Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Respect the Noro

I have heard quite a few gripes about Noro yarn from my fellow knitters, such as the detritus in Kureyon, Silk Garden and other yarns; the fact that when there's a knot, the color sequence changes; the roughness of Kureyon worsted weight and sock yarn; the price, on and on. Don't get me wrong, I'm in total agreement with these complaints. Such as it is, I find myself in an ongoing love-hate relationship with Noro yarn. The color, man, the color...! So all I can do, since I'm unable to quit Noro, is just accept these quirks about the yarn and keep knitting with it. It is what it is. You may not get regular color sequencing, but you will get something brilliant and unique in all the world.

That said, here is a first look at an original design of mine: Pontocho.

Now I'm trying hard to not be driven batshit crazy by that teeny strip of brown; this is a Japan-inspired design with Japanese yarn, so I figure the least I can do is adopt a Zen attitude about it. Pontocho is actually an alley in Kyoto near the center of town; it's across the river from Gion, and both are famous as geisha districts. I found myself getting lost wandering through Pontocho one day, and although I didn't spot any Geisha (I later did in Gion), I was fascinated by this narrow, cobblestoned walkway with expensive restaurants and tea houses. It seemed mysterious and out of the way. And by now you probably know that I love plays on words, so I didn't design Pontocho as a shawl, but a triangular poncho. I used the Fan Lace stitch from the first Barbara Walker Treasury. The stitch pattern might be somewhat obscured by the bright stripes of color, but a recent stash exploration yielded up enough Berroco Comfort worsted to knit it again and really showcase the stitch. It looks complicated but is easy; after a few repeats I was able to memorize it. Which is really saying something, because I have my issues with lace knitting!

Here are the nuts and bolts, in case you're interested:

Noro Taiyo, color 9A, 3.5 balls (about 700 yards). Size 8 needles. Width: about 22". I knit the rectangular piece to 58" long but could have kept going, as I wanted the neckline bigger, however blocking relaxed it enough to fit me.

I have big dreams for this design - I'd like to have a photo shoot with a model, write it up and submit it for publication. Of course, I could always put it on Ravelry or Etsy, but I want to see if it has a shot at being accepted somewhere. For the photo shoot, the Japanese Garden would be ideal, but alas--they require a photographer's membership ($150) for any kind of portrait photography. I'm undaunted, though, because this is Portland, and there are many gardens and parks which would be a nice background.

So there you have it, the Pontocho poncho. My other WIP's will have to languish a little longer, because when I get the proverbial wild hair up my...well, you know, I just have to run with it and see it through to completion!

Beautiful! Thank you for the backstory on the name, too.

Is it really a portrait if the model is just there to hold up the clothes? I think of portraits as pictures where the person is the focus!
Thanks, Michele! Good question, too. The Japanese Garden's policies don't allow any sort of commercial photography - I don't have the nerve to try it because I'd hate to get thrown out.
Love it! I've heard the same about the Noro yarns, but I agree...the colours man, the colours!
What are the International Test Rose Garden policies, or even going to Hoyt Arboretum? I also have a model for you. She cleans up nicely. ;)

I have never worked with any Noro yarn yet, and have heard all the stories about it's quality. But the colors are so appealing.
Tammy - your model was the first one I thought of! Thank you for the suggestion. I haven't checked out the Rose Garden yet, but I think Forest Park or Hoyt Arboretum would be lovely. When I get the second wrap finished, we should definitely do a photo shoot! I pay my models in yarn. :D
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]