I usually love train journeys. I love the sounds of travelling on a train, I love having time to looking at the landscape, and I love knitting on trains. My ideal holiday would be a train journey across a country or a continent. It is just so relaxing. Except if you are travelling down the East Coast of Britain on a hot and sticky Sunday in June. Then a train journey is hell on earth. After a five-hour journey, it was a joy to arrive at my destination in Yorkshire.
I have been to the Rowan Yarns HQ several times now and after the initial excitement of my first visit, I am now able to appreciate the Mill for other things than OMG, I recognise that cardigan and gosh, that's a lot of yarn. This time I closed my eyes and soaked up the quietness of the setting and recharged my batteries.
Most of the Mill is devoted to offices, but the workshop room never fails to make me smile. It is a riot of colour and textures - the walls are laid out like a giant yarn shop (though nothing is for sale), the tables and chairs are covered in Rowan fabric and every nook and cranny features Rowan projects. The photo above shows the Wool Week 2012 collection (patterns for which you can download for free from the Rowan website) tucked away in a corner with a Kaffe Fassett pattern library on the shelves underneath.
I was there to preview the Autumn/Winter 2013 Rowan collection. It is always odd to preview winter garments and yarns in the height of summer, but yarn companies work with long lead-times. I know that just this past week they were shooting the Summer/Spring 2014 magazine which means that the Design Room is now currently hard at work on preparing for Autumn/Winter 2014!
(Needless to say, the mannequins on the right have nothing to do with autumnal or winter knits- I just loved the simple styling and the fruity colours.)
I cannot say anything about the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection - simply because it is yet to be released (although it will be released in a month or so). There are several new yarns and it is always one of the highlights of a Mill trip to see these. I have my own personal favourite already - but I always try to remember that I am not there for myself - I am there to assess how knitters will respond to the new yarns. It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it!
Unfortunately I suffered from insomnia whilst visiting Holmfirth, but it meant I could work on the Stevie cardigan by the lovely Sarah Hatton. Because I live in Scotland, I'm doing the long-sleeved version(!) and I'm knitting it in Rowan Wool Cotton in French Navy. It is a top-down cardigan and I'm into the body section now which means perfect knitting night project.
The train journey back was much, much better. And I even managed to catch a glimpse of Antony Gormley's The Angel of the North.