Friday, August 31, 2007

Eye Trouble

My husband has an old friend named Doug. We used to hang out with him many years ago, but rarely see him these days because he's moved to the suburbs. I know that sounds sad, but proximity really does make a difference.

Doug is a pretty fantastic guy. He's old-fashioned in many ways. He opens doors for people, both men and women; walks on the curb side of the sidewalk; will rush to help a little old lady cross the street. OK, that last one is a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean.

One of my favorite Doug-isms is what he calls "eye trouble". In the sense of "I'm having some eye trouble today.....I just can't see myself going to work."

Today I have eye trouble. It is actually an accepted practice here at Lorna's Laces. Sometimes everyone needs a day off and a free pass to take it. Since it's a holiday weekend, it seemed like a good idea to stretch it into four days.

We're going to The Art Institute today to see Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Here's a quick snapshot from their catalog:

It's on tour here in the US for just a short time and then it will go back to Italy to be reintegrated with the rest of the doorframe and put on permanent display in a hermetically sealed room in the museum of the Florence Cathedral (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo), never to travel again.

I'm sure my eyes will be just fine come Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Wooltop? Did someone say wooltop?

Marnie asked me to talk about our Shepherd Wooltop. And I am delighted to oblige. In fact, if anyone has any questions about what we do or suggestions about things they’d like me to write about, I’m here for you!

We dye two types of wooltop here at Lorna's Laces. The first is a wool blend that is made from fiber from Columbia, Suffolk and Rambouillet sheep. It spins up into a nice, hard-working yarn.

The second one is a superwash merino wooltop. This one is soft soft soft. We auditioned several different options before we settled on this one. Sometimes the superwash processing makes the fiber kind of slippery and harder to spin. Our test spinners unanimously picked this one as the nicest to work with. We thought it was pretty darn cool that everyone agreed, we don't see that around here very often. Even when the quesiton is as simple as where to have lunch!

Ain't it purdy??

And, here's some of the yarn that was created in that audition process.

Pretty fancy, don't you think?

Now, I need to get that brand new spindle out and get to work!

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's raining trees!

Yesterday was pretty freaking crazy around here. Around 3:30 the sky turned black, the windows started rattling and it started raining. Sideways. The wind was so heavy that we saw tree branches that had been ripped from the trees flying UP! The news said that we had 80 mph winds.

Now, I know that doesn't sound like much to those of you who like in hurricane country, but we're just a bunch of simple midwestern city folk here. We were scared!

I was too much of a chicken to go outside and take photos myself, but I was able to get my hands on a few.

Here it is coming through:

Then there was the aftermath....

This was about three blocks from Lorna' Laces:

And this one was too:

This is close to home:

And the clean up:

The power went out just after the storm hit. As soon as the rain slowed down a bit, we skedaddled home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


So I guess a blog from a yarn company ought to at least have few pics of yarn, huh? Or works in progess. Or recently finished projects. Something that has to do with yarn.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure:

This is the Slipped Rib sock I mentioned in an earlier post. I've been working on it for far too long. It made from our Shepherd Sock yarn in #304 Black Watch. One of these days I'll actually commit Kitchner Stitch to memory so I don't have to look it up every.single.time I finish a sock. Then again, pigs may fly.

Here's Sam's Harry Potter Scarf. It's made from Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in 45ns Cranberry and #8ns Harvest. It's simply double knit. Cute, yes?

More socks! Stefanie is a bit of an addict. Here is a pair she's adapted from a vintage sock she found in a thrift shop. Girl has talent to go along with that addiction!

Last thing today is from Amanda. This is a lace beauty she's working on using a design that her friend Lisa Sisk from This is Knit in Dublin, Ireland dreamt up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rained Out!

Sort of.

My bookclub takes a bit of a hiatus in the summer. Instead of the usual read-a-book-meet-and-discuss, we take a month off and spend an evening at an outdoor concert.

There are two local venues that we split time between, Ravinia and Millennium Park. Ravinia is an absolutely gorgeous venue that has been around for years. It’s in Highland Park, a posh north shore suburb. There’s an express train we take that lets us off right at gate. Blankets are spread, wine is poured and a good time is had by all.

Millennium Park is right in downtown Chicago. Its biggest claim to fame is The Bean.

It also is home to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The pavilion was designed by Frank Gehry and has the most amazing sound system ever for an outdoor venue. It really does sound like you’re in an indoor concert hall.

This year we decided to go to Millennium Park for our Summer Outing. The concert was part of a series called “Home Cooked Jazz”. Jazz is a little better for us than symphony because it isn’t quite a critical that we be quiet. We aren’t so good at quiet. Especially after a bit of wine is poured.

