It has been an extraordinarily busy year for us here at KDD!

We began the year working on, and producing the Inspired by Islay book. This collection includes some of my all-time favourite designs . .


. . . as well as the wonderful work of some of my other creative friends.

I’m proud of this book.

Just after EYF I sat down to write a rather different kind of book. I wrote about my handmade childhood, about my direct experience of stroke, about how disability radically (and importantly) changes one’s perspective on the world, about understanding my self and my body differently; about the human significance of acts of making and design; about the contemporary knitting community; about places like Shetland and my creative relationship to them. I read more, thought more, wrote more, this year than I’ve done in any year since my stroke. . . perhaps more than in any year full stop. At my desk, I travelled from the paleolithic origins of plaiting, via the mechanics of the human hand, through debates on neuroplasticity, to a knitting class in Eshaness. I also travelled in person to Sweden, where I met the people who design and produce the innovative device which enabled me to stand and transfer between wheelchair and toilet after my stroke: a humbling and thought-provoking experience. This book has without doubt been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on, as well as the most intellectually and personally demanding. While I was writing, I thought of little else, and this made the months between Spring and Autumn particularly intense ones for me.

I’m pleased to say that Handywoman is now out with readers, and will be published in the coming Spring.

While I was working on Handywoman, other things were going on. Tom produced some brilliant photographic projects

. . . and we created another nice wee book

We designed, developed and launched a small range of ready-made lambswool accessories – a completely new venture, with which I’m very pleased (and of which there will be more to come in 2018).

We developed Milarrochy Tweed — a completely new yarn line . . .

And I also developed and created another new collection of twelve designs, which will form the West Highland Way club and book.

I consider the group of West Highland Way designs together, and think they are probably the most interesting collection I’ve yet produced. Perhaps I think this kind of thing every time I complete work on a collection … but I really am genuinely excited by this group of designs and am so looking forward to revealing them to club members in a couple of weeks time (there’s still time to join us if you fancy it!)

All told, 2017 has been an extraordinarily intense and productive year around here. One obvious reason it has been so is because the brilliant and resourceful Mel is now working with us full time.

Thanks Mel!

2017 has also been a really difficult year politically and culturally (indeed I can hardly think of a worse one since the Thatcher era of my childhood). The best way I’ve found to deal with 2017s relentless torrent of shite has been to focus on making good things that I believe in, and do what I can from my small corner to effect change (such as working with policy groups as part of the Scottish business community).

But the best thing about 2017 for me is that my mum and dad decided to move house. They now live just a short drive away, have settled in to their new home, and are really enjoying life here in Scotland.

All of us are very happy they are nearby, especially Bruce!

Whew! What a year!

A massive thanks to all of you, as ever, for stopping by here, for knitting my designs, reading my words, appreciating Tom’s photography, and generally supporting our endeavours. If you didn’t like what we do, we wouldn’t be doing it. Thank you.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018 for us all.

Kate x

90 thoughts on “2017

  1. Your work has certainly made my year better! I am particularly excited to read Handywoman when it’s available – having just been diagnosed this year with RA, I am in the throes of coming to terms with what that kind of diagnosis means in my own life, and am very much looking forward to reading about your experiences (and your writing, which I always so much appreciate).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate, Everything you do is so saturated in excellence and love. For instance, when I received my Snood in the mail, I buried my nose in it directly. All I could smell was wooly wool. “She must be a god,” I thought, “to transform wool through so many processes, through so many hands, across an ocean and half a continent into my hands and have it still represent its origins so proudly. Not to mention the seam is so perfectly matched, it is a marvel. The perfection in ratio of softness to weight, width to drape…the pattern is universal and goes with everything I choose to wear with it [which is a good thing as I resolutely refuse to take off this Snood]- all a result of your eye, hands, care, dedication. Ditto Tom, Mel and Bruce: Thank you for sharing your awesomeness.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing these reflections. Following your story over the years (I’ve been reading since 2008) has always been an inspiration, and what you achieved in 2017 is indeed tremendous. I left academia this year, having been aware for some time that it wasn’t helping me make the best of myself, and I’m hopeful of doing better things outside it. In that hope, following along your story of success in entrepreneurship, creativity and living of a good life is a great encouragement – thank you. All the best for you and your family in 2018!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. if the experience of the past few years has taught me anything, it is that it is not only possible, but much more enjoyable and simple to work creatively and productively *outside* academia. All the best for the coming year x

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Fantastic year for you, Kate, that is amazing!
    Funny how some years are especially good/bad for different people – I do not need a repeat of 2017 ;o!

    However, I do love all your work – you cover knitting, intelligent history and the general “north”, all my favourites :)
    And I am very interested to read your book and to pass on your experiences to others I know of.

