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
|The back of my Puff Stitch Cowl|
Er, well, I might be if they would invite me to submit a design or two ... but that's another story for another day.