Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh no the big 9-0!

My mom just celebrated her 90th birthday. I didn't make the trip back east for the party because she gets confused pretty easily these days and too many people around can trigger that confusion. Besides, it's nicer for her to have the visits spread out than to have all six of us kids blow our travel budget on one weekend trip.

Mom's the one on the left. My neice Elisabeth is in the middle and the back of the head you see belongs to my much older brother Dan.

It was a really nice day. There were ninety roses and ninety balloons. Lunch out at her favorite local restaurant. Several friends stopped by to wish her well.

Here's hoping that I jumped into the right end of the gene pool and am as healthy as she is when I turn 90.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I was out in the suburbs over the weekend and stopped to get gas and saw this gas pump! I'd never seen one with a TV before.

At first, I chalked it up to yet another suburban phenomenon that we city dwellers aren't exposed to like ample parking, expansive grocery stores, lawns. In some respects we lead pretty sheltered lives.

Then I found out they are all over the place. I just haven't noticed them. Was my face red!

But, I don't think I'm alone in getting into routines where I get up, go to work, go home and repeat the process the next day and the day after that. I stop at the same stores, eat in the same restaurants, and reach for my favorite sweater more often that I should. I guess there's a certain comfort in the familiar, but I should probably shake things up a little more often.

But that gas pump still makes me pause. Is it just me, or does it seem crazy that we need TV to entertain us during the 2 minutes it takes to pump gas? Frankly, the horror of watching the total go up in increments of $3.50/gallon is enough to keep me engrossed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


A 36 inch water main broke at the end of the street overnight. Honore is our street. We're about a block away. There was lots of flooding, many of the businesses around us had damage. Thank goodness everything at Lorna's Laces is OK.

Here's a picture from the Trib:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Donation Q4

I just made the last donation for 2007's sales of Flamingo Stripe. I decided on the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

I spent some time on a site called Charity Navigator to see how well the dollars were used. I have to admit that I was dismayed to find how much so many of the big name organizations spend on administration and the like. BCRF seemed to keep that sort of thing pretty streamlined so that more of the money actually goes to the fight for a cure.

That brings the 2007 total to just a smidge over $3000. I couldn't be more proud.

Friday, January 18, 2008

TNNA Trois

As promised, the "relationship" part of TNNA news.

A couple of months ago, I got a call from Leslie and Diana from Mountain Colors. They wanted to come up with a series of kits that featured yarns from both companies in the same garment. I thought it was a fantastic idea!

Just that quick "Duets" was born.

The first project is a shrug designed by Jackie E-S of Heartstrings Fiber Arts, called Palette of Colors. It uses one skein of our Helen's Lace and one skein of Half Crepe from Mountain Colors. We are offering it in five colorways and it will available starting in February to any shop that carries yarn from either company.

This is the Sandridge/Chinook combination.

And here's another shot in the Red Rover/Ruby Ridge.

The other colorways are Black Watch/Evergreen, Gold Hill/Yellowstone and Larkspur/Blackberry. (I've listed the Lorna's Laces color first and the Mountain Colors behind the slash.)

These are limited edition kits and we'll do a new one every quarter. Next up is a sock from Cat Bordhi, then comes a Ginger Luters vest and rounding out the year will be something from Annie Modesitt.

It's the start of a very Colorful Relationship.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

FedEx Woes

I need to vent for a moment. Apparently, Lorna's Laces is in FedEx's no-deliver-zone. A package that was supposed to be delivered yesterday is nowhere in sight today. There are no tracking updates since Monday and no one seems to be able to figure out where it is. On the bright side, their crack customer service department told me I'd hear from them in the next 24-48 hours. Isn't that nice? By then, I could have walked to Saint Louis and picked it up myself.

I know it's just fabric for a slipcover and not critical to my well being, but I'm kinda mad it's not here. Probably because I'm holding a grudge against them from the two-day package that shipped on December 18 and arrived on December 27. Even with the holidays, that ain't two-day.

Bitter? Who, me??

Okay, back to work.

TNNA Part Deux

Yesterday, I promised you information about new yarn and a relationship. Today, the yarn.

As a small artisan company, Lorna's Laces has always been concerned with how what we do affects the world around us and we've always worked hard to be environmentally responsible. We recycle what we can and use as many local sources as possible, not only here at work, but in our lives as well.

So, when a vendor came to me with a proposal for an organic yarn, I was all ears. It took some time, but we are delighted to announce the Green Line. These yarns (a DK and a Worsted) are spun from 100% organic merino wool, hand-painted with all natural dyes and are as soft and luxurious as all of our other products, which we now loving refer to as the Purple Line.

Here are some of the details. The wool is raised and certified as organic on a ranch in Argentina. As it turns out, South America is becoming a leader in producing organic fiber. After that, it moves to the only organically certified (IMO certification) mill in Europe for combing and carding. Then it goes on to the spinning mill where it's conventionally processed. So, it's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction and we thought it was important to start taking those steps as soon as we could.

