We’re in the middle of what they claim is one last snowstorm of this long winter, so it’s a perfect day to turn our attention to something that will remind us of warm weather, sunshine and the historic vistas of Tuscany. Yes, this year the Rowan design team took to the beautiful Italian countryside to photograph the spring/summer magazine. (The Rowan design team are not fools.)
Regular readers of either my blog or Rowan Magazine will know that Rowan Magazine is a beautifully-produced, large-sized magazine, the gold standard for pattern support in the yarn industry. Patterns are mainly knitting with some crochet, and are organized into two main fashion “stories”, along with a third set of designs shot with stripped-down styling (called Essentials). The Magazine usually includes a few feature articles and some regular sections (such as a look at other pattern booklets coming out this season from Rowan). Obviously, since this is a spring/summer publication, we’ll see lots of cottons, linen and silk, and designs that can be worn in warmer weather.
The first story in Rowan 57 is called Daydream, and is described as a romantic set of women’s garments with hints of 1950s sensibility. The designs are an interesting mix of cropped/fitted and long/oversized. For example, Donnie, designed by Gemma Atkinson, is a cropped cardigan made of Cotton Glace and Kidsilk Haze, with reverse stockinette sleeves and a little pattern stitch on the body.
Elda, on the other hand, is a boxy, oversized top with a graphic flower motif on front, knit in gauzy Kidsilk Haze.
Elda by Galina Carroll
You’ll see those two silhouettes, cropped/fitted vs. loose/boxy repeated throughout the magazine.
Zarah is a pretty sleeveless top with crossed straps in the back:
Zara by Vibe Ulrik
Zara, another view, by Vibe Ulrik
Amy Herzog’s Fia is striking — a mostly stockinette front with a hint of lace at the top
but the back is all lace — gorgeous!
Martin Storey’s Catarina is a cream, long-sleeved top that combines eyelet and cable patterns on the front with ribbed sleeves.
Vibe Ulrik’s Violetta is knit in dreamy Kidsilk Haze plus Fine Lace, with lovely flowing lines in the back and a large cable pattern in the front.
The back is styled cross-over rather as than one single piece.
Sarah Hatton’s Esta uses a delicate lace pattern in classic v-neck cardigan form.
and Simona (also designed by Hatton) is an ethereal shawl with lace edging.
The second story, Relic, moves away from the pastels and dreamy nature of Daydream, turning instead to earth tones, more textured yarns and use of color rather than stitch pattern. Borro is a lovely slip-stitch sweater knit in Purelife Revive and Creative Linen in smoky blues:
Borro by Carlo Volpi
Vicchio, designed by the delightful Brandon Mably, features a diamond motif in the tweedy texture of Purelive Revive:
Marie Wallin’s Massa uses Purelife Revive plus Cotton Glace to create vertical stripes in the front with horizontal stripes on back and sleeves.
And Empoli (by Lisa Richardson) uses three different yarns and a ribbed/slipped stitch to create a subtle but lovely crewneck with saddle sleeves.
Don’t fear, ladies, there are beautiful designs for you in the story, as well! Gemma Atkinson’s Sieci is a shot of bold color, crocheted in Pure Linen:
Arezzo, by the amazing Kaffe Fassett, clearly takes its inspiration from the patterns and colors of Tuscany (maybe tile?):
Prato, by Marie Wallin, goes for richly-colored stripes set off by black:
and Poppi (also by Wallin) has got a whole lot of interesting texture going on along with muted stripes.
And last, the Essential section isolates some of the key shapes and design trends that Rowan predicts will be big this season. Again, you’ll find both boxy and drapey pieces on the one hand, and more fitted garments on the other. All are photographed in soft blue shades, and several feature Rowan Denim (which needs special attention paid to it because it shrinks after the first washing; the Denim patterns have been especially designed to take this shrinkage into account and include before and after washing gauges — you can see how the row gauge changes dramatically. Tread carefully and with a calculator if you substitute a non-denim yarn for these patterns.)
Denim is the perfect choice for a jean-inspired button-front vest– so biker chic!
Elektra by Lisa Richardson
But it’s also fun to see in a swingy top
Olympia by Grace Melville
or tunic with a smidge of eyelets around the neckline.
Hestia by Amy Herzog
Handknit cotton is used for a lace dress
Martin Storey’s Alexus
I love the sleeveless top with just enough patterning on shoulder and neckline from the wondrous Sarah Hatton:
Adelphia by Sarah Hatton
Hazy mohair/silk makes for a filmy sweater with fisherman’s rib:
Nemesis by Heather Dixon
and ruching is used beautifully to blend Kidsilk Haze with Cotton Glace:
Philomena by Marie Wallin
Feature articles: a story on the new Clothworkers Centre, a textile arts museum in London; a profile of Amy Herzog; some factoids about silk; and a look at the work of designer Justin Alves Khan.
Summing up, while this isn’t the most edgy Rowan Magazine we’ve seen, it’s filled with beautiful, wearable patterns with classic style. I love the mix of shapes so no matter what you like, there’s something that will appeal to you; the use of interesting stitch patterns and texture; combining stripes along with changes in texture; the mixing of different yarns, even yarns of different weights; and the use of effects like ruching, bell sleeves, and pleats in interesting ways.
Rowan Magazine retails for $23.95 (with 35 designs inside, that’s a per-pattern cost of less than seventy cents!) and is available at a LYS near you.
I received a free copy of the Magazine for review purposes. All photographs used with permission and for review purposes.