Wednesday 29 August 2018

Review of Rowan: 40 Years Book + Win A Copy!

Image courtesy of Rowan
Rowan holds an iconic place in the hearts of hand knitters. Back in the day before the internet enabled entrepreneurial knitwear designers and small-scale yarn businesses to sell to a worldwide market, if you wanted wool or a pattern you went to your local yarn shop, browsed through stacks of pattern designs and bought whatever yarn they had in stock.

When Rowan opened its doors in 1978, at its headquarters in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, it brought to the fore talented young designers such as Marie Wallin, Louisa Harding and Martin Storey, and soon its own-brand yarns gained a reputation in wool shops for quality. It might not have been the cheapest yarn brand but buying Rowan meant you could rely on producing knits that would last.

And then there were the colours ... in her forward to the Rowan: 40 Iconic Hand-Knit Designs book Marie Wallin remembers the first time she saw the Rowan shade card "I was smitten. It was a designer's dream - not only beautiful yarns, but available in a huge range of fabulous colours."

Nowadays knitters may be more likely to turn to Ravelry rather a yarn store to choose their next project, but Rowan (now owned by German company MEZ Crafts) is still a design powerhouse, guiding the careers of new designers as well as publishing the latest patterns from classic names such as Kaffe Fassett and Sarah Hatton.

40 Years Of Patterns

To celebrate their ruby anniversary, Rowan has released the Rowan: 40 Iconic Hand-Knit Designs book containing 40 designs picked from their bi-annual Rowan Magazine. The first 20 feature the original photographs and the last 20 have been re-knitted in the company's up-to-date yarn and colour palette range and also re-photographed.

None of the patterns look old-fashioned (perhaps with the exception of Powder Puff, a red, oversized polka dot jumper that definitely rocks the 80s' vibe - sadly I can't find an image of it on the internet), indeed the selection has been carefully curated to offer designs that won't be out of place in 2018 and beyond.

Skills-wise there's a mixture of more basic garments such as the cardigan Mist by Kim Hargreaves,

Mist image courtesy of Rowan
... and classics that look amazing but would challenge even experienced knitters, such as Kaffe Fassett's Lidiya Fair Isle dress.

Lidiya image courtesy of Rowan
To see some more pattern images go to this link.

Rowan: 40 Iconic Hand-Knit Designs is hardback and works fine as a coffee table book if you don't fancy knitting any patterns. The photos are sumptuous and it's very interesting to look at the pictures of all the Rowan Magazine covers since it first was printed.

Take a look at page three where you'll find a photo of a very young Kate Moss wearing a Rowan jumper, bobble hat and very little else. That reminds me of a few year's back stumbling an image of a Rowan denim pattern modelled by actor Eddie Redmayne back in in 2004 - this link will reveal all. Rowan certainly had the knack of employing stars before they were famous!

The recommended retail price is £25 but shop around as different booksellers offer varying price deals.

Or ... you could win my review copy!


Rowan sent me a copy of Rowan: 40 Iconic Hand-Knit Designs for review (all opinions are my own).  The competition is running on our Facebook page. Please do not enter via the comments box below because we don't want to fall foul of data protection laws or have you share your personal contact details with other readers.

If you would like to win the book here's what to do.

1. Go to and click on the 'follow' button if you haven't done so already. This will deliver new A Woolly Yarn Facebook posts to your news feed. If you change your mind in the future (but we hope you won't!) you can unfollow us.

2. 'Like' the post with the competition details.

3. In the comments box under the competition post tell us which is your favourite A Woolly Yarn knitting pattern book review and why (you might want to refresh your memory by having a browse at our previous posts).

The competition opens at 11.59pm on Wednesday 5th September. We'll announce the winner soon after and ask him/her to send a private message on Facebook to A Woolly Yarn with their postal details so they can receive their fabulous prize.

Please note that due to competition law and postage costs the competition is open to UK residents only, although we would of course love to hear the opinions of our overseas readers about their their favourite A Woolly Yarn knitting pattern book review.
Terms & Conditions

1. The promoter is the A Woolly Yarn blog, which has no affiliation with Rowan or Facebook.

2. The competition is open to residents of the UK aged 18 years or over.

3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

5. This competition is running on A Woolly Yarn's Facebook page at

6. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.

7. Closing date for the entry will be 11.59pm on Wednesday 5th September. After this date no further entries to the competition will be counted.

8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

9. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter's control Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

10. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connect with this competition.

11. The prize is as follows: A copy of Rowan: 40 Iconic Hand-Knit Designs for one winner. The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prize is not transferable, is subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute the prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

12. The winner will be chosen within seven days of 6th September 2018.

13. The winner will be announced within seven days of the closing date on the A Woolly yarn Facebook page and will be asked to send a private Facebook message with their address details to A Woolly Yarn. These details will only be used for the purpose of posting the prize. If the winner does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

14. The promoter will notify the winner when the prize is posted. The promoter will obtain proof of postage and is not responsible for any failure of the Royal Mail to deliver the prize.

15. The promoter's decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence entered into.

16. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.

17. The winner agrees to their name being published on the A Woolly Yarn Facebook page and blog. Any personal details relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant's prior consent.

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