Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mineral Point

Last Friday, Michael and I snuck out of town for a few days. We headed up to Wisconsin for some R&R.

The main purpose of the trip was to go to theatre. On Friday night we saw George Bernard Shaw's Widower's Houses. On Saturday, we saw Hannah Cowley's The Belle's Stratagem. I'd never heard of Ms. Cowley before and it was interesting to see a play authored by a woman in the late eighteenth century.

My knowledge of that era is pretty limited but I didn't think that a woman would have been accepted as the author. The Bronte sisters published their books about fifty years after Cowley and they had to use male pseudonyms. I wonder what changed. Sounds like I need a history lesson.

We spent Saturday puttering around Mineral Point in southwestern Wisconsin. It turns out it was the weekend of Cornish Fest. When we crested a hill into the main drag we saw this:

There must have been 25 or 30 Model T's and Model A's lining the street. Some were convertibles, some were hardtops. Some of them had trunks. There was at least one with the rumble seat open. I just love the idea of a rumble seat.

We also ran across this horse and buggy that was ferrying people around the fest.

It's a little hard to see from this photo, but there are four horses here. The two adults in the center are doing the actual pulling. On either side of them is a young horse that isn't doing any work. My guess is that this is a learning exercise. The youngsters walk alongside to get used to the idea of the noise of the buggy and people and the street. And that no matter how fast they go, they can't get away from the darn buggy. Just like anything else, these young horses are learning by doing.

It was a nice weekend. The trees haven't quite started to turn yet but there were roadside stands selling pumpkins and apples. So fall has to be right around the corner. I'm looking forward to pulling my sweaters out of storage for the season.

I think my next project is going to be a February Lady.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ashburn Monkey

I cast on Cookie A's Monkey socks during the flight to Toronto awhile back. I've been working on them on and off ever since and finished them up last night.

I absolutely love this pattern! It has just the right amount of detail to keep me interested but not so much to make me crazy. I think I've mentioned here before that I knit to relax and to give myself something to do with my hands when I'm watching TV or traveling. I have enough challenges in my life without adding knitting to the list. Monkey fit the bill perfectly.

The yarn is Shepherd Sock in our Ashburn colorway. I just love the interaction between the colors and the pattern. I couldn't be any happier with the result.

Ashburn is one of our newest colorways. I have to admit that when I saw the first prototype I was lukewarm. But I know from experience that it's best for me to suspend judgment for awhile. Lots of time things grow on me. This was one of those times. Something happened and I made friends with Ashburn. More than friends actually, now it's one of my favorites. Funny how that works isn't it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is three a trend?

What do these three things have in common?

1) A trip to Toronto.
2) A visit from Amy Singer.
3) A visit from Kim Werker from Interweave Crochet.

Yep, you guessed it. They all have something to do with Canada.

Between my little vacation in August and then visits from two yarn dignitaries in less than a week, there has been more than our share of Canadian love around here. Lucky us!

Kim stopped by on Monday during a whirlwind tour of taping Knitting Daily TV, a visit to Threadbear Fiber Arts in Lansing, MI and giving a talk at a big fancy pants magazine publishing show, Folio, here in Chicago. I can't tell you how excited we were that she was able to fit us in!

Here's a picture of Kim and Amanda on their way to lunch. You can see the 'el' in the background there.

Look what the mailman brought while they were at lunch. What a crazy coincidence!

The fall issue is really pretty. There's a sweater designed by Amy O'Neill Houck in Lorna's Laces Green Line's Dusk colorway.

This is one of those sweaters that your can dress up or down. It would look just as good with jeans as it would with a skirt for work or even a party.

Aren't the details great?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Amy-Friendly Amy's Vintage Office

It has been crazier-than-usual around these parts. Stef has been on vacation so we are short handed.

When someone is gone it makes me realize how tightly this little ship is run. We're a small operation (just six of us) so being one person short makes a big difference in how smoothly the days unfold. I'll be glad when she returns so we can get back to what passes for normal for us.

One of the good things that happened last week was having Amy Singer stop by with her husband and father. The highlight of the visit for me was giving her the extra-special Amy's Vintage Office I dyed for her.

Let me back up a little. I think most folks who know Amy know she's allergic to wool. And Lorna's Laces yarns all have at least some wool content. So, when I approached her about being part of our Color Commentary series I knew we wanted to dye some yarn for her that didn't have any wool. To do otherwise would have just been mean. Seriously. Can you imagine asking someone to help design a color and then tell them they don't get to have any? Please.

So, while we were fine tuning the color I bought some Amy-friendly yarn. It's this gorgeous silk/bamboo blend. 51%/49%. It's beyond pretty. It has a great shimmer and is all soft and drape-y. Made me think of a dressy tank or a lacy shawl. Or even a clapotis. I'd like to wrap myself up in it.

We decided to make Amy Friendly Yarn available to anyone who would like some. But only until the end of the year. And it will be dyed exclusively in the Amy's Vintage Office (AVO) colorway. It will be in 3.5 oz skeins or approximately 215 yards.

Talk to your LYS and ask them to order it for you before it's too late!

A couple of people have contacted me and asked to see pix of AVO all knit up. I was hoping to have a photo of the sock I'm working on for you today, but it doesn't exist. I frogged the darn thing three different times over the weekend. Once because I didn't like how the stitch pattern was working out, once because I was too lazy to go get my glasses so I could see what I was doing and once because I can't count to 64. That higher math gets me every time.

Instead, here are pictures that Adrienne Martini posted on her blog last week. Adrienne is a journalist who writes about food and knitting. What a dream come true!

