A soulful project: The Shepherdess Capelet for Snàth, Hebtember'14


All my life I've knitted for all kinds of people from tiny premature babies to huge menfolk but I've never knitted anything quite as deeply soulful as The Shepherdess Capelet. 

This was my creation commissioned by Uist Wool and its Snàth contemporary craft in artisan yarns exhibition, part of a series of Outer Hebrides Hebtember '14 events.

You can see The Shepherdess Capelet, along with the stunning creations of six other Hebridean makers, at Uist Wool, Scotvein, Grimsay, North Uist 13 - 27 September 10am - 5pm.


Beautiful Uist deer shed antler buttons handmade by Mr Robert MacLeod, South Uist.

I collected these tiny rocks from the shore, Isle of Benbecula, tied them to the yarn and let them hang in the same way my Hebridean ancestors hung rocks on rope over the thatched roofs of their stone homes.

From staring at cones of gorgeous pure wool from Uist Wool to a few sketches to the final Shepherdess Capelet I could feel my ancestors behind me; mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, great aunties, who were all expert and practical knitters using the very same wool in the same place, influencing and guiding me through the many weeks of creating this project; a beautiful feeling.

Thank you to the gifted team of extraordinary people at Uist Wool.


Creative process

From these cones of glorious Uist Wool

to this

for this. {See more about Outer Hebrides Hebtember.}

First thoughts on what to make - tunic, capelet, tabard, dress, apron?

Decide on decorative capelet

Loving the idea of using irregular and various Aran knitting stitch panels, free-falling and loose and allowing an influence of traditional Maori Moa feather cloaks {I lived in NZ for 12 years}.

Made lots of cable panels and tried out different stitch patterns on different plys of yarn.

My love for Mediaeval style will never die so, of course, I had a little phase of that - thinking of having a sheer knitted veil / cape / hood hung prettily from the shoulders but not working, although I love this look.

Idea to use multiple tiny antler buttons in Victorian style on base capelet. Call maker of exquisite antler jewellery and buttons, Riverside Crafts, South Uist {available at Kildonan Centre} and speak with Morag.

My sewing pins never saw so much action!

Now, after 5 weeks of creating, I know exactly what I'm doing.

The Shepherdess Capelet, made with Uist Wool by a Uist woman in Uist.

You Might Also Like


  1. How absolutely stunning!! A work of art, you must be so pleased with the end result. I admire your effort and workmanship. How could I buy the antler buttons? I live in the US? Thank you for sharing this stunning piece.

  2. I really enjoyed following your journey from conception to completion of this beautiful wearable work of art.

  3. Tear producing beauty, stunning and artful.

  4. Gorgeous! and sharing your creative process and the construction is much appreciated.

  5. Me encantan las pequeñas piedras atadas al hilo, una creación genial.