In which our heroine travels to Rowan Yarn Headquarters and has a breakdown

This is the story of how I went to Rowan Yarns and had a breakdown.  On Friday, Doug and I drove up to Holmfirth, in West Yorkshire.  Holmfirth is apparently famous as the site of a well known British sitcom, The Last of the Summer Wine, which ran for 30 seasons!  I must admit that, until this weekend, I had never heard of the show.  To me, and perhaps to knitters everywhere, Holmfirth is famous for one thing and one thing alone: it is the home of Rowan Yarn.


As many of you know, I am busy studying for an Executive MBA.  For each module in the programme, I am required to write a paper.  For each paper, I have dutifully written about higher education, because that is the industry I work in.  I yearned, however, to focus my efforts for at least one module on the subject I love best: knitting.  Thus the trip to Rowan.  I am writing a paper on Rowan Yarn for my Strategic Marketing module.  Friday we drove up so I could meet with Karl Hallam, their Global Digital Marketing Director (thank you to the lovely Dayana, a fellow knitting blogger and Rowan Ambassador, for putting me in touch with Karl!).

I had a fantastic time.  Karl toured me around the whole place, and was willing to accomodate all of my oohs and aahs, and my need to touch everything.  He introduced me to everyone.  He answered all of my questions (there were a lot of them)!  He spent three hours with me and never made me feel that he needed to be elsewhere.  He very knowledgeably discussed marketing, and the yarn industry, and shared his experience with me.  I was quite impressed with what his small team have accomplished.

Here is me in front of the wall of covers:


Here is the warehouse.  This yarn is not for sending out to customers; this yarn is here for designers to play with while they are knitting swatches and letting the designs percolate in their brains.  I am definitely in the wrong profession.


Hey look!  I found the Kid Silk Haze.  Instantly.  It’s as if I had an internal Kid Silk Haze detecting device.


When I left, Karl gave me a Rowan goodie bag!!!!  Let’s put this into perspective: When I interviewed the Vice Chancellor of the university for a paper on Strategy, did I receive a goodie bag?  NO.  When I interviewed sector analysts for a paper on International Business and Higher Education, did I receive a goodie bag?  NO. When I interviewed the University’s Head of Human Services for a paper on People Management, did I receive a goodie bag?  NO.  Yarn is the best industry in the world.  They give goodie bags.  I rest my case.

Am I going to tell you what was in my goodie bag?  No!  Why not?  Because it was full of yarn and Rowan Publications that had NOT YET BEEN LAUNCHED!!!!!  Oh, be still my heart!  (But, just so you know, Rowan 57 is a knock-out!  Trust me.)

We stayed overnight in Holmfirth at a B&B (the Old Bridge Inn).  It was very nice, but the weather was terrible.  A storm front with freezing temperatures and gale-force winds had moved in.  There were lashings of rain, the kind that is icy and just on the verge of snow.  The next morning, given the weather, we decided to head straight home and not mosey along exploring the area.  The car was behaving strangely as well; we didn’t seem to have much oomph.  Just as we hit the M1, the car died (literally).  Doug very calmly announced “We don’t have any power.  It’s not responding to the accelerator” and deftly managed to get us over to the shoulder of the road.  (Note to readers: I would not have been calm in this circumstance.)

A call to AA said that help was on the way, but that we shouldn’t sit in the car; it was too dangerous.  I opened the door to get out of the car and was nearly blown away by the force of the wind.  This was the start of a very long and cold day (despite the absolutely brilliant service of AA).

A tow truck came and towed us to the nearest highway rest stop, where I sat down at a Starbucks and waited for 4 hours.  Doug had quite a separate adventure during this period – the AA repairman was sure the car was fixable with a few extra parts, so he and Doug drove off to a parts shop and spent time in the dreadful wind and cold changing spark plugs and coils and other such things.  Meanwhile, what did I do stuck in a cold highway services Starbucks for 4 hours?  Well, I had my knitting with me (but of course).  And what knitting did I have with me but the Soumak Wrap which was within ten hours or so of finishing!  And when my fingers got too cold to knit – I had a GOODIE BAG filled with as-yet unreleased Rowan pattern magazines!

We eventually made it home.  A lovely AA repariman drove us (all crammed into the front seat) to a local airport where we could rent a car for the drive home.  Our car was loaded on a tow truck and eventually made it to the local garage down the street from our house.  I very nearly finished knitting the Soumak Wrap.  And that is the story of how I went to Rowan Yarns and had a breakdown!


14 thoughts on “In which our heroine travels to Rowan Yarn Headquarters and has a breakdown

  1. Sorry to hear about the car breakdown but what a great trip to Rowan! Seeing the warehouse picture reminded be of the warehouse in the back of WEBS. So exciting to get a goodie bag.

  2. Loved the story about your visit to Rowan. When I did my MBA, our major project was about the publisher of the Harlequin romances and the direction they should take (this was in 1988!). I wish I could have chosen Rowan! Glad to hear you’re back home safe and warm with lot of exciting knitting projects ahead!

    • Yes, I am using the exact colours as specified in the pattern. I was at first hesitant because I wasn’t convinced that they were right for me, particularly the orange. I am so glad that I did, however. The colours have a richness to them and a fluidity that I am not sure I could have matched. Good luck!

  3. My husband is a huge fan of Last of the Summer Wine. I am a huge fan of yarn! Holmfirth sounds like the perfect vacation spot for us. Is Rowan open to the public?

    • My guess would be generally no. However, they often hold workshops there on the weekends, which sound totally fabulous. If you sign up to Rowan Membership (its free), they send out a newsletter which gives info on upcoming workshops. The area is gorgeous too, so it would be a win-win proposition.

  4. I am writing my Master Thesis right now, so I (somewhat) feel you! I would also rather write about something related to knitting, it would be so much more interesting…

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