Wow! Thanks so much everyone for all your input! I promise I’ve read every comment, tweet and email and certainly have much food for thought. I’ve been musing on, and acting on many of your suggestions, however incidental (for example, remarks Kristine and Lou made about the typeface on this blog have now caused me to change it) and Tom and I have been mulling over everything, and considering our priorities for the coming year and beyond. What I’ve found most helpful is thinking (as many of you pointed out) that this is in no way an ‘either / or’ situation. At the moment I confess I don’t have much inclination to pursue the publishers proposal: this is partly because of personal concerns (health, editorial control, and other issues) and partly because we already have a few (very exciting) projects in the pipeline that demand immediate attention. Working on these projects will certainly occupy me for the majority of the coming year, but what I’m going to do is to set aside one day a week, outside of other projects and tasks, and keep this day purely for new research and writing. I will see how things go, and if, toward the end of the year I feel I have satisfied my concerns and have the will, inclination, and indeed material to consider making my own proposal to the publisher, I will reconsider the situation. In the meantime, the publisher may well approach another writer to complete the project they have already envisaged and this is absolutely fine by me. The bottom line is that I really am very happy with the way things are, pursuing and developing my own publishing projects with Tom and my team. But it may be that, in a year or two, I would consider writing something along the lines that many of you have suggested — a project which would better suit the commercial context of the proposal I recently received. We shall see.

jazzhandsinstagram

In the meantime, life goes on: Bruce is happily much improved and should (I hope) be ready to abandon the awful cone and join me, once more, on my walks. During yesterday’s Bruce-less excursion, Tom had a chance to photograph my new Jazz Hands mittens, which are worked up in Buachaille shades Ptarmigan and Squall.

jazzhands7web

jazzhands9web

I really like the way Buachaille knits up at a dense mitten-y gauge (this pair is worked at 8 sts to the inch)

jazzhands2web

. . . and I think there’s something particularly pleasing about this graphic pattern when worked in monochrome natural shades.

jazzhands11web

The weather at last seems to have a nip in it, and I have to say I’m looking forward to more mitten-wearing opportunities.

jazzhands5web

Thanks so much again for all your input, support and advice. It means a lot to me and I really do appreciate it.
x

77 thoughts on “food for thought

  1. You seem to have already come up with the thoughts I was going to offer. Enjoy the luxury you have of directing all aspects of your work!

    I’ve been reading your blog for some years now — since before your stroke, in fact — and have been just a lurker the whole time, so I apologize for a rather down-hearted first comment, but I find the “click-here-to-read-more” format very awkward, wherever I find it. I don’t usually have the leisure to read each new post as it arrives, so I read a week’s or month’s worth at once, and find that it’s much easier and flows better to have all of the posts on one screen, so that I can read it straight through. (I see that this second paragraph runs a bit counter to my first one, but there it is….) I do enjoy reading your lovely posts!

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  2. mmm, I liked the old blog better, I liked seeing all the other ‘stuff ‘ on the page, including the header. Its kind of dull with just the text, and because I always read the blog through the PC, I find the text a bit big.

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  3. Snow says it so well. It is the Kate-ness that we value and love, and you share it in so many ways. There is no need for further comment except that I feel that you are my friend and I wish you and yours the best for the coming year and always. Karen in Vermont

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  4. I absolutely love that first photo of you. It’s beautiful. And I agree with the commenter above – you look like you are in a great place, fully of beauty and confidence.

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  5. You have accomplished so much in these 6 Years! And just in the past year;this blog grows and continues to astound and educate, more creative patterns in a book, your drivers license, your own Shetland yarn, a wedding, continued mobility… what a list!
    There are no wrong decisions regardless the outcome-what we cherish is your..”Kate-ness”, which will continue to be in everything you do.
    Thank you for sharing your beloved homeland, the poetry that springs to mind during a walk, the joy your friendships bring you, the love and nurturing that created recipes, the brilliance that is Bruce, the collaboration that brought an amazing yarn to hand and needles, your love of research and sharing of knowledge, and the things-places-people that feed your heart and spirit.
    Thank you. Thank you.

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  6. Just wanted to say what fantastic comments people leave here! I don’t feel I bring any extra wisdom to the party, every one has said the most perfect things above, especially Veronica’s post above. The photos on this post are truly stunning! Love and best wishes x x Lauren x x

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  7. Dear Kate
    I just read your Blog and that one sentence : to consider making ” my own proposal ” to the publisher, for me fell in place.
    All the best for the New Year.
    Veronica

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  8. You have chosen a plan which seems just right for you. Whatever you do with the book in the end, I will be a purchaser: a book of essays is,exactly what I would like to read, hopefully with your beautiful photography, and a few recipes for comforts sake!

