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My name is Kate Davies. I live in a small steading on the edge of the Scottish Highlands where I love writing, designing, and walking in the wonderful landscapes that surround me. I find that all of these activities have a creative and a critical dimension and the best of possible worlds is one in which I productively combine them all.

Some days I feel like a writer who enjoys designing knitwear, on others I seem to be a designer preoccupied with textile history. I have written books and feature articles on a wide range of topics from the American Revolution to the history of lace. I combine my interests in writing and knitwear design in my popular 2012 book, Colours of Shetland as well as in my digital magazine Textisles

I like my choice of materials to have a genuine connection to the landscape in which I live and work, and I feel strongly that part of my role as a designer and writer is to promote and support the British wool and textiles that I love. In this capacity, I’ve successfully worked with several small wool producers, as well as different museums and heritage organisations (for example, Shetland Amenity Trust, and Gawthorpe Textiles). I’ve been an ambassador of Shetland Wool Week, my designs have featured on BBC TV, and my website is archived by the British Library as part of its project to preserve national documentary heritage.

Back in 2010, I suffered a serious stroke at the age of 36. Though I’ve made a good recovery, because of my health issues I don’t teach classes or speak at events.

Get in Touch: If you are an editor or curator with a commission, or a yarn store with a trade enquiry, please contact me at the following address:

kate@katedaviesdesigns.com

If you need help with one of my patterns, please, in the first instance, check my Ravelry group (where each of my patterns has a thread). If you can’t find an answer to your query you can email:

info@katedaviesdesigns.com

Publications: some of my publications that you may find of interest:

2013
“Sonia Delaunay and Modernism in Fashion” (Editorial feature, Rowan Magazine, 53)
“Circles, steeks, and stitches” (Editorial feature, Rowan Magazine, 54) plus steek tutorial and interview.

2012
Colours of Shetland: Ten Signature Designs Inspired by the Shetland Islands (2012)
Shetland Wool Week, 2012 report in 60 North Magazine (Winter, 2012)
Betty Mouat feature in 60 North Magazine (Autumn, 2012)
Edited issue 2 of Textisles, producing 3 original feature articles for this issue: “The Making of Betty Mouat”, “On Parade: A Decade of American Swimwear,” “Swimsuit Revolution.” This issue also includes a feature by Susan Crawford (“The Rise and Fall of the Handknitted Swimsuit”), and an interview with Griseldis Schmitthuber.
“Shining a New Light on Shetland Lace” (reprint of Rowan editorial feature) in 60 North Magazine, issue 2 (Summer 2012).

2011
Introduction to Knit Real Shetland – flagship book of 15 knitting projects celebrating 65 years of Jamieson & Smith.
“Shetland Lace in a New Light”, feature exploring Shetland Lace as an innovatory – rather than ‘traditional’ textile. Rowan Magazine, no.50 (Autumn/ Winter, 2011)
Textisles Issue 1 (July, 2011). Two features exploring the history of English smocks and frocks, plus an interview with Claire Smith.
“Shetland Fine Lace Project” piece publicising this laudable collaboration between Jamieson and Smith yarns, the Shetland Amenity Trust, and the best lace knitters in the world. The Knitter, issue 30, Spring 2011.
“Make do and Mend” (feature examining the history and representation of darning, mending, and ‘plain work’. Rowan Magazine, no. 49 (Spring, 2011)

2010
“Fish Tales” (examining the links between – and myths about – fishing and knitting) The Knitter (Issue 27, Winter 2010)
“A Brief History of British Socks”, The Knitter (Issue 22, Summer 2010)
“Knitting Outdoors” (feature article about the history of outdoor knitting. Rowan Magazine 47 (Spring, 2010).
“Indigo Moods” (feature article about the history, usage, and unique properties of indigo) The Knitter (issue 15, Spring 2010)

2009:
“Making Waves with Cables” (feature about the history and future of cable knitting, including information about the aran sweater myth, and interview with Lynne Barr) The Knitter (Issue 13, December 2009)
“The Fabric of Britain” (feature about New Lanark and Cold Harbour Mills) Rowan Magazine 46 (Autumn, 2009)
“Written in the Landscape” (feature about the wool industry in West Yorkshire, including a walk around Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge) The Knitter (Issue 10, September, 2009)
Feature about Jane Gaugain, the Victorian knitting entrepreneur. See also the Jane Gaugain Edinburgh Walk, Twist Collective, Spring 2009. You can also download a map of the walk (if you need it) here.
Feature exploring the history of tweed in the Scottish Borders (Sew Hip, issue 4, 2009) (text of my original edit).

2008:
Feature about quilting, slavery, and the underground railroad. from Textile Perspectives 46 (Winter, 2008).(Reproduced with kind permission of the Quilter’s Guild)
Goodbye, Dolly feature article about the textile / doll art of Tabitha Moses, from Selvedge (March 2008).
Feature about the crochet art of Helle Jorgensen (Yarn Forward, issue 7, 2008)
Photographs only: Jeannette Sloan’s studio (for Yarn Forward, issue 10, 2008).

