Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fuss budget

This is the reason I was so fussy yesterday about our delayed flight. Because we were so late, I didn't really get to spend time with my mom on Wednesday. She'll be 91 in just a couple of weeks, so time together is precious and I'm very protective of it.

I dream of aging with her grace and beauty.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blues Traveling

I craft quite a few emails and blog entries that never make it out of the draft file. I find writing them cathartic and most of the time that's all it takes to get whatever it is out of my system. Usually, after a month or so I've forgotten all about whatever it was that set me off. Sometimes I even feel a little sheepish about having let it bother me in the first place.

This is one of those blog entries. But I my actually click the "publish" button.

I flew to visit my mother for Christmas last week. It was going to have to be a quick trip. In on Wednesday and back home on Friday. Lots of food and fun on Thursday. I always hope for uneventful travel. Especially this time of year when there's always a big risk that the weather will throw you a curve ball.

Because the trip was so short, I booked a 7:15AM flight so we'd get there in time to spend most of the day with her. Yeah, that's early. I know. We were out of the house by 5:00 (shudder) at the airport by 5:30 (cringe) and at the gate by 6:00 (twitch, twitch). The coffee shop hadn't even opened for goodness sakes.

Then we sat at the gate. And sat some more. At 7:00 the gate crew told us that the flight crew was missing in action. No one knew where they were. Their crack detective work had unearthed the fact that they had checked out of their hotel, but they didn't have any further information. Somehow I find it hard to believe that between the pilot, co-pilot and three flight attendants, there wasn't a single cell phone.

7:30 came and went. I stepped up to the desk to see if I should start worrying about my connecting flight. Three gate agents successfully ignored me for over two minutes. Take out a watch and see how long two minutes is. I just stood there watching them. One was on the phone, one was eating cheese popcorn and the other was admiring her manicure. Once I finally got their attention I was assured that we'd be in Philly in plenty of time to make our connection.

Still no flight crew. And as a bonus, the weather was deteriorating by the minute.

Just before 8:00 the flight crew sauntered to the gate. Call me crazy, but if I was over an hour late and had a plane full of people waiting for me on Christmas Eve, I would have at least made an effort to appear to be in a hurry. Maybe just the last 10 yards. But not these guys. The captain just smiled and waved. He leaned over and made a joke to one of the flight attendants. They all laughed. The passengers that had been waiting for them? Not so much.

By this time, everything was bothering me. Like the gaggle of teenagers in their pajamas. Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I still have trouble with the concept of 'jammies as outerwear. Flights are uncomfortable. Suck it up.

Or the woman who had a cup of coffee and two Cinnabons and left the garbage on the chair next to her when she got up.

Or the guy two seats down whose music was so loud I could hear it over all the other noise in the airport.

Or the guy on the other side of me who took up the armrest and more than his share of my personal space. Did I mention he was in sweatpants? They bug me too. I figure they are the grown-up version of traveling in pajamas.

By this point, everything was bugging me. I felt like a kid in the back seat on a long car trip whining "Da-ad, he's touching me." And we haven't even boarded. This was not shaping up to be a good day.

We finally got on the plane. Then it had to be de-iced etc. Ice wouldn't have been a problem if the crew hadn't been late. By the time we took off from Chicago we'd already missed our connection. Big. Heavy. Sigh.

While we were int he air, the captain was thoughtful enough to let us know why they were late. Apparently it was all his fault. He looked at his Tuesday schedule instead of his Wednesday schedule. Ummmm....and not a single other person on the crew double checked. And I have entrusted my life to these people.

Too make things worse, it was a rough flight. We had turbulence all the way. The seat belt sign never went off. The crew wasn't allowed to do beverage service. One poor woman got up to use the restroom and was chastised over the PA system. "If you are out of your seat, it is at your own risk". Kind of adds insult to injury. (I'm sure this was a safety precaution, but it felt more like the airline was just covering its tail.)

