Last year, energetic and inspiring Dorothy Widmann kindly invited me to attend a wonderful event she’d organised in her home town of Cordova, Alaska. Like Scotland, Alaska is one of those places where the activities of fishing and knitting are interestingly intertwined, and Dotty’s Cordova Gansey Project provided occasion for exploring those important connections.

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The mix of cultural, social and textile history behind Dotty’s project, and the events she had planned, were right up my street, but sadly my post-stroke health issues meant that the lengthy series of flights from Scotland to Alaska in themselves posed impediments to my attending. I was sad to be unable to go to Alaska in person, but I felt I’d still like to contribute to Dotty’s project in some way.

Pink fish 4 copy

These are the Pink Fish mittens, which I’ve designed for Dotty. “Pink fish” is the name that Scottish herring fisherman once used in place of the word “salmon”. Fishing was (and still is, of course), a dangerous occupation, and because of this many regional superstitions developed around the language used by those engaged in it. Around the east coast of Scotland, during the nineteenth-century heyday of the herring industry, several words were thought to be harbingers of bad luck, and were referred to with coded substitutes in much the same manner that actors still occasionally replace Macbeth with The Scottish Play. On board herring vessels, “salmon” would be replaced with “pink fish”, “pig” with “grunter” and “rabbit” with “moppie.”

I personally harbour no such superstitions about the Atlantic salmon, which has always seemed to me to be a remarkably resourceful as well as a very tasty fish, and I have the very greatest of respect for the Alaskan fishermen and women who sustainably manage their annual salmon harvest.

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(Dotty’s daughter Nelly Hand, of the Drifters Fish Company, with a huge Copper River salmon).

I thought it would be fun to honour the Alaskan salmon with a Scottish maritime reference, so I devised these mittens.

Pink fish 8 copy

They are pink, just like their fishy namesake, and are decorated with a scale-y motif that the eagle-eyed among you may recognise from my Caller Herrin hat.

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This is a motif I’ve always loved, and I think it looks great worked in two soft, contrasting shades (Buachaille “hedder” and “haar”). The motif has quite strong lines, and, when I charted it out over the thumb, it developed an interesting fishbone-like appearance, which seemed entirely appropriate!

Pink fish 9 copy

I’ve posted a few Buachaille kits over to Dotty to give away as prizes to her customers, and the Pink Fish mitten pattern will also be made available to those attending events at the Net Loft in Cordova over the coming days. I’ll put the pattern up on Ravelry and some kits in my shop for the rest of you next week.

Pink fish 5 copy

Mel kindly acted as model – with mittens making an interesting midsummer style choice. . .

Pink fish 6 copy

But in Scotland, just like Alaska, mitten season will of, course, return sooner than we think.

Pink fish 2 copy

These jolly, fishy mittens make me very happy – and have been a high point in what has proved a rather difficult couple of weeks. I have been unwell, and because of this was unable to go to Woolfest this past weekend – an event I had been looking forward to for some time. And no one can have missed the singularly depressing tone and tenor of recent political debate in the UK, culminating with the result of the referendum. There are many things that concern me about the EU (such as its dubious and unaccountable TTIP plans), but I felt there was a bigger picture to consider. Like the vast majority in Scotland, I voted to remain.

Ill-vs-Good

I don’t think I have ever felt so distant from the English north, the place where I was born.

97 thoughts on “pink fish

  1. Dear Kate
    I am so very sorry to read that you have not been well. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Mplease take very good care of yourself. My two tabbies cats send you their purrs too!
    I also love your Hap book. Thank you thank you!

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  2. Take care Kate – hope you feel better soon – it’s been such a horrible week – like Pandora’s Box has been opened – the only person who seems to have any sense of responsibility or leadership is Mark Carney. It’s horrible feeling ashamed of your country.

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  3. All I want to say Kate is please take care of yourself and have some resting time after the launch of the beautiful book. Love the mittens and the whole link with Alaska. I follow some quilters in Alaska having bought their books and again there is some wonderful work shown there. Eat well, sleep well, and everything else can wait for your recovery. Catriona

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  4. I come from Yorkshire and still live there, but voted to remain in the EU. Apart from everything else about the result of the vote, which started out as a disaster and seems to be getting more shambolic every day, I know that 60% of the local voters wanted to leave. Not people I know, for the most part, but I look around on the streets and wonder.

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  5. Dear Kate, you are such a wonderfully, peaceful source of solace to all of us in the world dealing with distressing social and political issues. We are all dealing with harsh realities, so it is refreshing to be able to visit your blog site and just get away for awhile. Knitting allows me to decompress from life and it lets me celebrate it as well. I am so thankful to artisans such as yourself, who make it possible for knitters like me to have such beautiful items to knit. Sometime ago, I ordered the Buachaille you offer (which I must say is WONDERFUL) and I just ordered more for the Braid Hills cardigan.

