Craigallian’s Start Bay: A Handmade Knitted Cardigan

The snow outside is not the gentle, picturesque type often depicted in Christmas cards. It is fierce and wild, with tiny iridescent flakes that are flung violently through the air as they ride the storm. The cold, driving snow infiltrates every crevice, sneaking into the folds of clothing and settling on heads, boots, and books as we huddle on the train. Despite the freezing temperatures, the raw, untamed nature of the snow brings back memories of winter storms from my childhood. It is icy cold, but also exhilarating.

Despite wearing two jumpers (one of which was hand-knitted), mittens, a scarf, and a wooly hat, my cheeks still became rosy red from the snow. Despite this, the cold weather made for a cozy and comfortable day. I am writing to tell you about a hat that I recently received as a gift. Although it was given to me a month ago, I am just now getting around to writing about it. This hat is not mine, but rather a gift from someone else. I am starting with this hat as my topic because it is a good place to begin catching up on things.

Craigallian is the first pattern in the West Highland Way club created by Kate Davies. It was inspired by the West Highland Way, a long-distance walking route near Davies’ home in western Scotland. This route, along with the Coast-to-Coast, is on my list of “one day” adventures to undertake with my children when they are old enough. In the meantime, I am enjoying daydreaming about the route and knitting the beautiful patterns from the club, as well as reading Davies’ essays about the locations along the way. All of the patterns in the club are stunning, and my biggest challenge has been deciding which one to knit first. I decided to start at the beginning, with Craigallian.

Kate offers four seasonal colors to highlight her beautiful new Milrocchy Tweed yarn, but once she started talking about the landscape that inspired the design, I knew I had to draw inspiration from the colors of the landscape, and so the West Highland Way and the South West Coast Path converged, large sections of which I can walk with my eyes closed, and especially the colors of Start Bay.

 

At the moment I am confidently told that it is buried under an unusual but enchanting white coat, and that the roar that propels the white horses over the sea corresponds to the dusty feathers that dance and swirl from the hills, but I choose the colors of warmer times, the colors of long summer days when the rocks were almost too hot for feet, and the most comfortable place was to lie on the shallows and let each wave roll gently ashore and break back into the sea.

The sea is there in sunshine and in shadow in Lochan (dark blue) and Ardlui (teal), and Smirr (pale grey-blue) is the crash of a wave as it bites into the beach, and the whipped wave caps of a summer storm.

 

For the shore, Buckthorn (burnt orange) is our tin-rich ‘pink mud’ flecked with slatey pebbles and Garth (green) is the deep green of a bracken frond fully unfurled and basking in the sunshine. The Milrocchy Tweed is a singles yarn, equivalent to a 4ply, so it makes for a lovely light hat, that is also incredibly snuggly and warm.

 

I really enjoy knitting this pattern and I am currently working on a cardigan with similar colors. I have sent the original project as a birthday present for my dad, who will be using it on a walking trip in Pembrokeshire later this year. I am confident that it will have served him well in the past few days.

 

 

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