I seem to have published a lot of designs in 2018, including thirteen different sweaters. This fairly large number is due to the fact that, in the past year or so, I’ve found my energy for my design work has been massively renewed by different shapes.

I’ve created easy throw-over garments with grown-on sleeves and grafted shoulders.



I became interested in combining really simple shapes to wrap the body in different ways


I loved creating quick-to-knit sweaters that could be worn cropped and wide, and layered up



I liked taking my knitting in different directions, widening sleeves, changing angles

St Catherines

And I enjoyed exploring the vast potential of oversized garments.


I’d say that my Strathendricks – in both the stranded and two-colour versions – are the garments I’ve enjoyed most – in both the designing and the wearing – in 2018.

A lot of the really hard work of designing goes very much unseen. I would like to say much more about my process here, but the lead times between an idea and the final appearance of a pattern are often very long, and it is important not to share ‘secret’ stuff (such as when I’m working with a new yarn that won’t be released for several months). So no one really knows when I’m challenged by a spreadsheet, when the numbers don’t work out, when I shelve an idea because it’s just not working out, or when I just abandon a project because my fickle design-mind has moved on to be grabbed by something new (this happens quite a lot). So it may perhaps surprise you to know that one of my key designs of 2018 is this ostensibly simple-looking little cardigan:

Oran do Chaora

The integrated upper-body shaping of Oran do Chaora is really pretty nifty (and quite frankly a bit of a bear to grade). I had to do a lot of musing about decreases and the relationship between shoulders, underarms, necks, and bodies when working on this design.

Indeed, I would say that it was all of this intense thinking about different decrease rates that led directly to the get-rid-of-all-the-body-stitches notion that formed the basis of the Carbeth patterns.

Carbeth Cardigan

Such are the unpredictable routes through which one design leads to another.

I’ve taken several such routes when developing my Knitting Season collection. When you see the resulting designs, some of these routes may be obvious to you, and some perhaps far less evident. You’ll see explorations of my classic themes (yokes, colour), some expansions of developing ideas (sleeves), and some completely new directions. I think it’s my most interesting collection yet – and certainly my most bold or ‘creative’. I’m really looking forward to sharing Knitting Season with you in 2019!

Today is Tom’s birthday (happy birthday, Tom!) which marks the start of our wee break. Hope you all have a lovely restful festive season xx

40 thoughts on “different shapes

  1. Happy Birthday to you, Tom! And, thank you for all the wonderful photos I have been enjoying all these many years. You and your artistry are a treasure.

    Kate & Tom, I hope you both have a lovely wee break. Happy holidays to you and the boys, Bruce & Bobby.


  2. Love your designs, I am very inspired. As a slow knitter I feel frustrated, often thought of learning continental knitting, but I don’t really know if that is the answer. Looking forward to all your future designs. thank you for all your sharing.


  3. I knitted a two-color Strathendrick, rather filled with trepidation as I wasn’t sure how it would look on me – and it, too, has become my go-to, favorite sweater of the year! (Which has been a very Kate Davies designs year – Carbeth, the Rob Roy cowl, Strathendrick, the Shieling, St. Catherines; I guess I’ve been obsessed!) Happy birthday to Tom :)


  4. Thank you both for stretching my horizons both with the needles and the camera.
    Have a lovely and merry Christmas and good health and prosperity along with all that creativity in 2019.


  5. Merry Christmas and Hogmanay! to you and the doggers. You really have had a bang up year and I must say, the Oran do Chaora is my absolute favourite. be well and enjoy the season!
    Happy Birthday Tom and thank you for such support you give Kate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy birthday Tom! And wishing you both a Happy Christmas and New Year – I am almost finished the third of my knits this year – Stronachlachar – to go with my Carbeth jumper and Carbeth cardigan, both of which I love. Having never knitted before the start of 2018, I am just amazed that I have managed to make things I like wearing, that suit me, and that fit! Thanks for the designs Kate – and here’s to whatever my next project will be (Mr McGregor is after a Gansey…..)


  7. Happy Birthday, Tom and may all the blessings of the Season stay with you throughout the year. I know you are thousands of miles away, but I feel, through your beautiful pictures and Kate’s beautiful designs, like we are old friends. You and Kate are two of the many blessings I am thankful for this year. All the best. Linda D.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Birthday, Tom !
    Kate, I have never looked forward to a post the way I look forward to your posts. I am a kid at Christmas time.
    The joy of the Season and Happy New Year to you and Tom.