151 responses

    • Kate when you write your patterns out do you do it by hand or is there like a program you can buy to make it easier I am not a knitter my sister is i am lucky im her model i reap the benefits she is unbelievable she does her own patterns and so many people would love and have asked for the patterns she said it is so hard to write them out I just thought maybe there is a easier way ? With the computer ? Maybe by the way love all your stuff and I am putting those mittens on my list for my sister have a great day
      Cl

  1. Hi,
    Just a note to say how much I enjoy your blog.And to inquire where did you get your badge maker from?
    I want to play too.
    Thanks La

  2. Hello!

    A friend has just sent me a link to your site and I just wanted to say thankyou! It is so fantastic to read such postive things about our kits – and your photos are absolutley lovely too. I was hoping that you might agree to let me use the words and pics relating to your clothkits experience on our website as a testimonial? Or we could link to your blog. Or both! Let me know if this would be OK. Thanks again, and with the warmest of regards, Kay Mawer, Clothkits.

    • Your new sweater is absolutely gorgeous,…….I cannot wait to buy it,……an absolute classic,….but modern and crisp,……a sweater for a sixty year old kor a teenager!,……let me also say you are very brave ,……you are really kicking butt with the stroke,…… I admire you! Jane in Guelph

  3. Hello from Auroville in India, I had been googling for ‘large’ images of Goddess Cailleach and there I saw your photo ina grey dress with a red wool (?) wrap.
    What a lovely beautiful blog… I have book marked you and I am going to visit often.
    Where I live here in Auroville (a 40-year old intentional and international community), we have a textile unit called ‘Colours of Nature’ and they so so much of natural dyeing. Seeing your note on Indigo napkinks and all, I thought I should mention them to you.
    much love and warmth from here.
    priya sundaravallu

  4. I have followed your work on Ravelry and by luck discovered your blog. I must say I really love you pictures – which I’m not going to steal – but definitely will be inspired by… and the way you combine everyday objects and art.
    I used to be a PhD-student, but have recently decided to spend my time writing in a more personal tone. I’m now writing on art and literature as a freelance writer, and really enjoying my new challenging life.
    In literature I’m especially interested in contemporary fiction by female writers, having an essay project on house and home with a special focus on the anti heroin, on women not wanting to fulfill traditional roles of womanhood. In visual arts I write mainly on contemporary art, delivering critics to my local paper on a regular basis, and also publishing in national arts magazines.
    I’m looking forward to follow your blog writings and images.

  5. Thanks so much for keeping this blog. I’m thoroughly enjoying every part of it; the quality of the writing, your interests, the craft items you’ve finished, the photographs.

    Thanks much!

  6. Hello I am from Spain. I like very much your work. I hope I could make your design of owls.Thank you for sharing your work with us.
    Cramen

  7. Hi Kate,

    I’m still in awe for what opened in front of my eyes while browsing through your blog. All these beautiful creations, colours, and shapes. I have a question, though, what camera and lenses do you use ?

    with best wishes – Wojtek

  8. Kate,
    I’ve been reading you blog…and I must say if I didn’t live so far away…I’d love to stop by for some tea!
    As it is, I am from Ohio….USA however I have enjoyed your musings and photos from afar…

    I’m not that much of a knitter anymore…alas, when the children were young I would knit their sweaters and hats…and now when I do have spare time I am painting watercolors or playing the fiddle…Irish and Scottish tunes!

    The real reason I am writing you though is that I have a friend, whose daughter has just started a non-profit in Peru. It is all about the village women and their weaving!
    I thought of you right away because it is a big mix of mountains, hiking, weaving and sharing…volunteering…
    I thought you would enjoy the site for yourself or simply pass along the information to anyone who might want to share in the love of textiles…
    I just think this is right up your alley!

    The young woman who runs the non profit is
    Kennedy Leavens…actually Mary Kennedy Leavens..but everyone just calls her Kennedy.

    here is an excerpt:

    Weaving is an integral part of Andean culture that has developed over the course of the past four millennia. From caring for and shearing animals to spinning the raw wool by hand, and from dying the yarn with native plants and insects to crafting elaborate textiles, the making of cloth permeates every aspect of Quechua life and tradition. Not only is cloth vital to warmth and well-being in the high, inhospitable Andean environment, but the exchange of cloth is an important part of the Quechua economy, and textiles are central to ritual and spiritual life. Weaving skills and the rich history that goes with them have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries, and the tradition continues today.
    Quechua women weave llicllas to wrap around their shoulders, kaypinas to carry babies on their backs, chuspas for carrying coca leaves and ponchos to keep their husbands and sons warm. The imagery in these textiles is one of the most fascinating aspects of Andean textile systems, particularly in the Patacancha Valley. The Quechua culture has no written tradition and the language has no alphabet; in a way, weaving is the Quechua equivalent of writing.

    Each pallay – a type of design made on the backstrap loom by picking vertical, or warp, yarns – has a meaning, and different pallay are passed down within families and communities through generations. The pallay of the weavers of the Patacancha valley are unique in the Cusco region in that the women of these communities weave detailed figures into their work, depicting sacred animals, historical events, and daily life. Their textiles and the designs incorporated into them are a way of telling stories, remembering histories and expressing identity and ideas.

    Please see the links below to learn more about the step-by-step weaving process!

    you will have to go to the web site for more

    http://www.awamaki.org.

