Happy Birthday Rowan (review)

Rowan: 40 Years

40 Iconic Hand – knit designs


To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the iconic Rowan yarn Brand, this  new book celebrates the best of Rowan’s inspiring  magazine patterns. Beautifully presented with a combination of original images and new photos this is a fitting tribute to one of my favourite yarn and design companies.

The hardback cover features a collage of original front cover shots and brought back memories of the excitement I would always feel when a new issue arrived. When I worked in a yarn store, delivery day would result in a flurry of emails and phone calls “It’s here – I’ve put one aside for you” and anxious visits from regular shoppers who didn’t want to miss out on a sneaky peek at knit group. We would pore over the pages, spotting work by our favourite designers and discussing which patterns we would make. The Rowan magazine never disappointed, always inspired and frequently provoked debate. Each new issue pushed the boundaries and challenged our expectations about knitwear design, while at the same time offering enough wearable, desirable patterns to make us part with our cash and add each issue to our bookshelves.

Mag 48 Coverv_1.jpg

Rowan 48 will always be my favourite – it sold out quickly and I never managed to keep a copy for myself. “That” stranded colourwork, the styling, the effort that would have gone into knitting that dress – oh we all lusted after it and when customers brought in their scarves to show off, we would all find ourselves entranced once again with the skill and beauty of the design. Lucky for me (and for many other knitters), Kaffe Fassett’s beautiful Lidiya dress is included in this collection

It is Rowan’s ability to constantly surprise and enthuse knitters that makes it so enduringly popular. And while I was disappointed to find no crochet inside, the hours I have spent leafing through, spotting projects I’ve made for myself and planning a new cast on have been a joy. Take a look at this sneak peek on the Sixth and Spring website and see if you can spot your favourites.

The collection is introduced by Marie Wallin, for many years she was Rowan’s head designer and is responsible nurturing and encouraging  many of the designers who found themselves working at Rowan. Alongside some of her beautiful colourwork designs, you’ll find patterns by Kim Hargeaves, Louisa Harding, Sarah Hatton, Jean Moss and Martin Storey. Some designs have been reknitted in contemporary yarns and photographed in locations that reflect the beauty of each design. I pity the team that had the task of deciding what to leave out!

It’s often been said that Rowan designs are “timeless classics” and this collection proves that point, there are several designs that I knitted ten or twelve years ago – or even longer – that I would be happy to knit and wear again today. It’s also worth noting that many of the designers who began their careers with Rowan are still involved, still being inspired by Rowan’ beautiful colour palettes and yarns and it’s so lovely to see their work celebrated in this book.

This is a book that has definitely earned a place on my “most loved” list and it’s one I won’t part with. This is a book for all Rowan fans, lovers of fine yarns and anyone with an interest in textile design. Yes, the patterns are written in Rowan’s abbreviated style that assumes a working knowledge of knitting techniques,  and charts you’ll need to enlarge by several percentages to follow clearly. But,  they are always worth the effort.

The book is beautiful, the designs are stunning and the photography is everything you’d expect from Rowan. Buy this book, give it as a gift (and then shamelessly borrow it). Keep it somewhere you can find so you can pick it up and browse the pages. Choose one iconic design and knit it, then love it for years to come.

Book Details:

Rowan 40 Years is published by Sixth and Spring in hardback  and is available now.

Price £25

ISBN: 978640210288


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