    A very happy and productive 2018 to you all from Switzerland,

    Melanie x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a pretty crap year, of course with some high points, but in a weird way it makes it slightly less crap knowing it was not completely crap for everyone. Really looking forward to reading Handywoman when it comes out. It’s amazing to see all you’ve done since leaving academia, and it gives me a lot of hope that with time, I will find my way with self-employment in the context of illness + disability too. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Happy New Year, thank the Lord! May 2018 bring you much happiness! And a move here in the USA to improve our political climate but that may be wishful thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kate , Thank you for all the hard work that you do for all of us knitters.I agree with everything you said about it being a “shite “ year and I remember the Thatcher years and how they destroyed so much of Scotland ‘s industrial heartlands

    Wishing yourself , Tom, Mel and your family “ A GUID NEW YEAR AND LANG MAY YOUR LUM REEK .
    Kind Regards Maggie x

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for all your scholarly, sensitive, spiritual, informative, fascinating and beautiful posts, designs, photographs, and plans for 2018. I hope 2018 will bring you both (and Bruce!) fulfillment in all you undertake, good health to enjoy it all and love and peace to sustain you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Kate, Tom, Bruce,
    Yes, it has been a terrible year with democracy, wherever it exists, experiencing threat to its’ continuance.

    Your newsletters have been a most welcome antidote to the political scene. Aestically high design, writing, photography enhanced with great wamrth, both human and canine. Thank you.

    Best wishes for a peaceful, productive and healthy 2018 to each of you. (Hi Bruce).
    G

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My very best wishes to you, Tom, Bruce, your family, Mel and everyone involved in KDD. I love your blog, your books, your patterns and Tom’s photos. May 2018 bring ever more exciting developments at KDD.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ‘2017 has also been a really difficult year politically and culturally’
    This is so true, for those of us on the other side of the Atlantic, as well.
    You are right, we must focus on what we can do to move forward with honest, authentic, humane activities. With human-crafted items of quality and excellence.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a lovely review of your incredible year Kate. Can’t wait to read “Handywoman” when it comes out. Your creativity and determination are truly inspiring. Wishing you, Tom and Bruce a Very Happy 2018 x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy New Year, Kate!! Thank you for all your wonderful gifts to us this year. I’m hoping to wrap the year with my second Port Charlotte ( kiddie size, steeked as a cardi for my 8 year old).

    Here’s to a better 2018. I’m trying out hope for an improvement and the introduction of some sanity to the political madness.

    Much love to you and your lovely family.
    Rachel

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Happy New Year to You, Tom and of course Bruce. What year you all have had. So proud to be able to say we know you Kate. What an inspiration you are. A lovely photo of your mum and dad we hope to stop by and see them in 2018 on one of our trips to Islay

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Congratulations on all of your achievements over the past year! It’s been a joy to follow along. And thank you for bringing the goodness to help us slog through these dark times. Looking forward to seeing you in the New Year. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What an amazing year it has been for you and your team, congratulations! Coming here, reading the stories you write and seeing (and knitting) your designs have been a welcome help in coping with a year that has been -like you said- a terrible year in so many aspects. The whole making-community has been, so thanks for that! I can’t see 2018 getting much better, politically and environmentally, but here’s to pulling through together until better times are on the horizon! 💚

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I love the designs, knitting, photos and tailwags from your team. I find so much beauty in the knitwear and photographs There is so much beauty and inspiration in the things you do.
    .Looking forward to reading Handywoman.
    Wishing you all the best for 2018 and here’s hoping that the world will recover from this political shite hurricane. I will focus on my knitting.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Wow when you go back and look at the year you have been on fire! What an inspiration. Happy New Year to you all and I so look forward to what creativity and wonderful reading you bring to 2018. Blessings, health and happiness for the coming year xx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. All the very best for 2018. The whole team provide me with inspiration and comfort and are such a force for creative goodness in turbulent times. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Happy New Year to you and Tom and the entire team; your blog is so inspiring, Tom’s photography is breathtaking and I look forward to email notices each and every time. May your creative muse keep on blessing you in the year to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a wonderful blog post. All your hard work to bring us all such beautiful patterns, essays and yarn is greatly appreciated. Your summary of the current political situation is wonderfully succinct. I don’t think that anyone could put it better. I’ve enjoyed reading all the thoughtful comments.
    Here’s to a better 2018, and a Happy New Year to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. 2017 was such a mixed bag. Personally, it was a momentous year as my daughter graduated from college and then moved across the country to pursue her professional dreams, and my son graduated from high school and has just finished his first semester of college. I’m so proud of both of them! While I’m not fond of the empty nest, it is an interesting time for my husband and I to both pursue our creative interests. For me, that’s knitting and occasional dyeing; for him it is a new interest in wood inlay work. On the other hand, it’s been the absolute worst year here in the U.S. politically and culturally. I am fearful for the future in so many ways.

