Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote for Great Color and Design

Happy election day to everyone here in the U.S.! I cast my vote yesterday (love mail-in balloting); I also cast another vote several weeks ago when I pre-ordered the new Crochet Noro book. When I received it at the end of last week, I could hardly wait to sit and pour over it. I was not disappointed.

Where to begin? Well, let's start with the designs. There's a little something here for everyone - sweaters, accessories, interior design pieces, and jewelry. Each pattern is marked with a skill level: one box is easiest, four boxes for the seasoned crocheters out there. Personally, I find several of the designs deceptively simple, and for good reason - the yarn is the star here, so no need for intricate stitches (more on this below). There's also a lot of motif-based designs - a full quarter of the designs in the book are accomplished with motifs. I love a great motif, so I'm all for this. More involved patterns (including all of the motif-based designs) include charts as well as written instructions.

The collection also brings together most of the big names in crochet design - Robyn Chachula, Doris Chan, Lily Chin, Yoko Hatta, Linda Permann and Mary Beth Temple just to name a few. Of some note: a full 8 designs (just slightly more than a quarter of the collection) belong to Yoko Hatta. Incredible. Three of my absolute favorites include two from Hatta - the Boxy Cardigan and the Puff Stitch Cowl. I'm also partial to Lily Chin's Chevron Hat. Her great use of yarn and stitch makes the cap look like a piece of jewelry. I've also fallen hard for the Buttons & Flowers Shawl - what a great design concept for a shawl. Buttons at the center of each motif make customizing fit a breeze as well as ensuring it stays around the shoulders. Just genius. I even have loads of similar mother-of-pearl buttons. Hmmmmm.
But let's not stray too far from what we're all head-over-heels in love with: that great Noro color! This lushly styled and photographed collection is a feast for the eyes. With each flip of the page, you will have an intake of breath at the color explosion. The pieces run the gamut of color - from deep, earthy fall to bubble-gum-inspired to jewel-toned. No matter your color palette preference, there's something here for everyone. I really appreciate the wonderful layering of color in each photo. It really speaks to me as a painter (as well as a home cook). Layering is the name of the game, and the wonderful Noro colors are showcased to perfection.

I've had four skeins of Kureyon in the discontinued number 221 colorway (greens, purples and peach) just waiting for the right project. You know I broke out hook and Kureyon and in two days flat whipped up the Puff Stitch Cowl. Hatta's pattern calls for 6 skeins; I augmented my four with an unknown (but perfectly coordinated) aran weight yarn from Vivian over at Bits 'n Pieces and wound up with a lush cowl just 7" shorter than the original:

My version of the Puff Stitch Cowl, made
with 4 skeins Noro Kureyon (colorway 221) and
augmented with an aran-weight wool
This cowl is a simple 4-row repeating pattern, constructed flat and then seamed at the end. I wet-soaked in a small amount of hair conditioner and blocked prior to seaming and the yarns bloomed and softened nicely. I cannot tell you how much I love the color in this cowl.

The back of my Puff Stitch Cowl
If you haven't gotten the message yet - I love, love, love Noro yarns, and I am thrilled with this new Crochet Noro book. Run, don't walk, to your local bookstore and pick it up. I think it might sell out quickly. Sixth & Spring is on a crochet roll this year (with the special crochet edition of Vogue Knitting earlier in the year) and I couldn't be happier.

Er, well, I might be if they would invite me to submit a design or two ... but that's another story for another day.


  1. So interesting! I haven't seen Noro hooked before. Can't wait to see you start on a project.

  2. I love the colorway on the cover: I don't 'spose it says which one it is ? I find Noro a bit rough ...

    1. Well, Kureyon *can* be rough, but I do find that's part of its charm when working it up. However, that's Taiyo Sock in #8 (teal/gray/khaki) on the cover which I find very soft and not rough at all.

  3. I love your cowl! Yea for crochet!!!

  4. I'm also a big fan of Noro yarns - love those colors! Your cowl looks so pretty. Nice color way.

  5. I looooooove Noro, too. Might be time for me to pull one of those skeins off the shelf and actually use it ...

  6. I'm glad you found a good use for the pink yarn. I'm a big Noro fan too, and my favorite way to use it is to combine with a solid colored yarn, like you did with the cowl. It pops out the Noro colors nicely.

  7. Th cowl is gorgeous! I must confess, I have never knitted with Noro.

    All of your crochet posts really inspire me to get the hooks out and try harder instead of giving up. Too many beautiful patterns.

  8. Mail in voting = the best. Noro = I still don't get the allure.

  9. The Chevron Hat caught my eye along with the Boxy Cardigan. Thanks for the tip on this book, I'll be keeping my eye out for it.

  10. Thanks for the brilliant review and I absolutely DO want to run to my LYS to get a copy of the new Noro Crochet, alas, for those of living down under we'll have to wait another three weeks or so, sigh! But I love love love your puff stitch cowl and the colourway is gorgeous!