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Knitters Were Here

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I was very excited to find a battered copy of Rowan Magazine 4 (copyright 1988) for £1 in Aberystwyth yesterday. It’s a great issue with beautiful photography and many amazing patterns by famous Rowan designers (Kaffe Fassett, Kim Hargreaves, Sarah Dallas, Erika Knight, Annabel Fox). It’s the earliest Rowan magazine I’ve seen (I was only 4 when this issue was published) and I was amazed by the high quality Rowan have always maintained. The photographs of the issue are made to look aged, and the styling is rural and classic. Here are a couple of spreads:
rowan magazine 4 rowan magazine 4

My favourite patterns are a lacy cardigan by Kim Hargreaves, with ribbing to pull in the waist, and a long cardigan by Annabel Fox, with lacy pockets. Both are far from the usual silhouette associated with most 80s/90s wear.
Lace cardigan by Kim Hargreaves Long silkstones cardigan by Annabel Fox

There seem to be more children’s patterns than there are these days. I don’t think children’s fashions change much. I especially love the matching adult & children clothes. My Mum used to make me clothes that matched hers and I think it’s so sweet.
Duffle coat by Kim Hargreaves Child's aran sweater by Annabel Fox

But my favourite thing about this magazine? The notes of the previous owner. There are margins full of her tallies, and her marks on the chart for the Duffle coat suggest that she knit an adult version as well as one for a child. Perhaps for herself and her son or daughter, or maybe her grandchild?
marked up
She was clearly a local, as she’s underlined the shop in Machynlleth, and even added an address in for Shrewsbury on the ‘stockists’ page. I’m from Shrewsbury so I loved seeing this. I believe there is still a needlework shop on Wyle Cop, I might look it up next time I’m in town. Aber, Mach & Shrew are all on the same railway line, so these would have been the most convenient places for her to buy yarn.
rowan stockists

It’s wonderful to find these little clues to the life of another knitter, and this copy is worth so much more to me than a pristine copy. Have you ever found little clues like these? Are you a proponent of notes in margins? Tell me.

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1st May, 2009  // Life // tags: , , , .

5 Comments

  1. luvzwool says:

    I N V U – what a treat!

  2. amanda says:

    Margin notes are one of the best parts of old craft and cooking books. They can be a little distracting in fiction and textbooks, but in a knitting book–they’re an insight into their world. My favorite are the ones that have nothing to do with the book–they clearly just needed to jot a note and the book was handy.

  3. Yve says:

    What a great find!

    I scribble all over my patterns – usually in multiple colours!

  4. Roosdorentje says:

    Wow! How cool is that!!

  5. That’s really cool.

    When I was in law school, I bought used law books whenever possible to save money. Sometimes, previous students had done a really great job annotating and “book briefing” cases, which was a wonderful bonus. On the other hand, sometimes, the previous students were clearly missing the point! i enjoy margin notes in any case.


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