Experience Ratings

For guidance only.
Beginner Skill Level Icon

Beginner Techniques
For the beginner knitter, basic garment shaping and straight forward stitch technique

Beginner Skill Level Icon

Simple Techniques
Simple straight forward knitting, introducing various, shaping techniques and garments.

Beginner Skill Level Icon

Experienced Techniques
For the more experienced knitter, using more advanced shaping techniques at the same time as colourwork or more advanced stitch techniques.

Beginner Skill Level Icon

Advanced Techniques
Advanced techniques used, using advanced stitches and garment shapings and more challenging techniques


Obtaining the correct tension is perhaps the single factor which can make the difference between a successful garment and a disastrous one. It controls both the shape and size of an article, so any variation, however slight, can distort the finished garment. Different designers feature in our books and it is their tension, given at the start of each pattern, which you must match. We recommend that you knit a square in pattern and/or stocking stitch (depending on the pattern instructions) of perhaps 5 - 10 more stitches and 5 - 10 more rows than those given in the tension note. Mark out the central 10cm square with pins. If you have too many stitches to 10cm try again using thicker needles, if you have too few stitches to 10cm try again using finer needles. Once you have achieved the correct tension your garment will be knitted to the measurements indicated in the size diagram shown at the end of the pattern

Chart Notes

Many of the patterns in the book are worked from charts. Each square on a chart represents a stitch and each line of squares a row of knitting. Each colour used is given a different letter and these are shown in the materials section, or in the key alongside the chart of each pattern. When working from the charts, read odd rows (K) from right to left and even rows (P) from left to right, unless otherwise stated. When working lace from a chart it is important to note that all but the largest size may have to alter the first and last few stitches in order not to lose or gain stitches over the row.

Knitting With Colour

There are two main methods of working colour into a knitted fabric: Intarsia and Fair Isle techniques. The first method produces a single thickness of fabric and is usually used where a colour is only required in a particular area of a row and does not form a repeating pattern across the row, as in the fair Iisle technique.

Fair Isle knitting: When two or three colours are worked repeatedly across a row, strand the yarn not in use loosely behind the stitches being worked. If you are working with more than two colours, treat the “floating” yarns as if they were one yarn and always spread the stitches to their correct width to keep them elastic. It is advisable not to carry the stranded or “floating” yarns over more than three stitches at a time, but to weave them under and over the colour you are working. The “floating” yarns are therefore caught at the back of the work.

Intarsia: The simplest way to do this is to cut short lengths of yarn for each motif or block of colour used in a row.Then joining in the various colours at the appropriate point on the row, link one colour to the next by twisting them around each other where they meet on the wrong side to avoid gaps. All ends can then either be darned along the colour join lines, as each motif is completed or then can be “knitted-in” to the fabric of the knitting as each colour is worked into the pattern. This is done in much the same way as “weaving- in” yarns when working the Fair Isle technique and does save time darning-in ends. It is essential that the tension is noted for intarsia as this may vary from the stocking stitch if both are used in the same pattern.


Block out each piece of knitting and following the instructions on the ball band press the garment pieces, omitting the ribs. Take special care to press the edges, as this will make sewing up both easier and neater. If the ball band indicates that the fabric is not to be pressed, then covering the blocked out fabric with a damp white cotton cloth and leaving it to stand will have the desired effect. Darn in all ends neatly along the selvedge edge or a colour join, as appropriate. When stitching the pieces together, remember to match areas of colour and texture very carefully where they meet. Use a seam stitch such as back stitch or mattress stitch for all main knitting seams and join all ribs and neckband with mattress stitch unless otherwise stated. Having completed the pattern instructions, join left shoulder and neckband seams as detailed above. Sew the top of the sleeve to the body of the garment using the method detailed in the pattern, referring to the appropriate guide:

Straight cast-off sleeves: Place centre of cast-off edge of sleeve to shoulder seam. Sew top of sleeve to body, using markers as guidelines where applicable.

Square set-in sleeves: Place centre of cast-off edge of sleeve to shoulder seam. Set sleeve head into armhole, the straight sides at top of sleeve to form a neat right-angle to cast-off sts at armhole on back and front.

Shallow set-in sleeves: Place centre of cast off edge of sleeve to shoulder seam. Match decreases at beg of armhole shaping to decreases at top of sleeve. Sew sleeve head into armhole, easing in shapings.