We did get to Philly in one piece. And to their credit, the airline had boarding passes waiting for us for the next available flight. Unfortunately, it was three hours later which put a cramp in the day I'd hoped to spend with my mom.

This was the first time I'd flown with this particular airline and the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I was fully prepared for weather delays. But I had trouble stomaching not having a flight crew. I would have even given them some slack if they hadn't seemed so darned cavalier about the whole thing. I wasn't expecting a free flight or anything like that, I just wanted it to seem like they cared and the attitude we got all day was at best of disinterest and at worst disdain.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

To add insult to injury

When we came into work yesterday, the subzero temperatures over the weekend had frozen the pipes. So there was no water. No water, no dyeing. So we all went home early.

Too much water at home, no water at work.

Is someone playing games with me?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Word of the day: Scupper

1. Nautical. a drain at the edge of a deck exposed to the weather, for allowing accumulated water to drain away into the sea or into the bilges. Compare freeing port.
2. a drain, closed by one or two flaps, for allowing water from the sprinkler system of a factory or the like to run off a floor of the building to the exterior.
3. any opening in the side of a building, as in a parapet, for draining off rain water.

In this case, the third definition is the most descriptive. The scupper is the box up at the top of the wall, right by the roof. Ideally, the scupper and its adjoining drainpipe force the water away from the building so it doesn't end up pooling on the roof. It helps avoid undue wear and tear to the roof and is designed to help avoid leaks.

Did you notice the word "ideally" a couple of sentences back? Sometimes reality raises it's ugly head and things don't work so smoothly. They become "less than ideal". Like if the scupper gets all full of ice from the freezing and thawing and freezing again so that the water can't get down the drainpipe.

Then the ice overflows and sticks to the masonry.

Then when it starts melting, it can leak into the building. Sometimes it gets so bad that the neighbor downstairs might call expressing concern about the water coming into her apartment. She might think it was an overflowing toilet. Or maybe a radiator problem.

But no, it was just the scupper and drainpipe. And water being water, it doesn't matter what the source. All the rooms in a vertical line from the scupper have water damage. Ours isn't as bad as some of the others.

But there is still going to be a bunch of wall and ceiling repair done. And we don't have that in the budget.

Thank goodness it's in the extra bedroom and we aren't expecting a houseful of holiday guests.

How's that for finding a silver lining?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Multi Tasking

Earlier in the year, this holiday plate showed up. I'm not sure where it came from or who brought it in. I'm guessing it was a thrift store find somewhere along the line.

We're a pretty frugal bunch around here and all our dishes get used regardless of the season. The holiday plate saw asparagus in the spring, tomatoes in the summer and lots of pumpkin this fall. But now we're in the midst the the season and it's time for our little plate to shine.

Sam brought in the gingerbread cutout cookies today. The pile was significantly bigger earlier. They're really good and we've been enjoying them with abandon.

The gifts in the background are for the Secret Santa exchange we're doing as soon as lunch gets here. It's the last day before Kylie and Caitlin take off for vacation so we're having a little celebration.

The next couple of weeks are going to be a bit spotty around here. Just about everyone is doing some traveling. I'm heading out Christmas Eve to spend some time with my mom.

But I digress.

Our little plate can do more than hold cookies. Just last week it did duty as a hat blocker.
Caitlin flipped it over and put her dampened Selbu Modern hat on it and let 'er rip.

Isn't the pattern pretty? She has enough of the sock yarn left over to do a pair of gloves using the same charts. I think she's going to reverse the colors though.

The finished product is spectacular. And the colors are wonderful with Caitlin's fair skin and red hair.

Gotta run, lunch is here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lights, Camera Action

Not too long ago, we got a note from Jenn Jarvis asking us for a skein of Shepherd Worsted in 41ns China Blue. She was a little sketchy about what she wanted it for. She said something about a movie but that was about it. It was very cloak and dagger-y. We were suitably impressed by the idea of our yarn being mentioned in the same sentence as a the word "movie" and sent it right away.

