Post-stroke to new career

“Limitations in itself might be a prompt to creative understanding”.…  Kate Davies, was an academic until a sudden stroke at the age of 36 turned an energetic academic into someone whose left side was paralysed and without memory of how to work.  (Note: there are many famous Kate Davies – this Kate has written armfuls of books on Scottish knitting patterns, traditional and modern).

Unable to do her former work, she began to physically work on retraining her body to regain strength and ability to work as well as her right side.  Part of this was the physical craft of knitting.

Recovery post-stroke

Kate says that for young stroke recoverers, there can be sudden fluctuations in energy levels and in what you can do day to day.  This can be hugely frustrating.  On a poor day, it can feel like you are doing nothing, and it’s hard to plan what you can do tomorrow.  Nothing seems to be happening.  But as a knitter, Kate could experience feeling that she was continually productive.

“When I was feeling fatigued, I’d often feel overwhelmed by the sensation that nothing was happening – but if I was knitting, then things were in fact always moving forward.  A row came to an end, a pattern repeat would change and the sock that was on my needles would always grow just a little.”


“I’m not someone who has triumphed over adversity; I’m not someone who has “beaten stroke”, I’m someone who struggles every day with the unavoidable effects of brain injury – eight years after it happened, my stroke is still present to me every day.  So no, I’ve not overcome disability, but I am someone who has found in the terrifying, challenging but deeply instructive experience of neurological limitation an unexpected resource for living a good, creative life.”

Find out more:

You can see the whole video recording of that TedX talk here. 

Kate has written a book about her recovery from neurological damage:

Screen shot 2019-02-18 at 20.14.04
Kate Davies, knitting designer with her book “Handywoman”


“Handywoman” is available to buy, now.  There is a whole website dedicated to it here, talking through the chapters, showing many of the images.

Kate Davies Designs website is here.


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