looking back


2013 has been a very interesting year. For us, its main event was undoubtedly leaving Edinburgh, and moving out West!


It would perhaps seem to be a massive change, moving from a busy city to a sleepy steading just off the West Highland Way. But I immediately felt at home, and the fact that this change did not seem radical at all, suggests to me how well our new surroundings suit us. I am certainly wading through much more mud and cow shit on my daily walks, and I fear my appearance has grown a wee bit more raggedy and bumpkin-like, but otherwise things go on as usual. With more space. Which is nice.


2013 was a year of new contacts and collaborations.

(Peerie Flooers on Ann Cleeves’ Shetland)

. . .with the BBC

(Nepal Wrap)

. . .with Rowan

(Shepherd Hoody)

. . .with Juniper Moon Farm


. . . and, perhaps most excitingly for me, with Gawthorpe Textiles.

I have been exploring texture much more in my design work this year, and have really enjoyed using simple garment shapes to explore the potential of cables and lace.


Braid Hills

Port o’ Leith

Firth o’Forth

But, as Autumn turned, I was bitten by the colourwork bug again, and now find myself once more on something of a colour kick.

Tea Jenny

First Footing

Toatie Hottie

And perhaps most importantly on a personal post-stroke level, during the latter part of this year, I can say that I have finally begun to feel reasonably “well” on a pretty-much consistent basis. There have been far fewer bouts of debilitating fatigue, and no weird neurological incidents. I spent 6 weeks engaged in the demanding physical task of redecorating our new home with no ill effects, and I can now plan on working a full day, walking Bruce, and performing any necessary household chores: a level of “normal” activity which was completely unimaginable in the years immediately following my stroke. Part of this sensation of wellness is perhaps that I have finally adapted to my post-stroke self, and have a much better awareness of my limits (for example, I still need 10 hours sleep to function normally), but it is also important to point out that, almost four years after the event, I am still seeing significant improvements in my gait and strength on my weak side, as demonstrated in this recent swants leap.


Thankyou all so much for stopping by, for reading and commenting, and for supporting my work in 2013.

Here’s to a grand new year for us all! Slainte and Happy Knitting!


126 Comments on “looking back

  1. I love reading your blog Kate, it’s an inspiration to me both from a knitting perspective, and also because of my love of Scotland. Your achievements this year are amazing! Keep going!!

    • Yes. I totally agree. Love the blog. Really look forward to a new post. Am totally inspired by you. 😊

  2. Inspirational as ever! Thank you for a year (and more) of interesting and enjoyable blogs. Here’s to a happy 2014.

  3. I so enjoy seeing one of your posts in my inbox. Your designs are just lovely and your spirit brings such joy! Wishing you a new year filled with all good things.

  4. It’s been quite a year. with so many fun projects and interesting developments.
    I’ll be tipping a glass of mead tonight with the family and looking forward to what the new year brings.

  5. Happy New Year, Kate! Looking forward hearing about all your adventures next year! And to knitting my own First Footing for the new year, when my kit makes its way to Canada!

  6. I love your blog and relish each post as it pops up in my in box….. wishing you all the best for 2014

  7. It’s fantastic that you’re doing so much better physically. Long may it continue and thank you for another year of fascinating blogs, fabulous patterns and of course the contributions from the master of the house (Bruce, obviously).

  8. One of the highlights of MY year was discovering your blog! I always look forward to your new designs, (Shepherd Hoody yarn from JMF is ready to go in the New Year, and Firth o’ Forth is queued up), but I enjoy your commentary and photography equally. Very best wishes for a happy, successful and above all healthy 2014.

  9. happy new year, your pleasure in life and ever-refining artistic productivity, your adventures and wonderful book recommendations, have been a rock of optimism and persistence. blessings on you and yours.

  10. Thank you again for your words and photos. Your upbeat attitude is infectious. Continued good health and abundant creativity in the New Year.

    • My words exactly! I’ve so enjoyed your blog this year and your designs and writing are truly inspirational.