    I hope you are feeling better and I will hold you and your country in my thoughts and prayers. Over the next several months, I will need the same, as the US is experiencing its own political upheaval!!!

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  6. First and foremost, feel better!
    Second, what a wonderful book, Kate! I treasure my copy.
    Third, what fabulous mittens.
    And last but not least, this is Kate’s blog, a reflection of all her hard and beautiful work, she can say whatever she wishes – without having to fear criticism!
    We should celebrate her enormous talent and intelligence instead of smallmindedly lashing out.

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  7. Love the mittens Kate – any chance though you could write them in a gloves pattern? I never wear mittens and would love to knit a new pair of gloves for the winter but am not au fait enough with pattern writing to adapt your pattern myself.

    When it comes to the referendum now is the time more than ever for us to reach out and try to understand the reasons why the other half voted the way did – I think the media has been far too quick to say it’s all down to immigration. A good friend of mine was called a racist by a stranger just because she expressed her view in public that the EU is undemocratic. It’s shocking to see the intolerance that the referendum has unleashed on both sides. Let’s all pull together and focus on what unites, rather than divides us. Bomb yarn not people!

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  8. Take care Kate. Keep up your health. It is not surprising that you must be exhausted after such a busy year. As regards the referendum, I think if we had more women in power throughout the world, it would be a better place. A lot of people voted the way they did because of misleading information from politicians who think firstly of themselves and not the good of everyone. However sad the outcome may be for some of us, we should be proud in GB that we still live in a democracy and that is a rare commodity in the world. Love your mittens and looking forward to making them for my daughters.

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  9. I hear you Kate, and thanks for posting the chart. I have been criticised several times this week for being a sore loser and undemocratic because I have questioned how we got this result. I’m not disputing the result, however much it hurts, but questioning how this country has allowed such divisive politics to triumph. This country feels very dark at the moment and the thing that has shocked and saddened me the most is the realisation that my hopes and ideals are not shared by a large proportion of my fellow countrymen and women. But, as always, your blog has cheered me! And I am excitedly looking forward to opening my book of haps tomorrow – my treat as I spend 12 hours travelling from Wales to Orkney! Beautiful designs and fresh Scottish air is just the ticket right now! Keep up the fantastic work that touches so many of us around the world x

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  10. I wish you the best and I hope you will be better. Your new project is beautiful. I like the colours. It’s still time till fall comes but it’s an inspiring design I would like to knit in future.

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  11. My goodness – why the outburst from so many concerning the inclusion of politics in the blog – politics are woven into almost all that appears in the blog and is, perhaps, why so many people are drawn to it – a thinking person’s blog if ever there was one. Thank you for the graphics on the poll – very interesting and although, an aggregation of the complex into the simple, feels intuitively accurate.

    As for the mittens – beautiful – I’m especially enjoying the colours since I’m knitting Tom’s Hexa hap in these very shades. Thanks for the parcel – arrived on Saturday and the first triangle is underway.

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  12. Thank you for your interesting comments Kate – lovely to see traditional values in your knitting and so comforting to have the historical names explained and used. I have felt a sense of bereavement and tragedy over the past few days – disbelief at the outcome of the referendum. I feel that I do not belong to this country – keep reminding us of our Scottish heritage!!

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  13. Lovely mittens! It makes me want to try colourwork again (I fail miserably whenever I attempt it, and go back to lace)…

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been unwell, and hope that it passes quickly. I stumbled across your blog perhaps a year after you’d had your stroke, and (as well as loving your design aesthetic) have found you to be a personal inspiration in the way you have handled your recovery.

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  14. Dear Kate. I really enjoy your blog and your lovely designs but I’m saddened that this forum seems to have become yet another platform for expressing antipathy towards ‘leave’ voters. Of course everyone is entitled to their views, but the hatred expressed to ‘leavers’ from some ‘remainers’ is becoming a little personal and ugly.

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    1. I don’t see Kate expressing any hatred. I see her presenting a bar chart, which looks to be based on a poll. It is fact, not expressing antipathy. There must have been leave voters who had valid reasons for voting as they did, but it is also true that there was a strong theme of anti-immigration, with people voting their fear, without first establishing the facts (especially given that the most googled phrase in the UK the day after the referendum was ‘what is the EU’). I don’t necessarily blame the leave voters for this. They have had a very hard time since 2008, and cynical people such as Nigel Farage gave them something upon which to vent their frustrations.

      That, combined with an older section of society harking back to days of Empire past (the most overwhelming majority of leave votes by age group were from those aged over 65) and the fact that the Remain campaign got it’s audience entirely wrong (preaching to the choir, instead of focusing on those who feel disenfranchised) has put us all in a bit of pickle, and that’s putting it mildly. It’s going to have a massive impact upon us all, and we can’t just be expected for forget about it instantly, or not feel somewhat of a resentment for being in this situation. The young people of this country (who, on the whole, voted to remain) are going to be paying for this decision for a long time. Personally, for the first time, I find myself ashamed to be English.

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  15. I look forward to your posts and when I realized I hadn’t seen one lately I knew in my heart you hadn’t been well. I’m so sorry. Please take care of yourself. Your beautiful knitting and lovely words come a place of inner passion. And so your delicate soul is impacted by the strange world events. Have courage. All will be well with time.

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  16. Hello Kate
    Brexit has implications for my job so I have been watching closely (and sadly) but I spent this afternoon teaching knitting in my local indie bookshop and also made a small start on the first sample for the Shetland Lace class I am teaching here next summer. I also told the group about your book. “I didn’t know there was so much to know about haps!” one of them told me. It made a wonderful change from the doom and gloom.
    Sith
    Cat

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  17. I really love your patterns, yarn, blog. Please don’t spoil it with politics – I think we’ve had enough doom and gloom thrown at us to last a lifetime. We have to accept the majority verdict, let’s get on with it and think positively, the world will keep turning and we’ll all keep knitting!

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    1. The writer of the blog is entitled to a view, if you dislike the tone, don’t read it. I am heartily fed up of leavers shutting down discussions by saying we should all ‘get on with it”. Closing down dissent is not the way to heal wounds.

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  18. Kate, I am a new reader to your blog from New Jersey. I feel like I am on a grand knitting adventure each time I read an entry. You pink mittens were just a perfect pick me up for all the craziness that is going on in the world. I will say a special prayer for your healing and for all of Europe. Thank you again for your beautiful blog. I just ordered your yokes book. I can hardly wait for it.

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  19. Wishing you improved health. The Hap Book is AMAZING. I love all of it, patterns, and most especially all the history and essays. Wonderful

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  20. Such interesting history, as always and i thank you for it!! I do love the Hap book and YEA to the Scots for having their heid’s on straight!! brexit my foot………. Your Caller Herrin pattern is great. Thanks again, be well!!

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  21. Hi Kate (and Bruce).

    Hope you feel some improvement soon and in the mean time I hope your puppy is giving you lots of kisses.
    I too am reeling after the Brexit vote and keep saying to myself ‘we live in Interesting times’. I am happy that Scotland is still showing ourselves to be welcoming to all and feel sad at the responses which have come from some of the people in the South. I am glad we have such a strong and active Scottish Parliament helping to guide and protect those here in Scotland and help make a safe and strong future for us all.
    I love your pink fish mitts, they look warm and cozy. Something to look forward to when it gets chilly (probably next week ;) ).

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  22. I second Ann McKane’s invite to Seattle where we love pink fish — and pink fisherfolk! (Many Alaskan fisherfolk spend part of the year down here in the “off” season, fixing their boats and enjoying what is to them our relatively warm and mild weather) I’m sure Ann and I would be just two of the large knitting community that would so love to have you visit here. Until your body allows it, know that we all send thoughts of good humor and good health to you.
    Like so many have said, here in the US we have a similar divisive election season. I have worked hard to try to understand the issues and perspectives of those on the “other side.” I think I understand, even if I don’t like their candidate(s). I hope that whomever wins, we can ultimately work together to address their issues as well as mine. I know it’ll be contentious and difficult.
    I have chronic, unpredictable health problems that frustrate the bejeebus out of me. But I muddle through: I go ahead and try to make long term plans, and then make (many!) short term adjustments. I have to work hard to be kind to myself when my body is not able to do things (like now). My friends and I call this “practicing good self care” — you are always “practicing” because you never figure it out 100% due to ever-shifting situations (a.k.a. “life”). If I can’t knit, looking at knitting on Ravelry or blogs or reading about it feeds my soul. Your Book of Haps is so very wonderful because it provides me with it all! A depth of fascinating reading for when reading is called for, and knitting patterns for when knitting is possible.
    So practice good self care – whatever that means for you and yours.
    And if it comes to pass, know that you’ll have a very warm welcome here — with plenty of pink fish!

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    1. Yes, Seattle is wonderful! Despite a crying lack of Shetland wool this time of year (I’ve looked, oh how I’ve looked). Plus we are liberal. Feminism is seen as a bad thing by some people? Wow.

      Keep on keeping on, everybody with chronic illness. Somehow we’ll get through <3

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  23. Dear Kate,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now, almost every day. I started reading it while I was still a student in the US (a foreigner there too) and continued when we moved here to the UK. My husband and I are scientists, like Tom, and we moved because we were so impressed by the open and collaborative nature of the research endeavour in the UK. Brexit has shattered our sense of belonging in the UK: I think I will always now wonder if anyone has ever really thought well of us here. But what I am trying to keep uppermost in my mind are the many examples of ‘Leave’ voters amongst our friends and loved ones, who are upset about immigration in the abstract but have only ever been good to us in person, who have gone out of their way to make us feel valued – and of course people like yourself, who kept the bigger picture in mind, and voted Remain. Thanks for voting as you did, and as always for being the maker of things that inspire and make me glad even on days like this.

