The pop­u­lar de­signer looks back at her work with Rowan

The iconic de­signer looks back at her ca­reer with Rowan as it cel­e­brates its 40th birth­day

The Knitter - - Contents -

THE NAME of Kim Har­g­reaves is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with Rowan Yarns. She was fun­da­men­tal in help­ing to es­tab­lish Rowan’s de­sign style in her role as in-house knitwear de­signer, work­ing with its var­ied yarns to cre­ate at­trac­tive, mod­ern pat­terns.

To­day, Kim is a suc­cess­ful in­de­pen­dent de­signer, reg­u­larly pub­lish­ing her own pat­tern col­lec­tions, but she has fond mem­o­ries of her time with the York­shire yarn com­pany, and looks back at her early ca­reer as Rowan cel­e­brates its 40th an­niver­sary. How did you start out as a knitwear and cro­chet de­signer? “After pes­ter­ing one of Rowan’s founders, Stephen Sheard, he saw my po­ten­tial and gave me a chance - for which I’ve been ever grate­ful.” When did you first come across the Rowan brand and what did you think of it? “My mum used to work for Rowan, and although back then the brand was in its early days, it seemed ex­cit­ing and full of pos­si­bil­i­ties to me.” How did you come to be in­volved with Rowan as a brand - how did you start with Rowan, and where did you end up? “I started on a job place­ment from sixth-form col­lege, print­ing tapestry can­vasses for its craft busi­ness. As Rowan moved into hand­knit­ting, I moved into its de­sign room, even­tu­ally be­com­ing Rowan’s in-house de­signer.” What keeps you com­ing back to Rowan yarns and pat­terns to­day? “Whilst I no longer de­sign for Rowan, I do use its yarns in our pat­tern books. We work with old favourites, along with new ones that feel right for the sea­son and the col­lec­tion we’re work­ing on.” Tell us a bit about your de­sign style. “Each sea­son I aim to bring some­thing fresh to the col­lec­tion, but at its core the de­signs have to be wear­able. My work is ever evolv­ing, I’m al­ways learn­ing what pos­si­bil­i­ties hand­knit­ting of­fers.” What was your first de­sign for Rowan, or your most mem­o­rable de­sign? “One of my ear­li­est de­signs was a sim­ple navy and ecru striped cardi­gan for its first sum­mer book - that col­lec­tion meant a lot to me.” What does Rowan mean to you? “Rowan is still close to my heart. For me, what is spe­cial are the won­der­ful peo­ple that built the brand, and the team that car­ries it for­ward.” What are your favourite Rowan yarns at the mo­ment? Do you have nd a peren­nial favourite that you like to de­sign in? “Brushed Fleece is a goodie, but Kid­silk Haze has been my num­ber one since it was launched. It’s one of the most ver­sa­tile yarns, in some great colours.” What’s your favourite de­sign in the Rowan ar­chive by an­other de­signer? “I al­ways loved a coat de­signed by Kaffe Fas­sett. It was full length and fab­u­lous, and sur­pris­ingly for Kaffe worked al­most en­tirely in just two colours. Un­for­tu­nately, how­ever many times I asked if we could have a ver­sion for the Rowan magazine, he de­clined… I also have a soft spot for his ‘Earth Stripe Tu­nic’ from Magazine 42, over­sized and knit­ted in many shades of Kid­silk Haze – just per­fect!” Where do you see Rowan in 10 years’ time? “My hope would be that they build on their ex­ist­ing yarn range, in­tro­duc­ing new yarns which are rel­e­vant to both hand­knit­ting and fash­ion. I see Rowan con­tin­u­ing to in­spire knit­ters.” Dis­cover Kim’s pat­tern col­lec­tions at www.kimhar­g­reaves.co.uk. Ex­plore her Rowan de­signs at www.kni­trowan.com 1+2 ‘Sun­rise’ and ‘Si­ran’ are de­signs from Kim’s lat­est pat­tern book, Haze 3 ‘Prue’, from Rowan’s Magazine 35 4 ‘Tus­cany’ was an early pat­tern for Rowan, de­signed in 1991 5 Kim ad­mires Kaffe Fas­sett’s work, es­pe­cially his ‘Earth Stripe Tu­nic’

‘Fell’ is a fem­i­nine de­sign from Kim’s Grace col­lec­tion

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