dear Rowan Yarn,
i have fallen for your charms for sometime now, however when one has spent the equivalent of a year's mortgage payment on your yarns and pattern books, i feel i am slightly justified in penning this letter.
you produce lovely pattern books to tempt me and i fall for it every time..."ok Tif" i say to myself "it can't be that hard" or "umm, the sweater with the million different colors looks tricky, the cost of the yarn is nearly $175, it will take me three years to complete, by which time i will hate the thing with a passion, but why don't i give it a go anyway".
to use a metaphor, i am possibly not the brightest light bulb in the drawer when it comes to knitting, crocheting and pattern reading, but i am quite sure that i am not the dimmest either. for arguments sake, i put myself somewhere between a '60w' and a '100w'.
so could you please tell me, is there a secret code book that i have failed to notice on the shelf next to the pattern books? the patterns are so abbreviated that they are missing vital information that the average 'light bulb' requires to knit
i fear i am not alone here, i own a very intelligent mother who knitted all through the 80's (remember the fashion for ribbon cotton knits) i put her in the '120w and above 'category. she too is "making it up" as she goes along with the 'Rowan Cowl Neck' sweater i put a request in for...
so dear Rowan in future could you possibly find it in your heart to print two versions of each pattern book,
Version #1. for the bright light bulbs ~ lots of abbreviations and no row numbers
Version #2. for the dimmer/average light bulbs ~ a book three times thicker than Version #1 containing ALL the instructions including the old fashioned way of writing 'row 1' 'row 2' 'row 3' etc
thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter.
in the meantime i shall continue to knit only patterns that call for rectangles and squares, e.g. cushion covers and leave the sweaters to my mother, who phoned me this week and announced "that's the last bloody rowan pattern i'm doing, and you will wear this sweater even if you look like a sack of potatoes in it..."
a 'Rowan yarn addict' needing therapy, Tif
i used to work for coats crafts uk, which is part of the same parent company as rowan here in the uk. rowan used to use our warehouse so i walked past boxes full of all their knitting pattern books every day (only pinched a couple, honest!) there was always quite a lot of rivalry between us and them on sales figures and the market swinging between knitting or needlecraft in popularity.
the design studio at rowan was much nicer than ours, they had matching furniture and everything whereas our studio look like a house clearance sale. i spent the day at rowan a few years ago and met erica knight who was giving a really interesting talk about design, marketing strategies etc. i learnt a lot from it. worked for coats for 11 years, was a good time, but am actually happier freelancing now.
I always knitted from my head based on pics from Kaffe Fasset books producing vast garments that are really unwearable - a full length panelled coat in boucle anyone? - they clutter up the drawers under my bed.
I've never actually tried to follow shaping on a pattern, largely as I knit with a mishmash of wool - none the right brand, often mixed together to make an approximate weight.
But I do love the photos in the Rowan magazines - I have the Island knits one by my bed at the moment and am planning to knit the Kaffe Fasset designed cardi in it as a way of using up some of the woold stored at my parents house.
I am a bit of a hoarder and they are fed up with the fact that I left home in 1987 but my craft stuff is still taking up several rooms.
Before I start that though I must finish the button band of a poppy cardigan that I did most of pre-youngest child i.e. 7 years ago. Since then everything I have knitted has been small sized and in cotton not wool. Now (whisper it please) they won't wear what I make. It might be the not following a pattern properly I suppose.
The knitting in your post looks very good - what is wrong with it?
J, there is nothing wrong with the knitting i am doing because it is straight lines, requiring none of the unfathomable increasing or decreasing required in some Rowan patterns...if i do knit their patterns i usually 'wing it' when it comes to the increasing and decreasing...and just try to match the back to the front etc...
lucykate...oooh to have walked in your shoes for a day :)
As a knitting sub editor in another life (before knitting went out of fashion and came back in again)I am all too well aware of how difficult it is to make knitting patterns easy enough to follow by knitters of varying wattage. At Woman's Own we took our responsibilities to our readers so seriously that they sent their wonky knits into us and we sat in the office and fixed them. A semi colon in the wrong place could result in sleeves to fit a gorilla. Visitors would be very disappointed if when they called by we weren't all sat their knitting (a department of 4 in its heyday). Every pattern starts with the importance of matching your tension to the one on the pattern. It took me from the age of 5 to 28 to realise I should take notice of that simple principal. Rowan stuck with it during the 'great knitting depression' when many spinners fell by the wayside. I'm not saying they are perfect but actually they are fantastic. Sometimes experienced knitters have more trouble with things as they bring their own preconceived ideas to the party. Dotty Angel, I'm glad to hear it is a cowl neck sweater you are having problems with and not the cushion covers you spoke of the other day, otherwise you might be a 40 watter. Keep on purling girl.
Laundryetc, i love the fact that people would send in their 'wonky' items to be fixed...and i know that half my problem with Rowan patterns is my tension, i need to switch needle sizes to get it right...but i just love the pictures and the inspirational garments they come up with, plus the lovely yarns, you can't beat the color palette either!
I have had success with their big knits only (using yarn from ebay or Lionsbrand chucky weight stuff that is much cheaper). I saw online that they have a message board where help with patterns is offered but I seem to recall having to pay to use it. Bah. That's a racket.
Do not give up Tif, I admit Rowan patterns are quite difficult, although the photographs are stunning, for me it has to Debbie Bliss, they are easy(ish) to read and always look good, so they should the wool is so expensive, although you have to check the sizing I range from M to, dare I say it... XL depending on the pattern and my weight does not change that much!!!From the look of the knitting, you are not afraid of pattern knitting so get yourself another design comapany...go on take a peek at Debbie bliss and imagine the photos in your life rather than the sugar sweet DB world.
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