  11. Yay… you’ve come such a long rugged way, without instructions, and arrived perfectly in tact ! Happy New Year to You & Yer Whole Bunch ! xx

  12. Happy New Year, Kate, and thank you for allowing me to travel around Scotland from my armchair here in Colorado, USA. Hoping that 2014 brings you much joy, love, and continued improvement on the health front!

  13. Thank you for sharing your stories, inspiration and designs! Your blog is one of my favourite places on the internet! Happy New Year to you and yours. xxx

  14. 1) I LOVE Bruce! (I may be biased as I am the owner of a Lab myself, though yellow not black.)
    2) I just adore the photograph of Firth o Forth… the way the wind billows your skirt and sends your braids dancing, how the camera captures that one perfect moment of motion. All the best from across the ocean in Canada for a Happy New Year and a sincere “thank you” for inspiring my humble knitting journey.

  15. Happy New Year, Kate, Tom, Bruce and Jesus.
    I really enjoyed all the buzz surrounding your move: it reminded me of The Great Trek, when we moved up to Falkirk from Kent, five years ago. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now, and finally plucked up the courage to start my own blog this year.
    Here’s to many more successful collaborations for you in 2014!

  16. Happy New Year to all! Love your blog, love your knitting, thank you for sharing. More power to all our knitting fingers in 2014!

  17. 2013 is a year I personally am glad to see the back of, but I so happy it has been a good year for you. I’ve loved seeing your move to the country and am so glad you are feeling well. My desire for Firth o’ Forth has persuaded me that lace and lace weight knitting isn’t so scary after all so that’s a project lined up for the new year! A happy new year to you, Tom and Bruce when it comes!

  18. You are simply amazing! I’m so inspired by your work and the parts of your life you so generously share with us on your blog. Happy new year to you and yours!!

  19. Kate – it has been such a pleasure to follow the twists and turns of your story over all these years and to find you today in a place of such productivity and optimism. All good wishes, as ever, for today, tomorrow and whatever the future holds.

  20. You are soo inspirational! You make me strive to do more within my boundaries also :) I am loving your last years patterns as well!

  21. Bravo for the re-assembling of “normal,” along with all the creative and relocation accomplishments. Being able to walk the dog again: one of the best milestones in a recovery, as I’m sure Bruce would confirm. May you have a splendid 2014, with as much leaping as you choose and sufficient rest to make those leaps joyful.

  22. Happy New Year to you, too, Kate! I received my Toatie Hottie kit – thanks! – although I may knit it up in another yarn and save the J & S blue and white heritage yarn for First Footing. All the best to you, Tom, and especially Bruce, the world’s most photogenic dog.

  23. Your designs bring so much joy into so many knitters’ lives, mine included. It is also a joy to see your continued recovery from your stroke. All the best in the New Year in your New Home.

  24. Happy New Year! I am excited to hear that even now you have come to know your body and are able to mark the improvements …perhaps some better than ever before! I understand what you are talking about as had a debilitating disease from the time I was 9 years. Now almost 54 it has had it’s up and downs. The reward is that if we must deal with such things, it is nice to understand what our bodies are telling us. It brings a much better more active life in many ways. So to you I wish the road to be easier, that joy is your guide and Magic is in the air and all around, for that is, truly is a good Life! By the way, I love your new home. I was raised in a city but my heart always yearns for the mountains, the trees, springs and in your case loches . So indeed, it will be a New Year filled with adventure!.

  25. It’s been a privilege to read your blog, cheer on your progress and purchase your gorgeous patterns. My skills finally developed enough to make the Ursula Mittens from Colours of Shetland and I am ringing in 2014 by knitting your OWLS jumper. Wishing you, Tom and Bruce (and all your readers) the best year of your lives so far!

  26. You’ve done so much and come so far! Here’s wishing you a brilliant 2014 – can’t believe it’s nearly 4 years. I’m so glad the gait is still improving and your fatigue is diminishing. Don’t overdo it though please… as you know, I KNOW that feeling of “yay I’m back to normal” which can precede a knock back! Happy Hogmanay

  27. Happy New Year to you and Tom and Bruce. Sending you all my best wishes from the west coast of California to the west of Scotland.

  28. Happy New Year! I’m glad to see you and Bruce looking so well. Thank you for your wonderful blog and patterns. They lift my spirits and creative desires.