Imagine our delight when we finally got the details! Jenn designed a human-sized sweater based on one worn by Coraline, the little girl in the movie Coraline, based on the book by Neil Gaiman that's coming out in February.

You can go to the website and maneuver around to find the pattern, or cheat and go here. Or follow it here on Ravelry.

There's been quite the buzz about this movie lately. Amy Singer over at wrote about a box she recieved about two weeks ago. Wendy got one too. Me jealous? Ummm. well maybe the tiniest bit.

This is part of a viral marketing campaign for the film. I am intrigued with the viral marketing thing. I just heard they are doing something with alphabet cards. Not sure what that is yet.

We are living in interesting times.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Colors

A couple of people asked what the mistake I made dyeing the first non-prototype skeins of Roadside Gerry looked like. The skein on the left is the snafu, the one on the right is good.

I know my photography isn't the best, but you should be able to see that the color at the top of the skein on the left is greener than the one on the right. That would come from the 1/4 green I used rather then 1/4 grey.

Don't get me wrong, both colors are beautiful, but the one on the right is the one Annie and I worked so hard to create.

Don't you think it does a better job of reflecting our inspiration? The green-y one brings to mind ocean rather than sky. And the other tones, the golds, rusts and browns are of-the-earth rather than of-the-sea so they end up looking better together.

Nature is pretty amazing. I get alot of guidance from her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Did you see Laura Chau's Amelia sweater in the new Knitty?

I just love this design. Feminine without being saccharine. Stylish without being too trendy. It would be perfect with a pair of jeans but you could dress it up too.
Plus it's sized for all kinds of bodies. I just love that Knitty does that.

It looks like a go-to sweater to me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Roadside Gerry

It's here! It's here! The third installment of Color Commentary.

Annie Modesitt was in the driver's seat this time around and look what she came up with!

We're calling it "Roadside Gerry". It's in honor of Annie's husband, Gerry Landy. He's been battling Multiple Myeloma and fighting the good fight. Annie has written a book talking about their first year after diagnosis.

I thought it would be nice to hear about how this colorway came around from Annie's perspective. So without further ado:

I love Autumn. To paraphrase my kids, I love it so much I could marry it.

Common wisdom is that the world comes alive in the Spring,but for me the metamorphosis that is Autumn has always been a time of exciting beginnings.
I love the clear air, the crispness, the cool nights and warm days. But mostly I love the colors. The glorious golds, magentas, and one thousand shades of green
compete with the richest blue sky of the year. Thrumming along behind the bright shades is an amazing richness of brown, deep and dark, or mild and calm.

Change is often very hard. Last year my husband,Gerry, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a terminal blood cancer that affects - in my husband’s case - the bones and bone marrow. We struggle to be honest with each other, and to embrace the changes
that this disease brings instead of fighting them. We use our energy to fight the disease.

The Autumn metamorphosis makes it easier for us to understand the inevitable final phase of life as an evolution that every living thing must pass through. In the purest non-religious sense, Autumn helps me to find peace with the concept of death, and what may lie beyond.

While pondering these heavy thoughts in a long drive through Wisconsin this October, I rounded a curve and before me was a landscape so lovely I had to stop. As I
got out of the car with my camera I thought, “Gerry will really dig this - he loves these colors!”

Gerry and I love car trips. Our honeymoon was a long drive up and down the Hudson Valley in New York, our favorite vacations have been driving ones. We love the
forced intimacy of a car, the diners and historical markers along the way, the pure joy of making a journey together.

When Beth Casey asked me to think up a palette for a new colorway for Lorna’s Laces in honor of Gerry and his ongoing fight against Multiple Myeloma, I immediately thought of the Wisconsin roadside photo. Here is the photo I took along the road, with individual colors that were eventually used in the dyeing process pulled out.

I’ve long felt that Beth is a true artist of dyeing, but the experience of working with her to create a colorway for Gerry confirmed my belief in her artistry. I feel
that she’s captured the beauty and freshness of that lovely Autumn day by the side of the road in Wisconsin in this stunning colorway.

Yeah, made me cry too. And blush a little.

It's shipping to your LYS right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dang, I hate it when I do that!

One of the things I harp about constantly around here is paying attention to details. None of the work we do is terribly difficult, but there are a billion little details that can totally derail things if we don't pay attention to them.

Case in point:

1/2 blue + 1/4 green is NOT equal to 1/2 blue + 1/4 grey.

Two little letters, two completely different colors.

To add insult to injury, we made not one, not two, but three dyelots of the colorway with the wrong color.

And who would be the moron that didn't double check? That thought something looked a bit off but didn't take the time to walk ten feet and make sure? Ummmm, that would be me.

Whew! At least I'm pretty sure I won't fire me!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kylie's First Socks

Kylie finished her first pair of socks. They are a Christmas present for her sister, Noni. Can you see where she spelled out the name on the legs? How freakin' cute is that?

Friday, December 5, 2008

A little silliness to head into the weekend

Stef (on the left) wrote the pattern. It's here. And on Ravelry.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I have the browns

Over the weekend, I decided it was time to break down and buy a new winter coat. I've had the old one for at least ten years. I even had it re-lined a couple of years ago to make it last one more season and stretched that into two. But it was looking pretty tired. I figured what with all the sales, the holiday weekend would be a good time to pick one up. The new coat is a beautiful, deep, chocolate brown.

In the past, most of my coats have been black. Chocolate is a departure for me. I know it's cliche, but there is something about living in big cities that makes people gravitate towards black. It may be silly, but it's true.

There's the old saw you hear every year about some color or another being the new black. Ridiculous. Olive is not the new black. Grey is not the new black. Brown is not the new black. Black is black. There's nothing new about it.

But, then I looked at my knitting basket. There was brown everywhere. My February Lady is Chocolate Green Line Worsted. The second iteration of it is coming along nicely, don't you think?

I'm pleased with how far along I am. I've done about 16 inches and I'll want it to be 24 or so. Then the sleeves. I'll likely make this a long sleeved sweater instead of three quarter. More on that a little further down.

Here is a pile of yarn that is destined to be accessories for my new coat. I'm thinking these will be some kind of color work hat and mittens.

Not the Entomology set that Sam just finished, but something of that ilk. Maybe Mary Ann Stephens' Postwar Mittens in the current Twist Collective. I'm intrigued by the color work right now. Time to dive in.

Last are two skeins that I picked up at the salon the last time I got my hair cut. These are from the alpaca farm that is owned by the same guys who own the salon. I made a scaruffle last year from yarn I got from them. That yarn was spun from the fiber of an alpaca named Pinto Bean. I don't know the name of this years donor. It wasn't marked on the skein and no one that was there that day knew. I'll find out next time I'm in for a trim.

It's an interesting two ply and I have about 20 ounces of it. I'd like to do some kind of sweater. I'm kind of fussy about wanting long sleeves. Growing up as a six foot tall teenager, I had countless blouses and sweaters with sleeves that were too short. I know three quarter sleeves are all the rage, but somehow they just don't seem right. They make all those horrible memories of standing awkwardly in the lunchroom with my tray searching for a friendly face come rushing back.

I bought all they had of this yarn but now that I'm taking a good look at it, I don't think that there's going to be anywhere near enough. There was some other stuff that would coordinate nicely. Maybe some stripes or something. I think I'll head back over this evening and see if there's anything that will fit the bill.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Am Thankful

Even though we are living in trying times, I feel very thankful today. Maybe even more thankful than most years because the craziness in the world has prompted me to take a long hard look around me and I realize things in my little corner of it are good. Not perfect, but awfully good.

So, in no particular order, here is a list of things I am thankful for.

