Noro Silk Garden Solo is available at Webs and Jimmy Beans Wool, and at your local purveyor of Noro.

Squares, Noro, and Birds

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Dear Kay,
I had a run-in with my Noro scraps this weekend, cranking some squares for the Knitty City Blanketpalooza coming up this Wednesday night. Pearl and Phyllis and the gang there are sewing up a blanket in memory of Peter, to send to Afghans for Afghans, and I wish I could help out. Anybody who’s on the Upper West Side with a tapestry needle and some gumption would find a real outlet for that sewing-up energy. And also some excellent company, in that coziest of yarn shops.
Thoughts on Noro
I used to hate this stuff–I mean, Noro went against everything I believed yarn should be. All those colors mashed up willynilly, the clunky chunkiness of it, the bits of hay and whatnot in there. The way it totally refused to behave, so unpredictable. Clean up this stuff! It’s a MESS!
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Well, I’m over all that. These eight-inch squares, plain old garter stitch, were totally and completely, 100% hypnotic to make. I can hardly express how addicted I was this weekend, wandering around trying to knit while fixing turkey sandwiches, while getting money out of the ATM, while sleeping. I even took it with me to the Ryman Auditorium Saturday afternoon and knitted through an entire live show of A Prairie Home Companion, complete with Brad Paisley, and if I had to pick, I’d have to say that the squares might have been just a little more fun. I can’t think of a yarn that has provided so much drama and amusement. “Omigod, I think it’s going TEAL on me.” It’s a party in a skein, every time.
Birds
If anybody wonders what ten days of eating absolutely disgusting stuff can do for a baby bird, well:
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I find this kind of incredible. Baby no. 3 is somewhere under there, grumpy about it.
Love,
Ann

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57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. That yarn must have been mesmerizing if Brad Paisley didn’t keep you from it. Love him–love the squares!

  2. Ann — I’ve never taken the plunge with Noro for those very same reasons. I couldn’t understand the attraction because it just didn’t seem like it would be pleasant to knit. But “a party in every skein, every time” — I’m going to have to buy some before the day is over. I think the Noro people should get in touch with you to see if they can use your comment for marketing purposes. Wish I could be in NYC to help with the Blanketpalooza.

  3. Knitting with Noro IS like a party in every skein, but the resulting garments are often a bad knitting hangover. I’ve tried and tried to make something wearable out of the stuff – and I have a lot of it, believe me, I cannot stop buying it – but what adult can wear horizontal pink and orange stripes?

  4. Noro IS completely addictive. It’s a wonder the LYS doesn’t ask for your prescription first, or at least look at your ID to verify you’re 18 and responsible!
    I have a few skeins that I haven’t used for anything but I love getting them out and looking at them!

  5. Oh, and we have baby birds outside our window now! Yours are looking very healthy. Have you named them or anything?

  6. I was a Noro houldout myself for all the reaons you cited plus the one you didn’t – cost. Regardless, I finally took the plunge this past winter and made a scarf in shades of red and orange that turned out to be my all-time favorite scarf – not to mention warmest one ever, which is really exciting when you live in cold/snowy New Hampshire. I’ve already bought the yarn to make a second one in blues and greens.

  7. I’m with Denise. For me, Noro is like a night out with too many margaritas – expensive, enjoyable at the time, and usually leaving me wishing that I hadn’t been quite so indulgent.
    I do like the squares, though.

  8. I’ve got a pile of squares, too! Mine are 10″, and made of Patons Classic wool, miters, 9-patches, ballbands, but yes, exactly the same sense of delight that you have! They are definitely addictive, and beautiful, and therapeutic! And now you’ve got me thinking that maybe it’s time to buy a little Noro, even though I’ve sort of promised myself to the great ‘stash knit down of 2009′ on Ravelry. Knit down is a good good thing, but I’ve never knitted with Noro, and it IS on sale at WEBS this month, so, you know? But then again, that would result in more squares, and I’ve sworn off squares for a while!
    I’ve actually had to cast on another ‘Shawl That Jazz’, which is all the Yarn Harlot’s fault, just to stop myself from knitting more squares……. making 6 (or is it 7?) when I’ve only committed 2 to actual blankets seems a little excessive! But then, making several shawls that are the exact same pattern might also be a little over-the-top…… I seem to be exhibiting addictive knitting behavior at the moment, does anyone else have this problem? Addicted to knitting is fine, but addicted to knitting the same thing again and again…..?