    There are many ways to support Kennedy’s initiative, volunteering or simply visiting as they have set up eco friendly tours…or just writing with encouragement…

    Enjoy.

    Anita
    annieoakely@aol.com

    the name of Awamaki: It is a Quechua word meaning something like “hands together.”

  9. Love the paper dolls design.
    Would love to buy it and get started.
    Cant seem to buy it through ravelry.
    Help…….

  10. Hi Kate
    It was lovely to meet you yesterday at the woolfestival. I have read your blog for a while now (after being intruduced to it by Helen Lockhart) Should you visit the Borders again, let me know and perhaps we could meet for a cuppa. Anne

  11. Kate,
    I just stumbled upon your blog tonight!! It’s wonderful, interesting, inspires creativity — all the good things. I’m very happy to have found it and plan to read as much of it as possible over the next few days! While I’m thinking of it — I wanted to tell you about a textile/native costume exhibit titled, Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities. It originated at the U of Hawaii at Manoa and is now at the Chazen Museum at the U of Wisconsin in Madison which is where I saw it. I’m a “textile” person, too, and thought this show was a stunner! A real visual knock-your-socks-off!! Thought you might enjoy it, too.
    All the best, Jamie (in Chicago)

    http://www.hawaii.edu/artgallery/writingwiththread/en/Chinese-threads-en-01.html

    01.html

  12. Hello Kate

    I really love the owl-sweater, Do you like to sent me the pattern by mail.
    I’ll look nicely into the eyes of my parents and hope they will knit it for me.

    Thanks! Rixt

  13. Hello -I am a new knitter and love the pictures of the owl sweater on your site. Could you please send me the pattern?

    Thanks, Melissa

  14. I have been following your blog for several months, and I must say that it is one of the most enjoyable blogs I have ever encountered. I particularly enjoy your articles on textile history. Keep up the good work!

  15. Hi Kate,

    Small world! You might now remember me, my sister Rebecca and I came along to the Thurs evening knitting at K1 Yarns a couple of times over winter, and I chatted to you about my dissertation on Rachel Whiteread. I’ve graduated and moved back to Northumberland now. Anyway, I was just surfing the web and saw an amazing design for an owl sweater (famous now I think!) that’s obviously beyond my capabilities but something to aim for, and I sent the link to my sis who I know would love it. Then I took a look around your blog and realised it’s you!

    This is just a long, rambly way of saying hello I guess, and I hope you’re well :)

  16. Liking your blog very much after finding you on Dorset Cereals… I came a creditable fifth last month but now only have seven votes… hope you get the egg cosy, good luck!

  17. Hello

    Having never even finished a scarf, I feel your designs are way beyond me (for now!), but something to aspire to now we are heading towards winter? Who knows? Anything is possible…. I see that this has been asked before, but what camera do you use? No doubt the subject matter helps, but there is a vibrancy to the colours and a crispness to your shots that is really juicy!

    Naomi

  18. Kate, I want to thank you for bringing to my attention the wonderful yarns produced by Jamieson & Smith. I received my sample book today and it is truly a thing of beauty. It’s so satisfying to know that they source their fleeces from Shetland farmers and crofters.

  19. Dear Kate

    Where did you get the shoes on your most recent blog – like you I’m a keen walker, but also always wear “comfy” shoes.
    ?

  20. Accidentally stumbled across your site while looking up paisley patterns for a lecture!
    The whole blog is very enjoyable and I did appreciate and feel for you in the piece about your experience of getting rid of your old Mac on freecycle. Some folk are right daft.
    Must get back to writing the lecture (without distractions)

  21. Hello

    Y come from Belgium. your site is very interesting and beautifull. Your Owls sweat is lovely. Is het possible send me this pattern. Thank you very much

  22. Dear Kate:

    I am most interested in purchasing the owl pattern sweater. I would also like to know about where to purchase the buttons.

    Please respond soonest.

    I love the owl sweaters and all the work here.
    I am from York, PA

  23. I go to school at Temple and came across your blog through your Walking in Philadelphia post. Very nice, and I want to go knit something now.

    Best wishes,
    Amy

  24. Bonjour !
    Désolée je ne parle pas anglais ; justement, admirative de vos créations, j’aimerais savoir si une version française (taille adulte) de “Paper Dolls” existe, même s’il faut payer.
    Merci de votre réponse, et félicitations pour vos ouvrages !
    Bien cordialement, Laure

  25. hello, i love your blog!!!

    Im a student at Edinburgh College of Art studying Textiles. Im really interested in designing knit wear!!! Your website is really inspiring!!!!! Be good maybe to get in contact with you?

    thanks
    p.s i love that jumper with the ladies on it!!!

  26. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » Audible Fields

  27. Kate,
    There are times that I read your blog, always fun and full of wonderful ideas.
    I hope your recovery is quick and soon all is well!
    A big hug, full of joy to your heart!
    Gabi.

  28. You have afantastic blog and I love your patterns. The historical, cultural connections between Scotland and the western part of Norway are obvious. Keep up the good work!

