You may remember that, last Autumn, I spent a happy day visiting Gawthorpe Textile Collection with Debbie Bliss, Jane Ellison , Claire Montgomerie, and Emma Varnam


We designers had been commissioned to produce designs inspired by items in the collection . . . we worked on them over the Winter . . . and today, our patterns were released!

The piece I chose as the basis of my design was an incredible coverlet embroidered by the collection’s founder, Rachel Kay Shuttleworth. Miss Rachel designed the coverlet in honour of the memory of her seventeenth-century ancestor, Richard “the Roundhead” Shuttleworth, and embroidered it during the the last years of her life at Gawthorpe.


(If you are interested to read more about the history of the coverlet, and my inspiration, I have written about it here)

So this is what I came up with: meet the Richard the Roundhead Tam!


Rachel’s coverlet combined her own Arts and Crafts aesthetic with her ancestor’s Tudor heritage, and I have tried to speak to this in my design with structured motifs that echo those of her embroidery. The colour scheme is the same teal-on-white that Rachel chose, with a pop of Lancastrian rose-red for the brim lining and button. The brim combines a turned hem with picots and corrugated ribbing, and those of you who have made my Scatness Tunic will recognise the technique used to create the button:


They are very easy to make, and I will post a tutorial here over the next few days so that everyone can have a go.

From start to finish, this has been such a lovely design to produce. It was wonderful to visit Gawthorpe, to have access to its world-class collection of historic textiles, and to meet and work with the fabulously dedicated women who curate and care for it. The research involved in a project like this is meat and drink to me: it was fantastic to spend some time researching the history and context of Rachel Shuttleworth’s coverlet, and I particularly enjoyed finding out about Richard Shuttleworth’s role in the Civil War. Finally, as a Lancastrian myself, the design really does mean something to me, and I confess to feeling a modicum of local pride when I finally finished the knitting, and popped the red rose of Lancashire on the top of that tam.


The pattern for the Richard The Roundhead Tam is now available to download here!

I am sure you will hear more from the other designers about their patterns in the coming days, but I thought I would give them a quick mention too.

Debbie has designed a beautiful needle case inspired by one of Gawthorpe’s ticking samplers (a genre of sampler I find particularly appealing. Those stripes!).


Jane has designed a lovely hat and mitt set, inspired by historic swatches in the stitch and sample books held in Gawthorpe’s textile archives.


Gawthorpe’s collections are particularly rich in lace, and Claire Montgomerie drew on this for her exceptionally pretty capelet, whose crocheted motifs echo those of several lace fragments.


And Emma produced this wonderful cushion cover, inspired by what is surely one of the most moving items in Gawthorpe’s collection: a military quilt, stitched from uniform scraps by a convalescing solider.


All proceeds from the sales of these designs will go to Gawthorpe, to help care for this important historic collection for future generations to enjoy and be inspired by. You’ll find the whole collection available to peruse over here on Ravelry.

26 thoughts on “Gawthorpe – pattern release!

  1. Okay, I was already in love with these designs (such a sucker for history with any project!) but now that I know it will support the organization…. oh Kate, you’ve done it again! :)


  2. Glad your driving lesson went ok. Are you learning with a stick shift or automatic? With more practise you will find it easier every time you go out.
    Talking about kerchiefs if you want to see some exquisite work with white on white embroidery you should look at the Kraška noša. There are two types of kerchiefs one around the head and one for the shoulders with embroidery and lace. The embroidery takes a very long time to make. Every two years people in that area dress like their great grandparents and great great grandparents dressed for special occasions for the Kraška ohcet.


  3. What beautiful and unique designs you have all come up with. I think it’s just brilliant how you each came up with such different designs from the same inspiration. I really appreciate the design process you share with us on your blog.
    One thing: leaving a comment on my iPad is really, really hard as he “Follow Kate Davies Designs” pop-up box covers the comment box and won’t bugger off. Is there a way to fix this?


  4. I have loved following the process of this project here on your blog.

    How wonderful that through this collaboration between designers and the Gawthorpe Textile Collection some of the stories and treasures within that collection have been highlighted for contemporary makers. There is something so apposite about creating patterns which allow today’s makers to connect in tactile and material ways with the work represented in the collection.

    Your design is wonderful in its thoughtful relationship with Rachel Kay Shuttleworth’s extraordinary coverlet; I love how your design celebrates the coverlet in so many different ways and yet is still somehow a classic Kate Davies original.


  5. More inspiration from across the pond! And in the nick of time, too! So sick of the snow; so lovely to see the designs and colors….so grateful!


  6. They are all very lovely. What I really want to hear more about, however, is the lovely pair of mitts around that tea mug in your blog banner at the top of the page. Do tell, please!!


  7. I adore all your Scottish inspired knits – particularly as my children are all half Scottish and I long to live there. But from one Lancashire lass to another your locally inspired tam is a joy to behold and I can’t wait to knit it!


  8. Love seeing the contrast between the design inspirations and the final designs. Lesson to all of us in our own design work. Love the historical references as well! Such a fab button too!


  9. Wow, how lovely is that tam and it’s wee button crown. That is a “must learn” detail for me, it finishes the tam perfectly. It is so interesting to see that all the designers have come up with something different and all very appealing. What a super concept this is, and I’m glad you were involved to tell us about it along the way.


  10. Since you first wrote about it, I have thought this was such a neat idea–what a creative way for Gawthorpe to raise some money while emphasizing its distinctive collection and appealing to those who are likely to appreciate it as more than just a stately home. Nice to see how things finally turned out. And I’ll be keeping an eye out for that button; I love knitted detailing like that.


  11. Thankyou for this post… I am just getting into FairIsle knitting and would love to have a relatively easy pattern to make a sweater for my husband and also my son/daughter/grandson… Wow did I really say that?! LOL anyway, please suggest what might be best…


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