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R O W A N KNITTING & CROCHET Magazine Number 54

Digital Edition

KNITTING & CROCHET Magazine Number 54

Digital Edition

DESIGNERS Marie Wallin • Martin Storey • Lisa Richardson Kaffe Fassett • Kate Davies • Sarah Hatton Vibe Ulrik • Julia Frank • Gemma Atkinson Amanda Crawford • Jennie Atkinson • Josh Bennett

EDITOR’S LETTER It is with great pleasure to introduce the turning page edition of Magazine 54. The turning page really does bring the magazine to life. The next best thing to having the magazine actually in your hands. Once you have viewed all these beautiful designs why not go that step further and become a Rowan subscriber to the magazine and have it delivered direct to your door. 2013 is the perfect season for Rowan with knitwear sitting centre stage of the fashion world creating the drama for the season ahead. Many of the catwalk designers have drawn inspiration for their collections from historic references such as the Baroque. Fashion is also looking to the handicraft textiles of Eastern Europe and the nomadic lifestyle. The Rowan designers have taken these strong trends and worked the different key looks into three distinctive stories. ROMANCING…. inspired by the dark beauty found in haunting and mysterious landscapes. The mood of this exquisitely beautiful collection is dark but romantic and sometimes sinister with a touch of gothic. This story has a little bit of everything from lace knitting to simple textures and some more complicated colour work. FOLK… is inspired by traditional folk patterns. A patchwork of reclaimed layering pieces, pay homage to richly patterned kilims and rugs to create a rich tapestry of colour and texture.- a truly Rowan story that will appeal to the knitters amongst you that like a challenge with the rich colours and tweeds of the autumn. Knit yourself one of these exquisite designs or knit for the special person in your life ESSENTIALS… continues to promote the key shapes of the season in a simpler and more accessible way. Whatever yarn, colour or design appeals to your creative side I hope you enjoy the magazine.

ON THE COVER Berenice Wrap by Marie Wallin Photographer Peter Christian Christensen Art Direction & Styling Marie Wallin Hair & Make-up Frances Prescott (One Make Up) Model Anna Quirk (Bookings Models) Rowan Brand Manager Kate Buller Rowan Head Designer Marie Wallin Design & Publications Manager David MacLeod Marketing and Publications Co-ordinator Lyndsay Kaye Rowan Digital Marketing Manager Karl Hallam Rowan Graphic Designer Paul Calvert Graphic Designer and Web Assistant James Knapton Rowan Designer & Pattern Editor Lisa Richardson Rowan Assistant Designer Gemma Atkinson Yarn & Photoshoot Co-ordinator Ann Hinchliffe Garment Co-ordinator Vicky Sedgwick Knitting Co-ordinator Andrea McHugh Garment finishing Lisa Parnaby & Pauline Ellis Rowan Magazine Design Layout Simon Wagstaff With special thanks to the following handknitters: Andrea McHugh, Sophia Reed, Audrey Kidd, Helen Betts, Yvonne Rawlinson, Gwynneth Allen, Marjorie Pickering, Clare Landi, Paula Dukes, Violet Ellis, Ann Banks, Carol Bayless, Ros Miller, Ella Ferguson, Janet Mann, Linda Watson, Brenda Willows, Janet Oakey, Glenis Garnett, Val Crutchley, Sandra Richardson, Linda Blaire, Cindy Noble, Val Deeks, Fiona McCabe, Margaret Morris, Wendy Shipman, Angela Warner, Elsie Eland, Wendy Stevens, Jenny Cooper, Honey Ingram, Elizabeth Jones, Joyce Limon, Chris Davies, Judith Chamberlain, Jenny Shore, Jyoti More.

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or any part of all material, including illustrations, in this magazine is strictly forbidden. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the copyright owners having been given in writing. The designs in this magazine are copyrighted and must not be knitted for re-sale. Reproduction of this publication is protected by copyright and is sold on the condition that it used for non-commercial purposes. Yarn quantities are approximate as they are based on average requirements. First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Coats Crafts UK. Green Lane Mill, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England, HD9 2DX E-mail: Copyright Coats Crafts UK 2013 Reprographics by Gemini Marketing Solution Ltd

Kate Buller Rowan Brand Manager


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ROMANCING A beautiful collection of romantic lace and patterned knits photographed in the historic setting of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire. Includes 3 FREE downloads for members and behind the scenes videos. FOLK The patterned folk textiles of nomadic eastern cultures inspires this colourful collection of women's and men's knits. Includes 3 FREE downloads for members. ESSENTIALS A collection of the key shapes and textures on trend, designed into simple, easy to wear styles that compliment the season's ESSENTIAL looks. With behind the scenes videos.

Click on the symbol where it appears for a link to further information.

DOWNLOAD Click on the download button where it appears to download the pattern PDF


INSPIRING THE GENERATIONS An introduction to the amazing design resource that is the Knitting Reference Library at the University of Southampton.


KATE DAVIES An interview with Rowan's newest designer, Kate Davies.


CIRCLES, STEEKS & STITCHES An interesting insight into the mystique of knitting on the round.

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HOW TO - STEEKING A step by step guide to working steeks. LOVE MOHAIR Interesting facts about the Mohair fibre. ROWAN DESIGN AWARDS This season sees the students of Winchester School of Art designing a collection of vintage inspired knits. 6 FREE downloads for members and video interviews.




TRAVEL JOURNAL Interesting information on the location for ROMANCING.


WHAT'S NEW Our seasonal review of current publications, exhibitions and other inspiring events and products.


ROWAN MEMBERS CLUBS Further information on our members clubs.



AIDA Fine Lace, Kidsilk Haze & Anchor Artiste Metallic Marie Wallin

SALOME Kidsilk Haze Vibe Ulrik


SALOME Kidsilk Haze Vibe Ulrik




LA BOHĂˆME Fine Lace, Kidsilk Haze & Anchor Artiste Metallic Marie Wallin

CARMEN Kid Classic Marie Wallin





CARMEN Kid Classic Marie Wallin


ALCINA Kidsilk Haze Julia Frank



VERDI Fine Lace & Kidsilk Haze Martin Storey

VERDI Fine Lace & Kidsilk Haze Martin Storey

LA SCALA Fine Lace & Kidsilk Haze Martin Storey



BERENICE WRAP Kidsilk Haze Marie Wallin

CORELLI Pure Wool 4ply Jennie Atkinson



PURCELL Pure Wool 4Ply Sarah Hatton


RAMEAU WRAP Fine Lace & Kidsilk Haze Sarah Hatton



JULIET Fine Lace Lisa Richardson

SILLA Kidsilk Haze & Pure Wool 4ply Jennie Atkinson



VIVALDI Kidsilk Haze Vibe Ulrik


BIZET Pure Wool 4ply & Anchor Artiste Metallic Lisa Richardson


MADAME BUTTERFLY Kidsilk Haze & Anchor Artiste Metallic Marie Wallin


Photographer: Peter Christian Christensen. Styling: Marie Wallin. Hair & Make Up: Frances Prescott (One Make Up) Art Direction: Marie Wallin. Model: Anna Quirk (Bookings Models). Location: Haddon Hall, Derbyshire.


Inspiring the Generations: The Knitting Reference Library Words by Linda Newington.

The Knitting Reference Library (KRL) is part of the University of Southampton Library, and is located at Winchester School of Art, a campus of the University.The KRL was launched at the first In the loop conference in 2008 and is founded on the bibliographic collections of Richard Rutt, Montse Stanley and Jane Waller. Each collector possessed a serious passion for knitting, their individual approaches are illustrated through the resources they collected and established as an essential part of their working lives. The library comprises of nearly 2000 books, 425 journal and magazine titles, an estimated 12,000 knitting patterns and hundreds of knitting pattern books. It includes many widely known classic books from the Victorian period through the decades of the twentieth century to the present day. Richard Rutt and the history of hand knitting Richard Rutt (1925-2011) once popularly known as the knitting bishop, was a scholar and knitter known for his classic book A history of hand knitting published by Batsford in 1987, it remains a key text on the subject. I first met Richard Rutt at his home in Falmouth to discuss the generous donation of his library. Many return visits were made to discuss knitters and their books whenever I made a trip down to Cornwall. It was always a pleasure to meet with him and his wife Joan and to chat over tea and cake. I also saw many examples of his and Joan’s knitting including hats, gloves, cardigans, jumpers and coats. A particular distinction and strength of his library is the range and number of Victorian knitting books which commenced publication in the 1830s. These are small books that include recipes, more akin to guidelines rather than the strict instructions of patterns, sometimes with illustrations in either black and white or hand coloured. They promoted knitting at this time through mass publication. They are interesting antecedents to the contemporary printed knitting pattern and the “how to knit” books of today. Rutt devotes a chapter to The Victorian age and the belle époque in his book providing context and information about a number of the lady authors. He also gives a check list of English knitting literature published before 1910 which lists these small works. He knitted a group of “pence jugs” from the Victorian patterns to test their accuracy and to learn the technique first-hand. On the left: Examples of some of the vintage knitting patterns.

A further feature of his library is the back runs of magazines including Weldon’s, Stitchcraft, and Vogue Knitting.

His knitting pattern collection is especially strong on menswear from the 1920s through to the 1980s including many gems of popular culture. A reference to the Beatles is made by Patons in a dark and moody image of a look-alike Beatle wearing an edge to edge cardigan under the title The Liverpool Look. An unknown classic may be the book entitled The manly art of knitting by Dave Fougner, published in 1972 by Schribner which includes knitting patterns for dog and horse blankets, a hammock and cap. He also collected books on knitting from other countries including Korea and Scandinavia.

Montse Stanley: tradition and renewal an expert of construction and technique Montse Stanley (1942-1999) was born in Barcelona and established her collection as the Knitting Reference Library in her Cambridge home before its acquisition by the University in 1999. Her collecting started in rather an unexpected way with photographs and postcards on the theme of knitting. They were acquired when attending postcard fairs with her husband Thomas Stanley who possessed one of the largest postcard businesses in the UK. Montse Stanley is well known amongst the knitting community for her charisma, enthusiasm and knowledge which is clear from her many publications and the inherent legacy of her collection. The indispensable The handknitter’s handbook: a comprehensive guide to the principles and techniques of hand knitting first published in 1986 by David and Charles has been reprinted and translated many times. It is apparent that she worked closely with the collection of knitted objects which richly illustrate her approach to construction, design and technique especially in the third revised edition dated 1993. I detect that she considered knitting traditional yet inventive, aesthetically beautiful and utilitarian, every day and kitsch, fashionable also comforting, even humorous.This is seen in her copy of Wild knitting published in 1979 by Mitchell and Beazley with many surprising projects for unusual items such as an armadillo cape, unusual dresses and a selection of punk ties. Her collection of knitted objects numbers about 1000 items. It comprises clothing, bags and purses, accessories, domestic items and novelties. The bags and purses date from the late 18th century through to the mid 20th century and are complimented by books detailing the techniques not only in Victorian publications but also in secondary sources for example, Classic beaded purse patterns by E. de Jong-Kramer, Lacis 1996. Her library includes a run of the Girls Own Annual dating from 1881 to 1923. In some copies there are small markers with pencil notes in her hand writing all denoting references to knitting. She also collected fiction, again noting in pencil on the title pages of Agatha Christie murder mysteries all references to knitting. She reveals particular interest in her cultural background with books and knitting patterns books from France, Italy and Spain. They include some interesting works such as Spanish costume of Extremadura by Ruth Matilda Anderson published by the Hispanic Society of America in 1951 with many reference to knitting. There is also a copy of Andean folk knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia by Cynthia Gravelle LeCount, published by Dos Tejedoras in 1990 richly illustrated as yet to be superseded. Her own expertise as related to the construction of garments and objects is clear in further published work Knitting your own designs for a perfect fit, published by David and Charles in 1982 as it notably includes some of her own designs. The emphasis on construction was intended to encourage knitters to develop their own patterns by learning the appropriate skills and techniques through a European approach as illustrated in Continental knitting by Esther Bondesen published by Maurice Friedberg in 1948. This is the practice in Shetland and many other textile cultures where knitting is embedded in a way of life and construction is part of learning.

Jane Waller a vintage original Jane Waller’s first book on knitwear entitled A stitch in time: knitting and crochet patterns of the 1920s, 1930s & 1940s published by Duckworth in 1972 remains a classic of an earlier vintage knitwear revival. I remember visiting Jane to view the knitting patterns at her home in London. Whilst feeling quite excited about acquiring such an unusual collection I was also thinking rather nervously about the practical issues of sorting, cataloguing and storage. Waller started her collection through a chance house clearance when she found and rescued a large number of knitting patterns and women’s magazines. This was the start of her longer term project to recognise their relevance and special value to knitters. Waller also published a compilation of vintage patterns for menswear The man’s knitting book: classic patterns from the ‘20s to the ‘50s published by Thames & Hudson in 1984, she describes the cardigan as “sensible and functional not fashionable.” It is interesting that fashion designers have rehabilitated the cardigan for men as an alternative piece of clothing now seen as signifying urbanity and understated subversity.


On the right: Further examples of publications within the collection.



The extensive range and variety of knitting patterns, pattern books and women’s magazines dating from the 1920s provide a rich resource for the fashion historian and contemporary designer. The image of knitting in the early patterns is remarkably glamorous and stylish. It is this quality that Jane Waller identified and brought to knitters in the 1970s which Susan Crawford has continued and refreshed. The many visitors to the KRL both professional designers and students continue to be inspired by the quality of these images and designs. The magazine Women’s weekly is also part of this collection. It is one title amongst many popular women’s magazines held in the KRL unexpectedly retained given the academic context of the University. They richly illustrate the prevalence of knitting and dress making as thriving domestic activities over the decades with some notable peaks and troughs.

Are you in the loop? I co-organised with Jessica Hemmings the first knitting conference entitled In the loop: knitting past, present and future in 2008 at Winchester School of Art. A constant buzz from the conversation amongst the generations of knitters who attended as delegates was heard throughout each day. The Knitting Lounge located in the Rotunda proving a popular venue. The conference resulted in a published book In the loop: knitting now edited by Jessica Hemmings and published by Black Dog in 2010. In the loop 2: tradition and renewal took place at the Shetland Museum & Archives in September 2010 and was co-organised with Dr Carol Christiansen. A day trip on Sunday up to Yell and Unst in the far north of Shetland proved an unforgettable experience. Prior to the conference we had the opportunity to identify the constancy of knitting and the new generation of knitters through an interview on Radio 4 for Woman’s Hour. In the loop 3: the voices of knitting took place at the Winchester Discovery Centre in 2012 once again including a variety of themes.The themes of adornment, exploration and discovery, sport, voices and well-being were richly explored by the keynote speakers. In the loop 3.5: making connections is at the planning stage and will be taking place as part of the Shetland Arts International Textile Festival 31 July to 5 August 2013.

And Finally The Knitting Reference Library today comprises books, exhibition catalogues, knitting patterns, journals and women’s magazines. It covers knitting, crochet, tatting, macramé and netting. There is also contextual material broadly covering costume, dress and other aspects of textiles. The earliest printed works date from the Victorian period of the 1830s, the latest include the publications of today. New resources are acquired regularly to ensure the library reflects the diversity of approaches to knitting in the 21st century. Montse Stanley’s collection of knitted objects, knitting tools, postcards and photographs is located in Special Collections at the Hartley Library at the Highfield Campus, University of Southampton. This resource compliments the published material enabling the potential link between object and text.

Contact information Our website is at The Victorian knitting manuals have all been digitised and may be accessed via our website link at A pilot project to digitise knitting patterns has recently been completed. The digitised patterns are available via E-mail enquiries to On the left: More examples of patterns. All images courtesy of the KRL, University of Southampton.

The books and journals are all catalogued and indexed on the University’s online catalogue which is accessible via the internet at Special Collections may be contacted in the first instance by e-mail at




Kate Davies Kate Davies’s designs celebrate the colours and patterns of the scenery that surrounds her and her recent collection was inspired by the history and landscape of the Shetland Islands.We met up with Kate in Edinburgh to hear her thoughts on craft, inspiration, and why knitting a sweater is just like writing a poem. I suppose I’ve had a rather unconventional route into designing. I grew up in Lancashire and was taught to knit by my grandma and to sew by my mum. I think much of my aptitude for designing comes from these women, who taught me to be resourceful and adaptable as well as to trust my creative instincts. My grandma kitted out the whole family in her favourite knitting patterns from Woman’s Weekly, and as a teenager, I enjoyed spending Friday nights with my mum at local jumble sales, picking up clothes which were later divided up and added to the mending pile for


modification. I wasn’t so keen on stitching up my own school clothes, but I really enjoyed these jumble-sale customisations, which made me think about how dressing oneself is always to some degree a creative act, and began a long-standing obsession with fashion and textiles. When I left home, I took a different professional route, and after three University degrees, became an academic, researching and teaching Eighteenth Century History and Literature at the University of Sheffield,


and later the Universities of York and Newcastle. My work often took me to the U.S., where I spent long periods working in some wonderful research libraries. On one of these trips to Philadelphia, I became fascinated by how textiles were central to the lives of a group of eighteenth-century women writers whose letters I was reading. As well as exchanging poems and essays, these women spun, sewed, knitted, and swapped patterns for lace collars and embroidery. It was their enthusiasm for textiles that inspired me to start knitting again. From the moment I took up my needles I found it immensely enabling to create garments that didn’t exist in the world of mainstream fashion, and I particularly enjoyed the way that knitting connected me to a place or to a moment, allowing me to bring an idea to life in a very material way. In this respect, as in many others, I find that designing is very similar to writing, an activity which I also enjoy. Essentially, you are giving free-rein to your creativity, but there is a tremendous amount of hard work involved as well. I feel that technical knowledge is just as important as artistry: in the same way that its crucial to know about rhythm in order to write a good poem, I think its also desirable to have reasonable technical knowledge of one’s craft in order to create a beautiful garment. For me, these things are hand in glove. I enjoy the nitty-gritty of figuring out a technical conundrum, and the actual crafty process of making, just as much as any


lightbulb moment of inspiration, and I think that the pleasure I find in designing arises from this singular combination of creativity, process, and discipline. Designers are often asked the “where do you find your inspiration” question, which I find a little odd. I think that if you are someone who enjoys texture, pattern and colour, then the world is constantly alive with inspiration, whether you are on the streets of Kyoto or out in the Scottish Highlands. Because I live in Scotland, and because I love to be outdoors, the colours of this landscape and the textile traditions that have shaped it are endlessly inspiring to me. But inspiration is everywhere, and I think that a hat or a sweater can be an opportunity to celebrate many beautiful things that are often overlooked, from pavements to vegetables. I also think that, while its important to take yourself seriously, its also crucial to retain a sense of humour. That way you are able to recognise when an idea is probably a bad one, such as the time I attempted to knit a sweater inspired by the curious texture of a rhino’s behind. 01. Kate. 02. Blaithin Cardigan. 03. Funchal Moebius - inspired by the mosiac pavements of Madeira. 04. Nepal Wrap from the FOLK collection.


folk Knitted in beautiful autumnal colours influenced by the British countryside, the FOLK collection is inspired by the traditional patterning of Eastern European folk art, creating a collection of relaxed knits for both women and men with a nomadic spirit.


KASHMIR SCARF WRAP Kid Classic Kaffe Fassett



IZMIR Felted Tweed Marie Wallin


BALKAN Colourspun Brandon Mably

KILIM WRAP Felted Tweed Kaffe Fassett


MARASH Rowan Tweed Martin Storey


ISTANBUL Frost Marie Wallin

MILAS Colourspun Josh Bennett


RYA Frost & Kid Classic Lisa Richardson

DHURRIE Felted Tweed Aran Lisa Richardson


BODRUM MENS Rowan Fine Tweed Martin Storey 72

BODRUM WOMENS Rowan Fine Tweed Martin Storey BODRUM WOMENS

SOUMAK SCARF WRAP Rowan Fine Tweed Lisa Richardson


ARMENIA Frost & Kid Classic Marie Wallin


UKRAINE Colourspun & Rowan Tweed Marie Wallin


ANATOLIA Felted Tweed Marie Wallin

NEPAL WRAP Rowan Fine Tweed Kate Davies

HOLBEIN Felted Tweed Aran Martin Storey


Photographer: Sheila Rock. Styling: Marie Wallin. Hair & Make Up: Frances Prescott (One Make Up). Art Direction: Marie Wallin. Models: George Waters (Select Model Management) and James Crabtree (Select Men). Location: Erwood House, Powys, Wales (

NEPAL WRAP Rowan Fine Tweed Kate Davies



Circles, steeks & stitches

Words by Dr Kate Davies

There really is no “right” or “wrong” way to knit: different styles suit different individuals, and a wide variety of methods and techniques exist to match an equally wide variety of garments and fabric types. Yet knitting is a community with its own particular trends and followings, and like any other community, notions of “either / or” divide it. Do you knit English or Continental? Top-down, or bottom up? Do you work back-and-forth, or in-the-round? Such questions of technique — of the “best” stretchy cast-off method; of the “right” way to strand the yarn in colourwork — can transform a bunch of friendly knitters into fiercely opposing camps, each with its own passionate adherents. And there is perhaps no technical opposition more fundamental, or more divisive, than that which is perceived to exist between knitting back-and-forth and knitting in-the-round. 88

01. Traditional Setesdal costume including sweaters. 02. Girl knitting a sock on Whitby Pier c.1880 by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe. Courtesy of the Frank Meadow Sutcliffe Gallery. 03. Knitting Madonna (detail of Annunciation from the right wing of Buxtehude Alter, Bertram Minden, 1400-1410.



The standard arguments of the two camps go as follows: The back-and-forth faction insists: I like a sleek well-fitted garment. Knitting back and forth allows a garment to be carefully shaped using the best tailoring techniques. The torso is composed of curves and lumps of differing proportions. Tailored pieces create the best lines to accommodate these complicated shapes. In the beginning was the sewing needle. Early humans fitted the first garments to the body by stitching pieces of animal skin together with seams. It must be right. The pattern writers of knitting’s ‘golden age’ created beautiful vintage garments designed to be knit in pieces, back and forth. They knew what they were on about. Flat knitting follows industry standards of garment construction and pattern design. Fashion knows best. Against which the in-the-round faction counters: I hate sewing seams and finishing. Knitting in the round involves little or no finishing. The torso is basically a tube, supplied with two smaller, narrower tubes. Therefore all sweaters should be knit in tubular fashion. The beginnings of knitting were circular. Medieval paintings depicted the Virgin Mary knitting in the round. It must be right. Folk knitters all over the world have knitted socks and ganseys in the round for centuries. They knew what they were on about. Elizabeth Zimmermann once designed a seamless yoked sweater which was violated by editors ‘translating’ it into back-and-forth instructions. EZ knew best.


While these two positions may seem intractably opposed, in fact, there are elements of truth in both. Though back-and-forth knitting has certainly dominated the standard lexicon of commercial knitting patterns since the 1920s, instructions for many items (socks, gloves, hats) have habitually been written to be knit in the round. And while the knitters of Estonia and Shetland, Norway and the Faroe Islands have produced in-the-round garments for centuries, these women were also talented seamstresses who used sophisticated tailoring techniques to add shape, structure and decoration to their knitted ganseys and jackets. Today, despite the strong antipathy that one method or another can arouse among some knitters, there is more interplay than ever between methods associated with knitting back-and-forth and knitting in-the-round. Commercial patterns are increasingly written to accommodate many different techniques of flat and circular knitting, while knowledge of aspects of both methods — of the speed and ease of knitting in-the-round or of the structure and clean finish of knitting back-and-forth — lends knitters the freedom to modify the construction of garments in ways that best suit them. One such technique — which enables an inthe-round jumper to be easily transformed into a flat cardigan — is the practice that is known as steeking. Because steeking involves taking scissors to one’s creations, it strikes fear into the heart of many knitters. But this technique, common to all Northern knitting traditions, is much simpler to work than many knitters imagine.










The etymology of the “steek” The word ‘steek’ has its root in the general Middle English verb ‘steken’ meaning to shut or fasten. By the Eighteenth Century, ‘steek’ was a term common to Shetland, Scots and Northern English dialects and, while it might be used in reference to a closed gate, door, or mouth, it was most often associated with needlework or knitting. In Scots, the verb, ‘to steek’ meant to sew, darn, or knit: “Wull ee steek this slittin oxter afore it geets ony woare?” Will you stitch this fraying underarm before it gets any worse? Or, when used as a noun, the word ‘steek’ simply meant ‘stitch’. “For want of a steek a shoe may be tint” For want of a stitch, a shoe may be lost While in some parts of Scotland and Shetland the word “steeking” still primarily means to stitch or close, in contemporary knitting parlance, the word has mutated and morphed to signify the opposite: that is, for most knitters, steeking now means to cut open, rather than to fasten shut. Thus, in pattern books that have been produced over the past thirty years or so, one finds the word “steek” being used in reference to what, in sewing, is commonly called a seam allowance (a few stitches that are worked additionally to the main pattern). Put simply, then, for today’s knitters, a “steek” is a bridge of extra stitches, connecting two separate pieces of knitted fabric, enabling them to be worked swiftly in the round. Preparing, reinforcing, and then cutting open this seam allowance (the practice now commonly known as “steeking”) transforms the tube back into flat pieces. Why use steeks? Steeks can be inserted into any kind of knitted fabric, but their most common application is perhaps in knitting a cardigan using the Fair Isle method of stranded colourwork. This is because carrying and purling two shades of yarn can prove tricky: many knitters find that the purl stitches create significant differences in their tension, or are much slower and more cumbersome to work. But if a steek is cast on in the places where the knitting would have to be divided to be worked back and forth — namely, at the cardigan’s centre front opening, and sleeves — the knitter can work the entire garment in the round, without purling, all the way from hem to shoulders. When the steeks are cut open, the extra cast-on stitches act just like seam allowances around which the knitter can pick up stitches to create button bands and sleeves. But don’t steeks unravel? Knitted fabric certainly likes to unravel, but it does so horizontally. Steek stitches are cut on the vertical, making them far less likely to do so. As anyone who has pulled back their knitting will know, wool is also a very ‘sticky’ fibre which likes to retain its shape. If one is knitting with a purewool or majority-wool yarn then it is very easy to work a steek simply because the stitches ‘want’ to hold their shape rather than to unravel. That said, because the cut edges of the steek are generally used to pick up a sleeve or edging afterwards, it is useful to reinforce them before cutting to help them deal with any strain they might take afterwards. Steeks can be prepared, reinforced and finished in a wide variety of ways. Taking a look at the interiors of a range of historic and contemporary cardigans that have been knitted in the round, before being “steeked” open, illustrates just how different steeks can be. Steeks: an inside view Figure 04 on the previous page, shows the front button bands of a 1920s cardigan knit in several natural shades of Shetland wool.The band has been worked in corrugated rib; buttonholes have been cut vertically into the band; and machine stitching has been used to attach a reinforcing grosgrain ribbon to the inside. Figure 05 on the previous page, shows the grosgrain button-band reinforcement from the inside, and, to its left, the raw edges of a steek, which has been cut open, and folded back to the inside of the garment, away from the bands. The steek has not been reinforced, or stitched down: because the natural Shetland wool is very ‘sticky’ and has a tendency to felt, the knitter has trusted to the natural action of wear, and, over time, the steek edges have slightly felted together and adhered to the inside of the cardigan. Leaving steek edges ‘raw’ and allowing for felting in

this way is a common feature of many Shetland hand-knitted garments, such as the yoked cardigans that are still produced and sold today. Figure 06 on the previous page shows the front button band of a cardigan that has been knitted in an Argyle pattern, and figure 07 on the left shows the interior of the same button band. A steek has been cut to create the cardigan front opening, and the raw edges have been trimmed back, bound over, and secured to the inside with blue blanket stitch. Figures 08 and 09, which also show the front and interior of a button band, illustrate a different and rather more laborious method of securing raw steek edges to the inside of a cardigan. Rather than casting on extra stitches for a steek bridge and knitting across them, the knitter has wound both strands of working yarn round her needle several times. Each time these wound strands are encountered, they are dropped off the needle, creating a giant ladder of strands across the cardigan front. When the knitting is complete, the knitter cuts this ladder in two, creating a series of ends, which are then individually woven in to the back of the work (figure 8). A button band has then been picked up from the edge of the wound steek, and worked in moss stitch. The careful finishing of the ‘wound steek’ has made the edges of this 1930s garment extremely neat and durable. Figures 10 through 13 show recently-knitted colourwork cardigans that use similar techniques of steeking and reinforcing as those used in the earlier garments. For the cardigan in figures 10 and 11, a crocheted steek has been worked, a button band has been picked up along the steek edge, and a ribbon reinforcement has then been hand-sewn to the inside. Rather than leaving the steek edges raw, the crochet reinforcement has been carefully removed, and the steek edges lightly hand-stitched down to the inside. In figures 12 and 13, a ‘sandwich’ edging has been worked to cover and enclose a crocheted steek, securing the cut edges, and rendering them completely invisible. Steeks: beyond the cardigan As we can see from these examples, there are a wide variety of ways to cut and finish a steek. And, because shaping can easily be worked around a seam allowance, steeking is a technique that can be used to knit just about any garment or object. Steeks easily lend themselves to the creation of teacosies and blankets, dog jackets and tank tops. Once you are able to cut up knitted fabric without fear, you really can make just about anything. Inventive knitwear designer, Stephen West, discovered just that in his radical transformations of some favourite thrift-shop finds. Discovering a traditional Setesdal sweater in an Amsterdam vintage store, Stephen had an idea. “The wide drop shoulder construction lent itself perfectly to legs,” he says: “so I transformed the sweater into a pair of tailored pants. I spent the day executing my first crocheted steeks, and re-seaming the fabric using three needle bind-offs and kitchener stitch. I used the arms and shoulders of the sweater for the pant legs, and part of the sweater body for the waist. I appliqued a section from the stranded fabric for a cod piece, which is lined with super-soft merino wool.” Figure 14 shows how Stephen transformed the sweater into pants. The steeked Setesdal pants were just the beginning. Once Stephen started steeking, he found he couldn’t stop: “I’ve now made several other pairs of repurposed sweater pants and they keep me toasty-warm as I roam the streets of Amersterdam. I’ve had dozens of onlookers stop in their tracks staring, laughing, or congratulating me, and offering to buy them.” Stephen thinks that knowing how to work a steek has given him the freedom to transform any piece of knitted fabric into a different shape. “I hope to inspires more knitters to relax and have fun with their knitting.” He says, “the possibilities are endless.” Acknowledgements The author would like to thank the Frank Meadow Sutcliffe Gallery and the Shetland Museum and Archives for their permission to reproduce images from their collections.


steeking how to

Instructions written by Dr Kate Davies.

Here, we’ve illustrated how to practice working a steek over a simple colourwork swatch (A). The basic methods illustrated here can be used for converting any jumper pattern into a cardigan.

1. First, you’ll need to ensure that the pattern is balanced around the centre (where the cardigan fronts will be). If the pattern is not symmetrical, you may need to add extra stitches to complete a full repeat at the end of the round. In the example swatch shown, the pattern is worked over a multiple of 8 stitches, plus 1 to balance the end of the round. (B). 2. Next, you’ll need to decide whether you would prefer to work a crochet or a machine-sewn steek. If you are working a crocheted steek, you should cast on the number of stitches your pattern requires, plus a small odd number of stitches for the steek (I recommend 5). If working a machine sewn steek you should cast on the number of stitches your pattern requires, plus a small even number of stitches (I recommend 6). (C). Whichever method you prefer, work your steek in a simple stripe sequence alternating the yarn shades. These stripes will make it easier for you to identify the individual stitches later, and show you where to reinforce and cut.

work to one side, away from the steek stitches (where you are going to reinforce and cut later) (D, E, F). 4. If following the crocheted steek method, you’ll now need to work two lines of double crochet around the steek’s centre stitch (stitch 3 of 5). Work the first line from top to bottom, and the second from bottom to top, so that the two lines pull away from the centre stitch. (G) 5. With a pair of sharp scissors, carefully cut up the centre of the steek, separating the two lines of double crochet (H). The crochet edging contains the raw yarn ends and creates a neat, sturdy and flexible edge along which to pick up stitches (I, J, K) 6. If following the machine-sewn steek method, you’ll now need to work two lines of machine stitching up the centre of stitches 2 and 4 of your 6 steek stitches. (L, M) Then, using a pair of sharp scissors carefully cut your steek through stitch 3. The machine stitching holds and secures the raw edges of the steek, creating a firm edge along which to pick up stitches (N,O).

3. The round will begin to right-of-centre with the first steek stitch. When switching yarn shades, always do so on this first stitch of the round and, when you have finished 7. Have fun! knitting, weave in any yarn ends along the back of the


















ANGELA Cocoon Vibe Ulrik



ERIN Kid Classic Amanda Crawford



SHERRY Kidsilk Haze Marie Wallin



SHARON Frost Lisa Richardson


CHRISTINE Cocoon Martin Storey


MARY Felted Tweed Julia Frank


LAURA Felted Tweed Aran Vibe Ulrik


MELISSA Pure Wool 4ply Sarah Hatton


WENDY WRAP Cocoon Julia Frank


STACY Kid Classic & Anchor Artiste Metallic Gemma Atkinson


SHANNON Cocoon Gemma Atkinson



CRYSTAL Kidsilk Haze Marie Wallin

Photographer: Peter Christian Christensen. Styling: Marie Wallin. Hair & Make Up: Frances Prescott (One Make Up). Art Direction: Marie Wallin. Model: Ray (Select Model Management).


Love...... ....mohair words by Marie Wallin

Continuing our series of interesting fibre facts, this season the spot light is on MOHAIR. This truly wonderful, versatile and luxurious fibre is an important component in many of our beautiful Rowan yarns including: Kidsilk Haze, Cocoon, Kid Classic and the new Fine Art. MOHAIR is the lustrous long and strong hair of the Angora goat. Used alone or in blends, this soft and hard wearing fibre imparts its unique characteristics to a wide variety of end uses but is mainly used in fashion garments, textiles and knitting and weaving yarns. HISTORY Believed to have originated in the Himalayas, the Angora goat was first domesticated in Turkey, where the name Angora was derived from Ankara, the province where the goats thrived. Heavily protected from export with an export ban until the 19th century, the first Angora goats were imported into the South Africa in 1838 and into the United States in 1849. They came to the UK in 1881 when animals were imported from South Africa by the Duke of Wellington. TODAY the major producers of mohair fibre are South Africa, Texas in the US and Australia. However there are small pockets of Angora goats being bred for their mohair in numerous countries throughout the world. Over the years the climate and geography of these very different areas, together with the different breeding programmes adopted by each country, have led to very different characteristics of the mohair fibre produced. QUALITY American fleeces tend to be dense with a long


staple length producing a marvellous lustre. South African fleeces are noted for their evenness of the fibres, whilst mohair from Australia is regarded as being the fineness. CHARACTER The distinctive properties of mohair give rise to a soft luxurious handle which has a great durability. These properties make it desirable for use in quality products from clothing to furnishing. Mohair has an excellent affinity for dyes and colours produced on mohair fibre have an unmatched clarity. Fabrics made of smooth mohair do not crease, mat or pill and dust and dirt can simply be brushed off.

MOHAIR FIBRE FACTS • All mohair sold commercially is graded and sorted prior to sale. The grades are sorted by the staple length of the fibres: long, medium and short. • Grading is defined by the fibre diameter or micron, eg. Super Fine Kid Mohair (the finest quality) has a diameter of 24 – 26 microns. • Mohair of 13 to 16cm length commands the maximum price. • Angora goats are first sheared at six months of age and then at six month intervals. • The first clip generally provides the Super Fine fibre, whilst good Kid fibre is produced at 18 months of age. 02

• The fibres then become coarser as the animal ages. • The Angora goat produces mohair at rate of 2.5cm (1”) a month. • Mohair, like wool fibre is a natural insulator. • Mohair is naturally flame retardant.


01 & 03. The Angora goat.


02. A close up of the curly fleece of the Angora goat.



HARPERS TWINSET Felted Tweed Meghan Lewis




Winchester school of art Words by Dr Margy Cockburn.

Amazing what a challenge can realise and the Rowan Design Award 2013, executed for the first time with the students of Winchester College of Art and Design, is no exception. Non-knitters have morphed into passionate aficionados, garter stitch novices have come up with completely novel ideas, historical figures have been stylistically reinvented, family relationships have been given a boost as all hands were called on deck and the marvel that is the Knitting Reference Library at Winchester has been thoroughly pillaged and proved, yet again, just what an inspirational resource it is.

The ‘Between the Wars’ brief set by Marie Wallin, Rowan’s Head Designer asked students to concentrate on the traditional stitches, colour and garment detailing of the 1930’s and 40’s. Taking advantage of the wealth of design inspiration found within the Knitting Reference Library, the students were asked to design six contemporary, women’s wear hand knits to reflect this heritage trend. The final six selected designs are shown over the next few pages and we hope that these beautiful knits will inspire you to look at vintage knitting patterns in a new light.


WOVEN CABLE TUNIC DRESS, Felted Tweed, Emma Middleton


BETWEEN THE WARS CARDIGAN, Pure Wool DK & Wool Cotton, Katie Agar


LAND GIRL'S FAIRISLE Pure Wool 4ply & Rowan Fine Tweed Lucy Jones






AMELIA SWEATER, Felted Tweed, Alex Pengelly


travel journal words by Marie Wallin

HADDON HALL Romancing location

Nestling in the valley of the River Wye, about two miles from the Derbyshire town of Bakewell, lies Haddon Hall. Celebrating its description by Pevsner as ‘the English castle par excellence’, it proved to be the perfect setting for our stunning Romancing collection. Haddon Hall is a good example of a fortified manor house, offering the visitor with fine examples of medieval and Tudor architecture and beautiful gardens restored in the early 20th century by the 9th Duchess of Rutland.


The History of Haddon Hall Built of Derbyshire gritstone and limestone, the hall seems originally to have followed the plan of a Norman fort and it was in 1195 that Richard de Vernon was granted permission from King John to build an enclosing wall around the Norman courtyard, tower, chapel and probably other wooden buildings which comprised Haddon. It wasn’t until 1370 that the walls were raised and battlements added during the reconstruction of the house by Sir Richard Vernon VI. However the large size of the windows built during this period suggests that defence was no longer the main priority and instead the emphasis was on the wealth and status of Sir Richard. The Great Hall or the Banqueting Hall was also added during this restoration as well the kitchens (which were housed in a separate building to minimize the fire risk to the main house).


The chapel was also extended during the 14th century and alterations continued into the 15th century with the addition of a new chancel and new windows in 1427. During the latter half of the 15th century further extensions were made to the chapel which saw the addition of the bell tower and the exquisite fresco seccoes on the walls. Towards the end of the 16th century, several rooms were altered by Sir John Manners and his wife Dorothy Vernon, who acquired the Haddon Hall on the death of her father, Sir George Vernon. Sir John and Dorothy constructed the beautiful Long Gallery in the typical Elizabethan style. This major building project was proved to be the last phase of building. In 1703, Sir John Manners, 9th Earl of Rutland and grandson of the original Sir John and Dorothy, was created 1st Duke of Rutland and Marquess of Granby by Queen Anne and the family moved to Belvoir Castle, leaving Haddon Hall empty. The hall remained uninhabited for 200 years until the 9th Duke and Duchess of Rutland in the early 20th century instigated the extensive restoration programme which still continues to this day.



Now, Haddon Hall is once again the family home of the Manners family and is owned by Lord Edward Manners. It is thanks to him and the dedication of the staff that it is now perhaps the finest example in England of medieval and Tudor domestic architecture. Haddon Hall is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays during April and October and open daily from May to September. Please refer to for up to date visitor information including special events and Christmas opening times.


The Rowan crew would like to thank Janet and her team of dedicated staff from Haddon Hall for their kind hospitality and help. The crew stayed at the Devonshire Arms, Pilsley, Derbyshire.


what’s new

A whole season’s worth of knitting books, magazines and exhibitions covering all aspects of knitting and textile design.

Rowan Angora Haze With 14 beautiful luxurious designs by Martin Storey, this lovely brochure showcases one of our new yarns for the season, the exquisite Angora Haze. Rowan Angora Haze is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Order code: ZB142

Visit to view the collection online.

