Wednesday, December 23, 2009


The Multnomah is now blocked and ready to be wrapped. This was a really fun knit. Feather and Fan is easy peasy but you still get a fair amount of bang for your buck.

It's the only holiday gift I knit this year. I have one other hand knit gift, but I made it awhile back so it doesn't count.

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the holiday knitting. I've spent one too many Christmas Eves doing the math of "If there are X rows/inch and I can do Y rows/hour, I can be finished Z hours AFTER the last FedEx pick up". Too much pressure for this old gal.

We're flying out tomorrow to spend the holiday with my mother. I still haven't picked my travel project. Maybe Citrus? I've really enjoyed the small shawls I've done recently. Should I go for one more?

There are also a couple of sock patterns I'm considering. I just received a batch of yarn that I need to test to see if it's something Lorna's Laces wants to add to the line.

Then there's a sweater WIP that I should get busy on. The thing is, I'm just not feeling the love there. The lack of love is so severe that I'm considering frogging the whole thing. I have never done that before.

They've canceled over 250 flights out of Chicago today....please keep your fingers crossed that the weather will clear up so we can go.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who's not paying attention?

I've known my husband for just about 15 years now. I think we actually communicate pretty darn well. Sure, we have our breakdowns from time to time, but on the whole I've always thought we do a pretty good job at the talking and the paying attention to one another.

Last night, I was proven horribly, horribly wrong.

We were hanging out in the kitchen, having a beer and just talking. I'm in the midst of a big stretch of stockinette, which makes the beer/yarn combination pretty safe so I grabbed my knitting from the other room and got busy. We were having a great time. Chat chat chat. Laugh laugh laugh.

All of the sudden I notice he's looking at my knitting with great concentration and asks "You keep switching the needles from one hand to another. What's with that?"

People....15 years. In all that time, he's never once noticed how knitting works! That you consume the stitches on one needle (I was working on straights) and then turn the work and start over. To say I was stunned is the understatement of the day.

In his defense, there are two or three places I do the lion's share of my knitting. One is the couch watching TV. We're usually sitting next to each other on the couch. Another is in the car on road trips. The last is on airplanes. The latter two also have us sitting next to each other rather than across from one another. But still. Seriously?

Frankly, we got a big giggle out of the whole thing. And he redeemed himself in a pretty significant way when he asked me after all this time if I'd teach him to knit.

Any tips on teaching a lefty?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Knitty

As usual, the folks over a have outdone themselves in their Winter issue. I haven't decided whether to love or hate them with the timing. There are a couple of things I could try and get done before Christmas, but I don't think I need the added pressure.....I love this kind of dilemma!

There are two projects done in Lorna's Laces yarns. The first is Marlowe Crawford's Pyroclastic Socks. They are shown here in our Shepherd Sock in #5ns Pond Blue. There are two things in particular that intrigue me about these socks. The first is that I love the way the cable blends into to toe. It's all angle-y and everything. Cute!

The other thing I especially like is the way Marlowe has chosen a shaped arch to make the sock hug the foot better. Functional details like this always draw me to a pattern. She mentioned that the inspiration for it came from EZ. How can it go wrong?

The second pattern that uses our yarn is Frost Diamonds by Stefanie Japel. It's designed using our organic Green Line Worsted in #407 Devon. So, you'll get a nice substantial wrap that will knit up pretty quickly.

Stefanie has a few tricks up her sleeve here too. She incorporates three increase points to create shoulders in the shawl so it stays put once you have it on. Brilliant!

I couldn't resist snagging this picture from Knitty too. It somehow reminds me of a stingray cruising oh-so effortlessly through the ocean. Besides that, it shows off the lace work so very nicely.

The last project in this issue that really spoke to me is Citron by Hilary Smith Callis. I've been all over the small shawls lately. This isn't shown in Lorna's Laces, but there are a few of our yarns that would be great here. I've mentioned a couple times lately that I have a feeling that mohair might be making a comeback. I like me a fuzzy little bit of warmth. Heaven might be just the ticket for this project.

Of course Helen's Lace would work well too. Or even Shepherd Sock. There are many choices and I don't really think you could go wrong.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bullfrogs & Butterflies

Today's post is about Bullfrogs & Butterflies. This is a single ply yarn, 85% wool and 15% mohair. It comes in 190 yard skeins and knits up at about 4-1/2 stitches/inch on US 8's. It's pictured here in the colorway Cat's Ahah!

