dollheid – prize draw!


Its amazing what a wee break from the daily commute can do to one’s all-round productivity. I’m happily working on several research projects at the moment, as I always do at this time of year, but I am also finding the spare time and energy to devote to designing. Can I just say how much I am enjoying it? Well, I really am. Here is the first of several forthcoming colourwork designs: Dollheid. Heid (pronounced heed) is a colloquial term for head in these parts, and the dolls are self-explanatory. Here is my heid in its dollheid:


Despite the expression, let me assure you that I love this tam deeply. I knit two other prototypes in different yarn, trying out different shaping methods, before this one was finished. With this incarnation – size, shaping, yarn, colour – I am totally and completely happy. I love the dusky tones of the yarn, and also love the way the yarn behaves. There’s no need for me to tell you how I feel about Shetland, but it really is the best stuff for stranded colourwork, and the Jamiesons relaxes and blooms really beautifully after blocking.


You will see that I have taken many of the design features of the paper dolls sweater — peeries, i-cord cast on, corrugated rib — and have incorporated them into the tam. All these things worked really well. Another thing I am pleased about is the way that the dolls have achieved a sort of geometric integrity quite apart from any representational qualities they may have. (Um, did I really just write that sentence? Lets try again:) What I mean is that one of the reasons they look so pleasing is that, when arranged in a circle around the crown of the tam, they suggest one abstract shape as well as eighteen dolls.


(Norah Gaughan writes about this geometric arrangement gubbins far better than I can). Anyhow, after some enjoyable wrestling with illustrator (one can produce such deluxe charts if one works at it! I’m amazed!) I am happy to report the pattern is just about finished (hurrah!), and I will release it on Monday. But before I do, I wanted to say a small thanks to all of you — for your encouragement and support of my designs — and I thought I’d give away ten copies of the pattern to ten commenters on this post. So, if you are interested in a free copy of the dollheid pattern, just leave a comment here, and I’ll pick the winners at random on Monday morning, August 3rd (my time) before I put the pattern up for sale.

ETA: The pattern is available here or here

220 thoughts on “dollheid – prize draw!

  1. Oooh! This beret is so extraordinaire funky – I’d also like to have dolls dancing on my head! I cannot await knitting your newest design! Superb!

  2. The circle of dolls holding hands is perfect for a tam design. I love tams and colourwork so this will be lots of fun to make!

  3. What a lovely hat! The wee dolls really made me smile this afternoon! And on the day of the Worst Exam Ever (TM), that’s really something. Love the yarn you’ve used as well, I bet your heid won’t be getting cold this winter :)

  4. I would love to receive a copy of the pattern! I enjoy looking at your knitting very much too. Could you possibly send me the tam instead? Just kidding. Your prototype looks smashing on you and it will look stylish with your matching pullover.

  5. Ah, so beautiful!! I just finished Owls and was so impressed by the clarity and adorableness of the pattern, I think I might have to make another soon! Paper dolls is on my queue and this pattern has made its way to the top of my queue. :D

  6. Love the dolls on the head hat! Your designs are always so fabulous. So glad your finding some time for your inspirations. Please don’t stop. Your blog and designs inspire me.

  7. What a terrific hat! I always love new interpretations of what Fair Isle can be. It seems Jamieson’s gets awesome reviews from everyone who uses it, but I have to ask: is it soft?

  8. oh it’s fantastic! I have been planning all kinds of colourwork hats for this fall, but this one might move to the top of the list!

  9. How lovely! I have two neices who surely need that tam for this winter, don’t you think? Time to start the Christmas knitting!

  10. I like the subtley of the tam. If you had described it as a tam with dolls on it I think many would think it childish, but I really like the historic and geometric quality of it. It has this feeling of being worn by an mom or aunt and handed down. I think the color choice has a lot to do with it.

    Nice work.

  11. I’ve followed your work on Ravelry and you never disappoint! Always creative & inspiring…beautiful, original pieces!

  12. Another wonderful design. I love the colours too. It’s about time I tried some colourwork, so yes, please – I’d love to go into the draw. My daughters all love wearing hats. I’m heading to Scotland on Monday, for a week in Plockton, a week on Skye and a long weekend in Edinburgh … fingers crossed that I return to a pattern. Also do you have any suggestions for good yarn shops (Shilasdair aside) where I might buy some Jamiesons – don’t think I’ve seen it in my neck of the woods.

