Tag Archives: Knitting

Noro, A Love Hate Thing

Love is not perfect.

Let me be totally clear. I love Noro Yarns!  But like any other relationship, it has its ups and downs.

The thing I love most about Noro yarns is the beautiful colours; the gradual evolution of the colours and the length of the repeats.

Here are a few examples of the projects I have made with lovely Noro Yarns.

Both mitts finished

First off, of course, is the popular Newfoundland Mitts. The beautiful colours of the noro yarn makes an interesting pattern, lovely. Don’t want so many colours? Just use a solid colour for the B yarn…  Or how about using the Noro Yarn as the main colour and making all the little honey combs a solid colour?

Noro Blanket

                                                                              Next is my Mitred Crosses Blanket, also an interesting pattern made even lovelier by the careful selection of colours from the Noro Kureyon yarn. This pattern was a fund raiser for Mercy Corps. Please look at this page of all the blankets made with Noro yarns. They are absolutely breath taking! Although I love this throw, I now wish I had not decided to pick and choose colours for the crosses but left the natural sequence.

Noro Scarf

I love this Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood, it alternates between two different colourways of the Noro Silk Garden yarn.  It looks fabulous and somewhat difficult but is really a simple knit (I wouldn’t define it as easy however as the pattern is worked in 1×1 rib which can be a pain but you do get used to it).  Noro has a way of making simple patterns look complex. It can jazz up a simple scarf or hat with little effort. Noro can make you look like a genius master knitter! I am sorry the picture is so dark.  I really must work on my photo taking skills.

Noro Bag

Finally we have a little bag I knit and felted for a bag exchange a number of years ago. The pattern is simple yet the colour repeats make the project look so special!! Noro Kureyon felts wonderfully and keeps its colours beautifully.

Ok so now for the ‘hate ‘ part.  It’s not really hate, more of a heavy dislike.  The yarn quite often has debris mixed in which is quite disappointing in an expensive yarn.  Disappointing but NOT the end of the world!! I certainly buy and use yarns with debris all the time and I have no trouble but it usually does not cost me $10 (or more) for a 50 gm, 100 metre ball.

The other thing that has me growling is the fact that once in a while you come across a knot in a skein where the yarn has been joined.  In other plainer yarns this is not a problem for me, I know several ways to join yarns invisibly so…. no issues. However with Noro, a knot interrupts the flow of colours. In some cases takes out a whole colour section or two.

Also the actual colour placement in each ball can be quite different, no doubt due to a sudden length of yarn being eliminated somewhere as in the case above. All of a sudden the bright yellow is no longer in the centre of the yarn ball but on the outside. No problem for one skein patterns but if you are using more than one it would be nice for the repeats to be fairly even.

Now, I’m not an unreasonable person and I do realize that the mass production of yarn is fraught with issues us home spinners would never face.  Yes, of course threads break, yet the factory cannot shut down the line and Russian join the two ends for a knot free strand.  No doubt they have to hurry to find the offending strand and quickly make it better, perhaps losing  many yards in the process. Production runs on and the automatic skein makers carry on regardless of the knot.

I have found a very interesting short video concerning Eisaku Noro, the company named after the man behind Noro yarns. In it you can see the older machinery used to make the yarns.

I have read other peoples’ complaints of Noro yarn such as coarseness or scratchiness but really, the coarseness you may feel when you knit is gone after it is washed and blocked. The yarn blooms and relaxes and feels perfectly all right. Remember, wool is not inherently super soft.  There are some sheep breeds, such as Merino, that produce soft wool, but their yarn tends to be costly.

Another complaint is that Noro yarn is not consistent, it can run thick in places and also thin in others yet not consistently like a regular thick and thin yarn. This is part of the rustic charm of the yarn for me. Mr Noro tries to keep the colours natural and the unevenness of the yarn compliments this ‘natural’ look. Nature is not perfect, yet when your knitted item is washed and blocked it really does look wonderful.

