Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympics Progess

Today, I thought I'd show you far I've gotten on my Karen Shawl.

If you are thinking, "Gee, that looks an awful lot like the picture she put up last Monday", then you are absolutely right. I have knit and frogged and knit and frogged the last repeat of that very simple lace pattern more times than I'm willing to admit.

So, instead of finding myself in the position where I might be able to consider a second Olympics project, I'm going to be lucky to finish this one before the closing ceremonies on Sunday.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Vogue Knitting Spring 2010

I just got this preview of a sweater that's going to be in Vogue's Spring/Summer 2010 issue. Oh. My. Isn't it beautiful?

The design is by Brooke Nico and is knit from our Pearl yarn. It's shown here in 0ns Natural. I like the idea of using one of our Nearly Solids for this sweater. The lace is just so pretty..I think it would be best not to have the distraction of a multi color.

It's shown here as a beach cover up but I honestly don't know if I would have styled it that way. I see it looking really hot over a cami with a pair of skinny jeans. Or over a long flowy skirt for that boho look.

One of the big events at TNNA every season is a fashion show. Vogue put this sweater in the show last month. It looked marvelous on the runway. You can check it out here. It's at about 5:45 into the video but you should really watch the whole thing for a peek behind the curtain at what your LYS see and what companies like Lorna's Laces do at market.

On a completely different subjuct, I should have a Olympic FO for you on Monday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Remember way back in December when I started doing a blog post about each of our yarns? I got through two of them, Angel and Bullfrogs & Butterflies, before I got sidetracked. So, it's time to get back at it.

Today's yarn is Fisherman. Fish is a nice 4 ply worsted weight wool yarn. It comes in giant 8 oz, 500 yard skeins and knits up at about 5 sts/in on US 8's. I'd characterize it as a workhorse type of yarn.

Fisherman has something of a mind of its own when it comes to dancing with the dye. While there are days it's frustating, it's also what makes it look so pretty all knit up. You can see from these pictures of Ann Weaver's Bluebird Sweater how it creates subtle variations of color, this is 16ns Charcoal, one of our nearly solid colorways.

Here's a quick piece of Lorna's Laces trivia: We call our non-variegated colors "nearly solids". We can't create true solids because we do everything by hand. The color numbers for our nearly solids all with the suffix "ns" to distinguish them from out multicolors. So we have 16ns Charcoal, 45ns Cranberry, 25ns Mint and so on.

Another thing about Fisherman is that it's a good felting yarn. A few years ago I made my husband a pair of slippers for his birthday. I'd show you a picture but the last time they were seen was in a hotel room in Napa Valley. I'm not bitter.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Olympics So Far

Wow, I got a really good start on my Knitting Olympics project over the weekend.

I started out the competition checking out You Tube for lessons on how to make a skein using my new nostepinde. The only time I'd seen it done in real life was when Melissa Morgan-Oakes was nice enough to let me watch her do it at Sock Summit.

My first skein looks a little more like a torpedo than I'd like, but I'm happy enough with it. Even if it's not pretty, I got a working center pull skein.

The narrator of one of the videos I watched kept talking about how nice it was to have nice square topped, stackable skeins. Unless I put this one in a box, there isn't going to be any stacking going on here. The good news is that I got far enough along with the knitting that I'm ready for a new skein, so I get to try again tonight. With any luck, I'll do better.

I picked my Olympic project in something of a last minute panic late on Friday afternoon. After dithering around for far longer than I should have, I decided on Amy Swenson's Karen Shawl.

As you all know, I've been all over these little shawls this year. I've never knit much lace before and these have just enough going on to keep things interesting. In fact, they are slowly, very slowly working the idea of doing a serious piece of lace into my psyche. It's not going to happen soon, but at least I've stopped laughing out loud at the possibility.

I know the Olympics are all about striving to do more than you think you possibly can, but I needed something I was sure I could attain. I have so much going on right now that I knew that a DNF (did not finish) would crush me. I decided that I'd rather enter an extra event later.

So, I've finished two of the three lace repeats. I've only had to tink back a couple of times and not very far each time. Then there is some more edging to do. I'm having a little trouble envisioning exactly how the next bit of the edging will unfold, but that's all part of the fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

100 Things about Me

1) I am 6'0".

2) I have three brothers and two sisters. They are all much older than I.

3) I don't have children.

4) My made up name is Cynthia Dawson.

5) I'm a vegetarian

6) I've been married since 1996.

7) I was born a brunette, but have been a redhead and blond too.