  29. Kate, Wow,I’m so impressed with your ability to maintain a blog and go through this life changing event! My thoughts are with you. I can see you have made alot of progress. That’s a great sign (I’m a nurse). Hang in there. Myra Overby

  30. Kate, I have just come across your website and blog while doing some research into textiles and tapestry weaving.
    With regard to your recent stroke you sound as if you are very strong and working hard towards recovery.You are such an enterprising person and an inspiration to many!
    May I give you a link to a website which you might find interesting in your search to recover your health.

    http://www.taoist.org.uk

    If you think you’d like to find out more you would be very welcome to contact me about anything at all.

    Annie

  31. Hi there
    A friend sent me the link to your blog and I just wanted to let you know how interesting and inspiring I am finding it – thank you.
    I’m currently recovering from major spinal surgery – much of what you write resonates with me and is really helpful, I shall keep on reading.
    All the very best
    Linda x

  32. Hello Kate,

    I found your link through another blog. I hope you don’t mind me commenting but I have coeliac disease (can’t eat gluten) and I am aware of possible links between this condition and strokes, including in younger people. There’s information about this online and you may wish to ask your doctor about being tested – though some people have false negative results and further investigations may be worthwhile in your case.

    Best wishes for your health and your many projects,

    Allie

  33. From France, I wish you a very happy birthday, Kate ! As probably all your usual readers, I am also so glad you to be alive. Thank you for all you share with us. It is sometimes hard for me to understand all about what you write because my english language is souvenirs of school, so far in the past and I am not practising enough. You are a kind of english teacher to me ! Merci pour votre blog si intéressant et encore tous mes voeux pour un anniversaire joyeux et sucré !
    Patricia.

  34. Good luck, Kate. My best wishes to you.
    I’ll be making up your Owl sweater this year!
    Kelly in California.

  35. Kate,
    I am so thrilled to have found your blog by accident this evening. Your work is wonderful and your strength inspiring. I wish you all the very best in your recovery.
    Stephanie

  36. I’ve been knitting since I was at school and have always loved making things. In recent years the knitting has given over to picture framing and throwing pots, but you’ve made me feel inspired to get my needles out again. All the very best with your recovery!

  37. Hi Kate, just wanted to say your blog is an inspiration in many ways. I bought your manu pattern and greatly admire the dress you knit with the darts up the back which makes you look fabulous. If I were younger (a lot younger) I would love to create that dress for myself. I don’t have your talent but so enjoy reading about your designing, knitting, walks, and looking at your photographs, etc. Thank you for sharing so much of your experiences after your stroke, I can understand a little better what you and other stroke victims experience, and it puts my health situation more in prespective. God bless.
    Bea

  38. Dear Kate
    Best wishes from New Zealand. Your abilities with words, and wool, have been an inspiration to me in recent months. Thank you for recording your experience of stroke. I hope it is helping you as it will undoubtedly help others who are confronted by similar circumstances.
    Here are some woolly and textile NZ sites for you to browse (heaven knows, sheep outnumber us 13 to one, so we are not short of wool) http://www.thewoolcompany.co.nz/Products5.aspx?CategoryId=5

    http://gloryboxtextiles.wordpress.com/

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Zealand-Fashion-Museum/126614904023061?ref=ts

    http://www.stansborough.co.nz/home/page.aspx

    Kind regards, Dinah Vincent

  39. Dear Kate, I came across you website by accident and immediately loved it, your knitting is superb- trhe designs, styles and colour combinations; and I very much enjoyed your writing, photogrpahs and descriptions of Edinburgh. I was born in Edinburgh and went to Craiglockhart School which was a convent before it became Napier University and so know the walks you describe very well. Another favourte walk of mine is the John Muir County Park near Dunbar.
    I am a printer and textile artist ( just starting outreally) so combining print and hand stitch and free machine embrodiery .
    The aftermath of the stroke sounds expteremely diifcult to cope with and I admire your courage and honesty in sharing it. I wish you well and hope soon you will regain your strength. Warmest good wishes to you. Fiona

  40. Hello Kate, I’m so pleased to have found your site via your Manu pattern on Ravelry. Your dog is a handsome beastie!

  41. Hello! I have been following your blog for about a year now and am equally delighted by your knitwear designs and beautiful photos of Scottish hill-walks. I was wondering, if you have the time and inclination, if you could recommend a good yarn shop in Edinburgh where I could find local yarn (my husband and I live in the U.S., but are planning a trip to Scotland for next summer/fall).

    Thank you for your inspiring blog!

    Best wishes,

    Carrie

  42. How do I subscribe to your blog? I don’t see a feed button. I love your use of words, visuals, and textiles. I am an instructor at the University of Minnesota, College of Design in Minnesota, United States. I am an avid walker too – I try to walk about 4 miles per day. It’s my thinking time – and I wish I could take photos like you do – maybe I’ll start trying.

    Pam

  43. Hello Kate!
    I hope you are well and recovering from your “life -changing event”. I discovered your website,while searching for a sewing pattern for a “project bag” for my knitting & crocheting. Needless to say, I am enammered! It is my intention to make a bag for each one of my “stitching” friends & family. Thank you for you design & your site. I intend to share with my friends!
    Best wishes from the Finger Lakes Region of New York~ Susie

  44. I wanted to tell you how, while surfing online, I saw your photo of the gloves at Unst Museum . I have the same gloves, knitted for my mother by an elderly lady in New Zealand .
    Best wishes and thank you for your wonderful site.

  45. I have been reading your blog–you are a wonderful writer–and admire your fight to recover from your stroke. I have changed my email address and hope you can resubscribe me to receive your posts by email again.
    Thanks and good luck to you in your recovery!
    Carol

  46. What a wonderful blog. I love reading it!!! And your patterns are so beautiful, I want to make everything you’ve designed. Thank you so much!

  47. you look so young to have a stroke i thought only old people have strokes what cuased it my dad had 3 strokes hes dead now like he had a heart attac there getting better dealing with these things by somehow slowing the body down and putting it in a coma state it lessens the dmage done but i think a lot of that is still in erly stages me myself i suffor form bpd im at uni like the open one newcastle university just takes really talented people i use to work there in the claremont building cleaning i loved the job but the erly morinigs killed me nerly when i get my degree im hoping to be able to go on and do a phd at newcastle university

  48. I love your pattern Christie Johnstone. I like to do fair isle patterns with a one colour background and multicoloured patterning ( is there such a word). Anyways, I look forward to your publication of this pattern. In July I hope to come to Scotland on a knitting trip with Joyce James tours, very exciting for an older lady like me. I love walking, as you do, I noticed your hiking boots in one of your photos and have covered many miles over the years. I hope, eventually, to take a walking trip in France, with Off the Beaten Path. One can dream. Well, best health to you and please keep knitting your patterns are lovely. Thanks

  49. Hi. I’ve just read your blog on pockets and you’ve solved a puzzle for me dating from childhood. The nursery rhyme Lucy Locket now makes sense. I’d always wondered how someone could lose a pocket. Interesting to see just how widespread they were since your photos come from all parts of the UK. Thank you for all the fascinating historical data you unearth and share.

  50. Love your blog, such interesting and well written and well researched posts about a excellent topics; Bruce the lab, knitting (love your knitting designs), textile history, walking, recovery. And such beautiful photographs of everything, and love the consistent display – great design and layout of the blog itself.

  51. Hi Kate, I discovered you and your work through Ravelry when I uploaded a little owl pattern of my own (oisin owl) and had a look at what other patterns owl lovers like. I am thrilled to have found you and your inspirational blog. I love the fact that you take inspiration from the kind of things that also inspire me. I am just starting out as a designer and am very excited about the possibilities in just two sticks and a ball of Yarn. I hope that your health is improving an will include you in my prayers

  52. You are an inspiration! Thank you.
    I purchased your Owl pattern for my daughter and just completed it. It is so wonderful!!!

  53. Hi Kate, Can’t remember how I stumbled across your blog but i keep popping back – I love your writing and your knitting is just brilliant. The photos make me want come and explore the beauty of Scotland. Your trip up the munro is really inspirational, we can’t underestimate the power of positive thought – you’ve proved that already 10 fold !! To know and admire the beauty in our surroundings, the love of a dog and a fun-loving man,a campervan plus a friend with a bountiful rucksack – these are all great ingredients for soul nourishment . I wish you ever-improving health.

  54. found you via a friend here in Fremantle,Wester Australia.He knows my loves well and sent the link because of the amazing pocket article. Look forward to regularly visiting.x Ann

  55. I just read about your strokes last year. Tears are running down my cheeks! You are an incredibly wonderful courageous person. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your story will help so many people in so many ways, from stroke victims to caregivers. Thanks again.

  56. Hi,

    *Really* like your site, designs, and style. Thanks for sharing, I will be back along with my consort, who was a professional lace maker until carpal tunnel intervened.
    Surfed in while searching for puttees options and found much else of worth.

    Re the puttees and borrowing from men’s outdoor gear, I am head acrobatic rigger for a Cirque Du Soleil troupe (really) and wear breeks at work always because the fastening below the knee maintains slack in the fabric over the kneecap when the leg is flexed, so is far more comfortable when climbing. I can hardly bear to wear conventional long pants anymore. Took to covering my (pale) lower legs with puttees during shows for discretion (working on a darkened platform 45′ above the stage), and in cold weather for comfort, and discovered that swaddling the lower legs feels really good and energizing when springing about. I think the benefit is in the support for the lower veins and arteries rather than the leg muscles per se. Anyway, the breeks\puttees combination is terrific and since you expressed an interest I much recommend it for outdoor activity. Wool puttees are readily available from First World War reenactor suppliers like Schippenfabrik, or easily home-made. Woolen reproductions take a little practice to apply, with a flip\fold or two at the bottom of the calf diameter change in the leg. For convenience at work I usually wear polyester “polo wraps” from the horse tack shop, cheap and exact same dimensions as human puttees, 4″ x 9′. Effortless to apply because more stretch in the fabric than wool. Avoid the 5″ wide ones — hard to wrap without wrinkles.

  57. If you count a labcoat as protective workwear, then I am happy to contribute. Most are nothing like the pristine white lab coats that are the media hallmark of the ‘scientist’. Mine is secondhand (bought when I began life as an undergraduate), has mismatched buttons (one of which has been waiting for months to be resown), and has acquired ‘character’ in the form of a few small acid burn holes and peat stains from many years use. I think my mother borrowed it once for painting/DIY – all reflected in the fabric of this functional piece of protective clothing.

