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Rowan Felted Tweed Crochet Sweater

Rowan Felted Tweed has been around for a while but is a recent discovery for me...  I used the dk version of this yarn to design my latest sweater pattern and make the prototype sample. Here's a whole wall of this beautiful yarn!


a wall of Rowan Felted Tweed dk yarn

My sweater design is a top-down crocheted V-neck with a touch of mosaic bling and the pattern is suited to an adventurous beginner-intermediate level crocheter who wants to learn about garment making.  I graded it to 13 sizes with a finished garment bust circumference ranging from 80cm through to 150cm. Whoo hoo, right!?  I am still working on preparing the pattern for publication but in the meantime here’s a couple of pics of Size 5 with a finished bust circumference of 100cm…  Yep, pretty happy with it!


A woman wearing a mustard-yellow and black crocheted sweater


When crocheting any garment from a pattern, you get the most reliable results for your finished item when you use the same yarn the designer based the pattern on, and you match the designer’s specified gauge.  Below I share some features of the Rowan Felted Tweed dk yarn and my opinions about its characteristics, then at the end I’ll talk a bit more about my plans toward pattern release!



Here are a few features of Rowan Felted Tweed dk(from my experience and perspective of designing this crochet sweater):


1.      Great colour range (just check out the lead photo for this blog post!)

Over 50 colourways – started with 12 in 2002 and now over 50, all with tweedy flecks.  I love tweedy flecks!  I think they add visual warmth, softness, and rustic heart to a garment.  The flecks of subordinate colours enable the whole range to go with each other.  This means you can choose colour combinations with confidence.  Always a great feature in my book!  A bunch of the colourways were chosen for Rowan by multi-textile artist and designer Kaffe Fassett and some others by artist, designer, knitter Dee Hardwicke.  These are some truly talented people! 


Here are the colours I used for my prototype:  216 French Mustard and 211 Black.


some balls of Rowan Felted Tweed dk yarn; some black and 1 mustard yellow


2.      Felted construction makes it a bit special

“Hollow-core wool” – at least that’s what I am calling it.  The blend of 50% felted wool, 25% viscose & 25% alpaca translates to very light, really warm and very stable.  The key word in the fibre content description is felted.  The manufacturing process has kind of trapped air in the yarn structure, so it has the bulk of a dk (8ply) but much lighter weight.  Like, crazy lighter!


The felted hollow-core characteristics translate to 175m to each 50g ball.  That’s 3.5m/g… for a dk which (if straight up wool) is generally close to 2m/g!!  Earlier I published a blog about yarn substitution based on metres per gram, consideration of yarn construction and fibre blend.  You can read the blog here.  Usually I would first compare m/g for a similar fibre blend, then consider ply construction, but Rowan’s Felted Tweed turns that on its head and to search for an equivalent I think you would need to start looking for a felted wool kind of yarn construction, then look at fibre composition and m/g.  More about yarn substitution later…



3.     The handle blooms & is super-warm despite its light in weight.

The handle of a yarn is how it feels “in your hand” – kind of how it moves and feels against your skin.  Rowan Felted Tweed is definitely an outerwear kind of yarn not intended for wear directly against the skin and softens beautifully when blocked.  Here is an excerpt directly from the website:


quote text from Rowan website


And warm it does! 


With my new sweater design you’ll be toasty at the back of your neck, well defended against the chilly breeze, whilst enjoying the openness of the V at the front.  The uber-great thing about this yarn is how warm it is for its light weight.  Crochet stitches are bulkier than knitting but my size 5 sample here with a finished bust circumference of 100cm only weighs 380grams.  Fashionista fairy floss!

a smiling woman wearing a mustard yellow and black crocheted  V-neck pullover


So, is there a downside….?  Working with the yarn it feels scratchy, stiff and a bit bulky.  Test fits as a WIP really need an undergarment so it doesn’t annoy you.  But this is temporary. 


When wet blocked as a FO with a good soak in wool softener, what a transformation!  It totally BLOOMS!  Flowy soft light drape, flooooffed (yes it’s a word) stitches that kind of meld the tweed flecks into blurry clouds.  The scratch factor plummets! A small amount remains which seems to go away after 15 mins of wear (sounds weird but this is my experience of it, maybe it's that the yarn warms up from the body heat...?) All the stiffness disappears, but you only get a slight lengthening effect down the bodice and sleeves because the felted wool keeps the alpaca from sagging.  Very cool.  Stable fashionista fairy floss!  You can test this with your swatch (which, of course) you would always do before starting a garment pattern.


4.     Intended for knitting  but works great for crochet too!

This yarn is new to me, but according to a Trisha Malcom of Rowan New York (during her presentation at Morris & Sons last year – watch it here) Felted Tweed is one of Rowan’s most popular products and has been for 2 decades.  In the knitting world Felted Tweed is championed for Fair Isle projects and Intarsia.  These are knitting colourwork techniques (which is why the colours are specifically designed to all go with each other).  Trisha also mentioned in her talk that there’s not too much top-down garment construction going on in the crochet design world, or V-necks….  Hey, neither Trisha nor Rowan know who I am, but challenge accepted!!


It sounds like I threw down the gauntlet there, but I am only joking….  In truth I had already selected Felted Tweed as the yarn for my V-neck, and the design was already in progress when I saw the Morris & Sons video on YouTube.  When I first saw Rowan Felted Tweed in their shop, I found myself repeatedly picking it up, squishing and thinking a lot (and we all know what that means – it’s coming home with me, right!?)  



5.     Worldwide availability supports yarn inclusivity.

So, yes, I love the yarn!  It's very well suited to making warm outer garments that won't weight you down and it comes in a fabulous range of colours! Now that I have achieved size-inclusivity with my garment patterns I like the idea of embracing yarn-inclusivity too. There are many Rowan retailers worldwide, so when I release the pattern, many people can make it in the recommended yarn thereby making my design yarn-inclusive! 


But not everyone wants to use the same yarn, and I get it. 


I recognise that personal preference, budget, skin sensitivity and climate (amongst other factors) may mean the yarn I used to design this sweater is not desirable for you to use.  Here in Australia, I feel the cold during winter so the Felted Tweed will suit me just fine.  It’s hot compared to many other places though, and many Aussies wouldn’t want that much warmth in the cooler months.  If you live in the top end of Australia or anywhere tropical, the only yarns wrapping your crochet hook might be cottons and acrylics. 


To optimise yarn inclusivity my test group and I are exploring alternative yarns, including some from Australian companies who ship internationally!  If you live in the US, UK or Europe, the exchange rates are in your favour to consider an Australian product!  I love the idea of highlighting Australian businesses and products while at the same time giving crocheters everywhere a range of options to make this versatile, wardrobe-staple crochet V-neck sweater. 


That’s about all I will say for now and will blog again soon with more details.  I am very keen for this pattern to be released, but I have some more prep work to do first.  More yarn exploration and pattern testing ahead! I am thrilled that my prototype is finished and in my next blog I will tell you all about garment features I was careful to include. 


Subscribe here if you don’t want to miss a post and browse my Ravelry patterns here if are looking for something to keep your hook busy until then!


I hope you found my post yarn-spiring!

…‘til next time,


Susannah (Peppergoose)

Peppergoose Design logo

Thank you so much to Morris & Sons for yarn support to develop my sweater sample!  They stock many Rowan products including Felted Tweed dk.


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