If there’s one thing I’ve had time for over the past few months, it is my knitting. I think one has to be very, very careful when talking about knitting and mental health, or discussing craft activities in association with terms like “mindfulness”: mental illnesses are varied and complex, and craft is not, in any sense, a cure. But though never in itself a solution, knitting has always been incredibly restorative and helpful when dealing with my bipolar. For which committed knitter could deny that the basic activity of forming stitches creates its own flow and absorption ? For me, this absorption actively serves to counteract the racing or destructive thought patterns from which I suffer when I’m ill, and can often help me to manage and distance myself from them. The simple truth of the stitches pressing forward can also be immensely reassuring. When I’m ill, my mind continually swings between a horrible, grim stasis and a restless seeking for answers which aren’t there, but if my hands are knitting, I know am doing something, making something, producing something.

Somehow or other, my hands have actually produced quite a lot over the past few months, and I’ve now started working on some patterns. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Jane’s recent progress (Look! She made owls!) and some of the knitting I’ve been doing has been with the thought of a bold beginner like her in mind. But I’ve also made some really ‘me’ knits, like this design.

This is Seavaiger. It is a light, simple and comfortable pullover – something to throw on on a breezy day or cooler evening.

I’ve been in a bit of a stripe phase for a while, and Seavaiger extends some themes I explored in Dathan and Strodie: it has the latter’s simple, maritime-inspired style and a little of the former in its construction.

Worked bottom-up, Seavaiger skims the hips and lower body. Underarm shaping extends the sleeve caps and creates room around the chest.

This is a really comfortable garment, and the keys to that comfort are two-fold: the drape of the fabric, and the design of the shoulders.

Knitted in Milarrochy Tweed shades Smirr and Cowslip, the yarn is worked here at a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch – which makes the fabric very light and airy – and I’ve shaped the upper body with a series of German short rows, which allow the shoulders to slope with elegant ease toward the sleeve join.

When the top of the garment is finished with a simple boat neck, you end up with a classic stripey gansey with a modern shape that looks like this.

It’s a great shape to wear!

The pattern’s name – Seavaiger – is a Scots neologism (you might be familiar with the word stravaiger, or wayfarer, and a seavaiger is a seafarer). I first encountered the word in this inspiring musical collaboration between one of my favourite fiddle players, Chris Stout, Catriona McKay, composer Sally Beamish and the talented musicians of the Scottish ensemble. Definitely worth a listen.

I’ve released the pattern as a download today on Ravelry and we also have ready-to-knit kits (including yarn and pattern) in the KDD shop. If you are a Knitting Season subscriber, you’ll receive a free download code for the pattern as a club bonus, and if you aren’t a club subscriber, you can join here to receive 8 patterns already released and the 6 to come in September, alongside all our other club benefits.

Thanks to Tom for photography, to Frauke, our brilliant tech editor, to the rest of the KDD team for their hard work, and to all of you for reading and for being there.

Happy knitting!

Kate x

Links:
Seavaiger pattern download
Seavaiger kits
Join the Knitting Season Club.

75 thoughts on “Seavaiger

  1. It’s so good to hear from you. I am deeply grateful that you’ve begun writing about your experiences with bipolar. It’s a topic that strikes very close to home for me. That you write about it here as part of a (lovely!) pattern announcement, that you write about it with the deep humaneness and rigorous inquiry that are my favorite characteristics of your work, that you write about it alongside these glorious springtime images — it feels like balm to a wound I didn’t entirely know I had. It’s a lot and it isn’t easy to do and thank you so much.

    This sweater set off a cascade of creative imaginings for me as I mused about how I might fiddle with the fiber and color (and a little bit even the shape), which is my favorite kind of pattern! I love the shoulder shape and the summery ease and the stripes. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what else you’ve been working on! Take care.

    Like

  2. Thanks so much for this lovely pattern, Kate. It is heartening to see your smiling face. You’ve been missed. I strongly agree with your description of knitting as “restorative.” It’s gotten me through many difficult days over the years and it’s still the thing I love to do the most.

    Wishing all the best to you and your wonderful team.

