Friday, February 01, 2008

Rowan: Spring 2008

So I had a very cranky encounter with the principal of Elvis' school yesterday. On Tuesday, some kid kicked Elvis in the chest on the bus. This left a foot-shaped mark on Elvis' skin. The bus driver was aware of it but didn't submit any kind of report that an "incident" happened. Tom emailed the principal (we like putting things in writing). A day and half later: no response. I left an exasperated message on her voicemail, which did trigger a phone call; however, the principal's attitude was "We have no control over the kids once they get on the bus." Grrrrrr. By the way, this kid hit James last fall on the bus. Double grrrrr.

All of this, however, made snuggling in my bed with the new Rowan 43 even more delectable than usual.

I liked this issue. Now, I usually like Rowan Magazines, and this all boils down to taste, but I thought it was a lovely magazine, with pretty layouts and a nice variety of patterns: lace, texture, some simpler and some more complex, men and women, lots of layering pieces and options for warmer weather, attractive styling, many wearable designs but also some trendier ones. (And, thank goodness, there was no Maori warpaint.)

Rowan 43 features three "stories," or themes. The first is "Heavenly," and features lots of sheer, ethereal, lacy garments in icy pale colors and lighter-weight yarns. You'll see several garments -- a batwing-sleeve top, a sheer tunic, lacy sweaters and a stole -- knit in Kid Silk Haze yarns

for that gauzy, clouds-in-the-sky style. There are also several short-sleeve sweaters that can be worn alone or as layers in some of the DK and fingering weight yarns;

some wrap styles; a dress; and a 3/4-sleeve cardigan.

The second story is "Weekender." This has a country cottage or resort feel, and while some of the patterns seemed a little, um, more matronly, others were quite trend-conscious (including some crochet pieces). The Mustang henley is a great casual sweater.

Of special note are some Kaffe Fassett designs with .... set-in sleeves and less boxy silhouettes. [general huzzah of applause] Look at this lovely design.

Way to go, Kaffe-ster! Nobody puts color together like you.

Last is "Elemental," with some slightly thicker yarns (worsted/aran, like Summer Tweed) and neutral shades like taupe and navy.

There are several men's designs in this story, and I like this women's sweater in Bamboo Tape (you can see how beautifully the sheen of the bamboo is shown off by the photo).

By the way, if you are into quilting or sewing, there's an article about American fabric-maven Amy Butler, who has a book coming out soon.

New Yarns

Rowan is introducing an environmentally conscious line called PureLife, beginning with an organic cotton (whimsically named Rowan Naturally Dyed Organic Cotton). This DK-weight yarn is dyed with plant-based dyes, and was sourced with fair trade principles in mind. It will come in eight muted colors -- like pale coral, taupe, butter -- that will weather and fade somewhat.


RYC is introducing Silk Cotton, a roughly fifty-fifty blend of (you guessed it) silk and cotton, just under a hundred yarns per 50g ball. There are 12 shades,

some muted and some deep. I lerve the Wool Silk (hey, somebody who works for Westminster Fibers, send me a bag or three of that there Wool Silk, willya?) so this sounds like a must-have for me. Gauge is around worsted weight.

Rumor has it there's going to be a Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply (same line as the DK weight) in lots of colors, to help overcome the loss of the Jaeger Matchmaker 4-ply; and maybe another new cotton. I'll keep you updated when I hear more.

Pattern Books

One thing I always appreciate about Rowan is their stellar pattern support. You'll notice that when they release a new yarn, they also release a booklet of patterns -- high-quality, beautifully-photographed patterns -- designed especially for that yarn. I'm pretty fearless when it comes to yarn substitution, but not all knitters are, and Rowan is smart to help the more risk-averse knitters to avoid stressing out about yarn substitution.

That means that Rowan's got The Organic Cotton Collection, devoted to this new yarn. You'll find women's and a few men's designs by Marie Wallin. Think English country, with wildflowers and soft colors that suit the natural, kind-to-the-earth aura of this yarn.

RYC is releasing three more books (I forget what number they're up to -- 28, 29 and 30?). You'll find designs for the new Silk Cotton in Summer Delights (with designs by Martin Storey; lots of layering pieces).

Summer Breeze contains all women's patterns, in DK/sportweight gauges and yarns like Bamboo Soft.

Colour of Summer also includes designs by Martin Storey, in Cashcotton 4-ply and DK yarns.

In addition, Rowan's got a booklet of All Seasons Cotton designs, called "All Seasons at the Mill," using its popular aran-weight cotton. (I made a sweater for G. in it and it was her favorite sweater 'til she outgrew it.) This booklet uses real people as the models; there are designs for men and women in this one, mostly casual stuff. It's fun to see the designs on people other than stick-figure models, including the short of stature and the amply-figured.

