As discussed in the previous post, this design is inspired by an early nineteenth-century shawl, collected by Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, and now part of Gawthorpe Textile Collection.


The colourful, ribbon-like bands of the shawl immediately reminded me of one of my favourite colourwork motifs, a small, simple pattern which resembles an interlocking vine. The pattern is used to good effect on this vintage cardigan I own.


Its an interesting pattern, with a few variations – my favourite of which repeats over a small number of rows (6) but a largish number of stitches (18). Because of the length of the repeats, if you are penickety about the vertical symmetry of your colourwork patterns, it can be a bit difficult to work with, unless placed in isolation (I vividly recall my Shetland buddy, Sandra Manson, describing this pattern as tricksy). But its an appealing pattern nonetheless, and what is probably most attractive about it is its horizontal continuity, and easy sense of undulating motion. It works really well on its own, and I think that, when placed in bold, colourful bands, the small size of the motifs, coupled with the pattern’s undulating effect, make it visually very pleasing. So this is what I tried to achieve in my interpretation of the Gawthorpe shawl.


In all of my previous yoke designs, I’ve been a bit of a stickler for vertical continuity. But this design was all about bands of colour – not vertical wedges – so I had to loosen up a bit. When I swatched the pattern bands, inserting some shaping into the plain rows between colour changes, I found that the combination of small motifs and horizontal continuity meant that the pattern worked really well, without having to be remotely matchy-matchy on the vertical.


This combination of small motifs and horizontal (rather than vertical) continuity is characteristic of much more sophisticated yoke designs than mine, such as those Kerstin Olsson produced for Bohus Stickning. I’ve designed many yokes, as you know, but this was the first time I’d used small, horizontally continuous patterns, and I found it really interesting to explore a new-to-me method of writing yoke shaping. It has certainly made me familiar with how multiples of 18 work across a wide size range!


I’ve paired six shades of Buachaille in this design – Hedder with Islay, Macallum with Furze, and the two greys – Haar and Squall – together. This paired patterning is repeated on the accompanying gauntlets, which can also be used to swatch, before one embarks on the sweater.


I swatched many different colour combinations before settling on this one!


While I was in no sense attempting to reproduce the pattern of the Gawthorpe shawl, I did want my design to convey a sense of its overall effect, and I hope this is what I’ve done!



These photographs were shot at one of my favourite spots, on one of my favourite daily walking routes between Balmaha and Milarrochy Bay. There is a wee bit of picking ones way over rocks to get to this corner, and, especially on a still day, I think the view north and west from here across Loch Lomond is particularly lovely.


We walk here several times a week, and the highlight of such walks for Bruce is to throw himself off this rock, into the loch with wild abandon. On fine days, I sit here and watch him splash and swim. But I’m afraid he was not allowed to go swimming that day – as the water was so beautiful and still, and we had to take these shots!


Somewhat randomly, while Tom was squished into the gorse bushes with his camera, and I was standing on this rock in my sweater, we encountered a knitter (Danish? or German?) who was out for a walk, who recognised me, and who had made Paper Dolls. Hello, mystery knitter! I hoped you enjoyed your walk along Loch Lomond on that fine, still February day!


Before I finished the design, I asked Gawthorpe’s two Rachels (Rachel Terry, and Rachel Midgley) for their thoughts about a name. As the shawl which inspired the design was one of Rachel Kay Shuttleworth’s favourite pieces, and as she was universally known as “Miss Rachel” we all agreed that the design should be named for her – Miss Rachel’s Yoke and Gauntlets. Though all the work is finally done on this design, I’m afraid these patterns won’t be released for a couple of weeks yet – its part of my plan for Edinburgh Yarn Fest to release kits for it there – and these kits will appear at the same time in my shop too (for those of you who can’t come to EYF – watch out for the special offer in the newsletter!). I seem to have a lot to tell you about at the moment – another new pattern – as well various other things – it is certainly going to be a busy few weeks!


Tom is cooking spatchcock chicken, so I’m off to enjoy my supper. I hope you have all had a lovely weekend! xx

85 thoughts on “Miss Rachel’s yoke and gauntlets (a closer look!)

  1. I suspect Rachel Kay Shuttleworth is a descendant of the great Victorian reformer Dr. James Kay-Shuttleworth. As a young doctor (an energetic Lydgate) he worked in Manchester and wrote an extraordinary report on unsanitary conditions there. Engels later drew on it for his work. He was later a Poor Law Commissioner; he also wrote and worked for the education of pauper children, an interest that he shared with his wife (he was the Kay, she the Shuttleworth–unlike Lydgate he married the right person). Charles Dickens relied on his work and even wanted to collaborate with him at some point.

    I believe Gawthorpe was the Shuttleworth family house; I’d love to know how Rachel is related to James.


