Meet the Makers: Norah Gaughan

Norah in her Historic Harrisville, New Hampshire. Be sure to scroll down for more sneak peeks into her space!


Norah Gaughan’s first knitting pattern was published in 1980 at the age of just 17. She’s gone on to become one of the most recognizable names in knitting, publishing freelance designs with Vogue Knitting and Interweave before going on to a career leading design teams at JCA Knits and Berroco.  Now working as an Independent designer, Norah has written several popular volumes featuring her inventive approach and creating designs with leading yarn companies like Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co., and The Fiber Co.

We are thrilled that Norah will be here at JP Knit & Stitch on Saturday, September 23rd for a book signing celebrating her most recent work, The Knitted Cable Sourcebook which you can pick up right here at the shop. She will also be bringing a unique *TRY-ON* trunk show with various sizes that you won’t want to miss out on! You can find out all the details  here on our event page .

We’re grateful to have been able to talk with Norah a bit about her work and creative habits and invite you to join the convo below as we eagerly await this weekend’s event! She’s given us a special peek into her studio space which is such a treat! …Not only can we learn a lot about knitting and cablework from Norah, it’s clear we might all benefit from adopting her wonderful morning routine as well!



What does a typical day in the life of Norah Gaughan look like?
I’ve been traveling and teaching A LOT this year, but I guess those days aren’t “typical days” . When I am home in NH and working in my studio, I start my day by lounging in bed, sipping coffee with my old (& cranky) cat snugged next to me while I peruse Pinterest. It seems like a treat, even to me, but actually I am working – gathering inspiration from all over the world and getting excited about new thoughts.  After soft boiling a few fresh eggs from our chickens I head off to my studio, fifteen minutes away via dirt roads in Historic Harrisville, New Hampshire.  I love the space I work in. Formerly a boiler house, it’s light and bright with high ceilings and lots of great views.  The rest of my day could include organizing my schedule, drawing schematics and writing instructions, or swatching and sketching up ideas.  Answering email always seems to take up way more of my day than I’d like it too. 


With all that you do, what are some ways you try to maximize your time to manage such a variety of tasks?
I should of course, try to maximize my time, but usually my day is driven by emotion – I concentrate on deadlines and new things that excite me. 


The deer skin needle holder on the rleft was made by Norah’s mom.


What kinds of things do you do to help restore your creativity and perspective as a leader in a field that thrives on these things?
A few days of not “having” to do anything helps get my back in balance. I try not to let myself feel guilty about not getting much done, which includes any housekeeping. I am so lucky that my husband does most of the shopping and cooking.  Lately I have been drop spindling during these restorative periods (and almost every day as well). I learned how about a year ago and have caught the bug!


We so admire your work–it’s breadth, clarity, and clever engineering really set it apart. What are your thoughts about navigating trends within the knitting world over time while remaining true to your personal voice and style?
I let the knitting world trends be secondary. I’m aware of them, and I know they affect me subconsciously, but I find it much more exciting to be driven by fashion trends. Only the fashion trends that speak to me personally though. If you don’t like it, don’t do it!  I feel successful when I can meld a technique I am hooked on with fashion inspirations.

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