Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Fete!

Yesterday was the annual Lorna's Laces Holiday party. Tea at the Ritz. We've been to the Drake, The Peninsula and the Four Seasons. This may be our favorite so far. We were seated at a gorgeous table. I love it when there are low tables surrounded by couches and comfy chairs. Since we're around dye all the time, we're very casual around the studio. We clean up pretty good though, don't you think?

We decided to reinstate the "Secret Santa" gift exchange. We did it a few years back, but we had so many part-timers for awhile that it wasn't really working. Now that we have this nice, tight crew it made sense to bring it back. There were lots of fun things.

Sam got a lunchbox. It was filled with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Amanda got a book and DVD. Guess what her favorite beverage is?

Stef got a hat that Sam knit for her here at work. Right under her nose!! Sam is clever.

Emily got socks. There were several pair. Here are the green ones.

Now I'm off for the holidays. A fews days in Wisconsin and a few in Michigan. I'm very ready to relax!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Crud

Well, the winter crud that has been having its way with all of us finally found me. I woke up Saturday with an elephant sitting on my chest. It's moved around a bit, but much as I try to shake it, it has still chosen not to relocate.

I have to admit that I haven't been altogether diligent about trying to get well. It's really hard this time of year to take it easy. My first scheme was to get out and take a nice long run. The logic was that the exercise would quash whatever it was that ails me. No such luck.

Saturday night was I couldn't stay home from that, could I? It was at a new-ish friend's house a couple of blocks from home. This party was to die for. A string quartet played Christmas carols, the food was amazing, the people all a delight. There were 18 staff. Can you imagine? Ooh-la-la. I wonder if they would like to adopt me?

Sunday we had tickets to the symphony. It was the Holiday Yule performance with choirs, (adult and youth) dancers, and a visit from Santa. All very fun. Then home in my jammies and early to bed. Somehow an extra hour of sleep wasn't quite enough. The elephant still refused to budge. The nerve!

I finaly cried Uncle on Monday and stayed home from work and home from dinner out with Anne, who was in from Atlanta. I took off a half day yesterday to boot and I am finally back. Not 100 percent but I'm pretty close.

Tomorrow is the Lorna's Laces holiday party. We go to tea at a different hotel every year. This time it's the Ritz-Carlton. I've thought about doing something different, but traditions are nice. Especially this time of year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I flew to Virginia Beach on Sunday to visit my mother. My original non-stop flight got canceled by the airline. I ended up going through Dulles and both of my new my flights were delayed. So instead of arriving in time for lunch, I barely made it in time for dinner. Then, my luggage decided that it wanted to spend the night in Washington DC.

I started to get upset but decided that since there wasn't anything I could about it, I might as well just roll with the punches. It is winter after all, and traveling this time of year comes with risks. The luggage arrived safe and sound in the morning.

Traveling in the winter also has it upsides. I rented a convertible for the same price as an economy car. I knew I was taking a chance when I booked it, but it paid off when it was 75 degrees and sunny during my visit!

I'm a sucker for a convertible. My very first car was a 1965 MGB. It was so much fun! Can anything beat having the top down on a beautiful summer day? I guess doing the same thing in the middle of the winter, huh? Especially when so much of the country was getting socked by an ice storm.

My sister and I took a nice long walk on the beach on Monday night. I rolled up my pants and played in the surf. We had a chance to talk about some pretty serious things. We visit on the phone all the time, but somehow it's different when you get a chance to do it in person.

When I got back to work on Wednesday, things were a bit crazy. It turns out that some kind of bug had come through in my absence and had it's way with the Lorna's Laces crew. Poor Sam has missed four days of work. Becca and Stef have both missed two. At least we're getting it over with before Christmas. It stinks to be sick during the holidays.

But, it has put a wrench in works as far as getting yarn dyed and out the door. I worked last Saturday and it looks like this weekend will be more of the same. Not that I'm complaining. I kinda like coming in on the weekends. It's nice and quiet. Peaceful almost.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


We got a call recently from a NY designer, _______ ____. They had seen our Angel yarn in a local shop and thought it might work for a garment in their fall collection. Needless to say, we were thrilled by the call! We sent samples and waited anxiously to hear back.

