Designing hand-knit garments (and clear instructions for others to follow) can involve a lot of compromising, a lot of accepting that, for a multitude of reasons the finished thing won’t turn out quite as you initially envisaged. But sometimes you design something that looks and feels exactly as you expected.


This design started with a bird.

Red throated diver, or Sterntaucher

In English, this bird is called the red throated diver; in some parts of Scotland it is known as the rain goose, and in Germany it is called Sterntaucher – or star diver (a fact I’m aware of thanks to our talented German tech editor, Frauke Urban). It’s a bird I’ve often admired from Hebridean beaches, and I find its distinctive combination of matt grey plumage and bright markings particularly beautiful. Inspired by the star diver, I envisaged a star-adorned cardigan, using a similar combination of matt grey and bold colour.


Creating this design was pure delight from start to finish. I enjoyed playing with colours and putting together a starry chart to create the deep band that define’s the cardigan’s bottom edge .

And I enjoyed devising a nifty integral pocket construction that allows the knitter to squirrel away the cut edges of their steek inside the pocket flaps (if you aren’t a knitter, trust me, it’s very neat and rather satisfying)

I loved producing a big cosy cardigan that’s oversized, yet well-fitting – using modified drop sleeves and short row shoulders to create a contemporary shape . . .

. . . that’s like a warm hug when worn.

The creative design process is always a huge amount of fun for me, but I confess I particularly enjoy that bit where I end up with a garment that’s interesting and original, and that I truly love to wear.

That’s definitely the case with Sterntaucher!

Sterntaucher is part of our 10 Years in the Making Club, which includes a whole collection of new designs alongisde some classic re-releases, and culminates with the publication of a book of the same name.

There’s a mix of garments . . .


Evendoon Pullover

. . . and accessories

Codlin Heid

I also write weekly essays to speak to each week’s club theme , exploring everything from attitudes to the colour yellow in fashion history. . .

Paul Poiret dress, 1913, ©Victoria and Albert Museum

. . . to the often surprising meaning of stripes

For many reasons (and perhaps particularly the opportunity of creating designs like Sterntaucher) I’m enjoying this club enormously, and it has certainly brought a lot of joy to my personal 2020. The 10 Years in the Making club continues through the last weeks in Decmber. Do come along and join us, if you like