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  • Here we go again! It was a Kay Ode to Rowan Denim Yarn such as this a few years ago that resulted in 15 skeins of Rowan Denim snoozing in my stash. I am just beginning the perfect Denim Sweater (Hayward) with said skeins. I feel more RDY moving toward my shopping cart………

    I’ve fallen in love with it, too…..

  • It’s obvious. Keep knitting those blocks, Kay.

  • I am a loyal denim disciple and I bow to you, Kay, the Denim Master. I have a colleague who is a new knitter and a new auntie. She is all about knitting adorable baby clothes right now, and last week, in a stroke of genius, I showed her the MDK baby jeans pattern “Blu.” As soon as she finishes the adorable grandpa cardi she is making for her new nephew, she will be casting on baby jeans! I happen to have a huge stash of Rowan Denim so I can get her started right away. (Insert maniacal laughter here)

  • I really enjoyed how you had two articles here – the main one and then the mini story about what to do with the remaining 7 squares in all of the picture captions. Is knitting with denim like knitting with cotton, i.e., a bit harder on the hands?

    • Oh duh. And now I see that denim is cotton. Excuse me while I go drink my coffee now.

  • Sounds good Kay. Really. Really. Good.

  • love reading your love of the denim. and yes ! so many possibilites for new directions with those building blocks. xo and bises !

  • I’ve knit several sweaters with Rowan denim and while I like the yarn and the look of the finished project, I have NEVER had the sweater I’ve made shrink as much as directions on Rowan patterns say it will and I always end up with a really over sized sweater that is not at all what I’ve wanted. (Plus when you knit as much as they say you need to knit….which is always more than I’d knit in a regular garment….in order to accommodate the shrinkage and then it doesn’t shrink…it leaves me feeling a little bit homicidal toward the Rowan people!) This isn’t a problem with a blanket, but it makes me reluctant to ever knit another garment out of Denim, no matter how much I like the yarn. Any thoughts?

    • I made a skirt from Rowan Denim, just to see what Kay was so excited about, and it ended up being the perfect size after washing. I think I managed the shrinkage question by washing & drying a swatch before I started the project, then calculating my gauge from there.

  • Does anyone else remember their Mother adding a few drops of “Bluing” to the load of “whites” to make them “whiter”?

    • I do. What I remember more is when our ten-year-old daughter discovered my bottle of bluing in the cupboard and, using more than “a few drops,” turned the white parts of our miniature schnauzer quite blue. (I think I had mentioned to her that ladies with white hair used to enjoy a bluing rinse.)

  • Years ago I made the Sk8r sweater for my then 8 year old grandson. (As promised, it was the only sweater he was willing to wear then, and he wore it till he outgrew it, and then said he would rather have a sweatershirt now) Anyway,I made it with Rowan Demim and i sewed it up with the same yarn, it all shrank together at the same rate. An act of faith well rewarded; i often think of making one for myself; it is still a magnificent design.

  • The first time I ever skied I wore a brand new pair of jeans. I was the easiest person to find on the mountain because I left a big blue swoosh in the snow whenever I fell. Which was a lot!

    • Remember Frye boots? The original Fryes, not the revived ones, the seventies Fryes. Well, my mother bought me a pair of Fryes (which she hated) for Christmas and I got a new pair of jeans a couple of weeks later. The jeans ruined the boots as the dye never did come out. Ah, the agony of the 15 year old self. Mother did not gloat, big of her. Be careful what you wish for was not said either. This was 42 years ago.
      Ever learn to enjoy skiing?

  • Excellent and informative article. I know wish to go purchase Rowan denim and play

  • I drank the Kool Aid several years ago. Most of my Rowan denim is still in my carefully curated collection of fiber. I will now add more to the collection until I have time to knit up the box of loveliness that came in the mail yesterday from MDK! Made my day!

  • Still floors me that we both went to China in summer 2002
    One of these days I may join you on the denim train, but I am wary of inflexible plant fibers…

  • Instead of a hank of sewing-up yarn, I throw a swatch in with the pieces to be shrunken, then unravel it and sew. It beats having a hank get all tangled and frayed.

  • Is there any difference between the “old” Rowan denim and the “new” Rowan denim? Rowan took it off the market for a few years while they fiddled with it. Do. Both versions handle the same and shrink the same?

  • Make the nine-patch baby blanket. Olive, your star model, needs a throw for her chaise longue. Her feet get cold in those frigid NY winters…;-)!

    • I second that. A blanket for Olive,

      • I just assumed that all Kay’s blankets are Olives.

  • In the early 2000s I was a prodigal knitter returning to the fold. I needed lots of help and practice. I turned to MDK (lots of garter stitch I could manage with beautiful results), and WendyKnits (wonderful socks I could knit and glorious sweaters I could dream of).

    In the mid twenty-aughts you gave me DENIM. I bought Mason-Dixon Knitting and Indigo Knits. I bought a lot of Rowan Denim. I got a first class education in what to do with this yarn.

    If you want to know all about knitting with Denim and other cotton yarn, go to the top right of this page, click on the magnifying glass and search “denim.” Those posts from 2006-2008 will pop right up.

    Do not miss “Dress Your Family in Denim and Denim” (wherein a tour bus drives into the Thames) or “More Thoughts on Denim and Squareness” (about squares staying square after washing and Kay and Belinda strongly refute Rowan’s instructions about washing before making up).

    I am so happy to see this new pattern!

    • Oh wait, silly me..you have kindly provided links to those letters As Belinda would say, “brilliant.”

  • love. love. love. I meant to confiscate those extra squares….

  • Hmmm….. my Ravelry stash isn’t showing it, but I believe there are a few skeins of old Rowan Denim in my actual stash, left over from the last time Kay told me I needed it! I know I made at least one pair of baby Blu jeans at that time, and maybe some other stuff.

  • I believe in denim, both as twill and yarn! Thank you for answering my unasked question about how the Rowan Handknit Cotton yarn plays with the denim. One thing I don’t believe that you mentioned is how soft the denim yarn gets after years of washing. I have a small pillowcase I made from Rowan yarn for a small “assistant” pillow I put behind my head or between my knees, as needed. It is my favorite of all the small pillowcases I have made or purchased, as the soft denim is so comforting!

  • Pillows, curtains, man bags, or pass them forward.

  • I didn’t see that anyone had washed their skeins of indigo dyed cotton, prior to knitting. Indigo is a different kind of dye and lies on the surface of the yarn. It does tend to ‘crock’ (leave its color on other items). Synthrapol works for me and helps to eliminate the excess dye and crocking..

    • Does prewashing take care of shrinkage too?

  • Thank you so much. I was given 20 balls of the original Rowan Denim and you have answered all my concerns about using the yarn.

  • I wonder if you might have any guidance for making his with fingering weight yarn? I ask because I have a LOT of wonderful fingering weight that I would like to use before buying more yarn that needs tender, loving, storage!

    Thanks for any hints that you might have!

  • Hi Kay,
    I want to knit something for my twin brother’s special birthday with the original denim yarn. I looked on Ravelry and I have Indigo Knits, but haven’t found “IT”. He doesn’t like anything fussy. Can the original be substituted for the new denim yarn (it is listed as DK)? Are there any patterns you’ve seen that you’d recommend?
    Thanks for any suggestions.