  58. I’m very interested in your current project on protective wear. I spent years as an artist blacksmith clad in one form of leather apron or another, and I’d be happy to contribute, but I am mainly curious what you are putting together. I’ve always been fascinated by what we create to cover our fragile bodies in hostile environments from outrageous dive suits to fanciful bee-keeper hats. Keep us posted!

  59. My husband is an arborist and wears chainsaw pants while climbing/pruning trees…not sure how he regards it, but I can ask!

  60. Hi,
    I used to be a neonatal nurse, and when we received the babies from the delivery ward we would need to wear surgical gloves until the baby was bathed, as we could not come into contact with the bodily fluids still on the baby.
    Once, when I had to go to the operating theatre to “catch” a baby after delivery by caesarean section, I was advised that I could not wear a dress (for surgical scrub gear, which all staff entering an operating theatre are required to change into), because of the risk of “perineal fallout”!!
    I have not heard of that being done in other hospitals, so perhaps someone was being over-zealous.

  61. I work in a natural history museum with the collection of alcohol-pickled invertebrates. That can mean rigging up in steel-toed boots, rubber apron, nitrile gloves and goggles. For light duty I wear a lab coat, but only for the wealth of pockets, if I forget to button up it’s little real protection!

    I would be honoured to help if I can.

  62. Dear Kate,
    While I don’t wear protective clothing for my job (as a second grade teacher), my colleague, Neil Goldberg, wears a front-zip coverall suit over his day clothes. He is our school archaeologist and creates historical “digs” for our third-graders to learn the basics of uncovering artifiacts. In big plexi tanks in the school courtyard, he layers different kinds of soil, clay dust, etc. with reproductions of armor, vessels of various materials, etc. The children study the history of the location from which the dig was “lifted”, analyze what might have happened at each level of the dig and then research the artifacts’ histories. Between assembling the dig tanks and working with the kids as they uncover the artifacts, Neal gets covered in dust every day. They are his trademark – the place wouldn’t be the same without him or them!

  63. Kate,
    I’ve been keeping track of you for a very long time – you are one brave young lady! My husband is a nurse so reading about your stroke recovery was fascinating for me and I’ve kept him up on your progress.
    Protective clothing: While I am no longer “on the job” (I am now a therapist working with family violence victims) I used to be a police officer and besides the uniform I had to wear a Kevlar vest! Yuck – hot and heavy! But there were times when I was certainly glad I had one on!
    Please take care of yourself – we all enjoy you so much!
    Peace!

  64. Hello Kate,

    I discover your blog today because I have bought your pattern “owlet” some days ago.
    I like this pull so much and I find it will be just perfect for my little son, who is 7 months now.
    But I must say you that I like you very much more than before now, because I discover that… you live in Scotland.
    My dear man, I and our son are living in Switzerland, but we are falled totally in love with Scotland in our first travel there in 2002.
    Since we have travelled in Scotland in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
    We were in Edinburgh last Summer and I was pregnant and we will return this automn, in the Speyside country.
    We are very very happy to show this country to our baby!
    So I will be very happy to knit the owlet, thinking about the so wonderfull landscapes of Scotland.
    I would like especially knit this pull for our travel…before to know that it’s an scotish creation!
    Thank you very much for these parts of dreams, and perhaps we will meet in Edinburgh in one of our futur travel!

    Avec toute mon amitié!

    Anne-Claude

    P.S.: I’m sorry for my bad english…I’m alway trying to do better!

  65. Hello Kate,

    I “met” you today and have really enjoyed your blog. I am trying to become an independent knitter. My grandmother was a superb one and I have always knitted some but always with my mother´s help. Now that she cannot see and that I have more time I want to grow into knitting. I have big respect and adore everything from Scotland since my mother´s last name is Stirling. Have never been there but have adored watching your pictures. I really want to know how to “spin” the wool and would love to hear your advice if you have any. We live in Uruguay, South America, very, very far from you but I always think I will visit Scotland and Ireland sometime. I adored the blanket those ladies gave you!!! One of these days I will take pictures of something my mother gave me that was crocheted by my grandma and send it to you. My mother was nicknamed an “owl” by grandpa when she was a kid due to her big eyes. I want to read all those links to the articles you have published because something rings on my head that I may have already read about your designs. I will be sure to add you to my favorite links and will try to see how to buy your publication. Congratulations for your beautiful post and keep getting well. I feel I have found a gem!! Thanks for being there,
    María

  66. Brilliant site – can you advise where you got the buttons from for the OWLS jumper? I am making it for a friend and really struggling to get any… Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated
    Cathie N

  67. hi kate i find this blog exploring the web, my name is mary i am from argentina in the end of the world.
    i allways want visit scotland i have a black retriever dog ,very similiar buddy.
    congrats for your work!
    mary.

  68. Just came back from Italy, where I bought a magazine called “La grande maglia” (the Italian version of the knitter) and what do I see on page 42? A picture of you, with the title “La docente universitaria Kate Davies indossa una sua creazione, The Tortoise and The Hare”…
    Seems that you are famous in Italy as well…
    Congratulations!
    griseldis

  69. I’m looking at your gorgeous photos and designs from Stockbridge, MA, I have a black lab named Pepe, a husband named Tom and my name is Kate:) Good combo! Wish I had the experience/courage to make Manu, it’s beautiful.

