Thursday, November 29, 2012


That Mercedes. She's done it again. She created another grab-and-go cardigan that's destined to be a wardrobe staple. This one is Sazerac, cleverly named after the classic New Orleans cocktail.

It's a little oversized, which will make it super cozy. It's got a little of that boyfriend thing going on if you know what I mean. I love it with the skinny jeans and boots shown here. It would also be great with leggings and a pair of flats.

The stitch pattern is a brioche variation along with garter stitch. I've always thought brioche is under utilized. It gives such nice texture, lots of bang for the buck.

Mercedes is always great with her details. The knit-in pockets here are a nice touch. I sometimes get lazy when it comes to adding pockets. I shouldn't though. I love pockets. Maybe a little too much. (Once I was meeting a friend I hadn't seen for awhile for a cocktail. She was with someone I didn't know. Kay told her friend to keep an eye out for a tall women who has her hands in her pockets. That'd be me.) Do you ever skip them?

It's knit in one piece to the armholes and then split for the front and back. There's also a nice deep shawl collar for snuggling into.

It's knit in our newest yarn Sportmate. Sportmate is Solemate's heavier sibling. It has the built in climate control of Outlast. This is shown in one of our new colorways, Spats.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I'm so happy that this is one of the years that Thanksgiving comes early and we have an extra week between now and Christmas.It allows me to delude myself into thinking that there is plenty of time and I'll get everything done. Often, this kind of thinking just leads to a false sense of security and I end of scrambling even more than usual because I believe that "plenty of time" will somehow turn into a temporal version of a tesseract. 

I know I've mentioned here that I'm not a big holiday knitting person. One of the big reasons is that TNNA is generally in January and I need to keep focused on getting things done for that. The other thing is that I want to have fun during the lead up to Christmas and I just don't need the pressure of trying to get everything done in the nick of time. I'll leave that craziness to The Yarn Harlot.

This past weekend, I finally finished my Haven, a super cute shawl from Mercedes Tarasovich Clark. This is knit from Sportmate in Farwell. The pattern comes in two sizes, this is the smaller, scarf-y one. 

It was the perfect knit for a family holiday gathering. There is garter stitch to keep things simple with a glass of wine (or three) and a little cable to pay attention to every so often to keep me from saying something inappropriate in front of the relatives.

Now I'm home, the weather is brisk and I got to wear something new on the first day back from the holiday. It took the sting out of getting back to work. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Step It Up Knits

The mailman brought Vickie Howell's latest book, Step It Up Knits, a couple of days ago. I don't know if I've mentioned it lately, but I love my job. I get books and yarn in the mail all the time. Books and yarn are two of my favorite things in the whole world. Some days, they beat out my husband. He usually redeems himself and ends back up with top billing pretty quickly. Especially if he brings chocolate.

I have to admit that I wasn't enamored with the cover. I haven't figured out what it is about it that doesn't sit quite right with me, but something is off. But we all know the old adage that tells us not to judge a book by its cover and that true here. 

The first thing I noticed as soon as I opened it was the bold, graphic font in the Table of Contents. 

I like the arrows at the top and the entire feel of this spread. The end papers echo the arrows too. This is the kind of thing that made me so happy back in my previous life in publishing. Geek-y, I know.

The premise of this book is that we are all busy but that doesn't mean we have to settle on ribbed scarves or stockinette washcloths. Step It Up Knits uses small projects to encourage you to try new things and expand your skill set. They are quick enough knits that you won't get bored yet they have enough meat in them to provide a challenge.

The book starts out with about twenty pages of technique. There are both verbal and pictorial instructions so all kinds of learners will be able to understand what Vickie is trying to teach you. 

My very favorite project in the book is Fancy Pants. In this project you'll learn about going from knitting in the round to knitting straight, and how to add and simple lace cuff. 

They are knit in a DK merino/silk blend but you could easily substitute our Honor. These are reason enough to have a baby. I mean seriously C.U.T.E. 

Downward Spiral uses Shepherd Sport in the Pullman colorway. Here you learn how spacing decreases will give you a pinwheel effect at the crown. It's very clever. 

