Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicago Yarn Crawl

Like I mentioned yesterday, a group of my knitting friends and myself took a road trip over to Chicago on Saturday for a tour of the Lorna's Laces Factory. We got a tour/history lesson on the business, a dyeing demo and then a shopping spree. ;o)

What truly amazed me was that Beth Casey bought the business from Lorna Miser (the original creator of Lorna's Laces) without knowing anything about dyeing yarn or even any experience in dyeing yarn. I would have been petrified to try that.

Here's a picture of Beth, as she demonstates how they set up for and do the dyeing of the yarn. Her 'recipes' for each dyelot are tacked to the wall above the sink.

I could be wrong, because a few times my attention lapsed as I drooled at the yarn hanging all around, but I believe she said each dyelot consisted of 10lbs of yarn, which was equal to only 40 skeins. So if you decide to buy Lorna's Lace yarn, buy extra of that dyelot, because there is no telling where in the world the rest of the dyelot went. She said they have no clear way of tracking particular dyelots. (Thank God for Ravelry and Rav. Members who are willing to trade/sell excess yarn!)

Anyway, once the dye is applied to the yarn, it is put into steamers and cooked for 45 minutes. Each dyelot usually takes up 2 steamers at a time.

Once it is done cooking, it is put into a regular (cheapy) washing machine, where it goes through two spin/rinse cycles. It is NOT adgitated, just rinsed and spun to get the excess dye and soap out of it. Then it is hung on PVC pipes to dry. Not sure which 'recipe' she used for this demonstration batch, but it sure looks like the Tuscany Shepherd Sport yarn that I bought.

Once the demo was concluded and all questions answered, Beth turned us loose to do some serious shopping. She had 3 tables of Mill Ends for sale. The one pictured below held Shepherd sock yarn and sport weight yarn. There was also one for Shepherd Worsted/Bulky weigh yarn. The 3rd table held her a good selection of her Organic Green Line yarn.

Doesn't that look so tempting?!?! Well, we had no problem shoveling a great deal of this yarn into our plastic bags. I myself bought 11 skeins of yarn (6 worsted, 3 sport and 2 sock). I've posted it to Ravelry, but didn't think to take a photo of it all together.

By the time we were done at Lorna's, we were all very hungry. To save shopping time, we packed lunches and ate them in our cars. It was too cold to sit outside at a park. Then we cruised south on Damen St. to Knitting Workshop and Soutache (a button shop). I was still riding on the high of discount yarn, and didn't purchase any more yarn at Knitting Workshop, although I was tempted to buy some of the new Harry Potter sock yarn. I bought 2 wooden rings at Soutache in order to make the Dumpling Bag from the Fall 2008 Interweave Knits magazine. I looked for a shawl pin, however the few they had I felt were too large for me. After Soutache, we headed for downtown and Loopy Yarns. I finally found a skein of lime green sock yarn (TOFUtsies) and 3 skeins of Pastimes lace yarn, which was on clearance for 60% off. Can you say YEAH!!! I was very proud of myself. I decided to leave the credit and debit cards at home and only use cash. I came home with $8.00 to spare. Of course once we were back in South Bend I went out to eat with a few of the girls and had to use the debit card for dinner, but that doesn't really count, because I wasn't in Chicago anymore. :o)

I was so exhausted when I got home. I sat on the sofa to be mobbed by the Cats and promptly fell asleep after only about 10 minutes of petting.

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