The Ahah! colorway evolved from a conversation I had with Cat Bordhi a little more than a year ago. She wanted to create a "teaching yarn". She was looking for something that would allow students to easily see what they were doing so they could learn more readily. Both the yarn and the colorway were going to be part of the equation.

After looking at all of our yarns, Cat decided that Bullfrogs & Butterflies would be the perfect choice. The single ply meant it wouldn't get splitty and since it knits up at about 4-1/2 stitches per inch, it was substantial enough to make learning and teaching easier. I know Cat is linked with socks in our minds, but for this application, bigger is better.

Once we had decided on the Bullfrogs & Butterflies, the colorway was the next step. We wanted it to be both pretty and functional. The color changes needed to be very distinct and consistently about 5-6 inches long. After a bit of back and forth and a few near misses we came up with Ahah.

So, back to the yarn itself. B&B gives great stitch definition. That makes it a good choice for cables and texture work. Here is Kat Coyle's Ardent was featured in the Spring issue of Twist Collective. It's shown here in our Sheridan colorway. And modeled by the lovely Emily...we sure do miss her around here!

This yarn takes color beautifully. All of our yarns respond a little differently to dye, and this one just drinks it up. There are a couple of yarns that are a little fussy. We have to spend a little more time with them to get good results. Not so with Bullfrogs, it's a real pleasure to work with.

Last but not least, felting! This yarn felts like a dream!

I'll leave you today with a gratuitous Pug picture. This from Corinne Neissner's Doggie Knits. The colorway is Sherbet.

Monday, December 7, 2009


It occurred to me the other day that it would be fun to tell you about all the different yarns we dye here at Lorna's Laces. Believe it or not, we do seventeen(!) different ones. Okay, 15 yarns and two wooltop, but who's counting?

My first idea was that I'd do one post every day between now and Christmas, but that's just setting myself up to fail. And as soon as I miss a day, it will all just spiral out of control and there's no telling what might happen next. A more realistic goal it that I'll try and get to them all in a somewhat orderly fashion over the next few weeks.

Then I started to think about what a good organizational scheme would be. Should I go by weight? Fiber content? Price point? I decided that simple was the way to go and settled on alphabetical order. Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about Angel.

This is Angel. It's a 70% Angora, 30% wool blend. It comes in these cute little 50 yard skeins. One will make a pair of booties for a newborn.

Angora can be a very delicate fiber. That's one of the reasons that we add a little wool to the mix. It makes it a stronger yarn. Another reason is that angora is very warm. Adding the wool makes it more versatile.

This darling little hat pattern is knit from a single skein too. If you want to add the flower, you'll need a second.

But, Angel isn't just for baby things. It makes beautiful trim on hats and gloves. In it's undyed form it's a very bright white. This time of year that brings to mind Christmas stockings and Santa's beards.

And while it might be too warm to make a stockinette garment, it's a good choice for lace.

This is the lovely Stefanie Japel modeling the Lacy Dolman from her book Glam Knits. Just think about wrapping yourself in that cloud of softness!

We even have a special put-up of Angel for larger projects. We call them Archangels. They are giant 8 oz, 800 yarn skeins and can be special ordered in any of our colorways from your LYS. They would be perfect for a project like this.

Or what about a Clapotis? Here in Chicago, the weather isn't going to be getting any warmer for a long, long time. Snuggling into an Angel Clapotis could make a girl look forward to winter.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I'm ready for the snow! I'm not sure why but I don't think it should snow before then. Probably because I look at Thanksgiving as an autumnal harvest festival, not a celebration of winter. The Canadians may have it right by celebrating in October.

But now it's time to get into the holiday spirit. For some people it's making cookies, for others it's trimming the tree, still others shop til they drop. Me? I need the white stuff to really feel the holiday love.

But just in case mother nature isn't cooperating, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. Jackie E-S over at HeartStrings has come up with a pattern called Lacyflakes that has a bunch of different knitted snowflakes. They range in size from 6.5 to 8 inches and can be made with lace weight or fingering yarn. I can think of all kinds of applications for these guys....ornaments, coasters, you could even string several together and make a runner for the dining room table.