  29. Darn, I’m # 32 to leave a comment and it has all been said and VERY nicely!! You are my heroine!
    I have to say The Firth O’Forth was the ONLY garment of yours I didn’t really want to buy and HA my daughter took one look and FELL IN LOVE!! So guess what I am knitting??? You guessed it, in Slate grey, Merino and Silk. Funny. Had to fiddle with the needle size but that’s OK. I did go to the site that sells the yarn you used and did you see that it was ALL sold out? Is that your doing? Are you alone supporting the British Yarn Industry ?

  30. Thanks you for all your sharing with us. But where are the pictures of your studio?!! I’m betting that moving to a slower-paced lifestyle has had a major effect on your health–maybe the air is better out there!! Change of location can do wonders for us sometimes. Happy New Year to your and yours.

  31. Hi Kate,
    I don’t know if this would interest you but a woman named Jill Bolte Taylor had a massive left brain haemorrhage. The interesting thing about her story is that she is a neuroscientist. It took her 8 years to achieve a full recovery. She has written a book called My Stroke of Insight and is also on TED as a speaker. I hope this is not in any way offensive to you, but i thought it might be useful to know how long it can take some people to recover and that full recovery is possible. I love your blog and also your new surroundings. A Happy New Year and best wishes to you.

  32. Happy New Year to you Kate ! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I have yet to have the courage to tackle one of your designs but I have many que’d on RAV and hope 2014 will be the year. I have my eye on Deco and think I might can manage it. Glad to hear you feel you are adjusting to your new normal and feel very at home in your new digs. It is certainly spectacular there where you live. Keep the photos coming – it may be as close to Scotland as this southern girl ever gets. Cheers to a happy healthy 2014 Melody

  33. Blwyddwyn Newydd Dda! Thanks for the joy your blog brings to this corner of the knitting world, and thank you for posting Snawheid out just before Christmas! It’s gorgeous!

    It’s lovely to see you progress post-stroke, and it’s inspiring that you can achieve so much.

    Here’s to a good one for you and yours, and paw hugs to young Bruce!


  34. I love reading your blog, especially all the pictures of Bruce. So glad to know that you are improving all the time.

    Here’s to another great year!

  35. You are a great inspiration, Kate, both for your creativity and for your perseverance. Thanks for all you share with us, and have a wonderful year in 2014!

  36. It’s wonderful that you are kicking up your heels and feeling so much better. Your spirit and determination are truly an inspiration!

    It has been fun to follow your blog and see your new designs; they are all gorgeous to the last stitch!
    Every blessing for A Happy New Year!!!

    Kisses to Bruce.

  37. I enjoy reading your blog regularly but rarely comment. I’m working on your sheep tea cozy. Loving it. Thanks for sharing your talent with the rest of us. You are an inspiration on many levels. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

  38. Kudos to you Kate for all that you have accomplished both physically and in your life as a designer. I have been to the west of Scotland and it is a most restorative place. You have learned to pace yourself and step back from so many tempting events. But it has paid off and you will emerge stronger on all fronts. I love looking forward to your blog posts and designs.

  39. Happy New Year to you Kate. Thanks for your amazing inspiration and designs. So pleased you feel you have turned a corner.

  40. Best wishes to you, Tom, Bruce and Jesus for 2014. Wishing you continued improvement in your strength and health. I love reading your blog and all the background research you do on textiles and knitting from the past. Received my First Footing in the mail yesterday, a perfect birthday present :) Can’t wait to get started. Happy New Year from Ottawa, Canada.

  41. It’s so lovely to be a ‘part’ of your life through this blog. Hoping your next year is just as full of color, happiness and new discoveries!

  42. Happy New Year Kate! Lovely reading your blog and to see all your designs. one day i will actually get to knit one!!

  43. I ordered 2 First Footing kits and, one week later, I ordered a Hoatie Tottie kit. Wouldn’t you know it, the Hottie Tottie came on the 24th-hurrah! The other 2 kits came on the 30th. Now I have 3 kits with which to start 2014. Have the happiest and healthiest of New Years. Blessings on you, Tom, and Bruce.

    Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  44. Happy New Year to you and Zi hope 2014 brings you and your family health, wealth and happiness.

    Your blog and adventures in knitting give me great pleasure so thank you and I look forward to more in 2014.

  45. Happy New Year to You!
    Your work is stunning, and the landscape of Scotland is so beautiful, but mostly I want to congratulate you on persevering with your health!! It’s so inspiring! Hope 2014 treats you well!

  46. Happy New Year Kate, and Tom! Thank you for the continuing inspiration of you lovely blog. I just love your designs, and love the Bruce stories! Cheers! fiona x

  47. Thanks for sharing your ideas, pictures and your knitting projects. It was a real pleasure reading your blog. I particularly liked your swants jump! What joy it gave to you and also to your readers. All the best for 2014!
    Best wishes from Vienna,

  48. Have a very happy and fruitful 2014! I have followed and enjoyed your blog this past year and it has certainly enriched and inspired my own knitterly and health related efforts, for which I truly thank you!
    You have achieved so much this year – you deserve to be hugely proud!
    Best wishes,

  49. Congrats on such a wonderful and productive year. Yours is the first blog I check, and the one I refer other knitters to the most. Best wishes for health and happiness from Canada to you, Tom, and Bruce!

  50. Best wishes for the New Year. You have inspired me for many years now to push myself harder in both the physical and creative realms. Can’t wait to see what you do next year!

  51. Thanks for sharing your journey and all your beautiful creations throughout the year. I love it when a new instalment pops up in my inbox! All the best for 2014.

  52. Happy new year!
    Thank you for the inspiration you bring. Wish you all the best in the new year.

  53. I love reading of your (collective) adventures. It is wonderful to hear that your health is still improving. Best wishes for the New Year.

  54. Happy New Year to you and all you love! I can’t wait to hear more about the Gawthorpe Hall project. Thank you for sharing your inspiration, photographs and descriptions. Look forward to following you in 2014.

  55. I get chills every time I see your “firth o’ forth” photo…..love it, and feel transported to another time. Also love your blog even though I rarely say so. Best wishes for a happy new year!

  56. I also send all those good wishes from the previous posts. I got my First Footing package in the mail today (31st). I don’t know how to knit socks, but I can now pronounce First Footing in Gaelic. I have been practicing a lot. Keep the WHW pics coming!

  57. Thank you so much for sharing your art and craft along with a wee peek at Scotland! Happy New Year!

  58. All the best for 2014! I’m so pleased for you that your new surroundings are able to be enjoyed so fully because of your improving health… It’s been lovely to watch your explorations and live a little west Scottish weather with you. Enjoy!

  59. Happy New Year and thank you for your wonderful designs. Every good wish to you and yours.

  60. Yours were always the best and richest blogs of 2013 and now it’s my first of 2014. I look forward to the privilege of continuing to benefit from the brilliant way in which you communicate your enthusiasms. Happy new year to you, Tom and Bruce.

  61. Yours has been one of my favourite blogs this year. Thanks for it and the lovely pattern book. All the best for 2014!

  62. This is also the year, dare I say, in which you discovered the appeal and utility of denim jeans – not to be under-appreciated! Have a good holiday, and thanks for yet another year of good writing, research, and design.

  63. I look forward to your posts Kate. Thank you for the time you take to write them. Happy new year to you and yours x

  64. Happy New Year! May you continue in your journey of wellness as you continue to wrap yourself (and me) in wooliness and beautiful designs.

    Take care,

  65. Oh, that news of your improved health is just so wonderful to hear! I am overjoyed that all your hard work and patience has come brought such great results. Sending best wishes and hopes that even more progress follows for you in 2014.

  66. Happy New Year! I have so enjoyed your lovely blog over the years. Looking forward to the new year, and wishing you 365 healthy days in the year ahead. Thank you for your inspiration!

  67. What a fabulous wrap up for an inspiring and commendable year, Kate!
    Your new “steading” looks heavenly! No wonder you look so proud and happy in the last photo!
    Looking forwrad to your new adventure in 2014.
    Slainte indeed!

