Monday, October 29, 2012

Goat Gear

So, are your scratching your head wondering what Goat Gear is? I would be if I were you. 

Well, last Thursday, Lorna's Laces got the opportunity to dress a bunch of goats for a fashion show put on by Vogue Knitting and World Vision. World Vision is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. 

I got up super early and picked up Franklin Habit  and we made our way to the Alex Haley Elementary School. There was an assembly inside and 300 nice warm knits were distributed to the students. It's part of a program called Knit for Kids.

During the assembly, some of us were busy outside readying the goats. This is Doreen Connors from Vogue. She's wrangling a little guy named Roly. Or maybe that's his twin, Poly. 

Here he is again, all dressed up.

You can see mama in the background.

Franklin was busy taking photos of the whole thing. Keep an eye out for an article with his real photos in an upcoming issue of the magazine. He has a much nicer camera and is far more clever than I.

Here's a shot of all the kids wearing their new knits and watching the fashion show.

Afterward they all got to come over and get close to the goats. It was pretty grand to see how excited they were by the animals. It's not every day you see two dozen goats on the streets of Chicago. 

And I got to meet Debbie Macomber. She was delightful.

She did the heavy lifting in the assembly. What a great woman! Her energy is contagious. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

New York Sheep and Wool

Last weekend was the venerable Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival. Otherwise know as Rhinebeck. I didn't make it this year. It's been kind of painful to hear all the wonderful stories over the past couple of weeks.

There's been the inevitable drama of finishing sweaters on time. It's clearly impossible to go to Rhinebeck without a "Rhinebeck Sweater". This is deadline knitting at its finest, perhaps only rivaled by Christmas knitting. Rumor has it that many a RS is blocked in the hotel on Friday night with the knitter fervently praying that the drying gods work in their favor.

Then there are the cider donuts. Apparently the cider donuts alone are worth the pilgrimage. Thanks to Clara Parkes of Knitter's Review for this lovely image. I'm sure her newsletter on Thursday will chock full of great photos.

I'm sure there were lots of sheep.

Probably an alpaca or two.

I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret. I've never been to Rhinebeck. Or Maryland. I know. Gasp, right? I've decided that I'm going to rectify that in 2013. I've been cruising around the MDSW's website and it looks like 2013 is their 40th anniversary. That's reason enough for me to commit to it. I wonder if it makes sense to do both.

What about you? What's your favorite fiber fest? Is there one that is not-to-be-missed?

And just in case you were worried that I spent the weekend feeling sorry for myself, let me ease your mind. I took a chocolate class over the weekend. We made truffles and mendiants and all sort of goodies.

Anybody want to trade yarn for candy?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Navy Pier

One of the great things that happens around here is having people send me photos of designs that they are publishing. This is Navy Pier from Annika Klein. She works for a shop out in LA called Knit Culture and has done quite a few things for them.

Kinda cute wound't you say? And it would work on a little bow just as well as a little girl. (This one's red hair is stunning.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Soakbox KAL!

Ready needles, Set your patterns, and GO! It's Soakbox knit-a-long time!

We gave you a bit of a teaser in the newsletter last week and now it's here... The official beginning of the Soakbox knit along! For the next three months (to work up to your holiday knitting) the nice folks at Soak are going to be providing you with information about Soakboxes. They'll do a  feature on each box over the next two weeks with tips and tricks to help you knit a great pair of mitts. After that you'll see ideas about what you can do with your Soakboxes, fun activities and events and more information about how they came to be.

Don't have a Soakbox yet? You can get them right from Soak, or ask for it at your LYS.

The KAL is going to take place at Soak's Rav group. That's the go-to place for questions, comments and any photos you have of the projects you've knit up with your Soakboxes. You'll also be able to find the fun on Twitter (@soakwash) and Instagram (@jacqueline_soak). Don't forget the #soakbox hashtag so everyone can keep up with what's going on.   You can even send email  to natalieATsoakwashDOTcom about it. They'd love to hear from you. 

Fiona Ellis, the designer of the mitts has recorded a video for each of the patterns. She's even graciously offered to drop in via Skype to yarn shops and groups that are doing their own knit-a-longs. You can send her an email at  fiona.ellisATsympaticoDOTca to set something up.  

What do you say we kick off this KAL with a contest?  We'll be giving away two kits here on the Lorna's Laces blog.  (Cuff Au Lait and Lace Kelly). Each will be personally signed by Fiona. We need you to answer this question:

What is your preference: round tips or square tips for your nails?

Leave your answer in the comments section. We'll keep the contest open until Monday, Oct 22 at midnight CST. Then we'll let our friend the random number generator pick the winners!

They're also giving away two kits on the Soakworthy blog, Double Pointe Pink and Clark Cable.  Just hop on over and follow the directions there. 

Until we see each other again, may your hands be soft, fibers fresh and nails match your knits.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sock Yarn Studio

I recently got a copy of Carol Sulcoski's new book, Sock Yarn Studio. I've really been looking forward to this book. Like so many knitters, I love sock yarn and I'm intrigued by finding great new ways to use it.

This book assumes a few things. Like that you know how to knit. I'm good with that. I don't believe that every book needs to teach the fundamentals. There are marvelous "learn to knit" books. If you are new to the knitting world, do yourself a favor and pick one of those up. Everyone should have one of them in their library. Mine is a dog eared copy of Vogue Knitting:The Ultimate Knitting Book. I reach for it all the time.

Carol has a nice writing voice. She comes across as both knowledgeable and friendly. Which she is in real life too. She begins the book teaching us what sock yarn is. Why they are skinny, why many of them have nylon, are superwash and tightly twisted. All of this is good stuff to know. 

She then goes on to categorize them by how they are dyed. She uses Solid, Patterning and Multi Colored as her three basic categories. The discussion within each style gives you some insight about how you can use them to their best advantage. There's also a nice discussion of making yarns work for you. She tells you how to examine a skein of yarn to see how it is dyed and learn how to take advantage of those dye patterns or avoid things like pooling if it doesn't make you happy. 

There's also a great little section on substitution. Carol is all for it and gives us permission to branch out. She gives us some guidelines to do it successfully too.

Then there are the patterns. This are split into One, Two and Three+ skein projects. I got a giggle about how many of the designersI knew from just their first name; Franklin, Veronik, Tanis, Hunter, Brooke and Wendy. Can you fill in the last names?

Two of the patterns feature our yarn. The first is Varese Shawl. This is Carol's design and uses our Shepherd Sock yarn in the edging. I like this pattern because it uses a full skein of a solid color but then that edging is knit using leftover bits of four other colors. You could really have fun with it.

The kid's sweater below is called the Gumdrop Raglan. It's another of Carol's designs. She's used a nearly solid, 3ns Grapevine, in the body and then a striping yarn, Jungle Stripe for the sleeves. It's pretty sweet. (So is Carol's daughter, the model.)

I think this book is a winner. It's smart. It's beautifully styled. And it takes you lots of places with sock yarn that aren't socks. All of that is good.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jane Austen Knits

I've know the new Jane Austen Knits went live last week, but today is the first I've heard about the hard copy hitting shops. You should check it out. 

Am I the only one that hasn't read Jane Austen? I've been feeling a little like an underachiever when it comes to this phenomenon. I thought I might try and bluff my way through this post and decided that would be a bad idea. So I'm owning it. Maybe you could give me some help. If you were going to read just one of her books, which one would it be? 

These are the Tilney socks. It's from the Manor collection. Since I don't know the stories, I'm going to make up the characters. In my world, Tilney is something a rapscallion. Tall and dark, he's broken many hearts in his time. These are the socks he'd wear out for a hunt.

Rachel Coopey designed them using our Shepherd Sock in 7ns Cedar. I like the irregular ribbing. They seem  masculine to me somehow to me.

This second project using our yarns in the magazine is the Biedermier Stole. It's from the Garden collection and designed by Annie Modesitt. It uses our Lion and Lamb in Chino, Envy and Irving Park. 

In my story, Biedermier is a young girl who has bewitched the elusive Tilney. Even though she is sweet on him, she plays hard to get and ultimately wins his heart.

I'm pretty sure nothing even remotely like this happened in any of the novels. Maybe once I've read one of them I'll have a better idea. Ahem.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Great Week Up North

So, I have a kinda cool job. I may have mentioned that before. Mostly, I make pretty string here in Chicago. Sometimes I get to make pretty string in far-off exotic places. Like Canada. 

I recently returned from a week in Ontario. 

I began my adventure with two days in Toronto. Jacqueline from Soak picked me up at the downtown airport and whisked my away for a drink at the newly opened  Soho House. Soho House is a club for creative types. So instead of seeing people in suits and ties, you find people like me, with dye on their shoes.

See the red chair at the center of the picture in the back corner of the room? I sat right there and had a Negroni. I'm still sort of surprised they didn't kick me out. After all, I had dye on my shoes.

I spent the next day at The Workroom. It's a sew & craft by the hour shop. They do lots of classes too. I taught two sessions of my dye class. 

All of the students were great but I was a little starstruck by Austen and Tina from Canadian Living. I felt like Martha Stewart was in the room and I'm afraid I hemmed and hawed a little more than usual. I think they were OK with it, after all, they talked about the class in their blog.  

The next morning Julie from the Needle Emporium in Ancaster picked me up and we headed north to Orillia and Knitting Camp. Knitting Camp is a long weekend of great food, great people and yarn. This all takes place at a resort with little cabins on a lake. So instead of getting in an elevator to go to class, you scamper across the lawn. And the view from your classroom might look like this.

The first evening, there was a game night. Fiona Ellis pulled out all the stops. 

Josh Bennett and I were a little more subdued. 

Full disclosure: Fiona's team won. Josh's was second. My team proudly took bronze. Maybe I should have worn the feather tiara. 

The next morning, we got down to business and dyed yarn. My students were great. They were all SO excited to be there and ready to learn. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that my class was everyone's favorite. Then again, I  have an advantage. My classes are all about having fun and  playing in the dye. Josh and Fiona make people think. And do math. (Sorry Fi and Josh.)

These look like pretty happy campers don't you think? 

These too!

 Not bad for a day's work.

All in all, a marvy week. There were so many laughs and I made great new friends. Canada was a wonderful host. Thank you. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Red or Blue or....

In case you haven't noticed, we're in the midst of election season. In honor of this once-every-four-year event, we decided to get together with the folks at Jimmy Beans Wool and have some fun with it. After all, we're all about yarn and pretty. We're happy to leave the campaigning to the politicians.

We wanted to include everyone, so we created four colors. 

Blue State

 Red State


None of the Above

You can vote with your purchase over at the Jimmy Bean's Wool website. I think early voting has already started. ;-)  The biggest decision you have to make is whether you want to vote for the color you think is the prettiest or go with the one that represents your politics? Maybe you should do both!