  9. Self patterning sock yarn has the same hypnotic effect. I am getting bored with it though & want the actual sock pattern to intrigue me. But there’s nothing like mindless sock knitting with self patterning yarn at times when you can’t or don’t want to pay a lot of attention to what you’re doing with your hands. Wow – the birds are like the first 2 years of a baby’s life on steroids!

  10. This is embarrassing but, could you please post the directions for the squares so I can make some in memory of Peter? I know it’s as simple as???? I’ve made the Granny’s favorite washrag but could you post this variation so I can begin the squares for Peter?
    In fact I’ll even purchase so special Noro for Peter.
    Thanks,

  11. I look forward to these darn baby birds every year, and the increased resolution of your images has made the experience all the better. Hooray babies!

  12. Sandy, it looks to me like all Ann did was increase or decrease in the first stitch rather than the second or third one. I’m doing Granny’s Favorites for a Sudoku afghan and they’ve got an edge detail that Ann’s don’t have. That’s my guess, anyway. I’ve only knit Noro once for a felted purse and it felted badly so I won’t buy it again. Until I can’t resist the colors or it’s on sale, whichever comes first.

  13. I was listening to PHC and wishing I could have been there. I’d never heard Brad Paisley before, but I though he was fantastic. I can’t believe you knit through the whole show- way to go, girl!
    I too love Noro and have to say it’s definitely cleaned up since I first started to knit with it. Back then I always found knots and bits of stuff in it. I think it’s gotten much better. Love those squares!

  14. Wow, those birds grow up fast!

  15. Party in a skein– you’ve got it! Over the past few years I’ve already made myself three Noro Silk Garden sweaters, and there’s another sweater’s worth in the stash. . .
    Remember, not all Noro colorways are brights. They have some elegant neutral and woody tones as well for conservative tastes.
    Love those Baby Huey birds.

  16. Yea for multicolored yarns! I knit an entire mitered square afghan in a variegated yarn and watching the colors change was great. Then I did a (huge) Woolly Thoughts afghan in diagonal, garter stitch squares, 3 solid colors–the squares lost their knitting charm fairly quickly!

  17. Noro Kureyon is the perfect blanket yarn. I’ve tried making other stuff with it, but really, it wants to be blanket squares. I did make a shawl out of Silk Garden several years back, and once I got over the shock factor of the wacky lavender that kept showing up, I realized it actually did work, and it was my most-used handknit ever. Until, that is, I LOST IT this winter. I still can’t believe it, I keep thinking it will show up somewhere.

  18. I am on my second project with Noro yarn, and I am noticing a distinct pattern to my thought regarding the yarn:
    Thoughts while knitting: This stupid yarn is scratching and is thick in some places and thin in other places. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
    Thoughts after washing the knitting: This is so pretty! It is so soft. Look at the lovely drape post-blocking. I love this yarn. I love it. I love it. I love it.
    The one thing I hate about this yarn is that people will come up to be and compliment the color of my knitted product and work that I put into the product. ugh.

  19. Oh, and about being addicted to knitting the same thing over and over? As usual, I’m late to the party, but I’ve been knitting ballband dishcloths for a week, and I simply can’t stop. I stayed up late to finish yesterday’s because I already had today’s colors planned. Honestly. I have WIPS I would actually like to be wearing, but apparently I’m not ready yet. Yeeesh.

  20. I totally agree with Denise up there at the beginning – Noro, pretty to look at, scratchy to touch, and totally unwearable. Perfect blanket/throw/felted coaster material. Our baby robins too went from featherless pencil-necks to actual real birds with wobbily flight skills in about 4 days – amazing and somehow so touching to see up close.

  21. I am also in the ‘love’ phase of my love/hate with Noro. I can’t stop knitting those beautiful Noro stripe scarves and for once I have three or four holiday presents already done. How can you not love a yarn that makes you do that?

  22. the squares are lovely. i remember the all-noro A for A afghan:: like licorice allsorts, like stained glass, it was so pretty and inviting– colour theory and dyeing are mysterious to me, i leave it to the specialists, but hey, whod’a thought that putting the blah colours snug up close to the flashy ones would be so compelling?

  23. one of the figures in the knitting community here (Eira in Glen Sutton) calls it ‘The Noro.’ which i have started to do myself.

