The Inspired by Islay club is now open for pre-order!

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.

finlaggan-reeds-copy

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.

hebrideanisles-copy

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).

bruichladdich-barrels-copy

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.

portcharlotte-hooses4-copy

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!

calmac-ferry-copy

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!

meandtom

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.

wedding

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!

61 thoughts on “The Inspired by Islay club

  1. What a beautiful book and what a lovely person you are! But I find it sad that you have to bring up sexuality in a knitter’s blog! We are all God’s creatures and we should all treat each other with love! Of course we are all included in this wonderful world and shouldn’t have to acknowledge that and put labels on ourselves, such as straight and gay. There is so much more to us than, what our sexual orientation is! I want to be known as a giving, kind and spiritual person, not that I am straight! It seems like that is all that the world cares about! I want to know if you have courage and integrity and kindness, those are the values that truly matter in this world!!! Thanks for writing a lovely book!

    Like

  2. Dear Kate,

    I was a bit clumsy with my mouse when I was opening todays news letter. I managed to delete it along with the voucher code for your shop.

    It has completely disappeared from every e-mail folder before I even had a proper look at it.

    Is it possible that you can please resend it?

    Regards Anja Hansen.

    ________________________________

    Like

  3. I’m in! loved the many thoughtful responses to your post, and I’m pleased to say I have joined my first ever knitting club today; you could say I’ve been Inspired by Islay.

    Like

  4. I was on the fence about joining (I’m new to knitting and it will be a while before I’m ready to tackle your lovely designs) but your wonderful statement of inclusivity has sold me on it. It is lovely to see the vision of acceptance and support from some of the other knitting bloggers this week show up here in this way. Lovely sweaters and lovely words from a lovely person. Thank you.

    Like

  5. Oh I am so excited, I just placed the order to be in the club. Never done that before but it sounds so good! What a great thing to be part of. I really like the idea of having a whisky recommendation which each pattern, as well :-)
    A have been to Scotland several times but never made it to Islay. But through your project now the island will come to me, isn’t that great?
    Thank you very much Kate and Tom!
    Kind greetings from Germany

    Like

  6. Thank you so much for sharing a pattern based on the gorgeous cardigan you made for your wedding, which I loved and wished I could knit it when I first saw it. It is very generous of you to share it given how personal and special our wedding clothes are. When you released the photos of your wedding, I was in the throes of sewing a very floaty silk chiffon wedding dress for my daughter, another very individual and personal design and we both pored over your photos, enjoying the way you had also been able to use your creativity to make your wedding even more special.

    Like

  7. I joined the club straight away and look forward to some summer knitting! (Thank goodness I have an air conditioner so that I can indulge myself even in the hottest weather.) And as to the statement regarding gender, in these times, when there is a cloud hanging over our individual freedoms, it is important to stand up and say the things we believe, not just think them. Thank you Kate.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you, Kate, for your lovely message, and your open-hearted welcome to all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. I’ve enjoyed your writing tremendously, as well as admired your designs, and to know that you yourself are an ethical, thoughtful and kind person makes the reading and knitting now doubly pleasurable. (P.S. Please tell Tom that his photos are spectacular! And a pat on the head to Bruce as well.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the idea of the club format. Well, back to knitting, so little time, need to clear projects ready to start the next adventure. Keep on writing Kate, I check at least once a week to see if any new nuggets of gold have been gifted to us. Tonight I have been richly rewarded. Love the photos Tom.

    Like

  10. Thank you Kate. As others have said, mine is a household of (old) straight white people — one who knits & one who enjoys whisky (actually, the knitter likes a wee dram occasionally, too). We are looking forward to the coping tools you & Tom will be sharing with us over the winter as we enter some uncharted territory. Photos of Bruce will also be appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you – for your designs – for your thoughtful books – for sharing so much of yourself with us.
    Just signed up as a Christmas present to myself.
    Congratulations to you and Tom

    Like

  12. Looking good. I love Finlaggan so can’t wait to see your gorgeous knits showcased there. And as for the rest…

    Whereas yarn can come in neutral colours, in life there’s no such thing as neutral. Not standing with the oppressed is the same as standing with to oppressor. Thank you for choosing to be part of the solution.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Where to start? I have so many things I want to comment on here. I guess I’ll start with the fact that I love your statement about the patterns being for all people regardless of where they fall on the gender and orientation spectra. Here in the US, we are in the midst of so much hate and turmoil right now that love for diversity always warms my heart.

    Next, I have to say that I have asked my husband for a subscription for my birthday. The first pattern comes out the day before my birthday, so it is a perfect fit! Of course, the first pattern could come out in April and I’d still want in, but it works so well this way. I keep mentioning it to him so he won’t forget or think it is a passing interest and will actually follow through.

    Third, he and I traveled to Scotland this summer for our 20th anniversary, so I showed him some of the pictures from your blog. He now wants to be you guys. Not really of course, be he is envious of where you live and what you do for a living, just like I am. I know it is not always easy – no career path is – but to work with yarn and creativity and photography seems very alluring to both of us right now. And it doesn’t hurt that, while we have dreamt for a long time about moving to the UK, Scotland is particularly appealing at the moment because of the things going on here in the US.

    Anyway, thank you for offering this wonderful club. I can’t wait to start!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Not only am I so thrilled at another gorgeous collection, but I am wiping tears from my eyes over your final statements of inclusivity. As a long-time reader I would never question it, but your bold presentation for all to know is a welcome acknowledgement. Thank you so much for continuing to be an excellent example for how to run a business and how to conduct oneself as a leader in the community. I can’t wait to sign up for the club!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. So I think that folks who are offended or surprised by the mention of sexual orientation or marriage norms, have probably never experienced life as a member of a marginalized group. You have probably never had the experience of an entire room of folks go completely silent when everyone is talking about their spouses and then you mention yours…and in addition to the silence and the stunned ‘deer in the headlights’ looks, you know you are not welcome.
    For those of us who are hated, bullied, and live with the ‘privilege’ of marriage hanging in the balance, absolutely everything is political: are we welcome in your shop, your community, your country? I think all that Kate was saying is that ‘we’ are welcome here, and that she is not sending any overt or covert message to exclude ‘us’ by showcasing her own marriage…and she wants everyone to know that.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Lauren, I feel for you. My lovely neighours, Clement and Peter, have been together for over 50 years. I can only imagine what they have had to endure during all that time. They married as soon as they were able and I cried tears of sheer joy for them. Kate’s message of inclusivity is most welcome.

      Like

  16. looking so forward to this club. I love your collections, Kate! And (as an American–and a human on this planet–going through a enormous moment of political upheaval and uncertainty) I appreciate your mission statement of inclusivity. Thank you for all that you bring to the world of knitters and beyond!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I am looking forward to this club. I have been a blog reader for a long time. I was excited about the launch of your own yarn. I am so hapy to have some new sweater cardigan patterns designed by you. I also feel very included and encouraged by this post. Since I have supported you for so long, I feel like it is nice to know that you also include and support others. It is great that you share your life and lifestyle with us, and it is great that you are not recommending it as the way to be. I am often so curious as to what you are doing and how you are doing. I am looking forward to those knits that can be made by anyone, for anyone, as my man knits too and maybe he can make some of his own stuff!

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I can’t wait for this club to get started in mid-December! It was a brilliant idea to have it extend through the long, dark months of January and February. I have to confess to having acquired a taste for whisky when I was in Scotland a few years ago, so am looking forward to seeing Tom’s recommendations. And I think I can safely say this will be the first knitting book that my husband will also be looking forward to. :-)

    I did want to bring up one concern about the order form. There was no place in the address field to enter a Canadian province. I’m a bit worried that without a province in the address that the post office here might return the book.

    Like

  19. Thanks for the openness and being inclusive all round. To those who didn’t like the explicitness of Kate stating that all sexualities are included, I’d reply that the issue isn’t Kate’s words (duh!!), it’s that we’re back at a point where not all of us can take for granted that we are included.
    Great idea about the whiskey recommendations :)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The thing that comes first often sets the tone of something, just like the first piece at a music concert, or the opening chapter of a book, or how the titles are designed in a film. This ‘first thing’ here is of a wedding between a woman and a man, which in many places is the only pairing that is legally allowed. Simply because a wedding is shown, sexuality becomes an unavoidable part of the ‘message’ because weddings and who is allowed to have one – defined by age and sexuality – are a sensitive topic for some people and places. Perhaps the cardigan and the other items in the collection could have been shown in isolation, flat or on a dressmaker’s dummy, against a contrasting background but they aren’t going to be: Kate’s indicated that they’ve been styled in a certain way. That styling creates a look, in the same way that the Brooklyn Tweed lookbooks, for example, create a certain look. So, there is a certain look and a tone, established by the first item, that to many people will just wash over them and to others could potentially feel like another drip in the huge wave of messages every day about what is visible, what is acceptable, and what is ‘standard’. I watched a film from the 1950s recently where nearly everyone was smoking; smoking was the norm then and it is not now (in my country). The film wasn’t about health but the representation of smoking caused me to mention cancer rates. Kate’s book isn’t about sexuality per se but this styling of this item at this wedding represents a certain norm – and she’s flagging it’s not meant to be interpreted as an excluding representation. So, for me, it’s not an inappropriate thing to say, it’s an open hearted thing to say by someone who thinks carefully and thoughtfully about the power of images.

      Liked by 4 people

  20. absolutely love the idea of the club, and your desire to be inclusive. for those who are feeling “disappointed” & who want to avoid politics/labels and just enjoy the club, perhaps they simply don’t understand that not all of us have the privilege of assuming that we’re automatically welcome everywhere. not all of us are able to avoid politics and labels – particularly in the current political environment, whether we choose to label ourselves or not, some of us are in real danger. finding safe & inclusive places can be hard, and when someone in a position of relative privilege makes a commitment to be inclusive and be a good ally, that makes a huge difference to those of us in groups that have been and continue to be discriminated against. thank you kate.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I’m in! Congratulations on another great project and I just love how you are willing to share a pattern based on your wedding cardigan. That is so generous! I love how you underline it’s an inclusive club/pattern collection, I wish you didn’t have to do that, that it was considered to be so by everybody.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I love the photos of you and Tom at your wedding and love the beautiful and ethnic outfits you wear. I just spent all day in Point Reyes Station CA at the Fibershed Symposium where there are lectures all day about sheep and predators and abatement of predators and carbon farming and knitting and yarns both high quality and that which should be used for mattresses and maybe even insolation. Thought of you and thought how much you could add to this yearly event. Your story is right up their alley. If interested heres a link
    http://www.fibershed.com/about/

    Like

  23. I’m looking forward to joining the Club & enjoying the anticipation of the release of all the patterns & other perks for members. I wonder, though, why you felt the need to make a statement about gender & sexual orientation in relation to the patterns or why you thought the pictures of your wedding needed defending or explanation? Neither that nor the politics of the day seem relevant. Can’t we all just enjoy the Club?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, Kathy. I’ve followed your blog, Kate, since it was called ‘Needled’ – found it at about 3 a.m one morning when suffering insomnia – felt I’d found a friend when I was in need. Anyway, I felt disappointed to read you describing yourself as ‘straight’ – slightly patronised when reading the word ‘heteronormative’ – I enjoy your blog and Club so much because it’s an escape from the current world of politics and labels!

      Like

        1. I suspect she feels the need to be specifically inclusive because some of her readers remark on how inappropriate they believe that effort to be.