  9. Happy Birthday Tom. Thank you Kate and Tom for all the beauty and inspiration you have created this year. I’m looking forward to enjoying more of your work in 2019.


  10. Thank you for this fascinating insight into your design process. I will have to go back and look at Oran do Chaora. I do not own a Carbeth but it reminds me a great deal of the December sweater from EZs Knitter’s Almanac, in a more updated style.

    You have mentioned spreadsheets for grading more than once. It’s obvious to use them now that you say that, but I’d not heard of it before. Is your grading methodology your own, or can you point the aspiring design to any resources you have found helpful?

    I can only imagine what it’s like to have such a lag between inspiration and writing about the process! I’d have to keep notes on my own excitement before it abandoned me!

    Ps happy birthday Tom. Or as we say in Inuit country, quviasugit nagligivagit! (Be happy, it’s your birthday!)

    Pps thanks so much Mel for superfast response to my shipping problem.

    Happy holidays!


  11. Tom, hope.your birthday break is just what you want it to be. Wishing you Kate and your families a very happy, prosperous and more importantly healthy year to come.
    Thank you for sharing all you do.


  12. Happy Birthday Tom! Seasons Greetings to you Kate and your team, including Bruce and Bobbie. I am looking forward to next years club and starting a journal. I love your designs and I get wonderful compliments whenever I wear them. I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings! I have my knitting needles and yarn ready!


  13. And may I add that, thanks to you, 2018 has been a year of wonderful and inspiring knitting adventures for many of us.
    Buon Natale e Buon Anno a tutti voi da noi qui a Roma. (E Auguri, Tom!)


  14. Thank you for everything this year-looking forward to 2019! My nice big package, my Christmas present, has arrived today! It will be difficult waiting until Christmas!!! Will have to get on with the grids in the meantime. Thank you again and have a restful holiday!!!!


  15. Thank you so much Kate for sharing so much of yourself with us. Your creative mind is something else. Thank you Tom for your amazing photography. Thanks to your team of talented helpers too.
    A very Happy Birthday Tom 🎈🎉


  16. De allerbeste wensen voor het Nieuwe Jaar vol inspiratie. Ik hou van je stijl, eenvoud siert. Na nieuwjaar ga ik de Ásta Sóllilja breien voorbereiding klaar. Geniet nu maar.


  17. Happy birthday Tom. It is my daughter’s birthday today too (but I don’t get to share that much, she is in the States). And my son’s tomorrow (he’s in Australia this year, so amazingly just this once my children celebrate their birthdays on the same day!). Have a wonderful day, a lovely Christmas, and all good things for 2019.


  18. Happy Birthday, Tom!! I’m looking forward to more lovely photos from your creative mind/camera. Kate, I’m eagerly awaiting the beginnings of Club #3 and my Journal. Happy Holidays to you all!


  19. A comment about Handywoman . . . I read it. My mind was blown away by it. Impressed by your courage. So many emotions – I think I shared those already. I never expected to NEED it quite so soon. A friend experienced a stroke on November 11. She is 64, so of an age that a stroke would be a common diagnosis. She has few residual signs of having suffered brain damage. She does, however continue to have pretty severe brain fatigue at unpredictable times. No-one talks about that – least the doctors and therapists didn’t warn her. I knew because you shared your experience and I was able to share with her. The knowledge empowered her to cast away fear and be open with her employees and her supervisor.

    I am writing today to say ‘thank you’ . . . for having the courage to write about your experiences. I was merely an onlooker of your experience, Kate. I read the book because I admired your work as a writer (I discovered your work on knitting history a long time ago). I admired your work as a knitwear designer. Truthfully, I was probably just a random faceless ‘Kate Groupie’. But, having read about your experiences, I admired you all the more for your perseverance to regain what you deserved to regain. And now I am just really, really grateful for all of that – because without it I would not have been able to comfort my friend. And you deserve to be admired, Kate!!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Happy birthday Tom, and Kate thank you for broadening my knitting horizons, I’m currently wrapped up cosy warm in your carbeth cardigan. It’s got to be one of the most successful knits I’ve made. Have a lovely Xmas and Hogmanay.


  21. Bon anniversaire Tom et joyeux Noël à Kate et à tous les membres de votre sympathique et talentueuse équipe à deux ou quatre pattes ;-)…


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