1) My mother. She will be 91 in just over a month's time. 'Nuf said.
2) Lorna's Laces. Because I get to make pretty yarn every day.
3) Yarnies. Who make Lorna's Laces possible.
4) The people at Lorna's Laces. The best crew we've ever had.
5) Good friends. Two of which have invited us into their home today.
6) My husband. The center of my universe.
7) Pearl. The wonder dog.
8) My family. Always.
9) Home. Where I'm warm and safe.
10) That I don't work retail. I'm looking forward to a nice long weekend.

I asked the crew here what they are feeling thankful for. Here's are some answers.

Caitlin is thankful for heat. Apparently, home has been safe but not warm for her lately. Her furnance has been broken for almost a week and is back on now. I can sympathize because one of the heaters here is on the fritz and I'm tired of being cold.

Kylie said she's thankful for her job. That was seconded all around.

Amanda is thankful for her own apartment. She settled into living without a roomie over the past couple of months and is reveling in it.

Emily is thankful that the holidays only come once a year. I have to agree. While fun, managing all the commitments can be a delicate balancing act and I'm glad we don't have to do it all year long.

Stef is thankful that she's far enough along on her holiday knitting that she is confident that she'll get it all finished in plenty of time.

Sam wasn't in the day we had this conversation. She's a newlywed, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say she's thankful for something that has to do with her husband. Not to get personal or anything.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A couple of FO's

There were a couple of things finished at lunch today. Here are Sam's Entomology Mittens from Knitalong. The background color is Firefly and the fanciness is Tickled Pink. I always like the idea of using a multicolor in Fairisle knitting. It makes it look like your working harder than you actually are.

Here is the backside.

And here is Stef's Celtic tote from Interweave's Winter '07 issue. She just put the button on.

I especially like how the knots are outlined in black. It gives really makes them pop. I'm also a fan of the lightly felted project. I think it's the additional layer of texture it adds to the work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Beginnings

So, I've been happily knitting along on my February Lady. I like this pattern alot. The top is garter stitch and kind of boring but I don't really mind. It lets me watch TV and think about what to make for dinner and other pressing matters of the day.

I've been kind of obsessed with it. Instead of rolling over for an extra hour of sleep, I got up on Saturday morning to knit a few rows. I've been staying up a little too late for the past week or so too. I have to admit that things around the house have taken a back seat to the knitting.

Last night I got to the point where you separate for the sleeves and start the lace part. I decided to try it on to see how things are going. It was all bad news and the whole thing had to be frogged.

I'd kind of known things weren't right but because of the construction of the sweater I tried to ignore the fact that the darn thing looked too small. I tried to talk myself into thinking that it would be OK. That a medium would be just fine. That my gauge was a tiny bit looser than the pattern called for and that would take care of any issues. That even if I couldn't bend time, I could bend space.

What on earth possessed me to think it made sense to make a medium? While the chest measurement was OK, I really do need wider shoulders. I'm 6'0 tall and there's not much of me that has ever been a medium. I know that. What was I thinking?

So, I don't have enough yarn. Even worse, I can't just go grab some more from the studio because I don't know the dye lot. We dyed a bunch of Echo that day, but I just grabbed what I thought I needed without labeling it because I figured I had enough. No reason to waste a label, I reasoned, I know what yarn and color it is.

I distinctly remember telling myself that I should make a note of the dye lot, just in case. But I was far to excited about winding the yarn into balls and getting started to bother.

So now I am starting over. With a new color. Chocolate this time. We were dyeing chocolate today and I decided to switch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

another shot

My mouse has been sticking and the earlier post went out before I'd finished it. So, here's another pic of our 39th president. If you scroll down you'll see the complete copy as well.

Jimmy Carter

This is Sam's latest, Jimmy Carter. He's is the "bringer of Christmas cheer and peanut butter."

He was designed by Chris de Lonpre of Knitting at Knoon and knit in Shepherd Bulky in Jimmy Beans Wool's December colorway, Boughs of Holly. We just shipped a giant box and they'll be sending out starting on the 1st.

