Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FO (Finally)

I've finally got a FO for the year! I decided to do Jimmy Beans Wool Downton Abbey KAL.  If you've been keeping track of my Year of Making activities, you've been seeing quite a bit of it in small pieces over the past couple of months.

It's been a good project for me. I did the beginner rather than the advanced version because that was what I needed in my life. I was able to sit down and knit a row or two most days. Some days it was just a few stitches, but that's OK.

I hadn't done a Mystery KAL before and I decided that I like them. Or at least I liked this one. I'm pretty sure I switched the order of a clue or two along the way but it didn't matter. I still ended up with a beautiful, warm shawl(ette). Since you can't see what you are making is supposed to look like along the way, I'm not sure I'd be good with one where a little variance would affect the finished product in a meaningful way. There's just a little too much Type A personality running through these veins for that.

This is a seriously long shawl. Mine is about 9 feet from wing to wing. You can see that better in this shot from the Rav page.

 And a close up.

All in all, I give this project a big thumbs up. There's enough going on to keep it interesting while still providing good TV knitting. And you end up with a scarf/shawl thing that's long enough to give a ton of styling options.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Masham Worsted

In light of Clara Parkes glowing review yesterday, I thought y'all might like a little more eye candy today. We have a new yarn, Masham Worsted. It's a blend of 70% British Wool and 30% Masham Wool. What's a Masham you ask?

That is a Masham. If you look up "ram" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure this is the picture you'll find. Could he be any more handsome? The entry might also look something like this.

Anyway, I fell in love with this yarn the minute I saw it. I should probably back up a little. As a yarn company owner, mill reps come to visit me and try and sell me yarn. One day, this rep and I got to talking about what other kinds of wools we might work with. Merino is lovely and all, but there's a big world of other breeds out there. I'd purchased our BFL, Haymarket, from him last year and I wanted to explore the idea a little further.

He told me about Mashem and I was intrigued. One of the things that intrigued me the most was when he told me that different wools behave differently in the dyepots. Looky what it does.

Pretty cool, right? Here's another.

He made a few samples and sent them over. We fiddled and played and decided on a nice heavy worsted weight. This yarn is about 170 yards per 100gr hank.

It's shipping out to yarn stores now. Bristol Ivy's Wainright is magnificent.

So is Amy Herzog's Harrogate.

This yarn is lovely. Just lovely.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Memory Lane

The other day, I sent an email to my childhood next door neighbors, Ann and Ashley. I hadn't seen or talked to them in ages but I needed to get them information about my mom's burial. As I was typing I looked over at my keys. They were sitting right next to the keyboard on my desk.

I smiled. Ann and Ashley gave me that key ring on my 16th birthday and I've been using it ever since. I can't believe I've never lost it. 

Sure hope that's not a big jinx. 

Monday, February 24, 2014


Boy have I been remiss!  It's been over a month since I visited with you here on the blog. It's not that I haven't been thinking of you, I think of you every single day. But then so many days went by and I was afraid to write. You might be mad. A girl isn't going to go out on a date unless you call by Wednesday and so many Wednesdays have come and gone I thought you'd never speak to me again.

But then I figured I might have something you'd want. Something that you'd be so happy to see that you wouldn't mind if I hadn't called. Something like tickets to the hottest concert in town. Or that dinner reservation that no one can ever score. Leverage so to speak. What is this leverage you ask? Let's start with new colors!

We did eight new colors this season and they are shipping out the door every single day. We named this season's colors after Chicago suburbs or nearby towns. Would you like to go on a tour with me?

The first is Buffalo Grove. It's just a little northeast of the city. This nearly-solid color is reminiscent of good butter. The fancy kind you buy for those special recipes when it's really going to matter. Like the cookies I made for you today.

Next up is DuPage. DuPage is the county just to the west of Cook County. Chicago is in Cook County. It's a tonal multi based on shades of periwinkle. Soft and pretty.

Then we come to Galena, a town on the western edge of Illinois, right on the Mississippi River. It has one of those downtown districts that picture postcards are made of.The color is a dusty rose tonal multi.

Let's visit Glen Ellyn now. It's a village in DuPage county. It reminds me very much of the town I grew up in. The color is fresh and springy. For sure a neutral baby color.

Let's head over to Naperville. It's always making Money magazine's list of top 10 best places to live in the U.S. But they don't brag about it. That's just the kind of folks they are. It's a nice denim-y blue tonal multi that would go with just about anything.

Are you up for a drive to Northbrook? There's a great mall there. We could do some shopping and then maybe head to a movie? This is a classic Lorna's Laces multi color with cool blue and soft brown and a killer hit of acid. Yum!

