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Crazy For Ewe Yarns
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I've been thinking quite a bit about Noro and why people have such strong opinions about it. Noro detractors often point to that random "ugly" color that they'd like to just cut out of the skein. When you take that color out, though, the yarn loses much of its beauty and interest. Noro yarns are inspired by nature - their colors are drawn from the palette of the environment which has brilliant and dull in equal measure. The dull makes us appreciate the bright even more. The rich brown earth sets off your beautiful garden. A black sandy beach makes the the Caribbean Sea so much more dazzling. That contrast is what Noro colors are about, and why I love them so much. I could think of hundreds of examples, and I'm sure you could too. Try it - it's fun! Here are the photos from the newsletter to get you started. If you find something fun, please share it with me!


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11/1/16
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Noro. There are no halfway emotions about it. You either love it with a white-hot passion, or you hate it so much that you would rather not knit than to use it. Why the disparity? I'm not sure, really. Its detractors cite things like variations in texture, tiny bits of vegetable matter in the fiber, and sections of color that don't seem to belong. I understand. Certainly, Noro is not Italian merino. But then, it doesn't pretend to be. Noro yarn is something else entirely. Noro embodies an aesthetic that is very different from traditional Western views of beauty. This aesthetic is Wabi-Sabi, which embraces a beauty that is far from the smooth, new, and refined so valued in western culture. Noro yarns are purposefully rustic. These yarns have been minimally processed, so they retain the look and feel of their source material, which is Mr. Eisaku Noro's goal for his fibers.

As for the colors that don't seem to belong, that too is part of the aesthetic - part of the beauty. It's the kind of beauty and color play that you find in nature. Picture an oriental lily with gaudy pink petals and ruby red spots, and a lime green throat. But what sets it all off? Those fuzzy anthers of orange brown. Cut them out, and you lose a bit of the excitement that blossom has to offer. Think of a huge grey stone with, deep vein of emerald or sapphire crystal lodged deep inside. There is tremendous energy in that stone - The energy is in the stone's potential beauty, and the thrill of getting to that gorgeous green or blue you know is in there. For the ancient Buddhist philosopher, Kenko, anticipation is the better part of the beauty of a thing. Truth is, the colors you might love in a skein of Silk Garden - incredible blue, green and purple - would be rather less interesting without a bit of drab to set them off. The drab bits make the blues bluer, the greens greener - everything is more intense against those bits. The anticipation and excitement of knitting with Noro is addictive. You want to knit and knit and knit just to see how the colors will play out. Noro is a thrill with every stitch.

Kenko also wrote, "The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty." Sometimes it's hard to see that, but truly, how dull it would be if we knew everything that was to come. Try it and see. 
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11/1/16
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What is it about Noro? It's one of those fibers that you either love or hate. I love it. The colors are vibrant and rich, but balanced always by earthy tones. For me, that interplay is like dark chocolate with sea salt. The drab bit makes the bright colors seem even more brilliant. Their colorways are inspired by nature so the palettes really work and are actually quite wearable. I have put several of my favorite colorways here to show what I mean. I think it's amazing how thoroughly each skein captures the colors and energy of its inspiration.

I love Noro's colors, but I especially love the aesthetic. There's an earthy, genuine feel to the fibers. Noro's entire production effort aims for minimal processing and is geared toward preserving the environment and creating yarns that are as much like the original animal's fleece as possible. All of Noro's animal fibers come from certified organic farms that Mr. Noro visits regularly. Raw wools are sorted by hand and cleaned mechanically rather than chemically then dyed those beautiful colors with from eco-friendly dyes. Noro Yarns reflect a deep love of nature and respect for the earth and its creatures.

As the colors emerge and the textures change, you can feel the yarn's inherent energy, or chi, as Eastern cultures call it. You don't just knit or crochet with Noro, you experience it. 

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Tahki Stacy Charles Trunk show and First Friday Knitalong this week!
http://www.crazyforewe.com/blogs/newsletter/44133380-sparkly-its-only-natural
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