    Kate — I’m amazed at all you have accomplished this year. I loved being part of the Islay club. Knitting the Birlinn blanket and sending it off to my daughter helped bridge the gap of the many miles between us. I’m looking forward to knitting many more of your patterns in 2018, and to reading Handywoman. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. A massive thanks to you, Tom and Bruce. Following your blog, reading your books, joining your clubs
    —-each of these has brought wonderful energy and happiness to me!
    I never thought I would see the U.S. like I see it today. It has been a horrible 2017 in this country……
    but through your posts and in the daily working to create a good life, we have kept our hopes up.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journeys, both artistic and with health. As a survivor of severe injuries from a terrible car accident decades ago, I know how I struggled with head injuries. I admire your grace and your artistry. Looking forward to reading Handywoman and seeing more stunning photographs from Tom. Happy 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I recall a few years ago you had to make a choice between accepting a deal with a publisher or going your own way. I think this blog post is a testament to what a smart choice you made in directing your activities on your own. You are such an inspiration. Thanks for all that you continue to do. Wishing you all the best and very good health in the upcoming days.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Hi Kate & Tom Sorry we did not catch up at Xmas I was looking forward to a catch up. Here’ wishing you,s all the best health & wealth for the coming year looking forward to reading your book!! Lol 💕💕🤗 big pat to Bruce xx

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I made a resolution to knit a sweater a month to keep me focused. Hard to watch news on tv that way:) I wait patiently for your new crop jumper pattern!!

    May everyone have a wonderfully positive big or small experience in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thank you for your light shining on our knitting community. You inspire and comfort us and I, for one, have become committed to making a trek to Scotland in person, to connect with my genetic and craft homeland because of it. I believe the struggle to banish the darkness that has characterized public life in 2017 is going to be strong and powerful in 2018 and I am anxious for that to begin! Love and gratitude to you and your clan.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thanks for sharing your life & work with us, Kate. I look forward to your posts & to seeing what you’re all making & up to. Best wishes for the new year to you & yours. Snuggles to Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Best wishes for Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year! One day i hope to travel to your lovely corner of the universe …i knit but have so much more to learn. You are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi there Kate Tom and all, I love your posts, I love the connectedness and the thoughts. This is the highlight in my in tray! Now aiming to do the West Highland way in 2019 among other things. Best wishes and Happy New Year to all at KDD! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Dear Kate,
    What a beautiful tribute to 2017, your writing is beautiful as are Tom’s photographs , and your yarn is lovely.
    I was wondering where I can buy a copy of your book Handywomen when it comes out?
    Happy New years to You and your family.
    Cant wait for the new club patters to arrive here .
    You are a great inspiration to me and I’m sure to many others .
    Warmly, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  33. You mentioned that you do what you can from your small corner to effect change. I want you to know that what you do spills out in ways you aren’t even aware of. For me it has been a sad year, as I’ve been dealing with the decline and then death of my beautiful 33 year old son due to mental illness and addiction issues. Your clubs and your beautiful patterns have been a light in the darkness. They have given me something to look forward to, and something lovely to focus on as I push through the grief. Thank you for what you do.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. So happy for your success in the business world but especially in your personal life. Thank you for creating much beauty in the world and for sharing it with us. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Your dedication and contributions make this crazy planet a better place! Thank you for all you, Tom and Kate Davies Design team do to make this a better place to live ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Dear Kate, Tom, Bruce, Kate’s parents, and Mel – Best for all of you in the New Year! In 2017, one of the things I could count on to counteract all of the terrible (at least here in the U.S.), was finding lovely happy things here on your blog. It was both a comfort and a treat. Have a wonderful New Year’s celebration (and please give Bruce a kiss from me!).

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Dear Kate,
    It is the spirit of “go for it ness” that you and Tom have that inspires me the most. Thank you for sharing the adventure of your journeys, no matter the path I and others may be on. Keep on making a difference in your own corner of the world. That is the best we can all do. I try to with my family, whose support and love make all things possible, and with the children and families in my kindergarten class. Kindness, empathy, and imagination make the world a brighter place. Keep it up, one stitch at a time.
    Karen

