Review of Rowan's new yarns

Had coffee in the garden for the first time this year yesterday - it felt SO good to be outdoors again. The sun's shining today so with any luck I'll be able to do the same again. The hedge outside the kitchen window is buzzing with sparrows and blackbirds, all tweeting (the original kind, though other would be funny image) and nest building. I love this time of year with all the bulbs coming through, spring green, anticipation, inspiration from renewal. Also Rowan's new shade cards arrived yesterday...
Bell Organic Aran & DK by Amy Butler is new to me and could rival
 one of my alltime faves - Rowan wool/cotton - can't wait to try it!
Maybe this could replace Lenpur linen? Good range of colours.
It's always exciting to see what's on offer from the premier designer yarn company. However, I was disappointed to see that several of my favourite yarns have disappeared - Pure Silk, Silk Twist, Mulberry Silk and Lenpur Linen to name a few. There are gorgeous new additions for us to salivate over though and lots of new shades in most of the stock yarns - I've already picked out quite a few for my next book.
Think this yarn will have fabulous drape and I'm looking forward to
trying it out for shawls, scarves and glam evening wear

Looks as if this may be great for getting the felted look without the
hassle of felting, but can't find any info on how this yarn performs

It's hard for us designers when a yarn we've used in a pattern is discontinued.  Designing knitwear as an independent involves dedication and there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If a yarn is discontinued by the time a new book is published, then it often puts us in a bad light with the knitting public - I can tell you I've had quite a bit of flack over this in the past. It also cuts down options for excerpts and yarn packs, and makes more work for the designer finding substitutes. It encourages a boring ethos of let's stick to the core yarns of any collection to ensure the longevity of the patterns. Of course ultimately none of us want to do that - what designer can resist trying out as many of the scrumptious new yarns as possible?
Chalky colours, love the way it's spun - this 90%cotton/10% silk looks like a winner!
Interesting yarn in saturated summer shades
Trying to keep abreast of the ever-mushrooming yarn lines can be a full-time job in itself, so when considering yarns for books (as against single patterns) I find it easier to use the devil I know. I love the idea of using yarn from many different companies in one book and have tried to do this on several occasions. But logistically this creates just one more mountain to climb. Tight schedules demand finished patterns and pieces up to a year before a book is published, so it's one less thing to have to think about if you can find most of the goodies in one fabulous basket.  With Rowan there's the added bonus of them being just down the road. Unfortunately the discontinuation of yarns and specific colours is an occupational hazard for designers and no matter how hard you try, you can never guarantee that a new yarn will still be there on publication.
An aran weight has been added to the tweed family, fabulous range just
begging for an intricate little fairisle
This is a new addition under the already established 100% British wool umbrella
- a finer boucle quality, I can definitely feel a boucle moment coming on!
It's hard for yarn companies to know how popular a yarn will be until it's on the market and in today's difficult economic climate there's no slack for yarns that don't pull their weight. Unfortunately this applies to both the big companies and the smaller indie ones as they in particular can't afford to invest in yarns that may not sell well for whatever reason.
Yet another angle on the kidsilk haze craze
The final couple of yarns I want to show you are so new they don't have samples for the shade card, only the colours and description. Merino super wash wool and tussah silk sounds like a match made in heaven, so I can't wait to get some Baby Merino Silk on my needles. Another alltime fave of mine was Rowan's 100% tussah silk from years ago - I loved the way it took the dye to produce hues to die for. Adding a stripe to kidsilk haze gives another dimension to this now classic yarn, so I'm sure it'll follow in the footsteps of Rowan's previous kidsilk fibres in being mega-popular.

Baby Merino Silk DK
Kidsilk Haze Stripe
Rowan continue to inspire yarnaholics like me with both their yummy yarns and glorious colour choices. They obviously work hard on yarn development, producing contemporary and innovative fibres which play a big part in helping to keep knitting at the forefront of fashion. However, once more I find myself in the familiar situation where the most important factor in determining whether or not I use any particular yarn in my next book has got to be whether it's likely to make it through the next couple of years.  Ah well, I might as well just take the plunge and start the horrendous task of trying them all out... what was I saying about designers having a hard life? :D


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