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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Winding Mill

About a week ago, I went to the computer to look up the address of the mill where we get most of our yarn wound from cones into skeins. The computer fairies had deleted their zip code from our records, so I googled them to find it.

I stumbled across this Wikipedia entry. There were a few things I learned that made my heart sing. Like the fact that the building is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

And that the owners had the tenacity to keep going even after it burned down. Not once, but twice. That takes some real courage.

But my favorite thing is that its primary source of income these days comes from its role as a
hydroelectric plant. They've harnessed the power of the river to create electricity AND yarn. They actually make more power than they use! How cool is that? I'm just tickled pink about this.

Isn't it nice when surprises are good?!

Friday, October 10, 2008

An enchanted evening

Sam's wedding couldn't have been more perfect!

It was at this cool venue that's all brick, concrete, metalwork etc. Very hip. It was lit with candles and uber romantic. It made me wish it had been around when I got married back in the dark ages.

Sam was a vision. She had a very specific idea of what she wanted her dress to look like so she had it custom made. It was the palest shade of green and looked just right with her coloring. And, it wasn't white. Sam did not want a white dress.

If you look very closely at the picture of their first dance, you can see that Ben is wearing red shoes. They are easier to see here.

But, there was no way the groom was going to steal the shoe show.

One of my favorite things at the wedding was the tower of cupcakes. (That's Amanda and her beau Derek.) Stephanie, Kylie and Caitlin made them all. Red Velvet, Carrot, Lemon, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Guiness Stout, Chai, Gluten Free Vanilla, Pumpkin.....I think there was a baker's dozen of flavors. It was only with the utmost discipline that I was able to resist trying them all.

The newlyweds are off on their honeymoon. Best wishes!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here Comes the Bride

We're outta here early today. Sam is getting married tonight!

The wedding has been quite the buzz around here for months. From all the talk about what to wear you'd think we were all the bride. Not just dresses either. We've dithered about stockings and shoes and hats and.....

With any luck, I'll have pics tomorrow.

P.S. We have heat!

P.P.S. It's going to be in the 70's for the next five days. Of course.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


When I walked in the door to Lorna's Laces on Monday, there was the distinct smell of gas. I tried to ignore it. Then the rest of the crew started filtering in saying things like "I smell gas, do you smell gas?" or "Whoa! I smell gas" or "Phew, it stinks in here". Obviously, ignoring the smell wasn't making it go away.

I got on the phone with the landlord and he came right over. Lucky for us, there are a couple of workmen in the building this week and they were able to check it out immediately. Not so lucky for us, they couldn't find anything wrong. They told me that they had turned off the gas to install a heater in the space next door and that it's not unusual to smell gas right after it gets turned back on. It made sense. Who was I to doubt them?

We opened windows and doors to let the fresh air in. It still smelled. So the landlord called the gas company. They promptly turned off the gas to the entire building and left. They told him to call back once we got the leak fixed.

Apparently the person who can find and and fix a gas leak is a plumber. Locating an available plumber is not so easy. They finally came this morning and found a leak at the do-hickey that connects a couple of pipes right outside my office. Thank goodness we figured that out! After three days of 55 degrees,rain and no heat, it's getting kinda chilly in here.

Now it's just a waiting game. How long do you think it will take until the gas company returns and turns us back on?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

All that and a bag of chips

The weekend was chock-full. So full that I ended up sneaking out of here Monday right after lunch. Sometimes a girl just needs some time on the couch or else she isn't so much fun to be around. Just ask anyone who works here.

Saturday started with a tour of Lorna's Laces for a local guild. It's something we do from time time. I have a good time giving the tours and I like to think everyone enjoys coming for them too. I talk a little about how Lorna's Laces came into my life, about all of our yarns and then I do a dye demo.

Then we dashed over to Yarn Con. It was beyond fantastic. It was so big that it took over two ginormous rooms at Pulaski Field House. Franklin sold out by 2:00, Bonne Marie Burns and I talked about a few things, and even though only the Ann part of the Mason-Dixon Knitting team was able to make it, they've agreed to be part of Color Commentary! Squeal!

The lovely creature pictured here is Poll E Cotton. Poll has been appearing at various fiber events over the past year and a half or so. People get to take a turn adding a bit to her skirt. Early on, she seemed a bit of a tart in that micro-mini. These days she's taken on a more matronly demeanor.

I got a chance to spend some time with Poll. It's really neat to see how differently each person approaches her. Stockinette, garter, entrelac, bobbles, cables, crochet. You name it, someone chose to incorporate it. What a genius idea!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Our cup runneth over

I hate to be a bragger, but living in Chicago is gonna be more fun than a barrel of llamas this weekend. There are almost too many things to do for all of us fiberistas. Sigh. I'll do my best to muddle through.

The first one is kind of a private party. This afternoon, Cookie A is coming by to fiddle around in the dye pots with me to create the Cookie A installment of Color Commentary. Her sensibility when it comes to designing socks is so fantastic, I can't wait to see how her mind works when it comes to color. This is going to be a real treat!

But we're not keeping her all to ourselves. She's teaching a class on sock design this Sunday at Arcadia Knitting.

Then tonight, the Mason-Dixon girls descend upon our fair city. Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne will be signing their new book at Loopy Yarns new digs. Vicky just moved to 47 West Polk Street in Dearborn Station. There will be door prizes and such at the Grand Re-Opening so stop by and check it out. Rumor has it that there might be a Franklin there as well.

Saturday is Yarn Con at Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. I am overwhelmed by the list of vendors that will be there. I get all twisted up when faced with all the choices. You'd think that being surrounded by all sorts of gorgeousness at work all day would make me immune, but it's just the opposite. I fall for it all.

Yarn or food? Hmmmmmm......

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cover Girl

Didja hear?! Didja see?! Lorna's Laces is on the cover of Vogue Knitting's Holiday Issue.

It looks like an especially nice issue. There are tons of things that would make great gifts!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Breast Cancer Network of Strength

I just made our third quarter breast cancer charity donation to The Breast Cancer Network of Strength. That's the new name for Y-Me. They are based here in Chicago and get great reviews from the Charity Navigator, a watchdog group that studies how well charities are using their funds.

As with all charities, they let you pick a person and donate in their name. This time around we chose Gina Wilde from Alchemy Yarns. I haven't talked to her since I saw her at TNNA in June and everything was going well for her then. Cheers Gina!