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I love reading your blog. You inspire me to be more creative and to see inspiration all around me. Thank you. I hope you, Tom and Bruce have a wonderful and joyful 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. A very happy new year to you, Kate, and to Tom and Bruce, Mel and the rest of the team. You’ve been an inspiration to me in my knitting endeavors, starting in 2013 when I first picked up needles again after a decades-long hiatus. I am very much looking forward to participating in the Milarrochy yarn club and to reading Handywoman in the coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Dear Kate – I love reading what you write.
    I’m not a knitter, but I crochet. Your
    beautiful designs inspire me constantly.
    The way that you absorb ideas from nature
    and history and the landscape all spark
    my imagination. Disability has affected my
    life considerably over last 30 years, I have
    a son who has Cerebral Palsy and Learning
    Difficulties. Looking forward to reading
    Handywoman in the New Year. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. What a lovely post, so full of good things. I received my yarn and am now anxiously waiting for a pattern on which to use it! Wishing you and Tom, Mel, your Mum and Dad, Bruce and the cat(Jesus?) good health and all the blessings of a new year in 2018.
    Cheers and a large dram of Lagavulin.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Dear Kate and Tom,
    Reading your blogs, has helped me to overcome the ‘winter blues’.
    Tom’s photography just captures all that inspires me about Scotland and makes me look forward to travelling north in the summer.
    It has been a shite year for me too, but your inspiration and creativity has always brightened my day!
    I wish you both a very Happy New Year! And I look forward to learning more of your exploits in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Kate, you are a remarkable woman. Your recovery is inspiring and your creativity never ceases to amaze. All the best for a wonderful New Year to you and your family. I look forward to Handywoman.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Happy New Year to you all, and thank you for all the patterns and blogs that have made my 2017 a bit happier. It has been a hard year, but your comment about doing your best with your own little bit of the world, and standing up for what you think is right, is totally spot on. All the best for 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Wishing you and yours a healthy and joyous New Year filled with whatever you wish for yourselves. Many many thanks for sharing your creativity, your thought-provoking words and your sense of place that make your newsletters worth saving and rereading. And I must add that your unique sense of style along with Tom’s photos are exceptional. Looking forward to the New Year filled with all the joy you bring.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. And wishing the same to you and yours Kate, I am grateful, as I am sure we all are, for your and Tom’s creative work in the world. It helps to make the world that little bit less shite through the acts of (both of) your creating and making.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Wishing you, Tom, your mum and dad, Bruce, and Mel a new year full of happiness, success and fulfilment. Let’s hope 2018 becomes more honest and truthful in all areas of life.
    Thank you for all your patterns thus far – and I’m looking forward to the new collection (LOVE the new yarn!)

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Happy New Year to you all! I have enjoyed your blog and patterns in all their forms for years, since long before your stroke, and it is wonderful to see you and your family following your dreams. It’s a privilege to be able to share in your creative outputs and I can’t wait for the patterns to go with the stunning yarn you sent out just before Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. You are truly remarkable folk. Thank you for all you do and for sharing. Like many I am sure, I strive to follow your example in many walks of life. Thanks for your inspiration. We’re off for a Balmaha based walk now to try shake the ‘too much xmas goodies’ feeling. Here’s to 2018 and strength for all it brings!

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Congratulations on such a very good year, Kate, and thanks for sharing your gifts with us so generously in your blog. I very much look forward to reading Handywoman. Best wishes to you and yours for 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Thank you for all that you have provided us with during 2017….your beautiful designs and books and Tom’s amazing photography and of course the antics of Bruce. It was a pleasure to meet you at EYF and hopefully I’ll get to do so again in March at your reading. I’m really looking forward to the WHW club and I’m already in love with Milarrochy Tweed.
    Wishing you, Tom, Bruce and Mel health and happiness in 2018!
    V x
    P.S. I couldn’t have described the political situation any better myself, thank goodness for knitting and yarn!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  52. I feel honoured that I met you when you were just recovering from your stroke- I felt you were so brave. have watched your progress over the years- you are an inspiration to us all. Look forward to your Boxing Day jumper- just the sort my grand daughters would love. Best wishes to you and yours for 2019

    Liked by 1 person

  53. We crave having a xmas in the snow. Your pictures shared makes us very jealous of your beautiful surroundings. We have hot weather at xmas and have spent this xmas near the sea, a lovely change. All the best for 2018, health, love and continue with your wonderful stories and pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. A wonderful record of a very good year for you and your family, Kate! I always look forward to reading your postings, with a good of tea. Your parents look very well in the photo and I am happy for you… having mine near has been always a blessing for me.

    Best wishes for the coming year… I hope it will be even more successful for you and yours.

    Kitty

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Thoroughly endorse your 2017 sentiments especially the shite one. Thank heavens there are still people like you around who can use their talents to inspire and encourage us. Happy 2018!

    Like

  56. You are indeed a remarkable woman Kate, and your energy and creativity continue to inspire. The team developed around you and Tom, the excellence of the aesthetic experience you all share with us have made 2017 a year of great achievement in many complementary ways. May 2018 allow your endeavours to prosper and thrive!

    Liked by 2 people

  57. You have not mentioned your blog in your list of achievements; I thank you for your posts in 2017 and look forward to continuing to read it in 2018.I am really looking forward to the publication of Handywoman too. That’s great advice about how to deal with current politics and other depressing news which is much better than my frequent response which is to shout abuse at the radio!
    Good luck with the year ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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