8) I used to be a sales rep for Prentice Hall.

9) I tended bar when I was in college.

10) My father died of cancer when I was 25.

11) I learned to knit when I was 28.

12) I've broken the 5th metatarsal in my right foot twice.

13) I hold grudges.

14) I keep my fingernails short and buffed.

15) I wear a size 11 shoe.

16) My favorite color of yarn is Vera. That could change at any minute.

17) I make a mean red sauce.

18) I've run two marathons.

19) I use reading glasses.

20) I share my life with a Great Dane named Pearl.

21) I prefer baths to showers.

22) I read every night before I go to sleep. And in the bathtub.

23) I have never flown first class.

24) I don't like to ski.

25) I like red wine.

26) Left to my own devices, I'd eat popcorn for dinner too often.

27) I sleep with lots of (7) pillows.

28) If I find a piece of clothing I like and fits well, I'll buy more than one.

29) I perpetually wish I was ten pounds lighter.

30) I walk to work most days.

31) The homepage on my computer is The New York Times.

32) I go to theatre at least once a month.

33) I need a vacation.

34) I have a red couch. With cowboys on it.

35) I like stained glass.

36) I don't like summer.

37) I am learning not to be jealous.

38) I can't keep peanut butter in the house.

39) I drive a Honda Element.

40) I belong to a book club.

41) My mom has dementia.

42) I am afraid I will go blind.

43) I am even more afraid of burning.

44) I love to go to tea at the Drake.

45) I hope I never want to have plastic surgery.

46) Too many of my clothes are from the Gap.

47) I listen to podcasts, not music, on my ipod.

48) I wish I could draw.

49) I have 10 nieces and nephews. The oldest is 44, the youngest is 8 months.

50) I almost always have dye stains on my arms.

51) I wore a uniform in grade school.

55) I was an all-state basketball player.

56) I prefer the caramel dessert, not the chocolate one.

57) I am afraid of failing.

58) I don't think I'll ever have another puppy. Puppies are hard work.

60) My spelling skills have deteriorated because of spellcheck.

61) I have a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

62) I hate interviewing people.

63) I started smoking cigarettes in junior high. Quit about 10 years ago.

64) I studied bread baking at the French Culinary Institute.

65) I'd like to go to Egypt.

66) I don't have any allergies.

67) I'd rather have art than jewelry.

68) On weekends, I schedule a 3 o'clock nap.

69) My husband is bald.

70) I like to knit simple things.

71) I never wore braces.

72) I have a dinner party at least once a month.

73) I overthink things.

74) I'd like to live in Europe at some point.

75) I'm not a big fan of perfume.

76) My mom was a nurse.

77) My dad was and engineer. And a lawyer.

78) I wish I had more time.

79) I try not to have regrets.

80) My dream house has a turret and a wrap around porch.

81) I love fountain pens.

82) I am impatient.

83) I will walk out of movie if don't like it.

84) You couldn't pay me enough to to revisit my teen years.

85) My handwriting is awful.

86) I grew up in St. Louis

87) I listen to NPR more than any other radio station.

88) I love to wear a hat when I get dressed up.

89) I'd rather read than watch TV.

90) I hate taking a cab.

91) I spend too much time at the computer.

92) I require fresh flowers.

93) My favorite color is orange.

94) I wear my grandmother's wedding band.

95) My right foot is bigger than my left foot.

96) I drink decaf coffee.

97) I like cardigans better than pullovers.

98) I have 6 pairs of Chuck Taylor's.

99) I have been knitting more small projects lately.

100) My mac and cheese recipe is the best. Ask anybody.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh Just Shut Up

I've been pretty sappy lately about what a wonderful job I have. If I were you, I would be tired of listening to me. But, I have one last thing to say on the subject, then I will be quiet. At least for now.

Today is the 7th anniversary of the day Lorna's Laces opened for business in Chicago. The day Lorna Miser turned her company over to someone who was practically a stranger.

It's hard to believe how fast the time has passed. How much has happened since then.

I'd tell you all about it, but the anniversary pizza is here. Gotta go!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Because I Am Lucky

I started this blog post last week and then got stopped in my tracks by my conversation with Heidi from the insurance company. You are all very fortunate that you are not my husband. He has smiled patiently while I've told everyone I've encountered that story: friends, family, the woman at the grocery store, cab drivers, bus drivers.....

I had been getting ready to tell you how lucky I feel because I get to make a living from yarn. I don't mean that to brag. Believe me, I have mornings that I wake up and don't want to go to work, just like anyone else. But on the whole, I am incredibly grateful that this is my world.

