backward . . . and forward

2012 was really a pretty good year. Here are some highlights.

Work-related trips to some wonderful places . . .



(photo courtesy of Charlotte Monckton)
Shetland again!

My first time as a Woolfest trader.


My sister, Martin Curtis and me, meeting Sophie, Countess of Wessex (note: Helen is wearing a Manu and knitting a Betty Mouat Cowl, I am wearing a Deco and knitting a puffin sweater, and Sophie is looking at a copy of Knit Real Shetland).


Travelling with Tom and Bruce to our favourite Hebridean spots . . .

. . . and swimming in the sea!

Working with my favourite folk . . .


Sandra and Ella

Jen and Nic


. . .to make a book!


But if you asked me what was my biggest achievement in 2012, then I would say . . .


. . . learning to ride a trike, and inspiring a few other people with brain injuries, balance issues and similar disabilities to give it a go as well. In 2013, I intend to try moving things up a gear, and am about to begin learning to drive again. My aim is to be pootling about in our van by June. If I say it here, then it has to happen!!

Most of all:
I am so grateful to all of you for stopping by here, for continuing to read this blog, for leaving so many lovely comments, and for supporting me in all sorts of ways in 2012.

I’ll be back shortly with a couple of related posts about my favourite books and yarns of 2012. . . .

In the meantime:

My pal Jen is having a New Year pattern sale. This includes a 3 for 2 deal on some of her super newly-available designs (I particularly like the Porlock socks with their gansey-inspired stitch patterns and personalised lettering) and 25% off the lovely Cloudy Apples accessories collection. Pop over to Jen’s blog to find out more.

And finally, if you are knocking about Pittenweem this Saturday and fancy meeting me and the samples from Colours of Shetland, then pop down to The Woolly Brew between 12-2pm. I’ll be signing books, too, if you’d like a copy.

85 thoughts on “backward . . . and forward

  1. Well done you!! Amazing achievements to be very proud of in 2012 AND a plan for 2013 too. There is no stopping you now and it is all under your own steam.

  2. Very well done on all your proud achievements! I’m looking forward to following your adventures (and gawking at your gorgeous photography) for yet another year. All best.

  3. Every morning when I look at my email pile yours is the First I go to and I am never disappointed! Today was no exception………what a year! Thank you for all you have written, thought about and shared with us to say nothing about your physical achievements………..massive!!! Good job and drive that puppy this year………..and I don’t mean Bruce :)

  4. I only discovered you recently, but every time I see you appear in my mailbox, it’s a red letter day. What a beautiful post, such lovely countryside, such joy and achievement. Every best wish for the coming year, Caroline in the Finistère, France

  5. I just found out that you have a TBI. I am the mother of a TBI son. You will with determination manage to drive again. Good luck and keep on designing. I truely enjoy your blog.

  6. Oh how I love Pittenweem…I took one of my favourite photographs of that very place…you are an inspiration to us all Kate…I love your new book and have made myself a beret so far, just to test out my colours, then I shall knit the matching cardigan!

  7. Happy New Year Kate! And thank you for all the knitting happiness you gave me in 2012. In the midst of a very difficult year it was such a pleasure to have your patterns to look forward to knitting. Your patterns and the items I knit with them made multiple appearances on my blog last year. I’m looking forward to your 2013 post about your first drive in your van!

  8. Congratulations on such a great year. You have really accomplished a lot because of your sheer perserverance and stamina to push on and the love of Tom and Bruce plus all your family and friends.

  9. I have to say that Tom is quite incredibly good looking, isn’t he? Had to get that in before I congratulated you on your remarkable 2012. Onward and upward and here’s to 2013.

    Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  10. You brought us all such joy with your designs and your fotos. In fact, this is the one blog I read, and I am in awe of what you have done with your life over the past year. And your designs are my favorite patterns in the knitting world for their tailoring, intricate work, and loveliness. Thank you Kate. It’s an honor to knit your designs. Puffins here I come.

  11. You story and work continue to inspire me. I enjoy your candor and willingness to share parts of your life that don’t necessarily reflect the glowing image that so many of us aim to put forth in our blogs. Your authenticity and perseverance are two of the things I look most forward to during my visits. Thank you, and happy/healthy 2013!

  12. To echo the comments of others you bring so much joy with your photos, your love of the land around you, and your personal courage (to take on a book, to ride a trike). I delight in reading your posts and knitting your patterns! May 2013 bring you peace and lots of driving :)

  13. Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures and happy 2013! I’m absolutely crazy about your designs, the are so unique and interesting, always hard to decide what to knit next of these lovelies.

  14. So glad you have had a good year – it looks as if it was filled with wonderful people and places. Also glad to have found your blog in 2012. Have a wonderful 2013.

  15. Oh Kate,
    You are truly an inspiration! You are a model of perseverance and grace. Thank you for the blog and continued good health in 2013. I would wager you are in better physical condition than most people I know! When I a down in the dumps, I think about your struggles and it inspires me to get off my arse up to walk with my dog. It may not be Shetland, but there is beauty to be found everywhere.

