Rowan SS20

Rowan launched their new Spring/Summer collections last weekend and there are some gorgeous garments… here are my faves!

Lace Sweater by Chloe Thurlow from Mode at Rowan Collection Two, knitted in Summerlite 4ply.

I love this jumper – it would be so nice over a summer dress. A great extra layer for the unpredictable UK weather.

Striped Tank Top by Chloe Thurlow from Mode at Rowan Collection Two, knitted in Handknit Cotton.

Super cute and simple! I’d love to go extra nautical with navy and white stripes.

Bowie by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 67, knitted in Fine Lace.

Just look at those flouncy sleeves! This would take forever to knit… it’s going on the long list.

Bari by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 67, crocheted in Summerlite 4ply.

There’s a whole section of crochet in the main magazine this season which is great – this might be a good starter project for me!

Palermo by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 67, crocheted in Summerlite 4ply.

I love this! Pretty sure it’s beyond my crochet skills right now but you never know.

Which is your fave? Are you summer knitting yet?

Rowan Autumn/Winter

I’m still hoping we have some summer left, but the cooler weather has got me looking forward to Autumn and snuggly jumpers!

August brings us the launch of the new Rowan collection and Magazine 64 is a special ruby anniversary edition to celebrate 40 years of Rowan!

Here are my top picks…

Cinnabar by Galina Carroll

Cinnabar by Galinna Carroll

Knitted in Cashmere Tweed and Alpaca Soft DK with Kidsilk Haze embroidery, this is a gorgeous bit of cosy winter wardrobe luxury!

Redwood by Sarah HattonRedwood by Sarah Hatton

A lovely classic jumper knitted in one of my favourite yarns – Kid Classic

As well as the anniversary edition of the main mag, Rowan have launched a gorgeous new yarn – Alpaca Classic. It’s so soft, fluffy, lightweight and lovely to knit with… I have patterns in the planning!

I’m also loving the new Around Holme book – a collection of classic, wearable garments by Lisa Richardson using Felted Tweed, Valley Tweed and Cashmere Tweed.

Malham by Lisa Richardson

I always like to have a simple knit on the go and I love this really simple, classic cardigan knitted in Valley Tweed. The yarn creates such a lovely texture that it doesn’t necessarily need a textured stitch.

New Vintage DK is a great collection of designs from Lisa Richardson, Martin Storey, Sarah Hatton, Vibe Ulrik, Georgia Farrell and Quail Studio.

Mullion by Sarah Hatton in Softyak DK

How beautiful is this?! I’m in love with that lace panel in the back.

Gallerie by Georgia FarrellGallerie by Georgia Farrell in Alpaca Soft DK

I love the relaxed shape of this cardigan and it would be so gorgeously soft and cosy in Alpaca Soft.

Are you planning your Autumn/Winter knits yet?

Rowan Mag 63

I don’t know about you…but I’m very ready for Spring now!

I’m keen to get out to do some gardening without the risk of chilblains, walk around in flip flops (or at least less than two pairs of socks) and to do some summer knitting!

The new Rowan Magazine is now in the shops and I thought I would share my top picks so you can join me in dreaming about long days, warm feet and blue skies…

Nabeela by Martin Storey

I love the colours and stitches in this cardigan – and the different textures created by combining Softyak DK, Felted Tweed, Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace.


Barlin by Sarah Hatton

Knitted in Creative Linen – I love this beautiful and simple everyday cardigan.


Beswick by Sarah Hatton

I want this whole outfit! But particularly the cardigan – it’s blooming gorgeous. Knitted in Original Denim.


Garima by Marie Wallin

Yummy shoulder detail and a lovely shape for the soft drape of Summerlite 4ply.


Which brings me onto the other exciting news…

There are lots of amazing new shades to play with in Summerlite! I even felt compelled to stick little hearts on my shade card.

I would definitely recommend popping into your local Rowan stockist to check them out in person.

