The Church of Noro


And Good Morning!  Happy Autumn Equinox…. I’m feeling such an interesting and unusual energy around the place, it’s a big day for us here in New Zealand… not only is it the full moon and autumn equinox, but also, despite what the date says at the top of this post, it’s March 20, 2011.  Have you heard of Ken Ring?  The Moon Man who has predicted that today at 9.44am there will be another quake on the Canterbury (Christchurch) fault line?  There are a LOT of New Zealanders who think he needs to be put in jail (that’s a quote!) for his predictions and right now the country is watching and waiting to see what happens.  While he has angered many, KB read to me that others are grateful to him as his last predictions meant that they were able to prepare, so I’m of no opinion to be honest, but Cantabrians are in my thoughts and my heart right now and this morning when I got up I said a blessing for them for today and as I spoke, tingles ran up and down and up and down so I know the Universe heard!  The quakes around the world have created so much fear, and I’m trying to remind myself that they happen all the time in the Pacific Ring of Fire, that they happen all the time in Wellington and just because we are noticing them more doesn’t mean we are in any greater danger than we have been since, forever!  I realised the other day that we are living on a little piece of crust that has popped out of the ocean where two tectonic plates meet… New Zealand seems so big from a human perspective, but so small from an earth perspective.

One of my lovely commenters wrote to me the other day about how we are “absorbing the sadness in the Pacific” and I loved that, it is such a perfect way of describing it… I’m absorbing on a daily basis the fear of disaster because even when I manage to get my own fear down to a manageable level, I’m still being affected by everyone else’s, and a lot of the people I’m being affected by are people with less grounding, who thrive on the fear and the sadness, as well as the media, whose purpose is to spread bad news.  Because  of this, I’m spending as little time as I can out in the real world and as much time as I can at my house, hiding from the rest of the world!

One of the ways I’m dealing with how things are in the world right now, is using my love of craft as a tool to stay present.

After I finished KB’s Pixie Hood (to be revealed soon!) I decided to start on my Noro scarf after finding this pattern in a magazine loaned to me by a friend.  I’ve had that ball of Noro sitting in my stash for four months, so I decided it was time for it to transform into its true self!  A beautiful, beautiful scarf, and wow, I’m talking beautiful, but I can’t tell you that, I have to show you, here is the beginning….

I love this pattern, just adore it.  I’ve made a few mistakes but I just don’t care, which is unusual for me… thanks to the colour and the uneven-ness of the spin, they don’t really show up.  As you might see, the first colour change was one of Noro’s signature abrupt changes… last night I wished I had frogged it at the beginning and started with the green but I’m halfway through now, and I think I can live with it!

A few weeks ago I found the Ravelry group Nuts for Noro.   I love this group!  I love reading the threads and discussions and even though I’m one of those “silent readers” on Ravelry usually, and only comment when I really can’t help myself, I’m fascinated by this group and their love of Noro!  I had a realisation that Noro is most definitely a religion in the Knitting world!  And slowly but surely, I’m becoming a devotee!  Noro is so expensive in New Zealand, it makes you want to cry, so it’s something I usually buy infrequently and after a lot of browsing, and I’ve discovered that I’m much more partial to kureyon than silk garden, and that the kureyon sock yarn rocks my world more than any other yarn in the whole wide world!

As I knit, I’m practicing focus, bringing my thoughts back to where I am right now instead of letting them run away, gleefully grabbing hold of the frightening things that could potentially happen, focusing on the feeling of the yarn in my hands and watching the colours mix. Knitting with Noro is like making art, its slow progress because every few rows I need to take a break to hold it away from me and marvel at its beauty and the perfection of the colour changes.  I’m making myself knit slowly (thanks to my sore shoulder which is teaching me to live life at a much slower pace!) and not allowing myself to plan my next five projects as I knit this one, but simply being right here with my creation.  And in this way, knitting, for the first time, is becoming a spiritual experience.  This scarf has become a place of peace and when I pick it up and insert my needle through the first stitch, becomes a refuge.