Well, they decided it would work so we got busy dyeing things up for them. Angel usually comes in little 1/2 oz. skeins or about 50 yards. They needed several kilos for the garments. It seemed silly to have it put up in such small quantities, so we had the mill do 8oz skeins. We decided to call them Archangels.

Kylie was busy getting the first shipment ready for them today and right next to her Emily was twisting some of the regular Angel. The contrast made us laugh.

A big pile made us even happier.

The designer has asked us to keep things under wraps until after the show in February. You'll be the first to know once I'm allowed to tell!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Our trip to NY was wonderful. The play was even better than I'd hoped for! I'm particularly pleased for the lead actress, Deanna Dunagan. This is her Broadway debut and she's getting standing ovations. I've met her once or twice and it almost made me cry, I was so proud. Could I be a bigger dork?

We stopped at ABC Carpet and Home on Sunday and found a chandelier that might work in our dining room. I've never liked the one we have and after three years, I think it might be time. I can't say I'm actively looking for a new one, so I've decided to "glance". With any luck, in another three years the glancing will result in something I like. I worry that this one is a little too goth. One of our friends suggested that I paint the current one and see how it feels. This seems like a good idea. A can of spray paint seems like a much more reasonable investment than an entire chandelier.

If we do decide we like the look, we'll probably have to find another source. We stood around waiting for someone to help us for at least 10 minutes. The sales person was working with another client, but couldn't be bothered to so much as acknowlege our existence. I understand being busy, but a quick nod or "I'll be with you when I've finished up here" would have gone a long way to making me a happier camper. I have to admit I'm not the most patient of souls, but I don't think that's too much to ask.

There are just a couple of things in the WIP file today. First up are Stefanie's fingerless, flappy-top gloves. These are made from some handspun she picked up at Stitches Midwest this year. This is her last holiday gift project. No flies on her!

And here is the shawl I've been working on for the past week or so.
All the different stitch patterns have made it a good project for me. Nothing is complicated, but there's enough going on to keep me interested. Even better, it's one of those projects where I feel like "if I can just finish one more row" something magic is going to happen. While I haven't actually found the magic, I remain ever hopeful......Much like a Laborador Retriever.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

89 and counting

I have enough deadlines in my work life that I try to limit the number of them I create for myself in my personal life. That's why I don't make a long list of things to knit for holiday gifts or make myself crazy about a birthday or a christening. Instead, I just make things when I want to and give them for no particular reason.

That said, I'm about to make an exception to my rule. My mom is turning ninety in mid January and I want to make something for her. Ninety! Can you imagine?

She's been living in a retirement community in Virginia for the past 7+ years. This fall we found ourselves in the unfortunate position where it was time to transition her into assisted living. Her memory has become problematic and it had reached a point where we worried about her safety. It hasn't been easy, we're talking about a fiercely independent woman here.

I made her a beautiful red sweater a couple of years ago that she mentions all the time. And there's an Aslan sweater that my sister in law and I teamed up on that she just loves. (I dyed the yarn and she did the knitting.)

There was a time where she hinted around about a scarf but she hasn't mentioned that in awhile. I like the idea of a pair of warm cuddly socks. After all, she doesn't get out as much as she used to and there's something really comforting about nice thick socks.

I'm going to spend a few days with her over the weekend. I guess the best thing to do is talk with her about it. That's not as easy as it used to be. Her answers often change from minute to minute these days. At the very least I'll look around and see what I think would make her happiest. After all, this is all about her.

Birthday, round two

A month or so ago,I made an offhand remark that I was disappointed that we'd missed Steppenwolf's production of a play called August: Osage County. It won all the theatre awards here in Chicago and was on its way to Broadway.

Lo and behold, when my birthday rolled around, my husband presented me with tickets to the show in New York! Mind you, he'd purchased the tickets three days before the stagehands struck. (Striked?) So, he's been a little worried that we wouldn't be able to see the show. Lucky for us, they were able to settle last night. Yahoo!

So, we're off to NY in the morning for a long "birthday" weekend. I can't wait! I know I was there just a few weeks ago, but that was for work. This is all play. We're going to put our tourist hats on and see two plays, visit the Met, see the Christmas tree in Lincoln Center, try and get squeezed in at Balthazar.

We're also planning to visit this little art gallery called the Art Studio Showcase down on Lafayette in Soho that we haven't been to in awhile. It carries paintings by students from the local art school and we've found some wonderful things there over the years. There are lots of still lifes because it's much cheaper to buy a bowl full of fruit than to pay a live model, but there's also plenty of other things.

