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Good morning! I’m extremely happy to announce that Yokes is now available for pre-order

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. . . and while I’m at it, I thought I’d show you another design. This yoke is called Buchanan.

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One of the many aspects of wearing yokes that I thought about while researching this book was the widespread practice, in the 1960s and ’70s particularly, of selecting a yoke to match your skirt or kilt. This was particularly common in Scotland of course, but it seems also to have been the case in Canada, and elsewhere. To this day, there is a particular shade in the Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight palette that is known as “kilt green”, and you can still purchase yoke jumpers that match Blackwatch and other common tartans from some Shetland retailers. I confess I was prompted to reflect on this practice when I spotted the Morningside Maisie buses zipping around Edinburgh some years ago

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Children’s author and illustrator, Aileen Paterson chose to draw her mischievious cat Maisie in this familiar and rather nostalgic outfit of yoked gansey and kilt, and its intriguing that, around the same time, Mairi Hedderwick chose a very similar outfit in which to dress her equally popular Scottish character, Katie Morag.

So I knew I wanted to use the colours of a kilt to design a matching yoke, but the question was, which tartan?

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Just a couple of miles from my house are the South and Eastern shores of Loch Lomond, and these bonnie banks and braes are my favourite local places for a stroll. This beautiful stretch of land was granted to Absalom Buchanan in 1225, and so I chose the rich palette of the “ancient” Buchanan tartan as the starting point for this design.

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I then got in touch with the lovely ladies at Scottesque, and asked them to make me a “midi-kilt”. (You can select your own tartan, and your kilt will be made to measure for an extremely reasonable sum). Rather than the familiar heavy pleated garment, the Scottesque midi kilt is composed of several fabric pieces, cut on the bias. I think it makes for a very feminine, flattering and striking skirt.

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I then discovered that several shades of Rowan kid classic provided a near-perfect match for the Buchanan tartan. This pleased me greatly as its a yarn of which I’m very fond – light and warm, and really hard wearing, with a lovely halo and handle. From that palette, I produced a chart.

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This is not the way I generally work when designing, as I usually have some kind of precise visual image in mind. But limiting my imagination in one way (colour) seemed to really give it free rein in another . . . I happily played around with shades and motifs until I’d created a yoke design with which I was very happy. The end result has a curiously 1920s/30s modernist feel to me, and, when I look at it, I am put in mind of the bows of cruise liners and their art deco interiors.

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Buchanan can be worn as a neat Spring tee, or can be popped on over layers as the weather cools.

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We shot these photographs at the top of one of my favourite local landmarks – the Dumpling, and I have to say I love the way this whole outfit looks against the spectacular highland landscape.

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Bruce had fun that day too.

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More details about Buchanan here

I’ll continue telling you about the remaining designs in the collection over the coming days, and the pre-order link for the book is here.

66 thoughts on “Yokes is available for pre-order! . . . and here is Buchanan

  1. You said “So I knew I wanted to use the colours of a kilt to design a matching yoke, but the question was, which tartan?”

    And you chose Buchanan! Well done! Ordering this for my wife. We are Buchanans.

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  2. I can’t refrain from commenting…but I am at a loss for words! This one may just take the biscuit! And again, may I humbly suggest that whilst each and every sweater is gorgeous, its the “whole package” that boggles my mind! Scenery, photography and your impeccable dress sense all add up to a simply stunning result. Superb, Kate. xo

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  3. Been following for awhile…did make sheep hat and got toadie kit.
    Now can not see straight but I want the tartan skirt…you look so darling and of course the photography and sceans are spectacular. Can not figure out how you have time to knit.
    I am debating between midi and maxi length…wondering how tall you are?
    I am 5’4 and actual waist to floor is 39 inches. Maiden name is Campbell so it will probably be my tartan. Now if Southern California would get some Fall weather we knitters would be happy.

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  4. Oh my goodness, I was struck by this tartan/knit combo in your instagram feed, and now I find that it’s actually the tartan I can find back a few generations in my own family tree…

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  5. Love your designs! I was about to pre-order the book then checked the conversion from pounds to dollars and discovered it would cost me over $42.00 U.S. I think I’ll wait and see if there will be a bookseller in the States I can buy it from after it’s been published. I hope so.

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  6. I love this (especially the second photo). I get the ’30s vibe- you look so unashamedly healthy and cheery as you stride out across the hill!
    And now I want my own sweater and kilt.

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  7. I am really loving all of the designs for your new book and the stories behind them. I know that the book will be so much more than just a knitting book like your Colours of Shetland. I can’t wait to read it and then get knitting. It should be in my Christmas stocking, fingers crossed, as it’s top of the list I have put in with Santa.

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  8. Lovely photos, and a lovely yoke!

    If you want to tone down the cyan in the sky when you take photos on a sunny day (and if you have a DSLR), try a polarizing filter! The sun adds blue tones to photos and this filter will help correct for this. (It’s also a great way to protect your lens.)

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  9. I’ve just cast on my first project with Rowan Kid Classic and love the feel of the yarn. I can imagine how nice it will be to make a jumper with this yarn. The design is beautiful and I love the inspiration behind it. The photo’s are brilliant, I think Tom might have outdone himself with this photo shoot.

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  10. Just sharing my morning cuppa with you and your new yoke. How happy you look Kate and what a joyful collection you have shown us today. I love your colourful yoke and kilt…. feeling inspired to create too …. the countryside looks glorious shall I go on…..

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  11. I love it.
    But to me it has a distinct 50’s feel.
    My grandfather had a large coffecup with a similar pattern from a swedish designer. Might have been Wilhelm Kåge for Gustafsberg.
    Anyway, love the pattern, the palett and the good memories it have stirred.