          Kate, I’ve never joined a club before, but your thoughtful post and lovely cardigan have inspired me – off to sign up now. Please do let Tom know in considering his whisky recommendations that at least one of your readers is a fan of the peat.

          Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks, Jo, Dee & Kristin. I was just reacting to people who always seem to be looking to be offended, when such social or political issues are hardly pertinent to knitting.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I think some compassion and understanding is in order here. The issues that Kate addressed in her blog (and it is her blog), DO affect ALL of us, not just those who are gay.

      Liked by 3 people

  24. Yes, I too would like to know more about the yarn weights and gauges used in the patterns because my physical challenges would make knitting at certain gauges too difficult.

    Like

  25. wow i’m really looking forward to this collection – what a treat!
    i never would have interpreted this as being aimed at heterosexual people only so i love that you are sensitive and intelligent and have pointed out that it is aimed at EVERYONE. good on you lot!
    also am looking forward to the whisky advice :)

    liz in australia

    Liked by 5 people

  26. Signed up! How exciting :-) I am really hoping that the sweater you knit for your wedding is included ~ I’ve wanted to knit one since I first saw it. Congrats and best wishes to you and Tom on this new project! Bruce, too!

    Like

  27. You are so meticulous, Kate, not only of course in the patterns you create and the words you write, but also in how your work will be perceived. Bravo for that, inclusivity (or is it inclusiveness) is so very important. And of course I shall join your new club, how could I not?!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Your latest blog took me off the membership fence and into the join the club corral. Living with real concerns about how our countries will go forward between Brexit and the new US governing team coming into office, your blog saying so much in such an open way, I have to join the club.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. What yarn weight are the patterns designed for? Are they all in Buachaille-type yarn, like your wedding cardigan? I´m asking 1) because I like to make big things like sweaters but as a very slow knitter I prefer thicker yarns (a sweater in Buachaille would take me an eternity to make) and 2) I´m truly amazed by the number of things you will be doing this winter: sending out the club patterns, dispatching the Oo book, dealing with the (no doubt) many yarn orders for club knitters, finishing the Islay book… I know you and your excellent team will manage everything flawlessly but I still very much hope we won´t completely ruin your holidays!

    Like

  30. This sounds like an amazing collection! I would sign up in a heartbeat if I wasn’t already committed on a number of my own designs and some test knits for others. But these photos are gorgeous and I hope your book will be for sale for time to come! :)

    Like

  31. I am not a blog reader, for the most part, but yours is unique and with Tom’s breathtaking photos, I got hooked. Over the last couple months, I, have been looking forward to see how you chose to present this project!
    I love that chose to use the club format, so we will get a design each week and then the much anticipated book in February! I wish all gorgeous knitting books included the download to work from, so I did not have to work from (and damage!) the lovely book.
    You have become a favourite designer, because your designs are stunning, fun to knit and they are written so well that it is easy to make whatever personal alterations needed to make it fit beautifully. So far, I have made two of your sweaters. They were a blast to knit, your tips were revelations and I feel beautiful wearing them! I anxiously await December!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Thank you very much for those words. Many of us straight, white folks in the United States are very concerned about what we have just discovered about our nation. Your words help give us courage for all the work ahead of us–stress alleviated by knitting.

    Liked by 7 people

  33. Super terrific! As a household that is also straight but very concerned with issues of gender identity in popular culture, *thank you* for the explicit approach you are taking here, Kate. Especially right now with the way things are in our world.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Here here Deb! We are also a household of two straight white people, but two straight white people who believe there should be a place for everyone to express themselves and seek their own happiness. Thank you for saying this “out loud” right now!

      Liked by 6 people

  34. I jumped on board first thing when the newsletter email came out. And now, with this blog post, I am getting even more excited. I told my husband about how Tom will be making a weekly whisky recommendation, so I think he will be anticipating this club too. Can’t wait to see the new Buachaille color! Thanks to all of you for your months and months of hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s