Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Rowan Does That Thing It Does, Yet Again

Dear Kay,
I have lost all sense of proportion. Things are a little wacky right now. Here’s why:
rowan50.jpg
ROWAN Issue 50!
We haven’t discussed Rowan lately, have we? I don’t have time for a full Talmudic commentary today, tragically, so here’s my one-word review: scrumptrelescent.
Suffice it to say that you can turn a frown upside down by driving down Franklin Road, stopping in at Textile Fabrics (Nashville’s only fabric store/yarn shop, a truly adorable place with about a thousand miles of ribbons and many buttons), and buying a Rowan magazine. I stopped getting mine in the mail a while back because it felt like all I did was renew renew renew. And there is something delicious about walking into a beautiful shop, finding something you covet, and joy upon joy, bringing it home with you.
The cover, with that Rhinebeck-ready young lass sporting her multiple handknits, really got to me. All those cables! Serpents and eels, all over the place, just ridiculously tantalizing. It must be 95 degrees, wherever this girl is, but what a transcendently peaceful look she has while sporting fifteen pounds of handknits.
A flip-through led me to this photo:
laurelmodel.jpg
If an anthropologist came across this photo, 300 years from now, he would instantly be able to say: “Yes, there was a time, long ago, when lissome young women spent a lot of time sitting in trees and wearing rubber boots.”
This may be the most comprehensively Rowany Rowan photograph ever taken. I’ll welcome other nominations, but really. Forest: check. Full-length skirt: check. Wanness: check.
This pattern is Laurel. I am PROUD to say I was the first person to start this project over on Ravelry, though I am sure I won’t be the first to finish it.
laurelswatch.jpg
I’m using Berroco Ultra Alpaca rather than the specified Rowan Kid Classic. YES, KAY, I have Kid Classic in my stash, but it’s a dun color that didn’t really grab me. This Ultra Alpaca is going to get me good and ready for the coming ice age. Lush and insulating.
Speaking of Rhinebeck, I am wound up kind of tight about getting to come this year. It just about killed me to hear that the pot pie people are not going to be there. Who’s going? And an essay question for extra credit: what is the maximum number of handknits a person should wear? (Note please “should” versus “can.”)
Love,
Ann

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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. I think 3. Handknit socks, sweater, and hat has the potential to be lovely and stylish – add another piece and it starts getting excessive.
    Oooh, maybe 4 if you were outside wearing socks, mittens, hat, & scarf. (5 with a sweater under the coat? Does that count?)

  2. Oooh, my tummy’s rumblin’… I loved those pot pies so much I had them at every opportunity! Have fun.

  3. What! NO pot pies! That is tragic! The food at Rhinebeck is almost the best part.

  4. While I might start my essay with “a person should wear a maximum of three handknits to Rhinebeck,” I should like to take this opportunity to wax rhapsodic on this topic: a person’s maximum number worn should be influenced by the coordinated-ness of the pieces.

  5. Would you please stop distracting me? There I was thinking of a MCB, when you throw the whole fussy cut thing into the mix and now this! I thought I was going to cast on something from the lovely Amy Herzog this week, but now I’m not so sure…

  6. I have only tasted the joy that was the Rhinebeck Pot Pie once … and that year I got the very last one they had to serve (which made it all the more savory). I wonder why they’re not coming back this year?
    Ah, well. There’s always Artichokes French!

  7. That sweater is amazing. Cables normally remind me (rather disturbingly) of a Certain Female Body Part, but these remind me of…sheet music.
    Sweater, socks, hat, fingerless gloves, and perhaps a scarf? Four, I think, would be within the realm of Completely Normal.

  8. You’re right, that photo does display the main triad of Rowan-ness (Rowanitude?), but I’ve got some more candidates: the entire “Eco Romantic” section of Rowan no.38. Long skirts! Crazy hair! Studly guy! Gypsy wagon! And twenty patterns, to boot.
    Then there’s the “Renaissance” section of Rowan no.44: Ivy-covered castle, redhaired Pre-Raphaelite maiden, and in the picture of Kaffe Fassett’s “Damask” pullover (which may be my favorite Rowan photo ever), perfectly posed peacocks, color-coordinated with the moss on the wall.
    What do you think, should this be a poll? “Nominate your choice for the most Rowan-y Rowan photo ever”!
    PS: the Renaissance photo shoot exemplifies my friend Elena’s axiom: the most over-the-top romantic photostylings in knitting mags ALWAYS feature red-haired models.