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    1. Don’t forget that the vote was a close run thing, even in the south! There’s nearly one remain voter for every leave vote (and that’s not counting the 28% who didn’t vote at all and were, effectively, voting for the status quo), and London and other towns were very much for a remain vote.

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  24. Dear Kate, hello from an English girl living in Sydney. I am so sorry to read you are not well. I received your new book and haven’t been able to put it down, I love the history of Haps and the wonderful historical photos you have used and of course the wonderful patterns. Thank you. I opened my emails this morning and read yours with your beautiful pink mittens, they brought a smile and of course will go on my long list of knitting. Hugs to you all.

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  25. Hi Kate,
    Sorry to hear you have been unwell, I hope you are on the road to recovery.
    Thanks for another wonderful design, I love the pink fish mittens and the Caller Herrin’ hat which I have knitted. I feel the urge to knit some ‘ Fish Fingerless mitts’ as I prefer fingerless gloves to mitts and so I’m looking forward to the pattern being available.
    I am also very upset, saddened, and shocked by the outcome of the EU referendum and what the future holds for us. It is indeed a time to Keep Calm and Carry on Knitting. As Felicity has said I too have found some comfort from the words of Elizabeth Zimmerman “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”
    Thanks for sharing this cheery design :).

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  26. Hi Kate, I am enjoying your book of haps very much!
    With regards to the referendum, I’m embarrassed and hurt by the abusive comments on public media sites, aimed at older people. I’m ashamed of Britains who direct vile, abusive comments at other sectors of society when not getting their own way! Enough said. I voted to remain anyway. The whole campaign was full of lies and the people were Poorly informed and confused. If insurance was sold on that basis, then compensation would be demanded! This was an important vote, so deserved to be accurately led. I’m saddened too by Scotland’s reaction. I hope we all stick together..Anyway, enough said!
    Kate, have you tried Naalbinding? I’m addicted! Your wool is excellent for this. I’ve taught myself from the Internet but have no one to share my enthusiasm with. I’ve started whittling my own needles from twigs now, which has also become an obsession. So far I’ve made several pairs of gloves in Finnish stitch and a cowl in Telemark stitch. There are so many different stitches, all named after the places where fragments of clothing have been excavated.
    I hope you are feeling better now.

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  27. Kate, you are welcome to stopover at my place in Seattle then take a cruise up the fantastic coast to Alaska!
    Love the mittens!

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  28. So sorry to hear that you were not feeling well enough to make the trip to Alaska. That event in Cordova, Alaska is high on my wish list. Love the story behind Pink Fish. I’m sure there will be many Alaskans wearing those mitts this winter. Rest, knitting & long walks with Tom & Bruce will cure all ills. Take care, Kate. We worry about you.

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  29. What a beautiful pair of mittens!! Hope you get well soon. You and your writing bring joy and learning to our lives. Big THANK YOU!

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  30. Thank you for this wonderfully thoughtful post, Kate. I love the mitts and your colour choice, especially after hearing about the other name for salmon. I am sorry you have not been well. I am sure your creative accomplishments of recent weeks have not been as beneficial for your body as they have been for your heart and soul. You have been a whirlwind of inspiration for so many in the world of knitters and you have presented us with options to improve our skill set while gaining knowledge about the history of knitting. Now you are resting, reposing, reflecting and I hope you know how much you are appreciated. Thank you for sharing the chart. It only deepens the sadness I feel for events which are taking place.

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  31. You could make pretty much the exact same chart here in the US and just apply it to a different issue. Fortunately, though, we have knitting, and we have Kate, and therefore wonderful things like the Pink Fish! I hope you are feeling much, much better.

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  32. Those mittens are absolutely wonderful and very happy looking. They have just been added to my mental list of me-knitting, along with the majority of the haps from the book. Not realistic but very entertaining and cheering. I hope you continue to recover and soon feel better. Hugs to you, Tom and Bruce.

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  33. Kate
    I’m a loyal follower in the U.S. I share your love of knitting, history and political sentiment. These are trying times for many people of all stripes. i try very hard to keep empathy and compassion in mind when faced with a situation with which I do not agree. As hard as it is at times we must all continue to fight for what is right and just. Ours is a moment in time. This too shall pass. Nameste.

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  34. Thank you for another beautiful design and for your poignant thoughts on the recent referendum. I listened to your First Minister’s speech with tears in my eyes and admiration for her articulate courage and responsibility in my heart.

