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.org, 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:
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:
Publications: some of my publications that you may find of interest:
“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.
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).
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)
“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)
“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).
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).