Knitting Contrissmas: Day 25: Norah Gaughan

Day 25 of Knitting Contrissmas, the last hurrah as it were. I hope you’ve had fun, I’ve had a great time!

Today wraps with Norah Gaughan, as we always do on Day 25! :)  Norah is a knitter, author, designer, and all around fabulous person, you’ll see!  And she’s a little funny too, just a little. When I asked her for a headshot, she sent me the self created shot on the banner!  Or she sent me the sketch (seen in the interview below, done by her father years ago).

Norah is giving away a copy of  the fabulous Comfort Knit and Crochet Afghans book! It’s a must have! Comment by January 2nd at Midnight CST and I’ll crank up the random generator.

KC: Hi Norah, thanks so much for agreeing to do a revisit of Knitting Contrissmas, I appreciate you! You know I can’t talk (or even think) about you without saying THE Norah Gaughan.  :)  I am a huge fan (that didn’t sound right did it???)  and eagerly wait for all things Norah! Thanks so much Norah for taking the time to hang out with us a little bit! You have graced all  of the Knitting Contrissmas events and we’d love to catch up! It’s December 25th and we’re all beyond crazy busy or at least a bit weary. YOU are always super busy though!!! Another fabulous collection of knitting patterns, Norah Gaughan Volume 9!!! You are an author, a knitwear designer, a teacher, and contributor to knitting magazines,  as well as the Design Director at Berroco—-how in the world do you do it??  That’s my first question for you—- what tips do you have to stretch personal time to be creative?

NG: Hey, Volume 9 you say?  Volume 10 is due back from the printer any day and I have already started planning Vol 11!  As far as stretching creative time – – I spend more and more of my time doing non-creative things, and then, as I am sure you all know, you can’t just say “quick, hurry up, be creative”.  I do tend to be the most creative under these two circumstances:
1 – When I am supposed to be doing something else and procrastinate by thinking about creative things

2 – On my two hours drive home to NH (from RI) on Thursday evenings.  My often find my mind wanders in a most enjoyable way.  I guess I am just the right amount of relaxed.


KC: You’re known for creating patterns that are very clean, with super interesting lines and construction. Has your “look” always been yours?

NG: That’s what my Mom claims. Oh, by the way, check out “phannie” on Raverly to see her “work in progress”.  I get such a kick out of it.  She really “got” the mood of Ravelry from the very beginning.

 KC: Cracks me up. To begin with, I LOVE her bio—– and her work in progress, could not be cuter. Could. Not. Be. Hugs to your Mom!


KC: Do you have a favorite pattern or is that like choosing one child over another?

NG: Too hard….A favorite pattern for what reason?  Because I am proud of how clever I was, or had a big breakthrough. Because I really want to wear it?  Because loads of knitters are making it? (KC: laughs)

KC: What comes first the yarn or the pattern?

NG:  It used to be the pattern, especially the service texture, then sometimes the structure. Working for a yarn company though, means the yarn comes first. I do get t juggle the two when I am designing for my self named volumes.


KC: I can only imagine what inspires you so you know I have to ask? What does your process of inspiration look like?  

NG: I bounce back and forth between photos of ready to wear fashion and the lines of thought I have going, like those hexagons I can’t stop working with , and variations on shrug shapes.

Sketch of Norah

KC: I can’t wait to see the list of you you take inspiration FROM? Who inspires you?

NG: Benoit Mandelbrot, Julia Childs, M.F.K. Fisher, Adele, Oliver Sacks, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, Jane Goodall, everyone featured in the documentary “Between the folds”….


KC: You travel to a lot abroad in the name of yarn. Besides being exhausting, what do you bring home from your trips and how does it impact your knitting?

NG: I bring home sweaters and books. The most inspiring book I ever brought home was about crystals, not in a new agey, hidden power sort of way, but in a damn, the earth and the science of understanding it is cool. it inspired volume 7.

Astrid (the longest UFO I have I'm ashamed to admit!)

KC: Any new toys that made a difference to Norah this year?

NG:  Getting an ipad was a wonderfully fun new thing for me. I draw with it, I see international magazines on it. I email, I make check lists, I keep “show off” photos at hand.