And just look at this new shade of Handknit Cotton… I’m pretty sure they made this for me?

Are you ready for Spring to arrive or are you still getting Hygge?

 

Rowan Magazine 62 – My Favourites!

I’m loving the new Rowan Autumn/Winter magazine and I’m knitting up my Softyak cardie as quickly as I can so that I can cast on something new!

The first patterns that jumped out at me and made me long for crisp winter days were Sweeting and Gloaming – both designed by Lisa Richardson.

I love long cardies with pockets and the hood on Sweeting is gorgeous! Sweeting is knitted in Rowan Kid Classic which is one of my favourite yarns and Gloaming is one strand each of Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace which I adored when I made Captivate by Kim Hargreaves. But I’ve already knitted a couple of long cardies so these will be going on the wish list.

The same goes for Wilshaw by Georgia Farrell in Rowan Big Wool. It’s gorgeous and going on the list!

I adore the cabled Kid Classic cosiness of Sykes by Martin Storey…but I’ve also fallen a little bit in love with another cable jumper by Martin Storey – Buttrick, which is knitted in Hemp Tweed. I haven’t knitted a garment in Hemp Tweed yet, but loved using it for my Dice Cowl and really want this jumper!

Fumbar by Marie Wallin is the perfect little yoked sweater in Felted Tweed…and I think I have just about enough to knit this, so that will be a great addition to the capsule winter knits wardrobe.

But before I do anything else – I want a nice simple jumper that will go with everything in preparation for my capsule wardrobe/me made may challenge. So I think the next thing on the needles will be Lund by Sarah Hatton.

Lund, Rowan Mag 62

Although it is a possibility that I might accidentally cast on this and Buttrick and Meriden from Rowan Loves 5 at the same time…!

 

Stitches

This week I got to spend a few days fondling and hugging yarn on the Rowan stand at the ‘Stitches’ trade show.

Yarn hug

It’s no secret that my favourite part of the day job with Rowan is nattering with knitters and merchandising yarn…so trade shows and consumer shows are always good fun.

We had a beautiful new display fixture, lots of gorgeous yarn to fill it with and no shortage of passionate and inspiring yarn shop owners!

We showcased lots of new things for Spring/Summer – including the super cute new book from Martin Storey, Little Rowan Explorers, and Quail Studio’s latest – Kids Essential Knits. These and other new Rowan books are hitting the shops now – so keep your eye out at your local yarn shop!

We also had an exciting sneak preview of the first in a new series of books from Kim Hargreaves! Coming soon…x

Brona Jumper

I’ve finally finished my Brona Jumper!

I looked back through my blogs and I wrote a blog entitled “Brona Jumper (sort of finished)” last April! So it’s almost a year since I finished the knitting after battling with the wonky lattice sections, running out of yarn, a fair amount of tinking and some angry words.

After knitting, I put the pieces away for a while, then blocked them to shape, then back into hibernation for a few months and then I finally sewed it up at the end of last year. It then took me a couple more months to get around to sewing in the ends because I’ve been so busy secret knitting (shhh).

I’m really pleased with it! The Mohair Haze is very soft and cosy and I’m not finding it itchy, which is sometimes a problem with mohair. It fits beautifully and although it’s not a great colour to photograph – a navy jumper is a handy addition to my wardrobe.

So…please make me feel better – have you been working on something for well over a year?!

Yarn provided by Rowan.

Jamie Cardigan

I finished Jamie just in time for Yarndale and it kept me so warm and cosy. I love the yarn, the colour, the cables, the lovely buttons from Textile Garden, the pockets…all of it.

I did use a ball and a bit more than the pattern suggested – but I was generous with the length because of my long body and added about an inch to the sleeves. I still think the yarn usage would have been a bit tight though so I would recommend an extra ball if you’re knitting this. Especially as the yarn (Rowan Superfine Merino) is now discontinued so you want to make sure you have enough before starting!