  16. Hi Kate! I finally finished Blaithin (except for the blocking) I almost had a nervous breakdown with the steak sandwich. It was touch and go for awhile there. I’m hoping a good blocking will smooth out the imperfections of my work. Can’t wait to wear it for the first time. Started Owls a few days ago. It is going soooo quickly! I’m so happy I found you on Ravelry. You inspire me in so many ways. I look forward to reading your 2013 posts about your knitting, travel and driving adventures!!!!!

  17. I am so happy for you! I know there were bad spots in between the highlights, but you have come so far and have such great plans for your future. Thank you for sharing your life, your country, and your knitting with us.

  18. Congratulations on a year filled with achievements! I LOVE your new book, and am really looking forward to a year of knitting from it. More than that, though, you are a huge inspiration to me as a knitter, writer, historian, and just as a whole person. Thank you for all that you share through your blog, book, and designs.

  19. Hurrah for the tricycle! I remember reading the first post about it and thought it was the most genius present. Along with making stuff, cycling is one of the things that keeps me centred and happy.

    A friend sent me a fantastic card with a great HG Wells quote on it that’s up on the pinboard above my computer: “When I see an adult on a [tri/]bicycle I do not despair for the human race”

    Happy 2013 to all you and yours – two-legged, three-wheeled or handsome, 4-legged and furry with tail.

  20. I’d love to be knocking around Pittenweem this weekend, but alas I won’t be there!

    Best wishes for 2013 and beyond. Thanks again for the Colours of Shetland!

  21. I love the tricycle and know you are an inspiration to many. Also loved the photo of This Is Knit in Dublin :)

  22. Kate, you’re an inspiration and it’s always a pleasure to pop by here and read your blog. I’m a firm believer that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. Good luck and I shall look forward to reading about all your new achievements for 2013!

  23. Inspiring in all ways. Yours is the first blog I check and the one that gives me, as a designer, the most pleasure. You and your work (and play) are wonderful. Thanks. (And your views of Edinburgh are probably why I recently rented and enjoyed “Case Histories”.)

  24. …..And may I say thank you for all the beautiful things you’ve brought into MY life this year. …the wonderful patterns, photos and travel notes that have taken me places I would probably never have seen, information about textiles and their history, and above all….the inspiration and motivation I have gained from sharing your personal journey through this blog. All treasured and priceless. Bless you in the new year and always.

  25. Thanks for all your wonderful designs in 2012 and also for the inspiration to keep on knitting! My disability is a very different one from yours but re-taking up knitting has been a source of great satisfaction, fun and pain relief for me. One of my 2013 resolutions is to improve my intarsia techniques and knit myself a jumper from your new book. :-)

  26. Good luck with learning to drive again! It is so long snce I drove in Edinburgh that I don’t know that I could cope …… and to think that in the past I drove on the dreaded M25. Down here a car a tractor and a sheep on the road constitutes a traffic jam!!

  27. Wonder indeed!!! Love all your achievements and glad I was able to read your blog an support you via pattern purchases and creation of your lovely work. Hope 2013 is ongoing and strong for you and your family.

    Thanks for sharing and letting us join in on your ride!!!!

  28. Kate, best of everything to you, Tom and of course wonderful Bruce in 2013. I believe you inspire not only people with brain injuries, etc., but all of us with your courage, your tenacity, your creativity. Thank you for being you.

  29. What a wonderful year you have shared with us. I can only anticipate your triumph when you get behind the wheel again – Go Kate :-)

  30. Kate, you are an inspiration. Good luck with everything you are planning to do this year, and all the wonderful adventures that you, Tom and Bruce will be sharing

  31. A great year full of achievements and fun – well done! And thank you for sharing so much of it with us, it is a joy to follow your blog!

    As for Pittemweem: Living not too far away in East Lothian, I am distraught for having to give this a miss due to my kids’ prior “engagements”. Hope you have a lot of fun!

  32. Dear Kate
    Congratulations for all these achievements in just one year. Your inner light shines wonderful and inspiring, Best wishes, for 2013 with many projects, montain climbing and lovely moments with your beloved people. And thank you a lot for sharing.Felicidades.

  33. You’re such an inspiration! You’ve had an incredible year…. Here’s to 2013, and pootling adventures – thank you so much for sharing your journey and your beautiful designs, we are lucky to have you! xx

  34. So many incredible achievements Kate. I so enjoy your creative soul here in your blog! You are an inspiration and happy 2013, may it bring you your dreams as well as a few unimagined wonderful surprises!

  35. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs, inspiring designs and gorgeous photographs. I have just finished sheepheid and snawpaws and can’t wait for my J and S order of yarn for Northmavine Hoody to arrive. I wish you and yours a happy 2013 and look forward to catching up with your achievments during the coming months.

  36. What a lovely post. Great highlights, photography and reflections on the year. And it *is* about the little things like being able to ride a bike again or climbing that hill. So I have an idea. Why not have a little tour of the USA? Make one of your stops Ft Collins, CO. We will treat you well, make good food, take you to nice knitting groups and if your husband comes along, my husband (me too) will take him on enough lung searing runs that he will want to go home. Think about it.

