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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Library Instruction Coordinator, Northeastern University Libraries
There are few knitting magazines devoted to a brand of yarn, but Noro Yarn is special, with colors in long repeats reflecting breathtaking color transitions in the finished piece. In the premiere issue of Noro Magazine, the reader is introduced to Eisaku Noro, who founded the company over 40 years ago in Ichinomiya, a town in Central Japan, which is a part of the country renowned for yarn and textile manufacturing.
From the beginning, the paper banding on every ball of yarn included the line, "The World of Nature," as Noro adapted yarn manufacturing equipment "to produce yarns that were totally unique and that put much less strain on the environment." This respect for nature and the environment is reflected in the product: certified organic animal fibers are dyed using dyes that have a low impact on the environment, and the carding and spinning methods produce a yarn with a handspun look. The names of the yarns and their connection to nature are explained in the magazine. For example, Shiraito is named for the Shiraito Falls near Mount Fuji; Taiyo, a summer yarn, is named for the sun; and the name for Hitsuji, a chunky-weight wool, comes from the Japanese word for “sheep.”
Now to numbers for you knitters: there are over 30 patterns in the first issue, ranging from sweaters, vests, hats, socks, slippers, and gloves using a variety of Noro brand yarns. The level of knitting experience needed for each project (easy, intermediate, and experienced) is indicated on each pattern. One may think all you can do with a yarn where the colorway is so prominent is to knit stockinette stitch, but these patterns disprove that notion, with cables, lace, shell stitch, miters, and texture stitches, such as seed and trinity stitch, being featured.
In addition to patterns, the articles appeal to a multigenerational knitting audience, ranging from a history of the company to “Noro On the Web,” along with news on knitting apps, and an interview with tea-cozy designer and sculptress, Loani Prior. Subscription information about the magazine may be found on their website.