Category Archives: Rowan Ambassador

Sequins, Sparkle and Shimmer

Do you remember the photo I took of some Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour on my Rowan Beach Shoot back in the Spring?  You can see it below in the colour ‘smoke’ alongside some lovely blue Soft Knit Cotton and the All Seasons Chunky in the colour ‘pebble’.

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Kidsilk Haze Glamour is a fine yarn made from a blend of super kid mohair and silk, and added a thread of sequins. Ideal for lace stitch accessories this yarn is lightweight and glamourous, the sequins give a unique and random pattern to the finished knitted fabric, making it ideal for evening wear or just that little bit of added sparkle.

There are some gorgeous knitting patterns using KSH Glamour, many of them free, on Rowan’s website, but the urge to crochet struck me and with only one skein to play with, I found myself searching the internet for a suitable pattern.  I came across the lovely Churchmouse Yarns and decided to make Kelly’s Frothy Crocheted Scarf:

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It’s a fab pattern, using simple single (or double crochet if you are in the UK) which gives the impression of  delicate lace stitch and it satisfyingly zips along once you get used to using a size 10mm (pattern suggests 11.5mm) crochet hook.  I did actually end up buying an extra skein to get the length required and to crochet the edging.

KSH Glamour

I have to admit that I took a while to complete it as I’ve been working on other projects, but I took the scarf on a trip to Dorset recently and it was the perfect holiday project.  I finished it really quickly and I’m glad that I did because its the perfect weight scarf for late summer into early autumn, or an evening out or special occasion.  And I do love the sparkles – the sequins definitely add an extra something to this lovely yarn which comes in a gorgeous range of colours.  When you buy the pattern from Churchmouse Yarns, you also get the instructions to make a wrap, which uses 3 skeins of Kidsilk Haze.

It was quite hard to capture the sparkle on a camera – I took a few shots out in the garden of our holiday cottage – partly because the setting was so lovely – but I hope you get the general idea.

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Kidsilk Haze Glamour could easily be substituted for any of your favourite patterns using Kidsilk Haze or similar yarns.  Although very slightly thicker, it would add a lovely sparkle!

Here are some pictures of a couple of my favourite free knitting patterns using KSH Glamour, available on the Rowan website.  Click here for a pattern link for the Stellar Wrap, designed by Alison Crowther-Smith with a ribbed design, finished with a frill edging.

Stellar Wrap     Gypsy Shawl

The Gypsy Shawl, designed by Sarah Hatton, would be perfect for evening wear: (click here for a pattern link).

You can also check out the Kidsilk Haze Glamour Collection, published by Rowan and featuring 14 designs to support this yarn:

The Glamour Collection

If you like sparkle and shimmer too, you may be interested in the recently launched Rowan Kidsilk Haze Eclipse, which adds extra sparkle by adding a shimmering metallic thread to some of Rowan’s most popular Kidsilk Haze colours.  Check out the gorgeous Aries & Pisces colours below :

Kidsilk Haze Eclipse

Accompanying the yarn is this beautiful Kidsilk Haze Eclipse Mini Collection:

KSH Eclipse Collection

Further sparkle and shimmer can also be found in the Parisian Nights Collection, which was launched last year and features 12 elegant designs taking you from daywear into eveningwear and using Kidsilk Haze and Anchor Artiste Metallic. Check it out here.

Parisian Nights

Let me know if you try any of these yarns or patterns – I would love to hear from you.  Or let me know if you have any sparkly recommendations to share of your own?

Claire xx

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Rowan Little Star

Little Star Cover

I LOVE to knit children’s knitwear, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of the new Little Star brochure to review from Rowan featuring 21 designs for children in the age range 3 to 10 years.  This new collection for Autumn/Winter 2013 has been designed by Rowan’s Head Designer Marie Wallin – each design being enticingly named after traditional puddings and desserts!!

The Little Star Collection is inspired by the trend for vintage, heritage style childrenswear using Rowan’s Wool Cotton, Wool Cotton 4ply, Pure Wool DK, Pure Wool 4ply and showcasing Rowan’s new yarn Angora Haze.

The cover shot above is of the Charlotte cardigan, named after Apple Charlotte pudding and knitted in the new gorgeous Angora Haze.

I was super excited to receive some of this new yarn to try out from Rowan, in the pretty colours ‘Hug’ and ‘Embrace’ which lent themselves perfectly to making this gorgeous crocheted Roly Poly Hair Band:

RolyPolyHairband

Here is a photo of the Roly Poly Hairband that I crocheted with my sample yarn:

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So sweet for a little girl, or a not so little girl!  These gorgeous flowers would make a brilliant corsage don’t you think?  Angora Haze is super soft and luxurious to knit or crochet with.  I noticed a little shedding from the yarn, as would be expected with angora, but it wouldn’t be a problem for an accessory such as this.

