Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today is my three year blogiversary. Just like birthdays or New Year's, this is the time when it makes sense to take stock of the past and try and make a plan for the future.

I started this blog with the intention of writing at least two posts a week. I've done OK there. I certainly haven't been perfect, but it's been pretty close. I'm a little behind this year and like everyone else, find there are too many things to do every day.

While I thoroughly enjoy writing the blog, I have to admit that I struggle with its voice. I want to find a nice balance between the person who is doing the writing and the company that is represented. I don't want this to feel like another advertising vehicle for Lorna's Laces. I'd be lying if I told you that isn't at least part of why I do it, but that's only one piece of the picture.

Some of the reason I'm here is because I want to give you a little peek behind the curtain. Lorna's Laces is a small, living, breathing organism. There are just six of us here. Of course some of what we do is making sure we get the yarn dyed and out the door on its way to you, but our real lifeblood lies in creating beauty. We love being immersed in color and fiber.

I know I don't want this blog to become a laundry list of rants. Of course I have days when vendors screw up, crew members aren't getting along or clients are frustrating. But the good far outweighs the bad and does anyone really want to hear about it? It is far too easy to be negative. I prefer to talk about, and read about, things that are more positive.

While this is a company blog, I'm lucky enough to work in a world where people matter. We are absolutely about yarn, but we're also about Amanda planning her wedding, Anna taking a chemistry class this summer, Caitlin going back to school to be a teacher, Merrilee just getting back from her honeymoon and the other Beth that just started working with us on Monday. Those are the things that make the world go around in the studio. Those are glimpses into the day to day around here that I hope bring you closer to Lorna's Laces.

I guess the bit I struggle with the most is how much of myself should be reflected here. I don't think Lorna's Laces blog is the place for personal politics or religious beliefs. Many of those things can be divisive and I definitely don't want to be divisive here. But, I'm not sure how much I should share about my mother's struggle with dementia. Or that I still cry at the drop of a hat because my dog died of bone cancer last month. Should a blog be all about pictures of yarn and FO's and free patterns and such? I think it's hard to know where to draw the line.

I started this little adventure to try and bring the world of Lorna's Laces closer to you and I hope I've been doing that. Three years into it and I'm still not sure where this is going to take me, but I'm glad you've decided to come along.

Now, sing it with me, "Happy Blogiversary, Happy Blogiversary, Happy Blogiversary, Haaaaappppy Blogiversary!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Old Home Week

Whenever I call my mother, she asks me what I've been doing lately for fun. It makes me realize how much of my life is pretty darn routine. I get up in the morning, head out for a run, spend the day at the studio, home for dinner and then to bed. Then I get up and do it all over again. Ah, the glam life of a hand dyer!

This week is shaping up to be way more fun than usual. First, I ran into two old friends on my walk home from work last night. First was Heidi. It turns out that she lives right around the corner from Lorna's Laces. I'd heard she lived nearby, but I wasn't sure exactly where. Now I know. She's practicing acupuncture these days. Herbal medicine too.

Then about a mile further down the way, I ran into Danny. I know him from the dog park in our old neighborhood. He recently got a job at a hair salon not far from home. When I think about it, it's pretty amazing how many people in my web of friends and acquaintances I can trace back to a dog park at some point in my life.

Tonight, I get to see Amy from Italy. She's married to a wonderful Italian man who swept her off her feet about 12 years ago. They spent a few years in NY and now live in a divine apartment overlooking the duomo in Lake Como. I'll have to find out how far they are from George Clooney's place. As charmed as her life is, I'll bet she's met him and has cocktails with him whenever he's in town.

Last, but not least, I'll get a chance to catch up with a whole bunch of folks from my days selling college textbooks. (That was the job I had before heading into this crazypants yarn world.) The company I used to work for is having its national sales meeting downtown and they always have a big cocktail reception. It will be fun to see old colleagues. It will be even more fun to see their faces when I tell them what I've been up to. I've finally learned that it's better to say "I have a yarn company" than "I have a hand dyed yarn company". Somehow the hand dyed part always throws folks for a loop.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Some days it's just about playing with the photoshop.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Twist and Knit

Miriam Felton's new book Twist and Knit has been making its way into the world over the last few days. The premise of this book is interesting; she designed all the patterns to use every bit of a single skein of yarn. Here's how she puts it:

Every knitter knows the frustration of running out of yarn. This nagging fear is compounded when the yarn is one-of-a-kind or hand-dyed and simply heartbreaking when you've spent hours spinning the yarn yourself. This book offers twelve patterns specifically designed to get the most out of your unique yarn. All of the patterns have small repeats, very flexible gauge, or carefully selected construction to allow you to use every yard of yarn without sacrificing wearability.

She's created a dozen patterns and the book includes 27 pages of supporting techniques and tutorials. She even has special limited edition hand sewn coptic bound hardback edition for anyone that's looking for a real art piece to add to their knitting book collection.

There is one project in the book using Lorna's Laces yarns. It's called Motte and is knit using one skein of our Pearl yarn. It's shown here in the Sheridan colorway.

Sheridan is one of several colorways we've done in the last year or so with very subtly changing colors. More interest than a nearly solid, but soft color changes so your stitch patterns are easy to see!