  68. Thank you for the many inspirations in life and knitting! Wishing you (3) much health, happiness and success in 2014 and beyond!!! Slainte

  69. Thank YOU Kate for such an inspiring and motivating blog! I only have to have a quick read in the middle of a frantic day to transport me to the hills of Scotland and to your exquisite creations. My needles have definitely been more active since finding you too!!! Wishing you joy and peace in 2014 … may it be filled with laughter, love and long long walks with Bruce! xxx

  70. It’s MY joy to share in YOUR joy. May 2014 bring you continued personal and professional accomplishments galore. Thank you for the lovely kit. I think of you often and pray for your continued strength. Blessings to you as you bless others with your gifts.

  71. What a lovely post. I’m so glad 2013 went well. Here’s to hoping 2014 is another great year!

  72. Such an inspirational post. Wishing you health and happiness in 2014

  73. All good, and I’m happy for you.
    Great to hear of your continued recovery: my own path has been similar, and I function at a ‘new normal’ which is closer to the pre-accident level than I once thought would ever be possible. How lucky we are.
    All the best for 2014.

  74. Comment number 100!! Many thanks for your inpirerande blog that I always look forward to read. It is the blog that I like best of all I am reading. Happy new 2014 and continue blogging! Regards from Sweden

  75. Your blog is a recent discovery – I keep coming back for a sniff of fresh air, a glimpse of open landscapes and beautiful genuine designs where my eyes go wandering and my mind gets lost… Thanks a lot for sharing this.
    Bonne année / Happy New Year, from Paris area.

  76. I stopped by your blog today as I nursed my first coffee of the New Year. The news that you’re finally feeling “normal” is so wonderful–even if it is a “new” normal. My wish is that you enjoy continued (and growing) strength, happiness, and many new designs in 2014. Give Bruce a big kiss for me!

  77. Wishing you all a happy new year, with continued improvments in your health and lots of inspiration for your designs.

  78. You are an amazing inspiring woman. Thank you for sharing your story and life with us all. Your a gift to us all. Bless,Bless.

  79. Have a lovely New Year, delighted to hear that you are so well and continuing to recover. I have just put the finishing touches to the Toatie Hottie, a Christmas present from my daughter. Looking forward to even more of your lovely designs in 2014.

  80. Happy 2014! I love your insightful posts, especially when you write on textile history.
    May you have much happiness in the year ahead :)

  81. You are such an inspiration in so many ways. I hope your entire family has a Happy New Year.

  82. Happy New Year! I love your designs, and hope your recovery continues in 2014


  83. Happy New Year to you too! Thanks for the awesome blog and the even more awesome knitting!May there be many more of both in the coming year. So pleased to see you back on your feet x

  84. Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for another lovely, heart warming, encouraging, amazing and inspiring post. May 2014 be your best year yet!

  85. I wish you a year of more leaps and bounds! Can’t wait to see what you do next (and perhaps a house tour?). ;)

  86. Wonderful! I have started following your blog recently and love everything you do :) Congrats on your recovery and have a happy new year.

  87. Best wishes for a very healthy and happy 2014! The leaping photo is really lovely.
    Your readers look forward to your blog posts whenever you are ready.

  88. I’m so glad to hear that you are still improving. Happy 2014 to you and lots of walks, designs, yarn and leaps.

  89. Happy New Year and Happy New Designing. I look forward to this year’s blog posts and patterns. Thank you for all your hard work making us knitters so happy.

  90. It’s so good to hear that you are feeling more consistently “well”. I hope your recovery continues throughout 2014 and that you feel better and better. Happy new year, and I look forward to more awesome designs from you!

  91. Thank you for such an inspiring post. Your blog is always interesting to read and your photos stunning. I’m so pleased you’re continuing to recover well because it gives me hope for my young work colleague trying to come to terms with her stroke. You’re very brave and honest and it’s lovely.

  92. happy new years, kate!

    i am not a frequent commenter, but i always read your blog posts quite thoroughly, get excited about bits of history that you drop in, new designs that you make, and i’m always so so pleased when you conquer a new post-stroke mountain (metaphorically, mostly)! so, cheers to another year! all the best!

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