  13. Hi Kate and all,

    I love your tam!!! Such a lovely design and the idea of using the paper dolls design for the round shape is just fabulous.

    I know I will love knitting it up, as much as I loved ‘Owls’.

    Hugs from Toronto


  14. Love your tam! I’m a silent reader (from Lisbon) of your blog, but I have to say that I’m an assiduous one too. I learn a lot with your reflections and I enjoy your walks. Great work! Thank you.

  15. Yay! I was never gonna have time to knit the doll sweater, but this may be even better, definitely going to give this one go. Your designs are great, I’m hoping it’s going to be a very productive summer for you….

  16. Oh my I so love this and will have to knit it for my soon to be daughter in law who is from Scotland and would love the name too ;)

  17. Kate,

    This is an amazing hat. I liked Paper Dolls but didn’t think I would have the patience to knit it. Will definately do the Tam though.

  18. Oh, I would love a copy of this (that I don’t have to pay for – I’m sure I’ll have a copy at some point one way or another)! It’s lovely.

  19. I love your tam! It is beautiful! I just started your owl sweater pattern and would love a chance at your new tam! I can’t wait to show my daughter this pattern tonight! She will LOVE it!

  20. I love, love, love this tam. I would like to win the pattern but if I don’t its ok, I’m planning on buying it anyway!!

  21. Hi Kate–I just discovered your blog last week and I’ve really been enjoying it. Congrats on this beautiful pattern! It looks like so much fun to knit.

  22. This is so beautiful! I’ve been saving up for some nice wool to do the jumper top with, but this would be a great project I could do without having to wait for lots of wool!

  23. That is lovely! And I really enjoy all the background information you provide on your blog – thanks for all the great reading!

  24. Your tam is beautiful! Just found your blog via Ravelry where someone in my friends faved dollheid :)
    Very interesting and somewhat disturbing is the story about the mac you gave away. It leaves one with mixed feelings how people behave – strange!
    Anyway – keep up the good work and happy knitting! Greetings from Southern Bavaria,
    who most definitely will be back to visit your blog :)

  25. Even if there wasn’t a prize draw I would have commented to tell how beautiful this is. Although hard to explain I see what you mean about the dolls working well with this shape in more than one way. It’s such a pretty design!

  26. Beautiful! You’ve got such great ideas. Thank you for your fabulous designs and your inspriring blog. I am currently knitting the paper dolls sweater. A matching tam would be great.

  27. I love this tam! Sweet. It reminds me of the sweaters my mom would make for me when I was growing up. Wish I had all those patterns!

  28. I spend a lot of time on Ravelry for “stress breaks” during the day, and love looking at people’s projects.

    But this one really “made my day” — how fun, charming, and warm, I’m sure — and it really brought a smile to my face! Looks like it will be a great pattern!

  29. I am often reminded of your “twee” post, and although that term may sound negative for some, the twee-factor in your designs delights me to no end. Twee coupled with shetland yarn is just about as good as it gets. Yay.

    Did you block it on a plate?

  30. I like the name of your design just as much as the tam itself. It speaks to my linguist heart in my own mothertongue, creating the picture of a quirky puppet-highness. Fabulous.

  31. I covet this tam. Crochet is my strong suit, but I would let my fingers do the walking through the wilds of knitting to acquire such soulful garb. Thanks for sharing and creating beauty.

  32. knowing that your dolls came from a trip to Madeira (even though I prefer Azores myself) I can’t do nothing else except to enter the draw. :)

  33. Followed on through after looking at the finished tam in Ravelry. For some reason, the dancing ladies is tripping a hint of a memory: a folk tale? A song? A poem? I do not know.

    It is a beautiful design and looks to keep the wearer’s noggin really warm. Congratulations on a great pattern!

  34. Oooh, I love the play with words! Dolheid (only one “l”) in Dutch means something like “frolicky madness” or “mild insanity”, dol being the “mad” part and heid being the “ness” part. Am I stating the obvious? By the way, I did not mean to participate in the competition, it’s just that my linguist’s mind got carried away :S

  35. I am coming out of the lurkers closet to say thank YOU.

    I found your blog as a recommended feed in google reader (hurrah for technology!) and I just love love love your designs. Also your history hat. And gorgeous photographs of the countryside.

