Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interweave Gifts!

Interweave's annual Gifts Issue went live today! The paper issue will be on newsstands on September 6.

This is the Kanga Hood Cowl designed by Amy Duncan. It uses our Shepherd Worsted in 74 Motherlode. It looks so cozy. I'm about ready for a nice cool day.



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Friday, August 19, 2011

Talk at the Guild

A couple of months ago I got a note from Katy from the Windy City Knitting Guild asking me if I would be willing to speak at their monthly meeting.

Absolutely!

Public speaking has always made me a little nervous. Sure, I do tours of the studio but that's on my turf and I've done enough of them to be pretty comfortable. This was at a guild meeting with lots more people and new topics. I was pretty sure many of the members had been to the studio so I couldn't recycle all of my tired jokes.

I emailed back and forth with Katy a little for suggestions of what people might be interested in hearing about. She had some great ideas. I put together an outline and went to work building a presentation.

Then Tuesday arrived and I started to panic. Every insecurity came bubbling to the surface. What if they don't like me? What if they aren't interested in what I have to say? It's August for goodness sake, everyone is on vacation or wants to hang out on their back porch. Why would anyone want to come tonight?

I got the answer to that last question when I walked through the door. Chocolate, chips and red velvet cupcakes.
















The guild is full of nice people that I don't see often enough. I got to chat with lots of familiar faces and meet some new friends. We even had a celebrity! That beautiful blonde is Julie Turjoman of Brave New Knits fame. I had dinner with her the next day.
















I brought a few bits and bobs to show folks. One of which was the sample skeins we created for Jimmy Bean's Wool Limited Edition September color along with the photo they sent for us to use as inspiration. Hmm, I wonder which one they'll choose?
















**Edited to add: That is a glass of water. It is NOT vodka. Honest.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome Tito!

Give a big warm yarn welcome to the newest member of the crew, Tito. If he answers the phone the next time you call, tell him I sent you.

We have an especially nice crew right now. There is lots of laughter and every once in a while a spontaneous dance party busts out. (Don't tell the boss.)

*Edited to add: Tito wanted you all to know he is single. Apparently we need to change our name to Lorna's Laces Yarn and Matchmaking Services.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Solemate Testimonials

I don't like to brag too often on these pages, but I got a couple of unsolicited emails recently about our new Solemate yarn that I just had to share. We don't bring out new yarns very often and with the decision comes lots of insecurity and worry. Getting notes like this makes it all worthwhile.


Just thought I'd let you know that several people from my sock club came up to me at Sock Summit and told me that the Outlast really does work. They were wearing their socks in summer and not sweating nearly as much! I hope it's doing well for you. There is a growing group of converts out there who swear by it now.

And

On a totally different topic, I have to tell you that I just finished a pair of socks made from your Solemate yarn. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the yarn! It is honestly the best yarn I have ever made socks with. I made short ones as I want to run with them, but yesterday I went biking with them first, and had no troubles! Totally washed and dried them and they look absolutely PERFECT!

We're dyeing it as fast as we can...So fast actually that we're running out and are going to have a couple of weeks lag before we get the new shipment. Please be patient with us. We're dancing as fast as we can.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Dinner


Last night I took all the foods that make me think of summer and put them all into a single meal. With only one or two exceptions, everything came from either our CSA box or from the tiny little container garden on our porch. I didn't take any any pictures, but many of you asked about recipes when a tweeted about it so here it is.

Corn Relish: This was just off the cuff. I baked four ears of corn in the husk at about 400 degrees for around 15 minutes. When they were cool enough to handle, I cut the kernels off the ears. You don't even really need to cook the corn. It would work fine raw. Then I added about a half of a red onion, very finely chopped. And a red pepper, very finely chopped. We had a sweet jalepeno, so I tossed that in too. Sqeeze of lime, salt and pepper and maybe a dash a cayenne. Yummy.

Cucumber and Dill salad. Again, this is just off the cuff. Sliced cucumbers, chopped garlic, greek yogurt and chopped dill. Salt and pepper to taste and you are off to the races.

Watermelon/avocado salad.

1 small red onion thinly sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
2 ripe avocados
1 lime
1/4 large watermelon (about 6 pounds)
Juice of 1 orange
1 c chopped cilatro
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine the onion and vinegar and let marinate for several hours or overnight.

Slice the watermelon into 1 inch chunks.

Peel seed and cut the avocado into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss with the lime juice.

Drain onion and toss together with all the other ingredients. Be sure add toss gently or the avocado gets a little mushed up. Also, this is a dish to assemble just before serving for the prettiest presentation.