And while I think that icy blues and whites or classic red and green would be pretty, I don't see any reason why you couldn't mix things up. What about tropical colors for our friends who live in year-round warm weather? Or beautiful earth tones to complement the roaring fire? Or just go wacky with crazy brights for no other reason than it would be fun?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teeny, Tiny and Little

Last Friday, my friends Doug and Susan welcomed their son Raymond Paul into the world. The little guy was about 8 weeks early and tipped the scales at just 2 pounds 11 ounces. I guess one of the big worries with preemies is lung function. It turns out that Ray's lungs are stronger than they expected, thank goodness.

While everyone is delighted that Ray is doing so well, his early arrival totally threw a wrench in the works, knitting wise. I was supposed to have until the middle of January to make a gift for goodness sakes.

I hadn't decided what to make yet. I hadn't picked the yarn. To top things off, I was totally befuddled by size. Exactly how big is a 2 pound 11 ounce baby?

Fortunately, I had some time on my hands. I had just had my knee surgery and was going to be planted on the couch at home for a few days. I poked around my stash and found several small skeins of superwash fingering weight BFL that had been given to me by Aimee, the owner of a wonderful yarn and tea shop, L'Oisive The in Paris.

Once I had the yarn, it let me know that it wanted to be a series of hats. I surfed around a little on the internet and cobbled together a pattern of sorts. I decided to start with the blue. I cast on 80 stitches and did a K1P1 rib for a couple of inches and then moved on to stockinette. Once it looked about right, I started the decrease rounds and that was that. One down.

The first one looked pretty big to me so I only cast on 60 stitches for the next hat. I picked the green yarn this time around. Instead of K1P1, I did a roll edge. It turned out pretty darn small, but is as cute as the dickens.

Last up was the yellow hat. I split the difference between the other and cast on 72 stitches. This time I worked the first bit in K2P2 rib.

This turned into a perfect recovery project for me. Anything requiring any real brain power would have been a waste what with the pain meds and all. Figuring out how many stitches to cast on and deciding on three different edges was about all I had in me.

I know they aren't fancy and I usually don't pick pastels for babies but somehow these teeny, tiny little hats are making me extraordinarily happy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Birthday Fun

My birthday was on Monday. I'm not sure why I wasn't as excited as I usually am about it. I'm normally the kind of person that shouts the news from the rooftops. I would hate for anyone to miss an opportunity to wish me well or send a gift. We used to make jokes about me having a birthweek rather than a birthday. More time to celebrate. And more opportunities for presents.

My dear husband was having none of my indifference. He made sure that the day didn't slip by unmarked. Actually, he got started a day early and took me to fancy pants brunch at North Pond on Sunday.

North Pond is located in the middle of Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park is to Chicago what Central Park is to Manhattan. An oasis in the middle of a big urban area. The restaurant is in what used to be a park district warming house for folks skating on the pond right out front. It's a pretty spectacular setting.

This isn't the kind of place we usually go. While it's more casual at brunch, it's one of those restaurants where "gentlemen" wear jackets. It was kind of fun to get dressed up on a Sunday afternoon. Somehow, just putting on a pair of black slacks rather than my usual jeans and a sweater started to make me feel the way I usually do about my birthday. I even had a celebratory Bloody Mary.

I woke up on my birthday to this:

When Michael and I first met, Tiffany had just brought out what turned into a kind of iconic bracelet. Over the years we've turned it into a charm bracelet. Most of the charms we've added were to commemorate something. Some are souvenirs of vacations or anniversary gifts. This one is the key to his heart.

He's pretty great.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interweave Knits Winter 2009

The preview of Interweave Knits Winter issue just went up. My last post was about their Accessories Issue. So they published two magazines in the same amount of time that I wrote two blogs. I don't know whether that means I am way behind or whether they are just overachievers. Don't answer that. I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but I an choosing to ignore it.

Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted is featured in the Nicole Reeves' Syrup Pullover.

There are lots of things to like about this sweater. I tend to favor v-necks, but don't like them too deep. This one seems just about right.

I'm also just in love with this arm detailing.

It seems like a snippet out of Victorian times. There was an article in the New York Times last weekend about fashion from that era reemerging. It talked mostly about menswear and tweeds and the like but I don't see any reason that we shouldn't embrace it as well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Interweave Accessories

I just love the special issues the magazines publish this time of year. The holiday issues that start showing up in October really get me revved up for the season. Now, Interweave Press has a brand new publication, Accessories. What a great idea! Lots of small projects that are perfect for last minute gifts.

