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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.

help me kitty

Margery’s cat Fred assists during our recent photoshoot.

Just last week, a curious reader (Hi Jeni) asked me if I was going to include the requisite cat shots in my blog. W…e…l…l, now that you’ve asked, how can I resist? This has been one of those crazy, outrageously busy few weeks when Margery and I frantically prepare for photography up until the VERY last minute and then the roller coaster ride of 4 days of photo shoot happens. I’m not prepared (nor allowed) to give too much away just yet, but with the assistance of both of our cats you can get a smiggen of a sneak peak into Spring ’08.


You’ve met the elegant and lovable (21 year old!) Fred, at the top of this post. Here is My blur o feline fur, Lena. Yes, yes, I am aware that this is not a great photograph. It is, however, telling. Lena is so very aloof UNTIL I desperately need to work on something. There she was smothering the Suede cardigan I was trying to sew buttons on, when it occurred to me that this was perfect blog fodder! Of course, THE SECOND I got out the camera she became very elusive and impossible to photograph.


…and so he doesn’t feel left out – my other cat Jake:


More of a camera ham, he’s featured in Sabrina Gschwandtner’s book KnitKnit so he may soon be more famous than I am in the knitting community.

birth of joyella

This is how a design starts it’s life at Berroco – as a sketch. This is my sketch of Joyella, now in our Jasper™ booklet . In case you haven’t noticed, since writing “Knitting Nature” I’ve been a bit obsessed by hexagons. So now there are hexagons in norah gaughan volume 1, hexagons in the felting book, hexagons in my sleep….
joyella sketch
You’ll note a few discrepancies between my original sketch and the finished garment:
cropped official joyella
Why did I draw the hexagons with the points at the center front? Two minutes later, I knew better – because the little sketch, meant to clarify, is drawn correctly. Go figure. The biggest change is from cardigan to pullover. When we received the sample sweater from our knitter, Margery (Winter) and I put it on a co-worker (acting as fit model) and we knew immediately that the sweater wanted to become a pullover. It was one of those “maybe I’m crazy, but…” eureka kinda moments.

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.

That color target card!

During a photoshoot we routinely include a color target in test shots. This helps out our art director. There is something about that card. It seems to bring out hidden personalities. Here are some out-takes from the photography for norah gaughan vol.1

ashley hams it up
The formerly calm and serene Ashley succombs to the power of the color target. See the calm and serene version here

.bedouin eleanor
Worldly Astrid: The color target seems to transform Eleanor into a Bedouin woman from a far away land. Remember that famous cover of National Geographic?


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