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  9. As someone said above, I think you knew in your heart which was the right decision for you and I whole-heartedly agree with it. The way you talk about the process, the nitty gritty, sometimes frustrating details involved, as well as the good, and your love of it all, there couldn’t be any other choice. I’m going into my 12th year working in publishing and while there are people in it for the love of books, it is, at it’s core, a business and it’s all too easy to lose the sparkle. If you’re still enjoying the process of writing and self-publishing, keep at it!

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  10. very happy for you!
    love your patterns!
    hope to buy some of your wool shortly…
    awesome pictures!
    LOVE your hair down!!!!
    go Kate go!

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  11. There was so much advice given on the last post, I hesitated to comment. I do think there is a negative connotation to anything big (publishing, companies etc) is inherently bad. There are small companies run poorly and large ones that run very well. I think evaluating them on how they are run, is more important than are they big/mainstream or small/independent.
    This last photo shoot is by far the best ever! Boden and Buachaille pair well together.

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  12. Your plan sounds perfect! Well thought out with priorities in order. I am sure that if the proposed subject catches your fancy, you will come up with a wonderful way of pursuing it successfully. Thank you for all of the inspiration you bring me (and my sister- she ordered a skirt from Scottesque after enjoying your wedding photos, and is back to her weaving). I wish you, Tom and Bruce all the best for the coming year!

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  13. I am glad you are keeping your independence and being true to yourself. One thing I have always loved about your blog are the literary references, and references to knitting history both of which are great interests of mine. I had the Bohus stickning Revival book as a Christmas present as a direct result of the blog. I love your patterns and I am about to finish my first Seven Skeins Pawkies. Enjoy 2016 all of you and see where you want to go when you have done some of the many things you have already planned.

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  14. The best for the New Year to you and Tom and Bruce..thank you for the hours of fun with the 7skeins Club and the great designs..Blessings :) Sara

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  15. Love these mittens as they are just stunning in that color way. Glad to hear Bruce is doing better and will be out and about soon.

    The new blog look is fun! I am thrilled to hear you are taking the publishers offer slowly . . . very smart way to go about this offer!

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  16. Best wishes to you and yours for 2016! I love the mittens and would make them with a lovely, hidden, contrasting liner out of a luxury fiber. I do this now with all the mittens I make to give added warmth as I spend a huge amount of time outdoors in the winter and give myself a little ‘secret’ pleasure too.

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  17. As always, absolutely beautiful photos, beautifully styled, and look at you without the plaits?! Curls?! GORGEOUS!! Like everyone else, I love the new appearance of the blog, and wish you a happy and healthy New Year.xx

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  18. Thank you for changing the type! It is so much easier to read — I sometimes had to highlight each paragraph to see it well enough to read it, but I love your writing and would do whatever it took.

    I’m so glad you’re following your heart. The only time we ever really lose our way is when we ignore our deepest instincts and “gut feelings.”

    Love the mittens and the photographs — you are beautiful, and Tom did a great job! So glad Bruce is better.
    Sharon

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  19. Wow back at you Kate and Tom, you put yourself out there, brave and no doubt daunting but you deliver every time developing a strong sense of who you are. For some strange reason it gives me a little lift to read your words and see your stunning photos which I find puzzling as I don’t even know you! But you’re right about Scotland, I am falling in love despite the rain, midges, lack of footpaths I think it’s the better pace of life – were not there yet still in the south, but one day…

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  20. Great to hear Kate. Love the monochrome Jazz pattern, Thinking can I make an open top version., haven’t looked at pattern yet. Mittens are too hot for me.My Buchaille is waiting for me, life has been full of other things. Hope Bruce is soon running around your beautiful place.Dogwalking friend’s dog recently had eye surgery, hated cone and vet loaned a wonderful soft inflatable collar version…probably too late with this info.I’ll ask owner what make It is next time we meet. Love the new font . Looking forward excitedly to enjoying your 2016 projects. Mollydog sends wagtail to Bruce

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  21. We are so glad to hear that your Bruce is much improved. I lost my little dog two years ago right after the New Year and frankly this news of your baby doing poorly had brought it all back. It is such a relief to get the news that Bruce is on the mend. Blessings.

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  22. I love your designs and the wonderful photos of your work and your landscapes.

    The new web design and font are wonderful on this iPad. It’s soooooo much easier to read with these old eyes.

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  23. Whatever direction you decide to go in, I hope you will continue to publish knits styled in your own unique way. I think there is a danger with some publishers that the styling of knits also goes mainstream (which is why I turned down a book offer two years ago). Your indie-published designs are photographed with such flair, and we would not want to lose any of that. And yes, I second the comment above about how lovely you look with your hair loose. Best wishes to Bruce; we have missed him lately.

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  24. Congrats on making a decision! I look forward to what is coming in 2016… Love the mittens worked up in your yarn and agree monochromatic is gorgeous. And WOW I love your hair loose!!! Love the curl, a gorgeous look.