Everything looked like it was going to be great fun….then I checked the weather report. We were looking at 90 degree temps and 90 percent humidity. Yikes! I don’t know about you, but I believe extremely hot/humid weather should qualify as a rainout. Being the clever girl that I am, I contacted everyone in the group and suggested we go with Plan B, which would be to go somewhere with air conditioning.

So we went with Plan B. Which in this case meant my place. I hated the idea that we weren’t going to get to picnic. So, I moved all the furniture out of the living room, spread out blankets, lit candles and pretended we were outside. We had a marvelous time.

Sometimes, something as simple as moving a little furniture and the suspension of disbelief makes all the difference.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stitches Midwest

If one yarn store is a delight, how do you describe EIGHTY FIVE shops all in one place? Squeal!!!

As crazy as it sounds, I don't get to a yarn shop very often. Part of it is because I have plenty of yarn right here and part of it is that I'm just too darn busy. But I miss hanging at the LYS. You can't get that sense of community anywhere else.

As it turned out, Stitches shared the convention center with Wizard World. For those of you who don't share your life with a comicbook afficianado, it's mecca for all things fantasy, gaming, comicbook etc. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who left my husband, as happy as a clam, at the door of WW on my way to my own little mecca.

I spent many hours on the show floor over the course of the weekend. The yarns were gorgeous! I saw several things that were totally new to me. I tried not to buy too much, but I just couldn't reist picking up a gorgeous drop spindle. My spinning skills are woefully inadequate and I have this dream that pretty tools will help rectify that.

I got to say "hi" to some customers that I only get a chance to see once or twice a year. I think that's the biggest drawback to being a wholesaler. We don't have the luxury of seeing our clients every day and really getting to know them. The brief interactions at shows like this or TNNA just doesn't provide the same opportunity.

The "Dye Your Own Yarn" session was a big success! I got to meet fifty or so people and watch them create their own one-of-a-kind masterpiece. I sure hope one or two of them take the time to show me how the yarn turns out. Or even better, once it's knit up!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Dye Your Own Yarn at Stitches Midwest

Soooo, how would you like to do a little dyeing? This Saturday is your chance! We'll be at the Jimmy Beans Wool booth from 3-6 on Saturday with all the fixins for you to make your own skein of would be wonderful to see you there!

The trip to Wisconsin was fantastic. I really needed the long weekend. We've been making this trip once or twice a year for at least five years and for some reason this was the best ever. I wish I could put my finger on why.

Here's a dirty little secret about me: I don't think William Shakespeare is the greatest author that ever put pen to paper. Quel horror! So, when I walked out of The Merchant of Venice giddy with delight I think my mood spilled over into the rest of the weekend. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday is the new Friday!

Michael and I are taking tomorrow off and heading up to Spring Green, WI and American Players Theatre. We’re seeing The Merchant of Venice on Friday night and Misalliance on Saturday afternoon.

APT is an outdoor theatre. So, there will be enough light for me to knit during the matinee performance on Saturday. I think I’ll bring the Black Watch socks I’m working on. The pattern is our Slipped Stitch Socks. I’m embarrassed to say how many pairs of this sock I’ve made. I fall back on it much too often.

I have to admit that I am something of a creature of habit. There was a two year stretch awhile back where we had sushi every Friday night at the same restaurant. And ordered exactly the same thing every time. It got to the point where our server just asked “The usual?” . We’re pathetic.

Blah, blah, blah. Enough with the words. All good blogs need pictures. Here's our mascot, Pearl.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New dyes!!

I just got a shipment of new dyes!! Woot!!

They are very different from the ones we currently use and I’m very excited to play around with them. It’s a lot like being six years old and opening a brand-spanking-new set of fingerpaints.

The other big news around here is air conditioning. We’re actually in two spaces here, at least as far as the landlord is concerned. So when he approached us with a proposal to put in AC, he wanted to have two condensers etc in case the next tenant only wanted half the space. We didn’t care how he wanted to configure it, we’d sweltered through four long, hot summers without it and we were happy to take whatever we could get.

So, in mid June the first set went in. Giving us what I like to call “half-conditioning”. Why would I call is something as silly as that? Because then the HVAC guy went on vacation. For *six* weeks. Now, if I ran an HVAC business, I probably wouldn’t take a trip that took me away during the height of the season, but what do I know?

But, I digress. Our globetrotting HVAC guy is back from vaca and will be installing the balance of our system on Friday!!