    It is small consolation, but many of us in the USA are using this vote to warn our compatriots to think of all the ramifications before they cast a “protest vote.” I hope the UK can repeat the referendum, we couldn’t repeat a presidential election.

    Here is to all of us giving the support to those of other nations, faiths, and persuasions that knitters seem to give each other.

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  35. So sorry to hear you were unwell enough to miss Woolfest. I attended and taught at a show here in Oregon last weekend after a Parkinson’s flare the last two months that almost stopped me. It would have broken my heart if I could not have attended and taught. So i truly understand the frustration and limitations life’s barriers and limitations due to a long lifes illness can bring. The pink salmon mittens are lovely and I will need to get going on my pair right away. Fall will be upon the Pacific Northwest before very long. The big problem here might be how many of these mittens I will end up making once friends and family see them. It is a fun pattern. I wish you the strength to overcome and come out stronger on the other side of your illness. Fondly, Laurie

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  36. hello Kate,

    Hope your health improves, and what a lovely pattern for mitts and lovely colours too.

    Hope you get well soon – and I’m sure things will be clearer and get better over the next few months politically.

    I know this is a knitting blog – and the best around at that! but there seems to be a lot of comment on the recent referendum – so as regards that here’s my tuppenceworth …….
    I am Scottish and voted to leave the EU.
    We are still part of Europe and therefore still Europeans unless someone has redrawn the map!

    I just don’t want to be part of the EU – a political union, who seem to have appropriated the word ‘European’ for their vision of Europe – which is not shared by everyone.
    So we still have, and will continue to have the cultural and other connections with all of our fellow Europeans. And there is nothing stopping us from continuing to be friendly and open to the whole of the world! unless we choose to.

    So I’m saddened by the tone of many of the comments here. We are allowed our vote and that’s why it’s wonderful to live in a democracy – imperfect though it may be. We agree to disagree and work with the majority vote, even, or especially when we lose.

    I am also saddened by the Nationalistic fervour being stirred up again in Scotland by politicians who have their own agenda, as all politicians do. The Scottish referendum was such a divisive time in Scotland – feelings ran high. I have friends and family who voted both ways, and we managed to disagree without falling out over it, – but I can’t find anyone who wants to go back there again, no matter how it is being portrayed by sections of the media. I do not want an independent Scotland, but should it happen I would do my best to be a good citizen.

    I also can’t see any logic in demanding independence from the rest of the UK but at the same time wanting to belong to a much bigger group of countries, where you would have much less independence.

    Poor old England, they are our nearest neighbours, and are good neighbours to boot, so I fail to understand the animosity towards them.

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    1. Well said Grace. I live in England and also voted to leave. I voted according to my personal circumstances and my family and not because I’m racist or a bigot. I’ve been frightened to admit to my leave vote because there is so much animosity towards the ‘leavers’. It saddens me that instead of everyone working together to ‘solve’ the problem people would rather use their energies to moan about the result which was democratically decided

      I’m not saying anymore on the subject. Enough has been said already. I hope we can all remain friendly.

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      1. Grace, Linda, Jenny, I completely agree. I am Scottish and voted leave and have been absolutely horrified by the reaction of the remain campaigners, who seem to regard those of us who voted to leave as bigoted, racist and inward-looking. As a former British diplomat I have worked positively for a great many years in the interests of Britain regarding our international relations and over issues such as immigration and trade, and my decision to vote leave was simply down to the fact that I am not comfortable with the vision of Europe as defined by the EU and the way it affects the day to day life of myself, my loved ones and my community.
        Kate, I absolutely love your knitting patterns and I love this blog and always look forward to your posts, which often cheer me up after a busy or difficult day, but as Carole commented earlier, maybe it’s best not to spoil it with politics. Whether people agree or disagree the vote was democratically decided and not all of us in the majority were ill informed and ignorant. It is in all our interests now to stand together and move forward from here and I for one feel extremely proud of the people of Britain for being courageous enough to take a stand against the status quo, and we are no less European for doing so.
        Let’s just keep calm and carry on knitting. It is a beautiful craft and heritage that unites us all regardless of nationality or political persuasion and that has to be worth celebrating! X

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    2. I totally agree. Being Dutch I followed avidly the whole episode and voting. I think that the British people are very brave to leave a EU that has become a shame for decent, well meaning people. I hope that my country will follow this example.

      In the meantime I love my Hap book, that is the real thing. Designers and knitters from all countries meeting in this book, being inspired and connected by the beauty of the designs and yarns. That is really connecting!

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    3. As a dutch knitter I think that the british people have been extremely brave to leave the EU, which have become a shame. I do hope to witness that my country will do the same.
      In the meantime I love my Haps book, which is an example of real working together. Chapeau!

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  37. wonderful choice of design for the mittens as this motif looks Japanese to me. I always like that one particularly. Yes, knit on!!!

