New Year and the Noro scarf

Some garments stick with you. For a while.

I call this the Nine-year scarf – it’s one of those rare pieces of clothing that has seen me through nearly a decade of my life. I knit it before moving to the U.S. for graduate school years ago. I wore it to my very first school orientation meeting in Chicago. And, I was sure to bring it in the suitcase when I finally decided to take the leap and re-locate, never failing to wear it every Fall and Winter. Other scarves have come and gone, but this one has stayed. I think of the scarf the way I think of an old, loyal friend (one whom I’ve worn so long that it’s starting to felt itself).

The scarf is knit with Noro yarn, produced in the Japanese province of Aichi. I lost the label, but I suspect it is the 100% wool Noro Kureyon. This hand-dyed, variegated, worsted weight yarn was designed in the 1990s, and its 2-ply structure creates rich and unexpected ‘colour blurs’ when knit up. It shows that Eisaku Noro first trained as a painter before turning his eye to spinning and dyeing.

Image source: Designer Yarns UK

When I first saw Noro yarn years ago, the colours made wonderful sense to me; they stood out in the way that extraordinary and beautiful things do. Noro grows gardens of colour into each skein. I bought the yarn at a Toronto thrift shop in the early 2000s where 2 completely new and unopened skeins were being sold for a whopping $2. Only now do I realize that I had stumbled upon buried treasure.

9 years later, the scarf’s colours are still vibrant and vivid, and the fabric has taken on new dimension.

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With a new year just ahead, I consider the scarf an example of how to age well and get on with time with a little bit of playfulness and grace. I like to think that, with the passing years, the scarf became more of itself – it has taken a lot of wear and tear but has also grown, in my eyes, more alive, its colours deepening. For the next year, I’m resolving to follow this trusty scarf’s example and do the same: to deepen my commitments to my new found and familiar creative loves. It’s helpful to have reminders of what longevity looks like (especially when those reminders also keep you warm in winter).*

I make my yearly Northern migration (Canada!) today to spend some time with relatives and friends, but I hope to stay plugged into blog-land. Perhaps it’s the mark of a burgeoning craft-love that I spent last night’s packing session thinking more about what knitting and craft supplies were coming with me, what knit-gifts need to be packed (and how), and then casting on a new WIP for the flight, than about clothes and such. I have a few faithful and favourite wears – like the Noro scarf –  and that’s all I need. I plan to do a lot of knitting in Canada.

I have really been enjoying being a blogging person, again, and am grateful for – and absolutely delighted by – your will to share the wonderful and fascinating things that you have all been making and doing. A big high five to you for another year, and a big thanks for the inspiration.

Hoping 2017 finds you enjoying and discovering lots of creative pleasures – old and new.

Happy New Yarn!

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* I think 9 scarf-years has to be at least 45 human years, all things considered.