Lorna's Laces is lucky enough to have two projects in this issue.

These are Nancy Bush's Infant's Fancy Silk Socks. How sweet!

This photo sure brings back memories....we had that book on the shelf when I was growing up. I remember sitting on my dad's lap "reading" it with him. He didn't read storybooks with me that much. More often, it would be the newspaper rather than a book. It sounds a little weird, but it worked for us. I guess as a kid I didn't care as much about what we were reading so much as getting some one-on-one time with him. Coming from a family with six kids, you grabbed the attention any way you could.

The other project is from Ann Budd. It's called The Frothy Scarf and it's made from our Helen's Lace.

Since Helen's Lace comes in big 1250 yard skeins, you could get several of these from a single ball.

Actually both of these projects are small enough that you could probably get multiples from a single skein. With the baby socks, it would be a nice way to use up some of those "orphans" we all seem to accumulate somehow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jasmine Lace Cardigan

Here's a sweet little sweater that Stef just finished up for Will's niece. Will works over at Bean's and Bagels, our local coffee shop. (Well, it's almost finished, she still has to pick the buttons.) It's Jasmine, from Louisa Harding's Natural Knits for Babies and Moms.

I almost hesitated to post the picture because the yarn is a one of a kind colorway that Stefanie made up just for this project. The background of it is our 4ns Blackberry colorway, then she added some little specks of bright pink. You can see it in the close up. Or just click on the top picture to embiggen it.

I was wondering what you thought of it. Is this a technique we should consider doing for widespread distribution? It's fun for us to do. What do you think? The possibilities are endless....

On a more personal note, I just found out I'm going to have arthroscopic surgery on my right knee next Friday. I tore the meniscus. I have no idea how or when. It's part of the reason I've been quiet on the blog lately. My knee hurts and I'm fussy. But I feel bad about being fussy. I mean it's a 30 minute outpatient procedure for goodness sake, not cancer. It makes me feel kinda of bad for complaining.

I've been looking for the silver lining for this whole surgery thing and one hasn't popped up. I'll keep looking and let you all know as soon as I find it. And if you find it before I do, please be sure and send it over.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

For the first time in Lorna's Laces history, we are discontinuing a yarn. Actually two yarns, Swirl DK and Swirl Chunky. The photo you see here is of the Swirl DK. If you start at 12 o'clock, the colorways are Maple Grove, Camouflage, Vera, Midway and Desert Flower.

I have to say that in many respects, this breaks my heart. It was the first yarn that I brought out as the owner of Lorna's Laces. I love this yarn. I think it is beautiful. We had so many fantastic evenings snuggling in front of the fireplace. But, it not the right thing for either of us anymore so we've decided to move on. It was a mutual decision and we're going to remain friends.

At the risk of letting my geeky side show, I'm going to give you all a little chemistry lesson today. If you take a look at the yarn closely, you will see that there are three plies. One is lighter than the other two. The darker plies are spun from superwash merino. The lighter ply is spun from a blend of silk and regular merino. The process that makes a yarn superwash changes the pH of the fiber and the dye behaves differently depending on the acidity of the fiber. That's why you see the barberpole effect. Kinda like magic.

Keep an eye out for it at your favorite LYS or online retailer. There will lots of it available at fantastic prices.

Friday Cuteness

Stef has been all about the knitted monsters these days. This is Chester. He is a gift for Jay and Diane. They are watching Stef's cats while she's out of town.

Edited: It's a KnitWhits pattern. Bramble Owl.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PIF Powder

Well, here I am sending out the last of my five Pay It Forward gifts. This time around it's some talc-free body powder.

I got the idea from a tweet Amy Singer of sent out a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like the perfect thing to finish up.

It was really simple to make...cornstarch, rice flour and arrowroot powder mixed up with some fragrance oil. I picked narcissus as the scent. It's very sweet and feminine. No one is going to mistake it for patchouli.

The hardest part was finding a cute package. You can find simple cardboard shakers but I wanted something more fun. I finally settled on this shaker that I picked up at the local housewares store. I think it was originally designed for popcorn salt or something like that.

Once I had the shaker, it was just a matter of coming up with a label. I turned that duty over to art director extraordinairre (AKA the husband). I think he did good work.

