My name is Kate Davies. I live by Scotland’s West Highland Way where I love writing, knitting walking, and swimming in the wonderful landscapes that surround me. I find that each of these activities has a creative and a critical dimension and the best of possible worlds is one in which I productively combine them all.

Knitting is one of my greatest loves, and in 2010 (when a stroke at the age of 36 ended my academic career)  I began Kate Davies Designs (KDD) creating digital patterns for hand knitters. The business lent me a platform to combine my skills in research, writing and design, and rapidly grew into a small publishing company through which I began to produce my own books. In Colours of Shetland (2012), Yokes (2014), Buachaille: At Home in The Highlands (2015), The Book of Haps (2016), Shetland Oo (2016), Inspired by Islay (2017), Happit (2017), West Highland Way (2018) Shore (2018) and Milarrochy Heids (2018) I bring my passions for historical writing and practical creativity together.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing knitters all over the world enjoying my books and making and wearing my designs.

Making things, from books to hats, is what really makes me tick, and as KDD grew I began to explore some different kinds of manufacturing.  In 2015 I developed my own brands of yarn for hand knitting and in 2017 launched my own knitwear line, KDD Originals, designed and made right here in Scotland.

I’ve worked with museums and heritage organisations, sharing my expertise (Tate Modern, Shetland Amenity Trust, and New Lanark) and have also contributed to BBC radio programmes on diverse topics such as the landscape of British knitting and the history of socks (BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour; BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo show). I was the first ambassador of Shetland Wool Week, and my designs have featured on BBC television .I’ve recently published Handywoman: a new book exploring my experiences of brain injury, craft, and creativity.

My husband, Tom Barr, shares my love of the great Scottish outdoors, and is responsible for the beautiful photography you’ll find here, as well as other matters involving graphics, imagery, print and production at KDD. In all our projects (such as our acclaimed book, Shetland Oo), I’m generally the “words”, while Tom’s the “pictures.”

As Ootlier (his photographer’s moniker) Tom produces his own zine and prints of his work are available in the KDD shop.


Our good friend, Melanie Patton, manages our operations and generally keeps everything shipshape here at KDD HQ. As a supplier or a customer, if you need to contact us about anything, it is likely you’ll speak to Mel.

Pictured here with Mel is Claire Leach – talented knitter and all-round good-egg – who manages the KDD Ravelry group with warmth and aplomb. You’ll find Claire on Ravelry as soupdragon – pop over and say hello!

Jane Hunter handles our inventory and fulfilment. As well as taking good care of the yarn and books you order, Jane is an extraordinarily talented artist, creating beautiful work which invites you to look at Scotland’s landscape with fresh eyes. You can find Jane’s work in our Inspired by Islay book, and read more about her here.

Bruce and Bobby are the final, indispensable members of the KDD team. Our fun-loving labradors enjoy the Scottish landscape just as much as we do, and encourage us to get outdoors whenever there’s an opportunity.

Regional design, regional manufacturing
We are a small yarn producer, working with skilled manufacturers around Scotland, and a small publisher, producing books in Glasgow under our own imprint. We are proud to support and promote regional creativity and design in many different contexts: we are members of Textiles Scotland and proud signatories of the Scottish Business Pledge.


An award-winning small business
In 2016, Kate Davies Designs was honoured to be awarded the accolade of UK Microbusiness of the Year by the Federation of Small Business & Worldpay. We’ve been described by the Times (June 20, 2018) as “a pattern for others to follow” because of our productivity and innovation and also won an award for Best Use of Social Media from  Business Women Scotland. Kate was also shortlisted for the national award of Creative Entrepreneur of the Year and Tom’s image of Elizabeth Johnston spinning was shortlisted for the EEF photographic prize. 

Join us!
The best way to see what we are up to is by following this blog! You can read pieces exploring a wide range of topics in textile history and design from Kate, and enjoy recipes photography and tutorials from Tom. Occasionally, you may also hear from Bruce as well. If you’d like to receive special offers and promotions, and be the first to know about our new projects, sign up for our newsletter. You can also find me on InstagramTwitter and Ravelry. 

TortoiseandHare_10 copy

Customer service
If you need help with a pattern, please pop into our Ravelry group, check the relevant discussion thread, and post a query (if you’ve not found an answer!).For all other customer service queries, contact us at

Commissions / business enquiries
If you are an editor or curator with a commission, or a retailer with a trade enquiry, please contact me at the following address:

The KDD shop

If you are interested in our books or yarn, knitwear or prints, just head on over to the shop.

99 thoughts on “about KDD

  1. Hi,

    I’ve just bought your West Highland Way Book and can’t put it down. Love the patterns, photography and the writing. I also love the styling of the knitting – it’s so refreshing to find beatiful patterns that are also styles and photographed so well. I couldn’t find any credits for the other garments in the book. Can you help with references.

    Thanks again and I’m really looking forward to knitting so many of the patterns in the book.



  2. I purchased your book on Islay, and looked through it before we left for Scotland this last September. We stayed on Islay for 6 days, went to Tormisdale Croft Craft and met Anne Kemp. I purchased your Shetland book form her. When I returned home, I revisited your Islay book. We visited almost all the places you wrote about. Your book will be a wonderful memoir of our trip to Islay. Your Shetland book makes me want to visit that Isle. Thank you so much!


  3. Dear Ms. Davies,
    I am an International Baccalaureate art student at Central High School in Saint Paul Minnesota. I have decided to do my summative project on knitting and I have always been inspired by your amazing work. My project entails studying the art of people who have inspired you, researching the medium of art you choose and creating your own version of the art. Part of my project includes reviewing work or meeting with people who inspired your work and project. My mom and I love your blog and have knitted your patterns before. I am going to be in Edinburgh Scotland in mid December and I was hoping you would be willing to meet with me so I could ask you some questions about your work and how you have made it a career. I am really interested in traditionally women’s arts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just finished the Sheep Carousel tea cosy and am so grateful for such a lovely pattern. I learned so much and for this I thank you! When in Shetland a couple years ago I purchased four balls of Shetland organic wool in natural and a deep brown. One carousel exhausted only one half skein each and I can’t wait to begin another. If you feel inclined to create any more new patterns that introduce new techniques I am on board!


  5. Hi. I bought the book Inspired by Islay and am trying to download it to Rvelry with the code inside. When I do this Ravelry finds the book but says that my cart is empty so I can not use the code. I use KnitCompanion when I knit and need the pattern in a PDF for that.

    Warm swedish regards



  6. Hi Kate
    Please help! I’m quite an experienced and experimental knitter but for some reason I cannot read your patterns and I really want to pretty much make most of your stuff. I LOVE your use of colour etc, you’re a real inspiration. Do you do workshops? I would pretty much travel anywhere because I desperately want to learn your way and haven’t found anyone to help.
    Kind regards
    Franny, Devon


  7. As ever, I so much enjoy your designs, the beautiful pictures, especially those of Bruce. :) You are always the highlight of the picture with your accessories, many in my to do list. Would you mind sharing where you buy your fabulous dresses, and coats?


  8. Hi Kate, I find your work really inspiring. I live in Hong Kong so your work is a world away from me but nonetheless I have Scottish blood and I am a huge fan of knitting, so great to see you doing so well. Beautiful photography too! I hope one day my knitting skills will be good enough to complete some of your designs.


  9. Hi Kate and Tom
    Wonderfull pictures of the surroundings of your house! It makes me want to hop on a boat to Scotland immedeately.
    I saw a very nice pattern of you of a pullover / cardigan with insects on the back, but can’t find it in the shop or your ravelry.. Can you tell me where to buy this? (Maybe I do have to come over to Scotland te pick it up myself).


  10. Dear Kate and Tom and Bruce,
    so nice to meet you! You live an amazing life and your work is most impressive. We plan an extensive round trip of Scotland the Hebrides next year and you have put Islay and Oa on the map for us now.
    Your knitting creations are wonderful and Tom’s photography is outstanding.
    All the best,
    Dina & Klausbernd


  11. Hi, what a wonderful Book of Haps, great work!
    I’m so sorry, but I am still missing the code for the digital download…


  12. My haps book was waiting for me when I got back from a little holiday. It’s so wonderful! I can’t wait to start knitting. I’ve just gone through my e-mails (all 140 of them!) that accumulated while I was away, but haven’t received one from you with a code for a digital download
    Liz Phillips


  13. The Haps book came today and I am loving it,thank you.I have been daft though and accidentally deleted the email with the voucher details for the digital edition.Is there any chance you could send it again to me?Now I just have to decide which happens to knit first!xx


  14. Hello Kate, I ordered your book on haps via PayPal on May 19th but I haven’t had it yet. Am I too impatient or has it got lost?


    1. Hi Charlotte, the books haven’t arrived from the printer yet! We expect them this week – we will be moving fast when they arrive and you’ll receive a shipping notification as soon as your copy is on the way.


  15. Hi Kate, I placed an order last week for two kits and wondered when you will be posting them. It’s not a a problem as I know you have been away but I’m dying to get knitting your yarn lol

    Isobel xx


  16. Hallo Kate, I’m Paola and I write from Como, Italy. Your designs are beautifull and I hope one day to come to visit your mountains. I bought your collection Yokes, and today I’ve bought yarns to realize your last sweeter and gauntlets and the kit for Funyn and Epistropheid. I’m looking for their arrival in Italy.
    Happy knitting!


