an absorbing project

Hello, everyone! How is the start of the year treating you? I didn’t mean to disappear there, but we have had a really busy (and extremely rewarding) few weeks working on our Argyll’s Secret Coast project. We’ve released four brand-new designs:

The Kerry Kyle
Auchnaha, in Riach, worn by me
Auchnaha, in Horkel, worn by Claire
Argyll :: Argyle
Cowal :: Cowl

. . . we’ve explored different topics in our weekly journey around Argyll . . .

James Whittle and Robert Laurie, A New Map of Scotland for Ladies’ Needlework (1797) National Library of Scotland

. . . such as the politics of maps and mapping . . .

Loch Striven Hydro

. . . the shifting significance of water . . .

Baptismal pool at Fearnoch Chapel

. . . Cowal’s early Christian topography . . .

Auchnaha chambered cairn

. . . and the long story of human intervention and land use in Argyll, from prehistoric archaeology to contemporary afforestation.

Timber harvesting near Auchnaha

There are so many different kinds of work involved in an interdisciplinary project of this kind.

. . . for me, designing, grading, knitting, pattern writing, styling and modelling . . .

. . . exploring Argyll on foot. . .

Picnic on the Kyles of Bute (1896)

. . . reading and thinking, writing and editing.

The ark of Argyll

I am idea-generator in chief, but it is definitely Tom’s work that binds this whole project together.

an old Cowal ferry point

As well as taking pictures of all the knitwear, creating the design and layout of our patterns (and forthcoming book), working on recipe development (of which more later) and drawing maps (to which new locations are added during each week of the club), Tom has spent much of the past month out and about in all weathers, documenting Cowal’s landscape with his cameras. Sometimes Tom’s images illustrate what I (and the project’s other contributors) are talking about in our essays. . .

Loch Tarsan dam

. . . and sometimes the images speak back to his own creative practice.

but whatever he’s photographing, Tom’s images bring our ideas for Argyll’s Secret Coast to life with real visual richness and complexity!

Tom has also made a few short films, to introduce club members to some of the places we are exploring.

The Kerry Kyle
Loch Striven and Loch Ascog

Tom shot, produced and edited these short films – and the soundtrack is made by him (on his growing collection of synths) as well.

Otter Ferry

So many different kinds of creative work are involved with this project, and, perhaps especially because it involves being outside a lot (after a couple of years of restricted movement) Tom and I are finding Argyll’s Secret Coast incredibly rewarding to develop. We are also really enjoying working with a great group of collaborators – Michael and Stuart, Gilbert and Alex, Stephen and Fiona, Amelia and Rosee, Mel and Claire – all of whose different creative contributions are hugely appreciated.

We really appreciate Claire’s generous and welcoming moderation of the KDD Ravelry group, as well as her modelling skills!

All of which is to say, that our Argyll’s Secret Coast project is something that’s proving very absorbing and somewhat time-consuming; that in the past few weeks I’ve felt incredibly grateful for having this job which involves making fun and meaningful work with other creative people; that I’ve been thinking a lot about the generally rewarding nature of creative collaboration recently, and finally, that I’m hoping to get back to writing here a bit, as and when I can.

Now it’s time to get back to some pattern writing! Enjoy your Sunday!