In knitting news, I've finished the knitting on the Camo Crew kid's sweater. Now it just needs to be finished. Like so many of us, I'm not a big fan of the finishing so it's going to spend some time in the UFO basket. But since it needs to be ready to go to TNNA in January, its visit there will be relatively short.

I've just barely started on a shawl that we'll be displaying at TNNA too. It's Fiber Trends "Landscape Shawl". I'm a little farther along than this photo shows and it's a very fun pattern! There's a little bit of garter, a little bit of seed, a little bit of stockinette with picot edging just to keep things interesting. I think it will be the weekend's airplane project.

Here's another project on needles around here. This is Simplest Sweater for Baby that Amanda is working on. It's the easiest garter stitch thing imaginable. There's also a crochet version that just quick and easy. I think we're all in the market for quick this time of year. As I mentioned, most of mine are for work but most of us are lucky enough to be making things for loved ones. Next year for sure!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Long Time No Write

Goodness, it seems like it's been eons since I sat down in front of this particular computer screen! And in computerland, I guess 10 days=an eon.

I've been quite the busy little bee since we last chatted. Last Wednesday, my dear husband packed up the car, dog and myself and we embarked on a twelve hour drive to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving.

Having traveled with Miss Pearl on other occasions, we were smart enough to procure some meds for the trip. Girl hopped in the car, spun around once and we heard nary a peep from her for the duration. After having endured a four hour drive a couple of months back where the poor thing cried non-stop, this was pure heaven. (Please understand that I don't really like the prospect of medicating her, but seeing her in distress is far worse.)

As always, my in-laws were a delight. The Thanksgiving sideboard positively groaned with the bounty of the fall harvest. There was turkey, two kinds of potatoes, stuffing, dressing, four vegetables, four kinds of pie, pralines...all amazing. Did I mention the eggplant parmesan and gnocchi with vodka sauce? You can't have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner without eggplant parmesan, can you?

I was able to justify a "second" slice of pie because I got up at the crack of dawn and ran a 10K with Mercedes from Knit Nouveau. I am a master of justification and that run provided me with justification for about ten times more calories than it actually burned off.

One of the fun things about spending time in a different part of the country is that their seasons are different from ours. Here in Chicago, the fall colors came and went a long time ago. In Birmingham, they were still going full tilt. And this was a spectacular year to boot! I can't remember the last time I saw such a beautiful display. As so often happens, I was once again humbled by Mother Nature.

Friday was a nice quiet day. We met an old friend for breakfast and then just hung out with the family. Then we had round two of gorge-fest. After a big turkey dinner on Thursday, what would you have besides prime rib on Friday? It's a family tradition. Good thing I left my skinny jeans at home!

Saturday was another long day on the road. We stopped in Michigan and had dinner with friends. It was a nice way to break up the drive.

Sunday was home and some serious couch time. I wish I had one more day before heading back to work. Isn't that always the case?

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Famous Guest

We had the honor of spending the morning yesterday with the charming and delightful Franklin Habit of The Panopticon fame.

He came by in the morning and spent several hours entertaining us with witty banter and curious stories. And, he brought homemade brownies. They were still warm!! I can't remember tasting better. He said the secret was homemade vanilla extract. Note to self: Get that recipe!

Genteel ladies that we are, we each ate a single brownie and judiciously saved the rest for later. I shudder to imagine the scene had we been a less refined lot.

He and I chatted for quite some time. His 1000 Knitters Project is really gaining steam. He even set up another sitting with a shop in Michigan while he was here! Not sure if I'm allowed to share which shop or when, so it'll have to stay a secret for now.

I sent him off with a few things for Dolores and a promise to see each other again very soon. I wonder if he'd like a part-time job? Or if Dolores needs a little something to fill her days?

There are a few new WIP's to show. This is Stefanie's Christmas Stocking. I think it's a gift for one of her parents. It's made from our Bullfrogs and Butterflies. The color reprodution here isn't great, but it's in Cranberry and Cedar.