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  38. Hope you are feeling better. Be gentle with yourself and take care. The mittens are wonderful. This is certainly a time of upheaval all over the world. I am glad I have my knitting to do and my knitting blogs to read. The knitting community is a community without borders and as such there is so much fascinating things to learn and experience.

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  39. Kate —

    I love the term “pink fish” for salmon. It’s a staple of our weekly dinners.

    The mittens are beautiful. The translation of fish scales into knitting patterns is amazing.

    Happy knitting,
    Heidi Cohen

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  40. Dear Kate, all the best to you. I hope you’ll be better soon. The outcome of the EU Referendum really shocked me (I’m from Germany) – even though the EU needs to be improved (rather A LOT, actually), I still think it is the highest political achievement of the 20th century. I’m still a bit lost for words. All the best to you in Scotland – and the whole of the UK.

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  41. We missed you at Woolfest! So sorry to hear you have not been well and hope that you feel fit and healthy very soon. Pink fish are lovely mittens, definitely to be added to my ‘must knit’ list. It’s rather long……

    I so agree with you about the events surrounding the referendum but if we all act in the spirit of the late Jo Cox and approach the future and the world with love, we shall come through this.

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  42. Oh my. These are beautiful.And wouldn’t these look great with the pink sweater I am wearing in my profile picture! Feel better.

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  43. I am so sorry you were unable to make the trip to AK- you deserved it after all your hard work of late… maybe next time!
    But I love your mitts! My daughter worked on a couple of research vessels in the seas around Alaska, and I think she will love them, too:)
    Take care of yourself~

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  44. sending you heartfelt prayers for your recovery. we take comfort in the work of our hands especially during times of upheaval. we trust that the sun will rise again. best thoughts from Canada

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  45. Thank you for such beautiful mittens and such clear words about this desperate situation. I went to Woolfest and it was a welcome and pleasant diversion, but there was a palpable sense of sorrow and disbelief around the place. I was pleased at least to share my sorrow with knitters.

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  46. Love the mittens, hate the political division and all it entails and the upheaval (am bracing myself for something similar over here in the USA in a few months), but mostly – I am worried about you, and hope you are feeling better and doing well – have you been over-doing it with books and yarn business? Tsk tsk – take care of yourself, the rest will sort itself out.

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  47. Beautiful mittens! Many of us on “the other side of the pond”, are facing a similar depressing situation! I’ve had to stop watching the news! And knit more!!!!!!

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  48. It has been a grim week indeed, and I am heartbroken, I feel as battered as if I had been in a nasty accident… I even consider going back to live in France from whence I moved to England two years ago.
    Your mittens are very calming though, Kate, and would make a good reflective knit. I am at present doing a version of the Montbretia hap. Get well soon, you have had an exhausting few months. Our gain but your pain unfortunately.

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  49. Dear Kate, Feeling like you about the political situation, but finding so many kind generous folk here in my native Scotland determined that this is going to be a better road for all.
    I’ve been trying to choose a mitt pattern for local show at end of August and wow here it is! I love Pink fish ! Has to be handspun wool as it’s Broughton Spinners class so now to sort out pink fluff to spin. The possum blend I am spinning looks right for the grey 😀 Huge thanks from a happy spinner, knitter.
    Hope you are enjoying the sunny days in your beautiful part of Scotland and able to enjoy walks with beautiful Bruce. Love from Laura and Mollydog x

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  50. I’m sorry to hear that you have been unwell; all my wishes and thoughts that you get well soon!
    The results of the EU referendum are troubling and make me sad. They seem to reflect what is going on in all of Europe (maybe apart from Spain; at least when looking at the results of their voting): radical nationalists and their parties are getting stronger by bolstering fears instead of showing and referring to reality.
    Although it seems impossible I’ve still got the hope that at some point (possibly still far, far away) something good will come out of this and that Europe and the UK will be united to some degree again.

    Thanks you for sharing and writing about your lovely mittens! It’s so good to read about and see something pretty and it always surprises me how connected countries and regions are in their culture by their shared environmental conditions.

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  51. I hope you are looking after yourself well and that you feel better soon. This world we are living in… it’s scary and sad, I hope the tide changes quickly and completely.

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  52. A small world smile – I recognized Nelly’s name because I see her photo over the fish counter in my local grocery store in Minnesota. Her company is the exclusive provider of their Copper River Salmon.

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  53. Love the mittens. I suppose with it now being ‘Summer’ and, occasionally, too warm for lapfuls of sweater knitting mittens might be a very good substitute. Specially such pretty ones.

    As for the Referendum results . . . It shames me how many English people were scared by Racist-leaning language and what, on closer inspection, were LIES! The way things are going in the Scottish Parliament, we may just be ‘Little England’ for the ‘Little Englanders’ after all!