Pearl is a good choice for this kind of pattern. The yarn has a bit of heft to it and will stay put nicely on your shoulders. And really, what's not to like about a single skein project?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

History Lesson

I finished up the first Tsunami sock from Judy Sumner's Knitted Socks East and West. Actually, except for the kitchener stitch it's been done for a little while. I don't think kitchener is hard, I just find it hard to remember and have to look it up every time so I end up with socks that aren't quite finished. Silly, I know.

While I was writing this post, I got to wondering where the name came from. I decided to do a little poking around on the internet. As best as I can tell, kitchener stitch is named after Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. He was British military hero during WW I. It looks like he got involved with a Red Cross scheme to get US women knitting for the soldiers. Along the way, he designed the Kitchener Sock which had a squared off, grafted toe. We still use his technique today.

While I was digging around, I also found that there are a couple more common knitting term that have their roots in the British Army. According to, "The 7th Earl of Cardigan 1797-1868 led the Charge of the Light Brigade into battle. The long sleeved knitted worsted military jacket his army officers wore was trimmed with fur or braid down the front. Later it was a garment knitted at home with a buttoned band and long sleeves".

The last one I ran across was the raglan sleeve. Lord Raglan was another Crimean war guy. He lost an arm during the war. To make dressing easier his tailor made a short coat with a simple diagonal sleeve seam setting that extended from the neck to the underarm. It allowed much more mobility for Lord Raglan and so was named after him.

History aside...I liked knitting this sock. It's a really simple pattern to remember and made a good TV project. It's also a pretty unisex sock, especially in a color like Cookie's Deep Dark Secret.

The color on this photo isn't the greatest representation of Cookie's Deep Dark Secret, which is a very, very deep blue. But, in order to make the stitch pattern show up, I had to futz with the color a little more than I'd like. I decided that was better than having it look like a big dark blob.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lucky Us!

We have not one, but two projects in the fall issue of Interweave Knits! They are both by a wonderful designer out of Colorado, Judy Alexander from

This first one are Bavarian Tulip Mittens made from our Shepherd Worsted in 54ns Firefly.

The second are these beautiful Alpen Socken. There is a great detail where the cabling goes down the side of the heel. You'll need to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see it. Small details like that are what make me choose one project over another. I don't care if no one will ever see it because it will be inside of my shoes.

I'm kind of a sucker for cables. They were the first "fancy" thing I learned how to do once I got past knitting and purling. My second project ever was a navy blue cabled turtleneck. I finally had to get rid of it a couple of years ago. I'd worn it so much it wasn't even fit for Good Will.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Dance

I walked into the studio today and found two notes in the inbox complimenting us on our yarn. I can't tell you how much it meant to me that TWO people took time from their lives to let me know that what we do every day makes a difference to them.

I know that in my own life I am too quick to get upset when something is not right and not nearly quick enough when passing out praise. The notes I got today reminded me that the kinder, gentler me is a better way to be.

One of the notes came from Dawn. She even sent pics of a couple of things she made from our Helen's Lace. First is Hannah Fettig's Featherweight

When she finished the sweater, Dawn still had enough yarn to crochet Amy O'Neill Houck's Alpine Frost scarf.

The other note came from Barb. She wanted to let us know that she loves our Ysolda Red colorway. She sounded a little like the Three Bears...some reds are too orange, some are too flat, but this one was just right.

What a perfect way to start the day! I will continue with the happy dance. Thanks!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Burlesque on the Side

We're in the midst of hiring a new crew member here at Lorna's Laces. It made me start thinking about the people who I've been lucky enough to work with over the last few years.

One finished up her master's degree in gerontology and moved on to work at a senior center.

One is a morning DJ at WXRO in Beaver Dam, WI.

One got certified in massage therapy while she was here and is now making people happier and healthier at a fancy spa on the Mag Mile.

One went to Mongolia to build yurts.

Four were refugees from a famous coffee shop.

One left here to work in a local coffee shop.

Three went on to pursue their art full time and are making a living doing it. Mostly illustrative stuff.

Three still work in fiber, just not here.

One volunteers at the Field Museum. Bird stuff.

One is in HVAC.

One did burlesque on the side.

Three had babies. Two boys and one girl. So far.

Five chased love across the country.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Colorwork Hats and Mitts

Every once in a while something comes across my desk that makes me stop in my tracks. That's what happened when I saw the colorwork hat and mittens that Amy Loberg of Fiber Wild! is doing with our Angel and Honor. And when Anna saw them, she squealed. Anna is a big fan of mittens.

Amy has designed three sets that use a nearly solid Honor as the main color and Angel as the contrasting color. Not only are the color choices fun, I like the textural contrast that you get from the angora in Angel.

This is Narya. The MC is 56ns Fjord and the CC is 12 Iris Garden. (If you click on the name of the pattern in any of these, they'll take you to more pix.)

Next up is Vilya. It's knit in Mirth with Tuscany trim. It has convertible mittens. If I had to pick a favorite, this the convertible mittens on this one would probably be the tipping point for me.

Last, but not least is Nenya. The MC here is 57ns Patina with Gold Hill accents.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quick Holiday Weekend Post

The Fall issue of KnitSimple goes on sale July 13th. Here's a quick peek at a sweater that Sandi Prosser designed from Shepherd Worsted in our Carol Green colorway, 47ns. KnitSimple does a nice job of making sure that a wide range of sizes are represented in their pages. This design is sized from S-3X.

They've also put together a nice preview of the issue here. There's a couple of layettes that caught my eye. There are no babies in my world this year though. This time last year I'd been busy with several projects for friends and family that were expecting. I guess this year I get to knit for me!