This weekend, artisans throughout the Ravenswood corridor will be allowing the public to come into their studios to see the workings behind their wares during the Ravenswood ArtWalk. Artists in media including wood, metal, canvas-paints and plastic will allow passersby into their “homes,” with many offering their items for sale. This event is a walking tour of one of the most laid-back, culturally-diverse areas of the city of Chicago, and admission to the ArtWalk is free.
Lorna’s Laces, a hand-dyed yarn company who sells their product wholesale to yarn and craft stores internationally, will be offering a rare glimpse into its studio as well. While the company does not have a retail outlet, and only allows tours of their facility a few times per year through the local knitting guilds, this is a rare and unique opportunity for the general public to see the how yarn is hand-dyed. Even more enticing to knitters and other yarn enthusiasts is that Lorna’s Laces offers their mill ends at a deep discount during the ArtWalk.
In addition to offering “near-solids,” a reference to kettle-dyed colors which allow slight variation from the dying process, and colorways produced both seasonally and traditionally, the company has long offered a custom color program for stores which have a unique need in their community. For example, local yarn shops may ask for a particular colorway to match their store colors, local college colors, or something to reference an Anniversary Sale and other major events for the store. Most recently, Lorna’s partnered with Jimmy Beans Wool to sell an exclusive colorway for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and Jimmy Beans Wool offered a discount from the standard price based on the number of medals United States Olympians earned.
While the skeins which make it to stores are of first quality, some skeins will break or weaken in the spinning process, dye unevenly or unpleasantly, or a colorway will not be as optimal as the company would like. Additionally, yarn at the end of one mill, bolt, or spindle may need to be tied to the beginning of the next one to have enough yarn for one skein. This is referred to as a millend, or second-quality skein, and these will be offered for sale to the public during the Ravenswood ArtWalk.
The Artwalk is open from 11a.m. to 7p.m. on Saturday, and from 11a.m. to 6p.m. on Sunday, September 29 and 30. While the mailing address is on Honore Street for Lorna’s Laces, curious appreciators of art can enter on the 4222 N Ravenswood Avenue side and go to the second floor.
To get to the Ravenswood ArtWalk, it is a convenient CTA bus ride from the numbers 16, 78, 80, and 82 buses. The north end of the ArtWalk is also near the Ravenswood Metra stop, and a decent walk from the Wilson or Sheridan Red Line CTA El stops.
If you are not from the area, or you will not be able to make it to the ArtWalk, there is still plenty of opportunity for you to own hand-dyed yarn from Lorna’s Laces. To find a retailer throughout the world, just click on the web link and search for your state, province, or country.
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