  17. Hi Kate
    Have purchased your Echlefecan mitts pattern. Advice on needles please. I have looked for 20cm circular needles in 2.00 and 2.25 but can’t find a 2.25 in this length. What length do you recommend. I have double pointed needles already but am concerned about laddering.


    1. Hi Jennifer, because of their punitive discounting, which affects small publishers and retailers, I prefer not to list my books on Amazon. My book available from my shop ( – I offer reduced shipping rates to the US). Alternatively, my books are also distributed in the US to a large number of yarn and bookstores by my friends at Fyberspates – if you ask your local yarn store to get in touch with Fyberspates they will be able to stock it for you.


  18. Hi Kate- I just bought your lovely book Buachaille yesterday (and read it cover to cover today). I’d love to get started on one of the projects but don’t see where I can purchase your yarn? I’m in Melbourne Australia. I don’t want to use a substitute so hoping you can tell me where I can purchase it!

    Thank you
    Colleen (


  19. Dear Kate,

    I thought this might elicit a smile:

    And the Forecast Is . . .
    By Michael Rubiner
    Published: August 5, 2003

    Wednesday in New York: Rain. Heavy at times. Followed by periods of precipitation.

    Thursday: Lingering showers throughout the day. Chance of rain 800 percent.

    Friday: Moist. Damp. Sodden.

    Saturday: Rainish. Showery. Precipitacious.

    Sunday: Light rain followed by heavy rain followed by pouring.

    Monday: Unseasonably rainy in the morning. Uncharitably rainy in the afternoon. Unconscionably rainy in the evening.

    Tuesday: Endless showers broken up by occasional flooding.

    Wednesday: Remember ”Waterworld”? Like that, only with more rain.

    Thursday: Not sunny. The opposite of sunny. Just forget about sunny, O.K.?

    Friday: Clearing just long enough for you to make weekend plans. Followed by obscene amounts of rain.

    Saturday: Take a wild guess.

    Sunday: Incessant, spirit-crushing rain. The kind of rain that makes it futile to get out of bed in the morning. The kind of rain that seems as if it will never end. And guess what? It never will. Ever. Do you understand?

    Monday: Please go away.

    Tuesday: Ample, brilliant sunshine throughout the day. Wait — did I say sunshine? I meant rain. Really hard rain.
    Michael Rubiner is a screenwriter

    Best regards,

    Marcia Huttner


  20. Kate : I received the email link for buachailles first patterns and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the yarn packages ————Canada is after all a long ways away .Soon I hope . Chris


  21. I am sorry if I missed the info in all that is going on with Seven Skeins Promotion, but when will I be able to buy your yarn, just the yarn? I have a great project in mind for your grey tones, and am very excited to get started.


    1. Hi Greetje,
      we’ve had to temporarily suspend book sales while we deal with the club orders – but I should have the shop back up and running next monday. Sorry about that!


  22. I have no code either despite having joined on what I believe to have been the first day, and I have emailed to ask for this to be rectified – with no response. I do realise things will be busy, but I am disappointed.


  23. I have been waiting patiently for my discount code so that I could join the club membership. I have been receiving the newsletter for a long time now and I received the mails about the club but have not received the discount code. I see on Revelry that the club is now sold out!!!! Feeling quite cross now.


    1. Hi Geraldine, I’m very sorry about this. If for some reason your code didn’t come through I can only apologise – please feel free to email me on and if a space comes available (there have been a few mistakenly placed duplicate orders) I can reserve it for you (with the discount). Best wishes


  24. Kate, Hi,
    I have tried repeatedly in different ways to purchase a club membership for the last three hours. The membership goes into the cart successfully, however, when I click on the cart to pay the screen goes completely blank and the URL is – about:blank – . How does on remedy this? I am open to suggestions. Thank you


  25. Kate, have tried all morning to get an order through for 7 Skeins. :( my last attempt went completely through the paypal process, then on clicking “pay now” to finalize, the screen flipped back to your checkout. It’s the furthest I’ve gotten todate, and I’m unsure whether the transaction completed or not. Is there any way your team can confirm if my order was received?


    1. I’m wondering the same. I kept getting a “502 Bad Gateway” error whenever I tried to complete my check out process. I got all the way through PayPal and hit complete the order and received the error there as well. Based on my PayPal account, I don’t think any of my attempts worked. I even tried having my boyfriend use his mobile to complete the purchase and he received a card error with my PayPal, but when he completed the process with his own card, he was kicked back to the checkout after clicking “pay now” in Pay Pal, as Annette described above. I’m just worried none of these attempts have worked and I will miss out on joining the club.