One of the things I love about this sock yarn is that as I watch wonder unfold in my knitting, I’m also watching the ball change and transform, which is just as exciting as the knitting.

It’s a new obsession for sure, and I predict many more of these unfolding into my life in the near future!

I hope that this post has not come across as doom and gloom… I know that people will take it in different ways depending on where they are at in life and how they feel about things, and I’d like to state that my intention is that it is an observation of life right now, and it just occurred to me that what I type really is forever here on the web and that in 20 years time I might read this back and think “gosh I was full of shit back then!” or “wow, I remember those times, they were full on!”  Life in uncertain, and as my Mum says, “we are only visitors here on this planet.”  The uncertainty sounds like a good excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast if ever I heard one…

 Time: 9.01am

I’m off to do some knitting!


p.s I loved the comments about people’s children loving Raymond!  One lovely commenter said that her wee one calls him Pimpernel Pugh!  I called him Pimpernel Pugh and he gave me the most filthy look!  KB said it was probably because I laughed afterwards and he thought I was laughing at him… I kind of was, but what an awesome name for him… We googled Pimpernel Pugh but no pictures came up… who is this elusive friend of slinky malinky?

About Crochet with Raymond

I'm a crochet obsessed, reiki master, crystal healing, yoga junkie, counselling student, in a happy long term relationship... and Raymond's mum!
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45 Responses to The Church of Noro

  1. Lucy says:

    I love this philosophical post. Your scarf in progress is beautiful I can see why people go Nuts for Noro. Raymond looks very very sweet in that picture, give him a little kiss from me x I have posted on my blog my finished Granny stripe edged with the help of your ‘carnival’ edging tutorial, only I think I did something wrong…it does not look as neat as yours even after blocking, it was my first attempt at blocking though. I am not sure if I got the stitches correct or wether my blocking skills are lacking, I may take to knitting for a while. 🙂

  2. We have just returned from a trip to both New Zealand and Australia with a six day stopover in Japan on the way home. We were in Christchurch in early January and Tokyo 2 weeks ago. Devastation seems to have been our shadow.
    I feel such sadness tinged with such a feeling of true blesssedness to be alive and well.
    I have been studying Yoga and Reiki and try and live “in this moment.”
    Like you woolly work keeps me focused and calm and right now I am busy making Crochet Purses for Operation Christmas Child. I just want to send love in these little pouches to those absorbing their own sadness.
    Thank you for such an inspiring post and I LOVE Noro too!
    Kindest Regards Linda

  3. Terrie says:

    I have been coveting some Noro for such a long time – I want to improve on my knitting first as I hear it might not take well to being frogged too many times!

    I don’t think you could ever sound gloomy Alice! x

  4. MiA says:

    Mmmm… how could you not just love love love the noro yarns!

  5. Heather says:

    Crochet is my therapy. I had a tough time during last year/18 months and I felt like absorbing myself in making my blankets was crocheting around the cracks in my life and holding me together. It’s a very spiritual thing, making something stitch by stitch. I’m glad you feel the same.

    How much does Noro sock yarn cost in NZ? Cheapest I can find it for here is £9.95 so if that works out any cheaper (when postage is factored in) I’m happy to post you some. Same goes for a circular cushion, if you wanted.


  6. Michele Phillips says:

    I’m new to your blog, and love your posts. Wanted to ask something about noro. I’ve only seen it once in a local knitting shop, and it was quite rough to the touch. Was wondering how it felt when made into socks.

  7. Sarah says:

    Love your post!!! I also see knitting at a spiritual practice – as a busy mum it is my meditative time where I can focus on the yarn and the stitches rather than all the other things I have to do/remember/organise.

    I’m another Noro fan and just bought two lovely skeins today – your post has me itching to start my shawl with it….. But I have to finish my WIP first – another thing knitting is teaching me, patience!