Set-in sleeves: Place centre of cast-off edge of sleeve to shoulder seam. Set in sleeve, easing sleeve head into armhole.

Join side and sleeve seams. Slip stitch pocket edgings and linings into place. Sew on buttons to correspond with buttonholes. Ribbed welts and neckbands and any areas of garter stitch should not be pressed. Wash as directed on the ball band.

Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks

Knitting Needles
14 2mm 0
13 2¼mm 1
- 2½mm -
12 2¾mm 2
11 3mm 2/3
10 3¼mm 3
10/9 3½mm 4
9 3¾mm 5
8 4mm 6
7 4½mm 7
6 5mm 8
5 5½mm 9
4 6mm 10
3 6½mm 10½
2 7mm 11
1 7½mm 11
0 8mm 11
00 9mm 13
000 10mm 15
- 12mm 17
- 15mm 19
- 20mm 35
Crochet Hooks
14 1.00mm 0
13 1.25mm 1
- 1.5mm -
12 1.75mm 2
11 2.00mm -
10 2.25mm 3
- 2.50mm 4
9 2.75mm 5
8 3.00mm 6
7 3.25mm 7
6 3.5mm 8
5 3.75mm 62
4 4.00mm 9
3 4.50mm 10½
2 5.00mm -
1 5.50mm -
0 6.00mm 11
00 6.50mm 13
000 7.00mm 15
- 8.00mm 17
- 9.00mm 19
- 10.00mm 36


All needle/hook sizes are quoted in metric, imperial and US equivalents, written as:

4½mm (no 7) (US 7) knitting needles
4.50mm (no 7) (US 7) crochet hook.

Imperial sizes appear in "materials" section only. Afterwards, only metric and US sizes appear - as 4mm (US 6) needles, etc.

When choosing the US equivalent size for a metric needle or hook, please be aware that some metric sizes will have the same US equivalent. In these cases, use your judgement to select the nearest appropriate size needle or hook.

Example: a design using 6½mm and 7mm needles should NOT give the US equivalents for both sizes as US 10½. Instead, state the correct US equivalent for the needles used most and either contact Rowan for their advice or choose the next size down for the US equivalent, resulting in either "6½mm (no3) (US 10) and 7mm (no 2) (US 10½)" or "6mm (no 4) (US 10) and 7mm (no 2) (US 10½)" being quoted.

Circular Needles

With the increased popularity of of interchangeable circular needle kits, knitters are no longer restricted to just the lengths of "fixed" circular needles available. To cater for this, please state needles lengths as follows: For circular knitting (in rounds), state the MAXIMUM lengths needle that can be used. (Example: 100 sts knitted in the round with 20 sts = 10 cm means actual size of work is 50 cm all round, therefore to ensure sts fit needle properly quote a needle "no more than 40 cm long".) When cicrular needles are used for borders but work is knitted in rows, not rounds, quote the MINIMUM length of needle required. (Example: 100 sts knitted in rows with 20 sts = 10 cm means actual work is 50 cm wide, therefore to ensure sts do NOT fall off needle quote a needle "at least 60 cm long".) Lengths of needles should be rounded up/down to nearest 10cm.

Knitting Abbreviations

K knit
P purl
st(s) stitch(es)
inc increas(e)(ing)
dec decreas(e)(ing)
st st stocking stitch (1 row K, 1 row P)
g st garter stitch (K every row)
beg begin(ning)
foll following
rem remain(ing)
rev st st reverse stocking stitch (1 row P, 1 row K)
rep repeat
alt alternate
cont continue
patt pattern
tog together
mm millimetres
cm centimetres
in(s) inch(es)
RS right side
WS wrong side
sl 1 slip one stitch
psso pass slipped stitch over
p2sso pass 2 slipped stitches over
tbl through back of loop
M1 "make one stitch by picking up horizontal loop before next stitch and knitting into back of it "
M1P make one stitch by picking up horizontal loop before next stitch and purling into back of it
yfwd yarn forward
yrn yarn round needle
meas measures
0 no stitches, times or rows
- no stitches, times or rows for that size
yo yarn over needle
yfrn yarn forward round needle
wyib with yarn at back
sl2togK slip 2 stitches together knitways

Crochet Abbreviations

UK crochet terms and abbreviations have been used throughout. The list below gives the US equivalent where they vary.

dc (sc) double crochet (single crochet)
htr (hdc) half treble (half double crochet)
tr (dc) treble (double crochet)
dtr (tr) double treble (treble)