Kate Davies Designs (KDD) was established by Kate Davies in 2010, when a stroke at the age of 36 ended her career as a literary academic. While recovering from her stroke, Kate supported herself by designing digital patterns for hand-knitting, established an independent publishing company, and began to produce books that combined her skills as writer and designer.
As of 2019, Kate has published twelve books under the KDD and Makadu imprints and is currently at work on two new titles. These books combine Kate’s research with individual design collections (Yokes (2014); West Highland Way (2018)); bring together the work of talented contemporary designers (Book of Haps (2016); Milarrochy Heids (2018)); explore the story of textiles within the broader context of Scotland’s regional cultures (Shetland Oo (2016) Inspired by Islay (2017)) or discuss a wide range of topics concerning design, creativity and disability (Handywoman, 2018). As well as her writing and design commissions, Kate now donates 20% of her time to local volunteer projects, mentoring and consultancy, sharing her expertise with a wide range of charitable, heritage and industry organisations. From its beginnings in difficult circumstances, Kate is proud to have built a sustainable and successful creative business completely from scratch.
KDD has grown into a company which now encompasses many different aspects of publishing, design and manufacturing here in the west of Scotland. In 2015 we developed our own brands of yarn for hand knitting and in 2017 launched our own knitwear line, KDD Originals, designed and made in Scotland.
Kate’s husband, Tom Barr, is responsible for the beautiful photography you’ll find here, as well as other matters involving graphics, imagery, print and production at KDD.
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.
Sam Kilday looks after the physical stock of books and yarn in our warehouse and works with Jane in dispatching your orders. Outwith the warehouse, Sam’s multi-disciplinary background in the creative industry is an asset on various projects at KDD.
Our friend, fellow knitter and Glasgow businesswoman Fenella Pole, works with us modelling Kate’s designs.
Bruce and Bobby are the final, indispensable members of the KDD team. These two 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.
At KDD we believe in creating a business that is inclusive, respectful and that positively promotes diversity in our industry. As an employer, as a manufacturer and as a retailer, transparency, accountability and inclusivity have always been central our ethos and our commitment to diversity in all forms is key to our current endeavours. From documentary photography to collections of essays and designs, the range of projects and creative collaborations undertaken at KDD are explicitly and intentionally anti-racist.
We commit to evaluate our business to ensure that we remain inclusive to all members of our community and industry. We will listen and seek to put things right if we don’t meet your expectations. We stand with and support those who, like us, are determined to effect long lasting change.
We are proud signatories of the Scottish Business Pledge to support sustainable business growth and to ensure that fairness, opportunity, inclusivity and innovation develop hand in hand in Scotland.
An award-winning small business
In 2016, KDD 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. In 2018, Tom’s image of Elizabeth Johnston spinning was shortlisted for the EEF photographic prize . in February 2019 KDD received the FSB Scotland award for Business and Product Innovation for our Coracle project and was voted Blog of the Year at the British Craft Awards.
The best way to see what we are up to is by following this blog. To be the first to know about our new projects and products, please sign up for our newsletter.
Customer service (trade and retail)
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 queries (including trade customer enquiries), contact us at email@example.com
Commissions / business enquiries
If you are an editor or curator with a commission or proposal, or have a general business enquiry, please contact Kate at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The KDD shop
If you are interested in our books or yarn, knitwear or prints, just head on over to the shop.