Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No-Bull Book Review: Knit Noro (Trisha Malcolm ed.)

It is with great pleasure that I write today's Book Review. I've been a fan of self-striping yarns since the time I first saw one, and I am particularly fond of the ones created by Eisaku Noro. I understand that Noro yarns seem to trigger a love-'em-or-hate-'em response, but even if you aren't crazy about Noro self-stripers -- I personally love the vividness of the colors, the homespun texture and the wild color combos -- there are plenty of other self-stripers out there now that do similar things.

Our friends at Sixth & Spring have presented Noro lovers, and indeed, all fans of self-stripers, with a great gift by publishing Knit Noro: 30 Designs in Living Color (MSRP $24.95, available for $15.67 via the link).

What I like so much about this book is the combination of irresistible patterns that take advantage of the colors and striping tendencies of Noro yarn, and the terrific production values of the book. So let's take a closer look.

Knit Noro is a hardcover book, approximately9 by 12 inches, and 144 pages. From the minute you open the book, you are greeted with luscious color. The endpapers are a vintage-feeling floral print; the table of contents, title page and other pages aren't printed on a plain white background but are white type on more gorgeous photos; and every pattern is photographed at least 3 or 4 times in its individual pattern section. It seems like photographer Rose Callahan was able to record every nuance of color and texture from the Noro yarns in the photographs in this book. Also it's worth a shout-out to Sarah Liebowitz for the lovely styling in the photographs.

Striped Shawl (Tanis Gray)

The book features 30 patterns which are all shown as women's patterns, although a few of the accessories, like the Chevron Scarf, could be worn by men (perhaps with some color alterations). The patterns are pretty evenly divided between sweaters and accessories, with a few afghans/throws thrown in for good measure. And wisely, editor Trisha Malcolm let the color take center stage. (As my husband breathlessly told me when he opened the box containing my copy, "Each project gets its own two-page spread: FULL BLEED!")

Rainbow Knee-highs (Barb Brown)

It's hard to pick out favorites in the book since there is a wide variety in terms of techniques used, difficulty level and style -- and all of the patterns are simply luscious. So I'm just going to highlight a handful of the designs; you can see photos of all the designs at KFI's website here. The cover design is a belted kimono style cardigan that showcases the Noro stripes by creating a dramatic V in the back.

Belted Cardigan Vest (Theresa Schabes)

I like the way the Block Cardigan uses a solid color (in Cash Iroha) for cuffs and buttonbands, and also to create some framing around the component pieces of the sweater.

Block Cardigan (Peggy Forester)

Some of the patterns allow the yarn to stripe as it wants to,

Leaf Lace Socks (Judy Sumner)

while others deliberately alternate two different colorways (or start at different places in the color repeat) to create contrast.

Chevron Scarf (Cheryl Kubat)

This fair isle design, done in Noro sock yarn, is exquisite.

Fair Isle Cardigan (Mary Scott Huff)

I was happy to see some different techniques featured, like Rosemary Drysdale's entrelac scarf:

Entrelac Scarf (Rosemary Drysdale)

modular knitting, as in this throw:

Modular Afghan (Anna-Beth Meyer-Graham)

and stranded colorwork, including my own stranded chullo-style cap:

Fair Isle Cap (me!)

There's even a felted project:

Felted Cloche (Tina Whitmore)

The sweaters tend toward those styled as vests or sleeveless layering pieces,

Sideways Stripe Vest (Cheryl Murray)

and again, here the yarn's striping tendencies along with multidirectional knitting and other cleverness create interesting effects:

Modular Vest (Linda Cyr)

For my statisticians, here is your breakdown of the patterns:
  • 4 hats
  • 4 cardigans
  • 1 pullover

Trinity Stitch Sweater (Valentina Devine)

  • 5 scarves and 1 gaiter
  • 2 pairs of socks (one crew-length, one knee-high)
  • 1 pair of gloves & 1 pair of wristwarmers
  • 3 afghans/throws
  • 6 vests
  • 1 sleeveless tunic
  • 2 shawls/wraps

Fair Isle Cap (me!)

I am really happy to note that there are some nice expanded size ranges for many of the sweaters (well into the 40s and in some cases 50-some inch finished chests) and of course the accessories and throws are one-size fits all. You'll find schematics for the patterns that need them. The yarns used are Noro's Kureyon and Silk Garden (both worsted-ish weight), and Silk Garden Sock and Taiyo (both fingering weight).

Cabled Cap (Faina Goberstein)

So for the terrific patterns, the juicy color photography, and the overall fun factor, I give Knit Noro two self-striping thumbs up. I am not giving away any secrets when I tell you that the book has been so enthusiastically received that there is a second Noro-themed book coming in January...


Evelyn said...

Great review -- thanks for sharing so much detail. The Modular Afghan is stunning!

JelliDonut said...

OMG! Full bleed?!?!? Tell your husband I think that's super cool!

I also love the Noro colors--it's the knots I hate! I will check out the book, however, since you gave it such a thumbs-up review. Congrats on being included in the book.

Joyce said...

Great review - it's helpful that you included the size range. I'm a lot more interested in finding this book because of your review.

Moi* said...

Awesome! Have it love it get it!!!

International Knitter of Mystery said...

This book seems more to my liking than Hamilton's book (Noro: Meet the Man...). These patterns seem more accessible, less "arty." *Sigh* another addition to the wish list!

grammasam said...

Will have to tell my family that this is what I want (have to have) for my birthday or Christmas.
Loved all the pictures in your review!!

Anonymous said...

We LOVE your blog, because we LOVE wool. I've re-posted this entry on our Facebook page.


It's part of our competition, with Woolmark that allows anyone to upload a wool Look to win prizes.

Check it out and upload a look?



Anonymous said...

Nice pix. Looks like an interesting book . . . but I must say the Rainbow Knee-Highs appear to be waaaaaaaaaay too big in the top. They must be glued to the model's calves (or to the edge of the chair!).

--Lynda in Oregon