I’m really excited to finally be able to share this project, which has occupied the majority of my knitting and designing year thus far. If you have been wondering about the distinct lack of knitting content around here recently, it is because all of the knitting has been going on in secret – as I worked and reworked, developed and honed the twelve designs that make up this collection.
If you’ve followed this blog for any time at all, you’ll know that the Hebridean isle of Islay is one of my favourite places. There is so much to discover about this beautiful and intriguing island, and I wanted this new collection to be an opportunity for me to write about the many different aspects of Islay history and culture that interest me as well as to create a group of designs that reflected the wide variety of ways in which I’ve been “inspired by Islay.” I also wanted to produce a more diverse group of patterns than I’ve done previously, featuring a selection of interesting, stylish garments that might be worn by either men or women. The breadth of the collection is one of the reasons I’m most proud of it, though confessedly it has meant lots more work all round. Mel and I have knitted multiple samples in different sizes and colourways, I’ve created and graded designs with various options across a broad size range, and Jen and Jim have calmly tackled my editorial demands that my patterns are presented in a way that is clear and inclusive rather than proscriptive or gender-specific.
I’ve decided to release the collection in a phased way, along a familiar knitterly club model. Club membership means you’ll receive one pattern a week for twelve weeks, delivered directly to your Ravelry library. There will be a weekly newsletter with photographs and interviews as well as patterns, and Tom has promised to provide a weekly whisky recommendation to accompany your knitting (for those of you who enjoy an Islay dram).
Club membership also brings the benefit of a 10% discount on all products in the KDD shop throughout the twelve week period and, when the final pattern is released on March 1st, you’ll receive the full-colour 120 page Inspired by Islay book, delivered to an address of your choice anywhere in the world. Club members are the only knitters who will have access to the single patterns as they are released, and there are other perks as well, such as a new shade of Buachaille which will be released exclusively for club members early in the new year. The price of club membership is a flat fee of just £30, and if you are interested in how that cost breaks down, its £20 for the book, £5 shipping, and just £5 for all the other benefits, wherever in the world you are.
The patterns will be released weekly, beginning on December 14th, and the idea is for the club to run over the festive season, and through January and February. These are the months in which I most love to knit, and I know from my own perspective that being involved with the Islay club from week to week will bring much brightness to these cold, dark months!
I’m really excited to share the collection and the wider Islay project with you all and hope you might be interested in joining me in the club!
I also wanted to make something clear at the outset. The collection starts with a wedding – my wedding – and a version of the cardigan I created to wear on my own wedding day, in Islay.
On that day I happened to marry a man, and you’ll see this man throughout the Islay collection, wearing some of the things that I’ve designed. Tom and I are straight, but the representation of our straightness in association with my knitwear is in no way intended to suggest some sort of exclusionary heteronormative ideal. The whole purpose of the multi-option Islay patterns is that they can be enjoyed by everyone: the collection is inclusive, not proscriptive, and I very much hope that knitters of any gender or sexuality will enjoy making and wearing these designs.
If you’d like a few more hints about the kinds of things you might expect from the collection, or have more questions about the club, you’ll find more information here.
I very much look forward to welcoming you to the Islay club in December!