This is a nice book. I like the concept behind it and it's executed well. Nice paper, nice layout, pretty patterns. It appeals to both the book and yarn geek that kick around inside my head. Well done! 

Vickie and the nice people at Chronicle Books gave me a copy to give away. This time I'm going to ask you what book you are reading. If you don't have one on the bedside table, tell me the title of the last book you read. I'll start. I'm reading Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz for my book club.

We'll use the random number generator on Monday at noon central time. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

50 Skeins of Grey

The other day, we were hanging out around the lunch table talking about what everybody was reading. There were the usual suspects. Amanda is reading a travel book and Laura has a stack of magazines on her bedside table. I'm in the middle of a book club book and trying to keep up with the New Yorker.

Then we started discussing the crazy popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Seems like half the world has read them and they've been on the New York Times Best Sellers list forever. At some point, a lightbulb went on! We could do a series of colors to tie into them. We finally decided that we'd do five colors that each had 10 different shades of grey. Hence, 50 Skeins of Grey. Let me introduce them to you. 

This is Anastasia. She is the palest and she blushes a little towards the purple. 

Christian dances on the greener side of grey.

Charlie Tango kisses the brown edge.

Mrs. Robinson can be a little blue.

And Red Room is, well, reddish.

We'll be shipping these to your LYS after the Thanksgiving holiday.  We're dyeing them in all of our yarn bases. You can buy your favorite character/color or get alll five bundled together with a leather strap! 

Friday, November 16, 2012


The new Twist Collective hit the airwaves this week. One of my favorite designers, Sandi Rosner, did a killer design in our Honor called Porto.

The construction is clever. Her idea was to use the cables as a decrease element. She had a few missteps along the way to creating the design and talks about it in her blog. It's so interesting to hear people talk about their creative process, warts and all. I like that she didn't take the easy way out but figured out a solution that was relatively time efficient and got the job done properly. Yay Sandi!

She's also got a great article in this issue that debunks some of the grand knitting myths. She covers the dreaded knot, winding ball and casting on loosely among other things. It's worth taking a click on over there.
My big take away from the article is this: "maybe your life has plenty of challenge, and simple knitting si your stress-free respite--then don't let anyone insist you try something new. It's your knitting. If it makes you happy, you're doing it right".

Brava Sandi! I know I'm doing it right!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ring Bearer

Yesterday a really nice woman from New Zealand stopped by Lorna's Laces. Her name is Maree Buscke and she was super interesting.

Like so many people who work in yarn, she wears many hats. She's the proud mom of two boys. She does back office stuff to help out her husband's optometry practice. She spends a couple of days a week working at a local mill.

That local mill thing really got my attention. Not that kids and husbands aren't interesting and all but...well, you know. If you're reading this, you're a fiber junkie too. The mill is called Skeinz. Kinda cute with the NZ since they're from New Zealand dontcha think? We talked shop quite a bit. About fiber and equipment and scale and lots of things you probably think are boring.

Then she gave me this.

This is made from Stansborough Gotland, a rare breed of grey sheep from NZ. It's spun by Design Spun Ltd. (If I understand it right, Skeinz and Design Spun are different arms of the same company.) It's the  fiber that was woven into the cloaks used in Lord of the Rings. Dude, did you hear that? Lord of the Rings!! This is the DK version, they used a finer yarn for weaving the cloaks. I'm still kinda flabbergasted by the whole thing.

I think it needs to be something kinda special. There about 100 gram of it. Probably 210 meters. I wonder what it wants to be.  Anybody have any suggestions?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November Knits

Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley's new book, November Knits, hit my desk this week. Boy, is it pretty! Interweave did a nice job with the styling.

The premise behind the book is Fall. November is when we really kick into Autumn. It's when we turn to our knits for warmth and comfort. The holidays are just around the corner and all seems right in the world.

They've divided the book into three sections. The first is called Farm Hands. The knits here are hardworking and practical. Even a little rugged. If I had to pick a favorite section, this would be it. This is my favorite pattern from the whole book. It's called Market Jacket and my friend Tanis Gray is the designer.

