Saturday 12 July 2014

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56 Review

Rowan Knitting & Crochet mag 56
It's a beautifully hot, Summer day and I'm fantisising about chunky sweaters and fair isle cardigans. Yes, it's the time of the year that before you've even had chance to wear a swimming costume on your Summer holidays the new Rowan magazine asks you to consider all things warm, woolly and Winter. There's even snow on the cover photo.

There are 41 designs in the oversized pattern book, split into three themes: Wilderness, Craftwork and Essentials. As you'd expect, some of the designs showcase Rowan's latest yarns, such as felted tweed and mohair haze. Wilderness has a Scottish theme full of muted greys, browns, greens and purples, a colour palette and look particularly suited to the tweed yarn.

Craftwork, as suggested in the name, celebrates the arts and craft movement. There's a plethora of colour here too and most of the patterns are intricate, with lots of colour changes. My favourite in this collection is the huge, slouchy, roll-neck sweater Franziska that looks perfect for wearing on an a Boxing Day walk to cover up a multitude of Christmas dietary sins. The model's hair in Craftwork, a perfect brown curly bob, caught my attention as much as the knitwear. How does she stop it going frizzy? I suppose that's why she's a model and I'm not!

The Essentials range Rowan says is "a collection of the key shapes and textures on trend, designed into more simple, easy to wear styles that will complement the season's essential looks". Here the onus is on stitches rather than colour change, with the patterns creating the style. These garments look like they could be pulled on over a pair of jeans for a stylish look. It's also the section that less-experienced knitters should start at, with a few of the patterns being suitable for beginners.

I love how Rowan adds interesting articles about knitting in with the patterns, the type which you won't find in your average high-street knitting magazine. The two that struck me are a piece on sanquahar knitting, and one about the importance of hand knitting to World War One troops.

The big question is, is there anything I want to knit here? One pattern, Laide caught my eye. It's a woman's jumper knitted in felted tweed with a particularly interesting neck and yoke construction. I love the muted colours and it's the sort of jumper that would look great with jeans or a dress.
There's so much in my 'to do' knitting pile though that it's unlikely that I'll get around to knitting it. For me, the attraction of Rowan's knitting and crochet magazines is the photography. They're lovely coffee table books, perfect for browsing for knitting inspiration.

Along with the magazine came Rowan's latest subscribers' newsletter. Here there are details of the smaller pattern books to be published in the Autumn/Winter 2014 season. One really got my knitting juices running: Big Wool Colour Collection. I love Rowan Big Wool because it's colourful and knits up really quickly. I have a jumper with a heart pattern from a previous collection that I often wear in the Summer. I've also knitted it for two friends and am about to knit it for a third who liked it so much she wanted her own. The latest incarnation of Big Wool is multicoloured - perfect for a quick, fun, Winter knit.

I'll be keeping my eye out for Big Wool Colour and look forward to getting my hands on a ball. Meanwhile, back to the sunshine and the lacy scarf I'm knitting with 2 play
yarn I bought on my recent trip to the Norwegian Knitting Museum.
Big Wool Colour

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