    Also: not meaning to enter the competition, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your time and effort.

  36. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog, the pictures of hill walking are gorgeous and the wool fantastic. Keep on designing wonderful things.

  37. Being new to stranded knitting, this is the kind of pattern for me – a small item that would help me gain experience and confidence. I love it!

    Congratulations on making something that you love.

  38. What a lovely tam! I was going to make one from another pattern in just one color but this one could derail my plans…

    Your designs are wonderful!

  39. Oh I love it! Was so taken with your paper doll pattern but felt it might not flatter my generous bosom- so this will be a lovely, more wearable reinterpretation!

    Thanks, regardless of whether or not I win it- will be making it anyway xx

  40. Cool! Just hope that I have enough dyed yarn to knit a tam to match my paper doll sweater…
    Thanks!! I love matchy sets, even though I seldom match. Better yet I love the concept of matchy-matchy.

  41. Please count me in, I will do this tam anyway, as I have enought yarn left from my paperdolls sweater, so I could have a tam, that fits perfectly to my sweater. That would be so cool….

  42. I’m obsessed with berets/tams and working myself up to try out colourwork, so this will be the perfect pattern. I love it!

  43. Oooh – another paperdolls pattern. Love it and all your patterns really, Kate! I’m madly searching at the moment for some appropriate yarn to make your shrug pattern.

  44. Oh that’s lovely! I like the way the dolls’ eyes can look very faintly sinister too :-D (or perhaps that’s just me?). I love the colours but I can also imagine a Hallowe’en version where the dolls have bright lime green eyes!

  45. What a nice design! Makes me really looking forward to golden autumn days.

    Please count me in for the draw!

    Greetings from Berlin,

    Maria, a silent reader and admirer of your patterns and posts

  46. Such a lovely hat – and just the perfect timing right now when I’m beginning to plan out all the Christmas knitting… I really love the geometrical thought put into it – that’s just my thing!

  47. I’d love a copy of this pattern – whether or not I win! Am loving your designs so far. At the minute, have just put down my Lyttelton to check out my subscriptions Google Reader – am procrastinating doing work!

  48. ‘Slovely! And I was delighted that you revisited that first sentence about the geometric integrity whatnot as I was about to slink away in shame at my lack of comprehension. . . .

  49. Wonderful tam! It’s of that kind of things that not only warm your head,but lift up your spirit and make you smile… Didn’t decide yet it would be better on my or my daugters head?….:)
    Thanks for sharing!

  50. Oh I always love your patterns, I’m in the middle of my very own owl sweater, and hats are my absolute favorite! I’d love to knit this one, it’s just beautiful.

  51. I just wanted to say that I love your patterns and I think this is another great piece. I don’t actually want to win it as it looks to advanced for me but everything about it makes me smile particularly the name (there’s something wonderful about auld Scots words).

  52. What a fab design. I haven’t tried colourwork yet so looks a good project to start with… Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy it and your incredibly intellectual sentence with the follow up explanation made me laugh out loud :)

  53. I’m not really a hat wearer, but this might just make me into one – I love the range of colours in spindrift and have many wild dreams of sweaters to make in it. Count me in!

  54. What a brilliant idea to place the tight-knit circle of dolls on a heid. I’ll have to get hold of some Jamieson’s and try a copy. I think you scored a coup with this pattern. I appreciate your blog. Its unique historical perspective appeals to me, and I also enjoy visiting Scotland vicariously. About 50 years ago I went to a camp in Aberfoyle with 50 Scots and 50 Danes – glorious!

  55. Yes, yes, I must knit this for my heid.

    What gorgeous detail. And again, like the sweater, the figures remind me of a knit vest I had when I was little. You have perfectly managed to tread the line between playful and elegant. Really lovely!

  56. Thank you for making another lovely pattern available! I am currently waiting for my yarn to arrive for my paper dolls – I can’t wait to get started! While I’m waiting, I’m finishing up my owls. I guess you could say I’m on a bit of a Kate Davies patterns roll :)
    Again, thanks for your great patterns, and I can’t wait to see what other colorwork projects you have in store!