  70. Dear Kate,

    Your blog is always a rewarding read and I thoroughly enjoy it. Also, I sent you a letter on 11th October, which you have not replied to – maybe it was caught in the spam filter?

    All the best,
    Kata

  71. Just read your article on ‘wool’ items containing no wool. I have noticed another growing use of ‘wool feel’ and similar for fabrics with no wool content.
    This puzzles me. I was, for many years fabric buyer for large menswear manufacturers. I had to be most careful in stating fibre content etc. As I remember, this was all covered by the trade descriptions act. A ‘Wool’ description had to contain at least 95% wool and ‘All Wool’ had to be at least 97.5% wool.
    This tended to be policed by the International Wool Secretariat and trade organisations ( I am going back to 1960 – 1976).
    To the best of my knowledge these regulations have not been repealed. There now seems to be a movement to deceive to the public.
    Another I have seen, fabrics (Worsted) described as 120s quality and even 200s quality. The finest quality wool is 80s or perhaps super 80s. Again, exageration which has compounded to the ridiculous but the general public would not be aware of this.
    Perhaps I am now just a grumpy old man but I firmly believe that these deceptions should be stopped.

  72. Hi Kate!
    I came to your blog by way of Mason-Dixon’s comments about your stunning Boreal sweater, which I’ve added to my queue! I’m leaving a message for a couple of reasons. I’m in love with Bruce! He reminds me of one of my 3 labs — Monty whose real name was Field Marshall Montgomery. You see my grandmother was born and raised in Airdrie and came to the United States as a 17 year old girl — her family names were McLean and Montgomery. I spent one marvelous summer in Airdrie and Edinburgh many years ago. Thank you for your beautiful blog, the gorgeous pictures, and the great sweater designs.

    Beth
    Madison, WIsconsin

  73. Dear Kate,
    I’ve been following your blog for some years, every time inspired by your interesting historical research, your wonderful knitting, your passion for your landscape, and the energy you show recently.
    I’m writing from Rome, home of other beauty, not so fond of crafts, at least with no similar expertise.
    I wanted to share my admiration for what you’re doing.
    angela

  74. I just want to thank you for your beautiful and inspirational blog. I have been reading it for a year or so and I came upon it looking for knitting related websites. Quite recently I had to leave my teaching post due to ill health and, over the past months, have found your positive and courageous approach an enormous help. Many thanks and I wish you a very happy new year and success in your new ventures.
    Deborah

  75. Hello,
    We are a small and young french company from Toulouse, we organize exhibitions for librairies. We would like to use your beautiful photo intitled: “Allotment” posted on August 6, 2009, because, actually, we are working on this theme. Could we use it? Thank you very much, we await your approval.
    Of course, we will mention your name.
    We wish hou a happy new year
    Yours sincerely,
    Jean-Pierre Gil

  76. I only just found you and your wonderful blog. Your work is so inspiring, and having read over many of the earlier posts, I can only be inspired by your courage and positive attitude as well. I am wondering if you sell the pattern for your stunning yowes and rams blanket and hat? I am just getting the knitting courage up to try some color work and I am truly amazed at the subtle pattern and colors you’ve incorporated into this lovely design. Hoping to hear back from you.

  77. This is one of the most beautiful blogs I have seen. I love the beauty, the wildness, the human and spiritual quality to
    all of it. The story, the poems, the humor and the art that you have created.

    This site lifted me from a rather blue day where dealing with my sisters brain issues had taken me down a shadowy path.
    I feel so lifted and excited to read on. Not to mention how wonderful to see a woman and man in skirts!

    Thank you for being willing to share.

  78. Kate, my daughter showed me your website [she is knitting/spinning ad weaving] which I think is marvellous – just as I would like to create for my flock http://www.colouredryelands.org.uk . My traditional sheep were once producing wool called ‘Leominster ore’ for its value. Unfortunately with wool prices the emphasis on wool quality has been lost, but a few of us are trying to educate and encourage breeders to breed for fleece quality. Relatively high prices at Woolfest [ I got £22 for my best fleece] are helping. If I can get a fleece to you after the next clipping would you assess it for me or perhaps you might be at woolfest on the Friday? I am in Northumberland – way away from the hub of the breed’s activity and not in Scotland but I’m still working for textiles!

    Regards and all best wishes for your continued recovery,

    Sue Trimmings

  79. WOW!!! I really HEART the Owl Sweater!!! I do know how to knit, but not to this caliber! I really wish I could just find one to purchase… Any ideas? You are an incredible Woman!!! Thank you fot the talent

  80. Just absolutely fascinating. I make Shetland Lace myself, so obviously this is really interesting to me, I think I have visited the shop in Edinburgh that you recommend!! I am in Edinburgh every summer for the Festival – may I get in touch with you when I am there this year? Now I am going to spend the rest of the morning exploring your site….mine is here if you are interested;

    http://leonora-textilecraft.blogspot.co.uk

  81. Hi Kate!

    I’m just in love with your blog, you are amazing! Your photos are soooo inspiring (:

    I’m from Brazil and a friend of “Tricoteiras” community on Facebook publish a link for your blog. I love knit and DIY projects, now i’m going to travel on your blog…

    I wish the best for you (:

  82. Kate I have just come across your website and blog and love it, as a little girl I sat at my Grandmother and Great Aunt’s side and followed and was taught how to knit and crochet…I love those memories… Your site has a least made me think to pick up the kneedles and hock and and have a play. We spent the summer in Scotland and so the colours and memories are still fresh as I sit her in the Med. to begin work again. I look forward to more of your blogs.

