Explore Chicago: Hanging Out With Lorna’s Laces

I didn’t realize this could be an Explore Chicago post until I came face to face with that word at the top my screen that demands “Title.”  I thought about it – how do I sum about my awesome weekend in a few short words that makes you want to continue reading?  What did I really do and what do I want to share with you?  This weekend was actually a large exploration of Chicago, from it’s quaint and quirky neighborhoods to the suburbs and a vast exploration of the public transit system into the Loop, it was strange and colorful and chilly and wonderfully inspiring.  Honestly – a little terrifyingly inspiring, as strange as the concept may seem.  To sum up what I mean – I have been face to face with some amazing, beautiful, creative, and ambitious people doing fantastic things.  And I’m faced with the ability to be a part of it – and it blows my mind.  I feel like I’m standing on the edge of everything I have want to do and all that is required is to take that one last leap of faith, and to be perfectly clear – it scares the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of me.

But, I digress.

Saturday saw a most wonderful opportunity realized.  I teamed up with the gals from Windy Knitty and we went to the dye studio of Lorna’s Laces – a most lovely, colorful, wacky little yarn dyer that is based in Ravenswood, a neighborhood here in Chicago.  Take a look at that website – go on, I can wait.  Pretty stunning, yes?  The color combinations, the quality, and if only you could feel the amazing cloud-like substance the yarn actually is – you would be head over heels and “accidentally” swiping your credit card (I may or may not speak from experience).

The coolest part, besides seeing the hole in the wall where the magic happens and standing inside hallways of beautiful, colorful, tempting skeins of super soft merino…I got to dye my own yarn.

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We started with a base.  I had a skein of superwash merino fingering weight, as did a majority of the others there.  This was her famous Solemate – ideal for sock yarn because of the 15% nylon and 30% Outlast.  It is deliciously soft and has a lovely sheen to it.

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We then picked out colors and watched Beth mix the pigments.

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She took a skein of the same base yarn and showed us what each of the colors was going to look like.  Once the 8 colors were ready, she let us have our fun.  There were 3 of us working on the tables at once, laughing our butts off as we spilled dyed across the table, played around with colors, and explored the studio.

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Seriously….color explosion everywhere.  I couldn’t help myself.

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And then we found this – a table of mill ends and one-of-a-kind skeins.  All of the samples they work with while they are trying to come up with new colorways – sitting right here on the table at ridiculously cheap prices.  I couldn’t resist.  I really couldn’t.  I keep wandering to the table, digging through the pile and finding all of these amazing little treasures.  I came away with a bag full of colorful pretties, and I have plans.

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In contract to the hanging skeins pictured above, our trial skeins hung in a row drying, but were no where near as stunning.  Granted, we all adored each others handiwork because it was a lovely surprise when they were finished.  We weren’t quite sure how everything was going to turn out, and each skein was beautiful.

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This is my Solemate.  It seems to reflect the icy chill of winter that is settling over us, with that lovely splash of color and beauty that you happen upon on those cold days.

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And then I couldn’t help myself, so I bought another base – this time a Superwash Worsted, and had another go; this time inspired by the autumn colors on the table.

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I can’t believe how lovely they turned out, and now I am racking my brain to think of suitable projects, because at this rate, my stash has an awful lot of souvenir, one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime finds that I really, simply, should not keep stuffed in plastic baggies inside of drawers.  They are meant to be admired.

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Just Another Pumpkin Post

I love autumn for the trees, and the apples, and the pumpkins.  I like the crisp air and colorful trails.

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That’s what’s been going on around here.  I am knitting like a fiend to restock popular items before my last weekend at the Farmer’s Market.  Ellette still does not have a Halloween costume.  I want to be a zombie Isadora Duncan but don’t have a party to go to.

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Perhaps part of the reason I like this time of year is because I begin to feel everything slowing down.  That means I can focus on my family, my house, my own personal goals.

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Pumpkins and Lace

This is the structure of my days.  I am churning out orange pumpkin hats – developing a steady annoyance with the color and the repetition of the pattern.  I am almost out of the orange yarn, which means that when they are gone – that’s it!  It will be a pleasant relief.  At least, until the next shipment arrives.

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In the meantime, in order to take the edge off, I have been working on a different type of edging.

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Enter the On-The-Fly lace edging I am improvising on the baby blanket. I have more stitches that my circular needles can hold right now, but I am going to keep drudging until it’s done.  You can see the top half of the heart motif (upside down right now – it sort of looks like spades, doesn’t it?)  The edging won’t last much past the point, and then I will finish it with a crochet cast off.    The blanket will not be shown completed until after the baby is born and I can give you a two-for.

I apologize that my posts have been so boring lately.  There really isn’t much else to write about until I finish this and move on to the next items – Holiday knitting!  I have a sweater and a cape lined up, as well as some therapeutic knitting for myself.

My Escape

We ditched Chicago for the weekend in exchange for wide open spaces and delicious autumn fruits.  It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while.

                                  

Last night, Odin made applesauce.  This afternoon I began apple butter, which is sort of like making applesauce except you let it simmer much much longer.  I haven’t found the energy to make apple pie yet, but the desire is there.  And I want to experiment with muffins, breads, and other fun apple things.

Heaven knows, we got enough apples for it!

Medival Fair in Autumn

We have had a very busy weekend over here.  With Odin out of town, it was me and Ellette finding ways to amuse ourselves.  Saturday, we attended the Stronghold Medieval Fair with a friend and her son, and Sunday – a glorious Sunday – we did absolutely nothing.  I couldn’t bother updating when I had my first true day that I could do absolutely nothing.  I did not have to wake up at a particular time, I did not have any intention on going anywhere, and it was a beautiful autumn day.

But, to tell you about the fair!  See below:

                 

 

A day when I did not have to work.  I opted out of selling at this show in exchange for a chance to be social and relaxed.  The weather was beautiful, and we were a little surprised at how quickly the day got away from us.  The kids absolutely loved it as well.  The most appealing part for me was that I didn’t have to wear a bodice.  I woke up, decided I was going to dress up, but as my inner pixie instead of regulated costume, and enjoyed adding layers and adornments.

 

 

Ode To Summer

Today marked Ellette’s first day of school.  For her, the summer is officially over.  On my days off, she will not be wandering the house, lamenting over how bored she is and how much work I have to do. One more week and my summer will be officially over as well.  While  I am somewhat sad to see it go, I am also rather grateful.  Summers are the busiest time of year for me, high stress levels and increasing boredom make it rough for us.

I thought I would see summer out with a little recap of our adventures.

We walked the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

We went to the beach.

Watched the fireworks on the 4th of July.

And we visited Six Flags Great America.

For much of the summer my studio looked like this, due to the fairy festivals and renaissance faires.

Now, fall is setting in, and the more regimented routine that follows.  I am trying desperately to get my house in order.  The chaos is getting to me.  I have started plotting projects and new products, hoping to get underway soon.  I kept myself going through the summer by telling myself things will slow down in September, and now that I am thinking about this September I realized things aren’t going to slow down for awhile.  I am working hard to eliminate KIPs just so I can cast on new items.  I have been sewing up a storm simply to use up the fabric scraps that have somehow overtaken my tabletops.  Over the next couple of weeks things should become slightly more organized, and more detailed photos of the projects I have undertaken will be available.

Until then, parents should enjoy the respite September brings!

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