[Quick disclaimer: The color here isn't a great representation. It's a cranberry red, cedar green and sage green. The sage is reading a little blue. I'm not sure it that's because I suck at photography or because the background is so blue. The color is gorgeous and a very sophisticated holiday choice. (OK, I'm sure I suck at photography, but I'm still blaming the background. Sue me.)]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Back in the middle of September I was in a little car accident. Fortunately, the only one hurt was the car.

I thought it was patently obvious it wasn't my fault. I was in the right lane at a stop light waiting to make a right turn when the truck in the left lane decided to make a right turn too. Right over my hood. There was damage to the the driver's side door and left front quarter panel too.

After a quick visit to the police department to make a report, we called our insurance company and arranged for the repairs. The auto body shop did a great job and our car looks as good as new. Or as close to new as any four year old vehicle can.

Our insurance company (Geico) has been absolutely fantastic at every turn. After we paid our deductible, they took care of the balance and have been diligently following up. I have received several phone calls to let me know where they are in the process. I really like being in loop. Since we have a high deductible to keep our rates low, I'm anxious to have it reimbursed.

Besides being attentive, every person I've talked to has been gracious and knowledgeable. There hasn't been a single time that I've heard "that's not really my department, please hold twenty minutes while I transfer you to a automated system that will take an additional twenty minutes before you can talk to a human being."

Today, they called to let me know that they have received the police report, reviewed the claim and determined that it wasn't my fault. So, the good news is my rates won't go up. Whew!

The not-so-good news is that the other driver's insurance company hasn't been as cooperative. They have tried to say that it's a "he said-she said" situation. But that was based strictly on interviews. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that once they review the police report they will come to the same conclusion as Geico. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

In knitting news, there has been a ton of great stuff hitting in the last week or so. The new Twist Collective is beyond gorgeous. Hats off to Kate Gilbert and the gang over there for once again producing a superlative product!

We also just received our copy of Nicky Epstein's Knitting on Top of the World. Where does she come up with all the ideas? The creativity just boggles my mind!

The folks around here have been diligently working on their Finish-A-Long-A-Thon projects. I'll do a round up later in the week, but I do have a couple of things to Kylie has finished I wanted to show today. These are Evangeline knitted up in our Green Line Worsted in Dusk.

And here are some really heavy convertible mitts of her own design. They're made from some Burly Spun that we dyed Red Rover. It's partner is Envy.
Since Kylie rides her bike to work every day, it's important that she has extra warm stuff. These should fit the bill!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The luckiest pup in the world

I've always said that in my next life, I want to be a dog. Specifically, I want to be a dog that lives with one of my friends or any member of my family.

My mom was crazy for the dogs. When I was growing up, she used to make extra food so that the dog could have some too. I'm not talking leftovers, I'm talking about her making an extra hamburger or chicken breast for the dog. Making gravy from scratch so she wouldn't have to eat dry kibble.

One night when I was about sixteen I about lost my hand when I reached for the last burger. I was told in no uncertain terms that it was for Nikki. If I was still hungry, there was plenty of peanut butter.

My friends David and Tim have been on the hunt for a Welsh Terrier puppy to replace one they lost just over a year ago. This vision of loveliness is Astrid Ann. I'm not sure whether even the Obama dog will be getting more attention than this one.

They have been planning for her arrival for months. They have driven over to Michigan three times to visit her and see how she's doing. Choosing paint colors for her room. In addition to the pet store, they been getting supplies at Burberry and American Girl Place. Who knew stores like that had stuff for dogs?

I'm certainly not above being an enabler at the spoiling game. I believe that every well-dressed dog needs bit of knitwear in her wardrobe. So, this weekend I knit up this cute little sweater with a skull and crossbones on it.

It's going to be far too big for her for awhile, but every girl should have a little something in the drawer she hasn't worn yet that will make her feel extra-pretty when the time comes.

