NON-FICTION//Handywoman- Kate Davies

I’ve always liked Kate Davies’ knitting design (I knitted a version of her famous Owls sweater when D was tiny). I was aware of this book, part-memoir, part collection of essays, when it came out earlier this year and I was very grateful when my friend Carolina sent me a copy as a gift.

At the age of 36, Kate Davies suffered a stroke that completely changed her life. The book takes us through Davies’ life: from a northern, working-class childhood filled with creativity and jumble sales, to the hours after the stroke when she was misdiagnosed, to her painful and frustrating journey to recovery, which she admits will never fully be complete. But there is light, too. We learn of the support of her partner Tom and the knitting community, the joy a dog can bring to the slow process of rehabilitation and the amazing products made in Sweden that help those with disabilities regain their independence.

Like the Fair Isle knitting that she enjoys, Davies weaves many threads into a compelling final piece and the result is a book that I believe requires a bigger audience than the knitting community. There are useful insights here into how we can make the world a less able-ist space, to support those who have suffered a stroke (and who live with disability) to live their lives with dignity.

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