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  25. The photographs are just stunning on today’s post. Thank you SO much for changing the typeface. I was unable to enlarge the type on iPad and struggled so much to read your posts. Now the type pops out magnificently. So happy that you’ve made the decision that’s right for you.

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  26. I love, love your photos and knitting! I may not ever get to really visit Scotland, but through your blog, I feel I can get pretty close! Thank you for doing such a lovely job, and for inspiring me to become a brave knitter! xx

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  27. Making your own proposal is a tremendous idea! I cannot wait to see what all you and the team come up with.
    Much love and snuffles to Bruce on his road to wellness.
    And the photos are lovely! I love the windswept, vintage look.

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  28. Delighted to read this post and feel a sense of happiness in your words Kate.
    As with everything you do I know both of you will have considered every step. I am looking forward to following your exciting project and send my thoughts to all of you in everything you do including looking after your health which is of the utmost importance above everything else.

    I am knitting mittens just now, trying to knit a pair to match your Sheep Heid pattern which I have just completed. I hope the mittens work out as I really need the warmth of mittens. I love your wool and the colours you have chosen for Jazz hands. Your blog is even better to read and you look stunning in these photos. Happy New Year

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  29. Yes – agree with others. You are looking fabulous! Quite obviously where you are right now is a rewarding and manageable place that is fulfilling and energising. Allowing you to become your own beautiful self, rich and magnetic! Bravo!
    That should never be exploited but be gloried in.
    Best wishes Kate for a 2016 of happy creativity.
    I like to sometimes remind myself of the words of a famous Australian philospher, Vasco Pyjama who says that without rest we risk becoming restless – bless you guys, Bron

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  30. My first thought about your conundrum was that it would be a wonderful opportunity for all those muggles out in the wider world to experience your talents as a researcher, knitter and designer. What a treat in store for them. Perhaps Penguin will wait, and we will still have the (exclusive) delight of watching the next year unfold. Happy 2016 to you all.

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  31. Not sure what is going on . Fourth time I am posting. Hopefully this one shows up.

    Love the new typeface. Love the new web design. Love the CAPE and that COLLAR! Love your hair down!

    Sending love to Bruce for his release from conehell.
    Happy New Year!

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  32. Thank you for changing the typeface. Much Improved!! I knit up the Wowligan for my 2 year old granddaughter and would love to knit one for her mommy. Is there a way to knit up the cardigan using worsted weight instead of bulky weight? I love your patterns and you are gorgeous. Happy New Year!

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  33. Stunning photo shoot today, Kate. Since we have been having unusually cold weather, I’ve been enjoying wearing my handspun handknits. So glad Bruce is doing better. A friend used to call those cones a lampshade over the head. The dogs do hate them don’t they?

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  34. Lovely photos, I wish we had a nip in the air here, it’s very soggy and we’re all fed up with the rain. I’ve just begun knitting mittens using my Buachaille wool from the seven skeins club. Your wool knits up beautifully, and I’m enjoying my first attempt at mittens. Hope there are Buachaille patterns coming in the New Year. Glad to hear Bruce is on the mend.

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  35. What a great idea to set aside time for research! Who knows where that will lead you. Let us know how we can help you if you need it.

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  36. I just embarked yesterday on an Epistropheid-using-Buachaille experiment so was very interested to see these (would you mind revealing your needle size??) Dougal sends best wishes to Bruce x

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  37. Happy New Year to you and Tom and of course Bruce!!! Love your “new” blog and my eyes really do appreciate it. Your photo shoot is just lovely – you are so lovely with the wind blowing your hair and your beautiful cape/coat. Tom did a good job!!!
    Best to you from Colorado –
    Carolyn

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  38. So glad to hear that all of us were able to help you in your decision-making. We will be eagerly waiting to see what comes out of Writing Day, Buachallie things, New Patterns & The Blog. Thank you, too, for the Blog’s new look. Hugs to you, Tom & Bruce for the New Year.

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  39. I wanted to tell you, Kate, that with the change in formatting on the blog, your post is now strangely overlaid by the menu options, & it is difficult to both read and navigate. Hopefully it’s just a blip, but thought I would let you know in case something needs to be fixed. (I’m reading on my phone, fyi.)

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  40. GREAT!! You made the right mind/heart choice and I applaud you. Good job on the ‘new’ mitts. You certainly could have worn them here…it has been -12 C and colder. and 66 cm of snow.

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  41. Oh my goodness, I can see the typeface SO much more easily and with no strain. Suffering from chronic migraines, I used to have to magnify the screen in order to read your blog and still sometimes felt visually overwhelmed. Now it’s crystal clear. And maybe there is more leading between the lines because the contrast is much better, too. Thank you!!!

