Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Knit Noro

Recently, one of our students brought Knit Noro: 30 Designs in Living Color into the shop. Of course all of the students in the crochet class, myself and the teacher all pushed eachother out of the way (ok, there was a little civility) and hovered around the book.

And there was pushing for good reason.

Holy wow. This book.

I've always had a soft spot for Noro, like many people, and, despite that fact that it catches a lot of hate sometimes, I don't think I've ever met anyone in "real life" that hates Noro. A few alternatives come to mind (Plymouth Boku, Crystal Palace Mini Mochi/Mochi Plus, etc.), but there are few other yarns that produce such awesome color combination and stripe patterns. As lame as it sounds, Noro is like a beautiful flower and sometimes you need to pull apart the "petals" to see all the beauty that dwells inside.

Like this Silk Garden Sock that I bought at Little Knits last week. The two balls pictured are the same color number and dye lot, but they look like completely different yarns from the outside.

See? Completely different. And amazing, despite that lame flower analogy. But you know what I mean. Which brings us to the book.

Knit Noro is an absolutely fabulous book. Fabulous and there is nothing in there that I absolutely detest, a rare trait when it comes to knitting books. While I wouldn't knit everything in the book, all of the projects are pretty great. And when it comes to staging and book design, Noro knows how to roll; this book could almost be placed in the coffee table book category.

Now, there isn't much to this book beyond the patterns. A one page introduction offers a brief history of Eisaku Noro and the empire he has built over the past forty years, but beyond that the book is all pattern and no filler. Twenty-six top knitwear designers contributed to the book and designs range from garments to gloves to blankets, with all sorts of knitwear accessories in between.

Chevron Scarf by Cheryl Kubat

My only beef with this book is that a lot of the patterns in here call for Silk Garden...which has been discontinued. 6 (ok, that's not so many) of the patterns in the book call for Silk Garden sock. This is really more misfortune and bad luck than anything else, but those patterns are some of my absolute favorites. Like these Diamonds & Stripes gloves:

Diamonds and Stripes Gloves by Cheryl Murray
Beyond that, I really haven't ran into any issues with this book. Aside from the Silk Garden Sock, designs were made using Silk Garden, Kureyon and Taiyo, a super soft cotton blend, all of which are readily available at my favorite LYS and most online retailers. The patterns available cover a wide range of projects, so even if you only knit socks or hats or garments, you still have a few options to choose from.

Now if we could just get some more love for Aya. :) A few more highlights from the book include:

Modular Afghan by Anna-Beth Meyer-Graham
Belted Cardigan Vest by Theresa Schabes 
Parasol Lace Vest by Edna Hart

Wishing everyone a happy weekend and great 4th of July. Use all that extra time to drink beer, sit in the sun and getcher knittin' on.

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