Thursday, 25 July, 2024

By The Fibreside

Knitting and spinning on the Sunshine Coast of BC

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Knitting, Life

Noromania

One cannot post today without first acknowledging what happened in Boston. It makes me so desperately sad that there is so much hate and anger in our world that sometimes, people just want to hurt other people. Sometimes I tell myself that it shouldn’t surprise me, but it does, all the time. Yet although humanity’s capacity for hatred seems large, our capacity for love is even larger. Those responsible will be dealt with by those whose job it is to do so. It is not my job. The turn of my thoughts goes to those injured and killed, and in concentric circles out from there to those affected. Yet there is little I can do for them either, at this distance and at this time, than keep them in my thoughts, and put that out there to the universe, for them to have strength and find peace.


Noro.

If you’ve been around knitters for a while, at least those that frequent LYSs, you’ve probably run across it. It’s one of those yarns that produces a lot of strong feelings. You love it, or you hate it, as a general rule. But love it or hate it, it’s been one of those defining yarns of this knitting era. There are plenty of yarns out there that are trying to be Noro; heck, even Bernat came up with a Noro-esque yarn to get in on the action! It’s only available at specialty stores, and it’s certainly not cheap, and that’s possibly where the ‘hate-it’ comes from. Because Noro, whatever else it is, is in a class by itself. But there are things to remember about Noro, expectations that you need to have going in.

  • You’re going to get knots. If you’re lucky, they won’t totally mess up the colour progression, but half the time, you’re going to get acid green tied together with purple. There are ways around it, or you can just go with the flow.
  • You’re going to have vegetable matter. It’s one of those quirky things with Noro. I’ve been picking burrs out of my current project, but I haven’t gotten any big pieces of straw or twigs yet. It’s just part of the fibres that they use, and the minimal blending that goes into it.
  • It’s generally going to be a low-twist, twisty singles. I don’t think Noro produces a plied yarn, and I’m not 100% sure they really set the twist before they ball it up and send it out, but those factors limit, or rather inform, what you can use it for and how you handle it, and what you expect from it.
  • And finally, it’s not going to be even. Noro yarn lines fall within a certain weight, but certainly in an individual ball, you’re going to have thinner bits and thicker bits. With any luck, there won’t huge slubs in your laceweight, but it’s not going to be completely even either.

I’ve knit with Noro a couple of times, but I have a bit of it in my stash. I mostly get seduced by the laceweights (I have three Sekku and one Kirameki sitting there) and I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat on my hands when Noro is about. I love the colours. For me, that’s what it’s about. It’s colour and fibre alchemy at its greatest. Who but Noro would put together those colours, or that combination of fibre types?

I’m on my third time out knitting Noro. I grabbed two balls of Silk Garden from my stash for the knitted element for the swap coming up, and found a quick-but-not-boring scarf pattern that will show off the Noro quite well.

Half done
Half done

I decided to knit two halves and kitchener them together in the centre, mostly because the centre of both balls was on the green end of this colourway’s spectrum. Really, how often does that happen with Noro? I know I’m coming up on another knot in the second half, though, because I see the colour pattern reversing itself. But again, it’s Noro. For whatever reason, we forgive this in Noro.

More Noro
More Noro

The yarn I bought for myself out at Pam’s on the weekend is Taiyo Sock, which is 50% cotton, perfect for Edmonton summers. Of course (this is Noro), all the descriptions of the colourway online talked about ‘Magenta.’ Magenta? Really? I don’t see any magenta… I dug around in the middle of the ball and found some. Oh Noro. You slay me. I love you to bits. These are going to great socks.

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