The last thing I did was add a few grains of rice. I'm not sure if it's an old wives tale or not, but we always added rice to the salt shakers at one of the many restaurants I worked at while I was in college. The theory was that the rice would absorb any moisture and keep the salt flowing. I figured it couldn't hurt.

So, that's the last of my Pay It Forwards. I'm pretty happy with how the mix ended up. There was the Ishbel and Lacy Summer Socks in the yarn category. Sweet Blackberry Wine in the food category and PIF Powder in the smelly thing category. In a class all its own was the the Lacy Sachet. It's part yarn, part smelly thing.

I was trying to decide which was my favorite. I think at the end of the day, I'll have to go with the Ishbel. I hadn't knit any lace in a long time, and it really made me happy. The sachet and the powder would probably tie for second because I made extras for my mom. She gets a real kick out of gifts that arrive without an occasion. But then again, don't we all?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interweave Holiday Gifts

Interweave's Holiday Gifts issue came in yesterday's mail. Somehow I feel like I must have been the last to get a copy.

That's been happening quite a bit lately. My Vogue Holiday didn't come for more than a week after everyone was talking about it. I'm going to assume it has something to do with the post office rather than thinking that there is a conspiracy to keep knitting publications from me.

Check out these delightful ornaments that Ann Weaver designed.

The are based on old German glass ornaments that were originally produced in a small town, Lauscha, in the mid 19th century. While you can still get glass ornaments, it seems kind of fun to create your own. You could start a family tradition with these.

I'm partial to the pinecone, but the pickle comes with lots of stories. The one I always heard was that it is supposed to be the last ornament put on the tree on Christmas Eve. And it's supposed to be hidden. The first person that finds it in the morning gets a bonus gift and gets to hide it the next year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Cutenss

It's been a long time since we've had any monsters. This is Albert the Absent Minded Monster. It's another Rebecca Danger design. Stef made him over the weekend for Caitlin's beau, Bas.

Rebecca contacted us last week for yarn for a book she's doing! A whole book of monsters. Squee! It's going to be hard to wait until January, 2011.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

For Gilda's Club

I've been a little remiss in sending off our third quarter Flamingo Stripe donation. I am normally fastidious about getting it on its way on the last day of the quarter but it got away from me this time around.

The donation Lorna's Laces makes for third quarter is my favorite since it is always the biggest. That's because we ship the most Flamingo Stripe of the year in September to make sure it's in shops for you in plenty of time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This time around, Gilda's Club was the charity we chose. I know it's not technically a breast cancer charity, but it is a place that helps all of us who have someone in our lives that is facing cancer. They were a godsend to my friend whose husband died last week. I figured y'all would think that was OK.

I know we all get bombarded with charity stuff. Requests for donations, invitations to benefits, opportunities to buy products that are pink or red or this or that. It's enough to make a girl pull her hair out. I want to thank everyone who has purchased Flamingo Stripe over the years.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Don't believe everything you read.

Case in point: The "hand wash" cycle of your washing machine is not the same as washing a garment by hand. I know it sounds like it should be. But it isn't.

I wish it were. I like a shortcut as much as the next person. Life would be so much easier if we really could toss all of our hand knits in the washer and go merrily along. But we can't. Bad things happen. Even to good people. Don't let your heart get broken.

I've heard a couple of gut wrenching stories in the past few months. Just this week we got a phone call about a woman who had put a Helen's Lace shawl in the washer. It came out a shrunken, matted mess. All those hours of work were wasted. I felt just terrible for her.

I am a skeptic by nature. I wouldn't have believed the washer. Even if it said "hand wash" in all capital letters right there on its front. I probably wouldn't have believed it even if it whispered sweet nothings in my ear. But that's just me.

This wasn't an issue a couple of years ago. Washing machines were much less sophisticated. You only had a few choices like Normal, Permanent Press and Gentle. Or Hot, Warm and Cold. My washer lets me pick from 9 temperatures, 9 levels of spin and 14 different cycles. That's 1134 combinations. I'm pretty sure I don't need that many.

I guess it brings up some other questions. Should knitters be busting the washing machine companies' collective chops about calling a cycle hand wash when it clearly isn't? Should yarn companies label their product differently?

I'd like to try and avert another tragedy. Beautiful yarn is a terrible thing to waste.

Friday, October 16, 2009

An Extra Hug

I was reminded just how tenuous our hold on life is yesterday. A dear friend of mine lost her husband to cancer. They are both in their 50's. Far too young.

Please take a minute to give everyone you love an extra hug today.

That is all.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where'd It Go?

Have you ever had a knitting needle vaporize? It happened to me last week on the Megabus to Madison, WI. I was happily knitting away on my Vineland Mittens and I dropped one of my double points. And it disappeared. Vanished. Poof. Into thin air.

I immediately jumped up to look for it and it just wasn't there. I looked under the seat, between the seats, in the row in front of me, in the row behind me. I even woke up the man two rows back. He looked sneaky. No needle.

I guess it's in the same place that single socks go. I have a vision of of an alternate universe that has a big ball of string as its center and gravitational force. And floating all around it are the world's lost things. In additional to my needles and all those socks, you'll find the car keys you lost in 1984. They are hanging out with your favorite pen, sunglasses, lots of loose change and a plethora of hair ties, You'll also find those earrings you snitched from your mom's jewelry box when she specifically told you you couldn't borrow them. (Yes, she found out.)

Fortunately for my knitting, I was working with five needles rather than four, so I was able to shift things around and continue on my merry way.

We had a conversation here not long ago about the merits of using four or five needles when working in the round. For me, it's not a clear cut decision. It depends on the project. For the Vineland Mittens, I definitely prefer five.

Even with the needle shortage, I was able to finish these yesterday. They're still a bit damp, but I'm classifying them as an FO anyway.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Between trips

I just got back from the TNNA board meeting in St. Charles, MO and I'm heading out to Spring Green WI in just a few minutes so this post will be very brief.

Day long meetings are always hard for me. Especially because I am used to doing something physical all day, usually dyeing yarn. I just don't sit well for 8 or 9 hours.

Fortunately, one of the great things about a TNNA meeting is that no one looks at you askance if you knit. I was able to make some pretty good progess on Jody Scofield's Vineland Mittens.

I'm knitting them in our Green Line Worsted, Chocolate and Courage. I'm enjoying them. There's enough going on to keep things interesting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's That Smell?

It's kind of funny how often things just fall into place and the universe ends up pointing the way for me. Way back when I decided to do Pay It Forward, I was trying to think of things that I could do that would be something besides sending yarn or knitted items.

It was early May and I was getting ready to plant our garden for year. I use the term garden very loosely. We live in a condo, so we're pretty limited. We have window boxes in the gangway where I normally plant herbs and some more on our little deck where we have flowers.

Instead of my usual basil and mint, I decided it might be nice to have some new things. The lavender at the garden center looked beautiful and I've always liked the way it smells. So we picked up a few seedlings and they went in next to the mint.

I'd been thinking that a sachet might be fun. Later that week, I got a Knitting Daily email highlighting Eunny Jang's Lacy Sachet. Kismet! That pretty much sealed the deal. Now I just needed to wait for nature to run it's course so I had enough lavender to fill them. A couple of weeks ago, I harvested it and left it to dry.

Over the weekend, I created these:

They are knit from some yarn I picked up at Sock Summit. It's naturally dyed by Stevanie Pico and the colorway is Neon Bible. I'd originally planned to use the yarn for the Tempest I've been blathering about lately, but didn't like the way it looked when I swatched it.

The lining is plain fabric that has been sitting in a drawer for far longer than I care to admit. The ribbon was some I had in my ribbon box. So, I was able to make these without going out and buying too many of the components. That's always nice.

One is going to a Pay It Forward person and the other to my mother. Mom's vision and hearing aren't very good, but she gets real joy from smelly things. I often send highly scented flowers to her so I think she'll like the sachet.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I keep running into great things to do with sock yarn besides making socks. Don't get me wrong, I love me some socks, but it's nice to have other choices.

The first thing that comes to mind are all the small shawls I've talked about over the past few weeks like Milkweed and Ishbel. They've been very popular, both here at Lorna's Laces and out in the world as well. Sock Summit was lousy with them.

Then there is the pattern, Tempest, that I've mentioned a couple of times lately and cast on for over the weekend. This is Emily's Tempest.

It's knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in 107 Red Rover and 16ns Charcoal. I'd been admiring the pattern for a long time and just never got around to it. Seeing Emily's is what really inspired me to get it on the needles. It's proving to be a very quick knit. (I know, I know. Famous last words.) I chose very dark colors without a great deal of contrast. I think I'll really like it once it's finished but the spot I often knit in doesn't have great light so it's been a little tricky keeping the colors straight.