  37. I refound knitting in 2012 and in the process found you and your work . I was born with a congenital heart defect and 2012 wasn’t the best year health wise. Rediscovering knitting and meeting new friends at knitting groups has boosted my confidence. Finding your designs and hearing your story has inspired me to try new things in 2013. I’m intending to try steeking, but very nervous! Pittenweem is a bit too far away for a day visit. Are you planning being anywhere else soon? Have a fantastic 2013.

  38. It has been a joy to follow your continued improvements, accomplishments and wonderful knits – even though I don’t knit myself! I think your journey must be an inspiration to many.

  39. Kate –

    You are very inspiring! Keep on keeping on!! Love that word you used – pootling. :) I can hardly wait to see the photos.

  40. Kate, I’ve been inspired by your work and writing this year. This year you’ve made me want a dog. You’ve made me want my knitting to relate to the world around me, the world that I see every day. The colors and texture of life around me. You’ve also made me wonder about academia and jobs and work.

    I also wanted to share an article that was very moving to me. It is written by a feminist theologian (who I’ve never met) and titled “To Make, and Make Again: Feminism, Craft and Spirituality.” I thought you might like it. It’s available here if you are interested:

  41. Thankyou for all the knitting inspiraion, photographs of beautiful (for me)far away places and of course the very charismatic Bruce. Happy New Year x

  42. Kate, thanks so much for sharing your year with us in so many ways, and congratulations on all your achievements. Your blog has been a tremendous help to me in a tricky and difficult year, and getting Colours of Shetland was the icing on the cake. I am so encouraged and inspired now for the coming year. Best wishes and happy driving for 2013!

  43. Happy New Year, Kate! I’d love to know if there’s a pattern for the burgundy shawl/sweater you’re wearing in the “Shetland Again” photo…

  44. Thank you! Both for your wonderful blog and for your wonderful book! I am planning on knitting almost everything in it. I find I am struggling bit to express myself, English is not my first language, but I just really want to express to you how grateful I am for your writing and for being such an inspiration. You make everything seem possible. I can’t drive a car either, but I tell myself, if you can do it there really is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to. Best wishes for 2013!

  45. a great year indeed! and i wish for you another one to follow- good luck with the driving!

    and i must say- the pic with Tom on the trike and Bruce mid-air with ears a flail makes me immensely happy. great shot.

  46. Very well done on all your proud achievements!I love to read about your adventures and I’ll keep on doing it for yet another year.

  47. Kate, good luck with driving. We recently switched to an automatic and oh my is it less demanding. I can concentrate on driving and not controlling my left foot and hand on and off the steering wheel. Is your van automatic?

  48. Hi Kate!!! Happy New Year!!!!
    I follow your blog for a year now and i love reading about all your adventures in Scotland, your pictures are amazing and your dog looks so cute! You are a strong person that has overcome health problems and changed their way of live for the better and I sometimes think of you as an inspiration.
    I’m not an experienced knitter, I’m learning everything by Youtube because I’m left handed and my mom cannot figure out how to teach me, I haven’t tried to knit with colours it seems a bit hard but i love your designs. Just wish sometimes you had a pattern for free, ;)
    Congrats on your book!!
    Wish you all the best.
    Kisses from Portugal.

  49. What a wonderful year! May I ask after the wine-red cardigan/heart-warmer you’re wearing in the “Shetland again!” photo? It looks like a lovely pattern that I’ve overlooked!

  50. C’est nous qui vous remercions pour cette balade merveilleuse tout au long de cette année 2012, tout ce que vous nous faites découvrir chaque jour, tous ces beaux paysages, ces belles gens, et ces superbes tricots … un partage qui n’a pas de prix …

  51. Dear Kate, it was lovely to meet you at the Woolly Brew in Pittemweem: I already liked several of your patterns but seeing so many in real life made me appreciate them even more. The book is also really beautiful, as was expected from your great pictures! It was very pleasant to meet the designer of
    such well thought and pleasant to knit patterns: I am certain that with the new year and all these great resolutions, your inspiration will only keep on bringing new wonders for the knitting community!

  52. Good luck with the driving! Your blog is still one of my fave reads, and even though I’m still not a knitter – although did try a many coloured free stylee swatch to get me through a migraine once – you’ll understand then why I’m not a knitter… Carry on blogging – it’s just so fab and inspiring.

  53. Hi

    It’s been a fantastic year for you and throught you’d enjoy this story. In the sales a week ago standing around the wool selection at john Lewis in Edinburgh I overheard two women talking. They were aquaintences and had just bumped into each other. Both were enthusing about various wool selections and then one said ‘I’ve just got this new book and am thinking about knitting a couple of the patterns, they’re fantastic’ to which the other said ‘oh who by?’ ‘Kate Davies’ ‘Yes isn’t she brilliant she has an amazing blog’ ‘Yes and hasn’t she been inspirational recovering from a stroke just brilliant’ and I can’t agree more. Well done!

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About Kate Davies

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