We are five weeks in to the Knitting Season Club – a three month exploration of creative making (and handknit design), following a format that’s a little different to previous clubs, with weekly essays and creative assignments as well as the usual collection of new patterns.

These essays have been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the club for me so far: I research and write something a wee bit polemical about a particular aspect of creativity, and Tom illustrates my ideas. This is his design for my essay about how we might try to engage purposefully with our limits rather than attempt to ‘overcome’ them: the words Within Limits rendered in the shape of Frida Kahlo’s prosthesis. Having learned an awful lot about the usefulness of limits from my experience of brain injury and disability, this image perfectly captures my thoughts about the wisdom of limitation. I just love it!

Our “words” and “pictures” division of labour works very well for Tom and I as a general basis for collaboration. It has been a lot of fun working with him on this project: here are his illustrations for my Don’t Ask essay (in which I discuss Mary Delany’s floral collages) and Mess Up (which focuses on Ella Fitzgerald’s memorable improvisatory performance of How High the Moon in February, 1960)

. . . and his illustrations for Repeat Yourself week (which explored Johannes Brahms St Antoni Variations) and Stay Put (in which I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk about Hokusai’s views of Mount Fuji)

Tom and I have very different approaches to creativity — my approach might be summed up as make-a-mess and his approach as make-it-perfect — and it has been interesting to reflect on those differences, too, as I research and write. So much that’s written about creativity seems to attempt to pin it down and prescribe a path towards it, but I think the whole point of my book, really, is that there absolutely isn’t a single type of creativity, or a single ‘best’ way to ‘be’ creative – you just need to find your way and feel comfortable with it. Because of that, not all my essays will be relevant to everyone – but hopefully a few of them will ring true! Feeling comfortable with your own creative approach is what this club is all about and it has already been hugely rewarding for me to see the different responses to the essays and creative assignments that club members are sharing. All of my essays (and Tom’s illustrations too) will be included in the book we are publishing which will go out to all club members in the Spring as part of their subscription, and will also be separately available for anyone who is interested (knitter or otherwise).

I’ve also released several new designs over the past few weeks, each of which is connected to the theme of each week’s essay and creative assignment. The Knitting Season pullover, for example, was chosen for Don’t Ask week (because this design involves an intuitive mash-up of intarsia and stranded knitting rather than a pre-prescribed technique).

In week 2 I released the Knitting Season hat – in which I explored the theme of repetition by finding different uses for the same motif.

Then the following week, I released the Weel Riggit hat and pullover patterns – working Within Limits by using a simple (and restrictive) 4 stitch pattern repeat.

In Week 4 I Stayed Put by exploring the same basic raglan garment shape, but interpreting it rather differently, with welted stripes rather than stranded colourwork.

I had a lot of fun creating Strodie

. . . and photographing it too!

Finally, last week I explored play and colour by Messing Up with the Dathan hap and gloves.

These patterns both use the full 15-shade palette of Milarrochy Tweed, and suggest a range of different ways in which each individual knitter might improvise within a stripe-y frame. I think the results of this simple colour play are really pleasing!

What I love most about these patterns is that every iteration is completely different (I was helped developing these patterns by a brilliant group of test knitters whose work you can see here).

You can still join the Knitting Season club if you are interested: you’ll receive all the patterns released so far, all of those to come, 12 weekly essays, a 10% discount on everything in the KDD shop and 2 books (the pattern collection and my creativity book) posted out to any address worldwide. There are 7 fun-filled weeks to come, and an exciting range of patterns and assignments (including a particularly special project that will be released for March 8th – International Women’s Day).

12 thoughts on “5 weeks of knitting season

  1. I have been silent, pretty much, since just past the beginning of this wonderful club, and for that I apologize. My oldest cat, nearly 17 y.o., has been diagnosed terminal kidney disease. She is on every-other-day saline drip, which DH and I administer at home, and she is stabilized for the time being. I have been rather distracted and sad, but I am making my peace with it and adjusting.

    Through it all, I have been knitting — thank goodness for knitting. (I finished my Swan Dance just in the knick of time, the day before the cold and snow hit the Pacific Northwest!) I also have been keeping up with reading the essays and will soon start on the exercises. So, a belated thank you, Kate! This is truly a gift, this club.

    And, hugs to you during the Instagram craziness. I totally agree with your statement!


  2. I’ve been I a few of your clubs before, and enjoyed them, but I think this one is the best so far. ALL of the patterns have appealed to me. The creative essays are thought provoking, and I’m learning about people i didn’t know much about before. I wasn’t sure about signing up (too many projects already) but I am very glad I did!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my goodness!! These stripes are fabulous! I always love stripes – love knitting them – love wearing them – I love choosing which colour to come next. Always makes the knitting go so much faster because I can’t wait to see how the next colour looks. And your essays sound so thoughtful – I hadn’t signed up for this club -because I rarely get around to the knitting – but I always love the essays and patterns and photography. I think I may have to …


  3. I think I’m going to have to do this; all the comments, in addition to the fact that I’m already a fan of your patterns and writing, are pushing me over the edge – in a good way! Plus – a dress?! Be still, my beating heart!


  4. I am very happy I recognized the club just one day after the start. It came at the very moment when I decided to start the year s l o w l y and just focus on my knitting. Since I joined Ravelry three years ago (right after starting to learn knitting) I fell in love with your patterns, your styles, your breathtaking beautiful pictures, but hesitated to work one of your patterns so far. Considering all these elements, “Knitting Season” is just the perfect summary for me and I enjoy every Friday and Sunday morning when the mails drop in :-)
    Thank you, Kate! It’s a bit like Christmas over three whole months!


  5. I’m really enjoying this club! The weekly patterns are something I really look forward to, I’m working on the Weel Riggit hat. Thank you for all your time spent designing your beautiful patterns and your thoughts on knitting.


  6. The knitting season has been brilliant so far and I’m looking forward to future essays and patterns. (I have two projects ready to go as soon as the yarn arrives from Scotland!). Your thoughts on creativity, Kate, have also helped me think in new ways about my academic writing. I would have had great fun doing the weekly assignments but I’m recovering from surgery on a broken ankle … I hope to follow the prompts belatedly.


  7. Five weeks already!

    A great summary of this amazing club, weeks 1 to 5.

    I’m really enjoying the weekly pattern reveal and then the essay each Sunday 🙂. Anyone out there that wasn’t sure, go for it, you won’t regret it.


  8. I hadn’t signed up initially, because I was sulking that the limited club had sold out before I got in, but I came to my senses & signed up later. I’m really enjoying the patterns & always appreciate your writing, so I’m glad I did!


  9. Enjoying it sooooo much. The essays are fabulous and I’m just knitting a Weel Riggit hat, which I’m loving! So much inspiration, wisdom & encouragement.


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