      1. I got the exact same error message. I sent an email to Kate’s shop, but haven’t heard back. I DO have confirmation of payment from PayPal AND from Visa, so I really do hope it’s all ok.


  26. Kate,

    Do you have a time frame in mind for when the discount codes for the Seven Skeins Club will be sent to newsletter subscribers?
    Just checking….I want to be sure to be ready for the big sign up.

    Thank you,
    Bordergirl on Ravelry


  27. I know I won’t receive this for Christmas, but had to wait until I had finished shopping for others to see if money was left. Your beautiful designs will be a part of our celebration, however, because I’ve knitted sheepheid for my son and have another one on my needles now. What a joy to have found you!


  28. Thanks for ‘ Yokes’ It’ a wonderful mix of patterns and background histories as well as beautifully photographed…. And it arrived on my birthday!


  29. Hello Kate!
    It there a possibility that you’ll sell a “tortoise and hare sweater” knitting kit? I’m from Germany and it’s nearly impossible to get the required yarn. I’ve been to the Blacker Design homepage but it seems they don’t have the colours anymore. In Germany we don’t have comparable yarn, at all. What yarn would you recommend to substitue the Blacker 4ply? That sweater is lovely and I’d be so happy to be able to knit it =)


  30. I have been compulsively checking to see if there will be more of the mitt kits or toatie hottie kits, so I thought I would just ask if more will be available, or if there is no hope. Thanks!


  31. I received the ecclefechan-mitts kit today!
    It pleases me so very much!
    Thank you for getting it to me in such a expedient manner.
    The project bag, the lovely printed pattern and the tea is much appreciated.


  32. Thanks Kate, I have found my pattern sheep heid it was on my iPhone in iBooks.
    I will need to remember to save my patterns on Ravelry from now on then they will be easier to find in the future.
    Love all your designs


  33. Hi Kate, I purchased sheep head a while back, I can’t find the download anywhere. I have looked on Ravelry where I have bought other patterns of yours Wariston and neep heid but sheep heid it’s not there so I am now thinking I must have bought sheep heid direct from you. Please can you check if you have my details for this pattern.
    Regards and thank you
    Marjorie McLauchlan


  34. Do the stated kit prices include shipping, or would that be extra depending on the destination? I’m waiting for the Ecclefechan kits to be restocked but wonder whether I need to budget more for shipment to the US. Thanks in advance.


  35. I am french and fan of your knitting and i hope the translate in french of “colours of shetland” my english is basic and i have this book…
    see you soon


  36. I would lika to but the pattern for Northmavine Hood. I read that “you can purchase Kate’s individual patterns as digital PDF downloads through her Ravelry Pattern Store” but i can only find that i can buy the complete ebook, which I am not interested in. Can you please explain how to buy individual patterns??


  37. Hi Kate,

    Can I purchase a knitted jumper from you or do you have an outlet? I’m not exactly knitter material but my girlfriend would look amazing in one of your jumpers.

    Kind regards



  38. Just bought your book last night at LInden Hills Yarn in St Louis Park, MN (Minneapolis) Lovely – can’t wait to get started


  39. Hi there
    Kate received your book in the post last week. It is informative, beautifully researched and a real treat to look at. I’ve used Jamieson and Smith’s yarns since I was a student in the 60’s and have knitted quite a few shawls especially for my children and grandchildren. Yours is different again and I’m using some Icelandic yarn I bought when I was there some years ago. Thank you for the pleasure your book has given me –and yes — I did see your hat and and recognised the design.
    Best wishes Sue


  40. Good afternoon,
    I am using adds from an 18th century newspaper to sew clothes for a museum exhibit about runaway servants and slaves. Isabelle Pierce is a convict servant running away in March of 1745. She is wearing a mancks petticoat. I was wondering if you have any sources that might indicate what the material would have looked like or have you even just heard the term mancks cloth. I cannot find a source that mentions the material. I am assuming that the material comes from the Isle of Mann because I did make the connection that Mancks is the old Saxon name for the island and I found references to Mancks-language and Mancks-men. I am also assuming that Manx tweed might have some connection. I am thinking that the material might be a sturdy grey wool ,possibly felted, with weft that is twisted with some color. Do you have any ideas about this material and am I , at least, thinking in the correct direction?



  41. Hello Kate- I purchased the Sheep Heid hat pattern on Ravelry last night, but I am not sure that my PayPal payment went through….or at least I didn’t receive an e-mail confirmation.

    Please do to let me know if you received the order notification. Will you send the pattern or is it downloadable?

    I can’t wait to begin, but I am just beginning to spin….so no hurry. (At least the wool part of it is easy; we raise Shetlands and so have all the colors). I just want to be sure that I will have this beautiful pattern!


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