Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

For the love of Noro


When I lived in Hong Kong, I got to see many examples of Japanese art. Ranging from the elegant use of very minimal, distilled elements through to the richly textured and coloured, it never failed to leave me in a state of fascinated wonder.

In the knitting world, Noro ranks right up there as a master example of the Japanese use of colour and texture.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Eisaku Noro is a genius.  I love, love, love, love his yarns.

Although I have a few Noro scarves and mitts, after I saw the Noro wardrobe of an acquaintance of mine, I have lusted after a Noro garment of my very own!

The other day, I was perusing Ravelry and came across a very cute vest.  Sock yarn. Hmm.  Stripes.  Hmmm.  What about that  mouth-watering Noro Silk Garden Sock I have sitting in my wool collection begging to be used????

Bonus:  I might have enough to actually make a garment out of this!!

I was slightly worried though – the pattern called for 800m of yarn, and I had 600m of this particular Noro colourway (S245).  What to do?  Studying the various colours in the ball carefully, I realised that one of them perfectly matched some Rowan Fine Tweed I recently acquired in a swap.  Could I add a little Rowan into the mix to eke the yarn out?  The yarn weights and textures were reasonably similar.  I also noticed I had another Noro colourway that contained complementary colours that I could selectively use…

There are three yarns in this vest.  Two Noro colourways and some Rowan Fine Tweed.

I needn’t have worried though.  I’ve found that this vest can be knitted from two balls of Noro for a medium-sized person.  But better to feel safe than have that constant niggle at the back of the mind of “no more yarn!” while knitting.  Don’t you just hate that when it happens?

I think it’s turned out okay:

It looks good with a t-shirt too:

The back:

The pattern is okay, but if I had been a bit more clever about it, I would have made a number of adjustments to it, including the finishing around the armholes and neck.  If you’d like to read my project notes, I have Raveled it here.

What do I love so much about Noro?  For one, the colour of course.  Stunning colours that are harmonious blends or unexpected juxtapositions that surprise and delight – often all in one ball.  The photographs of this project display the seamless way the colours blend from one colour in the ball through to another by gentle blending during the carding process, but yet in other instances, you have distinct changes of colour.  I love the long repeats of colour too, so that you get a self-striping project, rather than the melange of colour that often occurs in multi-coloured yarn once it’s knitted.  There’s a purity to it that appeals to me.

The other facet is texture:  I adore the organic texture, the effect of the blend of the various fibres in the yarn.  The thick/thin spin makes it interesting to knit and produces a garment with textural interest.

For three:  it’s mostly natural fibre.

This all adds up to a superb artisan yarn.  Still primarily hand-crafted, Noro yarn is a stunning example of Japanese master craftsmanship.

It’s little wonder that Noro is a fixture in the Top 10 of stashed yarns on Ravelry.

I’ll leave you with more examples of the gorgeousness that is Noro:

Noro.  I love it.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

17 thoughts on “For the love of Noro

  1. I hear so many wonderful things about Noro but have never actually worked with it myself. Perhaps I’ll break down and try it in the next few months. I asked my husband if he has ever heard of it before, seeing as he lived three years in Japan. Naturally, he said no but was not surprised at all when I said it’s so popular mainly for its beautiful colors!

  2. Noro has the best colors. Great work!

  3. The vest looks reallly nice. There is something about how the colours blend with Noro that make is so magical. I did think when the Fine Tweed arrived that it was very much like my Noro sock yarn but without the amazing colours.

    Off to Cornwall camping today for a few days, think I must be mad!!

  4. Your vest is perfect for between the seasons, it looks so soft and drapey….yummy 🙂

  5. Noro is unbeatable for colours and your projects are beautiful – especially the comfort cowl!

  6. I’ve never worked with Noro either, does it feel as nice as it looks? I love your photogenic kitty too, and the beautiful scarf and hat. Lovely blog, thank you. I am going to make your Adorable FIngerless gloves for my daughter, they look delectable.

    • It depends on which Noro yarn you use. Cash Iroha for example, is pure softness because it’s cashmere. Kureyon is slightly scratchy because it’s pure wool. The others with blends of silk or cotton are not scratchy, but they can have more of a ‘fabric’ feel if you could call it that. I’d suggest you have a nice squoosh of the yarns the next time you see some… 😉 I hope you enjoy knitting the fingerless gloves. Thank you for popping in!

  7. Lovely as always! I also think the scarf looks gorgeous in those colours and your photos are great too! xxxx

  8. I love the Noro colourways I see and have spotted some gorgeous designs but as yet haven’t acquired any for my stash. I almost did a few weeks ago when at the not so-LYS but as my basket already added up to over £70, and the Mister was with me, I decided to wait until next time. After reading your post I thnk next time might be sometime around my very next payday 😉

  9. Okay, you’ve convinced me! Fortunately, my LYS down the street sells Noro and while I always ogle it when I’m there, I’ve never bought any. All your FOs show off this yarn and its colors beautiful. Lovely work, dear friend. xo

  10. That cowl left me breathless! Beautiful things and colors. I have never worked with Noro, but may have to give it a try. 🙂

  11. I have fallen for Noro in a big way. I found mixed reviews about the sockyarn but I tried a pair of socks, just love the way it knitted and don’t find them hard to wear.I’m not clever like you at designing myself but I’ve just pickup Noro Knits from the Library. Wow where to start.I’m starting with a simple garter and stocking st jacket. Is not abit boring as your waiting to see what the next colour change will be like.Really find your blog inspiring Thank you.

    • You are spot on. I think Noro is best showcased in plain stitching. And how can you get bored when there are all those pretty colours to anticipate. Your jacket sounds droolworthy. I’m jealous!