I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Monday, November 3, 2008

a day with Norah Gaughan

A Post in which many words shall be Capitalized.

On Saturday, November 1st, I made my way to Lenox, MA, where a yarn shop called Colorful Stitches was hosting a workshop with Norah Gaughan.

Norah Gaughan is one of the most prolific designers I have ever had the fortune to meet. She is now the Design Director of Berroco, was previously the Design Director for JCA Reynolds, and published the book Knitting Nature. In which she tells us that she has published over a thousand sweater patterns. And it just goes on and on from here, because she puts out seasonal booklets with her patterns for Berroco that leave us knitters breathless.

The first 90 minutes of the day were spent presenting all the garments and items that incorporate hexagons and pentagons.

Here is the Hexagon Coat from Knitting Nature, modeled by a workshop participant.
The hexagons from the edging of that coat are the very same ones that I extracted from the pattern for my Ode to Norah Hexagon Coat, with the goal to make the entire piece from nothing but hexagons.

Next up (I did not take pictures of all the garments. You'll have to take a peek at Knitting Nature yourself), the Mosaic Shrug, an example of pentagons attached to each other. It is made from Reynold's Odyssey, a gorgeous merino yarn that Norah brought into the line-up of that company at the time. I remember it flying off the shelves in my shop back then.

Here's a bag made from 2 strands of Berroco's Suede held together. If I remember correctly, it is a pattern put out by Berroco, and not included in the book.

Here is the backside (may Norah forgive me! I sat so close that I only got this partial view...) of one of her most famous sweaters, Manon, from Norah Gaughan Vol.1. I tried that sweater on at the end of the day and yes I Want It, badly. I may even spring for the yarn it calls for, something I rarely do, mostly due to budget constraints.

Here it is on another workshop participant. By the end of the day, everyone had tried it on, and it looked good on all of us. I think somewhere in a corner they were placing bets on who would walk out with it.

And here, my dear readers, Norah's actual knitting-in-progress on my lap. She is working on a Manon herself, but this time decided to close the horizontal band and have the cardi be closed permanently.
I touched a knitting genius' knitting.
I was good though and didn't drool on it.

Norah has a lot of fun with her geometric shapes.
Observe the dodecahedron object:

The one above was made with worsted weight yarn.
The one below, with fingering weight.
I secretly call this one the tittieball.
Again, may Norah forgive me.
(The word "breast" did openly make the rounds. A room full of women know how to have fun with their knitting, believe me.)

After a brief lunch break, we moved on to the actual knitting. We were all given a ball of Berroco's Pure Merino yarn, and oh yes it was a brilliant marketing ploy. My hands and the yarn on the needles melted together. We made ribbed hexagons.

Unfortunately, many knitters in the room had trouble with handling their double-pointed needles, and we did not have time to move on the the pentagons.

Here's Norah during a teaching moment.

I love this picture:

Norah showed around my hexagons and graciously agreed to hold them up for me.
She then explained a really neat trick to us that has to do with joining two separate hexagons, but I'll leave that for another day. Let me just say that I am now ready to put a shoulder into my coat and have the amorphous mass evolve halfway to being a garment.

Here, then, is the result of my knitting that day.

These ribbed hexagons are 3.25 inches across.

Here's final proof that I was in the same room as Norah Gaughan.

Though I walked away with very little knitting, I was a happy camper, filled with inspiration.
PS: I only bought 3 buttons and a magazine at the yarn shop. Just so you know.


Vivian said...

I cannon say it enough times -- I wish I was there! Your hexagon piece is beautiful. My husband bought me Knitting Nature for Christmas last year, I got so many projects tagged, really should start working on some of them.

AlisonH said...

Cool! And I can't WAIT to meet you next week!!