KC: Are you making handmade gifts this year? Can we peek into your list???

NG: No handmade gifts. I spent too many weekend and evening hours knitting for work.



KC: Do you read a lot of blogs in the creative community?

NG: I have been spending a lot of time of visual sites, like Pinterest.

KC: The past year has been a big one for you, what is coming in 2012? Please share with us some of your upcoming news!

NG: My husband’s kid’s have made me a grandma twice over in 2011!  The prospect of spending time with them in the coming year is very exciting. Loki and Edith are so ridiculously cute.  Seeing the look on John’s face when he holds them is incredibly heart wrenching as well (in a good way).   So, maybe your question was about knitting – – in that case, I am pretty happy about Norah Gaughan vol 10. We photographed on two models, one is the traditional size 4 and the other is a size 14. She is very beautiful and really adds a lot to the book (and she can wear my size!).


KC: What words do you have for your many fans in the world of all things YARN? For those knitters and crocheters who follow you (and are about to)?

NG:   Your LYS is your friend.  Oh, and come see me at VK Live in January and try on sweaters!  We’ll have a lot of size Large sweaters (as well as size small) so even if you are smaller or larger or in between you’ll be able to tell which size would be best for you and be surprised by items that flatter, when you weren’t sure they would.


KC: I asked Norah what I was missing………… something she wanted to add and of course, in the irrepressible Norah Fashion she responds with:

NG:  Lookie – I am famous in Latvia!

KC: You make me laugh Norah!

Thanks Norah—— it was fabulous!  Can’t wait for volume 10.  (and 150!!!)

Don’t forget!!!! Norah is giving away a copy o f  the fabulous Comfort Knit and Crochet Afghans book! It’s a must have! Comment by January 2nd at Midnight CST and I’ll crank up the random generator.

Merry Knitting Contrissmas to all!


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  1. Posted December 25, 2011 at 7:53 AM by Suellen | Permalink

    Norah, the intricacies of your patterns simply take my breath away!

  2. Posted December 25, 2011 at 8:21 AM by Francis Berryhill | Permalink

    Norah is a blessing for all knitters.
    Thank you for this wonderful Christmas present.

  3. Posted December 25, 2011 at 11:26 AM by Carolyn | Permalink

    Love all those cables and textures. “Aeneas” really sparks my interest!

  4. Posted December 25, 2011 at 9:24 PM by Jenn | Permalink

    Wow, the fabulousness is overwhelming. I can’t even imagine what these patterns look like. :)

  5. Posted December 26, 2011 at 7:24 AM by Savannagal | Permalink

    Terrific interview. I love Norah Gaughan. I’ve really enjoyed reading your Knitting Contrissmas posts and getting to some of these crafters. Thanks much.

  6. Posted December 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM by Amy | Permalink

    Now that is one fabulous end to Contrissmas celebrations! Thank you so much… for all of it. You always make my day brighter.

  7. Posted December 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM by Gill | Permalink

    Thanks for a great interview!
    I love the sketch of Norah!

  8. Posted December 26, 2011 at 12:44 PM by Chris | Permalink

    Norah is such an innovative designer. Loved all the interviews, very inspiring!!

  9. Posted December 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM by Christine | Permalink

    Tina, I’ve been so impressed by all of your interviews — it’s been a very merry Contrissmas!

  10. Posted December 27, 2011 at 7:23 PM by Anna | Permalink

    How thrilling to interview Norah! What an amazing, innovative designer.

  11. Posted December 27, 2011 at 11:11 PM by Cat | Permalink

    Every design is so beautiful… thank you for giving us this wonderful interview with Norah

  12. Posted December 28, 2011 at 7:41 PM by Kim Reid | Permalink

    Love all Norah’s amazing designs – please enter me!!
    Thanks :)

  13. Posted December 28, 2011 at 8:45 PM by WM | Permalink

    I’m glad that I just found out about this website. Lots to learn.

  14. Posted January 1, 2012 at 7:45 AM by Marsha Gibbons | Permalink

    I love your interview!! With two grandbabies, you have to spend some personal knitting time for them!!

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