  24. keep us posted on baby birds!

  25. Dear Ann, I thought of you while listening to Garrison this weekend, and wondered if you were there– I shoulda known you’d be knitting through the whole event. I am so grateful to you for keeping up with the “happy place,” for Kay and so many of us.
    The second picture of the growing birds still has me wondering: is it possible I see some distinctively yarny bits woven into that work of art known as a bird’s nest? Given the proximity to you, I am betting a few strands of Noro may have escaped your needles and are wound into this tiny cradle.
    Noro: what she said, people. I still cannot understand the attraction, like one of your nicest girlfriends who dates a kinda scraggly guy. And p.s. to Debbie S., re Knitting the Same Thing Over and Over: yes, it’s okay. I continue to knit variations on a certain pair of handwarmers, despite warmer weather, other projects calling, whatever. It helps organize my brain, having the one thing to return to time and again. Comforting in times of change.

  26. re: ‘Knitting the Same Thing Over and Over’– had to chime in (deadlines? what deadlines?!) to say very definitely, it is infinitely comforting. i’m trusting it for now, and believing i will be released in time…

  27. I second Sandy’s request – I know that it’s a simple increase, but it would take me a while to figure out eggzactly what it is.

  28. PS
    The square is going to be for the US #7 slooooooow afghan in honor of Peter’s life.

  29. Count me on the used-to-hate-Noro train. I LOVE the crazy colors but never loved much else about it. I am knitting a Booga bag now in the greens and blues and already have the yarn lined up for two more bags in two more colorways.
    What a touching tribute to better.

  30. I love the stuff, Noro, it is like a party in a skein!
    I have a birdhouse to watch out my kitchen window from my next door neighbors, they are rather rude little creatures, screaming all day for Mom to feed them, always have their mouths open for MORE, wait, that was my kids….haha, same thing as people I guess!
    Beautiful squares. Can’t wait to see it finished.How’s Kay, give her our love ok?

  31. I’m convinced the only reason grubs exist are to act as baby bird Enfamil.

  32. Ooh, I can’t make the sew up, but was knitting some squares for a different afghan and can probably have them dropped off by an UWS colleague if that would help.

  33. PLEASE tell ME, too how to do the squares…
    thanks!

  34. PLEASE tell ME, too how to do the squares…
    thanks!

  35. Noro yarn better than Brad Paisley!!!??! Ummmm, I’m not sure about that and i love Noro yarn! Hope Kay is starting to feel better.

  36. Brad Paisley isn’t usually that high on my radar, but I have to say that I did enjoy PHC this weekend. So much so that I left the radio on when I had to pull off the freeway and nap on my way home from work.
    Personally I’ve never used Noro at all, but I am liking those squares.

  37. Another PHC fan? yahoo! This year was the first year i missed attending the live NYC shows (you know that thing called the recession). but listened along as i do every week.
    thanks for the info re Pearl – will call and see if they need help.

  38. Simple diagonal garter square.
    Well, this is how I do it – don’t know if I’m stealing someone’s special pattern or anything – but this is how it goes for me….
    cast on two stitches.
    row 1 k1, inc in 2nd stitch (3 stitches)
    row 2 k1, inc in 2nd stitch, k1 (4 sts)
    row 3 k1, inc in 2nd st, k to end,
    repeat row three until the diagonal ‘side’ of your square is the size you want (8 inches for Ann, 10 inches for Ravelry blankets 1 thru 7) then start to decrease in the second stitch of every row, knitting to the end of the row after you’ve done the decrease. When you’re down to 3 stitches, slip one, k2tog, psso, one stitch left….. you know what to do!
    If you use different increases and decreases you can make patterns in the edges of the square, OR you can do the increase/decrease on the very edge stitch if you like, but I find that makes the edges a little ‘toothy’ for my liking so I like to embed my increase/decrease inside the square a little bit.
    I hope this helps those who are asking for a pattern, if it’s not clear, please keep asking for help – that’s what we’re here for!
    Margieinmaryland – I’m your sewing person for blanket 7 – give me a yell on Ravelry if you need anything more.
    And thank-you to everyone who has commented about my nutty ‘knit the same thing’ mania – it makes perfect sense within the context of ‘providing comfort in times of change’ – I’ll keep knitting squares and shawls!

