I really lurve, luff, love Norah Gaughan designs. This is somewhat of a recent development most likely precipitated by her design evolution intersecting my evolution in taste. I was aware of her before but recently I find I want to knit most everything she designs. Now I should state up front that my tastes tend to skew funkier and younger than I actually am. My personal philosophy on what I want to knit eliminates two categories of design:
- Those designs that I can purchase at Walmart for $9.95. Usually, sleeveless, stockinette and cream.
- Those designs that look like I'm auditioning for a lead role in the stage version of Driving Miss Daisy.
Ms. Gaughan's designs look to be fun to knit and for the most part...wearable. The recent controversy around her "Capecho" (notice the root word "cape" here - hello, first clue) on the cover of a recent Vogue Knitting certainly isn't her fault. Some rogue stylist at the photo shoot no doubt got the brilliant idea to clip the back of the garment to make it fit closer to the body. This only came to light after many innocent knitters spent many hours making this design only to find that it fit...well...like a cape - not a shrug. Vogue Knitting Magazine did print a "clarification" stating that the design was not "close fitting". Not quite an apology though that would have been nice. I guess that makes it a "Youa Culpa".
Another of her patterns that has made knitters nervous is the Roundabout Leaf Tank from her book "Knitting Nature" last year. I agree that showing garments on rail-thin models can make us mere mortals wonder if it would look ok on us but I saw a few brave Internet bloggers make this one and when the proper yarn is used and proper size achieved, it looks great. I decided to make mine in a colour I rarely knit with or wear - red. This is the Berroco Denim Silk (now discontinued) in a shade called Paprika. I'm knitting it on Lantern Moon Ebony needles. It was started on vacation to B.C. last summer and then abandoned in the Fall. I recently pulled it over my head and held it up around my hips to see if it would hang properly. I became smitten again and thus another UFO is resurrected.
I wasn't going to rush out and get the new Lace Style book by Interweave until I caught a glimpse of the Norah Gaughan design in this collection. It's called the Lacy Waves top. I can't even see the whole thing but "You had me at the yoke". I'll be getting the book this Saturday.
Her Bonsai Tunic in the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits also called to me. IK was kind enough to show front and back shots (Look Mom - no clips!). I battled my dislike for ribbon yarns and cast on to make this lovely design. Here's my progress thus far and the knitting has been delightful. Even ripping back hasn't been as traumatic as I'd thought.
When Natural Knitter (not to be confused with Knitting Nature) was published last month it was this amazing sweater that seduced me. I happen to have sourced the exact yarn needed for this as well. Classic and very feminine. I bet it feels great on.
So when I'm eating cat food as an old lady because I drained my life savings to make Norah Gaughan designs I can take solace in one truth. At least I had a hell of a fun time planning and knitting those garments. Maybe they'll be fetching enough to catch me a meal ticket in my old age?