Next is an update on the child's version of the Camo Crew sweater I started a couple of weeks ago. I had to totally frog it once but here it is in all it's glory. Look how the yarn created diamond patterns! I didn't even notice it until I took the photo. I guess I was just too close to it when I was working on it to notice.
I've been working this as the back of the sweater, but once I had a look at it, I decided to use this as the front since I can't be sure that the next piece I work will turn out to have the same patterning. This is one of those times where the hand-dyed magic really shows its charm.

Well, I'm going to call it a day. My husband is waiting and we're off to celebrate my, ahem, 29th birthday!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'd like to introduce "Pinto Bean"

I get my hair cut at a salon called Robert Jeffrey. I've been going there for years.

Imagine my suprise when I was checking out last weekend and looked over to see a basket full of yarn! I thought it a little bit odd to see yarn for sale in a salon so I started asking questions.

As it turns out, the owners live about 90 minutes or so away in Sawyer, MI and own a Northwind Llama Farm!! What a hoot! They are primarily about showing and breeding the animals, but from time to time they get some of the fiber spun up into yarn.

I poked around the basket and saw names on the yarn like "Pinto Bean" and "Anita". It turns out those are the names of the llamas whose fiber the yarn was spun from. I was enchanted.

There wasn't enough of any one yarn to make a sweater, but there was enough "Pinto Bean" to make a nice scarf with probably enough left over for a pair of fingerless gloves or something like that.

I cruised around their website for awhile yesterday. They will let you come visit their farm. Since we have friends with a weekend place about 10 miles from there, I think a fieldtrip is in order!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

WIP Wednesday

Stefanie has turned her heel:

And gotten quite a start on the Two-Toned Ribbed Shrug from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits in Lion and Lamb.

Emily just has one sleeve to go on the Knitting Pure and Simple's Children's Neckdown Bolero in Shepherd Worsted.

Sam's hat in Bullfrogs and Butterflies is sure to keep someone warm this winter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lots to do!

Life has been kinda hectic lately. We were short staffed here at Lorna's Laces for awhile. (Thank goodness we found Emily. She's been fantastic!) It's amazing how quickly that kind of thing can put a wrench in the works.

Then TNNA is looming. It's not for another two months, but now is the time when we need to get all our ducks in a row for it. Right. Now. We need new designs, models knit, colors designed, decisions made about the booth display etc, etc. As soon as I scratch one task of the list, two seem to grow in its place. You would think that after almost five years, I would have some of this figured out, wouldn't you? I never claimed to be the brightest crayola in the box.

You would also think that since I know that this is an especially busy time at work, I would be smart enough to keep things on the home front down to a dull roar. That's not the case.

You see, we've been lucky enough to meet a bunch of wonderful new people this year and I wanted to make sure that some of these acquaintances turned into friends. There were too many to invite over for dinner, so we decided that it would be fun to host a cocktail party. Just cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. From 6-8. Folks could come by for a drink and a nosh and then onto dinner. It would be simple. No fuss. No muss.

Then we let the guest take on a life of its own and Friday night 50 people were coming. And even with the short time frame and simple format, it takes a bunch of time to get ready for that kind of a crowd. In the end, it was a fun party, but I'm still recovering. And finding the stray glass behind a houseplant.

Friday, November 2, 2007


We took some pictures yesterday so I thought I'd introduce everyone to you. It's about time isn't it?

My ugly mug is the one up front. Then behind me,from left to right, is Kylie, Sam, Stephanie, Becca, Emily and Amanda. Emily is the newest member of our little family and we're delighted to have her.

It's a real good crew. Over the years we've had our ups and downs. From time to time we've had someone that wasn't as good a fit as I'd like. But for the most part we've been fortunate enough to have great people here. The kind that you're sorry to see go when the time comes. Knock wood.

Funny, it's an all female crew right now. It's been along time since it's been that way. We've had as many as three men working here. Tyler left a couple of months ago and when we advertised for help, no men applied. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WIP Wednesday

I've decided that it makes sense to give you guys a peek at what people are knitting around here once a week or so. On any given day, at least a couple of us knit at lunch time and it's always fun to see how things unfold.

Here is one of the socks that Stefanie is currently working on. It's a Wild Horse Farm design called Penllyn.

In case you haven't noticed, Stefanie is a sock knitter to the core. I think I've seen her with something else on the needles twice in the year and a half I've known her. I guess you can call that focus. Not only does she work from published patterns, but she does quite a bit of design work on her own. And reverse engineers vintage socks she finds at flea markets. Very cool.

This morning I cast on for a children's sweater that will be used as part of our disply at TNNA in Long Beach in January. I only had time to knit a couple of rows while I was drinking my coffee. It's going to be a fun project, the stitch patterns are interesting but not so complicated that I can't memorize them after a repeat or two.

Texture knitting has always been my favorite. Fairisle ranks pretty high on my hit parade too. I don't have the patience for a big ol' charted intarsia pattern where you have to keep track of each stitch and the whole lace thing frankly just scares my pants off.

I've tried them all and made the decision a long time ago that I knit for enjoyment and relaxation. If a project causes stress or doesn't make me happy, I'm just not going to do it. After all, knitting isn't a competition. It's about bringing something into your life that makes it better than it was before.

Last thing. We walked by Radio City while we were in NYC. This isn't the greatest photo, but where else are you going to find Rockettes dressed in Santa attire holding onto sheep, camels, and goats. In the middle of October! You gotta love it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

East Coast Fun!

I'm just getting settled back in from the trip to Philly and NY. Whew! It's crazy that it would take this long to get my bearings back. It sometimes seems that it takes a full day to catch up for every day away.

I think part of that happens because when I find myself with too many things to get done, I end up not being able to focus on any one task until completion. I work on several things in fits and starts and that's not nearly as efficient as doing one thing at a time. There's an old piece of office wisdom that tells you to only handle any sheet of paper one time. File it, toss it, reply to it. But only handle it once. I need to learn that skill.

The trip was fantastic! We arrived in Philadelphia mid-day on Thursday. The plan was to meet friends for dinner at an upscale place that had recently opened. That didn't work out because our luggage, independent minded thing, decided to take a later flight and we were in shorts and sandals. So, we went with Plan B and had a great meal at a little neighborhood joint they like.

The best part of seeing them was finding out that they are moving back to Chicago! If anyone is looking for a townhouse in the Museum neighborhood of Philadelphia, I know the place for you.

Friday was a day off. We spent most of it at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We saw lots of people running up the steps of the museum, ala Rocky. I have to admit that I did the same thing on Saturday morning, but I did resist the urge to jump around with my arms in the air. Touristy? You betcha! When in Rome....

Saturday was one of two dye workshops I taught over the weekend. I've done a couple of these at events like Stitches, but I'd never done one in a shop. .
I really enjoyed the intimacy the smaller scale afforded us. The students were wonderful and I had an amazing time with everyone. A big shout out to Craig, Loop's proprietor.

After class, we hopped the train to NYC. I love the energy there. Laurie from Sticks and String up in Scarsdale picked us up and we had dinner at the cutest little Spanish restaurant in Greenwich Village, Sevilla.

The next morning we had a meet and greet and then I taught a second time. This group was just as fine as the first. Lots of fun, lots of laughs and beautiful yarn was made by everyone.

I'm always fascinated to see how each person walks away with such different end products. Everyone has a different aesthetic and takes the same colors and makes something all their own.

Then it was back to the city for a couple of days of R&R. Well deserved if I do say so myself. I did learn a little something during this trip. In much the same way that visiting family is not a vacation, adding a few days onto a business trip isn't a vacation either. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time and got to see some of my favorite people in the yarn biz. But, it was still an extended work trip. One of these days I need to sit down and take a hard look at the calendar and schedule an honest-so-goodness vacation.

Will the person who bends time please provide me with a few extra days between now and the end of the year?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Last weekend, my husband displayed his artwork at Around the Coyote, a local show for emerging artists. That meant he manned a booth next to his work Friday from 6-10, Saturday 11-10 and Sunday 11-6. It also meant that I got to be single-girl-about-town. While I missed seeing his mug, I managed to muddle through OK.

Friday night, I had dinner with my friend Brad from Fiesta Yarns. (Look at me being all confident and strong putting up another yarn company's link. Well, maybe a little queasy, but hey, life is full of risks.) He and his wife Jeannie have been very nice to me over the past few years.

On Saturday, I got up and ran in the Pumpkin in the Park 5K with Tony, Dave and Edward. I run most every morning with Tony and/or Edward. I managed a respectable (for me) 30:30. I think it was my first sub 10 minute mile run ever. And girl ain't getting any younger.

The main event this weekend was Yarn Con. It was a spectacular gathering of indie dyers and spinners, LYS's, authors. We saw Shannon Okey, the aforementioned Franklin,

Sharon from Arcadia Knitting held several workshops. I just loved the little mitten shaped lanyard for your data stick. Loopy Yarn's booth was chock full of fabulous finds.

My absolute favorite thing at the show was the fact that there was a mobile ATM on site. Can you say "ultimate enabler"? I intentionally left home with a limited amount of cash to avoid spending great sums of money. I was even doing a pretty good job at it until I came across Susan Strawn and her new book Knitting America Wow! I just had to have a copy. I trotted right outside to that fancy truck, inserted my card and voila! I found myself the proud owner of my very own copy.

I've only been able to spend short bits of time with it, mostly looking at pictures and skimming a little here and a little there. I think it's one of my favorite knitting books to come along in quite awhile. I'm always a sucker for history and that's really what it's all about. I'll spend some real time with it and tell you more later.

The past couple of days have been dedicated to getting ready for my trip out east. Three days in Philly and three more in New York. Can't wait! I'm going sans laptop, so this will likely be the last you hear from me until I get back.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Franklin Habit

Just a quick note today.

When I was at YarnCon, I ran into Franklin Habit of The Panopticon fame. He was taking photos for his 1,000 KnittersProject.

We got to talking and I invited him to come visit us here at the studio. Think he'll bring Dolores? A girl can always dream...

Friday, October 12, 2007


This time of year is just chock full o' wonderfulness for all of us yarnaholics. Here are a few events that are hitting my radar.

For folks that are in or near Chicago, this weekend is YarnCon It's a place to "promote, sell and celebrate the yarny arts". This looks like fantastic fun and I plan to be there at opening bell! Tons of indie stuff that makes my heart just sing. I can smell the creativity.

Then, there's SOAR. This is a week long event that goes through Sunday, but from what I've been hearing it's been funner than fun. Perhaps I need to get it inked onto next year's calendar.

Stitches East is also happening. I know how much fun I had at Stitches Midwest and I hear East is even bigger!

Then looking forward, Rhinebeck is next weekend. And I'm going to doing dye workshops at Loop in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 20 and at Sticks and Strings in Scarsdale, NY on Sunday the 21st.

What do you think the odds are of talking Matthew McConaughey into chauffeuring me around in his Airstream to all these fantastic fiber festivities next year?

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's HOT

A couple of posts ago I told you about how much I love the fall and apple picking and pumpkins and all the rest. I decided to have a dinner party Saturday night to celebrate the fall bounty. Those pumpkin ravioli and apple tarts were calling out to me.

So, in case you were wondering, that's why it's in the mid 80's today and forecast to be even hotter over the weekend. Phew! I think I need to rethink that menu. It seems to heavy. Too bad the tomatoes and basil are all gone.

On the bright side...the gardens and parks are still looking beautiful.
We'll be able to sit outside and enjoy a drink before dinner. Winter will be here all too soon and we'll be parked inside for the duration. This is Chicago after all.

We were up pretty late last night getting organized for our little shindig. Somehow the guest list grew to eleven. I know I was the one that invited them, but really, eleven? I'm going to have to go home and count the forks. I suppose I could ask one or two guests to eat with their fingers. Or, I could hand out knitting needles and call them chopsticks.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Did you hear the squeal last Friday? I'm sure you must have, my throat is still raw. That's the day we got our Ravelry invitation! Of course we've done little else since then which is why you haven't heard me prattling on about it. It is far too easy to get sucked into its depths never to be heard from again. It took resolve of superhero strength to resurface. The site is pure genius. So are the folks using it. I have been inspired on many levels. Wow!

But, back to the real world. There's yarn to dye, socks to knit, colors to conjure. Speaking of colors, the new ones that we'll bring out in January have been pretty much decided on. And we're looking at designs to best show them off. This is the part of the job that makes my heart sing.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Just a quickie today. Per Danielle's suggestion, we just sent our third quarter donation from Flamingo Stripe sales to the American Cancer Society and earmarked it for breast cancer research. It brings this year's total to $2500. Woot!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The shower wore off

I stayed home from work on Tuesday because I was sick. It wasn't eye trouble this time. Oh no, this was honest-to-goodness-I-have-a-fever-and-feel-like-death sick. I slept about 26 straight hours and when I woke up on Wednesday I felt great. It was a miracle!

