Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cutaway Coat

A new Interweave publication is hitting news stands on October 4. It's called knit.wear and the idea is simple knits for the thoughtful knitter. Visually simple, not necessarily beginner knitting. This sounds like it's right up my ally.

The cardigan shown here is The Cutaway Coat. It was designed by my friend Sandi Rosner and photographed by Joe Hancock. (I often forget to credit the photographer and that's not right.) It's knit using two of Lorna's Laces' mohair yarns, Grace and Glory. It's shown here in the colorway Dusk.

I dropped Sandi a line and asked her about the coat. This is what she told me:

For me, this piece was all about the fabric. I knew the mohair would deliver warmth without weight. What surprised me was the play of light across the surface. The loops of Grace reflect the light in a shimmery way, and the halo of Glory diffuses the reflection. It's like looking at pearls through a veil of chiffon.

My original swatch used Grace in Robot Overlord and Glory in Poppy, which added the element of color excitement. Working the two yarns in the same colorway, as Interweave chose to do, produced a more subtle yet equally beautiful result.

Oh, and it's incredibly soft and snuggly, too!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Signed and Numbered

I'm on the way to Vogue Knitting Live today. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about teaching and getting to meet lots of knitters! I love the excitement and energy that comes along with big knitting shows. Afterwards, I always find myself back at the studio chomping at the bit with new ideas.

We like doing special things for events. This time we decided to join forces with the Knit Culture crew to create a very special color, VK Live 2011. There are only 100 skeins of Shepherd Sock available, each is signed and numbered. Fun don't you think? I've never signed anything like that before.

I'm feeling very glam. Except for the fact that I have dye underneath my fingernails.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cornice Socks

In early June, I got a call from Lesley over at Wool and Company in St. Charles IL. Lesley and her husband Neal are very clever and always full of great ideas. This time was no different...Lesley had an idea to do a special color and sock for Sock Summit 11.

We thought it would be fun to have her come by the studio and play in the color with Mt. Hood in her mind's eye. The idea of the grey majesty of snowcapped the snow capped mountain dotted with majestic firs under the Oregon sky was our starting point.

We fiddled around a little and then a little more and came up with Hoodwinked. I thought it was a witty name for a pretty color.

As icing on the cake, their faithful sidekick Gretl came up with Cornice, a great sock pattern to go the yarn.

Here's what Gretl says about the name: A cornice is an overhanging edge of snow on a ridge or the crest of a mountain or even a house roof. It is formed by the wind blowing snow over the edge. This stitch pattern come from Omas Strichgeheimnisse reminds us of the cornices on Mount Hood and other mountains.

I like the synergy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Report: Knitted Lace

Here's the second installment of my posts about Interweave's new series of "best of" books. This one is Knitted Lace. Anne Merrow is the editor.

I really like this book. Alot. There's a little something here for everyone. As expected, there are lots of shawls and scarves. I always think of them as being the foundation of the lace knitting world. But you'll also find socks and sweaters, tanks and skirts.

One of the things I found interesting was the simplicity of patterns. What I mean is that they were short, many only two pages. One page was for written instructions and the other for charts. Clean, simple and neat. But the results are ooh la la!

Interspersed between the designs are sections called Lace Lessons. One is a primer, another talks about bind offs and the last is about shaping garments. While I wouldn't classify this book as an exhaustive discussion, it has great technical content.

There is one Lorna's Laces project in the book, Susan Pierce Lawrence's Fountain Pen Shawl.

It's knitted from Helen's Lace and shown here in 9ns Pewter.

This might be my next project but I need to get Medusa off the needles first. I had such a nice time with Rock Island that I'm itching to get another full blown Helen's Lace project going. This one has the luxury of having the WS rows being all purl. It's nice to get a little rest between the lace rows.

Are you knitting lace right now? Tell me about it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Sneak Peak

I just got my copy of Interweave Gifts and noticed Temperance Blackthorne's Plethora Scarf. It's a beauty. And it has beads! I'm beginning to wonder about beading. (What's the world coming to? Me doing lace AND beads!)

The colorway here is Monet's Garden. It's part of the Impressionist Series that's available exclusively at Yarn Market.

The Impressionist Collection is really a fun project. Alex over at Yarn Market sent us photos of several of his favorite paintings from the revolutionary Parisian artists of the 19th century. The collection are our interpretations of these famous images.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Report: The Best of Interweave Crochet

Recently, I've been getting copies of a new "Best of" series from Interweave. The first one I'd like to tell you about is the crochet book, edited by Marcy Smith.

I recognize patterns going all the way back to when Crochet was a special interest publication and not a regular part of the Interweave lineup. I see things from Judy Swartz's days at the helm. Kim Werker's too.

The patterns run the gamut from pretty traditional granny square blankets to sophisticated takes on Icelandic classics. There are a powerhouse of names here too, Lily Chin, Kathy Merrick, Kristin Ohmdahl and Robyn Chachula to name just a few.

