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 La Lana Wools is Closing

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Clara Posted - 02/08/2012 : 6:31:38 PM
Yup, after nearly 40 years, Luisa Gelenter is hanging up her shingle and calling it a day. I realize that not everybody knows about La Lana Wools in Taos, but it is a beautiful story and it deserves to be told again.

Melanie Falick and Artisan Books gave me permission to reprint the profile of Luisa that originally ran in Knitting in America / America Knits, and you can find it here.

Oh! And between now and February 29th she is selling everything. Everything. You have to call the shop directly to find out what she has left, but now's your last chance.

The knitting world has most definitely changed since Luisa opened up shop in 1974. (Nineteen SEVENTY FOUR, people.) But I like to think that her work paved the way for all the hand-dyers - and natural dyers - with us now. Without question.

I first met Luisa in 2006 when I was working on The Knitter's Book of Yarn. After a bumpy start (she stared at me, shook her head, and said, "No, that's not possible, you're too young!") we spent the whole afternoon together, first at her shop, then out at her mill. She was extremely generous and spunky and helpful and funny, and I've had a soft spot in my heart for her ever since. I tip my hat and wish her well on whatever her next steps may be.

Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
11   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
marfa Posted - 02/10/2012 : 1:47:33 PM
How do.

Clara, thank you for telling us about this fiber pioneer. When I read Melanie's excellent book, I was in awe of LaLana Wools. I am sorry I have never been to Taos to see this shop.

Much luck to Luisa.

dothead Posted - 02/10/2012 : 10:27:55 AM
This is sad news since I had this fantasy that one day I would go to Taos and visit the shop. I once ordered a hat kit from La Lana and just loved the colors.

Vicki, the Constant Lurker(who sometimes stops lurking and actually posts)
kbshee Posted - 02/10/2012 : 09:26:57 AM
La Lana was at the one Stitches event I attended (Stitches West, maybe 5 or 6 years ago) and I bought yarn for a shrug in IK. Beautiful colors and lovely people helping me find the exact skeins I needed (it was a shrug that took advantage of color changes in the wool, so some specific matching was important).

kim in oregon
mjhknits Posted - 02/09/2012 : 9:41:44 PM
I visited Luisa's wonderful shop last summer and was looking forward to going again. Still, I have some of her wonderful yarn - that just shows it's a good idea to add to the stash when something as special as this comes along! Posted - 02/09/2012 : 4:15:54 PM
We met Luisa a number of years ago at the Wool Festival at Taos, where we have a booth. She was always welcome and real thrill to talk fleeces. She did buy a number of raw fleeces from us which was an honor. I did miss her last year, and am sorry that she is closing Lana Wools; but I can recommend retirement to all. Gives you much more time to do fiber things--and look after all the sheep!!!!

Sharry Bone/
Gibson Girl Posted - 02/09/2012 : 11:16:13 AM
Oh no!! I have lived so close (Arizona) and never heard of this wonderful sounding shop. We've been to Taos many times to revel in Georgia O'Keefe country. So will any of her yarns be available to buy? Will there be a listing of those who might sell spun yarn she has dyed? Just hate to find out something wonderful after the fact!!!
Catlover Posted - 02/09/2012 : 10:30:53 AM
Thanks for the info and the update, Clara. I have been able to visit the shop only twice but thoroughly loved it each time. What a wonderful shop and how inspiring! I'm glad I was able to buy yarn and handmade buttons there, as well as meet Luisa. She's a true icon.
Clara Posted - 02/09/2012 : 09:50:56 AM
In case you were wondering what Luisa has up her sleeve next, she just wrote and told me:

I am going to continue with our Dyeing Service as I have many devoted customers who have based their wonderful works on it. Also it's hard to give up the plant dyeing. With the service they send their yarns to be dyed with our colors. Also will be continuing with spinning the crazy Textured yarns as I am addicted to those incredible fleeces.

So it's the end of certain parts of the era, but others continue. I'm so glad!

Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
knitwitt Posted - 02/09/2012 : 09:30:17 AM
I am glad Luisa is looking forward to the next chapter, and I wish her all the best!

I am of course sad to hear of this, and so glad I had an opportunity to knit with her gorgeous yarns. Pam Allen's Floral Gathering Sac was the project, and my first-ever attempt at colorwork of any kind. I think I will take that bag for a day of yarn shopping this Saturday, as a toast to Luisia.

--Jennifer Posted - 02/09/2012 : 09:12:53 AM
I first met LaLana Wools-and Luisa-through the mail before there was internet in the late 70's.I had a teeny tiny fledgling weaving/spinning business and I subscribed to Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot. That was the one reliable magazine before Interweave Press. I found her website, and I ordered yarn from her. I also asked her about natural dyes. Because of her I learned to experiment and play with natural sources around me. My second trip to the Taos Wool Festival was a solo trip. I wandered into the store, and the young lady that was behind the counter asked me if I needed instructions to use the dyestuff I had bought. I told her that I had ordered these before, and we got into a discussion. She asked me where I was from, and I told her. She remembered my name and asked me questions about my business. I was amazed that I was remembered as a customer. Now some many years later,LaLana is still my favorite store to visit when I go to the Wool Festival. I have only met Luisa once in person, but her staff always has been friendly, knowledgable, and helpful. This is one place I will miss. It is sad to lose such an institution.
Jessica Posted - 02/09/2012 : 07:56:03 AM
Say it ain't so! I'm so glad that I was able to visit her store in Taos a couple of years ago. What a fiber oasis!

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