The second section is called Ivy League. Think New England. Think football games and crisp walks in the woods while the trees are changing color. These are Walden Pond socks and they were created by Elinor Brown. When I first saw them I thought they'd be pretty hard, but I took a closer look and found out it's just a ten stitch repeat that I'd have memorized in no time. They are definitely doable. They are knit from our Shepherd Sock yarn in 58ns Kerfuffle and 13ns Aqua.

Last up is Southern Comfort. The designs here are soft and feminine. They touch the part of your soul that yearns for biscuits and homemade jam. This beauty is Bluebonnet Scarf from Laura Nelkin.

 I know I've been threatening it for a long time, but I am going to make a beaded something on of these days. Maybe this is the one. Laura's class on Craftsy looks like it'd make quick work of learning how.

Kate and Courtney were nice enough to send a copy for us to give away. Why don't you tell me what color combination you'd use for your Walden Pond socks? I'll pick a lucky winner from the comments on Monday at noon CDT. Ciao kids!

Monday, November 5, 2012


On Friday, we figured that Lorna's Laces needed to do something to help Sandy victims. We have friends, family, colleagues and customers that were hit. Some of them pretty hard. It's scary out there. But, what to do? We spent our lunch hour collaborating and decided to offer 4 sock patterns for $5 and give 100% of the proceeds to Feeding America.

We had this little dream that we might raise $500 or even $1000 if we shot for the moon. Well, as of 12:00 noon today, we've raised $2325.00!! I am humbled by your generosity.