Tomato Pie This recipe came straight from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit. I substituted basil for dill. I had fresh basil and had already used dill with the cucumbers. I found the dough was too wet. I probably added an additional 1/2 of flour so I could work with it. After that adjustment it was delicious. Seriously decadent. Small tweaks: Next time, I would not add the sugar and salt the filling to taste. I think 3/4 t of salt was a bit much.

























Sweet Corn Gelato. Another Bon Appeitit recipe. It was a little to sweet for my taste. I might have also kept help some of the corn kernels back to add in after processing for texture.

All in all it was a great meal and my bookclub enjoyed it thoroughly. If you try and of it, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Indie vs Corporate

A couple of months ago I took part in my first Craft Social. Craft Social is monthly crafty chat cohosted by Barbara Forbes-Lyons (@penguintrax) and Diane Gilleland (@sisterdiane). Each month they host an online social via Twitter. Crafters, artists and creative types can share current projects, talk about the process of art and craft, and meet new people!

The March chat was about branding. The fast and furious conversation provided me with lots of food for thought. Part of it included some back and forth about indie vs. corporate and I found myself feeling a little defensive adrift. Lorna's Laces is a corporation, but I don't think we're "corporate". We're six people who come to work every day to make pretty string, not some behemoth mindlessly churning out yarn.

The idea of what is indie or corporate got under my skin enough that I started this blog post the very next day. Yes, that was back in March. Life continued on. There was dyeing to be done and stock markets to ignore. But every so often it would come to mind.

Then this morning Bette came into work livid because she's just learned that one of the big hand-dyed yarn companies has an Etsy store. "How is that possible" she asked, "That goes against everything I think of when I think of Etsy."

We got to talking. Who should be on Etsy? Is it only for indie folks? What exactly does it mean to be condsidered indie? We started talking about criteria. We came up with more questions than anything else.

Is it only for one person operations? Then you couldn't have a creative collaboration like Ann and Kay at Mason Dixon. To take it to the extreme...can you pay your kid to go to the post office for you and still be indie? Technically that would mean you have an employee.

What about the idea of using outside help? Can someone who is indie hire someone else to help them with advertising? Build their website? Or does it make more sense for the artist to focus on their creative work and leave the other stuff to professionals?

Does size matter? Is it about income? If it is, what is the threshold?

Could organizational scheme be part of the picture? As I mentioned, Lorna's Laces is a corporation, but we could just as easily be organized as an LLC or a sole proprietorship. That's just bookkeeping. Does it matter in terms of perception of the nature of a business?

What about distribution channels? Is selling wholesale different than selling retail? Some companies started out selling retail and then moved to wholesale. Some have done the reverse. Others maintain a presence in both.

Does it matter where the work is done? Is working from home different than renting space? But then you have to consider where someone lives. If an artist lives somewhere with a basement or lots of property and outbuildings, they could build a pretty big company from home. On the other hand, a city dweller might need to find outside space for even a modest business.

As we continued to talk, the discussion shifted a little. Has the reach of the internet changed the fundamental nature of how we look at business and of the people and organizations behind them?

Are small independent companies better? Or is there comfort in the reliability of a big name? Are we willing to pay more because we know the person (in real life or virtual life) who made it or harvested it?

The last thing I'm going to put out there is the question of whether or not we need to talk about some new definitions. Should we think about a new moniker for a company that might fall outside the realm of indie but isn't really corporate? Craft? Small-batch? Artisan?

Whew, there are so many questions and I'm not sure what the answers are. I'd love to hear what you think. Let's start a conversation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Yarn Does When It is Bored

*This was supposed to post in June. Apparently, Blogger is smarter than I am. It is still pretty cute and worth clicking through to.

One evening a couple of months ago, we were kinda bored and tried to figure out what yarn would do if it were bored. We came up with this.

video


Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Splash!

Not long ago, we got an email from Nikol Lohr of the Harveyville Project asking us for some yarn for a swimsuit coverup. At the risk of sounding like the slow, plodding knitter that I am, my first thought was "how will she ever have it done before fall sets in?"

Well, smack my hands and wash my mouth out with soap. Not only is it finished, it is spectacular! This is Splash. It's published in the online magazine, Craft.












It's knit using the old shale lace pattern in our Pearl in Fiddlehead. The pattern is nicely written and illustrated with lots of details about how to do the bind-off and how to weave in ends. I'm more than a little impressed with it.

Another sweet touch is that Nikol showed the pattern on two different sized models so that we can all envision ourselves in the dress.














Did I say dress? Yes! It's also shown with a little slip underneath which would take this from beachwear to everywhere! Genius.