I got up took a shower and headed out the door. I got to the studio and quickly realized I was mistaken. The shower had worn off. I felt pretty much the same as I had the day before. So I made a quick u-turn and back to bed for me. Today, I am better. For real. Maybe not 100%, but good enough. And good enough is all I need.

Enough drama already. On to more important things, like yarn. We just finished dyeing up a custom color for Jimmy Beans Wool. They have a sock of the month club featuring Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. Here's Pearl guarding October's color, Candy Corn. We only dye a limited quantity, so get it while you can!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Autumnal Rituals

Every fall, the need for apple desserts gets to be more than I can handle and I round up a group of friends for a trip to a U-Pick apple orchard. This year was no exception.

We were spending the weekend at Dave (above) and Tony's farmhouse in Union Pier, Michigan and there are orchards galore in that neck of the woods. Even better, lots of them also have pumpkins and gourds so you can kill two birds with one stone. Or even three birds when you think about the pumpkin's ability to become both pie and a decorative accent for the Thanksgiving table.

We decided on Dinges' Farm in Three Oaks.
There was so much to choose from! There were about a gabillion varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash. There was even one variety they called "Red Warty Things". That made me laugh out loud. We saw peacocks, peahens and there was even a litter of bunnies whose picture didn't turn out well enough to post.
After the pumpkin fest, it was time to get apples! For me, it's the main event. Here's a shot of Edward from Ireland up high in one of the trees. He's a brave one!

At the end of the day, we went home loaded up with apples and pumpkins, happy and tired. I'm already planning meals. Of course there will be apple and pumpkin pies but I'm going to experiment a bit more this year.
I saw a recipe for a tart made with apples, honey and goat cheese thatI need to try. And there's one for pumpkin ravioli that seems like a must-do this year too. Now, if the weather would just get a little cooler, we can have a feast!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm seeing pink!

With October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, we've been busy dyeing up Flamingo Stripe so plenty will be available in shops. Flamingo Stripe is a pink/pink striping sock yarn.

We donate 20% of our proceeds to breast cancer charities. Every quarter we send a check to a different charity. Since launching the program in January, we've donated to Susan B Komen and Breast Cancer Angels. It's getting close to the end of the quarter and I have to decide where to send the donation this time. Any suggestions?

Monday, September 17, 2007


It's been a bit crazy since we last talked. I decided at the last minute to go visit my mother. Being in the hospital is never fun and I figured she would appreciate the company. So I spent a few days in southern Virginia with her.

I left in such a rush that I didn't pack my laptop. At first I was upset, but then decided that was OK. After all, I'm not really so important that I need to be plugged in all the time. And I've put together such a fantastic crew at Lorna's Laces that I knew things there would be just fine there.

Plus, I had my phone with me so it wasn't as if I was totally unreachable. As it turns out, I even sent my first text message this weekend. Does that make me sound like a Luddite? Or just tell you how old I am?

Here's a picture of Laura. She's my niece's daughter. She's wearing a sweater and hat knit from our Shepherd Worsted in Flames. Pretty darn cute, isn't she?!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11, WIP's

We're a big NPR shop around here. We listen almost non-stop. It's been a pretty sobering day revisiting the events of September 11, 2001. It is certainly our generation's equivalent to the question of "where were you when Kennedy was shot".
It hardly seems possible that it's been six years.

On a happier notes, here are a couple things that were on needles as we sat around the table eating lunch. This is one of Stephanie's self designed socks. It's got a nice diamond pattern in it that this photo doesn't show very well. It also works very nicely with our multi colored yarns.

This next photo is Sam's Wedding Shrug. It is the second one she's knit. The first one had an unpleasant run-in with a washing machine courtesy of her fiance, Ben. He was properly contrite and she's decided to go ahead with the marriage. It's made from Lion and Lamb in a color she designed herself. Pretty, yes?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oprah and tidbits

My niece is a huge Oprah fan (she's the one on the right) and has been trying to get tickets to a taping for years. Her persistence paid off and she invited me to join her last Thursday. It sure wasn't what I expected. For some reason I thought there would be more interaction with the audience and that I would walk away feeling all warm and fuzzy about the experience. It didn't turn out that way. I had started to write a long post about the day and have decided instead to embrace the old adage "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." My mother would be proud.

