Kate Percival

Bachelor of Design (Textiles)

Kate Percival graduated with her Bachelor of Design (Textile Design) degree in December 2017. Her focus was on knit design during which she experimented on fabric construction methods using the range of knitting technology offered by the Textile and Design Lab. Kate also minored in cinematic arts studying documentary film.

Her program of study was supervised by Mandy Smith and Rachelle Moore. During her first year, she learned knitting techniques using hand flat machines, sock machines and linking machines under the supervision of Roger Cobley. During her second and third years she worked continuously with the Textile and Design Lab’s Senior Technician, Gordon Fraser. ‘Gordon taught me almost everything I know about Shima Seiki knitting machines: he is such a patient and engaging teacher’, she says.

‘I spent virtually every day of my final year at the lab, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!’ she adds. ‘The lab has textile technology that is unique to AUT and very accessible to students. The staff are skilled, supportive and lovely to be around. Being a design student, university is one place where you can be completely creatively free and the TDL fully encourages students to push the boundaries of what is possible’.

In her final year Kate collaborated with third year Fashion Design student, Xingchen Lu. ‘I created twills and mock quilted fabrics using the lab’s new Shima inlay machine, which can insert a weft yarn that is tucked into the knitted structure of the fabric or panel. Xingchen then cut and sewed these together along with some woven fabrics into garments.

Following her graduation, Kate was awarded an AUT Internz scholarship with the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC, where she worked for three months assisting the Curator of Globalization, Joshua A. Bell. She was also given the opportunity to work in the National Anthropological Film Collection, digitising and creating catalogue records for their Samoan collection.

Following her return from the US, Kate joined Auckland knitwear manufacturer, Private Collection, where she now works as a trainee knitting technician and machine operator. ‘It’s great to be able to use and build on the skills and knowledge that I learned at AUT’, says Kate.

‘Gordon taught me so much about Shima knitting technology during a relatively short time frame. He taught me about he different components of each machine and the functions that they perform, how to thread up the machine, adjust tensions, knit accurately, use automatic software and how to program manually. Without that knowledge, I would not have been given this opportunity as a trainee technician’ she says.

Kate's fashion designs

Some of Kate’s knitted accessories from her final collection. Model: Kiola Ballard. Photography by Nina van Lier

Kate at work

Kate now works as a trainee knitting technician at Auckland knitwear company, Private Collection - Photography by Kevin Bowdler