  2. I love it! So cheerful and the colours seem to dance. I have a striped woven shawl of my own which I love, but don’t wear as often as I should (when I bought it, I wore a lot more black underneath!)

    I won’t be able to come to the wool fest as I have a reunion weekend to go to; oh well. I hope it goes very well!


  3. All comments + 1, especially the gauntlet as sleeves! As I’m on a yarn diet, this will be the 2016 project. The 2015-16 yarn jar stands ready. Best of luck with Edinburgh and look forward to the newsletter.


  4. I think I would enjoy the gauntlets incorporated into the sleeves. At first glance, that’s what I thought was going on – i like the idea of the yoke and then more of the same in the sleeve.


  5. I love this, and once again, the photos are stunning, too! Thank you for all of your inspirational knits! Peace & blessings and happy knitting and creating.


  6. I misunderstood the pattern from glancing at yesterday’s pictures and thought that the gauntlets were in fact patterned sleeves – still think that this would be a great idea- and somehow another echo of the form of a shawl !


    1. I thought it was the sleeves too until I looked closer – I like the idea of patterned sleeves. A lovely pattern and great colours.


  7. Beautiful. I also enjoyed reading all the information about the background of your design process and the inspiration from the shawls. Thank you.


  8. Kate, your explanation os how you worked this design and chose the colours together with the source of your inspiration make this a truly wonderful project to add to my knitting queue. I love sweaters and know this one is calling to me. As always your work and photography is stunning, a feast for my eyes and mind which will become an indulgent project for my hands!

    Thank you and I am so pleased you are feeling better


  9. Glad to see you are feeling better. Lovely sweater – I’m so excited about the release of this beautiful interpretation of a beautiful shawl.


  10. Absolutely stunning! I love that little vine motif (it’s the same one I used in the Trellis Waistcoat), and you’ve given it a whole new life in these soft, glowing colours. I think I must make this.


  11. Another beautiful design that tempts me. But seeing it in a such a beautiful location! I am so jealous of the scenery. I live in a corn field and it just doesn’t compare.

    If you’re interested, I loved that you gave the history of the textile that inspired your design. Very interesting.

    Thank you


  12. Love your colour choices. I look forward to the kit although it’s probably a good thing I can’t get to Edinburgh because there are too many things in the knitting queue. As for running into you on a walk, I think I’d be too stunned to say anything, especially if I happened upon you as you were photographing a new design. How many people are lucky enough to witness that?


  13. Thank you Kate for giving us a preview of the absolutely beautiful yoke & gauntlets. Looking forward to more historic-textile inspired designs.


  14. Had been looking for a sweater to knit as a Christmas gift for my daughter. “Miss Rachel’s” is perfectly beautiful and will be the one. Can hardly wait for its release. Thanks!


  15. What wonderful colours. Superb design that holds a true likeness to its inspiration. It’s great to see legends brought back to life. Love your work Kate. Shame I’m too, too far away for that Edinburgh festival.


  16. It looks amazing close up as well as at a distance. I think you have really captured the essence of Miss Rachael’s shawl. I am really hoping that you will have a large size range for the sweater but failing that, that the gauntlets are a separate pattern. I am really looking forward to their release.


  17. “Miss Rachel”, perfect name & a perfect interpretation of that amazing woven shawl. Must finish all my WIPs, so that I’ll be ready & waiting for the pattern & kit to come out. Please, you must show us a picture of Bruce in the Loch. I’m sure Tom could catch him mid-air in all his doggy bliss.


  18. I’m glad to see the knitwear close-ups, of course, and more beautiful views of Loch Lomond, as well. That’s a splendid way to wear your hair, too. Excellent all around!


  19. It’s really interesting to read about how you chose the design for your yoke and also the name, which is just perfect…And it’s such a good idea to make the gauntlets with the jumper swatch. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of your Tom lurking in the gorse with the camera, and wonder if the German/Danish knitter thought he was having a call of nature…I’ve been caught out before when I’m picking blackberries, squatting down to reach under the brambles only to quickly stand up when I hear a dog walker say “I think that lady is having a wee”, which I’m not, I’m just foraging.


  20. This really is fab, I love it, and the original shawl almost out of this world! Any chance you would consider showing us your many colour combination swatches? It would be so interesting to know more about how you arrived at the actual colours used.


  21. I love that you have shared the history of a textile with us and have now carried the theme to a textile that we can explore. I’m struck by the beauty of the horizontal patterning, especially how it flows from front to sleeve so seamlessly. Beautiful as always, Kate. Can’t wait for the kit…


  22. The best and I don’t even like pink/rose shades but would use it in this!! I was also wondering how this would work in Buachaille as opposed to 2 ply but it works wonderfully and you did Miss Rachel’s shawl justice! Super shots of the surrounding area. Thank you.


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