She'd done some of the swatching for Amy in Shepherd Sock while we were fine tuning the color and was nice enough to keep our little secret until we were ready to show it to the world. She turned it into a lightweight clapotis which I thought was a clever idea. I'm a real sucker for that pattern (I love me a drop stitch. Makes me feel like I'm getting away with something) and knitting it fingering weight would create more of a scarf and less of a wrap.

I should probably add one to my queue.

*Added 9/23/8. As a wholesale company, we don't set retail prices. Please contact your LYS for details.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Knit with Courage, Live with Hope

When I first bought Lorna's Laces, I was lucky enough to find a handful of people in the yarn biz who "got" me. Who understand me just as I am. People that I don't need to edit myself around or put up a false front for. Annie Modesitt is one of those people.

Over the past eighteen months or so her family has embarked on an incredible journey that started when her husband, Gerry, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. It was devastating news and she has chronicled that first year in Knit with Courage, Live with Hope

Annie gave me an advance copy at TNNA in June. I devoured it in two sittings. I am humbled by the grace and honesty she exhibits as we join her and her family on their odyssey.

I am quite sure I couldn't have done it. I find it far too difficult to write while I am balled up in a corner with my fist in my mouth. The rocking back and forth doesn't help either.

Brava Annie. Brava.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Duets #3

We just got done putting the finishing touches on the newest Duets kit and it's a real winner! Ginger Luters designed this beauty using two colors of Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb along with two colors of Mountain Colors Mountain Goat and we're calling it The Tuscany Vest.

It's available in four color combinations:
*The Rust Colorway -- LL Motherlode, LL Cedar, MC Red Willow and MC Brick.

*The Blue/Green Colorway -- LL River, LL Grapevine, MC Mountain Tango and MC Spruce

*TheBrown/Beige Colorway --LL Sand Ridge, LL Pewter, MC Moose Creek and MC Chocolate

*The Purple/Multi Colorway (shown) --LL Watercolor, LL Berry, MC Lupine and MC Purple Mountain

We're shipping this out to LYS's starting today. Check with them directly to see about getting one for yourself!

....I hope this finds you all safe and happy. We got hurricane Ike related whether all the way up here in Chicago. There were road closings and people were evacuated from their homes. Nothing like what happened in Galveston and Houston, but still. Even a little is way too much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Color Commentary!!!

It here, it's here!!

OK, actually it's on its way to a yarn store near you.* We got the green-light from Amy Singer from knitty.com on Tuesday and have spent the past two days dyeing Amy's Vintage Office.

When Amy and I started discussing making a colorway for her we thought about what direction we wanted to go. Our initial inclination was to pull our inspiration from the knitty.com website. But, the more we talked about it, the more we realized there was something better out there for this project. Something more specific to Amy. The person who writes and blogs. After all, this is Color Commentary.

As time went on, we found out that we share a love of old metal office furniture and equipment. Who knew? There's something very special about old typewriters, desks and file cabinets.

When I close my eyes, I can imagine a different era. Simpler times when women wore dresses and men wore hats to work every day.

So, these are the photos we started with. Lots of greys and muted tones. Early prototypes were close, but we knew they weren't quite right. The frustrating thing was that it wasn't clear what exactly it was the color needed. Then the Marvelous Miss Amy sent this along:

Mystery solved! I was off to the dye pots and Amy's Vintage Office was born.

Hope you like it as much as we do!

*There have been lots of questions about where to buy your own Amy's Vintage Office. We have been shipping it out to LYS's since September 10. Give yours a call. If they don't have it yet, we have plenty here ready to ship to them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Moving Day

We have some interesting traditions here in Chicago.

*At Wrigley Field, if you catch a home run ball hit by a player from an opposing team, you throw it back onto the field.

*We are very specific about how to dress a hot dog. They are served on poppy seed buns with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish (usually neon green), a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. Never ketchup.

*Leases on apartments start on either May 1 or October 1. No one seems to know why, but it's been this way for as long as anyone I know can remember. Maybe the first Mayor Daley had something to do with it.

Amanda will be among those packing their worldly possessions and heading for new digs. It's her very first apartment without a roommate. She's so excited about the new place that she picked up her knitting needles after a bit of a hiatus. I think the last thing she knit was a blanket for her nephew when he was born.

She's been steadily working on a Log Cabin Blanket ever since she made the decision to move and it's looking really pretty.

I like the flexibility of this pattern. You can make it as large or small as you like. You can organize all the colors ahead of time and throw caution to the wind and decide as you go along. I love the IDEA of choosing as you go along but I think my Type-A nature would get the best of me and I would have it planned out within an inch of it's life. I've been working on letting go a little more, but it's hard!

*Update 9/10/08. Amanda decided to make her Log Cabin a floor pillow. What a great idea!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stef has been busy!

Here is a pair of fingerless gloves Stefanie made for her mom. The pattern is Pink Sonata from Vogue Knitting's Fall 2008 issue. She made some adjustments. First, she left the flaps off because her mom just wanted the glove part. And she skipped the top of the thumb because it would just be silly to have fingerless gloves with a full thumb.

They are made from our Shepherd Sock yarn in 16ns Charcoal and 9ns Pewter.

Next up is a sock from Interweave's Favorite Socks book. This is Evelyn Clark's Retro Rib sock in Shepherd Sock.

And here is a close-up of the stitch pattern. (I can't figure out what the shadow in the bottom left is all about. I tried it from about a zillion angles and kept getting it. It has something to do with the flash. What exactly, I'm not sure.)

Last up are Stackable Cats from Mochimochi.

How cute are these? And how lucky is the four-year old that is getting them for his birthday? Yowsa!