Rowan Thick ‘n’ Thin Sarah Hatton has designed 15 simple and very wearable garments and accessories using one of our new yarns for the season, the fun Thick ‘n’ Thin. With an emphasis on easy to make projects this fabulous collection will be perfect for the beginner hand knitter as well as the more experienced. Rowan Thick ‘n’ Thin is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Order code: ZB138

Visit to view the collection online.

Rowan Alpaca Colour Featuring our exciting new Alpaca Colour yarn, this brochure showcases a collection of 17 contemporary and easy to wear hand knits by Lisa Richardson. This yarn has a beautiful blended colour effect which is perfect for plain and textured knits alike, whilst the alpaca adds the super soft hand feel. Rowan Alpaca Colour is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Order code: ZB143

Visit to view the collection online.

Rowan Autumn Knits Inspired by the continuing trend for heritage country wear, this is a collection of 14 sumptuous hand knits for women and men by Marie Wallin. Using two of our most popular winter yarns Cocoon and Lima, together with our new yarn Lima Colour. Featuring cable textures, small tweed patterns and fairisles and knitted in fabulous autumnal colours, these lovely designs will be both a pleasure to knit and to wear. Rowan Autumn Knits is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Order code: ZB144

Visit to view the collection online.

Rowan Little Star Little Star is a charming collection of vintage inspired hand knits for girls and boys from 3 to 10 years of age. With 21 lovely designs by Marie Wallin using some of our popular yarns, Wool Cotton, Wool Cotton 4ply, Pure Wool DK and 4ply and also featuring our beautiful new Angora Haze. This is a collection that will be a must for knitting grandmothers and mothers alike. Rowan Little Star is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Order code: ZB141

Visit to view the collection online.

Rowan Pioneer Inspired by the pioneer spirit of America’s Mid West, Martin Storey has designed a collection of 14 cosy, easy to wear hand knits for both women and men. Using our popular Big Wool, Pure Wool Aran and Creative Focus™ Worsted yarns, this collection features looks ranging from Amish inspired patterning through to Martin’s signature cable textures. Rowan Pioneer is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Order code: ZB140


Visit to view the collection online.

Rowan Warm & Toasty This fabulous collection showcases easy and quick to knit contemporary winter accessories and simple garments. Perfect for the beginner hand knitter, the collection is designed by the Rowan design team and features 14 designs using our wonderful Alpaca Chunky and Tumble yarns. Rowan Warm & Toasty is available from Rowan stockists from 15th July 2013. Visit to view the collection online.

Order code: ZB139

Aran & Nordic Knits For Kids - 25 designs for babies and young children

aran & nordic knits for kids

Martin Storey The beautiful motifs and patterns of northern Europe have provided the inspiration for Martin Storey’s collection of cables and colour knits for little boys and girls. Martin has chosen a range of Rowan’s natural wool yarns for a range of garments and accessories as well as cushions and throws.

25 designs for babies and young children

Aran & Nordic Knits for Kids is available from Rowan stockists from Autumn 2013. Rowan (UK) St Martins Press (USA). Berry & Bridges Ltd.

ISBN 978-1-907544-61-3

Martin Storey

Price £15.95

Sarah Hatton & Martin Storey - Designer Knits Two of Rowan’s popular designers – Sarah Hatton and Martin Storey – have joined forces to create a special ‘his and hers’ collection of 20 knit designs for girls and guys. In it they showcase their talent for creating the kind of designs in Rowan’s classic yarns that knitters love to knit, wear and just keep on wearing! Sarah Hatton & Martin Storey Designer Knits is available from Rowan stockists from Autumn 2013. Quail Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9567851-9-0


A Knitted Sock Society - 10 Modern sock designs using Rowan Fine Art. Rachel Coopey The Knitted Sock Society is a collection of 10 sock patterns knitted with Rowan Fine Art hand painted sock yarn. The patterns include twisted stitches, cables, lace and colourwork, with geometric patterns, strong lines and intricate details. A Knitted Sock Society is available from Rowan stockists from Autumn 2013. Quail Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9567851-8-3


Dee Hardwicke’s Little Colour Knits - 10 colourwork and textured designs. With a successful track record in creating beautiful, colourful ceramics, Dee Hardwicke fell in love with the Rowan palette of yarns and has used them to create some brilliant knits for the home and for accessories. Dee Hardwicke’s Little Colour Knits is available from Rowan stockists from August 2013. Rowan/Berry & Co Publishing Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-907544-62-0


Dee Hardwicke’s

little colour knits

Knit to Fit - Sharon Brant The beauty of being able to knit is to have something unique, personal and most importantly a garment that looks like it has been made for you! And that comes with the fit of the garment. This book will help you to understand the measurements given in patterns and how that relates to your own shape, the importance of the tension square and how you can adjust the patterns to suit your own personal size. Knit to Fit is available from Rowan stockists from Autumn 2013. Quail Publishing



Socks made simple, plus 8 patterns with Rowan Fine Art sock yarn


ISBN 978-0-9567851-7-6

Price £9.95

Rowan Sock Knitting Workshop - Georgina Park For anyone who is keen to learn to knit socks, or wants to improve their sock-knitting skills, this small book offers all the information needed to raise your game. It covers basic sock knitting techniques, with step-by-step instructions and photographs, and offers 8 different sock patterns for all the family, all knitted in Rowan’s new Fine Art hand-painted sock yarn. Rowan Sock Knitting Workshop is available from Rowan stockists from Autumn 2013. Rowan & Berry & Co

ISBN 978-1-907544-63-7

Price £8.99

Club to Catwalk 9th July 2013 – 16th February 2014 Discover the creative explosion of London fashion in the 1980’s in this major exhibition at the V&A. Through more than 85 outfits, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980’s showcases the bold and exciting new looks of the most experimental young designers of the decade, including Betty Jackson, Katherine Hamnett, Wendy Dagworthy and John Galliano. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Admission charges will apply.

Dress designed by Williams Brown, 1980. ©Victoria and Albert Museum.


em Cl b ub er s s


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Rowan 54  

knitting crocheting

Rowan 54  

knitting crocheting