Thanks to Margaret, Silvias, Karen , Joy, Jessie, Susan, Jeanne, Emma, Sarah, Michelle, Deborah, The Yarn Stash, Bonnie, Camellia, Lauren, Katherine, Talana, Buffie, Anne, Delia, Jennifer, Karen, Stephanie, Stephen, Stephanie, Brett, Elizabeth, Kathleen,, Nernadette, Jennifer, Nancy, MaryFrances, JsSolutions, Denise, Megan, Carrie, Codi, Renee, Reet, Sue, Molly, diane, Lorna, Stephanie, Katherine, Rebecca, Celtic Heirlooms and Dreams, Daine, Mary, Tracey, Diane, Susan, Olga, Denise, Ronald, Kelli, Jamie, Ronda, Sharon, Susan, Abigail, Olivia, Joan, Dayle or Kelly, Brenda, Richelle, Leslie, Emily, Varina, Katherine, Nacny, Jack, Judy, Cindy, Ellene, carol, Sarah, Julie, DIANE, CaffeinatedKnitting, grace, Terry, LYNETTE, Kristy, Margaret, Sarah, Carol, Laura, Wilma, Ingrid, Sharon, Casey, Lynette, Johanna, deborah, Bette, stormy, Erice, Hilary, Jennifer, Jessica, Stephanie, sarah, stephanie, Petra, Camille, Megan, marharetha, Carol, Marian, Marcia, Kjirstine, Patricia, Vicki, Susan, Amy, Connie, Donna, Isabelle, CaffeinatedKnitting, Judy, Monika, Hook A Frog, Leslie, Romana, linda, Suzette, Grannies Sock Yarn, Becky, Kathleen, Kathleen, Norma, Patti, Charlotte, Dodi, Rori, Debra, Dana, Cnnie, Wittman, Deborah, XGX, Murray, Amy, Jane, Carmen, Dane, Beverly, Ruth, Ashley, Whiskerknits, Inger, Patricia, Hannah, Reyna, Suzanne, Alison, Elizabeth Tina, Madeleine, Kay, Brenda, Elaine, Susan Margaret, Amy, Claudia, Gerry, Magdalena, Jayne, Deborah, Deaor, Halpert, Eike, Jane, Ellen, Joe, Martha, Claudia, Donna, Claudia, Tami, Claudia, Bess, Claudia, Caroline, Bettina, Nancy Bonnie, Karen, Margaret, Cindy, Mary, Kathryn, Jeanne, Tabitha, Kathryn, Susan, Troy, Tammy, Heather, Lisa, Alicia, Apple Blossom, Ellen, Lorraine, Heidi, Mary, Susanna, Rebecca, Twisted Treasures, Dennis, Stephanie, Vicki, Charlotte, Barbara, Carolyn, Olivia, Sarah, Sarah, Natalie, Melanie, Allison, A Good Yarn, Barbara, Gloria, Ruth, Jennifer, Suzette, Mary, Hooly, Deenna, Martha Rosemary, Concette, Sara, kathyrn, Thora, Susan, Kathy, Ellen, Lisa, Cheryl, hope, Mary, Shelley, heidi, NANCY, Judith, Barbara, Susan, Susan, Marie, Diane, Jeanne, myna, Frances, Sherri, Judith, Carole, Emilie, Sheila, Nancy, Rebecca, Judy, Joan, Heather, Aardwol Press, Catherine, Lucy, Daughters Of Brigit Handcrafters, Lara, Jocelyn, Harry, Gayle, Penolope, Margaret, Elizabeth, Denise, Frances, Lori, Gretl, Rachel, Renee,Celeste, Kim, Rachel, Jeanne, Jamie, Julie, Arlene, Theresa, Daine, Ann, Deborah, Monica, Leah, joanna, Ana, Janet, Nora, Catherine, Elaine, Marjorie, Shelley, Susan, Suzanne, Martin, jennifer, Birgit,Dorothy, Esther, Silja, Maarit, Joanna, Karen, michele, Becky, Susan, Nina, Lisa, Elaine, Heather, Anthony, Deborah, Becky, Penny, stacy, Patricai, Margaret, Tamar, Dennine, Kathy, Susan, Linda, Mary Ellen, Cathy, Patty, Myra, Mary, Ruth, Margaret, FLossie, Biance, Anna, Carol, Mahlon, Barbara, Joanna, Stacey, Gloria, Merrie, Hook and Ladder, Juliet, Linda, Linda, Katharine, Sandra, Jennifer, Linda, Susan, margaret, Tammy, Jennifer, Linda, Christina, Madelyn, Linda, East Tennessee Gayle Knitwear, Cheryl, Kristen, Patricia, Jill, Amy, Jeanne, Kellie, Helde, Jessi, Kathie, Susan, Shannon, Glenda, Laura, Mairead, Tom, Jessica, Deirdre, Helen, Maureen, Nancy, Alison, Pauline, Deborah, Euclid, Marguerite, Helen, Sumiko, Sherry, patricia, Linda, Linda, Winifred, Jennifer, Pamela, Sarah, Carmen, Britt, Kimberly, Lorrie, Anita, Michelle, Rae, Lori, Patti, rachel, Casey, Casey, Samantha, Lillian, Amy, Kelli, Heather, Linda, Bhama, Susan, Debra, Linda, Ann, Linda, Linda, Michelle, Kathy, Holly, SAM, Amanda, Anita, Meaghan, Gail, Ken, Karen, Kim, Alexandra elizabeth, Rita, Barbara, Holli, Anna, Barbara, Ruth LInda, Teresa, Liz Katherine, Inmotion Technology, Dawn, Cathe, Sue, Alpha, Jordan, Monica, Constance, Laura, Doris, Melissa, Beth and...

The first donation is processed and on its way to Feeding America. We'll do another on Friday. Thanks so much to everyone!!

**Edited to add: You can still get on board with us and help out. The patterns are here:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Operation Turkey Trot

November 1st means it's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving in earnest. Without doubt, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's a non-religious, non-political excuse to get friends and family together to eat great food and celebrate the good things in life. Can you ask for anything more? 

I've been hosting as often as I can since just after college. Back then, many of my friends worked in retail and had to be back at work on Friday and couldn't go home for the holiday. I started collecting everyone up and having "Thanksgiving for Strays". We created our own family for the day. I've kept of the tradition ever since. 

There are a couple of dishes I can't do without on Turkey Day and one is pumpkin pie. My favorite  comes straight from the back of the can of Libby's pumpkin. It's the one my mom made and I trust her on things like this. I do like a scratch crust. And real whipped cream. Certainly Cool Whip is a fine product, but it's not whipped cream. It's topping. And it has its place, just not on top of my pumpkin pie. 

We've been working on a little project with a bunch of other designers and the folks at Jimmy Beans Wool to bring you a surprise this holiday season. They'll be unveiling it on November 16th. Any guesses where I took my cue from? I could almost smell the cinnamon and spices while we were dyeing the yarn. It's super yummy!