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Posts from the ‘travels’ Category

Berroco Behind the Scenes

Working in the world of knitwear design means that your calendar is more than a little screwy. Deadlines and lead times require you to be mentally “out of season” pretty much all the time. I’ve modeled heavy alpaca sweaters in July, knit angora in August and sketched summery tanks in September. Perhaps the craziest part is photographing catalogs and pattern booklets for spring in the middle of New England autumn which is COLD! You’ve got to think warm thoughts! 

This was pretty easy for the first photoshoot of our spring collection. For Booklet #282 Latitude, we set up shop at a seaside hotel in Galilee, Rhode Island. Brisk October air was indeed whipping around us, but a steady diet of fried clam cakes and great nautical scenery made it feel like we were enjoying a particularly late summer vacation. Have a look: 

Be sure to subscribe to KnitBits for plenty more inside info about the Spring/Summer 2009 collection. We’ll be posting pictures, pattern information, audio slideshows and as always, free patterns galore. I have a few more behind the scenes videos to share here as well so stay tuned! 


Staycation, all I ever wanted…

This week’s KnitBits, due out on Friday, is the second in a series of themed entries called the Recession Collection. Last week’s issue was a collection of 50 projects you can knit for under 50 dollars–a LOT less than 50 dollars in most cases.


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The theme of this week’s issue is staycations–the sort of holiday you take when you can’t afford to jump on a plane headed for luxurious locales. Our feeling is that knitters know how to make the best out of a weekend on a couch. You can read our “travelogues” below but you’ll have to look for KnitBits #267 to see what Norah and Margery whipped up over the weekend. 

Favorite escapist movie:


N: Much Ado about Nothing with Kenneth Brannagh. I laughed, I cried, ……I sang!


M: Off the top of my head, month by month: Bell Book & Candle in December, Giant in January, All About Eve in February, Rebel Without a Cause in March, Vertigo in April, Splendor in the Grass in May, Rear Window in June, Dirty Dancing in July, A Walk on the Moon in August, Breakfast at Tiffany’s in September, The Body Snatchers in October,  La Strada in November.


C: Right now, Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” 


Favorite libation or wintery beverage:


N: Hot cocoa with a star anise pod thrown in.




M: Just a nice glass of Chianti.


C: Pumpkin beer–bottled dessert!


A guilty pleasure snack or comfort food recipe:


N: Chocolate and honey toasted on good bread.


M: Tarmasalata (Greek caviar spread) on a tuscan cracker.


C: Grilled cheese made with Cotswold cheddar–a double Gloucester cheese with chives.



Who or what surrounds you on the couch?


N: Lena and Jake, some tapestry needles (fallen behind the cushions) and big comfy pillows.


M: Memories of my dear cat Fred.



C: A laptop playing episodes of the British comedy “Peep Show.” 


How do you unwind and shut out the world at the end of the work week?


N: I like to plant myself on the couch and watch long marathons of TV – like the Gilmore Girls or Project Runway.


M: We take Max, Olivia and Noah [Ed: Margery's son, daughter-in-law and beloved grandson] to our favorite Indian restaurant and we have a Bombay Sapphire Martini while Noah drinks a mango lassi and we all munch on pappadam. MMMMM!


C: Yoga and some difficult cooking–at least two hours in the kitchen! Last weekend it was matzo ball soup and the weekend before that was bourbon bread pudding. Okay, now my stomach is growling…


What does the knitting glitterati do behind close doors when they’re knitting for themselves and themselves alone?


N: When I’m really fried – garter stitch.


M: My new love is my sewing machine, so that is were I go to update my wardrobe.  When it is yarn I am craving in my hands, I crochet and felt, hats, bags and other vessels.


C: Like Margery, I’ve been ‘cheating’ on my needles…I spin or weave! It’s a good way to get a little instant fiber gratification without having to think about shaping or fit or gauge…as long as I’m touching yarn, I’m happy! And like Norah, I always love garter stitch. 



I hope you’ll join us–answer any of the questions you like, either in the comments or at your blog. 


