A skein of Rowanspun DK
Rowanspun DK once knitted up

Yarn Profile: Rowanspun DK

First Impressions
Note: As of June 2004, the Rowanspun product line has been discontinued. If you still have some of this yarn in your stash, or if you've discovered a discount source for leftovers, read on to learn about the yarn!

New yarns excite me, and the Rowanspun line was no exception. For weeks I carried the DK skein in my knitting bag, pulling it out periodically to admire.

I even caught myself harboring covetous thoughts of skipping a review so I could use the yarn for my own selfish purposes. With that much anticipation, I suppose it was only natural that I felt a little disappointed when I finally got to knit with it.

The Rowanspun line presents a new and unusual consistency for wool, not unlike a strand of spaghetti coated in lint from your dryer. The DK weight is airy and light, combining the matte look of brushed mohair with the huggability of chenille and the fineness of Shetland wool.

Rowanspun is available in 4-ply, DK, Aran, and chunky weights. The DK comes in 10 colors: blue, turqoise, green, purple, red, pumpkin, brown, tan, grey, and white (names mine, not theirs). All the tones are rich and earthy, and many of them have a heathered effect.

Pattern support begins with Rowan Knitting Magazine #30 (Fall 2001).

Knitting Up
Rowanspun DK is a lofty but lightweight yarn. The lint-covered spaghetti effect conceals the yarn's two-ply composition. This made knitting a totally snagless experience.

On the flip side, however, the yarn is extremely elastic. I worked hard to maintain a steady tension, but my stitches still appeared slightly uneven. The somewhat slubby texture of the yarn helped add to the hand-knit look.

Blocking / Washing
Just like dough is transformed in the oven, my swatches underwent a transformation in the wash.

Those somewhat bland swatches with uneven stitches became soft, cohesive, almost flannel-like pieces of knitted fabric. They needed no blocking whatsoever, and the gauge stayed true.

The very nature of Rowanspun DK's felt-like spin makes it weaker than its shiny, lustrous counterparts. A gentle tug snapped the yarn in two.

Considering this frailty, I was surprised at how much of a beating my swatches took before they finally surrendered.

Initially the surface became more cohesive and fabric-like with wear, but finally the pilling began.

If you're fond of yarns with luster, sheen, and clearly defined twist, Rowanspun is not for you. Likewise, if you seek a lanolin-rich wool for hefty, durable outerwear, don't even consider Rowanspun DK.

But if you like the Rowan aesthetic and want to have a little of it in your own life, Rowanspun DK is the perfect choice.

I'm also pleased with the price. For only $7.50, you get 219 yards of yarn from one of the world's most respected design houses. And you really do get your money's worth.

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Previous Reader Comments
"I have been wearing my Rowanspun dk lime green pullover all day over a short sleeved t-shirt. On my sensitive bare skin, it is not the least bit itchy. It is light enough to be worn all day in temperatures fron a little warm to 48 degrees. I love the nubbiness. Washing it definitely improved that ragged look that Clara mentioned. right on review. here, here." dkkpersonal, 5/9/2003

"Excellent review. I decided this yarn is definitely not for me. After all Rowan is no longer the great Rowan it used to be. It's now Coats. The yarns I like are Jaeger which is also Coats, but at lest here we have great regular yarns." mpoller, 9/28/2001