Episode 34: Making it as a Knitwear Designer – An Interview With Kate Davies

Kate Davies Yokes


This week we welcome writer and designer Kate Davies onto the show for her first ever podcast interview. Based in Scotland, just off the West Highland Way, Kate is a prolific designer, responsible for a number of indie design classics. She has also written for a number of publications as well as authoring two books of her own: Colours of Shetland (2012) and Yokes (2014).

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As mentioned during the show, Kate had a stroke five years ago, and reflects on many things surrounding this life-changing event in this blog post.

Not many people know that Kate Davies, although based in Scotland, is not actually Scottish. She lives near Loch Lomond with her partner and terribly handsome Labrador, Bruce. If you’ve ever wanted to armchair travel to Scotland, I recommend you follow Kate on Instagram (KDaviesDesigns). Her daily walks are well documented!

Kate began designing full time after a stroke in 2010, which resulted in her leaving her job in academia, where she specialised in Eighteenth Century literature. Kate built the business throughout her recovery, and as her condition has improved, so the business has grown and she now has two books as well as a range of single patterns.


Kate’s most famous pattern is arguably ‘Owls’ and she recently released a cardigan version of this famous sweater design, dubbed ‘Owligan’.

'Owligan' by Kate Davies. Image Copyright Kate Davies Designs.

‘Owligan’ by Kate Davies. Image Copyright Kate Davies Designs.

Owligan calls for Toft Ulysses or New Lanark Chunky. It’s a super quick knit, which can be done in the round or flat, with charted and written instructions on 9mm needles and in very chunky yarn. New Lanark is a World Heritage site – read more about it here and look out for a blog post in the next couple of weeks.

Top tips for making it work in business from Kate Davies

Surround yourself with a strong team, who can be honest with you and whose opinion you trust.

Get a good accountant. They know things that nobody who isn’t and accountant has any business knowing!

Take yourself seriously and ensure you value yourself and value your work properly.

Be professional when dealing with admin and customer service.

Owls are better than rhinos.


You can find Kate on her website, katedaviesdesigns.com, where you can also find links to her shop, previous patterns, blog and social media channels.

A huge thank you to Kate for agreeing to come on to the show and discuss her journey into the yarn industry.

As always, you can contact me via the blog, email or my social media channels. Feedback always appreciated. Thanks for listening!

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