    Like

  3. Love hearing from you Kate! Love the sweater and I will be knitting it as soon as I receive my wool. I absolutely love the yellow as it’s so cheery. I painted my house blue seafoam by Sherwin Williams a few years ago and most look at it and think it’s a tad too bright – but it brightens me whenever I look at it – especially on a gray day. I bet your sweater will do the same.
    Thanks for designing it …

    Like

  4. I love what you have made. And that the Scottish weather has been glorious these past few weeks. Sre does brighten up our lives. Lovely to see you…

    Like

  5. Beautiful sweater. Yellow and grey are so perfect together. Cannot wait for my cowslip to arrive in the mail!

    Thank you for sharing your story Kate. Knitting calms my overactive mind. I tend to repeat patterns inside my head as I am knitting along and I swear by this kind of meditation. And I love my one-of-a-kind knits!!

    Take care, happy knitting.

    Like

  6. I only joined The Knitting Season a few weeks ago and I’m thrilled with the very wearable designs included. Too often I’m drawn to garments for the knitting, and not the wearing, but using Milarrochy Tweed makes knitting so enjoyable (I’ve just started Strodie), even with a simple design. I love the fabric it produces. I’m very tempted by this latest design, and I’m adding it to my queue right now. Thank you for all the unexpected club bonuses.

    Like

  7. What a sweet cheerful sweater! I retire in another 28 school days (but I am not counting) then I am going to be knitting for a few years, I think…
    Recently I was asked to fill out a questionnaire on crafts (focusing on embroidery and knitting) and its effect on my mental health (PTSD, depression, anxiety). I was amazed at the answers in the multiple choice selection: several indicated that the crafts allowed me to think about and solve my problems! Whoa! Never! My crafts are pure escapism. They give me a break from any worries, put me in another realm that buoys me with its creativity, builds my knowledge and keeps my joints moving along. Crafts could never “cure” mental health issues but they certainly ease the load. Slainte mhaith!
    Jo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this unexpected gift & your thoughts on knitting & mental health. It is fair to say that knitting has seen me through many low spells – if nothing else is acheived in a day then at least a few rows of knitting will have calmed my mind & edged the project onwards. All the best.

    Like

  9. Tried to post earlier, but got lost in the queue…any advice on ease for this sweater? I love the fit and am trying to decide how much yarn is too much (an impossibility!). Best wishes for continued recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sweater is fitted by the high-hip measurement – I’m wearing it with 2inches of ease there. Because of the amount of positive ease through the body (which allows a comfortable fit around the bust) the pattern’s recommendation is simply to select the size above your actual hip measurement – but if you wanted the sweater to fit more loosely at the hip, you could go up two sizes.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi …love the new sweater designed by Kate. I am wondering how to download it without payment as I am enrolled in the Knitting Seasons Club. Also …yellow is not my colour and I wonder if it would be possible to order the sweater kit in the deep navy (Lochan) and a cream colour or even Smirr. Many thanks, Leslie

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  11. Knitting has gotten me thru so many crises in the past years one stitch at a time. Thank you for your beautiful post and pattern.

    Like

  12. Thanks for opening the comments again, Kate- I join the rest of your fans in wishing you restored to excellent health. Your book “Handywoman” was such an inspiration to read — my goodness, you are strong and fierce in your desire to be well. I have every confidence in your ability to find a way to live with your bipolar issues as well.
    I always look forward to your news – beautiful patterns, Tom’s gorgeous photography, lovely color combinations of luxurious wools and your writing, always. Jane’s knitting adventures have been a real treat – keep her busy!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences, good and bad- you are very much loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a beautiful sweater, I am really tempted to join your knitting club, I have the yarn for the strodie.When I knit I feel relaxed and feel tension leaving me. I am pleased that you are feeling better and I think you will feel a little bit each day.

    Like

  14. The sweater is lovely, so fresh and speaking to spring.

    I am so glad to read your posts again Kate, and know that your health is improving. Thank you so much for sharing your journey through this.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I love it!
    Have just ordered the wool in the same colours, it is just gorgeous.
    Won’t let on I only received a huge parcel of wool from you just this week!
    Oh well, it won’t go off!
    Am reading Handywoman at the moment (which was in said parcel), it is a great read, you write so eloquently.
    All the best to you, Tom, Bruce, Bobbie, Jane, Mel and Sam
    Sue xx

    Like

  16. Bonjour, très heureuse de votre présence de nouveau parmi nous , vous retrouver et retrouver votre travail me réjouis énormément , je vous suis depuis vos débuts et vous êtes mon icône en tricot , j’aime votre démarche intelligente par rapport cette activité qui encore réduit les femmes qui le pratique , vous donnez des lettres de noblesse à cet ART.
    Encore merci, bienvenue parmi nous TOUTES. Pensées admiratives et sincères Dominique

    Like

  17. Thank you for sharing this new creation and for sharing honestly about your life and your struggles with your bipolar.
    It is truly a gift to all of us.

