A Chat with Lorna's Laces
Lorna’s Laces is one of the newest additions at Deramores, so we caught up with the lovely owner, Beth Casey to ask a few questions and introduce you to this exquisite brand.
Before we get started let us tell you why we love Lorna’s Laces and their scrumptious yarns. First off, we adore their fresh, bright and contemporary range of colourways; hand dyed yarns not only create unique and very special knits, but are extremely satisfying to work with too, after all no two skeins are the same.
Whether you’re looking to create a special gift or a family heirloom, Lorna’s Laces will bring something a little different to your project. An artisan yarn company with a desire to create innovative and unique skeins, you’re sure to find inspiration from this delectable brand.
Ideal for producing carefully coordinated accessories such as socks, shawls or scarves, there are endless possibilities with these spectacular yarns. We hope you enjoy what Beth has to say…
Tell us about Lorna’s Laces, how did the brand come about and how did you get into hand dying yarn?
Lorna's Laces began life on a small hobby farm in California in the 1990's. The original owner had a couple of sheep and a few angora rabbits whose wool she spun and dyed.
As time went on, she began buying commercially available yarn and dyeing it for her local market. And people loved it! Slowly but surely, the yarn became more well known and the company grew. But, her true love was designing patterns rather than dyeing yarn, so she decided to sell the company. That's where I come in.
I worked for many years in publishing. It was a great job, but I knew there was something missing, passion. I left that job in 2000 and went on a search to find that it. I studied bread baking at the French Culinary School in Manhattan and worked some odd jobs here and there, but nothing was quite right.
Maybe I should back up a little here and tell you how I came to become a knitter. I don't have the classic story of learning from my mother or grandmother. When I first started that job in publishing, I had just moved to a new city and didn't know a single person. I worked from home, so things were very lonely. One day, I met with two of my colleagues and they were both wearing hand knit sweaters. I was intrigued. So, the next day, I went to my local yarn store and signed up for a class. I was immediately hooked. Not only did I love to knit, but I had found my community. I wasn't lonely anymore. I was home.
So, we're back to the part of the story where I'm tying to figure out what was going to next for me in terms of work. It is the fall of 2002 and one evening I was thumbing through a knitting magazine and ran across one of those small classifieds in the back. There was a yarn company for sale and I replied to the ad. We spent the next couple of months negotiating the contract and in January of 2003, I was the owner of Lorna's Laces.
In some respects, what we all do is more than just creating beautiful things. We are the custodians of a timeless art form in an age of enormous technological advances. While rooted in tradition, I see us all embracing the change provided by the internet and social media. We are tweeting, gramming, Raving and staying connected on Facebook. That's not going to change. It's still the community I found at my LYS all those years ago, just on a grander scale.
We’d love to know about the process, how do you choose the yarn fibre and select the dying style?
There are a couple of different ways we go about choosing yarn. The first is pretty easy, mill reps come to us with samples of yarns they think will be popular for the next season. Sometimes we like them and sometimes we don't. Oftentimes, there will be a characteristic we like in one yarn and a characteristic we like in another and we'll ask the mill to mash them up for us. Voila! The other way is when we go to the mill and tell them what we have dreamed up. Then they'll make samples and we will likely tweak things a bit and a yarn is born. There is something very heady about creating a yarn from scratch.
The dyeing style has evolved over time. When I first bought Lorna's Laces, we had a specific way we put dye onto yarn. Over the years we have adjusted that. For example, we added more tonal colors a few years back. Speckles are all the rage right now, so we've added them to the mix. We keep our eyes peeled for what stitchers are looking for.
You have some interesting colourways, along with their names, where do you find inspiration for these?
Inspiration is all around, it's just a matter of opening your eyes and your heart to what's around you. Let me give an example. From time to time, we all go into the department store to buy new bath towels. Most of the time, we have a color in mind, find it in a brand we like, pay at the register and go on our way. But, take a step back. Look at the giant wall of color. Where is your eye drawn? Is there something there that makes you smile? What if you pick up a second towel, how do they look together? All of the sudden, a mundane trip to the store for towels has your creative juices flowing. I guess my point here is to look around everywhere. Sure, you can look to Pantone and fashion magazines, but there is plenty of inspiration to be found in everyday life!
As far as naming goes, that's been an evolution too. We started out naming them for things around us. Streets that people lived on, neighbourhoods in Chicago. After a while, we exhausted those and decided to pick a theme every season. One year it was gentlemen's fripperies, another was famous Chicagoans. Last season we chose favorite vacation spots. We're still in the midst of deciding what direction to head for the new colors that we'll launch in January.
Lorna’s Laces yarns are ideal for creating socks, shawls and a whole host of accessories, what would you recommend as a great project for new customers?
I'm always a fan of small projects. So shawls and accessories certainly fit that bill. But, lately I've been knitting small blankets. Several friends have had babies recently so that's what got me started. Then I realized I needed a few new throws for the living room and then.... You know how it goes. I'm so excited about blankets that we've partnered with Franklin Habit for a KAL starting January 1. You might want to check out the details here.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our Lorna’s Laces collection here.