Rowan Mill Visit and New Yarns Autumn 2014

I’ve just got back from visiting Rowan at their Mill in Holmfirth. What a dream come true this was for me! I had such a wonderful time meeting 13 of the 14 Rowan Ambassadors plus the wonderful and amazing Karl Hallam, Rowan Graphic Designer Web and Print, who is our point of contact, looking after us from afar and also while we were at the Mill. Karl is responsible for all of Rowan website and Facebook content that you see so he has an added handful looking after the very demanding Rowan Ambassadors.


I was so excited to walk through these doors! From the left: Karl Hallam and Rowan Ambassadors Konrad, Violeta and Linda.


What a lovely welcome for us!

I also met the lovely Kate Buller, Rowan brand manager, who gave us a tour of the Mill along with Rowan’s history. Some of this history is very familiar to me as I have been a Rowan fan since around 1980 when I used to work at the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street and walk down to John Lewis to buy my Rowan yarn after squeezing every ball. Kate had laid out a copy of all the very precious 56 Rowan Magazines and we had to pick the one which was out the time we came upon Rowan. To be honest I think I knew Rowan before they brought out their first magazine, but I think I may have given away my age now!


56 Rowan Magazine’s

We then had several meetings and presentations with Karl and Kate and David MacLeod, Rowan Design & Publications Manager, discussing many things to do with our role as Rowan Ambassadors and looking at all the new yarns and designs for Autumn/Winter 2014/15.


What a great group of designers! From the left: Martin Storey, Marie Wallin, Lisa Richardson, Sarah Hatton, Gemma Atkinson and Kate Buller.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Gemma Atkinson, Assistant Designer for Rowan, who has also been coordinating the Martin Storey Mystery Afghan project so I have been sharing your feedback with her and also with Kate and David. So, feel assured all your comments are heard and considered.


Linda and Dayana with their finished Martin Storey Afghan’s

The most exciting part was getting to take a look and feel at the new yarns coming out for the upcoming A/W 2014/2015 season: Big Wool Colour, Brushed Fleece, Fazed Tweed, Fur, Mohair Haze and Rowan Finest. We squeezed every ball of yarn, studied the shade cards and oo’d and ah’ed at the many designs that we saw knitted up, trying several of them on. I must admit I absolutely loved them all and will post my findings very soon! Here’s a peak at them all………







The second and third day was spent in the delightful company of three of my favourite designers, freelance designers Sarah Hatton and Martin Storey, and Lisa Richardson, Rowan Designer and Pattern Editor.  I was also honoured to meet Rowan head designer, Marie Wallin, who delivered a presentation of our design brief for the A/W 2014/15 season.  We were all so excited with the design proposal and began immediately, speeding away with heads down, sketching out ideas and swatching. Lisa, Martin and Sarah gave us lots of help as they wandered around and chatted to us as we worked away. We had to present our designs at 3pm on the third day to Kate, Karl, Lisa, Martin and Sarah so we had to work really hard and fast to get something on paper and knitted up; I found myself knitting some swatches until 1:20 am the following morning! The designers normally have 5 weeks to complete this process but we only had a day and a half! All the designs turned out really well; hopefully you will see mine and the other Ambassador’s design in an online collection soon!

IMG_0500 me Presenting

Here I am on the left with Lisa Richardson presenting one of my designs using Pure Wool Worsted and Mohair Haze.

IMG_0501 me Pres2

Here I am presenting my second design using Fazed Tweed with Lisa Richardson and Sarah Hatton.

I had a great time talking to them all on a one to one basis; I couldn’t have imagined that they would be any nicer than they turned out to be!


All the Rowan team together! Back row from left: Martin, Gemma, Ute, Cindi, Karl, Anne. Middle row from left: Maria, Anja, Marie, Lisa, Sarah, Kate, Claire, Esther (Me). Front row from left: Konrad, Kristen, Dayana, Linda, Sarah, Violeta.

At 4 o’clock we began to clear our belongings away, sad that we only had an hour to go, when in comes a very special cake and champagne to toast us on our way!


What a fantastic few days we had! I can’t thank Rowan enough for making us all feel so very welcome and looking after us as if we were Royalty! If you ever get a chance to take one of Rowan’s workshops at their mill in Holmfirth, Yorkshire, UK you surely will not be disappointed.

The town of Holmfirth is beautiful with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. We stayed at the Old Bridge Hotel which was fantastic; very comfortable rooms and great breakfasts!


View of Holmfirth from my Hotel bedroom.

I hope I can return to Rowan and Holmfirth one day soon!

I would love to know if you have visited the Rowan Mill and what did you do there? Did you take a workshop? If so, which one and who was it with?

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Happy Knitting and Crocheting!