  83. Kate, I have been following your blog for 9 months now, I love it so much, I have gone back to the beginning and read every single post and what a good read that is! I love your designs, though I don’t think they are for me… I am more of a tomboy… and I find them rather too feminine for myself. But I very much appreciate their coherence and inner logic – they are just so well thought through! Most of all I love that they are a showcase of real craftsmanship, I mean they are created by an artisan who takes the soul of the yarn into account and has infinite knowledge of technique! So, that’s what I get out of your blog, professional knowledge and inspiration, and the fact that you are very honest in your reflection and evaluation of your own work. It is great so read all your reviews of movies, exhibitions, books, and others work, you have the academic, as well as the common sense combined in your in-depth reflections.
    Apart from all the above – you are also so honest about how you cope, that you sometimes don’t, and when you do, you see beauty and the fun side in everything. Wow, keep going! Swantje

  84. Hi there
    I subscribed to your blog recently but find that the messages come to my iphone in the middle of the night and when it buzzes it wakes me up (i live in Melbourne). I have tried to unsubscribe as indicated but to no avail. Any suggestions? I will still read the blog but at times that suit

  85. Hi Kate!
    lovely blog! the photos of the nature in Scotland are so serene and beautiful. We have winter and snow now in Finland, that is lovely too, but the autumn colours are just gorgeous and envigourating. I recognise some of your post-stroke fatigue symptoms, I had tuberculosis some 20 years ago ( at age 28, it was an occupational disease, from working with tubercular patients), and the medications made me even worse than the disease: I called it “input overload”: when the brain’s dosis of stimuli for that day were exceeded, it just did not work anymore that day. It is not an experience you can forget, but it does not last, and the memory of it fades more and more into the background with time. I hope that your gift of seeing beauty, and capturing it ie in photos and creating it by your craft will help you recover more quickly. As you give pleasure to others ( in this blog, your books etc) I hope that it will return to you thousandfold.
    Best wishes, and a very merry christmas and a happy new year
    anna-barbara

  86. Hi Kate, I can see from a Google “entry” (don’t know what to call that) that you have responded to a comment and I wondered whether it was mine, about the Owl sweater photo I saw on a magazine cover. If it is, thanks a lot! I just can’t find the full entry on your site despite using the search facility – I searched on “New Zealand”, and got the fascinating article about George Orwell’s Tea, very interesting but not what I was looking for. A very Happy New Year to you. Best wishes, Rosey

  87. Hi Kate,
    Happy New Year to you and yours!!! I bought one of your books but it has not arrived yet and was asking myself if there is a way you can give me some kind of number or information so as to try to follow up with the people at the post office here in Uruguay. The buyer’s name is Mateo Tarallo from Uruguay. Thanks for all the help you can give me on this one!! I keep enjoying your page. It is absolutely marvelous. Thanks for sharing all the beauty,

  88. Wooow, only just discovered your work and your blog. Very inspiring. It’s wonderful to see someone so passionate about their work and where they live! You have definitely inspired me to pick up the needles again and move beyond knitting snoods for the dog!
    Oh and I love Bruce. My dogs Horatio and Harris are very impressed at his snow antics.

  89. a friend sent me an email which included Shetland lace for a garden fence – WOW!! amazing – I looked further and found your website and am thoroughly amazed at all your designs – they are beautiful and look so snug and warm! I wish you all the best in your health and ‘Shetland’ wools!

  90. I just finished my sheep heid hat and I am so proud. My first real effort at stranding. Now I want to do a matching scarf. Any help with a pattern?

    • Stumbled over your site whilst searching for world war one postcards (!) and just had so say how nice it looks before I head off again..

  91. Hello Ms. Davies,

    I found your website as I searching for shepherd’s check/plaid fabrics. I am having a difficult time finding weavers or manufacturers that make bold patterns of hounds-tooth, shepherd’s check, and windowpane (single, double or triple) for men’s odd jackets, odd waist-coats, or trousers for casual ensembles.

    In the United States, weavers or textile fabricators or almost non-existent or unheard of, and was wondering if it is possible to look abroad such as in Ireland or the United Kingdom, where these patterns originated, and to have a particular fabric/weave customized?

    Lance

  92. Hi Katie, Is it possible for me to use the image of fishwives in Waverley in a forthcoming book? Regards
    Michael

    • Hi Michael, I don’t have rights for the image – I think you would need to search the SCRAN database to find the source and obtain a higher resolution copy.

  93. Thank you for giving such a wonderful and detailed review of the Great Tapestry of Scotland. I am one of the stitchers (panel 29) but you have looked at it all in such detail and with such photographic skills that you have opened our eyes to the real beauty of the work. I will be an invigilator when the Tapestry is back in Edinburgh in the summer and will be looking with new eyes at the detail, if I get the chance amongst all the visitors expected. Well done, and keep up the wonderful blog, it is a delight.

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