Thursday, 28 July 2011

Woolly Wonderland

Hello and welcome to our second 'quickie' of the evening. Snigger.

When I am not cooking or writing or shaming myself in front of others, I also knit.  My first job was as a Saturday Girl in our town's wool shop, where I was known as 'Squirrel'.  I gained this nickname as I was the youngest member of staff by a good sixty years and was employed solely on my ability to jump from beam to beam in the attic stock-room which had no floor, only the ceiling beams of the floor below.  Health and Safety? Pah, it made me the woman I am today, which isn't a ringing endorsement, I grant you.
I am not a great knitter and I have a worrying propensity towards hats (mainly to cover up my car-crash hair), but a mainstay of my love of knitting is my addiction to Rowan pattern books.  For the most part, I will never be patient or talented enough to be able to create the woollen wonders that they parade on the pages of their glorious brochures, but I can dream.  

Rowan’s pattern books appear every few months and I love them with a passion because their art department seems to reach into my dreams and recreate the gloriously Pre-Raphaelite images. 

But with knitwear.

I give you exhibit ‘A’….

Well, someone likes Ophelia.  It’s not just the very obvious ‘woman looking a bit mad, lying around outside’, but also the deep, lush colouring of the images.  The grass is so Willy-Wonka green, I want to bite it.  

It was definitely this edition of the sublime, twice-yearly Rowan magazine that made me realise the Pre-Raphaelitism in some of their images, especially their Autumn and Winter collections.  The head and shoulders of the young, red-haired lass above is pure Rossetti.

I always find it surprising to look through this particular piece of knitting-porn as I always forget what the girl is wearing as I’m normally just looking at how stunning she is.

Veering towards the Holman Hunt in this one, but it is such a fabulous image.  There is a feeling of opulence in their iconography, that you can’t help thinking of the Venetian fancies of Rossetti’s 1860s.

Rowan aren’t the only ones who obviously love a bit of Pre-Raph.  Yarn and knitwear designer Louisa Harding had yarns named Rossetti and Millais, which has to be one of the strangest cross-overs I’ve heard of so far.

Millais yarn - for those having difficulties consummating their marriage
Rossetti yarn - luxurious, but ultimately unreliable
 Is there nothing that Pre-Raphaelite art doesn't leak into?  No, probably not, but then the unending occurrences of it in my life means that I may never run out of things to talk about.

I am so sorry.


  1. you, my dear, crack me up!!!!
    wonderful post - wonderful images.
    and i for one am happy that you may never run out of things to say!

  2. Seconding the desire for you to never run out of topics!

    There are a few sellers on Etsy who actually name their knit and crochet-wear after the P.R.B. too, so I guess it's more prevalent than one would think!

    LOVE your "blurbs" for the two yarns. I giggled at those ;)

  3. Rowan really is knitting porn! I could look through their catalogs for hours, but I have yet to actually make something out of one of them, especially since I always have to go hunt for a replacement yarn that's much cheaper! Ah, knitting on a budget!

  4. I agree about kntting porn ! The Rowan books are beautiful but much to hard for me! I hang around our amazing local fabric shop and pretent I am thinking of making something but I think they know I am just looking at the lovely pics.your humour is great!

  5. Such gorgeous images - the world of wool suddenly got sexy! I haven't knitted since I made tiny things for my babies and I've probably forgotten how by now (since it's not like riding a bike) but your inspirational post tempts me to hunt out my needles!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx