Herdwick lamb

Mel, Felix and I – setting up shop

Wearing our Deco cardigans, and ready for, um, action. . .

Woolfest throng


Susan’s stand was utterly delectable. Everything was displayed so beautifully.

Customers admiring Helen’s gorgeous wares.

Natalie’s fab herd-of-sheep stitch markers.

Jen and Nic having a giggle.

Lily France looking fabulous in the Betty Mouat sweater

Bruno the North Ronaldsay ram. What a lovely old boy he is.

Woolsack cushions.


There are two rubbish things about my present situation: one is suffering from post-stroke fatigue, and the other is worrying about the grim possibility of whether or not one is going to be suffering from post-stroke fatigue. I can tell you that there was quite a bit of the latter in the lead-up to Woolfest. This was the first time I’d attended any sort of public ‘event’ in my new professional capacity and I was (to put it mildly) concerned about whether or not I was going to be able to manage. Happily, I have three amazing comrades – Tom, Mel and Felix – who shouldered much of the burden, and thanks to them, everything was totally FINE. Things were very hectic, and the weather was insane, but I met many, many lovely people, and it was grand to see folk walking around in sweaters I’d designed, and being generally enthusiastic about what I do. It has been quite a weekend, so I’m going to take a few days off to relax now. In the meantime, I have released the Sheep Carousel and Tír Chonaill patterns as digital downloads, and I will be back in a few days with news about the availability of my kits, if anyone is interested.

69 thoughts on “woolfest

    1. Absolutely and it was so good to meet you a lat! Got my Carousel and ordered my BMC which was the main things ticked off my list. What a fabulous day!

  1. I’m sat surrounded by the remains of my Woolfest stock and I am in absolute awe. I’m a perfectly healthy person, not suffering from the aftermath of a stroke, and I’m knackered!

  2. Hi Kate, really nice to meet you on Friday, to chat, and to buy some of your wonderful things. Hang in there – I’m 21 years on from a similar experience to you, and I know my life is unexpectedly richer because of it. Very best wishes from Peter the potter & Karen the knitter.

  3. What a gift for you, such a nice time and all was well! I was so hoping it would all work out. Thanks for sharing the photographs, a glimpse of what I might witness on day. Hats off to you! Have a good rest.

  4. Wow, I can only begin to imagine the amount of planning and thought and wondering that went into this day. I am very happy that all went so very well for you, Tom and your friends. I hope that one day I will be not so far away so that I will be able to come along and admire your work too. Rest well….. I think on your laurels!

  5. Sounds like Woolfest was wonderful! I think there is a very great interest in your kits. I know I am really looking forward to them!

  6. So glad it all went well – looks like a great time had by all :) :) …….interested?????????????????? oh yay – kits a-coming! Also spy a Manu – at the top of my queue as soon as I get some wedding projects done. You are keeping us all busy, Kate!!!!

  7. I was lucky enough to be able to get a sheep carousel kit and I can’t wait to start!
    It was so good to see all your designs made up.

  8. Oh Kate! Needless to say I was not there being on the opposite side of the pond…….:(
    You looked great, sweater and dress perfect. I have been to a number of conferences and I KNOW the amount of work involved……Groan… Looked like your booth was cleaned out…….fantastic!!!
    Go rest, eat bon-bons, read trash novels, drink whisky :)

  9. Well done, and thanks for lovely sheep photos. I’ve just bought the Carousel pattern, and am looking forward to learning all the techniques. What a brilliant idea to make a practical and amusing sampler.

  10. Kate, thank you for the photos, it makes it feel like we were there. Thanks for the gratitude toward your helpers; none of us gets there alone, with out without health issues. And thanks for mentioning that when you don’t have the fatigue, you worry about when you will; that’s true of other conditions as well, and is a big, but little known, part of the effort. Keep going-your work is brilliant!

  11. Congratulations! I’d have loved to pop over and see Woolfest for myself, but your virtual tour is much appreciated. More power to your arm, Kate, and prepare to box up a lot of kits – the orders will be flocking in.

  12. Lovely to meet you on Friday! Such beautiful garments too, it’s a pity my knitting skills aren’t up to your designs.

  13. Woolfest is the most exhausting sort of fun so I’m very impressed by how smiley you were every time we passed the booth (which looked fab btw). Lily and I were shattered and so very grateful that we had Dave to drive us home. Of course, I have now had to dump my current project(s) to start sheep heid. Loving every stitch! :)

  14. I hope the excursion was satisfying. To see the interest at your booth must have been thrilling. Please tell me what you’ve wrapped around your head. It’s so cute.

  15. I was so pleased to finally meet you, Mel and Felix in the flesh! Enjoy your well-earned rest and I hope the fatigue doesn’t make an appearance.

  16. Congratulations!! I am glad all went well. Can’t wait for you to announce the kits that will be available.

    1. I agree! That would have topped off the event! I’d love a kit, and look forward to obtaining one. Glad you had a good time.

  17. Hi Kate, it was lovely to finally meet you at Woolfest, I have most of your patterns in my Ravelry library and am part way through Sheepheid and Boreal.

    The stand looked fabulous and it was great to see some of our favourite designs ‘in real life’. Kate was lovely to chat to, as beautiful and petite as I expected, very welcoming and even inspired me to try out Illustrator. Thank you xx
    Lor-Artemis and Tattyknits from Ravelry.

  18. Such beautiful photos of your booth as well as your friends. Looking forward to seeing what kits will be available to us across-the-pondettes!!

