One year turned into another very quietly here. I am still convalescing after my latest evil wintry lurgy, and have been told to stay off the foot as much as possible. The foot does seem to be getting better, but overall I really do feel rather grim – my neurologist warned me that dealing with and recovering from infections would feel much, much worse post-stroke, and this certainly seems to be the case. Yesterday, I looked over my blog posts from a year ago, and it made me rather sad. The turn of 2010 — a night of happy sub-zero camping in Cumbria – seemed very far away indeed. As for the coming year, I have few hopes, save the rather modest one of continuing to recover. The mobility I can work at, but it would be fantastic if my brain could sort out the damned fatigue, and the auditory processing disorder which currently make so many things associated with ‘normal’ life impossible.

These photos show the wrong side of my current knitting project, and another textile coincidence. At the top of the post you can see a Welsh woollen blanket, which my Ma gave to me while I was in hospital (it was bloody chilly on the Western’s neurological wards, I can tell you). Like many gifts people gave to me at that time, this blanket was a genuinely comforting thing to have with me in an impersonal institutional space: I loved its simple woven pattern, and most of all, I loved its soft, faded colours. Since I got out of hospital, the blanket has been folded away, and I don’t think about it much. At least I thought I didn’t. For a few weeks, I’ve been working on a new project in several soft, pale shades of J&S jumper weight. I took a pause while knitting it the other day, examined the wrong side, and immediately thought of the blanket.

The resemblance is perhaps less striking from the right side (which I’m not revealing yet) and I can honestly say that the blanket played no part at all in my conscious thinking about this design. Perhaps my subconscious is stuffed with textiles, or perhaps this faded, pastel palette is simply one that I rather like. In any case, I’ve had to take a pause in knitting it, as I’ve stupidly run out of one of the key shades. However, I hope I can soon pick up the required extra skein from the vendor in person. That’s right: Tom, and Bruce, and me, and my gammy foot, and a whole lot of knitting, are heading North for a few days. I am hoping to feel well enough to really enjoy it.

80 thoughts on “quietly

  1. Oh Kate I’m very envious! Enjoy your trip. Do try and visit Jamiesons too – the mill is a fascinating place to visit. I hope Bruce doesn’t get too sea sick!

  2. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling down. I really hope that your health continues to improve and that at the turn of 2012 you will look back at this new year and be amazed by your progress. Enjoy your trip and try to take pleasure in just being somewhere different with those you love. I am intrigued by your knitting…love the colours! xx

  3. Happy new year Kate, and here’s to further recovery. Have a wonderful time in Shetland, despite being born and living in Orkney until I was 10 I have never managed to make it to Shetland.

  4. Happy New Year, Kate, and thanks for all the excellent and thought-provoking reading you provided in 2010. I hope you have a wonderful break with Tom and that the northern magic does its work on you again.

  5. some years just suck. sometimes, as much as it harrows the soul to hear, those crappy years span end to end a bit. as someone in throes of a pretty spotty decade, i know of what i speak.

    i also know that, when least expected, joyful moments can lengthen and spread and whirl together to forge magical years.

    neither resolutions nor expectations seem to bring the wondrous years faster. instead it seems most simply a matter of hanging on and being mindful not to let bitterness taint the truly wonderful and blessed – like your relationships with Tom, Bruce and your family, and your truly remarkable artistic gifts.

    hang in there!

  6. Happy New Year, I hope that your recovery continues. Twenty some years ago I had a very nasty post viral fatigue. I still need to pace myself but I doubt anyone other than me realises and I have a normal life whatever that is. I hope that eventually even if the effects of the stroke don’t entirely disappear that you will be able to manage them just as invisibly.

  7. Happy New Year! Mainly wishing you good health for 2011. Love the blanket and can’t wait to see the “right” side. The Welsh blanket looks cozy too. Good luck on your trip.

  8. Happy New Year, Kate. Although discouraged and unhopeful, I hope these feelings moderate over a year of better-than-expected-progress. 2010 brought a bout with an ususual cancer for me, but a quiet wave of optimism brings belief for a better year all around.

  9. Most dear Kate-
    Thank you so much for your generosity and insight. Have a lovely trip with the boys.
    I wish you the very best of turnings of the year, you have been more of an inspiration than you know. I am sending you lovingkindness and compassion. Have patience with your fatigue.
    Much Love,

  10. Chin Up -You are knitting beautiful things, writing thoughtful and interesting posts and planning a few days away. Your energy and your spirits will rebound – Enjoy the New Year and thank you for all you create and share. You inspire!

  11. Happy New Year Kate – very best wishes to you and Tom (and Bruce) for the year ahead. I’m sorry you’ve been under the weather again, so enjoy your trip. I’m looking forward to the big reveal of your latest project …..

  12. Kate – As always, I enjoy reading your posts. I have followed your journey this year. Since my father’s stroke in November there has not been much time for blogging in reading or writing, but coming here this morning and reading this post and others you have written about recovery has planted seeds of hope in my heart. Dad is not eating, walking, standing or waving goodbye on his own, yet I know in my heart that he will find his way. Thank you. ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  13. Bonne année Kate ! Et bon courage ! 2011 sera meilleure que 2010 et pas autant que 2012…Votre blog et vous êtes très appréciés, croyez-moi ! Thank you of being who you are.