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Selfish knitting seems to be taking me an eternity at the moment! Now that I’ve finished this cardigan I will be taking a bit time to finish a couple of gifts, sew up my Brona jumper and then it will be lots of secret (exciting) work knitting for me!

Yarn supplied by Rowan.

A New Chapter

Fyne-Slipover-2_LIt’s just over two years since I wrote my blog about giving up the day job – and today I’m really excited to let you know about my new day job!

After working for Coats Crafts for 6 years, I hugely missed visiting lovely retailers and of course I missed receiving all the advanced information and Rowan samples. I’ve been a fan of Rowan for years and the Fyne slipover opposite is almost entirely responsible for my Felted Tweed addiction! But the job wasn’t allowing me time to work on projects outside of work and giving up the day job was definitely the right decision for me at the time.

I’m very happy to say that I now have a part-time job with Mez crafts (who own Rowan) and as of Monday 15th August I will be working as a Brand Account Manager. I can’t wait to work with my Rowan family again and I’m really looking forward to getting started and visiting our lovely Rowan stockists.

As the job is part-time, it means I will have time outside of work to continue my freelance work – so you will still see me at shows and workshops and I have plenty of new designs planned as well as a knit-along for 2017!

My first day coincides beautifully with an event celebrating Rowan’s 60th magazine! Kaffe Fasset will be will be hosting a talk on his career and the history of his association with Rowan. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there?

And here’s a little peek at Rowan Mag 60 for you x

Yarn Substitutions

This is going to be a long blog. Make a cup of tea and get comfy!

If you’re a big fan of Rowan, you may have heard the rumours that their range of yarns is being cut rather dramatically for Autumn/Winter. On first hearing the news – I must admit I panicked! But once I knew all the details, I thought it was brilliant.

The new streamlined ‘core’ range incorporates all of the old favourites such as Kidsilk Haze, Felted Tweed, Big Wool and many more. New yarns with pattern support will still be introduced each season, but these ‘Rowan Selects’ will be limited edition while stocks last.

Over the years, the Rowan range has grown and grown. It had become rather complex, and I think this streamlining process will mean more focus on our favourite yarns and stronger pattern support. It will make it easier for small independent retailers to stock Rowan and for larger retailers to stock the whole range (if they couldn’t fit it in the shop before!).

Long term – it will make it easier for me to design with Rowan because using the core range means I can be pretty confident that the yarns will remain more consistent and not be discontinued quickly. I always try and use yarns that I feel are ‘safe’ and I also try to stick to standard weights where appropriate so that it’s easy for you to substitute the yarn if you want to. For this reason I wouldn’t normally dedicate a whole blog to yarn substitutions because it’s normally just the odd yarn or shade that we’re losing. But because some of my most popular patterns will be affected by the changes to the Rowan range – I thought a blog might be helpful for you.

If you’re planning to knit any of the projects below – don’t panic! Yarns don’t disappear immediately after being discontinued so you should still be able to get hold of them from your local Rowan stockist or online. However – I would highly recommend that you start panic buying Fine Tweed and Rowan Fur immediately!

Wool Cotton

Used for the Lovebirds and Tile cushions in Cute Little Knits, Wool Cotton is 50% wool and 50% cotton. It’s a standard DK weight so very easy to substitute. The content of the yarn doesn’t matter too much, as long as you go for a DK it will be fine. I would recommend Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK – there are good substitutes for all the colours used (apart from the brown).

Creative Focus Worsted

This is the only yarn discontinuation which will effect patterns in my new book The Knitted Nursery Collection. Creative Focus was used for the Circular Felted Rug and Felted Toy Basket, as well as the Bobble Bathmat in Cute Little Knits. For these three projects the finished size isn’t too important, so it could be substituted for any felt-able yarn of a similar weight. To ensure the yarn will felt you will need to check it is 100% (or mostly) wool – and also that it is hand-wash only.

