Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine—Our Brand Heritage

The vision of the founders of Rowan, Stephen Sheard and Simon Cockin, was to showcase designer-led knitwear to an audience that was searching for better design during a knitting boom. Their idea was to create a curated collection, much as happens in the fashion world, and present it in a beautiful package. From that ideal, the Rowan magazine was born. The first issue was launched in 1986, and available only at stores that carried Rowan yarns, then only in the UK. It featured key British designers Kaffe Fassett, Sasha Kagan, Annabel Fox and Sandy Black. Further magazines saw partnerships forged with designers such as Jean Moss, Sarah Dallas, Erika Knight, Martin Storey, Susan Duckworth, Zoe Mellor, Brandon Mably, Debbie Abrahams, Sharon Miller, Lucinda Guy, to name a few. The magazine also nurtured new talents that emerged from the in-house design room; Kim Hargreaves, Louisa Harding and Debbie Bliss have all gone on to be prolific in the knitwear industry.

Over the years the magazine has become Rowan’s signature. The over-sized format, inspiring photography by some of the world’s best at the time, the quality paper—all shaped this exclusive volume. Produced twice each year, it’s still eagerly anticipated by knitters and collectors around the world. Old issues are sought after, often at very high prices.

The covers tell a story through time. Logos have changed—with every issue until Number 6 when a consistent style was finally settled on. Our current logo has been used since Issue 44. There have only been cover lines (which was always a list of designers) up until issue Number 13, then they were dropped to let the strong images speak for themselves, and by then the magazine was very well known. Kaffe Fassett has had at least one of his designs featured in every issue. Quite an admirable feat that speaks to his close connection with Rowan. By far, the most famous issue is Number 10. The cover featured 16-year old Kate Moss at the very beginning of her career, and it was arguably the strongest collection Rowan had produced to date. Anniversary issues are always special. Magazine 50 was released as a limited-edition hardcover, and our 40th Anniversary issue featured a bold and breathtaking design by iconic British fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes.