"Original Denim"......It's back and I LOVE IT!

Although Levi Strauss is credited with the invention of "the blue jean", the denim fabric that he used came from the French town of Nimes....and ‘jeans’ comes from the French phrase ‘bleu de Genes’ meaning ‘the blue of Genoa’.  

Genoese Navy sailors wore denim back in the 1500’s but it wasn’t until the 1870’s when Levi Strauss arrived at the gold rush and quickly identified the need for hard wearing, yet comfortable, work pants. Levi arrived with a shipment of canvas for tents and quickly converted the material into hard wearing overalls.  The miners liked these new pants, but they found them a bit rough on their tender areas :) and so Levi imported the denim fabric from Nimes and "denim blue jeans" were born.  

I grew up when wearing denim jeans was a statement of being young and independent...my parents didn't wear denim!   Although you had to dress conservatively for work....you came home and put on your jeans.  Although they were stylish...they were still frowned upon by many dress codes.

Denim jeans are still my first choice for every day attire.  I have black jeans, dark blue jeans, washed out blue jeans, straight leg, boot cut and skinny jeans; I've got high rise and low rise jeans (those low rise took a bit to get used to!); I have Ralph Lauren patterned denim jeans that I love to wear in the summer! Not to mention my collection of denim jackets. 



Over the years, Rowan has changed up Denim a few times.....last season Rowan "Denim" was discontinued.  I was worried that Denim had run it's course....and it would be no more.....


This is from the S/S 2014 shade card....I have one right here and looking at the new "original denim" compared to the "old" denim...well, the new stuff looks more denim...you can see on the cut edges that it is a surface dyed yarn....there is just a touch of light fibre there on the cut ends of the sample on the shade card.  

This "original denim" is  more like the old "rowan denim" of 97, 
or the "den-m-nit indigo dyed cotton dk" of 96/95....
or the "den-m-knit indigo dyed cotton dk" of 92 
(the shade card for Magazine 11 that was known as "Canary Rock") 

Yes, I have all of these old Rowan shade cards to look at, reminisce and dream about!

So you can see, Rowan Denim has been reincarnated many times....sometimes the shades changed....remember Black Denim?  (I have a couple of cones of that in my stash!)  I also loved the Ecru undyed "denim" and have a sweater that both the hubby and I wear on occasion :)  I have a Jean Moss sweater kit that is in the Nashville shade around here somewhere.  Yes, my stash is totally OUT OF CONTROL!   

Resolution for 2014 - make one sweater
out of Rowan Denim!!!

(I originally posted this in red, but I decided it needed
to be blue...Denim blue! :)

OK, I said it out loud!

I have always been tall (of course) and learned early on to NEVER put my jeans in the dryer...because they would shrink UP!  I never want my jeans to shrink up, even a mm....so they had to hang to dry....

With Rowan Original Denim you want it to shrink - it goes right into the dryer....

"Machine wash at 60, spin well and tumble dry."  That's what the care instruction say....because it will shrink up during this first wash! 

The patterns that call for the "Denim" take this shrinkage into account - you just knit as per the pattern, follow the wash instructions, and voila!

This design feature is particularly important with cabled designs....you knit your pieces at a relaxed gauge.....and when it is washed and dried, it shrinks up and your cables tighten up and are more defined.  It is magical!

With wear, the indigo dye wears off of your sweater like it does on your jeans...the more you wear your sweater, the more it becomes like an old favourite pair of jeans!

But what to knit?  All of these incarnations of Rowan Denim have knit to the same gauge, so any of the "old" patterns can be kit in this "new" yarn!  

Oooh....a great excuse....er reason....to cruise the pattern books!

Patrick, from "Rowan Denim" (a Kim Hargreaves design)
I can see my hubby in this sweater....in the BLACK denim that I acquired
from a knit buddy in the UK....this would be a serious knitting commitment....
but it would be worth it!

Another one of my favourites is "Jess"
from Rowan Magazine 31

which was then included in the
 "Kim Hargreaves Vintage Designs to Knit" book... 

I recently snagged a copy of "denim people"

I love this design "Slouch"...an oversized slouchy sweater that you can just knit up
and then decorate with splatters of bleach!!!

I don't know if I could do this....I am a bit of a control freak...
and the whole randomness of doing this might just be too much for me to take!

I'm trying to recall if I ever did this to a pair of jeans...
that was all the rage too back then :)

I had to include this one too!

"Picot" on her, and "Brooklyn" on him...

recognize him?
That's a young Eddie Redmayne
I loved him in "My Week with Marilyn"


+RowanYarns has plans for a new pattern book to celebrate this new incarnation of Denim....but while we are waiting.....they have released some free patterns on the KnitRowan web site....

The one that has caught my eye is this "Beaded Denim Bag"....
just the perfect thing for someone like me who loves Denim!

This was the members exclusive pattern for June 2005.
It is still totally in style with the bead "stud" look,
and of course Denim!

Rowan has re-released this pattern as a free download right now....
and you can get it here....

"Beaded Denim Bag"

you must be a Row@n Member!
(membership is free - just register - see the button on the top right!


  1. That Slouch sweater is wonderful.

    1. I think the time may be absolutely PERFECT for Slouch!

  2. I'll join you on that res. I've never knit with denim before and think it's about time!

  3. For sure Kristen! You should try and get some of the old Ecru via Ravelry.....it would suit you perfectly! AND maybe encourage Rowan to bring it back!

  4. Excellent, I'm so glad to hear a comparison with all those other denims! I love the two shades available but would like to see a faded black jean color, too.


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