Rowan Fine Art Sock Yarn

May 13, 2013

Lark Scarf

Being a long-time knitter, and I know so many of you reading this are too, I've knit with just about every type of yarn and fiber that is available and I've started to question what it is exactly that I'm looking for in a yarn.  It's certainly not difficult to find soft yet hardworking yarn in beautiful colors that are affordable, you just have to do a bit of homework, it's all out there in abundance.  But lately, I've been looking for more in my yarn and I know many other knitters are too.  The popularity of Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter, Rowan's British Breeds, the craze over Manos and Malabrigo, and the early acceptance of Pioneer from A Verb For Keeping Warm prove that we're willing to pay a little more for a little something more.

So what is that "something more"?   The yarns listed above are similar in several ways.  Besides being knitter friendly in the traditional way, they are either organic, or minimally processed, or sourced, spun and/or dyed in a part of the world that greatly benefits from the industry, and that could be in your own back yard!  Any one of those attributes will make me take a look and I will almost certainly purchase.  I want to support their efforts and do what I can to help promote the industry I cherish move forward in an earth and people friendly direction.

And now there is a new yarn to add to that list above, Fine Art by Rowan.  The knitting world went all atwitter when Rowan announced they were (finally) offering their first ever sock yarn.  Early reviews were positive, Clara Parke's review is superb and so I felt like I was the luckiest knitter in the world when Rowan emailed me to tell me a skein of Fine Art was on it's way for me to review.

My first impression was downright infatuation.  I received the color Tawny, a mix of soft rosy pinks, browns and mauves.  It felt like a puddle of softness in my hand.  While winding my skein into a ball, I had not one single knot or tangle in the entire 437 yards.  Also, no un-dyed or over-dyed splotches that you often see in hand dyed yarn.  Quality control I assume is high.   I'm making the Lark Scarf, Ravelry link here, using bamboo US 1, the knitting is gliding along smoothly and happily, very zen.  This is my new travel project, kept near the front door for emergency-knitting-when-away-from-home.  It has an undulating drop stitch, very addictive and fast.  I predict this yarn will be a major hit with the knitting community, it's one very lovely yarn.  Rowan has also done what they do so perfectly, offering excellent pattern support with their Fine Art Collection book that is so beautifully styled you'll want to jump right into the pages of the book and have a good long poke around.

Fine Art is sourced, spun and dyed in South Africa, and in their words "working with people from the poorest and still marginalized communities in the area".  Read all about it here, from the conception to the final dying process, it's fascinating and heart-warming.  Fine Art is composed of merino wool, kid mohair, polymide and silk.  The mohair gives it the tiniest halo, the silk adds sheen and the polymide adds durability.  It's hand wash, but that's ok, right?  That it's not overly super-washed processed is fine with me.   It will knit up to 32 stitches per 4 inches with a US 1, but knitters out there will get creative and go with different gauges to get different drape effects.  Fine Art comes in 8 colorways, all named after birds!  I can't wait to see the beautiful projects made with this yarn.

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  1. I can't wait to see it! Thanks for the review!

  2. Great review. I've seen this in the yarn store and it was beautiful.


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