On my (very large) wish list to make for my daughter:

Meringue Tam & Muffler: (any excuse to play with some more angora haze!)

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Brulee Capelet:

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Bread and Butter: I am so in love with the combination of crochet and knitting used here!

Breadandbutter

The Trifle Snood crocheted in Pure Wool 4 ply is pretty awesome too (an adult version too please Marie!):

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Custard (using Angora Haze with hand embroidery):

custard

Sorbet knitted in Wool Cotton: I think this would be perfect for my little girl’s ballet lessons!

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Souffle:

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And Jelly:

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There are also some gorgeous designs for boys.  This sweater in Pure Wool DK is called Christmas (there is a girls version too):

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Eton Mess:

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I love Plum Duff, knitted in Pure Wool DK:

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Treacle:

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Figgy Dowdy:

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You can take a look at all of the designs in Little Star on the Rowan website by clicking here.

You might also like to read the designer Marie Wallin’s own review, where she tells us more about the fashion shoot and some of her personal favourites: http://www.mariewallin.com/blog/?p=350

I hope you find something special to knit for any little stars in your life!

Claire xx

Rowan Magazine 54 Competition : Winner

THANK YOU so much to everyone that entered my Rowan Magazine 54 Giveaway.  I have loved reading all of the competition  entries!

rowan mag 54

I asked which design was your favourite in the new magazine, and the Romancing Collection proved to be extremely popular with all of you – the Berenice Wrap (as featured on the magazine cover above) and Salome received the most votes.  Alcina and Vivaldi were also popular designs.  All of these stunning designs use Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze yarn.

Salome:

Salome

Following very closely behind Berenice in the voting was the beautiful Anatolia from the Folk Collection, knitted with Rowan Felted Tweed:

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The gorgeous Soumak Scarf Wrap also received some votes.

Sharon, the Wendy Wrap and Crystal were also mentioned as favourites from the Essentials Collection.

I would so love to send everyone of you a copy of the new Magazine but of course there can be only one winner….

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Drum roll…..

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And the winner, as randomly picked by my three year old assistant is….

rowan 54 comp

VALERIE SMITH, who chose the gorgeous Berenice Wrap as her favourite design.  Valerie told me that she loved the Berenice Wrap because “because the colours are rich and it represents a feeling of abundance and opulence.”  Great choice Valerie!

Congratulations Valerie Smith!  Please contact me with your address and I will post the Magazine off to you asap!  Hope you enjoy reading it!  Happy knitting!

Claire xx

Fine Art Inspiration

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!

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

Robin Scarf

Happy Knitting! And don’t forget to let me know if you knit some socks 🙂

Summer Linen Clutch Bag: Rowan All Seasons Chunky

This week up for review, its Rowan’s new yarn All Seasons Chunky.

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This chunky weight yarn was launched by Rowan for the 2013 Spring/Summer Season.  Composed of a machine washable 60% cotton and 40% acrylic microfibre, it’s a lovely yarn; soft and light enough to wear for any season.

Rowan very kindly gave me a ball of this super new yarn to try out:

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I really enjoyed knitting with it : I have to agree with Rowan that this new yarn certainly shows beautiful stitch definition.  It knits up very quickly which is very satisfying.  I also got to try out some of my favourite chunky knitting needles!  (the ball band recommends US 10.5 (UK 2) knitting needles).

Next I decided to experiment with some crochet.  I used a 6.5mm crochet hook.

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With one ball of yarn to play with, and inspired by the final of the Great British Sewing Bee, I thought I would make a crocheted clutch bag for the summer with a pretty ‘shell stitch’.  The ‘pebble’ colour of the yarn went beautifully with some linen that I had in my stash and some gorgeous Amy Butler fabric from her Soul Blossoms collection for Rowan.

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I made a simple linen clutch bag lined with the Amy Butler fabric and hand stitched the crochet to the outside.

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Let me know what you think…?

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There are some beautiful knitting patterns in the All Seasons Chunky Brochure reflecting the trend for relaxed summer knitwear.  Marie Wallin has designed 12 simple textured easy to wear knits that are “simple to knit and are perfect for whiling away lazy summer days and warm sultry evenings”.  Check out this post for some examples, or have a look at Rowan Yarn’s Pinterest Board.

All Seasons Chunky is available in some really gorgeous colours:

All Seasons Chunky

Foam, pebble, powder, drift, shore, dune, reach, cove, heatwave, jetsam, stoney, samphire, flotsam and whirlpool…

Are you tempted? Let me know if you are! I would love to hear from you 🙂

Happy summer knitting (or crocheting)!

XX