Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Day 9 - Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Holmfirth and Rowan Yarns

We headed off this morning in the rain(again) towards Holmfirth, the head office of Rowan Yarns. Inside their classroom, we were awestruck at all the beautiful yarns and projects on display.

We were offered tea and coffee upon our arrival and introduced to Marie Wallin, head designer.

She spoke to us for about an hour about what her job involves publishing the two magazines and many brochures for Rowan, deciding what the new yarns and colours should be and what yarns and colours should be discontinued to make room for the new yarns. Here are some boards that were created for previous publications.

She spoke about how she organizes the trips to Milan for Fashion Week and what is involved in doing the photo shoots for the publications including hiring the models, finding locations for the shoot and obtaining permission to do the shoot. It was interesting to learn that there is actually a website with available locations listed for rent. Marie also told us how much she enjoys teaching 2nd year students at Nottingham Trent University and had some samples of her students`work there for us to see.

She explained that in the past only a few students would arrive in her design class with knitting experience. This year, for the first time, every one of her students could knit. Some had been taught by their mothers or grandmothers but the majority of them had learned from friends or taught themselves from the Internet.

These two pillows were designed by Marie and the patterns are available for free (click on link below each photo). They're also pictured on the back cover of several current UK knitting magazines.

Union Jack Heart Large Grid Cushion
Union Jack Heart Cushion

After her talk, we were so impressed that someone so busy would take the time from her hectic day to even speak to us.

Around the room were samples from the current Magazine 50.

On the left is Peggy, designed by Marie and on the right is Elm by Martin Storey.
At each of our places was a kit with 3 natural colours of Rowan British Breeds DK and a booklet with the pattern and instructional material about doing intarsia.
Emma King outlined our task would be to knit the pocket from the Union Jack Shopper - the heart for beginners and the Union Jack for the more experienced knitters..

Emma King is the author of several pattern books including the three pictured below.
After lunch of salads and sandwiches, we were given 4mm knitting needles and got started on our projects. Here Cheryl and Diane were working dilligently.
Clockwise from the bottom right are: Laurie, Marian, MaryEllen, Terry and Dorothy.
Emma and Jemma Weston took us in smaller groups to show us their recommended way to pre-wind bobbins for the intarsia and how to start new colours. Here is my project underway with several bobbins attached.
Almost to the halfway point, the back is looking good.
We all happily knit all afternoon. We were again given coffee, tea and biscuits and left at about 3:30. I had finished about half of my project and fiinished the rest on the bus on the way home often humming 'Rule Britannia' whilst working.


  1. Love the Rule Brittania pillow and bag! I am having such fun reading your posts - thank you for taking the time to tell us about your trip.

  2. What a jam packed trip Geri!! Is your brain still trying to digest it all?
    You must have had to bring an extra suitcase for all your goodies!!

  3. Geri, It's been a while since we've k1, p1 @ the Kniterary. I hope that retirement is going well. Your trip to the Rowan headquarters looked awesome. The grey and cream to make the unionjack looked feasible. The photos were a great way for me to experience the trip too. Thanks. Rosie