Amidst all the places to buy yarn, Chicago has one of the most unique options you can find. I talked to Beth Casey from Lorna’s Laces, which specializes in hand-dyed yarns. This small business creates beautiful yarns in solid colors and multi-colors so that you can make creative and attractive knit and crochet projects.
Visit their website for patterns, yarns, and their location, or find them on Facebook to connect with them! Beth is passionate about her work and runs a wonderful small business out of such a large city.
Check out our interview below with Beth to learn more about her, her business, and hand-dying yarn.
Q. How long have you lived in Chicagoland? What’s your favorite thing about living and working here?
A. I’ve lived in Chicago for about 20 years. My favorite thing is the lake. I get up early every morning and take my dog for a nice long on the lakefront. It centers me and I’ve met some great friends out there along the way.
Q. Tell us a little background about Lorna’s Laces: How did you get started there?
A. That’s a very very long story. 😉 The short version is that I’d known for a long time that I wanted to work in yarn but wasn’t sure where I’d fit in. I didn’t have the skill set to be a designer. I also knew that retail wasn’t the right fit for me either. Imagine my delight when I found an ad in the back of a magazine. Yes, I found Lorna’s Laces through a magazine ad! It’s been a dream come true.
Q. What’s the best part about working there and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
A. The best thing about working here is the people. I try very hard to create an environment where people are happy to come to work. Many of the jobs at Lorna’s Laces are not really career jobs and that’s OK. Over the years, we’ve provided a good place for people to work while they figured out what was next in their lives. Alumni include a radio DJ, a geriatric social worker, two actors, a dietician, an HVAC guy, a couple of working artists, and at least two stay at home moms. I’m so very proud of them all.
Q. The website for Lorna’s Laces mentions something about colorways you’ve designed with celebrities. What celebrities have you worked with before? Do you have a favorite?
A. We’ve worked with Cookie A, Jared Flood, Amy Singer, Ysolda, Annie Modesitt, Clara Parkes, WendyKnits, Lorna Miser, Franklin Habit and Cat Borhdi. Even if I had a favorite, I’m not going to tell… That’d be like saying I had a favorite child. 😉 Hmm… We should probably get working on some more of those. It’s been awhile!
Q. How do you come up with the names for your colorways? There are so many!
A. When I first bought the company from Lorna Miser, we inherited her naming scheme. She picked local landmarks, streets, and neighborhoods. We still do that from time to time, but we’ve branched out a little. One season we used Chicago Mayors. Another we picked towns that held an important place in each one of the crew’s life story. It’s an evolving process and one we enjoy very much.
Q. What are the benefits to using hand dyed yarn?
A. The thing I like the most about hand dyed yarn is that it is hand dyed. Sorry if that sounds silly. I guess what I’m getting at is that whenever you are stitching something, you are doing it from a place of love. Whether it is destined for a charity, a loved one or yourself, we don’t make the time and energy to do hand work unless we are sending out that love. Hand dyed yarn is another step in that process. Each of us puts a little love into that skein and that is carried all the way through to the ultimate recipient.
Q. Hand dyed yarn can be a bit pricey at times. How can knitters/crocheters on a limited budget incorporate luxury yarn into their projects?
A. I’d turn first to small projects. Hats, gloves, scarves, socks. Or think about what will give you the most bang for your buck. Is there a center to the project where the hand dyed yarn would really sing? Could you add a stripe? What about some trim. Take a step back and let the project speak to you.
Q. When you get done with your day at Lorna’s, do you still enjoy going home and making your own yarn projects?
A. Of course! I usually have a couple of projects on needles at any one time. A travel project, a super simple T.V. project and then one that takes a little more concentration. The travel project is often socks, lately the T.V project has been Icelandic style sweaters and the concentration project if often a lace shawl.
Q. Do you hold positions for other organizations?
A. I sit on the board of TNNA and am finishing up my tenure as chair of its Yarn Group.
Q. What is your biggest piece of advice for people hoping to get more involved in the world of crochet?
A. Go for it! Life is too short to look back and say, “If only I had…”
Q. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you and your yarn-infused lifestyle?
A. Like I said in my previous answer, go for it. Life is too short and you’re never too old to get involved with crochet and knitting. The people are wonderful and the possibilities are unlimited.