    And as for those Professional Politicians who cynically lied/scared/misinformed to promote their own chances in parliament . . !

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  54. Like you I feel totally bereft by the way things are turning out! This referendum has brought out the very worse in so many people; I am worried that when they realise that their expectations are not met there will be even more anger directed towards those who do not deserve it. I feel ashamed to be English; I feel so powerless to do anything to improve the situation.

    What lovely mittens though.

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  55. The comment about the EU sadden me as people do not appear to understand the full ramifications of staying – it is easy to say remain but people badly affected by staying in the EU had no other option. As an academic many of my friends and colleagues agree that leaving is the only way to save Britain. Sadly I feel we will lose Scotland but this is their wish and we should let them go as soon as possible so we can rebuild our country.

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    1. I hesitate to reply to your comments as Kate Davies’ wonderful blog is no place for political argument. However, I cannot let your remarks pass.

      Saying ‘people do not understand the full ramifications of staying’ reminds me of the old expression we had in the North of England – ‘kettle calling the pot black’! Particularly as I watch Johnson, Gove, Farage and the even more detestable IDS, trying to wriggle out of their lies and with clearly no plans at all in place.

      And no mention at all of knitting or Kate’s beautiful designs?

      Thank you Kate for your wonderful blog. All I can say is we will have to “Keep Calm and Carry On Knitting”!

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  56. The pink fish mittens are lovely–your choice of pattern names are as interesting as your wonderful designs! And much sympathy for your health problems, current and long term. We find we are restricted by not wanting to fly for health and environmental reasons, especially as my family of origin is German-American. This is relevant to the rest of your post, as I feel I woke up on Friday in a different country from the one I have lived in for 40 years, a European country I had thought. The chart is breathtaking, but not surprising, especially after the murder of a Yorkshire MP for her beliefs while doing her job. If only we had the political leadership to lead us through this sorry mess. One day at a time, one moment of happiness at a time, and knitting.

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    1. Carol, as a fellow Yorkie, knitter, teacher, avid follower of Kate, I do so agree with you.. A different country, indeed, trawling so many others with us. Jo Cox’s death was devastating. Let us use the common threads of humanity and love to knit our communities together again. Kate, I too send my best wishes to you for renewed health and happiness.

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  57. Dearest Kate, You are here in spirit, and know we are thinking of you 180 degrees away. It has been a special time together so far here at our event and your mitten pattern will help fill the empty space here where you belong. It is beautiful and will be released on Friday when it arrives from the printer.
    Know we are thinking of you and praying for your good health. The Moray FIrth ganseys and photos of earlier days on display here have touched many of our fisherman to the core, and the other night those who have been knitting for the past year showed their finished and in progress ganseys, a touching and emotional experience as each was a unique creation for a loved one. Thanks for your contribution. I know all here will love it.

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  58. Dear Kate…I send you respectful and healing thoughts…you are an amazing and learned woman…! We here in America are confronted with enormous uncertainty as well, and it defies an easy explanation. We are tasked with trying to remain strong and kind, and I am grateful that your presence among us makes that seem doable. Feel better, Kate…..

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  59. I noticed the Caller Herrin’ pattern at once! How I love that pattern and the beautiful writing you did around the time about the girls who worked the herring. Dotty’s Cordova Gansey project is wonderful, and your mitts with their fish references and connections to Herring and Salmon trade are a fabulous tribute.

    I was really moved by your words about the EU referendum. I couldn’t stop crying when I learnt of the election results, precisely because of the bigger picture to which you refer. I’ve seen that diagram a few times around the Internet and it is deeply troubling.

    I was comforted by Meg Swansen sharing the words of Elizabeth Zimmerman on Facebook last Friday, and I hope you won’t mind my sharing them here; “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

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    1. Yes it’s also called that in Australia, but here it was supposed to derived from the Depression, when it was often the only meat people could afford to eat and it quickly lost any positive connotations. I am not surprised to hear your story as so much of our folk knowledge derives from various parts of the UK as did many of our settlers.
      Thanks for yhe lovely post and hope you are feeling well soon!

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  60. I have thought about you Kate these days – me, an anonymous Belgian follower of yours living in South Burgundy, France. I thought you would be torn between your Yorkshire origins and your current happy Scottish life.

    With my partner, we are absolute fans of Britain and we love visiting it. I must say we love Yorkshire, and the North, and the the people of the North, their kindness and simplicity. We never felt that our speaking French was more ill perceived than in the rich South.

    We are very sad about this Brexit affair, and angry about the light-heartedness with which David Cameron brought us into this mess. As if Europe needed this on top of the rest! Just like you, I have issues with the EU (am outraged about the recent decision about hormone disrupters for instance). But this vote had little to do with Europe, after all.