    Sending you wishes for a peaceful time – mentally AND environmentally xxx

  8. Wow! I love that Noro yarn..! Sooo pretty… may have to look into getting myself some too! (Lovely picture of Raymond) xx

  9. Karisma says:

    Happy Autumn Equinox to you too lovely! Your post is not doom and gloom more love and understanding. You said it well ((HUGS)) I also have found myself withdrawing a lot lately, although a bit hard to get away from the media when my husband follows the news so avidly. grrrrr. Sending out much healing love around the globe today. I am more concerned over the war mongers than Mothers grumbling. Hope the predictions are proved wrong this time. (I also plan to lose myself in some crochet or knitting loveliness this afternoon). xooxo

  10. Tickety-boo says:

    Troubled times indeed. I would like to say I am thankful everyday for what I have but in truth I am like everyone else and let days go by without being grateful for another day in my shoes but things like the recent world events, if nothing else make me appreciate what I have more often.
    Loving the Noro! I have never tried the Noro wonder yarn but it is definately on my things to do before the Summer :o)
    Wishing good Karma and that you all stay safe well.
    Love Tickety-boo xxxxxxxxx

  11. I think there is time to grieve and time to be happy. Grieve is like a cold – you have to give it time and really drink it bottom up and when it’s done, it’s done. The problem for me is that I see grieving as luxury I can’t afford and it has it’s consequences. So, I’m learning to allow myself to grieve.
    Anyways, I see the light at the end of the tunnel right now!
    According to Latvian believes Moon is a friend, so no worries that it had come closer to us than usual and it’s huge and full!
    Happy Autumn Equinox! It’s a great reason to make (to knit and to crochet) some new and gorgeous scarves, like yours!;)
    You know that you can actually knit and crochet good thoughts into your scarf and later on when you wear it, those thoughts will be healing! The ritual how you do it is absolutely up to you.

  12. You are totally rocking that scarf, Alice. Do what you have to do to get through the fear xx

  13. LeeAnn says:

    That’s the true magic of crafts, knitting and crochet. Just getting lost in yarns, patterns and creating things. It’s a beautiful thing.

    I love you’re posts. It’s funny (and quite fascinating) to see your weather changing through your blog! I live in Arizona in the states and it’s just starting to get hot and yet you are starting to get into winter.

    I am pretty scared about these times but I’m also very excited. There are people all over the middle east demanding democracy and a recognition of their human rights. I find it a really good reality check for me about how fortunate I am; a government that doesn’t rule us by fear, no natural disasters on a scale like others around the world, and a home and my health.

    Sending love your way!

  14. Caroline says:

    Your blog is a joy, musings, not doom and gloom, life is tough sometimes… it’s how you manage to scrape through it, we’re all doing what we can. Love your projects, so colourful, where would we be in a black and white world! All our kids LOVE LOVE LOVE Slinky Malinki (what a great name) try to track down the book “Cat Flaps” for cat lovers it is priceless read (even tho aimed for the under 10’s) My 2yr old has just seen your photo of Raymond, (it’s a great name for him) and quote unquote, “I want that cat”, he is loved even over the oceans.

  15. Carol says:

    Beautiful scarf, beautiful Raymond.
    So much sadness in the world, so many people hurting, hope they know others care.
    I’ve never known such moonlight as in the past few nights, the universe’s gift to heavy hearts.
    Carol xx

  16. Pimpernel Pugh is Slinky Malinky’s siamese cat friend 🙂 We have a Slinky Malinky in this house 🙂

    Hooray for discovering the meditative qualities of Knitting, I have to do some every night to ground myself….its my night time yoga! One of my blogs posted a letter by someone living in Sendai, check it out it is beautifully written

    That Noro is so expensive here too so I have yet to try it…..scared to I think 🙂

  17. renee says:

    Oh my its like rays of sun and darkness seting in our world around us when i look at your work don’t knit but apreciate ones kniting still renee

  18. KiwiPurler says:

    Well said Alice. You’ve encapsulated Noro perfectly!

