For the past six months I’ve been designing a collection. I have developed the ideas for six garments and six accessories, made swatches, knit prototypes, re-knit prototypes, re-knit again; drawn charts, produced grading spreadsheets, written patterns, re-written patterns, written patterns once again; edited the patterns, styled the designs, and, finally, modelled them myself. I’ve by no means been alone in these endeavours: Mel works alongside me at every stage and her creative input and her superlative knitting skills are both completely invaluable parts of my process. I simply could not do what I do without her. Then there is Tom – who shoots the photographs, draws schematics and puts together individual pattern layouts – and the skills and expertise of my two tech editors play a completely essential role as we consider the group of patterns as a whole as well as individually. . . and all of this happens before we even start to think about releasing the patterns as part of a club, or putting them together into book form. Creating the West Highland Way collection has been lots of fun (and I think this shows in the finished group of patterns), but it also is quite a lot of work.

Often, when I’ve finished work on a collection, I get a yen to knit something completely different. Sometimes that something is a hat, sometimes it is a garment. This collection has involved quite a lot of fine-gauge knitting for me – including one really epic project that took several months of work. I was determined to get this project right, and I’m now very pleased with it, but, having completed it, I was definitely needing to work on something speedy and satisfying at a much larger gauge.

I had an idea for a cropped jumper to go with my new skirt (each year I treat myself to a single piece from Cabbages and Roses). I knew that the Islay shade of Buachaille would look fantastic with the skirt, and thought I could knit a cropped jumper pretty quickly if I worked with two strands of yarn held double. So I designed the jumper in a sitting and knit it over four days – a very quick project for me! The results were pleasing: I liked what I’d knitted so much I decided to knit another, in a different colour . . . and now, it seems, I’m working on a third. Right now, for me, this jumper feels like the perfect winter garment . . . I’m not sure three will be enough?

Anyway, I was wearing the original jumper yesterday when we went out for our local boxing day walk. I had not intended to take any pictures of the jumper or anything – but Tom had his camera with him (like he always does) – and the light and conditions were – not to put too fine a point on it – bloody extraordinary.

So I took off my coat and we took some pictures of my boxing day outfit.

Hold on Tom . . .here comes a swan! Like we needed something else to complete this crazy technicolour winter scene!

Would you like to know more about the jumper?

It is a super simple stockinette knit, worked from the bottom up at 3.5 stitches to the inch, cropped in the body, with a cosy roll neck.

The key to the whole garment is the yoke shaping, which is calculated to allow all the stitches to be decreased away from the body over the full depth from underarm to shoulder. No stitches are decreased from the sleeves at all – they simply transform themselves into the neck at the appropriate point. Because of the way the shaping works, the garment hangs, slightly bell-like, from the shoulders, creating a neat early 1960s sort of silhouette.

The other important factor to this garment fitting and sitting correctly is ease: I’m wearing the jumper here with five inches of ease at the bust, and I don’t think the straight lines of the garment would hang so well with too much less than that.

This amount of ease means that it is straightforward to fit a few layers underneath . .

. . .and that the jumper is supremely comfortable to wear.

So this is my boxing day jumper!

I know that showing it here means that I now have to write a pattern. . . . can I have a couple of days off first, please?

My best festive wishes to you all! xx

122 thoughts on “Boxing day jumper

  1. And the swan! What gorgeous everything … so inspiring. The last thing I need is another cropped jumper but this one … so lovely and I love the bell shape. Maybe I DO need another little sweater?

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  2. Wow, love the short boxy sweater, and the colour is divine. I’ve started knitting again after nearly 40 (!!!) years and really enjoying it. Your post has really inspired me!