Once it gets to Lorna's Laces, we are using all natural dyes which is a new process for us. Things like cochineal and madder. *** After five years of doing the same thing, it's fun to work with something different! We have 9 colors right now and will continue to bring new ones to you over time.

From left to right, the colors are Hope, Silence, Solitude, Courage, Mirth, Dusk, Growth, Echo and Chagrin.

The Green Line DK is packaged in a skein that's appoximately 2 ounces/145 yards. It knits up at 5 sts/inch on US6's. The Worsted is approximatley 4 ounces/210 yards and knits up at 4 sts/inch on 8's.

So, there you have it. The launch of the Green Line. Rest assured that as we expand out horizons, all the products you've come to know and love from Lorna's Laces aren't going anywhere, they just have a new sibling.

***We've had to change our dye processes for the Green Line. Please see my post of March 3, 2008.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Well we're back from TNNA. As usual, we had a wonderful time! And there is so much to tell. I may have to break things down into more than one post.

The best part of going is catching up with old friends. Shop owners, designers, reps, publishers, they are all there. Somehow even after five years, I often feel like somehow they forgot that I am supposed to be sitting at the kid's table. I get a little starstruck. OK, alot starstruck.

The show opened on Friday this year. On the night before, there is always a big cocktail party and fashion show. Annie Modesitt and I sat on a bench in the corner and caught up. I should have probably spent more time mingling, but sometimes after a long day meeting folks in the booth, it's nice to spend some quality time with an old friend.

I also had the privilege of sharing a meal with Clara Parkes of Knitter's Review fame. Oh my, what fun! She's as thoughtful and wonderful in person as she is in her reviews. With a wicked sense of humor. Ahem.

I saw so many people and I'm sure to forget most of them, so I'm going to stop with the name dropping now. I don't want anyone to feel slighted.

Speaking of five years, this show marked the fifth anniversary of the announcement that I was buying Lorna's Laces from it's founder, Lorna Miser. Lorna is the pretty one on the right.

I will actually celebrate the anniversary next month, on the day we closed escrow and opened the doors here in Chicago. It's kind of like celebrating a wedding anniversary vs. the day you met. Either way, it's pretty heady stuff when I think about how Lorna's Laces has changed my life. And all for the better.

There were three big things we announced at the show: New colors, new yarns and a new relationship.

First things first. We have six new colors. One is a nearly-solid and the others are multi-colors.


Apple Hill





Aren't they nice? Emily's blog is another great place to check out pictures. And she's infinitely wittier than I and the pix are better too.

I'm off to a meeting. I'll have more tomorrow.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm alive!!

Today is the first time I've been outside since Thursday. Yep, you read right. I didn't leave the house for four full days. You can imagine my surprise when I emerged into the world and found out it was 60 degrees. Outside. In January. In Chicago.

I'm pretty sure the planet will be spinning off it's axis any day now.

I haven't felt well in a long time, two or three weeks. I thought it was just a chest cold, but I couldn't shake it. I finally broke down last week and went to the doctor. He told me I have bronchitis. Then he gave me antibiotics and a cough syrup that contains oxycodone. I'm not sure if the antibiotics have done anything for me, but the cough syrup is crazy business.

The first day I was taking it, I didn't have a teaspoon handy, so I just guessed. I am a generous person by nature, so I took a liberal swig of the stuff. Let's just say that was a mistake. I headed right home and went directly to bed. Once I woke up, I found a teaspoon and have used it religiously since.

Now, I would appreciate if the demons who took away those four days would be kind enough to provide me with just a few extra hours. We're leaving for TNNA first thing on Wednesday and there are oodles that need to happen before I go. I am becoming dreadfully afraid that I may have to let one or two of them slide. Would someone please come and have a talk with the Type A part of my personality and tell it to stop being so persistent? It's becoming annoying.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Unconventional Holidays

I think I've mentioned that my husband's birthday is on December 25. It's been something that we've had to come to terms with at our house.

Every marriage has to figure out how to navigate the holidays. Whose family do we visit on Thanksgiving? Where do we go for Christmas? When you add a birthday to the mix it becomes even more complicated. All too often his birthday celebration was a last minute cake tacked onto the end of Christmas dinner. It always seemed forced somehow.

We tried a few solutions. There was "The Twelve Days of Birthday" where he got to open a gift every day for the twelve days leading up to Christmas. It worked pretty well for awhile, but it always bothered me that he never really got a special day. He never complained, but I think deep down it bothered him too.

After a few years, we decided to turn Christmas into a birthday celebration for him and dedicate other holidays to family. Lots of folks think its strange that we don't make an annual trip to visit family, but it's been great for us.

Over time, we've done some pretty fun things. One year we went to Paris, another year we trekked through coastal Oregon, there was the trip London. The year we moved into our current home, we stayed put and got settled in. This year we went to spa up in the Wisconsin Dells.

I know it's not unique, but there is something pretty cool about going swimming in an outdoor pool with snow all around.

We had a really nice time. There were facials and massages. There were fancy dinners and simple breakfasts. And most important of all, time to celebrate Michael's birthday without distraction.