After all, Astrid has a long road ahead of her what with all the potty training and the sit/stay business that is sure to be just around the corner.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Of course it helps if you bring the yarn home.

Yep, that's right. The yarn for my February Lady is sitting safely on my desk at work. So, no casting on for me. And I'm busy for the next few nights so it will probably be Sunday before I get to it. Dang!

I never claimed to be the brightest crayola in the box.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's beginning to feel alot like.....

I know, I know. It's only November. But the Christmas bug hit here yesterday when we dyed a bunch of our Country Christmas colorway. It's not one of our top ten, but it sure does a brisk business about this time every year.
Some years I feel the holiday tug more than others. This year is shaping up to tug hard. I'm not sure why. Maybe all the craziness in the world has me feeling the importance of family even more strongly than I usually do.

I know that I've been quite a homebody lately. I've been cooking big pots of soup and red sauce and inviting friends over instead of going out.

Tonight, I'm going to cast on a February Lady. It's the first sweater I've knit in awhile. For the past year or so, I've been focused on smaller projects...socks mostly. Somehow the time seems right for something more substantial.

I'm using our Green Line Worsted in Echo. I'm looking forward to bigger needles.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The other day I looked over and there were a bunch of sheets of colored paper laid across the table. I meandered over to take a closer look and found that the crew had started a Finish-A-Long-A-Thon.

It seems the startitis has gotten pretty severe so it was decided that if we wrote it all down, created a deadline and had cute stickers to mark our progress, it would motivate us to get the knitting done.

Some of us are more ambitious than others.

Sam is something of an overachiever.

So is Stef.

On the surface, Emily appears to have a modest list. But if you dig a little deeper it turns out there are two more projects she's planning to cast on tonight. I want to see if they're on the list in the morning. I might start wondering what other secrets she's hiding from us...

Caitlin's list looks pretty manageable.
She was out sick yesterday so she should have been able to get some serious work done.

Amanda has certainly chosen attainable goals.

But I think she's sandbagging. She only has two things on her list and she's already finished with one of her socks! I'm not letting her have a sticker until both of those socks are finished.

One thing we learned for sure from this sock is that you can knit a men's size 14 with a single skein of our Shepherd Sock with plenty to spare.

Kylie's list looks good. She always thinks things through so I'm pretty confident that she'll get hers done.

As for mine, time will tell. I hate putting this kind of pressure on myself. I know, I know, it's only three things. But with the way my life has been lately I'm just not sure. I have to admit I've hedged things a bit. I'm making the February Lady for TNNA in mid January, so I technically have a few extra days. Still, I'm going to shoot for the New Year's deadline.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Tomorrow, U.S. citizens have the privilege of going to the polls to choose our next President. The fact that every citizen, regardless of gender, race or class (with a couple of exceptions for felons) over the age of 18 is allowed to vote is remarkable.

I have very specific hopes for the outcome of this election but that is beside the point. I am asking you to take the time out of your day tomorrow to go to your local polling place and exercise that privilege.

If you do not, you can't complain about political things for four years. That's an awfully long time to go without complaining. I would not want to take that risk.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween and such

We've got a little bit of the Halloween spirit going on today. This is Evelyn. Her mom, Rosie, comes in to help out around here on Fridays. Ev is looking pretty darn cute in that bunny costume!

It's just about the perfect day for dressing up. It's sunny and almost 70 degrees here. I'm so glad that it's a nice day for all the kids. I remember far more cold, rainy Halloweens than nice ones when I was growing up. There is something fundamentally wrong with wearing a heavy winter coat over a ballerina costume. And you know Superman never needed a jacket.

Halloween isn't just about the little kids though. There's a Critical Mass ride tonight and a bunch of the crew here is heading down to Daley Plaza in costume to participate.
Emily is wearing a camel costume that she made a couple of years back.

Kylie and Stef are part of a group that are all being characters from Pac Man.