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  3. Good god, Kate, these photos! They are extraordinary! Well done Tom for always being armed with his camera as who knows if those conditions may ever be replicated. And to top it off, the frosty highland scene is just a backdrop for your knitting genius! And YES I’m afraid you MUST write a pattern for your new jumper now…thank you for sharing it with us knowing full well we’d be clamouring for it. Happy New Year! xx

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  4. Fantastic photos and a gorgeous design. Thank you for your posts and work! Best wishes to all there for 2018!
    I will definitely be looking out for the pattern – if you do ever find yourself wondering what to work on next something with a similar structure for those of us who couldn’t carry off the cropped look would be fab! Like you my daughter can so I will be making one for her.

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  5. Wow Kate – I love, love, love your Boxing Day jumper and Tom’s pictures show it off a treat in such stunning scenery. I am very inspired by your work – thank you so much! Happy New Year to you all. XX

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  6. I just love the innovation of this pattern. My daughter has two very similar shape sweaters which she purchased from French Conection in their colle tion of this year one in navy and one in mustard – she wears them constantly as they are so versatile. Can’t wait for this pattern so that I can ask her one! Loving your creative work also the stunning photos.
    Happy New Year
    Sue

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  7. Thank you for the lovely pictures – a beautiful walk into the new year. Meanwhile, what’s the gauge for the sweater? I’m already looking over my stash . . .

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  8. Wow! What a stellar backdrop for these photos and a glorious day to make the colours pop! Kudos to Tom for the stunning photography. And the JUMPER, what an amazing design. Perfect for a winter walk with layers underneath to shelter from the chill. Brilliant all around. New fan for sure!

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  9. So glad to’ve wandered into your winter wonderland. I love the jumper and miss the cold ever so much down south in florida. But we had a few days nip and even needed a jumper! Thank you and happy new year Kate!

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  10. I found your blog through the WordPress website . . . your sweater is SO beautiful! Having sewn some clothes of my own, I really appreciate all the time and thought that goes into designing a garment. I love the triangle in the back and all the details. It is really a blessing to find women that don’t dress like everyone else in the world, and a blessing to find modest yet beautiful dressing inspiration, too! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  11. Nature here is not like nature, there.
    As an artist, I’m drooling over both the scenery and your jumper..I’m new to your blog..but..looking forward to
    Knitting up some of your designs.
    Sandi

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  12. Love the photos and the jumper. You look so beautiful in it!! I love saying jumper instead of sweater!! I do have a question – as my waistline is not quite as it once was do you think this could be knit longer and still look nice? I don’t think I could “pull off” a cropped jumper.

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  13. Please can you not release the pattern until after we are well into the WHW otherwise I may have too much going on at the same time. That said, I can’t wait to see it. bx

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  14. ..one can almost breathe the crisp air…it looks like you’ve walked into a fairy story, with just the right outfit! What a stellar day that must have been. It looks like perfection!
    Looking forward to what 2018 surprises you have for us in wool and photographs. Best wishes for a wonderful 2018!

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  15. Kate, you and Tom create magic! Love the photos and especially the jumper. Enjoy your holiday! I would definitely buy that pattern, so you know, no pressure or anything……

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  16. The jumper is to die for….as they use to say in the 60’s!!! Love the style so much!!! I would love to knit this!!! The perfect stylish comfy sweater!!! The Scenery is unbelievable and Tom’s photography is amazing as usual!!!

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  17. This is beautiful Kate, and I’ve got some lovely turquoise alpaca in my stash (which has been in my stash for ten years!) that would be perfect for this. Do release a pattern soon!

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  18. Love love love it!
    You, Tom, and Bruce may now take off for the next week or so. You deserve it! Don’t forget to come back, tho. ;)

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  19. I am just (hopefully) starting out on the the big long road of pattern writing. It’s a bit scary, especially when you dont have much money for test knitters, tech editors etc. I think your Boxing Day jumper is lovely! It looks exactly the right kind of jumper for layering with a longer top or a dress underneath. Yes, a pattern would be lovely and, I suppose, you could probably take a few days off if you must ;)

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  20. You are so blessed to live where you do. We are slightly further South in the Pennines and whilst our landscapes are beautiful, yours are truly spectacular! (And the sweater is pretty awesome too!). Best wishes to you all. xxx

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  21. Simply beautiful–I’ve never knit a sweater before, but this could be my first, I really love it! When the pattern is ready, you can count on this buyer! Most Happy New Year to you & yours.
    P.S.- Wonderful photos, as usual!

