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 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. I have a PhD in eighteenth-century history, and have written books, essays and feature articles on a wide range of topics from the American Revolution to the history of lace. I have particular expertise in textile history, women’s history, and design, and these interests are combined in my popular books Colours of Shetland (2012), Yokes (2014), and The Book of Haps (2016) (which are available in my shop)
I like my choice of materials to have a genuine connection to the landscape in which I live and work, and in 2015 began producing my own brand of 100% Scottish wool yarn for hand knitting.
I’ve worked with museums and heritage organisations, sharing my expertise (e.g. Tate Modern, Shetland Amenity Trust, and Gawthorpe Textiles) and have also contributed to national and local BBC radio programmes on diverse topics such as the landscape of British knitting and the history of socks (e.g. BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour; BBC Radio 2 Drive Time; BBC Radio Scotland; BBC Radio Shetland; BBC Radio Lancashire). I’ve been an ambassador of Shetland Wool Week, my designs have featured on BBC television , and my website is archived by the British Library as part of its project to preserve national documentary heritage.
My husband, Tom Barr, shares my love of the great Scottish outdoors, and takes the beautiful photographs you’ll find here. Tom’s favourite activity is running up and down munros in a running vest and fell shoes, but he is also a fantastic cook with a passion for Scottish culinary history. You’ll find some of Tom’s recipes in my books.
We live with Bruce, our fun-loving labrador, who enjoys running with Tom, walking with me, and swimming in Loch Lomond whenever he gets the opportunity.
We publish our books under our own imprint, and they are beautifully produced for us by Bell & Bain, a fantastic Glasgow company. From the wool we produce to the books we create, we are proud to support and promote local manufacturing, creativity and design in many different contexts. 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!
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 and tutorials from Tom. Occasionally, you may also hear from Bruce as well.
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Kate’s online shop stocks yarn, kits, books, and haberdashery.
You can purchase Kate’s individual designs as digital PDF downloads through her Ravelry Pattern Store
If you prefer print, some of Kate’s most popular designs are available to purchase as professionally printed pattern booklets through her Magcloud store
Kate’s books and patterns are also stocked by numerous retailers worldwide.
Kate’s books are distributed worldwide by Fyberspates / Chester Wool Company. If you are a retailer, and would like to to place an order, please contact Andy: Chesterwool@btinternet.com