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  42. Happy New Year! Glad to hear Bruce is doing better. Thought I might add, you are SO dang cute. Love those mittens and everything you do.

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  43. Those Jazz Hands are great in Squall and Ptarmigan — very crisp and sharp, a decisive downbeat. Tom sure knows how to capture the essence of your work. I really like your wild, windblown hair — you project an irresistible, resolute stance, which goes right along with your decision on the publishing front. And I am certain that Bruce will also be resolute and fiercely happy on his coming out day. Can’t wait to see pictures.

    Cheers,
    Liz in Seattle

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  44. I’m so glad you are passing on the commercial publisher’s proposal (for now). It will give you more time to express your artistic inclinations, and it’s much better for your health. Glad too that Bruce’s days with the “cone of shame” (that’s what we call it) are almost done. Happy and Healthy 2016 to you all!

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  45. I know that really you should follow your heart, but since you asked, I would LOVE to read a book or your essays about knitting and your beautiful Scottish landscape and the creative life in general. If you went with the publisher’s deal, would that encourage you to do the project? Or would you do it anyway, but on your own terms? Either way, I’ll cross my fingers it happens some day. In the meantime, prioritizing your happiness is a lost art, but I hope you’ll practice it!

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  46. Very much like the new font and darker script, Kate. Glad Bruce is better, yes let’s have a photo. Intriguing reference to new projects… we’ll see in due course I expect. And I hope your “nip” comes down here to Dorset, we’re all sogged out.

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  47. Lovely mittens. So pleased that Bruce is on the mend. One should follow one’s heart where one can as what makes one happy on all levels is fundamentally A Good Thing! Good decision!

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  48. I think there is great joy and satisfaction at living a balanced life and you appear to have found that lovely balance with your family and your art. I, for one, am grateful that you choose to design beautiful patterns and (now) produce beautiful wool. If you are meant to publish those essays, then you will some day. Have a lovely, new year and best to you and yours. Special kisses to Bruce from Maggie, my chocolate labrador. Kathy (Ohio, USA)

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  49. Hey Kate,

    As I read your post today, I could feel a joy, a lightness about you. I know that sound silly, but even excitement bubbling up…it’s catching and I find myself grinning broadly. How Happy Life is when it has so many friends, no mater where they come from! The Pictures are Wonderful and the Mitts are perfect. Now all we need is a wonderful Picture of Ya’ll, on Bruce’s Coming Out of the Cone Day! I know he’ll be hard to hold back on that first walk, perhaps “Run” would be a better word. I hope it is a lovely day and there are a few likely characters out and about that he may chase while trying to get across the pluses of being Pals!
    Well, off to do some kind of magic on a chicken for supper! An Kate, Happy New Year, is looking Brighter By the Minute!

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    1. I agree that the font change is a welcome one. Although the old font looked elegant, it was truly hard to read, and, at least on my reader (Feedly) the page could not be resized on the iPad. Thank you to the commenters who suggested the change, and thank you, Kate for making it.

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  50. Greetings from the island of Martha’s Vineyard where several members of our Monday evening knitting group are avid fans! I even cooerced a friend to make those scrumptious mincemeat pies as her donation to our New Year’s Day feast. Blessings in all your endeavors! CHM

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  51. Dear Kate,
    Being aware of your surroundings as you journey is the gift that will help you travel to where you need to be. You are blessed with loving companions and the quiet cheering of those of us who are miles away but allowed in through the written word. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and giving me pause to take stock of my own surroundings and the direction I will travel to next.
    From the winters of Canada,
    Karen

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  52. Glad to hear that Bruce is on the mend, bless him. Follow your heart on the publishing thing, you will only be unhappy otherwise :) But I guess you already realise that. I love those mittens, they are really pretty. I have just managed to get hold of all the Buachaille shades, and am still trying to work on the pronunciation :)

    Happy New Year to you, Tom and Bruce. May it be every bit as exciting as 2015 was

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  53. My Mum used to knit mittens with that colourwork pattern. In this area of Canada, the design is known as End Paper. Someone probably converted the design from the end papers of a book into a mitten pattern. 😀

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  54. Happy New Year to you and yours! What a great decision and I can’t wait for the exciting things in the year to come. Glad to hear Bruce is on the mend – they really hate those cones ( have 2 Chi’s that had to have knees repaired ). I love your cape/coat! Did you make it or is it purchased? Here’s to an exciting, healthy New Year.

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  55. I am totally immersed in doing stranded color work. Mittens have been my knitting projects. I am finally working on Peery Floors. One mitten done which i posted on your Raverly finished projects page. Mitten two will be my job this week. I hope you do more stranded color patterns this year. This is my fourth project of your patterns. I do love many of your ideas. I may do the sheep and ewes blanket next only in living color. Thank you for all you do. Happy new you.

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