If you've got teen or tween girls at home, look for "Teen Rowan," a brochure of eight designs. The description says that the garments were selected from the ones featured in Rowan 43, then reknit and resized for girls age 9 to 15. This is a very interesting concept and I'm looking forward to checking it out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this will contain stylish yet not slutty sweaters for young girls...

So there you have it: the Rowan preview for spring. Now excuse me while I open a can of some whup-ass with the principal's name on it.


mindy said...

Go get 'em!

Now gonna high-tail myself over to Rowan's site and subscribe- been meaning to forever. That organic cotton looks fantastic.

Elizabeth D said...

Carol, I believe that bus behavior counts as bullying, and I believe it IS the principal's responsibility to see that it's stopped. Call the transportation department, call the guidance counselor, and threaten to write to the local newspaper. It's remarkable how quickly things can change. That behavior is not an option, and your kid should not ever have to come home with footprints on him. You're a lawyer -- go get 'em!

Lola and Ava said...

Ummm, school law says that the school is legally responsible for your child from the moment that they step foot out your door in anticipation of getting on a bus until they step foot in your door after using that mode of transportation. Honestly, if it happened on a bus that the school used, the principal doesn't have a leg to stand on. Does your school district have video recorders on the bus? Ours made a move to that and the amount of referrals from the bus incidents have gone through the roof because it is no longer a case of "he said/she said."

Anything good for Calmer in this Rowan? I have the London Fug to rip and need some inspiration.


Carol said...

Unbelievable! The principal should resign over comments like that. Talk about abdicating their responsibility. I have perfect confidence that you will get this sorted.

As for Rowan, I completely agree. I've already ordered the yarn for Granite. Bit trendy perhaps for my age but it speaks to me. I'm tired of boring knits. I like the sweater you like too in the Bamboo Tape but I've done that stitch pattern before for Elspeth (a few Rowans ago) and don't think I've got the brainpower to do a whole sweater in it!

Loren T said...

Bullying and assault. No principal worthy of the name would blow off a parent about something like that. Did you take a photo of the mark on Elvis' skin?

Re: Rowan. I generally liked, but it seemed a bit lighter than usual. Perhaps that's because they didn't load it up with ridiculous accessories. I loved "Eerie" from the ethereal collection.

I also liked that the models looked like they actually ate a meal once in a while.

Carol said...

Loren, I did take a photo. The lawyer in me never dies.

I've a call into the guidance counselor and I'm drafing a letter to the superintendent. For now. Of course the principal said she would get back to me "eventually."

In the words of, um, John Paul Jones? I have not yet begun to fight.

Ann said...

I was just about to suggest contacting the counselor. I was a school counselor in a former life and I dealt with many of these issues ... along with the principal btw. Press on, chances are by your pressure the bully will get the help he/she so obviously needs. And Elvis will see that it's not okay to use violence. Good luck.

Carol said...

Well since you're so up with Rowan 43, and the knits look great to me, I may as well go get a copy. I sure hope they send you the yarn and don't treat you like a free ad agent or something. If I didn'e already know what city you're in, I'd swear you were descibing our school. My favorite remedy for these situations is to just show up~and they don't like that, but our schools are trained. Something happens to my kid, you're dealing with me. Kick ass and take names.

Liz said...

People have already said this, but I'll enforce it, call the transportation company. I don't know if your school district contracts out or has their own, but either way both the school and the bus is required to protect students. That child should have been suspended (because obviously he won't stop assaulting other kids). And EVERYONE involved is responsible, from bus driver to principle to administrators. Don't let them scare you away.

But really, just the fact that you're doing something is going to be good for your kids. My parents didn't do things and I think 10 years later I'm still a bit frustrated that no one in the schools supported me against my bully. (Long story short - I got the last laugh. Ivy League education vs fake tan and a slightly less than mediocre state school - but it's still tough.)

Anonymous said...

A friend just had a similar incident happen to her kid on the bus. The school should take a report and contact the transportation dept. of the district. Should. So maybe it's a matter of contacting them directly.

Unknown said...

Hey Carol...can you keep us updated on this Elvis issue.

If you don't get results, and need someone to go kick that other kid's ass, I'd be happy know how I feel about kids (other than yours and Kathy's, of course).

Elizabeth said...

My son was punched in the face at his middle school last year. I got nothing but indifference from the administration. Friends of his were also the victims of violence at school. Thankfully, we were able to move him to a smaller magnet school where violence isn't an issue.

It's rough dealing with this stuff. Give 'em hell Carol!

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I can say that the principal is completely wrong. We discipline children all the time for bus behavior and bus stop behavior. Your child was assaulted and you could press charges with the police if you desire. I am always horrified by educators who do not fulfill their responsibilities.

Mel said...

Whoop-ass is definitely called for. And if that doesn't work, Rabbitch and I will pay a visit with our Addis. You know they wash off best when you stab someone.