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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.