Maybe we should head south for a bit. How does Shorewood sound? It's just far enough from the city to feel like you're getting away, but close enough to get downtown easily if you'd like. The cool blues and greys of this color are soothing.

The last stop on our tour today is St. Charles. This is another of those darling towns with main drag full of wonderful shops and restaurants and a river walk to stroll on after dinner. Lovely. The color is fun with verve and pop!

So, do you forgive me? Can I write to you again? Maybe I could even hold your hand?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Year of Making

I got inspired last year by Miriam Felton. She got involved in something called Year of Making. Or maybe she invented it. This blog post makes me think it was her idea. It sounds like there was a bunch of stuff going on in her life that she didn't have any control over. This was a way to gain some of that back.

The idea behind it is to take a picture of something you make every day for a year. It doesn't have to be fancy, it might be something a simple as making dinner or working a row of knitting. It also could be the culmination of a lot of work, like a sweater or painting the house. It could be something you do every day or something you've never done before. It's totally an unwritten book that each of us has the opportunity to be the author of.

I've decided to keep it as simple as possible. No real rules. For me it's more about the mindfulness of the exercise. To realize that I do make something everyday. That there is value in the making regardless of the outcome.

I started on January 1. I've been posting them to my twitter account every day. Here are a few so far.

I worked on my Podcaster.

I finished my Podcaster. First FO of the year!

I hung a mirror.

 And made a snow angel.

I'll try and post them here too. I won't promise they'll get here every day but they will always be on twitter. Check out  #yearofmaking. You might want to join yourself. It's never to late.

Today's I made this blogpost.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Things I Dream Of

1) I dream of taking a bath. I'm one of those people who takes a bath instead of a shower every day. At least I was until we started the rehab work on our bathrooms and laundry room. The workers are doing a great job, but it is a big project and it's taking longer than I would like. The bathtub is in the room, but Houston, we still have a problem.

2) Being warm. The heat at Lorna's Laces has been out since Monday. Brrr....  I'm warm enough if I wear my coat all day, but I'd like to take it off. And the gloves making typing hard.

3) World Peace. (I know that's a t-ball one, but it needs to be included.)

4) A loooong vacation. I think everyone should try and get more than a week away from work. I've only had one of those in the past 10 years. I'd love to figure out a month away, but that's just a pipe dream. BTW, visiting family isn't a vacation. It's a trip, but not a vacation.

5) My 18 year old body. The funny thing is that I wasn't happy with it then either. Some things never change, do they? Maybe I should come to terms with my biology.

6) An extra hour or so in the day. I'm not going to be greedy, I don't need an extra day in the week or anything. I just want an extra hour to hang out with the people I love in the evening and knit.

7) My mom before dementia. The woman who did such a great job of  raising me has been gone for some time. I don't like the new one nearly as well. But I love her just as much. Maybe more.

8) A winning Lotto ticket. I'd like to be rich but not famous. I want to be able to move around the planet without being recognized. In my private jet. Or on my yacht.

9) Coming back in my next life as a dog. A dog with a life like this one.

10) Adding one new true friend to my life every year. We're all moving so fast through this life, staring at screens. Let's not forgot that people are what makes us all rich. (Yacht excepted.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I was lucky enough to spend last weekend teaching at VKLive. It's a super event from beginning to end.

I open my class with a little talk about how we create colors at Lorna's Laces. I think people are kind of surprised that we're not all about color theory and the color wheel. We work more organically than that around here.

I discuss paying attention to the world around us. After all, we are surrounded by color. Think about the row after row of towels you see at the department store. (photo Wilson's Dept. Store)

Instead of just picking up the green towels you need for your bathroom, have you ever stopped to think about how they play off one another? Look at the jumble of colors, there's no rhyme or reason here, but they all look wonderful. Not a single one of them is asking if it's OK to sit next to their complementary color or across from their secondary friend. They all coexist in a delightfully chaotic fashion. 

What about the walk you took last weekend? It's been a beautiful fall and I bet there were a couple of houses with pots full of mums on the porch. (photo

Again, all the colors are living together happily. They aren't fighting or bickering. So what's up with all the rules we hear about? I've always thought they were kinda stupid. Something thought up by some scholar somewhere to suck all the fun out of something pretty. And fun. 

Lo and behold, when I got home on Sunday evening, my weekly update was in the mailbox. I opened it up and towards the bottom was an article by Becky Dietrich about breaking the rules in decorating. Most of what she talked about was color. There was some discussion of texture as well, but mostly color. 

Let me quote just a little bit of it: