Saturday, 17 March 2007

Going off Rowan

It pains me to admit this, but I'm going off Rowan yarns with the quickness.

This is difficult for me, because when I first started to knit two years ago (yikes, time flies!) Rowan yarn was the yarn of choice. Of course, it helped that my local John Lewis was a stocklist, and the then Rowan consultant was a sweet lady, albeit a little fey.

When I first started to knit, I was told that you should use the best yarns that you can afford, use wool due to its springiness and elasticity, and that upmarket yarn (such as Rowan) had the best in terms of saturated colours.

But a fair bit has changed since then, and Rowan yarns have been getting on my tits for a lot of reasons.

1. Some yarns don't seem to be spun well. Like, I'm a pretty dodgy knitter. I'll knit something, decide that I've made big - nay -HUGE mistakes, and have no compunctions in ripping stuff back to it's original state. My yarn should not be popping in my hands in mid rip (I'm looking at you felted tweed and you cashcotton).

2. Whenever Rowan launches a new yarn, the initial colours are sludge. Like, the new bamboo line in it's beige, mid tint sludge green, middling blue glory. It wouldn't kill Rowan to infuse a few strong colours in its collection, would it? Like a lagoon deep blue, or a firecracker of an orange? These are summer yarns, for crying out loud where are the colours, Rowan?

3. The patterns - to be fair, the Rowan Studio collections are interesting and edgy - but not much of anything else. How much bobbles does Martin Storey have to do before Rowan farms him off? His designs are strangely old fashioned, or teeth achingly twee. Sometimes Storey gets it, but most times, he couldn't hit the far side of a barn. Although my heart does soar at Kaffe Fasset's use of colour (very inspirational), I can't see myself spending around £126 just to knit a stole or a top. New designer Marie Wallin seems to have already hit a rut with her patterns - a chevron bottom with a stocking top. Basic simple shapes that aren't really cunning or charming.


4. The failure in pushing Jaeger yarn. Jaeger has nice yarn. Very good yarn, such as the excellent extra fine merino in jeweled like colours and a nice sprionginess to it. They discontinue such fine yarn with nary a whimper. Other worthy yarns of note such as the aqua and sienna are really lovely yarn, but the patterns don't really support the yarn. So of course, people don't buy the yarn and it gets discontinued. The Jaeger patterns haven't really been inspiring, *sighs* too bad.

Tis the winter of my discontent

So, instead of chilling out in my winter of discontent, I shall sally forth into finding new substitutes. First on my list is a sub for Rowan cotton cashmere. Lovely yarn, but since it's my first lace knit (cribbing the notes off Nell), I can see myself ripping this baby back. I am worried that my yarn will snap. Unfortunately, the cotton cashmere is rather hard to duplicate - cotton, viscose (I think), and a whopping 9% cashmere. The cotton cashmere is nice and springy in a why that a Rowan wool/silk isn't.

So, I'll be composing a letter. I think I'd like to give Rowan a heads up as to why I'm leaving, and looking as far afield as knitpicks in the US, as well as to other European brands. Who knows, they might take on my concerns and buck up on their product, or they might not give a monkey's, allowing me to take my money somewhere else. The new Lana Grossa cool merino yarns have really pretty colours - will go to my dealer - two weeks from now.

Still ripping that bloody jumper.


Nell said...

Oh Jazz, I don't know what to say! Apart from, I have just bought some patons 100% cotton 4 ply in the most yummy ruby red and a sirdar pattern to go wiht it, for the grand total of £8.50. I think togther we should skip hand in hand away from Rowan :)

Nell said...

Thought you might like to see this link :) Jaeger extra fine merino anyone??!.htm

cranberry said...

Thank you nell, you're a star. Running and skipping now!