It's a world filled with all of the best kinds of people who do nice things for no reason at all. Here are a couple of quick examples:

Way back in August, I saw Sheri from The Loopy Ewe at Sock Summit. She was selling some beautiful hand made nostepindes and darning eggs made by a guy named Phil Powell. I admired them but wasn't smart enough to grab one the instant I saw them. Sure enough, by the time I went back, they were all gone. I asked Sheri to let me know when she got more so I could buy one. Time went on and I forgot all about it.

When Sheri walked into our booth at TNNA, she had a package for me. Inside I found this gorgeous blood wood nostepinde.

In the normal course of things, customers don't give gifts to vendors. But this is yarn and with yarn all bets are off. People do things because they want to. Because it is nice.

Later that same day, Diane Soucy from Knitting Pure and Simple came by and pressed these cute Turkish slippers into my hands.

She was in a rush to get somewhere else and didn't have time to talk, but took the time to hand deliver a gift.

I am very lucky. I work in yarn.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Have a Great Job

Me: Hello Insurance Company

Insurance Company: Hello ma'am, my name is Heidi. How can I help you?

Me: I just got my worker's comp audit and had a couple of questions about how to fill out the form.

Heidi: Sure thing. What is your account number?

Me: 12345678

Heidi: Lorna's Laces?!! Really? You're Lorna's Laces!!! OMG! OMG! I can't wait to tell my daughter about this. I have tears running down my face! I cannot believe I am talking to Lorna's Laces.

So, the crappy phone call about insurance that I'd been dreading ended up making my day. Pretty sweet don't you think?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Knit Simple Spring

I just got a preview of the Lorna's Laces project that's going to be in the Spring Knit Simple. Jeannie Chin designed this cute shawl. It's knit from our Lion and Lamb and shown in 23ns Berry.

This seems like a nice project to me. It's a little bigger than the small shawls that I've been seeing around and making in recently months, like Ishbel and Milkweed. But because the yarn is heavier, it's not really going to take any more time. Maybe not instant gratification, but I'll take speedy gratification.

Lion and Lamb is a nice drapey yarn and this project will have a nice heft to it. I think it would be just yummy to wrap up in.

Our little corner of the world is starting to settle down. We still have a bit more time to get yarn into the hands of shops that are traveling to Stitches West in Santa Clara at the end of the month. It's going to mean a few long days and some weekends here at the studio, but we're going to get it all there in time. It's good to be busy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Market Report: Colors

The last several weeks have been a bit bumpy around here. Between the holidays, my mom breaking her hip, and TNNA I've been remiss on these pages. Time to get back on the blogging horse, methinks.

Let's start with the new colors. We brought out six new multis at the show in Long Beach. You got a sneak peek of them in Amanda's post about Iris, but I thought you might like a closer look.

First up is Avondale. It's beautiful tonal colorway that makes me think Little Boy Blue. Of course it isn't limited to babies. Or boys.

Calumet came about after a conversation Amanda had with a bunch of folks at Loopy Yarns a few months ago. It's a fresh, updated version of a perennial bestseller, Black Purl. Instead of Charcoal, we're using a rich chocolate brown and some newer purple shades. We were listening. We try to listen.

Then there is Catalpa. Catalpa has been in my basket for a long, long time waiting for the right moment to rear its pretty head. For whatever reason, the acid-y yellows just called out to me. I made a Citron in it and have been wearing it every day. I also think it's a cool nontraditional choice for a baby.

We had a great time talking about Humboldt at market. Some folks immediately thought of Humboldt county in California. Apparently, they grow lots of pot there. (Who knew?) Others thought of the famous blue cheese. Maybe there is some sort of connection?

Naming aside, it makes me think of erasers. Yeah, I know I'm weird. But remember when you were a kid, every once in a while you got a green eraser instead of the pinkish one that was usually on the end of your pencil? I always felt lucky when I got the green eraser. Well, that's what the green in this colorway looks like to me.

Pullman is Amanda's first colorway to make it all the way from the dyepots to the world. She is as proud as can be. And what's not to like about a sophisticated charcoal ombre? It's like a little black's perfect for any occasion.

Last, but not least is Zombie BBQ. This colorway isn't technically new, it's one of the colors we created for Sock Summit last August. The response to it was so overwhelmingly positive that we figured we should make it available in all of our yarns.

So, there you have it. Lorna's Laces Spring 2010 colors. We feel pretty good about them. As always, it will be fun to see how you like them.