2021 has been somewhat challenging – and I honestly doubt that anyone running a business in the UK right now would say otherwise. I frequently feel that we are in a very fortunate position – both in terms of the way that KDD is structured and the nature of the things that we create and distribute – but the combined effects of Brexit and the ongoing pandemic has meant that 2021 has been, in many different respects, an unpredictable and tricky year. In the course of what I do I speak to a lot of other businesses, and I certainly know that we are not alone in feeling rather tired of having to rapidly react to very difficult situations and devise creative solutions to try to take things forward.

But then, devising creative solutions is kind of what we do, and we completed some wonderfully rewarding projects in 2021. There were three big releases:

First up was Inkling – a new collection of designs in Milarrochy Tweed.

Then there was Bluestockings, in which my old friend Nicole Pohl and I got together to celebrate women writers and knit some socks! Bringing together my old field of eighteenth-century cultural, material and literary history with my new work in design, this was a hugely rewarding project for me personally, and I feel incredibly proud of the book that Nicole and I, with the help of our expert contributors and the indefatigable KDD team, put together.

We also began a brand new woolly adventure with the development and launch of Ooskit. This is a yarn I love deeply, and I also loved creating a brand new group of patterns to support it.

Sarkle pullover and Easwas hat

Here on the KDD blog, we developed several new series of posts: the My Place project, celebrating the work of talented designers like Rebecca Osborn (you’ll hear more from My Place in 2022); interviews with creative women like Marina, Flora, Aoife and Thea; and Sock of the Week – a group of pieces with a historical focus that I really enjoyed researching and writing.

a favourite Sock of the Week

2021 was also a year for discovering new places

A walk at Castle Tioram

. . . new arrivals. . .

Bran: a lovely puppy and a joy to have around

. . . and a wee bit of experimental fun.

The Carbeth creature, knitting some socks

I love what I do, and I honestly thrive on working hard, but 2021 has often felt like a year in which I’ve had very little spare capacity; a year in which there have been few opportunities to take a proper break. The last four months have been quite difficult for me mentally, and, without the reflective space to focus on the basic things I need to do lift myself out of a depressive episode, this dark patch has proved quite hard to shift. I suspect that many of you have had similar experiences, or perhaps felt similarly this year. So if I had one wish for us in 2022, it would be for a little more of this:

and this:

May we all enjoy more creative play, more general silliness, and much more time in the inspiring spaces that we love in 2022!

Thank you all, so much, for your support this year. Onward!