    Like

  18. Thank YOU! For the lovely design, for being You and looking so happy in the moment. Always glad to hear from you and how you have encouraged Jane! That is a treat in and of itself.

    Like

  19. Thank you so much for this beautiful post, beautiful pattern and wonderful photos of you. I have just finished Dathan a process which gave me so much pleasure and was contemplating another one, longer and with fewer colours. Up popped this pattern. I am struggling with severe arthritis in my fingers and hands and had given up all hope of knitting a sweater and yet with the encouragement of knitting season and your posts I am now the proud possessor of a wonderful Dathan and am working my way through a modified Strodie. I must also mention the music. I was playing the link this morning when my husband pointed out that he had bought the CD a few years ago in the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool. Hope you continue to keep well. Thanks again

    Like

  20. What a beautiful sweater! Like others, I am even more happy to see you peacefully beaming and looking so radiant and lovely. My best wishes for continued renewal of your health!

    Thank you, also, for the opportunity to join in the Knitting Season as well. I missed the first opportunity and I am really grateful to grab this chance.

    Take Care! <3

    Like

  21. Thank you for a delightful new pattern. Better yet is seeing you looking rested and reasonably well. It is my hope you are feeling better and will soon return to complete productivity. No matter how long the process takes, I wish you well and appreciate my experiences with your company.

    Like

  22. I love reading you, and I’m so glad you are feeling like writing again after what has been, obviously, an horrendous time. I love the new pattern. I’ve just finished the Dathan Hap, and Let’s Stripe – wonderful, meditative knits – and thought I’d try Strodie using Birkin as the background and lots of the other colours of Milarochy Tweed (still to be decided) for the welts. My wish for you is that you continue to get better, day by day, and that your family and friends continue to surround you with safety, space and love.

    Like

  23. Oh my goodness, Kate! What a surprise to see mail from you in my inbox and then read this post! And then to realize that you are giving us this delightful design — the icing on the cake, of course, is seeing you grinning in your new Seavaiger. I will be popping over to the shop shortly — I am still contemplating colors by studying my ever growing Dathan Hap :-).

    Like

  24. I know, that you’re probably stretching your arms out, to show the construction of the lovely jumper, but I like to think, that you were experiencing at least a bit of that happy-carefree-open-arms feelings, that the photo exudes. Wishing you the very best.

    Like

  25. As a mom of a bi polar person and a daughter of someone who suffers with mental illness and Having had crippling anxiety as a young woman , I just want to say thanks for your message and your knitting. Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Love this sweater, think it’ll be my next project…you can’t beat stripes!
    I love the post too. I’m a carer of someone with PTSD and physical pain. This has a knock on effect and causes mental health issues for me. My respite, my therapy, my mindfulness, my me time has always been knitting. I love the gentle rhythm, the counting, the colour changes, the patterns you produce are so soothing. Mindfully focussing on each stitch is so therapeutic. I also volunteer for a project for older adults, some of whom have had lives affected by alcohol and once a week we meet for a couple of hours, do a very short mindful breathing practice and then craft and I love seeing people returning to old skills like knitting and crocheting and learning new ‘crafts’. The chatter, laughter and comments like “this is so relaxing “…..helps us all !
    Thank goodness I have knitting and your wonderful patterns.

    Like

  27. Kate, I love the new sweater! My first impression was how much it reminded me of EZ. And toward that it is a very beginner friendly pattern indeed! And a lovely mindless pattern for any skill level.

    Pattern purchased, I’m thinking a yellow/gold and blue combo for me! (I’ll be using J&S since I’m sadly allergic to mohair.)

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I have been struggling to find a pattern to suit some of the speckled hand dyed skinnies I have. I’m on the 3rd frog now. I think I may have found a winner.

    Good to see your face and the glorious Scottish sky.

    Like

  29. A must knit!! I can’t put my finger on it why it is that your designs always immediately appeal to me. For now Pabaigh is my next project, after that, definitely this one! P.s. happy your back.

    Like

  30. Kate, good to hear from you. I hope that knowing just how many lives you touch, on your good days and bad, brings you some joy. Hearing from you and your colleagues brings joy to my life and Tom’s pictures are the icing on the cake. Love you guys,
    Linda D.

    Like

  31. Love the shape of Seavaiger!
    I am dealing with some rather weighty life stuff and it plays on my over active worry mind set…having my knitting near me and watching my hands create stitch after stitch helps to calm that mind of mine in ways I can’t describe.