Creative Focus is also used in my Bow Slippers from Cute Little Knits and the mens’ Felted Slippers above. Size starts to matter a little bit more here – but bear in mind that the size after felting can vary a bit anyway (read my tips on felting here).

I tested swatches in Kid Classic and Cocoon against the Creative Focus and here are the results:

2016-07-13-12.36.09.jpg.jpg

These were all knitted on 5mm needles (same number of rows and stitches) and washed in the machine at 30 degrees. The Kid Classic is pretty much the exact same size – just fluffier and the texture isn’t as thick. Cocoon is very slightly larger, the texture is very similar but is more dense. I think either of these would be an okay substitute – just make sure you do a test swatch in your machine!

Fine Rowan Tweed

I’m trying to keep emotion out of this – but I love this yarn so much! However – it is a 4ply and therefore pretty easy to substitute. I think Superfine Merino 4ply would be lovely for the Triangle hat and the Tweed Tie would look great in Summerlite 4ply. Or if you want to keep the tweedy look, you could go for something like Jamiesons Spindrift, which would work really well for the Little Hearts from Cute Little Knits and Shuggie & Steve Sheep faces, but if you’re knitting the hat you might want to check it’s not too itchy!

The yarns I used for the Rowan Winter Animals (Mohair Haze, Fine Tweed & Fine Boucle) have now all been discontinued, but I still have kits for these available on my shop.

I will have limited stock of Triangle Hat kits at Yarndale, which aren’t currently on my shop – so please contact me if you would like to buy one now to collect at Yarndale.

Rowan Tweed

I have only just discovered how beautifully this yarn felts, so I’m sad to lose it. But as per Creative Focus above – choose a felt-able yarn and test it in your machine.

2016-07-13-12.32.25.jpg.jpg

I tested Rowan Tweed against Kid Classic, both knitted on 4mm and washed at 30 degrees. Kid Classic is a lot fluffier and it shrinks more. The Gadget Cosy and Satchel patterns are felted at 40 degrees and I think you might be okay with Kid Classic washed at 30. However – I think the tweed effect from felting this yarn is so lovely that I would suggest trying to get hold of the Rowan Tweed. If that’s not possible – then perhaps try Jamiesons DK. Whichever you choose – make sure you felt a test swatch to check you’re happy with it before starting the project!

Rowan Fur

Okay – so this is where I really struggle to not be emotional! I understand why this yarn wouldn’t become part of the ‘core’ range, but I really love designing with it! Shuggie and Steve Sheep are my favourites and you’ve all given them lots of love. And my Fur lined Bow Slippers are so warm and cosy!

Because both of the yarns used for Shuggie and Steve are being discontinued, I won’t be making any more kits. All of the Steve kits have now been reserved for collection at Yarndale apart from one – so please get in touch of you want to reserve the last Steve! I also have low stock of Shuggie kits because he was very popular at Woolfest. Shuggie is available from my shop.

I have limited stock of Panda & Big Bear kits (£25 for Panda/£30 for Big Bear). As these are limited edition they aren’t available from my shop so please contact me if you would like to buy one to collect at Yarndale or to get a price for postage.

With Harrie Hedgehog and Sammy Squirrel being brand new (patterns not available yet!) I was hoping the Erika Knight Fur Wool would work as an alternative, but it’s a lot thicker and comes out far too dense on small needles.

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So I’m afraid the only options are to use one of the many acrylic eyelash/fur yarns out there. Or to panic buy Rowan Fur!

I hope this blog has been helpful for you. As I mentioned earlier – the yarns are still available out there so if you have one of these projects on your list it would be a good idea to stock up on the yarn now. I will start a thread on my Ravelry group regarding substitutions so if you have any questions please get in touch there. Also – if you’re a retailer and have stock of any of the above yarns please comment below or post in my Ravelry group so that we can all panic buy from you! x