This month saw the launch of Rowan’s gorgeous new hand painted Fine Art sock yarn available in 8 stunning shades all named after British birds: serin (a gorgeous pink), tawny, waxwing, raven, kingfisher, lapwing, pheasant and chiff-chaff : a colour to suit everyone!
Prior to its launch, there was a great deal of anticipation and buzz in the media surrounding this gorgeous new yarn. One of my favourite knitting books ‘The Gentle Art of Knitting’ by Jane Brocket, states that “Yarn is the reason why many people knit. It’s what lures knitters into picking up their needles, it’s what makes them return to their knitting day after day, it’s what keeps them knitting away until they complete a piece…. nothing beats working with something that feels good in your hands, appeals to the eye and produces a beautiful textile.” Rowan’s Fine Art certainly fits the bill and is really rather special. Fine Art has great yardage so it really does go a long long way – at 437 yards (400m) per 100g skein, I think it is good value for money, given that it is of such a high quality. There is plenty of yarn in one skein for you to create something stunning and unique that will last for a lifetime – for yourself or as a gift to a friend or a loved one.
I also really like the fact that production of this new yarn is helping some of the poorest people in South Africa. If you would like to find out more, do read the Rowan April eNewletter. This describes how the yarn is sourced from Cape Mohair Spinners, and painted by the team at Lance and Ines Khoury’s hand painting department, which takes enormous pride in employing individuals from some of the poorest and most marginalised sections of the community. One of their goals is to create opportunities for growth and development, and this ethos is something Rowan is extremely proud to support. As a result of the increase in production needs following on from Rowan’s interest in the yarn, the company has had to relocate to larger premises and take on more members of staff.
Fine Art is described by Rowan as being a blend of fibre and colour (merino wool, kid mohair and mulberry silk) that is especially blended for sock knitting, but can also be used for shawls, scarves and other accessories. Rowan’s Fine Art Collection brochure provides great pattern support featuring 14 sock and scarf / shawl designs by Marie Wallin, Martin Storey, Lisa Richardson and Gemma Atkinson. There are patterns suitable for beginners, intermediate knitters and also more challenging projects for experienced knitters. All of these designs really show off the beauty of the yarn and its amazing colours. You could of course choose your own pattern and use the yarn to get creative!
For those of you new to sock knitting, I was really pleased to see that the brochure contains a really helpful section with instructions on how to knit socks, including information on how a sock is knitted, how to knit in the round using double-pointed needles, turning the heel, working the foot section and shaping the toe. Lots of really useful tips and hints are included.
I was very lucky to have been given a skein of Fine Art by Rowan in the colourway ‘Raven’ to try out:
It’s such a gorgeous colour, that reminds me of scrumptious berries: blueberries, blackcurrants and blackberries. Whilst knitting with it, I also found that it does truly reflect the beautiful plummage of a Raven, changing it colours slightly depending on the light.
Although I was very tempted to knit socks, as there are some super patterns in the Fine Art Collection, I was immediately drawn to the Lark Scarf and inspired by Gemma Atkinson’s beautiful design, I knitted my own version using slightly larger needles and varying the pattern slightly making a shorter scarf using the one skein that I had been gifted.
Impatient to start knitting, I only had size 3mm needles to hand (the pattern suggests 2.25mm (US1) and I think the design would look stunning made up in this way) but as I was happy with the effect created by slightly larger needles, I continued and I’m very pleased with the overall result. It’s good to experiment with this yarn.
In addition to the patterns available in the Fine Art Brochure, Rowan has made available as a free download, a rather beautiful lace scarf named ‘Robin’ designed by Lisa Richardson that is suitable for beginners:
Happy Knitting! And don’t forget to let me know if you knit some socks 🙂