Happy knitting,




Design Team at Large

Phew! I can’t believe I’m closing in on one month at Berroco. Yesterday Margery, Norah and I took a trip to Boston so I could learn how to plan photo shoots. We saw many models and a lot of inspiring clothing. As you might imagine a lot of thought goes into styling the pattern books and it really isn’t the sort of thing you can pick up in a university or book, though I’m feeling pretty good about my Project Runway/America’s Next Top Model addictions! I’m picking up a lot simply by watching these two in action:

Fearless Leaders

By the way, the baristas at Starbucks, completely unprompted, christened us with new names. We decided that these were our alter egos, used only when traveling! In fairness to him, I used my shorter nickname Ria when ordering but still…Van? Lauria at least EVOKES Norah =)


In transit we couldn’t contain our geekiness–all three of us are addicted to our gadgets and could barely get any knitting done, we were too busy sharing tech-ish gossip. Norah used FileMagnet to download my Brûlée Scarf pattern which was featured in last week’s Knit Bits, so cute on the tiny screen! Norah also filled us in about Stitch Minder.

Another program that had us in a tizzy was Polyvore. We were REALLY psyched to see that the Knitting Tote designed by our Design Assistant Donna was featured in many collages, including my favorite which is attic themed:

Attic Collage

Donna also designed this season’s Quixotic in Peruvia Quick–the woman has a gift with bags!

There are other Berroco garments featured and I think this will be really helpful when we start to style the Spring 2009 booklets…feel free to upload and play! Maybe we can start a Ravelry group…




florentine memory

What started out as an attempt to remember a sweater in a store window ended up a multilayered photo collage of the photgrapher (me), cars driving by, ghostly tourists and, underneath it all, the afore mentioned sweater. I’m liking it as “ahht”. All I did was point and click.

and…..oh, oh, oh

How could I not mention this FIRST?!!!!! I am honored to be seen knitting on the Yarn Harlot’s sock. :)

walk with the fishes

Here’s a 20 second, silly bit o’ movie I took with my camera at the Pitti Filati exhibition in February.

That’s me giggling. Work can be fun.

it was a manon day

Remember that old TV show “This is Your Life”? I am winding up my norah gaughan vol.1 New England yarn shop tour and the last few shop visits have felt more than a bit like that show. Old friends and new, relatives of old friends (and new), sweaters of lives past and sweaters recently designed have all made appearances. My head is spinning.

My visit to Windsor Button in Boston included, among many other really nice occurences:
1 – A surprise visit from my boyfriend’s daughters
2 – Meeting a fan from Korea who is part of a knitting group there whom are all knitting manon.
3 – A mother and daughter, Clarissa and Stephanie (with a very good natured Dad in tow), who took time from parent’s weekend to come meet ME! (Not only is my head spinning, but it is swelling to gigantic proportion). Stephanie’s gearing up to knit manon too – as her FIRST SWEATER.

Clarissa, Stephanie, me (gabbing away) and manon (on the tabletop dress form).

4 – The biggest surprise and thrill was seeing the owners of the first yarn shop I ever worked in. I hadn’t seen them since 1982. Here we are, happy to see each other after 25 years:


5….and, always a favorite theme, customers tried out the sample garments (with me hogging into the photo again):

Aamu and manon.

touring new england

I’ve been driving about New England (a lot) lately, visiting yarn shops and talking about my Berroco booklet – norah gaughan vol.1. A trunk of sweaters travels with me – sweaters in a variety of sizes!!! Almost everyone can find something that fits, or fits well enough to determine which size actually would be best and how the style looks on them. This has been a blast for all.

The women of Saybrook Yarns pose (with me) swathed in pieces from my travelling trunk. Sitting: Norah in annikki, Selma in chantal Standing: Jeannine in astrid and aune, Cindy in Joplin (from Berroco #266, Jasper), Glenda in kaino, Amanda in aamu, Georgia anais, Susan in kukka.

Ok, I know my use of caps is screwy and inconsistant here. I like the look of all lower case and named the pieces in my booklet accordingly, but the Berroco tradition is to use proper English (go figure :) ) – thus the mix.


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