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  12. I have just ordered too ….. it will be a slower trip to arrive Downunder! As always Kate, you are such an inspiration and I have really enjoyed the background for your inspiration in these designs. My Scottish heritage is from the Highlands but I love anything Scottish no matter what the history of the Clans, so… thank you, really look forward to YOKES arriving in my letterbox!

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  13. So lovely! And what a good idea to go with the rich blue-green of the ancient Buchanan for your design. My grandmother was a Buchanan, though even when she was born at the end of the 19th century her Buchanans had been in America for over 100 years. In any case, I have an affection for even the “loud” Buchanan plaid, and this is many times better!

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  14. Gorgeous! I love the palette and design. I am just finishing up my first Fair Isle project (Peerie Floors! Such fun to knit:-)) and am wondering what next. Great work!

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  15. I will try to play nice……….at least you chose the ancient Buchanan………that tartan makes my eyes go wonky! My tartan is the MacKay and I love the ancient colours SO, I will be doing this yoke in the MacKay colours. What a concept that sweater is. And needless to say, you look stunning in those photographs. And Katie Morag!! I had forgotten about her, wonder if I can find her here. CHEERS!

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  16. I was wondering if the Colours of Shetland will be reprinted. I have done a little research and not been able to find it. Thanks for any information.
    Kathy D

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    1. Hi Kathy, yes, I have it available here – I just can’t put it on the shop at the moment as we have our hands very full with the other book. If you would like to order it just drop me an email info@katedaviesdesigns.com and I will sort you out. Several retailers here in the UK, EU and the US also stock it, including Schoolhouse Press

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  17. I just wanted to say that seeing these new designs pop up one by one has become a definite highlight of my email! And I’m tempted to knit many more of them than I thought I would be … your photos are lovely, and seeing the designs shown off well is a pleasure to look at. Thank you!

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  18. Placed my order this morning as a treat for my birthday that was yesterday. I would love it if you could sign Yokes, but I will understand if you can’t. Thank you for your inspiring books and patterns!.

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  19. Kate
    I preordered the book this morning. Its a birthday present for myself – my birthday is nov 16th. any chance you could sign the book?

    looking forward to the rest of the designs …. and getting the book!

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  20. The sweater is lovely – and you matched the colours perfectly (my pre-order for the book will be going in soon…) but that skirt….. oh my! Just gorgeous… I’ve got to start saving my pennies – I hope they ship to Canada!

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  21. Another gorgeous yoke – each time you post pictures I think this is my favorite, but they keep getting better an better. I suspect I will want to knit them order. My book order is in, and am so looking forward to it’s arrival.

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  22. I cannot say which is more beautiful, you, the sweater, the kilt, the landscape or Bruce. Put them all together – BREATH TAKING !!!!! Great photographer too .

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  23. Wow! That combination is absolute perfection! It does have a very ’30’s vibe to it. I’m adding your book to my collection once again.

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  24. You must have had a busy year! All of these past sweaters are so unique and varied. I like the elongated design. When choosing a kilt or kilted skirt, is it the general practice to choose your specific family tartan or just one that you like? I would like another kilt, but want a different colorway that is not of my family’s design.

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  25. Beautiful design. And I agree the scenery is spectacular. I’ve also placed my order for the book. Thanks for all the work you have put into the designs and also the sneak peek emails. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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  26. Another beautiful design! I enjoy reading your posts as not only do you share the lovely photo’s but also the inspiration, background and stories behind each design. I was going to put your book on my Christmas list but after seeing the designs so far I can’t actually wait until then – my pre-order is in!

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  27. I specially enjoyed the joy that glows from you on the first pictures. It is great to see you so happy. Plus, it exactly reflects my mind today (new job ! )

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  28. I love your blog. I’m not a huge fan of stranded knitting but I read you religiously :) This outfit is quite stunning but my favorite thing about this post is how happy you look!

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  29. Just ordered it. If Tom is the one behind the lens he should quit his day job as that sky and landscape takes my breath away. Well done team.

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  30. This design is stunning! I absolutely love the colours and the interplay of shapes. I agree about the modernist feel of the motifs, and the colours also remind me of vintage fairgrounds. What’s not to love!

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  31. This is my absolute favorite of the designs you’ve unveiled so far! The colors so striking and vibrant! I love the way you’ve styled it, too (you really have the most fabulous wardrobe of skirts…)

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    1. Hi Alina,
      no – like many small publishers, I avoid Amazon! Neither of my books are available there.
      Yokes is either available directly from me, or you can purchase it from many local yarn and bookstores worldwide.

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  32. Wow! You just took me down memory lane! My husband and I got married in St. Andrews by the Sea in my hometown Province of New Brunswick, Canada, and guess what tartan he wore for our wedding? Yup, ancient Buchanan! Your pattern is lovely and I only wish my knitting was so skilled as to make it!
    PS, don’t ask me how we ended up in Iowa!? I’m still scratching my head at that move lol! Until we get to visit Scotland ourselves, I’ll vicariously live through you :)

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  33. You never know where design inspiration will come from. :-) It’s a lovely design, and I love the midi kilt, too. The tartan is gorgeous! Congratulations on another show stopper, Kate.

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  34. Your sweater is beautiful! I just ordered your book and I’m really looking forward to receiving it. Thank you for having an ordering process that is very easy to use, straight forward, exactly how it should be!

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  35. Lovely jumper, how well I remember the gentle art of “pulling out” colours from a tweed or checked shirt. It was good fun and produced some really nice results. I am sure people must do it still, how can you not! All the yoked garments have been wonderful, so well done! Super photographs, super book.

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  36. I really love the skirt and the design and colours of the Buchanan are exquisite! I pre-ordered the book this morning, can’t wait to get started on your amazing designs – just need to finish Boreal for my daughter first!!

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