mishi2x Designs

MISHI2X DESIGNS

HAND KNITWEAR DESIGNS

BY MICHELE WANG

VERDEA with The Plucky Knitter

I feel like I'm doing a Masters Series having just written about Catherine Lowe. But today, I must talk about Norah Gaughan. She has been an inspiration to me since the very first day I started knitting. When I started poking around yarn stores, Norah's Knitting Nature had just been published. As soon as I opened up the book, I was hypnotized by Norah's shapes, the hexagons spinning in front of me as I stared unblinkingly at the pages. Of course, I bought it immediately thinking, "If this is knitting, then I'm in."

Fast forward to last year when Jared announced to us that Norah was joining our team. I fell out of my chair, peed on myself and started giggling uncontrollably. Actually, that didn't happen. What did happen was I stared at Jared as those hexagons appeared and started spinning in front of his eyes like a Tim Burton character. I was speechless and shocked that I would be working with "NOOOOORAAAHHHHHH". I probably said that about 10 times with a growing urgency with each repeat. That did happen. I think Jared was worried about me.

At Brooklyn Tweed's last Design Retreat, I was about to meet Norah for the first time. I knew what she looked like, having stalked her a few (thousand) times at TNNA, wondering how someone so petite could have produced such epic designs. When she walked in, I stuck out my hand for a nice brisk, businesslike shake wanting to put my best professional foot forward. She came right at me with arms outstretched ready for a hug. I, the consummate NYer, taken aback returned her hug stiffly, smiled even more stiffly, and became deeply aware that I was in the presence of greatness. And she was HUGGING me. I almost didn't let go hoping by some sort of magical osmosis, I would obtain some of her talent.

My latest design, while not worthy, was completely inspired by Norah. 

 Verdea in The Plucky Knitter's Snug Worsted, color - Good Old Days

Verdea in The Plucky Knitter's Snug Worsted, color - Good Old Days

I was partnering with The Plucky Knitter for another sweater kit, and this time of year is tricky for me as a knitwear designer. We're going into the warmer months, but it takes awhile to knit so maybe something for early Fall, but it has to appeal to knitters now... the but's just keep coming. So I figured I would do something true to a knitter's heart - worsted weight, cabling, but use a silhouette that would make it a nice layering piece for the warmer months.

Like a light shining from above, I recalled a design Norah had done for Berroco that I was slightly (very) obsessed with, Aeneas. It had a fun, cropped silhouette that I just adored.

After studying Aeneas and swatching like a crazy fool, Verdea was conceived.

This design was sold as an exclusive kit through a Plucky Knitter update this past March. But the pattern will be available for sale in my Ravelry store in late September.

I do hope I did Norah proud. I could never dream to reach her greatness, but at least I can say I hugged it.