Speaking of mothers, mine is in the hospital. The tests just came back and it looks like everything is going to be just fine and she'll go home tomorrow. You could probably hear the sigh of relief from where you are. Hospital+89 year old mother=lots of anxiety and very little sleep. Glad that's over.

I have some fun pics and such from the weekend, but I'm a little drained right now. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


For the last several years, we've belonged to a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture farm. Each year, we buy a share of the farm's harvest and every week we get a 3/4 bushel box of organic vegetables. The farm we belong to, Angelic Organics, is both organic and biodynamic.

Biodynamic farming is a system developed by Rudolph Steiner. You may recognize his name from the Waldorf educational system. Biodynamics uses nine different preparations that are added to the compost or sprayed on the soil or plants to enhance biological activity in a certain way. I don't know all the specifics, I just know that I love getting my box every week! It feels right to eat food that is good for me and good for the environment.

Getting "the box" has been a learning experience. Because the farmers decide what crops to plant and Mother Nature decides how the weather will treat those crops, I have a little less control over what we eat every week. Instead of going to the grocery store or farmer's market and choosing, the box arrives and I work with what's inside. Ultimately, this has expanded my cooking repertoire because I've had to learn what to do with beets and fennel and lemon balm and lots of other stuff I'd never taken the time to become friends with. Who knew you could make a yummy chocolate cake with beets?!

In other news around here, we have been working on the new colors that we'll be launching at TNNA in January! It's always such a treat to play around and see what we come up with. Mind you, there are lots of mistakes along the way, but it's incredibly gratifying when it all comes together.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Eye Trouble

My husband has an old friend named Doug. We used to hang out with him many years ago, but rarely see him these days because he's moved to the suburbs. I know that sounds sad, but proximity really does make a difference.

Doug is a pretty fantastic guy. He's old-fashioned in many ways. He opens doors for people, both men and women; walks on the curb side of the sidewalk; will rush to help a little old lady cross the street. OK, that last one is a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean.

One of my favorite Doug-isms is what he calls "eye trouble". In the sense of "I'm having some eye trouble today.....I just can't see myself going to work."

Today I have eye trouble. It is actually an accepted practice here at Lorna's Laces. Sometimes everyone needs a day off and a free pass to take it. Since it's a holiday weekend, it seemed like a good idea to stretch it into four days.

We're going to The Art Institute today to see Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Here's a quick snapshot from their catalog:

It's on tour here in the US for just a short time and then it will go back to Italy to be reintegrated with the rest of the doorframe and put on permanent display in a hermetically sealed room in the museum of the Florence Cathedral (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo), never to travel again.

I'm sure my eyes will be just fine come Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Wooltop? Did someone say wooltop?

Marnie asked me to talk about our Shepherd Wooltop. And I am delighted to oblige. In fact, if anyone has any questions about what we do or suggestions about things they’d like me to write about, I’m here for you!

We dye two types of wooltop here at Lorna's Laces. The first is a wool blend that is made from fiber from Columbia, Suffolk and Rambouillet sheep. It spins up into a nice, hard-working yarn.

The second one is a superwash merino wooltop. This one is soft soft soft. We auditioned several different options before we settled on this one. Sometimes the superwash processing makes the fiber kind of slippery and harder to spin. Our test spinners unanimously picked this one as the nicest to work with. We thought it was pretty darn cool that everyone agreed, we don't see that around here very often. Even when the quesiton is as simple as where to have lunch!

Ain't it purdy??

And, here's some of the yarn that was created in that audition process.

Pretty fancy, don't you think?

Now, I need to get that brand new spindle out and get to work!

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's raining trees!

Yesterday was pretty freaking crazy around here. Around 3:30 the sky turned black, the windows started rattling and it started raining. Sideways. The wind was so heavy that we saw tree branches that had been ripped from the trees flying UP! The news said that we had 80 mph winds.

Now, I know that doesn't sound like much to those of you who like in hurricane country, but we're just a bunch of simple midwestern city folk here. We were scared!

I was too much of a chicken to go outside and take photos myself, but I was able to get my hands on a few.

Here it is coming through:

Then there was the aftermath....

This was about three blocks from Lorna' Laces:

And this one was too:

This is close to home:

And the clean up:

The power went out just after the storm hit. As soon as the rain slowed down a bit, we skedaddled home.