The Dark Side of Noro

Now that my mother has received her birthday present, it’s safe to post it here:

Mom's Scarf

This is the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf. I used Noro Silk Garden, color number 217. It contains the range of colors for which Noro is known and loved, but 217 is different from their others. The yellow that you see here is the brightest shade in the skein, and even though the yarn ranges through reds and purples, it keeps a few strands of black fibers running through all the way. The result is moody, pensive, and dark.

I didn’t know this was going to happen when I picked out the yarn at the store. I chose it because my mother, who always leaves color selection up to me for her hand-knit items, is fond of deep purples, browns and reds, and I knew the colors would go well with her winter coat (she’s also sensitive to wool, so any yarn with greater than 25% wool makes her itch). It was only when the scarf was one-third finished that I realized I was knitting a wonderfully dark item.

Knitting is not normally associated with dark. Yarn feels good; knit items are warm and cozy; our friends love us when we knit for them; baby items are cute. Knitting doesn’t ordinarily bring out the shadowy undersides of our souls, so when I looked at this scarf and observed the way it coursed through yellow, brown, purple, and red–without ever really escaping the black–I was thrilled.

Now, there’s an important distinction between dark and morbid; the latter is a fascination with death, destruction, and the associated color scheme; the former is an acknowledgment that being human is complicated, and that there are corners of our lives that aren’t always comfortable for sitting. If you’ve looked any my writing, then you know that I find these places to be much more interesting than the ones that, say, Disney movies come from. I don’t usually knit from those corners, but this scarf . . . well, this is a wonderful start.

Oh, by the way, my mom loves the scarf.


  • Miss Bliss says:

    That is freakin’ gorgeous!!

  • Beautiful scarf! I love the colorway.

  • Sandy says:

    Noro anything is my favorite yarn! Love the scarf…your mom is blessed! I am still trying to get my boys to knit! Have a great day!

  • Gabe says:

    Hey Man,

    Guy who knits here…..that scarf is awesome. I love the darkness and depth of the Noro yarns….I just finished an Enterlac Scarf out of Noro Silk and it has become my favorite thing I have ever knit. Love your blog…thanks for sharing.

  • Lisa says:

    I love the scarf too! I, too lean toward the darks. Too bad so many out there are afraid if the dark (insert Robert Cray song here)

  • Wow .. .that is wild and crazy. I gotta get me some of that Noro yarn! Great job.

  • Nicole says:

    I was wondering if you had any recommendation for yarn weight, besides the fact that you used Noro Silk Garden. I do most of my yarn buying online, so it’s good to have a rough idea of options to choose from for a particular pattern before I start clicking. (as much fun as it is to just have my order arrive, and as cool as everything I’ve chosen is, it’s not that fun not to be able to use it for what I wanted to use it for…)

  • Margaret says:

    Your mom’s scarf looks wonderful, you should be proud. I’m also a Noro fan, and like Gabe I’m working on an entrelac scarf in Silk Garden. Patterns like yours or entrelac realy show off the color variations. I learned the hard way to rewind the yarn myself before knitting because a couple times I found knots joining a different color in the middle of the ball. In spite of that, any Noro yarn is worth working with.

  • Yarn Boy says:


    Noro Silk Garden is supposedly a worsted weight yarn, so that’s what I’d recommend. I say “supposedly” because its thickness can vary widely across the skein. The skeins I used for that scarf were pretty consistent, but the ones I knit the handwarmers with were all over the place. If you want to knit that scarf with different yarn, I’d aim for worsted.

  • Mary says:

    Hi, from Peterborough, Ontario. I finished “your mum’s scarf” also in Noro Silk Garden, but in mine the “brightest” clour is a deep bishop’s purple. I love it, but felt it looked too blunt across the ends. Who am I trying to fool…I just didn’t want to stop…so I knit aaaa welt of small triangles across the ends, to echo the short row triangles in the scarf itself. Thank you for posting such a beautiful project for others to enjoy. MH

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