDD team – who, as well as looking after the books and yarn you order has done some sterling work as, ahem, top heid.

I’ve been working with great suppliers around the country developing new knitwear lines:


and most significantly, sweaters.

I’ve also branched out and done some different business-related things, sharing my expertise with other organisations, and giving a few talks. The most significant of these was the Federation of Small Business annual dinner, where I was very proud to share the bill with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

May I just say that as well as being a model of calm, intelligent political leadership (that stands in refreshingly stark contrast to the current shambolic state of things in Westminster), the first minister also has a fantastic sense of humour and a mum who is a knitter?

If I look nervous – that’s of course because I was.

But one project has really dominated this year for me.

I did not produce this book for any sort of personal gain. I wrote it because I wanted to: because my experience of stroke has taught me something; because I had something to say and because I hoped others, who found themselves in similar situations of ill-health and disability might find it useful. Without a doubt, writing Handywoman was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my working life. But publishing it has certainly been the most rewarding. Your responses to Handywoman have meant an awful lot to me this year. Thankyou for reading my book.

I’d meant this post to have a retrospective glance at some more personal 2018 stuff as well – but I think I’ll stop there for now!

20 thoughts on “the working year

  1. This is a great post about your beautiful year! Congratulations and best wishes for the 2019! You’re so inspiring and I can’t wait to get your “Book”! As a watercolor artist and illustrator myself with a past in fashion design and a love for Scotland I enjoy very much to see all your creativity in your art from your designs to the wonderful photos! Kate you’re an amazing woman! Merry Christmas and lots of love from the overseas USA to you two! <3

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My closest work colleague suffered a brain aneurysm a month ago and is now starting his recovery. I gave my copy of Handywoman to his wife — I found it such an educational illuminating work and I’m sure she will too!


  3. Kate, This is such an amazing list of what you have accomplished in 2018. WOW. I am so looking forward to the newest club, starting in January. It will be my third! I am constantly telling my friends, non knitters, that your books are not just a collection of knit patterns. I think I love the essays even more than the patterns. You are still very much a scholar, in addition to all the other hats you have taken on since your stroke. Finally, very much because of your books, I am now hoping to travel to Scotland every year, for as long as I can… Thank you thank you for ALL that you do. It ALL enriches my life enormously.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You two are a marvel – and I’m taking this time of year to thank you for all the postings, designs, writing, and photos. You make my life more enjoyable – just to read all that you accomplish vicariously.
    Have a wonderful holiday season and a great new year.


  5. You never stop do you? Just wonderful how you manage to keep it all together and continually produce amazing pieces, knitted and written. thank you for that.


  6. A year of great accomplishments. I love and admire all you do Kate; but I still wrapping my head around Handywoman, which is just and continually amazing in every way.


  7. So much to celebrate! Such an expanding and absorbing year’s work. Please include that gorgeous dress (that you wore to speak at the FSB dinner) in your next pattern release. I think I have to have one! The latest pictures of you make you look as if you’ve found exactly the right pace and place for yourself. Here’s to a balanced, healthful, and thoroughly rewarding 2019 for you and your team!


  8. Hey Kate,
    Thanks for all you’ve done this year, again! Apart from all the design work and products, I always immensely enjoy your essays and articles on here, so thank you for that. Hard to imagine Millarochy is only a year old. It’s a great yarn and I love all that’s been designed for it.
    I’ve heard Nicola Sturgeon is an avid reader too – I think the first minister’s office would quite enjoy a reading Handywoman!


  9. I only discovered you in Spring this year and have been hooked all year. A friend had posted on Instagram re knitting a Carbeth. I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about and, having lived in Milngavie for many years, was very interested to find out. At times like this google is great and I found you. I have read many of your archived posts, bought a few books, including handywoman for myself and several copies as presents for others. I feel very lucky to have been able to buy a limited edition of your new club. I just can’t say how much I admire you and wish you Tom and the rest of your wonderful team
    a lovely Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.


  10. Kate , you are a wonderful woman in so many ways .I I know you are shy of admiration but please take it . This has been a wonderful year for us and your participation ( and Tom’s) has meant so much to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations on such an incredibly productive year! You and Tom do fantastic work. I am so happy to have two of Tom’s photos as well as all of your books. Here’s to 2019!


  12. That is an amazing amount of work! I’m so happy you’ve been successful. I hope you can share a little more some day about your business model, because it gives me hope. Congratulations to you and your team/family on a banner year.


  13. I’ve lurked your ravelry pages for a number of years, and only recently began reading your blog, and I’ve found so much hope, inspiration, and wonderful goodness in these pages. Thanks for doing what you do and pursuing this crafty life (and sharing it with the rest of us!) I’m grateful.

    P.S. Just finished my first Carbeth, wore it immediately and then blocked it, wore it again and cast on the cardigan instantly. What a great pattern and sweater. I look forward to knitting more KDD designs in 2019!!


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