After all you’ve done for me

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Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood
Yarn: Lion Brand Amazing (53% wool, 47% acrylic), colorways Aurora and Olympia
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature metal straights

Self-striping with long color repeats. It’s a category of yarn identified with Noro — almost in the same way nobody asks for a facial tissue, but asks for a Kleenex. Noro may not have invented the genre, but arguably did perfect it, with a mix of striking color combinations both gently graduated and startlingly non-intuitive.

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And among the patterns designed to take advantage of Noro-type yarn, there’s one that is near-ubiquitous. When I see a Noro clone for sale, my immediate thought is trying it out on a Noro Striped Scarf. Such a simple idea. Two colorways, each with its own mix of slowly changing colors, striped so that they move in tandem. The combinations never repeat. The effect is inimitable. The result is elegant and unique. And the knitting is mesmerizing, as the next color appears under your fingers.

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When I saw a few balls of Lion Brand’s new Noro-type yarn for sale recently, I knew exactly how to try them out. A Noro Striped Scarf calls for one or two balls of two colorways. One colorway needed to be bright, one muted. Size 8 needles make for a relatively loose, unstructured fabric. The yarn is fuzzy, sticking to itself and resisting being undone. People who saw the scarf in progress were drawn to the fluorescent stripes, then to the soft halo on the touchable surface.

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I stopped knitting after six feet. But I didn’t necessarily want to. More colors were waiting in the second ball of each colorway that I had started. I could have made it twice as long. The Noro Striped Scarf could go on forever, exploring the fluid play of moving color against moving color. Treating it as a garment rather than a meditative exercise, though, requires concessions toward practicality. No matter — the next Noro and the next scarf are no doubt right around the corner.

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