  57. Love love love the tam, am happy to pay for it though I feel the stranded work might be beyond my meagre knitting abilities.

    Am going to make the owl jumper for my baby as soon autumn sets in, will send you a photo of him in it!

  58. I adore the rhythm of your tam – the colour and the pattern both have a delightful beat that combine into a beautiful whole.

  59. Oh Lord woman you have struck gold again–this time in the form of Shetland dolls! I’ll def. be making this as I am a major tam enthusiast, and I do believe this might be the first time I’ve spied you with your plaits down. Love!

  60. My! So much competition for this pattern! Too fun. I totally love your blog, your patterns and your latest dancing dolls tam. However, if I win it I would knit it up with my own hand-dyed and handspun yarn instead! ;)

  61. I just love this hat. I made the owls sweater for my daughter and it turned out so cute. Maybe she also needs this dollheid hat!

  62. Hi.
    I think I have all your patterns and would LUV this one!

    Thanks for offering us such beautiful work.


  63. The shaping is perfect. That seems to be difficult to achieve in tam patterns, but you worked it beautifully. This would be a cheery way to meet a grey winter morning. Love the pattern. Love the pattern. Love the pattern.

  64. the paperdoll sweater is beautiful, so is this. at this stage of my kniting skills, the sweater pattern is a bit daunting, so i’ll practise with the tam first! i’d love a pattern.

  65. What a wonderful tam! Congratulations! It remembers me of an old (Italian)nursery rhyme “Giro-girotondo, quanto è bello il mondo” (ring-a-ring-o’-roses, how beautiful is the world…)
    Greetings from Italy

  66. Yet another gorgeous pattern! I love the twist you put on traditional techniques… this pattern may be the one to tempt me in to colourwork!

  67. I am so excited to see another pattern from you! Actually, I just started knitting my first “test” sweater (or vest rather because I am still a bit afraid of sleeves), done in cheap acrylic yarn I have a bunch of just sitting there, and if that goes ok, I plan to finally knit a real sweater! Of course it is going to be ‘owls’ because that is one of my most favorite designs ever! But I am very excited about this pattern because hats I *can* knit :)

  68. love the hat and the name! plain & descriptive yet fun to say

    and thank you for posting the wonderful pics of your adventures around & about scotland–they are a cool drink of water (or maybe a dark and delicious pint) for this desert dweller (far far away in new mexico). I hope to visit the land again someday …


  69. The beret is so BEAUTIFUL! I fell in love with these dolls when I first saw them on your sweater. I really want to have them dance on my heid too ^ ^

  70. HI —–so , totally love your tam —this will be a definite must have — already have some yarn lying in wait—-knew it had a purpose —when is the release date

    thumbs up for you ——cheers pat

  71. I first saw the picture of your hat when you first posted it Wednesday. I came back Thursday thinking about it again. I wasn’t planning on posting, I just kept thinking about it. I’ve never taken a shot at colorwork, but I can’t help think it would be fun. Last night I had a dream about myself, playing in the snow wearing that hat, only half way through the dream, the hat turned purple then green then blue. I’m making this hat, I know this now, but picking the colors will be the hardest part. Thanks for sharing your talent!

  72. I read your blog with great interest- both the knitting content and all the other stuff- historical and cultural. Your gorgeous tam combines the things I love about your blog. Thanks for another great design.

  73. I am also an academic and mixing my summer with yarn and research. In fact, despite the sweltering heat in Portland, OR (unseasonable, everyone assures me, as my husband and I just moved here), I just finished Owls in a bulky purple tweed from my aunt’s stash. This summer I am challenging myself (more with knitting than research) and am working on an aran hat for my guy, a trial for my first aran sweater. I would love to finish the summer by knitting a dollheid for me. Please add me to the drawing! Thanks.

  74. So charming! I love all of your designs, and your writings, too. Please add me to the draw if you don’t mind. Thanks!

  75. What a lovely hat for a heid! I’ve been doing little paper dolly prints on babygrows, but this is something else entirely. I’d love a pattern. Well done you.

  76. Am I too late to enter? Love this pattern, utterly adorable. I’m already working on autumn knits, despite the glorious sunshine…

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)