Many of us have got used to ordering online and receiving lots of little cardboard boxes in the mail in recent months but isn’t it nice when something turns up that you were not expecting. That happened to me on Saturday when I received this…
and inside was my copy of Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine Number 68. Those lovely people at Rowan sent me a copy so I could share my thoughts about it with you.
This issue is packed with 39 designs contained in 3 stories: City Tweed; Homewear by Erika Knight; and Seamless.
City Tweed is a collection of eight designs by Martin Storey all knitted in Felted Tweed, one of Rowan’s very popular yarns. The designs are quite relaxed and consists of 4 cardigans, 2 jumpers, a poncho and a scarf. If you like you knitwear on the roomy side you will love these designs.
I like this long cosy cardigan, Palladium…
Homewear by Erika Knight consists of 12 designs including cuddly blankets, squidgy cushions and comfy garments to wear while you are lounging around at home.
I love this button-in-the-middle cushion called Botanical knitted using Creative Linen…
How about Marram, a cosy fringed blanket knitted using a combination of Brushed Fleece and Creative Linen, which creates an amazing texture…
There’s even a pair of slippers called Drowsy to knit up in Felted Tweed Aran…
The most exciting section for me is Seamless. This section consists of 20 designs all constructed without seams, working from top-down and in the round. I am not a lover of sewing up my knitting so seamless really does appeal to me. In this Seamless section you will find cardigans, jumpers, wraps, ponchos, ponchos with sleeves, a skirt, a cowl and sleeveless gloves.
My favourite is Kellie, knitted in Alpaca Classic…
I am very tempted to make this but would change the main orangey shade of Copper Clay to a light blue shade such as Blue Haze.
Here’s, Thirlestane, again in Alpaca classic. I do like a cute cardigan…
Here’s another cute cardigan called Abbotsford which will knit up quick as you use a double strand of Alpaca Classic held together…
And maybe I should knit up a poncho as there seems to be so many about. Here’s a kind of slimline poncho called Skibo Falkland ….more Alpaca Classic…
There is quite a good choice of top-down designs in the Seamless section of Magazine 68. If you have tried top-down knitting before you probably know whether you like it or not but maybe you’ve never tried it and are not sure if you should give one of them a go. There are advantages and disadvantages of knitting both top-down and bottom-up designs and I have identified the main issues below so you can decide if you think one will suit your knitting style.
- You can try on as you knit. This makes it easy to adjust the shape of the body and sleeves to get a custom fit. It also makes it easy to achieve the correct length of the sleeve and hem.
- No seams to sew up, or minimal if any. When you’ve finished knitting, the garment is ready to wear.
- Knits up quickly.
- Because of the advantages listed above, if you are someone who starts knitting something but rarely finishes, a top-down pattern is probably the way to go.
- Can be difficult to adjust the bust size: adding stitches to this area will increase the size of the sleeve width too.
- Finished garment lacks structure as there are no seams. This means the weight of the garment will hang from the neck area which can make it lose it’s shape over time due to gravity. ( I have noticed this in a few top-down cardigans I’ve made in the past but not all of them. It tends to happen with the ones that are knitted with a fairly lose stitch).
- The garment is knitted in pieces and sewn together like a dressmakers pattern. This means you are more likely to get a good fit.
- The seams give the garment structure and therefore will probably keep it’s shape and last longer.
- Lots of seaming. If seaming is a barrier to finishing the project this may mean that you may not ever finish the garment.
- The fact that it is knitted in pieces means you cannot try it on as you go. (Although, I have managed to “try on” the knitted pieces as I knit and adjust if necessary).
- Lots of planning needed before you start knitting: checking finished length, body and sleeve sizes much more closely.
So. What do you think? Have you tried some top-down knitting before? Yes? No? Maybe you’ll try one of the designs mentioned here? Please do let me know by scrolling down to “Leave a Reply” below.
Thanks for reading my blog all the way to the end! Stay safe and well.
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I used to knit many Rowan garments with Rowan yarns. They were all bottom up and all came with Rowan’s minimalist instructions.
I think including top down designs is long overdue. So much easier to adjust for fit. And you gain time. A Rowan tutor on a course about finishing said to allow a day for sewing up. Not with top down!
This won’t tempt me back toRowan, but it’s s move in the right direction. I think the magazine is outdated too. It’s easy to find excellent designs without paying for a whole magazine.
Hi Pat, I know Rowan have resisted top-down patterns for a long time and I can imagine the reason being that bottom-up patterns result in good garment structure and longevity of the finished garment, which was important to them and their customers. It is probably correct that you do need to allow a whole day for sewing up but that does not seem too long compared to the many weeks it can take me to knit a jumper… and I am fairly quick. However, I do not look forward to that part! Top-down knitting is very popular in the US and it is easier for beginners to do. Also, the speed of the finished product and how easy it is to get a good fit (as you mentioned) without all the pre-planning and careful measuring and mathematics makes it more accessible to beginners. If a quick knit is what you want then top-down, like you said, is for you.
With regards to the Magazine, many people actually collect these…yes, they are collectors items with some issues being sold for much more than their original price. It’s not unusual for yarn and knitwear designers to bring out magazine collections, such as Vogue. You can buy many of Rowan’s patterns separately online from their website. However, I am pretty sure that Rowan sell the bulk of their magazines worldwide as a Rowan subscription package where you get other benefits and not just the magazine.
Many thanks for your comment,
I am currently making a dress that is top down. I’m not sure how it will finish. Also, if it will fit me.
Hi Kay, Hopefully it should fit well if you try it on regularly and adjust if necessary.