Hi everyone,

Sorry for the unintentional hiatus from posting….Alison and her team have been busy creating new designs for the Highland Crafters brand and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal fans for their continued support.

We’d like to present a mini biography of one of our new designers currently working alongside Alison with a view of helping to develop our niche brand.

Rachel Whitechurch is a leader in the world of crochet, focusing on the use of Scottish Lambswool and Shetland blends to produce her unique designs. She was first inspired to venture into the field of crochet after developing severe arthritis which subsequently meant she wanted to rediscover her talents through a means which would involve less strain on her joints. Working with wool reinvigorated her passion for creative thinking.

When she moved to Devon 5 years ago, Rachel became fascinated by a local mill called “Coldharbour Mill”. It is a working museum that spins Devon wool. It was learning about the yarns and the traditional mill trade that initially inspired her to experiment with crochet. She is entirely self-taught and now designing and grading pieces for Highland Crafters.  Someone recently said to her that ‘it’s like drawing with a hook’. Crochet is Rachel’s true calling – the art is kinder to her body as it doesn’t cause her arthritis to flare up. Knitting is a craft she also enjoys but crochet wins her heart and is kinder on her bones. She particularly loves Louisa Harding and Kim Hargreaves designs from which she draws great inspiration.

Rachel is currently working on a variety of designs and grading patterns with a view to developing an exclusive crochet pattern range that will hopefully be enjoyed by knitwear producers all over the world. Some of the designs are totally original and others reworked from times gone by.

Rachel has posted up some fantastic pictures of her crochet work on Twitter as part of the #artchallenge see below her work with granny squares and the first crochet top she ever designed in the colour of blue hyacinths. These images were retweeted 19 times and favourited 25 times-a sure measure of her acclaim. You can follow her on Twitter at RachelWhitechurch@RWhitechurch.

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Rachel’s first design for HighlandCrafters is a lovely frilly edged jacket made using Scottish Aran weigh supersoft lambswool. The XL size is presently being test knitted and as soon as it is the pattern will be available in a variety of sizes at https//www.etsy.com/highlandcrafter/shop and on Ravelry. One of her nearly 700 followers on Twitter, a fellow textile artist commented that Rachel’s work made her ”want to pick up my crochet hook straight away So beautiful!”

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The Frilly-edged cardigan

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Rachel is also presently working on another design that is inspired by the traditional corset and puff shoulder from the Romantic era.

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Corset-style cardigan

Read about the history of the corset:

http://phyllisdoyle.hubpages.com/hub/History-Of-Womens-Corsets

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Read about the history of the puff sleeve:

http://www.maggiemayfashions.com/romantic.html

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Bhicoo Shetland and Rachel have contributed to the design and production of this 1920’s inspired piece below called the classical jacket. Rachel cleverly reworked the grading and designed a coordinating 1920’s flapper girl hat with a pretty brooch detail.

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Classic jacket illustrated by Alison Woodside

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If you’d like instant access, we would well recommend that you follow Rachel on Twitter: Rachel Whitechurch@RWhitechurch. Not only will you get instant updates of her own new creations but also interesting posts and beautiful unusual pictures of the Art and textile work of her fellow twitter-based designers.

Aside from her design work, Rachel loves to spend time with her greyhounds, “Calm Black” aka Jack, and Emma. Jack is a racer and somewhat the antithesis of Alison’s own Fox Terrier Jack who is a jumper! Both are likely candidates for the Highland Fashion Dog Olympics!  draws with a hook 8draws with a hook 9

At Highland Crafters, we collaborate with aspiring and talented individuals who believe in the quality and essence of our brand as much as Alison and her husband James. Luckily Rachel Whitechurch and her designs help to emphasise everything that we stand for as a business.

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