Friday, August 05, 2011

Rowan Magazine 50: Fall preview

Around the middle of summer each year, I get cranky. I am not a summer person, and I do not like hot weather. By the fourth of July I am already eager for cooler weather, back-to-school shopping, and all the fun that fall brings -- with many weeks left to go in our muggy Philly summers. But if there is one redeeming thing about this time of year, when the summer seems all used up and everyone's ready for a change, it's this: ROWAN MAGAZINE TIME!

Every August, just when I'm ready to grab a pitchfork and torch

and march on the school administration building, demanding they start the fall term RIGHT NOW, I get a little blast of refreshment when my new Rowan fall magazine arrives. This year is a special one for Rowan: it's the fiftieth Rowan Magazine to be published. It's fat, it's full of gorgeous patterns, and it is making me so damn happy right now.

Cover featuring Hawthorne Cape (Marie Wallin)
& Beech Mittens (Erika Knight)

The first "story" (as Rowan always calls them) is Wildwood. Now while Wildwood conjures up decidedly un-knitting-like images for many of us Americans who vacation at the Jersey Shore


rest assured that Rowan is talking about whole different kind of Wildwood. Instead of thongs and board shorts, we see "heirloom arans, exquisite florals and handcrafted crochet using the rich autumnal colours of the Briitsh rural countryside."

This section begins with a gorgeous autumnal intarsia sweater by Kaffe Fassett

Holly (Kaffe Fassett)

(is that photography not exquisite?)

a lovely coat with floral motif by Marie Wallin:

Robinia (Marie Wallin)

cabled cape and mittens (shown on the cover), and this lovely stranded design in Felted Tweed:

Maple (Marie Wallin)

My new BFF Martin Storey presents this lovely tunic/vest with more floral motifs

Hornbeam (Martin Storey)

and two sweaters with still more lovely florals, like this one:

Elm (Martin Storey)

I cannot show all 39 designs from the Magazine on this bandwidth but I have to show this scrolling cable number

Laurel (Marie Wallin)

and the lovely stole (also by Kaffe Fassett) which melds colors of KidSilk Haze so beautifully.

Alder Wrap (Kaffe Fassett)

After the first story, you'll find an article about Shetland lace (interesting), and then "Finesse." This group of patterns is inspired by the curve-hugging silhouettes of the 50s and 60s, with more understated design elements. "Betty" features a stranded yoke and cropped shape;

Betty (Marie Wallin)

Bonnie, by Martin Storey, is a very vintage-feeling cabled sweater with lovely lines;

Bonnie (Martin Storey)

You'll find this peekaboo cleavage number

Connie (Jennie Atkinson)

and a design that cleverly uses sheerer mohair for the arms and shoulders but more opaque Cashsoft DK for the bodice.

Molly (Marie Wallin)

The photography, in an historic Derbyshire abbey, is simply smashing.

Next up is an article looking at then and now in the lives of various Rowan designers, and a shorter feature on the virtues of British wool. Then comes "Winter Essentials," the last story, with a neutral color palette and an emphasis on updated, stylish basics. Once again, Martin Storey shines with a tie-front tunic (like the interesting use of cables)

Compassion (Martin Storey)

but I was especially taken with friend-of-GKIYH Sarah Hatton's slightly cropped cabled sweater "Affection"

Affection (Sarah Hatton)

and the chunky-knit "Cordial". (Sarah Hatton is way cool, and I had a blast drinking wine with her at VK Live in New York.)

Cordial (Sarah Hatton)

There are lots of other wonderful sweaters in this story, including the lace tunic by Amanda Crawford

Amour (Amanda Crawford)

a top that uses the drape of Kid Silk Haze to create a cowl-like draped front

Love (Marie Wallin)

and several cardigans that balance style with versatility. (If I make this cardigan, there is a very real danger I will wear it every day.)

Generous (Grace Meville)

After the last of the patterns, there's a sneak preview of the upcoming quilting book by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy featuring Swedish-inspired designs (I'm drooling already) as well as a list of the coming books and booklets by Rowan designers (ditto).

Rowan has recently updated their website and you can now see all of the book's designs here.

It's wonderful to know that in this ever-changing world, one thing has stayed the same: the gorgeous knitwear, terrific styling and amazing photography of a new Rowan fall Magazine. When you consider that you get all of these patterns for less than a buck apiece (the Magazine sells for around US$23 and you get 39 patterns), it is a phenomenal value. More importantly, from an emotional standpoint, with the first day of school still a whole month away, I don't know if I could make it until Labor Day without it.

UPDATE: Thanks Meezermeowy for reminding me to point out that Rowan has greatly expanded its size ranges, with many of the designs going to XXL, to fit 48-50-inch chest size with finished circumferences in the high 50-inch range.

Coming soon: a look at the new fall yarns from Rowan....


Anonymous said...

Since I would have to order the magazine without being able to browse, I ask: do these patterns go up to plus sizes? What is the typical largest bust measurement?


Carol said...

Great point. Looks like Rowan is now including up to XXL in a lot of these to fit 48-50 inch bust with finished sizes in the 58-60-inch chest circumference range.

Unknown said...

That first model scares me!!! Could she have not made such odd faces?

Gauss said...

I love this issue of Rowan, and I cast on immediately for two projects (the "Maple" colorwork cardigan and the "Love" draped neck top) as soon as I got my issue.

Carol said...

Chris, that's really funny. I was so occupied with the sweaters I didn't notice her expressions! But they are kind of odd!

Carolyn said...

I totally love my Rowan 50 Magazine! There are so many great patterns and I love the hard cover.

Marianne said...

zomg. the colours in the Fassett piece. swooning.

Anonymous said...

Big Wool thong. You made me put those things together, Carol! xo

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