Kate Davies Designs

a winner . . . and a request

(Sonia Delaunay swimsuits, 1928)

The winner
Comments on Jean’s interview have now been closed, and we have a randomly selected winner in the giveaway to receive a copy of Sweet Shawlettes. Gabriela (whose favourite garden flower is the peony) it is YOU! Congratulations! I have sent you an email so that you can let me know your contact details.

The request.
Susan Crawford, author of the wonderful Stitch in Time volumes, and contributor to issue 2 of Textisles, is doing some more research on knitted swimsuits. If you have – or have worn, or have a picture of a family member wearing – a knitted swimsuit, she would really like to hear from you. Please get in touch with Susan directly – you’ll find her contact details at the foot of this post.

Textisles is out!

WHOOT! I am exceedingly happy to report that Textisles Issue 2 is now available!

In this issue you receive:
Two patterns (for the Betty Mouat sweater and the BMC)
and four feature articles (three by me, and one by Susan Crawford). There is also a “meet the maker” interview with Griseldis Schmitthuber, who, with a little knitterly-know how and a few skeins of Lana Grosa sock yarn, whipped up a truly fabulous swimsuit.

And there’s more!

Thanks to the unstoppable Melanie Ireland, there are 3 video tutorials available to help those of you who want to knit the Betty Mouat patterns, but are unfamiliar with the techniques that they involve. The videos look at: 1) no-purl garter stitch; 2) working with several colours; and 3) cockleshell lace. You can view the tutorials here.

Both patterns were test knitted by Melanie Ireland and tech-edited by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I love working with Jen and Mel. I love my work! Seriously, I have had a blast putting this whole thing together.

So what are you waiting for?

Download your very own copy of Textisles Issue 2 today!

now forthcoming!

I’m hard at work here at the moment, putting together the next issue of Textisles. It is shaping up really well, and I’m very excited about it! Among other things, this issue contains everything (well, almost everything) you will ever need to know about the history of the modern swimsuit, including a guest-feature from the brilliant Susan Crawford on the hand-knitted variety. (If you don’t know Susan, she is a knitwear-history expert, and produces wonderful vintage designs, most recently those included in A Stitch in Time vol.2 ).

The issue also includes the Betty Mouat sweater pattern, and another surprise design, which I will show to you in a few days. I’m hoping to release the issue in a week’s time, around the twenty-first of this month.

For those who are wondering what on earth Textisles is, here are some FAQ:

What is Textisles?
It is a digital magazine, containing original designs and writing, produced and edited by me.

What is in it?
In this issue you’ll find two of my designs, and four substantial feature articles, (three researched and written me, and one by Susan Crawford). If you like reading about fashion and textile history, these features will be of interest to you.

Why is it different?

The content is what is important to Textisles, and the magazine includes no advertising. Each issue is carefully produced around a particular theme. The research, writing, and the designs all speak to this theme, and they also creatively inform one another.

Can I buy the features without the patterns? Or the patterns without the features?
No you can’t. Textisles is available at a flat cost of £3.95 (about $6). You might want to read the features, or just to knit the designs, but perhaps you might be interested in both. This issue will run to around fifty pages. I consider this a reasonable price for the content.

Can I subscribe to Textisles?

At the moment, this is not an option. As you know, it is very important that I work at my own pace, and each issue involves a lot of work! Because I can’t produce issues to set deadlines it would be wrong of me to accept subscriptions for a publication which may not regularly appear. I may reconsider this in the future, but for the time being, each issue will be available on a stand-alone basis only.

More Soon!


taken on yesterday’s walk – a glorious Scottish Summer evening.

1. Thanks to everyone who has recently emailed me about Textisles! I’ve received several queries about whether subscriptions are available, or whether you can access the content without the ‘Warriston‘ pattern. It’s lovely that so many of you are interested in the possibility of subscription, but I’m afraid that I’m not considering this at the moment. Because my condition is so variable, I simply can’t predict what I am able to do from one day to the next: this is perhaps the most annoying aspect of my post-stroke life, but I do have to deal with it. It would be wrong of me, and bad for me, to accept subscriptions for something which may well not appear.

Regarding the content-without-Warriston issue: my central thought was to situate patterns within the context of their making, integrating designs with the ideas behind them. I liked the notion of someone being able to knit up a smock while reading about the history of smocks. Of course, there are many people interested in reading about smocks without necessarily wanting to make one. . . I will see how things shape up — combining the content of a series of issues, and making these available separately from their accompanying designs is something I might well consider in the future.

2. Thanks, too, to Charlotte, Jules, Becky, Althea, Kate, Jess, Caitlin, Susie, and Christina, for help in the identification of the yarrow. Though creamy bokeh is all very well, I should remind myself to take a clear photo of the thing in question if I actually want to know what it is.

3. Finally, thanks for your kind comments on the pod and its redecoration! I particularly enjoyed reading about your own pods, in linen closets, pram sheds, and the like. Everyone needs a pod, I reckon. I’m afraid I can’t take photographs from several angles for you – it is a space in which it is barely possible to stand up and rotate – the shot you saw was taken through the open door from across the hall. And Gretchen was right when she said that I might weary of comparisons to HBC. That crazy bouffe, which I sported for many years, made things much worse, I think. A turning point was reached in 2001, when I was at attending a conference dinner at the Huntington Library. Two waiters seemed inordinately interested in me, and approached me in a state of extreme excitement. They had just catered a party for HBC, they said, and the resemblance was uncanny. A month or so later, I looked like this.

Right, back to Betty Mouat.

smocks galore!

So, here is my surprise — the Warriston pattern is now published, and when you buy it you will also receive a copy of a new digital magazine, produced and edited by me.

Since 2007, Textisle is the name I’d been using for a large academic project. It is too good a name to go to waste, and Textisles pretty much perfectly describes the content of this new venture – in which, in the context of my new designs, I explore textiles and their history around Britain. I’ve produced it pretty much in the same way that I do my features for Rowan or The Knitter – here you will find ‘scholarly’ or ‘educational’ material, written to appeal to a general audience. The content of Textisles is designed to be read on a computer screen or ipad, but the Warriston pattern is formatted at a higher resolution for printing purposes.

In the first issue you can read ‘Smocks are from Mars’ (in which I look at the gender identities of ‘smocks’ and ‘frocks’) and ‘Cover Up’ (in which I explore the the history of the iconic English ‘smock-frock’). There is also an interview with lovely Claire Smith (who was inspired to experiment with historic embroidery techniques after working with 19th century smocks at the Museum of English Rural Life) as well as a resources page (in which you can find out where to go and see 19th century smocks, or find out more about them). Of course, you don’t have to read any of this if you aren’t interested – if so, just skip straight on to the Warriston pattern and get knitting!

Anyway, I am hoping that knitters will enjoy the content as well as the Warriston pattern in the first issue of TextIsles. It has been produced in the context of the employment issues I described in my last post, and putting it together has really rather cheered me up.

You can now find Warriston, together with issue 1 of Textisles here or here!