Hands Up Who Loves Rowan!

by Heather on June 9, 2014

Me, me, ME!!!

As a knitter from England, I have haboured a love affair with Rowan Yarn since I first saw their display in my local John Lewis haberdashery department, sometime in the late 1980′s. A quality brand with wonderfully textured yarns in divine colour stories that made my mouth water, and my fingers twitch to get knitting. I eagerly awaited the twice yearly publication of the Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine – in my opinion, the most beautifully styled and photographed collection of patterns I had ever seen. I shared my Rowan magazines with my Mum and together we slowly flipped through the large pages, discussing which designs we wanted to knit. I don’t think my Mum ever started a project by herself, but at her request, I knitted a few of the designs for her. For myself, I used the patterns as a starting point and made alterations to the designs, slight changes in fit, trims or colour patterning. The written patterns became the style guide, which I later followed to create my own patterns, so Rowan has indeed been a huge inspiration to me in my hand knit design career.

A couple of years ago, I introduced myself to Martin Storey, a designer for Rowan, at a TNNA trade show. We chit chatted about designing and I mentioned my love of all things Rowan. He suggested that I should contact the Rowan team about designing for them, but I was too involved in other design projects. Around two years later, I still had a desire to design for Rowan and couldn’t put off the opportunity any longer.  After writing to the Head Designer, a reply quickly followed and I submitted my first design ideas. I was thrilled to be told that I would be featured in magazine number 56, which is to be released this July – I’m still grinning like a Cheshire Cat and my Mum is as pleased as punch!

IMG_3437
Rowan Headquarters in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

Last week, while on my extended working holiday in little England, My sister drove my Mum and I to West Yorkshire where I was to meet with the Rowan design team in their picturesque mill, nestled on a leafy, dry stone wall lined lane in Holmfirth.

IMG_3435
Selfie in the sunshine

David Macleod, Rowan’s Design and Publications Manager, took me on a tour of the mill and introduced me to the design, technical and marketing teams. Everyone was warm and friendly and seemed to enjoy working in such a lovely environment. My timing for the visit was perfect in that I got to see the samples of my designs which will feature in magazine number 57 – so exciting!

IMG_3453
By the Rowan Hall of Fame, with David MacLeod and Lisa Richardson

David and I chatted about some more design work I will be doing with Rowan in the future, and along with a sneak preview of magazine number 56, I was given a gift bag, filled with all sorts of Rowan goodies!

IMG_0439_LR
My very own copy of Rowan Magazine Number 56

I want to thank David and everyone for making me feel so welcome, and also offer get well wishes to Marie Wallin, Rowan’s Head Designer, who is recovering at home after a recent illness. I know she is eager to get back to work, and I look forward to meeting her on my next visit.

Thank you, Rowan, I can’t wait to come and see you all again!

City Break in Huddersfield! 001
In Picturesque Hebden Bridge
With Mumble Trimbles by the Rochdale Canal

Heather xxxx

 

 

{ 1 comment }

Of all the many, many knitted items I have designed and made, none has had more wear, by me of late, than my Thurlby Lane Beanie.

The yarn, (Malabrigo Worsted) is one of the softest and squidgiest wools I have ever had the pleasure to knit with. So good, I had to look at the label more than once to check that it wasn’t cashmere in disguise!

Here I am, on my birthday, last year, wearing my very first Thurlby Lane Beanie in the glorious colour, Frank Ochre. (Along with my Foxhill Wood Cardi from the same collection.)

IMG_1953

My second Thurbly Lane Beanie was also knit in Frank Ochre and was given as a gift for my sister Julie, who modeled my Winter 13/14 collection, A Rural Idyll, so beautifully.

My third Thurbly Lane Beanie was knit in Marine and was a Christmas gift for the now ex-fella. He had loved mine and requested a navy blue one.

My fourth Thurlby Lane Beanie was for ME!!! I’m a HUGE fan of the colour red, I wear it often, and decided that my life wasn’t complete without a slouchy hat in Vermillion. I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!! See how happy this hat makes me :oD

IMG_0236

On Thursday, I began my 1o hour journey from New Hampshire to JFK airport, to fly back home to little England.

I needed some travel knitting, something small and semi-mindless. What did I choose? My fifth Thurly Lane Beanie, of course!

The yarn, in a beautiful blue called, Tuareg, was my winding project while waiting in the cool, early morning air of Newburyport Bus Station – Oh, the glamour!

IMG_3236

My first bus of the day arrived and I was ready to get knitting.

IMG_3238

A change of buses, needle sizes, and stitch patterns, and I was in full swing as we drove through a rainy Massachusetts.

IMG_3239

I even managed to bag the front seat!

IMG_3240

I carried on knitting from Boston South Station to Port Authority in NYC, where I met up with a friend for a cup of tea and a chat. I hadn’t been in the city for quite some time, so I wanted to stay and hang out for a day or so, but I needed to catch my plane, so down into the subway I went with my luggage and my trusty knitting.

It was a late flight, so I was too tired to knit any more, but the bulk of my hat was done. I snuggled down to watch, The Wolf of Wall Street instead – very good, I might add. I wouldn’t mind seeing that again, on a bit bigger screen!

My lovely, aforementioned sister, picked me up from Heathrow airport to drive me to my parents’ house in Attenborough. In all my years of flying back and forth across the Atlantic, this was the first time I’d ever been picked up from the airport – it was a luxury I will not forget! We chit-chatted about this and that and ate a picnic lunch she had thoughtfully put together.

After what seemed like a couple of days of traveling, we arrived at my parents’ house, where we drank tea and I relayed my journey and handed out some (knitted) gifts.  Then it was nap time. I can’t sleep while traveling, so I’m always exhausted on arrival!

The following day, my Dad, other sister and I drove over to Julie’s house/farm, where we watched a football match between Derby (my Dad’s team) and QPR. Now, I’m not one for watching football, but it was an important match AND Julie has two new Great Dane puppies, so I went along for the ride, taking my almost finished hat with me, of course!

We game was pretty dull, (for me at least), Derby seemed to be the stronger team, but QPR scored the only goal of the match in the last minute, so my Dad wasn’t too happy and Derby didn’t get to be pushed up into the premier league. Oh well, there’s always next year, right?

All was not lost as….. I finished my hat and got to play with the dogs – YEAH!!!!

IMG_3285

Trying to take a cell phone selfie with a Great Dane puppy is not the easiest thing I’ve ever tried to do!

IMG_3283

Both me and my new hat were covered in dog saliva!

IMG_3279

I gave in and took our photos separately!  My hair was in high pigtails, so the shape is a bit wonky.

IMG_3289

Here are Maizie May, (the Border Terrier), and Maddy and Fern the rather large and very playful puppies :o)

IMG_3270

IMG_3269

IMG_3266

IMG_3263

IMG_3251

IMG_3249

Julie heard me laughing and came out to see what was happening.

IMG_3294

I explained that I was trying to take my photo with the dogs, but gave up. She offered to take some photos of the four of us.

IMG_3313

Lots more licking and cuddles!

IMG_3308

IMG_3307

IMG_3304

We had a lot of fun between rain showers!

IMG_3297

Thank you, Julie for your kindness and hospitality. Thank you for letting me play with your dogs!  I’ll be over again soon :oD

Thank you, Malabrigo for making such a wonderful yarn – I love it so much, I knitted five hats in it. I’m pretty sure that number will grow to six, maybe seven, maybe……

{ 2 comments }

My Mountain Hats

by Heather on February 11, 2014

In the middle of last year, I was invited to join in a competition, “My Mountain”, to design a hat out of some new yarn. I designed and knitted 3 hats – I couldn’t help myself! You may remember my hats from a little video I made, featuring them: On the floor with Heather – My Mountain Hats

Well, time passed and one of my hats, Mountain High, made it to the final. The other two hats languished in my stash, (being worn, now and again), waiting to be photographed.

Lil’ Fixie Cap – Buy Now $5

Using Schachenmayr Lova, this hat was inspired by the racing caps favoured by fans of fixed-wheel
bicycles, or “fixies”. I love the snug fit and little peak, it’s the favourite of my 3 hats and I wear it often.

Lil-Fixie-9

Last week, Annabel expressed a desire to model some of my samples, so as soon as the weekend arrived, she bundled herself up in snow gear and I reached for my camera.  It was a beautifully sunny Saturday, so sunny that it was difficult not to squint!

Lil-Fixie-8

Lil-Fixie-1

Lil-Fixie-7

Lil-Fixie-2

Chelsea got into the spirit too!

Lil-Fixie-4

Lil-Fixie-3

Lil-Fixie-5

Lil-Fixie-6

Electric Nesmith Beanie – Buy Now $5

I needed an over-sized beanie! It had to be orange and pink and it had to have a giant pompom! I used 2 colours of Schachenmayr Lumio. When rolling up the brim, I noticed a similarity between my hat and the one worn by my favourite member of The Monkees – Mike Nesmith.
The unique quality this yarn possesses, is a reflective fibre included in the spinning process which makes this
an ideal hat for being noticed during the day and night!

Electric-Nesmith-1

Electric-Nesmith-4

Electric-Nesmith-3

Electric-Nesmith-2

Valda wears Electric Nesmith, Annabel wears Lil Fixie, while Chelsea wants to have fun in the snow!

Both-2

Both-1

Thanks Annabel & Valda – you were FABULOUS models.

Keep warm, have fun!

Lots of SNOGS,

H xxxx

{ 2 comments }

A Rural Idyll

January 27, 2014

Whoah, what a ride the past few months have been! I shall let you in on the details soon, for now, a glimpse into the latest Army of Knitters collection. After a FABULOUS few days in Reykjavik, Iceland, visiting my AMAZING friend, Ragga, I journeyed on to my parents’ house, for an extended stay. My […]

Read the full article →

Where is our little Heather?

November 12, 2013

I know, I know..I haven’t blogged in a ridiculously long time, I should be arrested for lack of content! After over three years of not being able to leave the US, (or rather, not being able to re-enter the US if I did leave), I am finally at home-home and reunited with my lovely parents! […]

Read the full article →