  9. Laurel is lovely.
    I tend to wear 2 handknits at any one time if I am indoors. Cardigan and socks. However, if it is exceptionally cold or you are outside (where cold is a given) then you can fit an entire ensemble as long as there is some level of continuity (similar or coordinating colors, stylistic similarities, etc.).
    If I were going to Rhinebeck, my handknits would be a cardigan and socks with hat, mittens and scarf carried in a bag.

  10. Yes, 5, but three that you can see at one time. Scarf, hat and gloves. Take off outwear and find a sweater underneath. All the time wearing socks. See, I have a plan.

  11. I think the most “should” is three. I am thinking hands, feet/legs and body.

  12. What about a sweater with a built-in scarf? How should I count that? I mean, if they coordinate and were knit together, they’re kind of a two-fer. Same with hoodie. It makes the chic beret a little redundant. I need to think deeply about this. Preferably on the sofa of a gorgeous yarn shop.

  13. I won’t be there to judge, but I think the max is 3 (possibly 4, the jury is still out): feet – socks; hands – gloves, mittens, or fingerless mitts; body/head – hat or shawl/scarf or sweater (only 1 or 2 from this category). The more you wear, the better they need to coordinate with each other. Socks are not highly visible so can match the pants more than the other handknits.
    However, keep in mind this is my humnble opinion and there are no knit (wearing) police!!!
    I hope everyone has fun no matter what you’re wearing.

  14. Love that blue. Sadly, will miss Rhinebeck again this year, but yes, one day I will get there!

  15. The sky is the limit at Rhinebeck! Part of the fun is seeing all the crazy handknit get-ups. Heck I might even wear my MCB (it’s drying now :).
    Love your blue Rowan sweater – that color is all the rage. Hope to see you sporting it at the Festival.

  16. I, too would go with three: socks, sweater, and hat or shawl, depending on preference. If you are wearing a combination like that it says, “of course, I have many more of these to choose from…” and not “I am wearing my entire handknit wardrobe…” While neither may be true, it is the restraint of the truly handknit rich that gives the cache.

  17. I say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Knitwear that is. Go for it, wear it all! :P I may be wearing a lot at Rhinebeck too, so please avert your eyes if you are offended by a crazy lady wearing lots knitted goodness.

  18. I think that it depends on the nature of the handknit(s), rather than the number. One handknit blanket might be “too many,” but if your hat/scarf/socks/sweater ensemble was subtle enough, you could easily add a piece or two of handknit jewelry (knitted wire earrings, anyone?)and a nice handknit felted bag without appearing excessive.

  19. Also, Oregon Flock and Fiber was held in late September, but was far too hot for any of the usual handknit suspects, so I contented myself with a braided i-cord headband made out of cotton and hemp, and a knitted watchband.

  20. Damn it, I can’t come and stalk you in the Met’s bathrooms……enjoy your stalker free weekend! Take tons of photos for the poor among us who can’t make it this year! Please. And I think you should wear at least five to even be let in the gate: socks, sweater, fingerless mitts, scarf, and hat. Minimum. Doubling up is worth extra points.

  21. But I’m in the minor league, I’m sure :)

  22. I think the rules are sort of like the rules for wearing beaded garments, or items from animal print fabric. One show-stopping piece is all that’s necessary; the rest is distraction.
    But I will concede that one could wear a sweater, a hat, a scarf, mitts and socks all at the same time, but only one of them can be the star. The rest need to be functional but contribute to making a lovely backdrop for the star of the ensemble.
    And I will also concede that those are rules for the “real” world, full of people who think spending $25 on a skein of sock yarn is absurd. What the rules are for Rheinbeck and other such similar gatherings of knitters and fiber fiends, I have no idea.

  23. You can wear as many handknits as you want! But to be practical just stick to sweater, scarf, mittens, hat and socks at one time. Here is a special tip from my husband and I: fill your car/van/vehicle with as many as possible so that you can change during the day as the weather changes.

  24. oooh, i’m going for the first time this year (and i’m from australia). sounds like it’s best that i don’t know what i’m missing with the pot pies. what’s that other thing … funnel cake?

  25. I think three or maybe four items are the max — four only if the last item is socks — And never like this: http://pamsknitting.blogspot.com/2010/01/most-mis-matched-hand-knits-by-single.html

  26. Have you and Kay ever done a Rowanesque photo shoot? I’m visualizing it for your next book cover… (Are we still allowed to visualize in this millenium or is that too 20th century?)

  27. I did not renew my Rowan subscription this year, but I had to have issue 50 to round out my collection (all 50!). Now I suppose it’s time to actually knit one of the patterns. Laurel looks good and I have sufficient Ultra Alpaca, marinating in the back room somewhere. Ready, set, go!