    What I mean to say is, don’t be too harsh on your fellow northeners. They fell prey to calculating politicians who talked to their lowest instincts. It is discouraging – and I don’t know if I will ever get over the murder of Jo
    Cox. But better times will come.

    I seize the opportunity to Thank you Kate, for all the beauty you bring into our lives. When I feel a little down I go to your blog, certain to find beautiful things to read and contemplate. Keep up the good work, and I hope you get better soon.

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  61. Lovely mittens and sorry you had to miss Woolfest. Enjoyed the story of pink fish. When she was a toddler my daughter loved smoked salmon. At that time it was relatively much more expensive than now and for us definitely a treat for special occasions. She used to pop it into my basket in, M&S the way my boys would try it on with sweets, telling me that she really wanted that “pink fish “. I had no idea that the term was actually used.

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  62. Hope you feel better soon and get your strength back. As to the rest – I think many of us are stunned by the result and are still in shock. Lacking a crystal ball, we can’t see ahead. I think we need to focus on little moments of happiness in the present, and your gorgeous pink mittens are deeply cheering. Onwards! xx

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  63. Thank you Kate for a bit of cheer in this dismal time. I also saw this table and it is too depressing for words. We are already starting to house/job hunt in Scotland, my homeland, as the thought of living in the deep south of England as we do has become unpalatable. Keep up the wonderful patterns. x

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  64. Sorry to hear you have been unwell – hope you’re soon feeling better. I’m off to Alaska in August and it is pretty gruelling to contemplate, but don’t forget there are direct flights to Anchorage from Reykjavik, with the option of extending your stay in Iceland, which is not the worst thing ever! (I’m not taking that option because of the days I need to fly).

    Some of the biggest northern cities voted to Remain but the poll above does show some deep divisions in the country we want to be.

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  65. Hi Kate So sorry to hear you have been unwell. Thank you once again for a lovely and informative post. Yes the last few days have been hectic with breaking news every few minutes. Thank goodness for my knitting although I have found just getting to the end of a garter stitch row has been difficult. Also Wimbledon is about to start which I am so looking forward to. Get well soon and take care. Big hug for Bruce
    Jean Cape Town

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  66. I had not seen these vote statistics. Thanks for posting. (Are there actually people who think that feminism is a force for ill?) I am alarmed at the significant rise in acts of racism. I am an American and spent five years living in Australia, ten years in Germany and now ten years in the UK. I have never felt unwelcome before, but am definitely feeling unwelcome now. Maybe I need some pink mittens to cheer me up.

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    1. Anything to do with women is evil over here now. Republicans are eager to push us down, as they want to push down the LGBT folks, liberals, immigrants, clean energy, and virtually everything else I care about. Since I’ve been so wrapped up in our own worries, I really didn’t realize what this vote was about. I thought it was much more benign. I’m sorry it went this way for you.

      Kate, hope you feel much better.

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      1. This is so untrue, Wanda, unless of course, you have a political agenda and/or feel the need to stereotype. I gravitate naturally toward facts, logic, and reality and believe that the best thing about America is that everyone has the right, has the promise to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while the governments primary responsibility is to protect. So simple, almost naive, yet so difficult to achieve in that we are all individuals with differing “pursuits”. You want to give me a name, put me in a category, give me a label? I am an American, a proud American who has a voice where every two to four years the opportunity for change exists. You also have these unalienable rights. God bless you, Wanda, and God bless the United States of America.

        Love the Pink Mittens! I too, will probably adapt as “mitts”.

        Get well soon, Kate.

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    2. You are most certainly not unwelcome at all. I really hope that you don’t continue to feel so. People like yourself, from all over the world, are a much welcomed and needed addition to our country.

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      1. I don’t want to hijack Kate’s beautiful blog, so quickly: Wanda, you are right to point out the misogyny in the US right now, as an American with two daughters I find it deeply troubling, and Claire, thank you for your kind words. I find comfort in the inclusiveness and respectfulness of the knitting community.

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    3. Kelly, you took the words out of my mouth, the statistic which jumped out of the graph for me was the attitude towards feminism as a force for ill – good grief – it didn’t fare particularly well on the opposite side of the chart either! Like yourself I’m an American expat, living in Ireland for the past 28 years. I’m of the post-feminist generation that believed we weren’t capable of backsliding on this issue, as the U.S.most certainly has. Deeply troubling indeed, as are the results of Brexit. Thoughts are with you all in Britain. My apologies, Kate for hijacking the thread, but one of the many reasons I’m a long time reader is that I value your thoughtful discourse on topics besides knitting. All the very best.

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  67. I’m still trying to understand the chart at the bottom of your post… I understand your feeling of isolation. I’m French but I live in England and I do feel a bit like a plant out of its pot right now… With my roots out and exposed and not quite knowing where I belong in all this.
    It would be sad to see Scotland leave the UK over this :(

    Like

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