Rowan started life in 1978 above a grocery store in a village, in West Yorkshire, England. Founders Stephen Sheard and Simon Cockin wanted to produce high quality yarn, perfect for the hand-knit trends of the time. Their business focused on showcasing natural fibres in a paint-box colour palette, and Lightweight DK was born with 98 shades. They placed the utmost value on providing yarn shades which could be translated into timeless design, and these values are still at the core of Rowan today.
The Rowan name was inspired by the beautiful shrubs lining the banks of the Holme River in Yorkshire, an area deeply entwined with British textile heritage and traditions.
In 1979 the company purchased the Green Lane Mill in Holmfirth, and that was the home of Rowan for the next 15 years. While the studio has moved and their needs have grown over the years, they are still in Yorkshire some 40 years later.
In 1982, a chance meeting between Stephen Sheard and Kaffe Fassett steered Rowan in a new direction - creating designer-led projects for a growing number of followers. The first big success was a mail order kit shown on the cover of Woman & Home magazine in 1983. The orders were way beyond expectations, and led to the launch of Rowan magazine in 1986. Today, they still use the inspiration of their key designers, and Kaffe Fassett is first amongst them, still designing incredible knits in his signature colourful style.
Rowan's ultimate mission remains the same as it’s always been—to offer a selection of high-quality yarns paired with designer-led inspiration that their followers will find a pleasure to knit with and to wear.