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  22. Day off?! Er…no! You can’t show us a beauty like that and then bugger off for a break….😆 As ever, it is stunning, along with the place you live and the photographs Tom takes. Take all the time you need but hurry back because that jumper is FAB 😮😊

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  23. Stunning, as always. You continue to be such an inspiration, both as a knitting designer, and as a strong woman. May 2018 bring you and Tom, and Bruce of course, only the very best in health and joy and love, and continued success !

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  24. Absolutely lovely ! The detailing, the yarn, the style …can’t wait for this pattern. Thank you for sharing such amazing photos.
    To you and yours … A happy new year !

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  25. Your patterns, your knitting, your outfits, the landscape, and the photography are all so gorgeous. It’s akin to, and far better than, being in a sweet shop when I view your blog. Thank you for sharing!

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  26. Of course, do take a well-deserved rest before sharing this oh-so-tempting pattern!! I knitted my second Fantoosh as a gift for Christmas and really loved again how smooth a knit it was, thanks for doing such a great work on your patterns!

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  27. Spectacular weather for a Boxing Day walk. Exceptional photography. Gorgeous sweater design and yarn color which I can’t wait to knit. And lovely model with her dog, in her favorite landscape:) Happy holidays, Kate and Tom and Bruce. I hope 2018 brings you much happiness. Thanks for a wonderful post to wake up to this morning.

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  28. i love the structure of this boxing day jumper. For all of us fluffier knitters, would you consider writing a pattern for a longer sweater that can be worn over long skirts or pants? Ha! I would be your first customer!

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  29. Meri Kirihimete – Merry Christmas to you and your whānau. The Boxing Day sweater is fabulous and the scenery – a day out of the box! Very best wishes for a happy New Year, and every day beyond.

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  30. Happy happy holidays to you and the gang! Love love love the jumper and will look forward patiently to its pattern. Enjoy your time off, especially in that gorgeous wonderland!

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  31. What a beautiful sweater! And the weather-I so envy you. Here in Denmark on my small lovely island the rain never seems to stop. Looking forward to the pattern AND the new book/patterns!

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  32. That top photo is stunning and the jumper popped immediately. I love a crop-the CYA (cover your arse) tunics take a lot more time and yarn. I look forward to the pattern Kate!

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  33. Everything about this post is dazzling and brilliant — the sweater, the light, Bruce, Tom’s photography, you, and the team we cannot actually see. This will be a fun knit, someday, when I can fit it in among the club items! And, bonus for when I get to the sweater — I shall be a bit slimmer because of all the walking for the WHW virtual walk! Happy New Year to all!

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  34. Very cute sweater! Love it with the skirt and also love the color. Really like how you designed it.
    And the photos are gorgeous. The first one after the copy starts with you looking
    back down the trail is absolutely stunning. I think you should offer that one for
    sale in Tom’s photography site.

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  35. Please have a lovely break and then get right to the Boxing Day jumper pattern – it is too wonderful!
    Thank you for the lovely knits and photos and Happy New Year.

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  36. It’s beautiful! And *cute.* I don’t get what you said about the shaping AT ALL. That’s why you’re the knitwear designer and I’m not. ;-) I have been inspired by you and cheering for you for 6 or 7 years now. I’m very happy to see that you are so happy. Take care of yourself and your health, and enjoy your holidays! P.S. You go out for a walk in a gorgeous new skirt and sweater??? IMPRESSIVE.