  19. Pauline says:

    Hi Alice & Raymond
    Thank you for your inspirational blog. After reading it, I am truly inspired. It is a beautiful day in Port Fairy so will try to get some crochet done. After admiring your scarf (which is absolutely gorgeous!) I did an Internet search on the Noro silk and have ordered some. I want to attempt the Japanese flowers that Lucy at Attic24 has made into a shawl. My daughter was here while I was drooling over the beautiful colours. Her comment was “Mum if you want some buy it, life is to short, so get the yarn and crochet something nice. If it makes you happy do it!”. So I did and hopefully it will be here within a couple of days. It is a bit expensive but I pay just on $16 for a ball of sock yarn at Spotlight anyway. Hope you and Raymond have a great day.

  20. sandiart says:

    I had a bit of a search around for Noro to see how cheaply I could get it, the cheapest is $24.60 which for you is $33.56, oh my that is pricey, one wishful dream would be for all yarn prices to drop a little so that more people could afford to buy it, but not so people go out of business of course. Your scarf is delish, the colors magnificent.
    I finished knitting the little dress last night so I have my circular needle back, however much I want to start on the skirt today I am going to be very diciplined and finish the dress properly!!
    You express in words how I feel at times, you sent my thoughts spiralling of into another sphere this morning whee!!!
    x Sandi

  21. Sarah says:

    Raymond is the only cat that I know who has admirers all around the world and he deserves it, although your pictures are what makes us love him. You are able to capture his “essence” so well.
    I love Noro also, it is what inspired me to try the Queen Ann’s Lace scarf. I have so many balls waiting to be crocheted but I have not been able to conquer the pattern as of yet. I am left handed and I think that is what is my problem. Noro is about $12 to $24 dollars here, a little expensive but worth it. Sarah from Texas

  22. DebbyMcC says:

    I’m so happy to have found your blog recently. I don’t think you are gloom and doom; I think you have a wonderful and unique style and perspective, and I love what you write and what you make. Your mandalas are delicious enough to eat! I think chocolate for breakfast is definitely ok…my cousin used to say she was going to always try to eat dessert first as often as she could get away with it because you just never knew what was going to happen… May I just say, Raymond is one handsome fellow! And: Noro…ahhhh…the colors, the colors =-)

  23. Nikkole says:

    It truly is a work of art Alice! It is so mesmerizing! I will have to buy a little bit of noro🙂 I understand what you mean by knitting being very spiritual. I love to sit with some yarn and just work for the pleasure, in the moment, and be content with life😀

  24. MeredithJean says:

    hhhahhahaaa ‘…full of shit back then’, yes but adorably so. We can’t be who we aren’t yet. And that is just fine. Because that is just how it is.
    And also hilarious to think of Raymond as Pimp!
    Cheers and love from the most worn down continent, all the mountains scratched off by glacial activity, only the last traces of verdance remain pretty much where water made it to the sea carrying the last nutrients. From this sandy flat remnant to your protruding crust, much love xxxx
    Can’t wait to meet Noro one day.

  25. Teje says:

    Good Morning Alice and Raymond! This was good post (no shit back then…heh heh)! Anyone who loves knitting, knows how relaxing it is. Your scarf is going to be beautiful ( I saw similar just day ago and thought I would like to make that too). I don’t think there is any chance to see Noro near hear! I’m thinking how you can make even your own yarn with your mother – how many can do that!!! Enjoy your slow knitting and take care of your shoulder! I hope you have seen a doctor or physiotherapeut (I had ‘frozen shoulder’ 3 years ago and yesterday I realized that now it’s back to normal).
    Love Teje and Nero

  26. That’s a lovely scarf you are knitting. I just made a post (on my blog ) about my new “footings” that’s a name I came up with. Don’t know what they should be called. You are welcome to have a look, perhaps you feel like making your own “footies”
    Wish you all the best.
    Laila from Norway.

  27. Louise says:

    So is this yarn nicer than silk garden? I made a scarf for my SIL but didn’t feel I could give it to her as it was so scratchy and rough. A shame as it was sooo expensive. It all feels so soft in the ball. I am experimenting with Riot at the mo, a rip off of Noro no doubt but a bit softer and way cheaper yay.

  28. Penny says:

    I’ve just Googled Ken Ring and found him under so I guess that says a lot! Love the scarf, gorgeous colours, and Mr Pimpernel Pugh is looking as gorgeous as ever! Penny xxx

  29. Karen says:

    I enjoyed your post and pics of your lovely scarf using Noro. I’m always in awe when working up a project with this magical yarn. It brings a smile to my face as the colors unfold and reveal how lovely they compliment each other.

  30. Penelope says:

    Dearest lovely Alice

    I heard about The Moon man yesterday from my friend Janice who lives a few doors down from me, she is from NZ and has a sister living with 4 teenagers in Christchurch. They have lost everything…. we had a long chat yesterday and it was heart hurting to hear what destruction and devastation a lot of people are still having to recover from. She has asked me to crochet some fingerless gloves for her sister who sounds like an amazing selfless person and Janice just wants her to have some for the coming autumn and winter which I am so pleased to oblige and make with love and hope. Janice said her sister who teaches 5 year olds was covered in bruises from holding onto all the frightened children. It broke my heart and I am just pleased I can help in a tiny way.

    I totally understand how your knitting is therapy for you and I am so happy you have something like this to keep you focussed and at peace. Blessings to you, KB and Raymond as you go in autumn xox Penelope xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  31. Barbie says:

    These are indeed troubled times. While my life is moving along, as they do, it’s being touched deeply by sad events and tribulations. Two “closies” [people close to me] recently discovered they have cancer and my daughter in law’s mother died suddenly two days ago. She was much too young and vital. I’m also filled with sadness for people rocked by earthquakes and current events.

    What is going on? Was I too smug in my comfortable life? Did I take people for granted? I don’t believe in a vengeful god, so must convince myself that these tragedies are not anyone’s fault, but just the burden of those of us who care and hope for the best, always. If I’ve learned anything, it is that life is too complicated and unpredictable for smugness and we must take full advantage of the present while we can.

    I fly tomorrow to my son and daughter in law to hold their hands and be what comfort I can. I believe I’ll bring along two skeins of Noro Silk Garden sock that I’d been saving … for what?… and try to crochet some solace and love into a colorful scarf. Thanks for the inspiration, Alice.

    Barbie in Florida

  32. Cissie says:

    We all need some colour in life. Your posts are charged with colour and positive energy.
    And as for Mr. P. Pugh, well who couldn’t love him ?

    Cissie x

  33. penelope dubois says:

    Raymond looks like a Noro lover too!
    My first experience with Noro was a scarf with 2 different ball colours, and made a striped effect. Such gorgeous vivid colours!
    Immersing myself in my knitting and crochet slows me down to reflect on the moment.
    I was so looking forward to seeing the Big Moon here, and the sky was so covered in clouds I saw nothing. But tonight I have another chance! It’s almost like going on a Whale Watch, and missing the moment!

  34. Bobo Bun says:

    Raymond looks so serene and full of greater knowledge. Like a wise Manchurian, just needs the long moustache. I completely agree with you about absorbing your energy in positive things. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about forces more powerful than us so what’s the point in seeking out worries. We no longer listen to the news. It’s not burying my head in the sand as somehow the important stuff leaks through, but I want to be happy in the life I lead, not hear endless tales of inhumanity. Keep on loving your Noro.

    Thanks for your visit today. Sorry I’m so crap at saying hello, I think I’ve bitten off more than there are hours for in my life and so I run around like a nutter. My blog is the one place I can pretend all is calm. I was thinking about the bunny making thing and thinking there are great crochet patterns for bunnies out there, I have a few I could reccomend if you want to make a surprise gift.


  35. Andrea says:

    I just took a photo from my book of Pimpernel Pugh here:

    Pinpernel Pugh
    (hope that works!)

    Pimpernel Pugh
    was patting a ball.


