Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rowan 44 - or here goes the overdraft

I have succumbed. I tried not to, for about half an hour, because the resolve to be very frugal in this short month of February was still new and the water and phone bills were still fresh frightening numbers in my mind. Christmas was expensive, the overdraft has not yet recovered and there are things like food and train fares still to buy.

But I fell in love, so I have bought this:

I know that the strange dread-locked girl in loose intarsia oddly-coloured garb may put you off. When you look more closely and find out that this is actually a knitting magazine and it cost me £10.95 (+£3 shipping), you may sigh and close your browser window and refuse to grace the pages of my blog with your presence again.

Before you do, however, please please hear me out. The magazine has over 60 patterns in it, so it’s actually not bad value for money (although of course they are counting on you having to buy the exorbitantly priced but exquisitely beautiful yarn to actually complete the projects.) Not only that, but Rowan magazines are always divided into 3 different ‘stories’ and the Renaissance story (yes, bizarre colourful hippy dread-locked girl) is just one of them.

It is the Nostalgia ‘story’ that convinced me I needed this magazine (more of a book really, if we’re going to be honest.) All of the patterns in this ‘story’ are named after 30’s and 40’s movie stars with an elegant vintage style. I know that Rowan is costly but I love it because their designs are actually incredibly stylish and wearable, clothes I would actually pay good money for in a shop. And that’s really the only sort of project that I’m willing to spend my money and my hard-earned free time working on. I want to make something that I’ll be proud to wear – and proud to say I made.

I’ve already ordered the yarn for my first project (the book hasn’t even come yet), the Bacall shrug because it looks fairly simple, and only requires a few balls of yarn:

I’m doing it in Rowan Kid Classic (as recommended by the pattern) in Crystal, a discontinued silvery grey that I’ve managed to find a few balls of on the internet. I’ve not got a good yarn shop nearby (oh, I miss my John Lewis haberdashery section in Norwich – I used to spend hours there) and as this colour is discontinued, I probably wouldn’t have been able to look at a sample anyway. I’m hoping that it will go with my black Jane Norman dress with the silver beading, and possibly my red dress as well. I should also be able to wear it over black tops to work, but we’ll have to see how it actually fits when it’s done.

If all goes well, I think I may try this one next, the Grable Sweater, and I may go all out and do the Lamarr gloves as well because I think they’re so pretty:

I’m not a fan of the colour in this picture, particularly on me, but I’m thinking it might turn out quite nicely in a dark red like this:

Finally, if I find that I can manage those, I may take the plunge with the Fontaine jacket, which is the one I really want, knitted on tiny needles with complex shaping, really a labour of love that I’m not sure I’m ready for. This picture doesn’t do it justice:

Loads of other projects I’d like to try, although possibly not for myself. This collection reminds me so strongly of my sister that we may partner up to do a sisterly project for her, and one of these sweaters would be lovely for my mother-in-law. But first things first… my husband needs to finish his studies and start work this summer before I can really contemplate any massive Rowan wool expenditure.

Wish me luck! There, knitting done for the time being – but expect a report in a week or so when I’ve got my yarn and my book and have taken a stab at the Bacall. Now, off to watch some Cary Grant (the real one, not a sweater), keep working on the never-ending but excellent for TV-watching blanket, and avoiding writing with a rubbish cold.


martha said...

Oh Amelia, I am a sucker for those knitting magazines too. I've gotten much better over the years and have learned which ones I will actually use versus the ones I only sigh over longingly. However, I probably would have bought this Rowan magazine as well because those patterns really do look lovely.

A Homely Heroine said...

I have this! I agree totally that its good value : ) I've made the vintage beret, though I want to re-knit it in a prettier yarn. The 30s/40s section is my favourite too. Can't wait to see how you get on with Bacall, looks like you've chosen a lovely colour for it.