So a few hints on using Noro and any other long colour repeating yarn…

1.  If possible, inspect the yarn in person. Check the end of each ball to see if the colour repeats itself fairly consistently. For my current project I ordered 5 balls of Noro Silk Garden on-line and the yarn received was two balls with the bright green on the inside, two with bright green on the outside and one with no bright green at all. I used the two balls with the green on the outside for the hat and the rest for a scarf.  I had a little left over of the bright green when I bound off the hat so used that in the scarf where the missing green should have been on the ball without green… Wasn’t really enough bright green. Next time I won’t bother.

2. Purchase at separate vendors using the same guidelines.  Ok I saw three balls at Joes Jolly Yarn Shop with the green on the inside so If I can find two more at Sharon’s Wool Boutique I’m good to go!!

3. Let it go. If at all possible let go the need for perfection.  Every time I try to control the colour repeats, it looks worse than if I just let it go and maybe just alternate the balls a little. Having said that, I have read where people completely eliminate one of the colours and love the finished product!

If you love colour, do try some of the many Noro yarns*. If you prefer buttery soft, consistent yarns perhaps Noro will not suit you, but for me Noro is the most fun I’ve had in knitting in a long time!!

*Not affiliated in any way, just a huge fan!

Oh and my current project, this hat and scarf set.

So why not be colourfully creative today?

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Christmas Knitting

Or avoiding the hustle and bustle…

Every year  I swear I won’t do it and every year I do it!  I heap on the Christmas knitting and end up having a pile of knitting to do at last minute! There have actually been three separate Christmas’ on record where the recipient recieved their gift with the needles still in!!

I do think ahead and make reasonable plans to make gifts for my family, however, I still manage to have a lot of last minute knitting to do. So how am I going to fix this?  I’ve been thinking about it and I think for next year I will do the following:

– Start planning in August.  September at the latest!

– Make a list of recipients and associated projects and stick to it (no last minute additions so think and plan carefully!) and beware, don’t give yourself more than you can easily accomplish!

– Ensure you have all materials available to you in case you get bored with one project.  Then there is no excuse not to pick up another one and get cracking! This means shopping for and/ or ordering all patterns and yarn before you need them!!

– Make deadlines – This is where I have so many problems! I get started early enough but get distracted by other non-Christmas projects and other crafts so that the last few weeks before Christmas come as a surprise and a flurry of knitting. Setting deadlines will force you to put Christmas knitting first before other less essential projects! It might also be good to set up a calendar with other deadlines on it as well…. Holiday baking days/nights, shopping deadlines, Christmas cards and Parcel shipping deadlines and that costume you promised to make for the school play!!

Here are a few pictures of the projects I took on for this year.  Please note that with 2 weeks left ’til Christmas not one is finished and all are in various states of unfinished-ness! Lol!

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These two UFO’s are the same beautiful pattern Brown Berries Scarf pattern

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These skeins of yarn are supposed to be knit up into scarves too!

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and of course this pair of socks is in the home stretch.

I must say I did have reasons that my knitting got behind this year…

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My daughter got married in October!  In this picture she is wearing a shawl that I wove for her on my floor loom and that took up a lot of my knitting time!

Everyone, please have a happy, healthy Holiday season and may all your crafty dreams come true!

So Neat

Sometimes in the run of a day, one wishes that they could share things with others.  Sometimes it is good news you share with your family, sometimes it is work related that you share with co-workers.  Today, however, I wish to share something knitting related and I have no one around who would appreciate this news! So I am going to share with you.

If you like dyeing your own yarn, like I do, you will find this news of absolutely wonderful significance.  KnitPicks has come up with a way to dye your sock yarns so each foot comes out the same!  Check this out:

Now if that isn’t innovative, I don’t know what is!  And the price is so right!

My first thought was, hey, I could do that, but the knitting up would be too long and boring! Then I thought, any one with a knitting machine could whip up their own blanks and do this.  I realized, however, at least here in Nova Scotia, the sock yarns would be more expensive than the blanks sold by KnitPicks! Oh well, I guess I’m going to have to get me some!

Yay for KnitPicks!