Special guest post written by Deborah Norville
When you learn to crochet using leftover carpet yarn, two things happen: Your hands get raw from the rough fiber and you vow that when you can afford to buy yarn, you will only purchase super-soft yarn. But when I made that promise to myself back when I was learning to crochet at age eight or nine, I never imagined I would be in a position to sell yarn that was both soft and affordable.
Chances are, you’ve seen me on television. I also hope that you’ve seen my face smiling up at you from a ball of Deborah Norville Yarn at your favorite craft store. But before any of that, I was a little girl growing up in the ‘Carpet Capital of the World’ – Dalton, Georgia – the birthplace of the wall-to-wall carpeting industry. My father was a supplier to the industry. He didn’t make the carpet, but sold to those who made the ingredients that were necessary. I grew up playing hide and seek among rolls of carpet wrap. My sisters and I built playhouses from discarded cardboard containers. When I was old enough to knit and crochet, there was an endless supply of carpet yarn spools from which to choose. The price was right (free!) but my hands paid dearly as the rough yarn plied through my fingers. Maybe that’s why I still have the first afghan I crocheted using ‘store bought’ yarn. I made it when I was 14 and, even though the yarn was cheap dime store kind, it was a huge improvement over the rug yarn I’d been using!
When Premier Yarns and I launched the Deborah Norville Collection eight years ago, there were two absolutes for me: If my face was on a ball of yarn, it had to be soft – and if my mission was to help others love crochet and knitting like I do – it had to be affordable. I’m a girl who made my professional wardrobe for the first several years of my career – money was tight. I didn’t want cost to be an impediment for anyone who might want to give my yarn a try. We work really hard at Premier Yarns to bring to market great yarns at even better prices – and I think we succeed!
I am very excited that my yarns are featured in some of the projects and in all of the stitch lessons on the new season of Knit and Crochet Now! coming this spring to public television stations around the country. Check here to find out when and where it airs in your area. I’m joining the show this season as the new host, and we’ve got some wonderful projects coming up – and great ‘how to’ lessons so you can master some new techniques. Here are a few of the stitches we’ll be sharing.
Our premier episode features the Crochet Solomon’s Knot which you’ll see in my Everyday Cappucino yarn. That show also has two gorgeous shawl projects – one knit, one crochet which is designed by Lena Skvagerson.
Though I’d done knit entrelac stitching before, I had never tried the Crochet Entrelac Stitch version. I really like the texture of the swatch you see here (in Everyday Glass and Mist). That’s part of Episode 3, in which we make some really cool vests.
My ‘specialty’ yarns are also, well – pretty special! I adore Alpaca Dance. It’s an acrylic yarn spun with 27% alpaca wool. Look how gorgeous it works up in this beautiful crochet scarf designed by Ellen Gormley. She calls it the Nascha Scarf and you can learn how to make it in the new season of Knit and Crochet Now! Ellen shows how she came up with the pattern and more importantly, how to do the overlay stitch with the rust colored yarn that gives it the great texture. It’s a type of front post/back post crochet stitch that she explains step-by-step.
People ask me which yarn is my favorite. Those are the same people who ask you which child you like best! Each one of my ‘babies’ is special in their own way.
The backbone of the yarn line is the Serenity Chunky collection – a bulky (#5 weight) acrylic yarn that I call my ‘go to’ yarn for projects that I want to work up quickly. From our very first group of a few stripes and solids, we’ve now expanded Serenity Chunky to include Heathers, Tweeds, Glitter, Sequin and Sprinkles, which is the chunky yarn with a fun colorful ‘tuft’ of fiber twisted into the yarn. Every one of my children has an afghan made from my Serenity Chunky.
My original Serenity Worsted has graduated to Deborah Norville Everyday – a unique worsted weight yarn engineered to resist pilling! It’s got a wonderful sheen to it – and if you crochet what I call ‘high intensity’ items – things like mittens, scarves, and afghans that get a lot of wear – it’s THE yarn to choose. We put Everyday through the most rigorous friction tests that exist and it performs spectacularly. We all know how many hours we put into crafting our projects. Why one would choose not to use a yarn that will keep those items looking brand new is beyond me!
Everyday comes in a boatload of color combinations. There is a full complement of solids, with coordinating variegated colors to match. We’ve got a delicious line of Heathers we introduced this past year. I think these colors are fabulous – especially if you are making projects for Fall. Lately, I’ve been crocheting armfuls of scarves in Everyday Go Team. You’ll probably find your team’s colors on our website.
My Wool Naturals is another fave. Because it is 100% wool and so unbelievably well-priced, I honestly don’t know how we stay in business! It’s a generous amount of wool in all-natural colors. Whatever color the sheep was, that is the color of my yarn. If you’re into dyeing your own, I think you’ll have fun with the “Cream” colorway. We’ve got lots of free patterns for this yarn over on the Premier Yarns website.
For Spring and Summer projects, it’s a tug of war between my Cotton Soft Silk yarn or Serenity Garden. Cotton Soft Silk is a worsted weight yarn that’s 78% cotton and 22% silk fiber . It comes in both stripes and solids and has a beautiful drape making it wonderful for tops, shawls, and scarves.
How beautiful is this crocheted Trellis Shawl in Azalea Hill? I think it’s the perfect complement to a simple white dress. Perfect for Easter Sunday or a summer wedding.
Serenity Garden is a fingering weight yarn made of 100% microfiber that feels and acts like a mercerized cotton yarn. It’s got the sheen of a natural fiber but the durability of an acrylic which makes it perfect for just about anything! How adorable are these crocheted kitty? She is done in Gems ( which is an insanely popular color!) Serenity Garden also has a wonderful draping quality as you can see in this crocheted cardigan I am wearing. Check out the beautiful colorways and patterns designed for this yarn over on the Premier Yarns website.
It’s truly exciting for me to be a part of a show that helps bring to others the craft that you and I enjoy so much. But it’s more than just the thrill of being on a tv show. It’s knowing that somewhere out there, someone will learn a new stitch or complete a new project and feel GOOD about doing it. And that positivity will take her or him to all kinds of good places. She may be energized to take up a new hobby. She may feel so self-confident, she summons up the courage to ask her boss for a raise. I know in my own life, the sense of self that I get from my craft projects – sewing, crochet, knitting, or home dec – has absolutely been a key component in my career success. It’s a little bit intimidating to interview the Prime Minister of England, but it’s downright challenging to make a tailored blazer with a horsehair lining. When I made crocheted mittens, it was the first time I did a fpdc. The instructions at first were like hieroglyphics to me. But I persevered and when I wear those mittens, not only are my hands happy and warm, but I am uplifted by knowing “I did it myself.” To me, that’s the beauty of crafting – and it’s why it’s not just a thrill to sell craft yarn, it’s a privilege.