    1. KateIn spite of your grisly year you have inspired, moved and motivated many of us out here in our “normal” lives. I have loved knitting Caller Herrin over the hols and am now making matching fingerless mits to match . Great pattern, great yarn,.
      I wish you well on your jaunt to Shetland, I know you will get new inspirations up there and hope the dreaded fatigue gremlin goes away soon.
      All the best for a better year.

  14. Kate,
    Sending best wishes for a happy new year. I can imagine that its discouraging to compare where you are now from a year ago. I’m sending my wishes for your continued recovery– you have such perseverance and personal strength.


  15. Well, you are far from being “hopeless” with all that knitterly goodness at your fingertips! I HOPE you have a good trip, with plenty of rest when required. The winter is never easy when you aren’t feeling completely “right”, but spring is just around the corner – honestly it is!

  16. Happy New Year Kate! I hope 2011 will bring you huge strides in your recovery! I don’t read many blogs, but I always look forward to yours. I’m sending you lots and lots of good wishes from the States!

  17. That blanket and your knitting are so beautiful! Those colors are so warm and comforting. I hope that you will feel better soon, and know that many of us know there will be great things for you in 2011, even if you are not so sure right now. Buy a whack of beautiful colors up north, it can go a long way in perking a girl up, I know.

  18. The colors of the blanket are lovely. I can imagine how comforting it felt to you. I’m looking forward to the reveal of the knitting project.
    Happy new year to you and yours, and have a safe and fun trip. My collie, Eevee, sends her best wishes to Bruce.

  19. The post holiday, depth of winter period can be daunting. Remember, just put one (however mangled :( foot in front of the other and you will get to brighter days.

    The fabric is so earthy, honest and comforting. I love that you are making us wait to see the right side!

  20. Happy New Year Kate. I was thinking about your camping trip last night too and hope that you, Tom and Bruce will have many adventures in 2011 (despite your gammy foot and lurgy). Safe travels and hope that your Northern trip is fantastic.

  21. Delurking to say happy new year. I am so sorry for how rough 2010 was for you, and best wishes for 2011. At the risk of sounding hokey, I am awed by what you have accomplished this year and hope next year includes feeling much better.

  22. I love the side of your knitting you were kind enough to share with us and don’t understand why it deserves the name: wrong? I prefer the left side as we call it in Hebrew (it comes from the names of the stitches: right for knit and left for purl).

    I hope you will have a much better year in 2011 and will continue with your amazing recovery.

  23. Oh Kate, you lucky thing… going to Shetland! I look forward to reading about your trip. (I hope you’re going by boat, rather than flying – it sets the scene perfectly!)

    Happy new year & all the best for 2011; I hope your health continues to improve and the wretched fatigue becomes a thing of the past.

  24. Hope you have a good trip, looking forward to the piccies when you return. Wishing you peace and happiness in 2011 xx

  25. Dear Kate, I was looking at that blanket trying to figure out how you’d knitted it, it looks so much like something you would make. I wish you a very quiet 2011 (2010 was a bit too intense, wasn’t it ?), with a quiet and steady recovery. Are you going to Shetland with a truck so you can buy all the wool you want ? Thank you for your excellent posts and beautiful designs.

  26. Happy New Year, Kate, Tom and Bruce. Keep looking forward and not back, Kate! Amazingly, despite everything you have had to overcome in 2010, your posts (and other creations) have shown us how well you are able to do this. I love reading your blog – it is always so interesting, intelligent, entertaining, beautifully illustrated. Above all, your personality comes through so strongly – and that hasn’t changed.

  27. Happy new year, Kate. I hope 2011 brings good things for you. I’m really curious to see the right side of the new project, although how could the wrong side be wrong when it’s so lovely?

  28. Happy New Year and enjoy Shetland. Passed through many a time when heading offshore but funnily enough I could never get the chopper to stop at Jamiesons…so selfish these offshore tigers! Watch the wind doesn’t knock you over :-)

  29. Ooooh, I love the colors you are using in the current knitting project. I expect the other side is really nice, too. You have had a tough year in 2010, but you have continued to put one foot in front of the other, and that is what it takes. Healing is in the works, I think. Take good care of yourself and have a wonderful trip with your husband.

  30. I suffer from fatigue as well (from a liver disease) and I have to tell you that your posts have been a little ray of sunshine on some rather bleak days. Sometimes these awful things come into our lives and we just have to wait and see what good can come from them . . . and there will be something good.

  31. Happy New Year!
    I´ve just finished a mitten in J&S in and now I can show my husband that other people also are interested in the wrong side of knitted items.
    He has started to call me a hemul from the work of Tove Jansson. And sometimes I do wear a purple dress.

  32. Happy New Year!

    The colors of your new project remind me of the beach and the colors of abalone shells one would find…

    I can’t wait to see the finished product!

    Remember this quote:
    “I am just one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Helen Keller

  33. Hello Kate
    I am sending you just a little of our West Australian warmth to keep you warm and cosy in 2011. I love the colours of your new project – synchronicity at work it seems. With the best of wishes to you and yours.

