Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Winter of 42

When August arrives I always know it's time to make peach jam, start nagging the kids about studying harder this year and anticipate the new Rowan magazine. Like many of you, I start counting how many more sleeps until the new Rowan comes out usually immediately after the previous Rowan comes out. I'll admit that some Rowan magazines are my firm favourites and others not so much.

As a marketer, I spend a big chunk of every work day "judging creative". It's important that I take myself out of the equation as much as possible when I'm looking at layouts and campaigns so everything doesn't become the "world according to moi". Please talk amongst yourselves for a moment while I linger over that concept....ok, I'm back.

I must naturally go into my marketing mindset when I go through a new Rowan magazine for the first time because I'm not thinking at all about what I want to knit or wear. I know that Rowan is a business and I'm always fascinated to see how they present a collection which must appeal to people from many different cultures, ages, body shapes and knitting abilities. It must be a tall order. Therefore, I don't expect to love everything and if I see three designs that I'm attracted to, I consider it a good issue.

R42 for me is a very good issue. I would however also consider this one to be a polarizing collection. There seems to be very little neutral feedback and quite a few declarations of "love it" or "blech". The kiss of death for any creative endeavour is indifference so, at least the consensus seems to be they made a statement.

With that long-winded intro. out of the way, may I present a few of my favourite things from R42?


This fairisle sweater took my breath away. I sat in Julie's store a few weeks ago and put the colours together just to get the effect in person. The thought of wool cotton and kid silk haze next to my skin is enough to make me swoon. Yes, the sleeves are a bit puffy (and the critics say too eighties) but they remind me of a simpler time in my life. Hell, they remind me of a thinner time in my life. I'll take one to go!

Fyne Vest:

Yes, fairisle knitting is back in fashion mainstream. Some of us will click our tongues and say it never went out but that's just for us hard-core groupies. If you think of a knitting book before a town when someone says Stillwater, consider yourself hard core. I love this vest. It's felted tweed. I love felted tweed. This one followed me home and I will wear a deep purple cotton tailored shirt under it. Screw this back and forth stuff. This baby is being made in the round.

I was so happy that Sharon Miller didn't trot out another KSH shawl (and if you know what KSH is simply by its letters - you're hard core). This is stunning I would love to curl up under it in front of a fire on a winter's eve with a good book and a glass of silky Merlot. The fact I've not broken down and ordered this stuff yet should get me some brownie points...yeah, that's the ticket...Merlot and brownies to dine on whilst I'm wrapped in that shawl.

Earth Stripe Stole:

Speaking of Kid Silk Haze, this scarf quite frankly deserves to be on the cover. Leave it to Kaffe to make a striped scarf something decadent. The colours are held together (I believe) two at a time and swapped in and out to make the shading effect. Come on guys! If we all pool our KSH stashes together we must be able to kit this puppy up for a song. Count me in for 3 balls of Trance.

Speaking of more Kid Silk Haze, I shall boldly declare my admiration for this window treatment. Quite frankly, any KSH shawl I make will venture out of the closet maybe twice per year. A KSH window treatment is simply a shawl for the window and I would get to see it FIRST thing every morning as I walk past it. My window is much smaller so it would be a very simple project. I've got 3 balls of the pearl colour in stash...hmmmm.


My stashed Irish Cream 4 ply soft may wake up as this design one day. The photography is way too dark but I love the short row shaping. It gives it such a flattering Art Deco feel. It also calls for KSH. Maybe I can use the left overs from the Kaffe scarf for this? Double play baby. I do love how it looks in different colours on the staff members featured in the book.


This cropped Aran uses the new Cocoon yarn. I have a ball that I got from Julie. I can't stop petting it. Imagine stroking a shiny, soft black cat. That's the closest thing I can think of to describe it. Very rustic and handspun-like. Yes, the styling is a tad "Heidi of the Alps" but hey, a fast knit like this clearly leaves much time for enjoying nature. This isn't the best picture. Heidi's looking a bit like a desperate chalet wife.

I'm including this one as an honourable mention. I love the pattern across the body it seems like leaves are dancing and it uses Cocoon again. Again, the whole bat-winged sleeve treatment is not new for some of us but I hope someone does make this because I bet it would look quite nice. Clearly, this one is targeting the younger knitter. Remember folks - this is new to them. They don't have our baggage.

So ends another fall Rowan. I will be fascinated to see the designs translated by real knitters over the next year or so. Love it or hate it, you have to admit Rowan hasn't faded into the background.

On a closing note, I just looked last night and realized today is my first blogging anniversary. If you've just started reading this blog, welcome! If you've been reading from the very first one ...thanks Dad!


Denise said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Anonymous said...

Happy Blog Anniversary!

I love that Fyne vest myself -- it just might make me buy the Felted Tweed to knit it!

If you follow the instructions for Autumn Rose, everything will be fine - I'm a visual person too, so I had to make myself read the insructions LOL!

LadyLungDoc said...

Happy Blogiversary!
The KSH scarf looks like it would take a loooooong time to knit!

vanessa said...

happy blogiversary!

okay, now i have to run out and buy 42.

Wendy said...

I'm on the fence about Rowan 42. I do like the photography - you can actually see the garment, as opposed to the last few magazines where the "art" eclipsed the ability to see the sweater/vest/whatever. I'm not casting on anything in the near future, but I do enjoy looking at it, and I appreciate that they continued the section that showcases real people wearing the designs.


Dr. Steph said...

I love the vest and KSH scarf the best and admit to being interested in Narvik. I agree that Rowan can be eye candy--I can mentally knit a lot from there and not worry about how it looks on me.

I don't like the puffed sleeves though. Nope.

Happy Blogiversary!

Laurel said...

Oh thank god. I was feeling like a crazy woman for loving that KSH curtain so much. Since you like it too, I'll take comfort in knowing that, while I may actually be a little crazy, it's not because I love that curtain. :-)

Happy blogiversary and thanks for all of the wonderful posts and wine pairings!