2015, a year in wool

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and that 2016 proves to be a wonderful year. What more can I say, except for BAAAAA!


(Was tickled by this slightly louche Shetland matriarch, wearing her ear tag like a clubbing accessory)

Now the festivities – and other events – have settled down a bit, I’ve fired up my trusty MacBook Pro for the first time in a few days (never thought an iPad would change my life, but hey ho) and have taken a look through the year’s photographs. Two things struck me: a) that I’d actually fitted quite a bit in, despite being really busy on the work front, and b) that photographs don’t always reflect what’s really happening in your life. Not even if, like a friend of mine who is way too old to know better, you are the world’s most obsessive taker (and, yawn, yawn, sharer) of bad selfies. But I’m going to talk about the knitting which has marked this year out, and not the fact that it’s been bookended with funerals. Plus there’ve been deaths in between – mostly of the older generation, but still.* Back to wool!

I started the knitting year with turquoise, and I’m ending it in the same colour,

admittedly, turquoise with other colours but still unusual enough to be remarked upon.

The wooly highlight had to be another journey north: Shetland, and first stop Jamieson’s in Lerwick as I’d heard great things of the revamped shop. They were all, unfortunately, true. Rats. I just had to spend money. Plus there was the museum and the excellent taatit rugs exhibition, and the Bod of Gremista, from which I think these two shots come,

and what with one thing and another I came back with the makings of a Fair Isle cardigan. It’ll be done when I’ve finished the one currently on the needles (also in yarn bought in Shetland, cough, cough).

My hands have been so much better, and I’ve really enjoyed knitting for things like the Harlech Fibre and Fabric Fair in the summer, where I also got a chance to talk about natural dyes with people. Er, once the Fair was actually open, that is. Prior to that it was a frenzy of sorting out signage and bunting and pricing and labels and craftspeople and people doing the teas and, and, and thank heavens I wasn’t doing it alone. Many thanks to Julie. Many, many, many thanks!


I’m not the world’s most expert dyer – by a long stretch – but I still have the daft enthusiasm that allows me to be fascinated by the fact that rinsing a skein dyed with elderberry in water at a friend’s house – on the wool winder – could have a completely different result when I rinsed the next one at my own place (all the colour leeched out – it was most alarming, but did allow me to overdye the wool).

High summer – we did have one, briefly, I have more photographic evidence – saw me spinning in public with some members of the Llyn Guild. It was a completely delightful day, even if we were all quite hoarse by the time we were winding down.


In fact, it was so good that we’re not spinning in public on the official day – towards the end of September – any more. There are so many more people about in August, and the weather is more predictable, plus we can return here. Where there is also cake.

Along the way I’ve opened a twitter account for a cat,


who thinks she runs a wool shop (thinks?) – she’s at @WoolShopCat, naturally – and saw her followers increase in both numbers and interaction in the first twenty-four hours way more than my own (it’s settled down now, which is more than can be said for Bramble, currently in Christmas-catnip mode). I’ve been in a pop-up craft shop during the summer, which was fab, and had a very successful time at the Harlech Craft Fair at the end of November. The problem has been keeping pace but, as I said, my hands are much better. I’ve even fitted in some knitting for me.

And now I need to go and lie down for a bit. But I just have this sleeve to finish, you see, and…
Best woolly wishes to everyone for 2016!

*why this year should have been particularly bad on the funerals front, I don’t know. Except, that is, for the fact that several people were either in their 90s or nearly there, so not entirely unexpected. But why do deaths come in flurries? My grandfather used to get quite wary if there’d been two until there was a third, and it’s not as though there was a geographical factor at work – they ranged from the highlands of Scotland to South Africa. Very odd.


10 thoughts on “2015, a year in wool

  1. Goldie

    Hi, Sorry about the deaths you’ve had to experience. I’m a loyal follower in second half of my 80’s. I plan to be around for a while yet, so you have at least one old one around.
    Best wishes, …….

    1. kate Post author

      Hi Goldie, I too am planning to be around for ever and consider it slacking to think of anything else. I may be fooling myself (oh surely not) but let’s assume I’m right.

      Best wishes for 2016!

  2. Commuter Knits

    Oh my goodness. That fair isle is stunning. I wish I could come up with colour work that complex and complimentary.

    I also love your teal obsession. My go-to colour to knit with!

    1. kate Post author

      Isn’t it? Hrrrrrrrr… some of the examples in those Shetland museums are amazing. Just amazing.

      Think the teal thing is going to get worse this year. Or better, rather – a fairly confident prediction for 2016. Or it would be if I hadn’t vowed to use the stash…

  3. spinningsheepfeathers

    What is it that’s so intriguing about a Kitten in a yarn shop? Love this cutie!! Where are the pictures of your cat lounging on your FO’s?
    Anyway, Your new work is gorgeous and most of us probably like teal too. I’ve been hard at work knitting up bits of my handspun into hats, mitts and coals. One big basket is empty now so I guess that means I need to move on to the other yarn now…….. stash busting is good for the soul!

    1. kate Post author

      Ah, not my cat, she belongs to my friend Angharad. Well, I say ‘belongs’, but you know cats. Other way round, basically. She’s very lovely and remarkably well-behaved around wool. Unless catnip is involved, of course.

      Oh, congratulations on the stash usage – you are a role model!

  4. Annie Cholewa

    Popping by to wish you a woolly 2016 too. And to say, did you know that the cafe at Ruthin Craft Center has closed … the next round will have to be held elsewhere.

    Loved getting to you know you a bit better this year Kate x

    1. kate Post author

      I did, isn’t it sad? A very short-sighted lack of flexibility there, I feel. We definitely need another venue!

      And happy 2016 to you too. Hopefully it won’t be as draining as 2015.


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