KATE DAVIES NEAR HER HOME IN WEST CENTRAL SCOTLAND
Kate Davies is a remarkable woman. She has a doctorate in 18th century history and was a professor until she had a major stroke on February 1 2010 at age 36 that took away function on the entire left side of her body, ended her academic career, and had her wheelchair bound living in a brain injury unit in an Edinburgh hospital for six months. Before the stroke, she was also an accomplished knitter and pattern designer.
Her post-stroke body worked just fine on its right side but her left side was now pretty much non-functional, along for the ride because her damaged brain didn’t know what to do with it. The stroke was caused by a congenital hole in her heart she had no idea was there that allowed two blood clots to travel to her brain.
Amazingly, in the eight years since the stroke, she’s combined her interests in historical writing and practical creativity with her skills in research, design, and writing to teach herself to knit again – and along the way founded a company called Kate Davies Designs (KDD) that creates digital patterns for hand knitters. Through KDD she’s produced eight books: 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) and West Highland Way (2018).
In 2016, her company was named UK Microbusiness of the Year by the Federation of Small Business & Worldpay.
She has worked with museums and heritage organizations, sharing her expertise (including the Tate Modern, Shetland Amenity Trust, and Gawthorpe Textiles) and has also contributed to BBC radio programs on diverse topics such as the landscape of British knitting and the history of socks. She was the first ambassador of Shetland Wool Week and her knitting designs have been featured on BBC television.
Now she has another book due out this month (July 2018): Handywoman. This one is an exploration of her experiences of serious brain injury, craft, and creativity. (Barnes, 2016) & (Davies, 7/1/2018)
You knitters and crocheters may recognize her name and know her exquisite patterns from the Ravelry site.