Even Pearl got into the spirit of things.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Colorful than a Silver Lining

When we brought out our organic Green Line yarns earlier in the year, the colorways were very limited. We were working with natural dyes and that didn't give us much in the way of choices.

If you remember, not long after their debut, we realized that the natural dyes weren't working as we'd hoped and we had to shift gears. Crazy as it seemed, our more conventional dye process ended up using far fewer natural resources.

When I was at TNNA in June, I talked to another company who had gone down that road as well. It turns out that they ran into exactly the same issues we did! While I certainly wouldn't wish those frustrations on anyone else, I have to admit that it felt good to find out that we weren't alone. That it wasn't a matter of us having a fundamental defect. I wish I could say I'm above it, but misery does love company.

We've been getting lots of emails and phone calls asking us if we can dye the Green Line in the other Lorna's Laces colors. There isn't any reason why not, so I'm delighted to announce that we're now offering them in ALL of our colorways, both the nearly solids and multi's!

Just think....Rainbow, Gold Hill, Sunshine, Devon, Tickled Pink, Happy Valley. Mineshaft, Motherlode, South Shore, Pilsen, Bittersweet, Glenwood, Franklin's Panopticon, Iris Garden, Ashburn, Red Rover, Somerset, Winona, Peach, Edgewater, Cool, River, Black Watch, Tuscany, Child's Play, Camouflage, Lorikeet, Jeans, Carol Green, Denim, Carrot, Navy, Irving Park, Sand Ridge, Amy's Vintage Office, Jay Pond, Sweetie, Black Purl, Icehouse, Watercolor, Daffodil, Tahoe, Old Rose, Chocolate etc etc. Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

small things add up

Last week I made a Costco run. There are a handful of essentials that we get from them. Paper towels, dish washing liquid, chocolate.

At the risk of giving out a big trade secret, we use dish washing liquid in our dye process. For the longest time, it was Dawn. A few years ago, when I went to pick some up from Costco, they were all out. We'd never used anything else and I was nervous that the outcome would be different so I bought three or four different brands and brought them back here to test.

Lucky for us, it turns out that they all worked just fine. We ended up picking the one that we liked the smell of best. There were one or two that would have smelled just fine in a sink full of dishes that smelled gawdawful in the larger amounts we use around here.

So anyways...last week I got to the dish washing liquid aisle at Costco and our current soap was nowhere in sight. Instead, I found this:

The ingredients are "Water, plant based cleaning agents, natural citrus scent and 100% biodegradable preservatives". The old stuff's ingredients list included sodium laurel sulfate, sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, magnesium chloride and about six more equally pronounceable items.

Now I'm no chemist, and it may all be smoke and mirrors, but somehow that first list sounds friendlier. So, if you notice that your Lorna's Laces smells different, this is why.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh So Beautiful Socks!

I spent the weekend a little under the weather. Thank goodness I wasn't so terribly sick that I couldn't do anything but lie in bed and complain. I was lucky enough to be that perfect sort of sick where I was able to lounge on the couch for two straight days knitting and watching mindless TV. (Sex and the City movie, The Starter Wife to name just a couple.)

I finished a pair of Oh So Beautiful Socks! in Amy's Vintage Office. This is a great little pattern that Judy Sumner designed for us way back in 2000. The Little Tent Stitch does great things with hand painted yarn.

It seems like there's been quite of bit of the Amy's Vintage Office on these pages lately. Most of that stems from the fact that we've been busy designing new colors that we can't show you yet.

Friday we sent the first round of samples off to Clara Parks from Knitter's Review. We also just finished up a few things for CookieA to peruse.

We're also working on new colors for TNNA in January. Yikes! That's just around the corner and we've barely begun to scratch the surface of everything that needs to be done to prepare. I did spend some of my weekend couch time working on a new sock design using one of the new colors.

Does that mean I can say I worked all weekend?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Made me giggle

From this week's New Yorker.