Interspersed between the 23 designs are sections called Beyond the Basics. These are deeper discussions of techniques that will raise your level of expertise. A couple of examples of essays from these sections are The Adjustable Ring and Symbolcraft.

There are two projects in this book that feature Lorna's Laces. The first is a really versatile scarf designed by Kathy Merrick called Boteh.

It's made with a single skein of our Shepherd Sock in 15ns Chino. Our new Solemate would work beautifully too!

The other project in this collection is Valentina Devine's Boho Block Cardigan.

This granny square sweater seems timeless to me. A little hippy-dippy, a little boho and somehow fresh all at the same time. It's made from our Helen's Lace held double. It's shown in three colors (from top to bottom) 102 Motherlode, 6ns Douglas Fir and 708 Camouflage. Holding a multi color yarn together mixes up the color resulting in a rich marled effect.

I thought it would be fun to see what colors the crew here would put together for themselves.

I'll go first: I'm an orange girl and am feeling autumnal, so I'm going to go with 118 Woodlawn, Chagrin and 509 Satsuma.

I was a little surprised by Merrilee's choice. Her wardrobe tends towards vibrant, fun colors but today she went for a very neutral palette. 15ns Chino, Echo and 36ns Chocolate.

Bette Boo went bright and fun. 509 Satsuma, 1ns Pink Blossom and 630 Bittersweet.

No surprise that Amanda's pick included greens. And I know from very reliable sources that Ashburn is one of her all-time favorite Lorna's Laces colors. 711 Grant Park, Grand Street Ink and 608 Ashburn.

Last up is Mento. He went with more of a spring feel. Pretty and bright. This sweater is also available in a children's version and this would work nicely there.

This is a compilation volume and the patterns were published over the years in the magazine so you might already own them all. In that case, I'm not sure I'd spend the money. But for the mere mortals among us who aren't that organized I would recommend this book. I like having things all in one place. And I like books. And these are the favorites. I think Marcy picked very well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

That Little Yarn Thing

Something happened over the weekend that I've been chewing on for the past few days. As much as we laughed about it at the time, it probably shouldn't be bugging me as much as it does. But since it keeps popping into my head I'm going to share it with you and see what you think.

We were at a party on Saturday and Michael ran into an old friend from the advertising world and they talked shop for awhile. Keep in mind that both of these people run one person agencies. What people in their industry call freelancers. The question "how's business?" came up. They discussed ups and downs and talked about who'd they'd seen recently and what agency had won or lost this client or that. After a few minutes, his friend asked, "Is your wife still doing that little yarn thing?".

(Gratuitous picture of husband hard at "work".)

"...still doing that little yarn thing?" Huh? This is someone that's known my husband for fifteen years. He and I aren't great friends but we've seen each other around over the years. Now I recognize that the world of yarn is very small and that not everyone is as tuned in as I'd like them to be, but "that yarn thing" struck me as odd. And the addition of "little" got under my skin.

Maybe I should be flattered that he remembered that I work in yarn in the first place. After all, it's not a very common profession. I've become accustomed to the confused looks I get when I tell someone I own a yarn company. And I've learned enough over time to omit the "hand-dyed" part, that just complicates things.

Certainly I was amused, but somehow the question felt condescending, even sexist. It made me feel that working in yarn isn't a legitimate way to make a living. That it's really just a hobby. Sure, Lorna's Laces is a small, artisan business, but it's no less a business than advertising or manufacturing nuts and bolts.

Am I being too thin skinned? Or reading more into it than I should? What do you think?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yarn Brain

You've all heard of "baby brain"? Well, I have "yarn brain". I woke up in the middle of the night last night. At 2:04 to be exact. The first thing that occurred to me is that 204 is Daffodil.

Then it took forever to fall back asleep. I need to think about getting into a new line of work.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall Interweave Crochet

The online edition goes live today. This clever little design, Leaf Scaruffle, would make a great gift..for you or someone else on your list.

Anne Lecrivain's design is shown here in our Shepherd Sock in 102 Mineshaft. Find the pattern in the Fall issue of Interweave Crochet. It's online now and will be available at the newsstand on September 20.

September came to Chicago with 90 degree days. Sigh. This photo gives me hope that summer is behind us and I can look forward to a gorgeous fall full of apple picking and brunch with friends.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I just finished up the first of my Spring Forward socks. I've got the second one cast on and am busily working on the cuff. For the first time in a long time, I find myself a victim of second sock syndrome. I'm just itching to have another project on the needles.

I think I'm going to join the KAL at Wild Purls and do a Medusa. This cute little shawl is designed by Amanda Muscha, a young designer in Billings, MT. She did two versions. One is all lace.

The other has a stockinette center.

I'm leaning towards the full lace version.

OMG, if you'd asked me two years ago if the phrase "I'm leaning towards the full lace version" would have ever come out of my mouth, I would have laughed out loud. I guess this dog is learning new tricks.

I haven't cast on yet, but I think I'm going to use Lincoln Park Zoo.

Would you like to join us?