Wool Studio: A Knit Designer’s Playground

Wool Studio Volume II is going to be a treat for everyone. Its simply striking aesthetic and gorgeous photography will draw in even non-knitters. But the real treat will be for those who get to make these projects. Each one will keep you feeling unbelievably cozy while appearing effortlessly stylish.

The designers are handpicked by the editor, Meghan Babin, for their experience in the style of upscale comfort-wear. “Since I began knitting, I’ve always been drawn to Norah Gaughan’s knitwear designs; they are alluring, inventive, smart, and wearable. When I began designing knitwear, I looked to her designs for guidance and inspiration. They taught me how to be restrained, thoughtful, and to take into consideration all levels of knitters,” says Meghan Babin, editor of Wool Studio. “I’ve loved working with Norah on Wool Studio; her designs are the perfect complement to the aesthetic. Expect to see more of her designs in Wool Studio issues to come!”

Norah Gaughan has been featured in Wool Studio Volume I and contributed another stunning design to Wool Studio Volume II. Her skill in tweaking minimalist designs to create comfortable, stylish knitwear has made her a standout designer.

What is it like working on Wool Studio?

I really like the fact that there’s such a strong focus on simplicity with an edge and I love to do things that fit in that category. So Meghan and I are already on the same page when it comes to the aesthetic. I love working with her. I’ll come up with an idea and she will suggest a little change and she’ll be right and it turns out great. That’s the way I think a designer and editor relationship should work.

Wool Studio Volume II

Norah’s first Wool Studio project was the Hartwich Top made with Woolfolk Får. Its structured elegance makes this top an eye-catcher and the yarn makes it warm while still being silky-soft and lightweight.

What inspired this design?

It was actually inspired by a ready-to-wear blouse that had some interesting sleeves with a twist in the fabric. I decided to simplify that and have just the trim twisted.

What do you hope people will get from making this top?

A love of fun and different details! I love something that’s a little weird and different but doesn’t scream, “Look at me!”

What was Woolfolk Får like to work with?

It’s amazing—so, so soft. It’s stretchy so you have to realize it’s going to bounce back into shape so you have to let the swatch sit for a while. But all you can think about while knitting is how wonderful it feels.

Norah’s second design for Wool Studio is the Big Sur Pullover. The brioche texture makes this top look classic but the unique neckline takes this design to a higher level of comfort fashion.

What inspired this design?

I look at ready-to-wear a lot. I saw that the sweaters right now have a lot of cold shoulders and tops with v’s that have interesting openings and slits. So I went for my version of that aesthetic.

What do you hope people will get from making this sweater?

I hope you’ll feel like you’re in your pajamas or your favorite sweatshirt but you look that little bit dressier. I wanted a sweater that would make you look really pulled together but you still feel cozy.

What was Imperial Yarn Denali like to work with?

Lovely, it’s got a little bit of a halo that makes the fabric look really soft and luxurious. Because of the halo, the yarn itself looks small but it really isn’t small when you work with.

What got you into designing?

I learned how to crochet before I learned how to knit and I was making up my own crochet patterns when I was eleven. I learned how to knit when I was fourteen and my mother bought me Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears and that book was very empowering. It got me to make up my own stuff within the framework she gave me.

You just came out with the book, Knitted Cable Sourcebook: A Breakthrough Guide to Knitting with Cables and Designing Your OwnWhat can we look forward to next?

I have a new book out with Quince & Co. called Framework that showcases their linen yarns. The designs actually tie in really well with the designs I’ve done for Wool Studio. I made it because I really wanted to work with linen. It’s kind of misunderstood because it’s not the most luxurious thing to have in your hand and your stitches may look kind of crooked, but as soon as you block it it’s amazingly beautiful and you are dying to wear it. The theme of the whole book is about geometry and tweeking the traditional square—it’s modern and geometric. And the lace isn’t your classically ‘pretty’ lace; it’s got structure and a linear quality to it. You can get it as a physical copy or in a PDF format.

Norah Gaughan designs in a New Hampshire studio that was once a brick boiler house for textile mills in Harrisville. She loves working with new silhouettes and dreaming up cable twists while gazing out the window at the unusual combination of mill buildings and wildlife. At home, she continues knitting while enjoying the company of her husband, two cats and eleven hens. You can find more at her website, www.norahgaughan.net.

Wool Studio Volume II is available now and ready for cast on!

Happy knitting,

Sarah Rothberg
Assistant Editor, Interweave Knits

Wool Studio Volume II: We made it for you.


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