  39. We had some baby hummingbirds in a nest behind the local knitting studio in Berkeley. The whole knitting community followed their progress — they were unbelievably tiny and their mom so fiercely protective! They are fledged now. I’m hoping she nests there again.
    Love to Kay.

  40. It is so nice that you are knitting in memory of Peter. Doesn’t it help sooth your grief – I know it does for me. It makes me feel productive in a time when their is nothing you can “do”.
    I have never been a fan of Noro – but….
    Prayers for both of you!

  41. It is so nice that you are knitting in memory of Peter. Doesn’t it help sooth your grief – I know it does for me. It makes me feel productive in a time when their is nothing you can “do”.
    I have never been a fan of Noro – but….
    Prayers for both of you!

  42. mindless knitting is nice
    it does help really does
    60 ” in the same pattern
    can be a comfort
    thank you for the pattern
    down here in florida the mockers
    are nesting they like the spanish moss
    cats beware and people too
    love to all

  43. I have enough squares here in my living room for 2 blankets!! Squares that are coming in from all over the country. We are knitting them & I am putting them together in memory of Peter. It’s all on the Fans of a4A group on ravelry.
    BTW, WEBS in Northamton has Noro Kureyon on sale…:)

  44. Thanks Ann for the heads up on Knitty City effort. I’ll be there this Wednesday to sew up, knit, and whatever! Anyone who needs squares to be picked up, I can do – UWS or not too far LOL . . . email me right away.

  45. Sent my squares this morning–wish I could be at the sew up. Thinking of all of you. Thanks for the bird alert. This AM, while caring for a neighbor’s cat, I saw a baby woodpecker on their feeder.
    Took my breath away.

  46. Ann, I’m laughing because I started a new Noro project this weekend, and it’s been several years since I’ve used Noro yarns. I’m mesmerized by “what’s going to happen next” and “where’d THAT color come from”??? I’m knitting this sweater so fast…and I have another project that I REALLY should be working on…it’s just that crazy Noro…it sucks me right in!

  47. My heart started to flutter at the sight of those great Noro squares!
    Wish I could be there for the sewing up (where did all of the squares come from?), as this is such a wonderful idea and beautiful endeavor. Blessings to all who are involved with it.
    My, but don’t those little birdies seem as if they have grown considerably since last week?!
    Take good care, Ann and Kay.
    LoveDiane

  48. Baby Birds Update is the high point of my day!

  49. I love knitting noro hats… it’s like watching that mesmerizing color-changing screensaver, but in yarn form! I always end up with little bits of vegetable matter all over my lap when I knit with it though.

  50. I love knitting noro hats… it’s like watching that mesmerizing color-changing screensaver, but in yarn form! I always end up with little bits of vegetable matter all over my lap when I knit with it though.

  51. I have had to curb my Noro addiction for a while, but seeing those squares makes me want to jump in head first and buy some more. Thanks for the pictures of the birds, lovely.

  52. I have had to curb my Noro addiction for a while, but seeing those squares makes me want to jump in head first and buy some more. Thanks for the pictures of the birds, lovely.

  53. I have had to curb my Noro addiction for a while, but seeing those squares makes me want to jump in head first and buy some more. Thanks for the pictures of the birds, lovely.

  54. They grow up so fast. Soon they’ll be flying away to a life of their own.

  55. I’ve been thinking about getting some discontinued Noro (on uber-sale) to make a braided rug, but I keep second guessing myself.
    The squares are lovely, much nicer than most of the Noro garments I’ve seen. The best Noro garments I’ve seen use a plain base color to make easy-peasy fairisle colorwork.

  56. I thought of you yesterday when two fresh-out-of-the-nest toddler robins were pecking around the yard. Unfortunately for them, we’ve had biblical rain the last three weekends and the grass is a bit…tall-ish. They looked like they were in the explorers in the jungles of Borneo.
    Here’s how it went:
    peck the ground
    peep?
    (can’t see momma robin)
    peck the ground
    PEEP?
    (still can’t see the momma)
    peck the ground
    PEEP.PEEP.PEEP.PEEEEEP!
    here comes the momma!

  57. Ann, so many thanks for your being a perfect best friend to Kay. Ron and I were so glad to be among the many finishers at Knitty City on Wednesday night. Surprised to look up and see Kay who with Carrie had come to thank us. Teary all over again.