  28. Oh YUM on the Laurel!
    Gorgeous pattern, to-die-for color.
    Have fun!

  29. DH argues the point that I look like “…an escapee from the looney bin…” if I wear more than 3 hand-knit items at once.
    After careful negotiations, he was willing to concede that a pair of socks, pair of mittens or pair of gloves each constitute ONE hand-knit garment – despite being two physical objects. My clincher was that walking around with one mitten or one sock would certainly be counter-productive to the desired goal of NOT looking like said escapee.

  30. I see those 4 in the comments and raise them to 7. Here’s my list: socks, skirt, shell, cardigan, long scarf and…gloves. That’s me. Maxed out and cozy. Bring on the snow.
    Rowan 50 also has Kate Davies’ article on Shetland Lace. That lassie can write textile history like nobody else.

  31. That swatch is a gorgeous shade of blue! The finished sweater is going to be absolutely beautiful.
    Alas, no Rhinebeck for me but, hopefully, one year in the not too distant future. I wonder if they have a “Rhinebeck” equivalent in TX?

  32. Why the need for all this coordination of hand knits? We want to look like knitters, not those freaky color coordinated muggles who purchase their cold weather items at some stupid ready-to-wear store. Hester from Atlanta
    I think 7 different items in the pinky-purple variety should be considered the norm.

  33. Why the need for all this coordination of hand knits? We want to look like knitters, not those freaky color coordinated muggles who purchase their cold weather items at some stupid ready-to-wear store. Hester from Atlanta
    I think 7 different items in the pinky-purple variety should be considered the norm.

  34. Wear only 1 standout hand-knit item like a sweater or hand knit skirt. Although, we do have 365 days in a year to wear our creations!
    or
    Just wear what you love…
    Janice

  35. What’s the gauge for that sweater (Laurel)? I’m looking for something to do in Malabrigo Twist.

  36. You sure know how to coin a word.

  37. Sigh, no Rhinebeck for me.
    Hat, mitts, socks, sweater. Could toss a scarf or shawl over it all. No knitted trousers under any condition but what about a fine gauge skirt and twin set? Go for it!
    And it looks like I might have to get that Rowan 50… I love to look at cable-y sweaters but actually don’t like to knit them.

  38. just go as the two little lambs who have gone
    astray baa baa baa lady songtress off on a spree
    baa baaa baa

  39. Ok. Wait.
    The Dun color didn’t appeal to you?
    Are you feverish, Ann?

  40. Don’t forget a skirt!!!
    I’m loving Able in Kim Hargreaves’s SHADOWS collection (also in that blue you’re knitting).
    You could go ALL in blue, Anne. Think of how happy you’ll make the bingo players!

  41. What…no pot pie? Essential food group on a cold day..but give a Guinness and hot pizza and I’m good. Scratch that. Give me a hot soup, ideally a New England chowder, and I’m all set to dig my hands into yarn and roving for the rest of the day…to be finished with another Guinness for falling into bed with a skein in my hand.

  42. Why not add boot tops to the rubber boots and a beaded co ordinating misers purse to peek out from the requisite long (preferably muted paisley, or plaid) skirt? And a shawl and some angora ball earrings-or have I gone too far?
    and I shall never be able to think about cables in the same way again.

  43. The answer is: it depends on the weather.
    Cold? Then five
    Hot? Then maybe just two: handknit socks and a silk lace shawlette.

  44. Hat, cowl, gloves, sweater, socks. Did I miss anything?

  45. I’ve still never been to Rhinebeck :( Finding out I’ve been missing out on pot pie along with all the yarny goodness all these years is extra disappointing…

  46. I will be there!!! And I believe I’ll see you at the Craft Activism doodah, too. Having never met you in person, Ann, and having met you only once in person, Kay, this will be a big moment for me.
    How many handknits?
    Two that are visible. Stay classy.

  47. I soooo love Rowan. My other favourite Rowan book this season is Winter Warmers – knits in Alpaca Chunky and Lima, Yum!

  48. I soooo love Rowan. My other favourite Rowan book this season is Winter Warmers – knits in Alpaca Chunky and Lima, Yum!

  49. Since when did a dun color not grab you? (Hey, you’ve said it in your own books, I’m allowed to tease a little.) The blue is lovely. Get knitting! I wanna see it finished!

  50. Scrumptrelescent. I am going to have to use that!

  51. I love this Ultra Alpaca colour. It will really koob beautiful once you’re done.
    classified ads

  52. Is the gray sweater under the book a handknit? If so, where can I find the pattern?
    Love Rowan. Someday I’d like to be able to say that I’ve knit a least one thing from each magazine (I have all 50!). It might need a bit of updating, but it would be quite an achievement.