  19. Having also had to gear up for major life events, inspite of a chronic, debilitating illness that limits my physical as well as mental capacities, I sympathize and applaud you for the gargantuan and successful effort you’ve just made. Months ago, I agreed to participate as pianist in a major musical work at my church. Fortunately, my fatigue after the event was not nearly as great as the sheer joy I felt during and immediately after the two performances. Tears of joy and satisfaction in the midst of forced concentration, p, and bone-crushing fatigue. Very worth it and a memory I shall always cherish. I don’t remember the fatigue and pain now (much), but I do remember the highs associated with the music. Bravo, Kate! We do the best, and then we rest!

  20. Hi Kate
    Looks like your having fun at woolfest , I want to know if your going to kit the sheep carousel and sell them hope so ?
    I’m at our Yarn Trade show in Ohio, USA.
    Congrads on your wonderful turn out, your booth looks great.

  21. So glad the Woolfest went well for you. I used to help my Mom with several of her shows, before she decided to retire herself and her yarn store. It is a ton of work but so enjoyable to meet all the folk who attend, and see where their interests lay. I just love this blog and really appreciate all the work you do, to send us pics and tales. I’m sure you hear all our squeals of pleasure when we see your blog in our emails…pictures, designs and stories to feast on.

    Hope you had a long deserved brew upon your return home and a nice sit down to review the success!

  22. Congratulations Kate, on making it all the way. Who cares if you take a few (or more) days to rest and recover – nobody here. I love the black lamb and the shaggy old one – sady, here in Australia we don’t see too many of these breeds, ours are almost all Merinos or similar.

  23. BRUNO THE North Ronaldsay ram is a lot better looking than the NR rams here in North Ronaldsay! They would all be jealous, he is defo the flower of the flock! You are a brave brilliant and beautiful girl, and deserve a luxurious relaxing break. What a wonderful set of pics for us to share, esp here in foggy and dreich North Ron, no midnight sun this year. Xxx

  24. Hi Kate!
    Came by your stall a few times to say hello, but you were out taking lovely photos! Wearing my owls sweater to woolfest was a flash of genious – I can’t count the number of conversations it started! On the way out the Ladies’ loo, past the long queue I got four “ooh, owls!” wolf whistles!

  25. So glad that Woolfest was a success for you. Your stall looks great .. so wish I could have been there. Love the Betty Mouat Sweater in mauve in your photo.

    Have a happy week relaxing after all the hard work.
    Fleur xx

  26. I am so happy for you that all went well at Woolfest. Love your photos, as always. My favorite is of Bruno the North Ronaldsay ram.

  27. rest well – I was totally blown away by seeing so much wooly stuff in one place. Your stall was so busy couldn’t get to touch/squeeze a single thing. It was amazing. A very happy day. Thanks to you and to Woolfest.

  28. You and your booth looked wonderful! And as much as I love festivals (feeding off of the crowd is so positive for me), they’re also very draining. Take as much time as you need, and revel in your success. It’s well deserved.

  29. Hi Kate – I’ve just discovered your website & blog this weekend. I was mooching around Ravelry looking for some patterns and finally realised that so many which were catching my eye were by the same person – you! I love Bruce’s guest blogs – have 2 black labs – the puppy is trying to launch himself through the window at next door’s cat at the moment. Not sure which of your patterns I will knit first! The colours and patterns are wonderful. Your writing is courageous and inspirational. V

  30. Loved seeing all your patterns in person and glimpses of you through the crowd! I missed the kits, they were already sold out when we got there, so I’ll be looking out for that info! Hope it wasn’t too exhausting, have to say that even as a visitor with no post stroke symptoms, I feel I need to sleep for two weeks now…

  31. Kate so are so inspirational (tears and all), your stand at woolfest was truly fabulous as are your designs can’t wait to start the kit I bought rams and yowes. A big thank you must go to your back up team as they obviously played a huge part in you being there. Cheers Anne

  32. This year was my first ever visit to Woolfest. Your stand was my favourite – so many tempting things. I think my boyfriend was glad I only came home with *photos* of sheep rather than real ones.

  33. Hi Kate,
    Kits please! Kits please! Have I mentioned that I would love a kit for sheep’s carousel AND Tir Chonnail blanket?!!! I regularly read your blog for your delightful observations on life and knitting. Thank you for the bright light in the day!
    (have I mentioned I’m interested in your kits?!!)

  34. It looks a wonderful time, despite the insane weather (and it was Act of God rain time). I am not surprised you are completely knackered, I’ve organised large three day events and been exhausted at the end, and I have never had a stroke so don’t be too hard on yourself, anyone would have been drained! One of the most tiring things, for me, is being “on” all the time, no matter how lovely people are. It looks like it when really well, and don’t you, Felix and Mel all look glam!

  35. I loved working on the KDD stall and would do it again anytime, in a heartbeat. Was great to meet so many KATE DAVIES FANZ while I was there!

  36. Hi Kate!
    Looking at the photos from Woolfest I wish I could have been there and see you and your artwork “live”. Maybe one day … But I’m very much interested in the Sheep Carousel kit. First of all, however, take a good rest!

    Greetings from Bavaria (Germany)

  37. Hi Kate, well done you! Your stall looked beautiful and I loved the Betty M that Lily was modelling – please can you let me know the colours used? Also, do you have any photos of the long sleeved version please as I really want to knit it now I’ve seen that photo (even though I’m old enough to be her grandmother and I’m twice her size I can still dream that it would look good on me too!!!).

  38. Kate, it was great to see you at Woolfest. You have a kind of force and command about you. I wasn’t expecting this, as a follower of your blog, but your strength shines out of your eyes and voice and you struck me as a person I would like to know. Whoa! This is beginning to sound a bit soft! Respect.

  39. It looks UTTERLY delectable, and I really love your outfit in the photo with the deco sweater. One year I will feel rich, and I will make it over to Woolfest. Until then, I simply don’t trust myself! Well done – it looked amazing, and I hope you don’t get too ill from it.
    Best wishes,

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)