  36. I’m feeling slightly guilty that I’m laughing at the last paragraph of this post, because it’s not that I don’t take the beginning of this post very seriously, I really do, but you’ve ended on something very funny about Raymond. Do you feel that sometimes Raymond wants to secretly take over your blog? Here I am, commenting about Raymond when I should be saying that I hope the prediction for another earthquake doesn’t come true, that would be very unfair on you poor Kiwis, you’ve suffered enough. And just to change the subject, Noro is manna from heaven isn’t it! It’s expensive here too. I’ve knitted a scarf using Noro Kureyon, that is my favourite blend. Your scarf is shaping up to be gorgeous, I really like that section of pink to start with, I think it will look stunning when you’ve got it on, you’re hooked already. Take care, and I send you wishes that there are no more earthquakes. Love Vanessa xxx

  37. Wendy says:

    What IS it about Noro? The ball of Kureyon sock I am using is slubby in some places, thin as thread in others, rough as sandpaper and yet I absolutely love it. Perhaps it is these things that give it a ‘straight from the earth’ quality. This yarn gets softer as it is being worked and even more after washing. I’m off to find that group on Ravelry and looking forward to seeing your scarf grow, it’s already looking beautiful. W x

  38. Peeriemoot says:

    Pics of Pimpernel Pugh on my blog for you😀.

    I’d heard of Ken Ring – I read the NZ Herald website compulsively every day for a week after the earthquake (a friend was awol from Facebook, last heard of in the South Island – turns out he was in Christchurch two days before but then was out in the wop-wops with no internet acess and no idea people were concerned about him!) and Ring’s name popped up a few times, not in a very positive sense either…

  39. Ah, I was a bit thrown off by the ‘Happy Autumn Equinox’ until I realized it is Autumn for you and Spring for us. Duh. The goatmother crochets to deal with things too. I eat Peanuts. It is a lot more fattening, but endlessly more satisfying for me.🙂 Besides I can’t crochet – no thumbs. If you want to help pay a little love forward, though, please read my post today. You may not be familiar with the TV show, but if not, they pick a family in need, send them on a vacation and bring in volunteers to build them a new house while they are gone. It is an awesome act of love.
    Namaste to you and Raymond – our new friends around the world.🙂

  40. Kristen says:

    This is all so beautiful. I love the evolution of your knitting into a kind of spiritual remedy for the soul. That’s absolutely lovely; I feel just exactly the same way. I also love the knowing that you (and your fellow Pacific Rim dwellers) are in no greater danger now than you have ever been–very comforting words. Blessings to you, and thank you. 🙂

  41. snoopydog says:

    Hello there! Just found you. What a lovely, colourful blog you have here. Pretty Noro scarf. I have a ball of that very same yarn lurking in my stash, maybe a scarf is calling out to be made😉 Ros

  42. Nicole says:

    I wonder what Raymond thinks of everything going on in the world! I bet sometimes it’s nice to just be a cat, and not have to worry about things you can’t control.

    I’m very lucky, I live in England and we rarely have earthquakes and when we do they’re so tiny they just about make the picture frames and glasses rattle! We also don’t have volcanoes and are probably unlikely to experience a sunami and so I suppose I don’t worry about these things happening to me but I do worry for the people affected and hope that as much can be done will be.

    I know what you mean about people thriving on fear or worry, I don’t know if it’s for attention or just a way of coping but I definitely agree that in these times keeping away from all of that is a very good idea! I like knitting (but mostly crocheting) at work as it takes my mind completely off of the job for half an hour and I can really relax🙂 It’s a wonderful lovely thing!

  43. Campfire says:

    I adore Raymond, he is very handsome. I have a lovely old boy called Merlin who is a chocolate point. He is darker than Raymond but still adorable. I only got him 5 years ago from a neighbour’s son and I just wish I had had him since being a kitten.

    I’m loving your blog with the beautiful things you knit and wonderful yarns.

    Keep safe.

  44. Ann says:

    I’ve only recently found your blog. It’s now sits proudly in my favourites.

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