  34. Maybe you should start marking your progress by the Chinese New Year instead of the Jan. 1 holiday. If you compare your year-long progress from about 1.5 months from now, I am sure that the progress that you see will be so self evident. Have a happy and safe New Years with lots of fun and laughter!

  35. HAPPY NEW YEAR KATE — glad that you are going on a trip and hope you can enjoy it

    – do so, understand what you are feeling though — its hard to be really happy when you are not where you want to be in your life , but gees , look at how far you have come — remember not being able to use your left arm , remember the leg brace — you have come so far with your determination— life is what just , happens and how we deal with THAT is what life is really all about

    – I don’t really think the colours you are knitting are co-incidence – we knit what gives us pleasure and comfort— aka your new design , and the blanket

    chin up girl , things will get better—pat j

  36. Mmmm, I love those colours! And I can’t wait til you reveal the right side… I’m sure it’s gorgeous. Have a wonderful time in Shetland – and best wishes for the new year :)

  37. Hi Kate,
    I just found your blog over the holidays because I was looking for fair isle hats. I purchased two of your super patterns and look forward to making them. However, I was not aware of your health situation. I intend to read your archive to find out more about you, but I did want to say how brave I think you are. It is difficult to accept everything that life doles out and to keep carrying on. May you continue strong in both heart and mind.

  38. Dear Kate,
    I found your blog a year or so ago and started to follow it because your posts about your walks were a way for me to live vicariously in a way I couldn’t in real life (because I am a caregiver to my mom, because we don’t have the abundance of easily-reached wild places, because I am not so strong, etc….). Very soon, the stroke came and your blog became the chronicle of your experience with that, which still had alot of meaning for me. Somehow, your honest sharing and insights of your ups and downs described something very similar to the ups and downs of any hard thing (for me, becoming a full-time caregiver for my sweet mom and being with her as she walks the downhill journey of dementia).

    My wish for you is that when this year turns into 2012, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come, how much progress you have made, how good you feel.

    Thank you for your writing, the gorgeous photographs, the comfort of the yarn and your clothes, the sharing of your life.

  39. May this year bring you better times than last year.
    Your knitting is beautiful, your “wrong” side is many times neater than the “right” side of most of my knitting.

    Thank you for blogging – your knitting, writing and thoughts are an inspiration.

  40. Sorry to hear you’re finding things difficult. When I read your posts I am struck by how far you have come – easy for me to say of course, but I’m sure that at the end of this year you’ll be struck by the progress you’ve made.

    Have a wonderful time up North – you deserve much wool!

  41. Hi…Happy New Year!
    I’ve been following your blog for ages but this is the first time I have commented. I never seem to know what to say that someone hasn’t already said before me…but I wanted you to know that I think of you often and I am sending you love and healing vibes. I too fight chronic fatique each day (I have Fibromyagia) so I empathise with you….and I admire your strength.
    Keep up the beautiful knits! :-)

  42. Best wishes for 2011. Have a good trip. Hope the health continues to improve.

    You know, you might just convince me that this colourwork lark is do-able!

  43. Kate – I found your blog about a year ago as I returned to knitting on retirement. What a burst of light and joy it was. I heard of your stroke with sorrow, and then, as many do here, I have read of your recovery with great admiration and respect for your courage. Please continue to share with us your moments of both light and dark.

    When I saw Caller Herrin I was absolutely seized by it . The colour balance, the scale structure and the story – it’s your best. I have it on my birthday present wishlist. Your unrevealed knit in Quietly seems to play with the same iridescent colours that pop out of Alice Starmore’s Pebble Beach. Some Harris tweed fabrics have the same combining of colours in the combing and spinning. Viewing at one distance you see the blend, when you step closer the colours shine out individually. It is like pointillism.

    Very best wishes for your journey in 2011. More immediately, best wishes in Shetland. I lived on Fair Isle for almost a year – a winter visit to SI will be beautiful.

  44. Slainte mhath Kate, you give so many of us pleasure and insight in reading your blog, keep up the good words in 2011.

    The colours of the knitting are wonderful, cannot wait to see the reverse.


  45. Dear Kate, Hope you are soon feeling better again. Enjoy the special company around you. You are amazing, climbing up like that just again proved your fighting spirit.
    Give yourself time; look at the beautiful knitting you are achieving. Strange about the blanket colours. Enjoy you holiday, and rest with your feet up. You were really lucky that you didn’t get more injured from the fall. Please take care.

    Lindy xo

  46. Ooh when are you coming/going to Shetland? I am home now but go back to Edinburgh on Fri. Was hoping to go along the brokers for some lace weight yarn but they’ve been shut. To be fair I have far too many projects needing finished before I start on anything new! Anyway hope you have a super time and the weather behaves itself!


  47. I hope that 2011 will be an excellent year for you ~ and that your recovery will be complete ~ so when you look back at this New Year it too will seem very far away.

  48. magnifique.
    une merveille.
    sauf que je lis pas l anglais.
    je commence seulement le fair isle et je suis ravie d avoir trouvé ce site.

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About Kate Davies

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