Q&A with Lucy Rowan – Maker and Weaver

Those of you who follow Ragged Life on Instagram, Facebook or subscribe to our Newsletter may have seen that we are soon starting our September Sustainability Challenge. You can read more about it here, but to briefly summarise, we’ve asked four full time crafters to join us in a friendly competition to each turn six balls of recycled woollen blanket yarn into something exciting and new. The aim of the competition is to inspire people to look at textile waste in a different way – remnant fabrics can be sexy!

NB: Blanket yarn is the woven strips of blanket / scarf leftover during the production of blankets and scarves in the mills in Yorkshire.

Over the next few weeks, we thought it would be nice to introduce you to the brilliant full time crafters taking part in our challenge. First up is Lucy Rowan, otherwise known on Instagram as @peasandneedles. Here’s how our conversation went…

Q&A with Lucy Rowan

Hi Lucy, it’s brilliant to have you taking part in our September Sustainability Challenge!
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and peasandneedles please? Where did that name
come from, for example?

Ah thanks for inviting me, I’m really excited to be involved! I’m Lucy and I’m a textile artist
living on the South Coast with my husband and little girl. I specialise in weaving and have
just moved into a new space where I will be holding weaving school workshops. I’m also an
author of four craft books! Sadly Peas and Needles will be rebranding soon and I will be losing
the name and just going by my own name – Lucy Rowan.

The name came from when I was at uni so so long ago and I really disliked peas and liked knitting (with needles). I now don’t mind peas and am not really into knitting. So I think it’s time for a change ha.

Lucy Rowan holding her book on pottery

You seem to do a lot of different crafts. Have you always been into making?
Yeah I have, I really love making. I don’t really mind what it is, I just really enjoy learning and
making. I noticed after I’d had my little girl I wasn’t making any time to make and it really
affected me. Felt like I was going a little crazy so I realised how important it is to me. The
main crafts I love are weaving and sewing and going forward I will mainly be concentrating
on these.

Lucy Rowan's woven tapestries hanging on a wall

How would you describe your style? Has it evolved over time?
I’d say it was pretty texture heavy, I really like to create 3D items, such as woven vessels but
with beads etc. It’s hard to see how it has evolved as I’m in it all the time. Probably best to
ask someone else ha. I guess it has evolved in that I’m not so afraid to play and get things
wrong before I create something.

Lucy Rowan's collection of woven pots made on yarn

Are there any materials that you particularly like to work with? Where do you source your

I love all yarns, I will find a project for any yarn. I mainly use materials I get donated, leftover
from jobs or find in charity shops. I’m also going to start using deadstock yarns from textile
mills as there is so much waste. So this project is perfect!

Work in progress woven piece on a loom by Lucy Rowan
Design and finished woven piece on the loom

Do you have a past project that you’re particularly proud of? Does it have story behind it?
I think it might be the project I’m working on at the mo. I was recently contacted about 9
table looms from a college that were about to be thrown into a skip asking if I’d take them. I
said I would and have been rehoming them and have kept 4 for myself to teach on. I’m so
pleased they haven’t gone into the bin and are still being used and loved. I can’t wait to start
teaching on them in the Autumn. Also, the books I’ve written. Pretty proud of those.

Is there anything that you’ve made that was a complete disaster?
There’s been quite a few weaves that have not worked out, but I still keep them because I
think it’s important to look back on and see what did and didn’t work.

Is there anything specific on the Lucy Rowan wishlist of things you’d like to make in the future?
I’m currently studying tapestry weaving at West Dean so there’s quite a few specific pieces I
want to make, mainly 3D sculptural pieces for that. I’d also like to learn how to spin my own

Are there any people / places / things you get your inspiration from?
I live by the sea and that is always a great source of inspiration. I love to go to galleries and
museums with friends, spend a whole day looking at art and then visiting the gift shop. I’m
also inspired by other weavers, I love to see how they create their work and which materials
and tools they use. My husband is also very creative, I think we inspire each other a lot and I
love that.

How do you approach a new project? Do you sketch ideas out or improvise as you go

I have multiple sketchbooks, one for jotting notes down and one for drawing in. I tend to
keep these with me all the time in case I get an idea. I also really love to collage to create
designs for weaving, it feels a lot easier for me to create that way.

Watercolour sketches on a notepad showing weavers creative process

What does the Lucy Rowan workspace look like?
I’ve just recently moved from my home studio into a small space in the centre of Worthing.
It’s so exciting as I’ve had a studio in my home since my little girl was born, but it’s so nice to
be out of the house and seeing other people. Currently it has all my looms in it and will be
getting it ready to be a teaching space over the next few weeks. And you can see the sea
from the window.

Lucy Rowan from Peasandneedles studio with table looms

Do you have any thoughts on what you feel like making for your Sustainability challenge

Ooooo I’m not sure, maybe a rug using one of the looms in my studio. Or maybe a 3D woven
vessel. I’ll start sketching and see what comes up.

Thanks so much Lucy!

To follow how Lucy Rowan is getting along with the September Sustainability Challenge, follow her on Instagram here or pick up one of Lucy’s books or weaving kits on her website here.

Stay tuned for our next Q&As!

Elspeth x

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