Miss Rachel’s Craft House Patterns

17 February 2014

“Our hope is that the old home, so very dearly loved, may soon become a centre for education, crafts knowledge and beauty; a joy and benefit to many people.”

Miss Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth

On 17 February 2014, the anniversary of Miss Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth’s birth (17 February 1886), Gawthorpe Textiles Collection will launch an exclusive range of downloadable knit and crochet patterns, under the newly created brand Miss Rachel’s Craft House Patterns. These patterns have been inspired by Miss Rachel’s lifetime passion for needlecraft including embroidery, lace and costume gathered from across the globe; now considered one of the most important textile collections in the world and housed at Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, Lancashire. 

The first patterns released under the new Miss Rachel’s Craft House Patterns brand have been created by a group of five of the country’s most prolific and influential designers and makers, who were invited to spend a day at Gawthorpe Hall, with unlimited access to Miss Rachel’s extensive collection. Taking personal inspiration from a day spent in the archives and in Miss Rachel’s Library, handling some of the lesser known items in the collection, the designers Debbie Bliss, Kate Davies, Jane Ellison, Claire Montgomerie and Emma Varnam created a new garment or accessory of their own; these items have now been translated into patterns, which will be sold to help sustain and secure Miss Rachel’s legacy and the on-going work of the charitable trust.

Jennie Pitceathly, Director of Gawthorpe Textiles Collection comments

“These incredible designers were introduced to the collection and like so many of our visitors came away inspired and brimming with ideas, enthused by the enduring philosophy and passion of Miss Rachel.  She believed that creating something beautiful, through the mastery of a craft or skill was life enhancing, as well as practical and educational.  The sale of these contemporary patterns will help secure this remarkable collection for generations to come.”   

Debbie Bliss has created a knitting needle case (inspired by a 20th century sampler)

Kate Davies has created a Tam o’Shanter hat (inspired by a bed cover embroidered by Miss Rachel)

Jane Ellison has created a hat and mittens and a scarf (inspired by notebooks in the textile archive with knitting annotations and samples)

Claire Montgomerie has created a spring shawl (inspired by a tiny fragment of crochet)

Emma Varnam has created a cushion cover (inspired by a large soldier’s quilt)


Debbie Bliss, commenting on the project said, “It was a tremendous privilege to be asked to part of the Gawthorpe Hall project, to see and handle some of this amazing collection.   Hearing about its history and the redoubtable Miss Rachel was wonderful, as was seeing the other designers excited about creating their different pieces. It was a truly memorable day.”

The patterns can be downloaded from www.gawthorpetextiles.org.uk and cost £3.25 per pattern.

The items created by the designers will form part of the Gawthorpe Textile Collection, a permanent display featuring items from this world renowned collection amassed by Miss Rachel. The textile displays are refreshed annually and this year’s new displays, housed in five dedicated rooms at the hall, can be seen when Gawthorpe Hall reopens on 29 March 2014 with special textile-related events.

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For more information, photographs or to arrange interviews please contact:

Anna Izza, Head of PR and Communications, Marketing Lancashire

Tel: 01772 426 459 or [email protected]

Or Jennie Pitceathly, Director of Gawthorpe Textile Collection

Tel: 01282 773 963 or [email protected]

To plan your visit to Gawthorpe Hall or a short break in Lancashire go to visitlancashire.com

Notes to Editors

  1. Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth (1886 -1967) was the last member of the Shuttleworth family to live at Gawthorpe Hall, in Padiham. The Shuttleworths are an old Lancashire family with a strong tradition of public service and representation at Parliament.  Her interest in sewing and handicrafts began at school and even at a tender age, she was acutely aware of the satisfaction, stimulation and pride of achievement that creative work could bring to leisure time, especially for those working in local mills.  As she grew older she travelled extensively, studying art and architecture, with her passion fired by learning new skills and sharing these in classes and lectures.  Her collected embroideries and crafts became the new visual aids for her teaching. Throughout wartime and great family tragedy, she never lost sight of the value of art and what the creation of beautiful things could bring.

  1. Gawthorpe Textiles Collection is a registered charity. Today, the staff and volunteers continue to work towards achieving Miss Rachel’s vision for the collection by providing learning opportunities, delivering events, and displays at Gawthorpe Hall so that more people can engage with and be inspired by the collection www.gawthorpetextiles.org.uk
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