    Like

  32. Beautiful sweater! I am happy you have knitting to help with your healing. I am an Occupational Therapist, and frequently use craft, or other meaningful & purposeful activities (occupations), to support recovery from injury or illness.

    Like

  33. Last night I was trawling ravelry for a striped jumper and this morning – answer to my prayers! Pattern downloaded wool ordered – now I can settle down and relax!(Observatory slowly taking shape though). You look good !

    Like

  34. Wonderful, Kate! Also colours I’m very much into at the moment. Summery, but can also carry ‘summer’ over into more ‘dour’ months!! I will add it to my KD list (for once the everlasting ‘Fair Isle’ is finished) although it is already queuing behind several others of yours!
    Also so pleased to hear confirmation – from someone with a more involved, yet also carefully analytical approach – about the benefits of crafting to aid our mental and physical ups and downs. I’m more of a sewing/dress-designing bent, and when feeling ‘not-myself’, all my (academic hangover) filing cabinets are full of fabric … so a quick rootle and rummage usually results in happy sketching, and … just happy.
    Keep taking care, so glad to read your posts.
    Carole

    Like

  35. Thank you Kate for sharing the journey. Glad that you have the rhythmic structure and tactile feedback of knitting and the love and support of so many. Take all the time you need.
    You are a seavainger, bringing us the treasure of your designs and showing how to navigate the waters, no matter the weather. Thanks Tom and all the KDD staff for all of the teamwork and channeling of communication. Very appreciated. Take care of each other.

    Like

  36. This is beautiful and I can forsee that I would wear this a lot. I’m happily contemplating colour combinations, maybe ardlui and smirr? Thank you for this Kate.

    Like

  37. Thank you for sharing. Mental health issues are never easy and finding healthy ways to manage is sometimes a struggle. Your designs are lovely. You are my inspiration.

    Like

  38. I love this design. Thank you! You wrote, “The simple truth of the stitches pressing forward can also be immensely reassuring.” That’s one of the things knitting provides me in supporting my mental health. Thank you for putting it into words.

    Like

  39. Thank you Kate. This is beautiful and I totally agree that knitting restores the mind. I started knitting seriously when my Dad became ill and subsequently died 4 years ago. The hours waiting in the ICU were excruciatingly long, I couldn’t concentrate on a book, so I decided to learn a craft in honour of my Dad ( he was an artist ) and knit him a scarf. The therapeutic rhythm gave me a sense of calm and that was the start of my knitting obsession. We live a society were it is more and more competitive and fast. I receive about 150 emails a day and if I don’t respond within an hour I am chased for a response. We need to find calm and alone time in this ever more so frenetic way of life. Knitting gives me calm and perspective which in turns helps my mind to stay balanced. My father did not end up wearing the scarf or seeing it finished, but he was happy that I was learning a craft. The scarf now belongs to my brother as a reminder of Dad’s last moments. Each knitted item has a story, a reminder of a certain time in my life, a journey. It helps heal body and mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. I’m glad knitting is helping. It does for me when my mental health is beating me up and down. I really like your stripey designs, this one kind of reminds me of a favourite seasalt tee but more muted and lovely. Socks for me just now though and baby knits as everyone seems to be very fertile this year!

    Like

  41. So good to have a few words from you. You are so absolutely right that knitting, while not being a cure, can play a big part in a recovery. I know that from my long experience of heart disease, and some pretty heroic surgeries. Whatever I couldn’t do, well, there was always the knitting, which was a soothing activity and could be productive as well. Which has let you give us this sweater whch is one that might even suit me.
    So, Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  42. I’ve got so used to all the cropped sweaters this looks really long! I’m thinking of getting some of one colour and using all my ends from my knitting season pack (after Strathan) for the other colour. Hmmm. Could be good.
    Thanks for this!

    Like

  43. It’s so lovely! I had to purchase the kit right away when I read the sentence about ready-to-knit-kits, after that I finished reading the blog :D And it’s grellow <3

    Like

  44. Gorgeous! I love the shape – and stripes, too!
    Thanks so much for the gift of the pattern – I’d be casting on straight away, if I wasn’t concentrating on finishing Strodie in time to wear it before the end of the antipodean winter.

    Like

  45. That is an absolutely fantastic sweater! I love the shaping – going to visit Rav now to take a look. The photography is also superb. I agree knitting and crafting can be great for the mind and soul, in fact my own own blog post this week touched on the same. May you continue to enjoy wielding the pins!

    Like

comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.