Another great sweater that's made from sock yarn came across my desk last week from Connie Change Chinchio called the Mountain View Cardigan.

This one is shown in our Shepherd Sock Echo colorway. They are more views on Connie's site.

Isn't the detail work in the back stunning? Oh. My. I've always had a soft spot for great back detail. Seems like there's one gown at the Oscars that does it every year. Simple and elegant in front and then you get the back shot and kaboom!

These are just a few things that have hit my radar lately. So, what are you seeing? If you have pictures, send them along to yarnATlornaslacesDOTnet. We'd love to see them!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cookie's Deep Dark Secret

We've been keeping a secret around here. Cookie's Deep Dark Secret.

CDDS is the latest in our Color Commentary Series. It's a beautiful, rich dark blue. We went with a nearly solid this time around to complement Cookie's intricate sock designs. Besides, it was time to mix things up and do a nearly solid. We like to keep you on your toes.

Along with the new color, Cookie also designed a brand-spanking-new sock pattern that just went live on called the Clandestine Sock. Girl has outdone herself. Please take a minute and click over to the picture on knitty. For the life of me, I can't unblurry this photo. I have tried repeatedly and it's late on Friday afternoon and I just don't have it in me to try again. You will not be disappointed.

The yarn is available and shipping right now. Check with your LYS.

Lastly, I want to send out a big ol' BRAVO to all the folks that make happen. The fall issue marks their 7th anniversary and a redesign. They have outdone themselves.

They have also been a great supporter of Lorna's Laces over the years. There is a story there that needs to be told. I will save that for another day. For now I just want to say "Thank you".

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A VERY good mail day

Look what showed up in the mail! Handmade by Annie Modesitt no less!

There will be toast and tea and jam at 3:00. Anyone is welcome to join us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sunday Swing

What a wonderful weekend! We got the perfect Chicago Labor Day holiday. It was bright and sunny. Warm enough to sit outside and have a cocktail in the evening, but not so hot during the day that you couldn't be running errands or hanging out at a BBQ with friends.

We went to a great performance art production on Saturday night, Redmoon Theatre's Last of My Species. It's a short show, only about an hour, but they packed a lot into it. One of my favorite bits had them doing some acrobatic moves on a crane. It reminded me a bit of trapeze work.

I've been interested in trying my hand at trapeze for the last couple of years. The park district here had a company put up equipment on the lakefront awhile back and I never got over there to give it a shot. The piece on Saturday night piqued my interest again. I'll have to do some research. If anybody knows anything about it, please let me know.

I did have enough quiet time to finish up the Sunday Swing socks I started a week or so ago. These are done in the second size and knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. I cast on 64 stitches. They fit me just fine. It was a simple, quick knit. I like these socks well enough that I could see doing a second pair.

I also cast on a Tempest sweater. One of the colors I'm using is still top secret, so I can't show it to you quite yet. Maybe later in the week.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Cuteness V

We're still all full of fantastic knitted monsters. This is Frances and her Mr. Bunny Nugget. Rebecca Danger does such fun stuff.

This particular Frances is a bit shy. She never goes anywhere without her Mr. Bunny Nugget. He is a very nice Mr. Bunny Nugget and is happy to accommodate her whims. He e has never been seen out and about on his own. (Like some other trampy MBN we hear about. Just sayin'.)

They're both knit in our Shepherd Bulky. Frances is in a custom color that Sam created for herself. MBN is in Frankenstein's Cotillion, one of our Sock Summit colors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

World View

I think my view of the world might be getting just the tiniest bit narrow. When Judy, from the airport, asked me what I was working on, I said "Milkweed". Not "A shawl" but "Milkweed". It didn't occur to me that not everyone knows what a Milkweed is.

Certainly here at Lorna's Laces we all know exactly what it means to be making a Jaywalker or a Clapotis. There's no need to explain Tempest or Monkey Socks. But there are some people in the world, even knitters, that don't have the Ravelry and pattern libraries committed to memory. I guess as occupational hazards go, this one isn't so bad.

Another thing that has been firmly ingrained in my psyche is color names and numbers. Motherlode is 74. Number 509 is Satsuma. The other day I stopped reading on page 142 of a novel and rather than dog ear the page, I used Buck's Bar, color 142 to help me remember where I needed to pick back up.