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  37. Gorgeous pattern (I would just need to make it a little longer), gorgeous landscape! Please consider publishing the pattern when you have the time. All the very best to you, Tom, Bruce and Mel for 2018.

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  38. Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous sweater. I’m trying not to feel too peeved that you didn’t come up with the pattern beforehand as I have little time off, but had a crazy idea that I would knit a sweater while I am off between Christmas and 30th Dec when I go to the seaside. Alas, my Bingham is not going to make it that fast, but this wonderful creation probably would have done. However, such ungenerous thoughts are particularly inappropriate for the season so I’ll simply say how delighted I am to think of you wearing the perfect sweater to make your outfit and for the weather. Enjoy!

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  39. It’s fantastic. I love the drape and the ease. I also love that the collar does not directly lie on the neck. As I age, my skin gets more sensitive so the collar is perfect. Especially when paired with a lovely scarf?

    I’m ready. It is now -10 in Wisconsin. Perfect weather to start a new sweater.

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  40. Thanks for creating another wonderful design. Looking forward to the pattern when you have time to write it. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures and all the information you provided about the sweater and also your wonderful team. Enjoy the rest of the year and all the best to you, Tom, Mel, and Bruce in 2018.

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  41. OK, that jumper is lovely, really! BUT that scenery!!! You couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day. The photography captures it beautifully!

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  42. I LOVE the construction – what a clever idea! As I have never been the right shape for boxy tops, I am wondering if this could also be knitted with a longer body, more like a tunic?

    The photos are superb!

    All good wishes to you and yours for the New Year!

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    1. I was wondering about a longer sweater, too. I am much taller than Kate, and not at all short-waisted. And I’m not slim anymore (pout pout.)

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  43. I love it! And I was really happy to read that you saw your local as being extraordinarily beautiful, because as I started reading your post I said to Dan, “people in Scotland just have no idea how lucky they are to live in such beauty.” So, ok, I guess you do. But I am still quite jealous.

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  44. Love this post; the jumper, your skirt, the photos are beautiful! Yes, a pattern would be lovely after a much needed break. Happy New Year ❤️

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  45. A belated Happy Boxing Day to you, dear Kate. The photographs of you in that splendid landscape are truly beautiful. Such a great spirit is apparent. Tom’s photos are always so good, but there is something special in this collection.

    Of course, the jumper design is marvelous and will be a delight for many others to knit for themselves. Do have a bit of a rest though. Look forward to seeing you again in the New Year! xo

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  46. This is a stunning jumper, Kate. The colour, the construction and design elements. I so love it. I’m going to browse your colourways because I promised myself a sweaters quantity of your yarn in the new year. (Just receive my West Highland Way club yarn. Swoon!!!) Happy holidays to you, Tom, and Bruce. xxx

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  47. Wow! Can I say how much I appreciate how your designs are so compatible with someone who is petite 😍 I really like this jumper – thank you

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  48. A gorgeous post, a treat for the eyes, which holds the promise of a lovely new pattern for 2018. Please enjoy your two days off, then set to work on that pattern post haste!
    Thank you for all you and yours bring to us. It’s always a treat to see KDD pop up in my email inbox.
    Warmest wishes for a brilliant new year! xo

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  49. Love this pattern and would love to stand in line here once again for it’s release, take a week or two off…. no need to be so miserly with yourself.

    Happy New Year Kate and company!

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  50. What a fun looking jumper! And the loch and photography are gorgeous! The light and hoarfrost are magical! Tom is an excellent photographer. It is very interesting to hear of all the pieces and contributors to designing your new collection (I’m a club member).

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  51. You are right, Kate, the light is extraordinary. My favorite time of the year for photographing the landscape. And the jumper is perfect. The back detail is beautiful. Will the knitting details be available soon?

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  52. Ooh I love love love it so much, and then some because I’m a Boxing Day baby with issues about my birthday being perpetually overlooked. Anyhoo, when will it be published? I need to have one for all of my tweed skirts.

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