I haven't gone so far as using color numbers to pick Lotto numbers. Yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Many Milkweeds

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that just about everyone here had one of Laura Chau's Milkweed shawls on the needles. We all finished them within a few days of one another and everyone brought them in. From left to right: Caitlin's in Handmaiden/Fleece Artist, Beth's in our Shepherd Sock Zombie BBQ, Emily's handspun, Sam's in Yarn Pirate, Stef's in a sparkly grey stash yarn that she lost the ball band from and Emily's in Malabrigo sock yarn.

Here's another shot of them.

This one shows our Zombie BBQ on top. It also includes Amanda's entry into the Great Small Shawl Extravaganza of 2009. Not a Milkweed, but a really pretty little Stefanie Japel number in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Courage.

I finished my Milkweed on the way to Portland and Sock Summit. While I was sitting at the airport waiting for my flight, a woman stopped to talk knitting for awhile. Isn't it wonderful how often knitting brings us a new friend? (Even if it is just for the duration of a flight delay.) Judy and I chatted about where I was going and what I had on the needles. We talked about her knitting group from church and the prayer shawls she had participated in.

By the time we boarded, Judy had gone her way and I had gone mine. It's unlikely that we'll ever cross paths again. Even if we did, it's doubtful that we'd remember one another. But those for those fifteen minutes, we connected.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Cuteness IV

Friday cuteness is brought to you this week by Emily.


And Kiwi.

I'm having trouble deciding which I think is cuter. What do you think?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Twist on the Prayer Shawl

I think most of us in the yarn community are familiar with the Prayer Shawl. In case it's new to you, it's when a knitter (or group of knitters) makes a shawl for someone who is sick and prays for the recipient while working on it.

The other day I got a note from an old friend, Emma. I met her just about the time I bought Lorna's Laces. She's a painter and before she moved to St. Louis, she had the studio right across the hall.

Emma and I shared a cup of coffee most mornings and got to know one another little by little. Over time, I learned that Emma is a breast cancer survivor. When we first met, she had just hit the one year post-diagnosis milestone. Like everyone, I know many people who have fought cancer, but she's my one of a very few real friends that have faced the disease.

Six years later, after having been clean for over five, Emma's cancer returned. This time it's metastasized to her bones and the prognosis isn't good. She's undergoing a long series of chemotherapy treatments, but it's palliative rather than therapeutic, they are trying to give her good quality of life for as long as they can.

Emma has always been a knitter, but it's become a bit of an obsession lately. It gives her something to keep her mind off the cancer. Even more than that, it's given her a purpose. Her goal is to knit a substantial piece for everyone in her family as a remembrance. This way, no matter what happens or when, they will always have a way to feel her hug.

How cool is that? It's like a reverse Prayer Shawl.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


As my husband and his gaming friends would like to say, I've pretty much been AFK (Away From Keyboard) since I returned from Sock Summit. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.

Sock Summit. What a great time! For the most part, my pictures stink. I will take solace in the fact that there has been so much written about it that y'all should be able to find good photos galore elsewhere.

I think the thing I liked best about SS was getting to talk to so many knitters. I don't get a chance to do that as often as I'd like. Since, Lorna's Laces is a wholesaler, I mostly end up talking to LYS owners. Don't get me wrong, I love them to death, but every once in awhile it's good to talk to the folks that are knitting with our yarn. I was humbled by all the nice things you had to say. Thank you.

I was also humbled by the talent there. And not just the big names. Sure, being around the likes of Barbara Walker and Meg Swanson is exhilarating, but I was equally impressed with by the parade of gorgeousness that walked by on the feet and needles of the attendees. It is remarkable what people do with sticks and string. Just remarkable.

I know these aren't socks, but somehow this picture sums it up for me. Just after Kathleen got hurt, she found herself sitting on the couch, bored. So she just whipped up a pair of crutch cozies! It would have never occurred to me. So creative on so many different levels. That's what it was all about.

It was a pleasure being there and in some small way being a part of Sock Summit. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rainbow Handspun

Amanda found this not long ago on Ravelry. In the Keep the Fleece group. Her name is Sarah. She blogs here. Fun stuff.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Cuteness III

These are some mini aliens that Stef brought in the other day. It's a pattern designed by Barbara Prime.

They are knit from various bits of yarn she found in her stash. They have friends at home....I think they are a little like Tribbles.