Friday, August 31, 2007

What's German for "hot legs"?

No wonder she's so into knitting skirts. Check out these hot gams:

Do these sticks belong to a hipster 20-year-old? A marathon runner? No, they belong to Ingrid - proof that a steady diet of espresso yields impressive results:

Ingrid, we think it's time to stop knitting long skirts and start knitting minis!

- Shelley
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sweet and sweeter!

A few weeks ago at the Loops Troops swim party, Elizabeth brought this totally sinful cake, and I've been meaning to share her recipe with you. TOTALLY worth every calorie!

Gooey Butter Cake

Mix to crumb:
1 yellow cake mix (I like yellow butter mix, duh)
1 stick butter (unsalted, of course)
1 egg

Put in 9x13 pan, spread, but don't mash down hard.

Mix again in mixer bowl/no need to wash bowl:-)
2 eggs
8 oz cream cheese (Neufchatel=less fat, woo-hoo)
1 pound powdered sugar (Yeah, 1/2 of a 2 pound bag)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour on top of crumb-crust.

Bake 35 minutes @ 350 degrees, or just a little longer- I like to see a little golden color on some bubbly places:-)

Keep in refrigerator. Eat to the tune of Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

...and as if that weren't sweet enough, check out these new pictures of little Miss Lily. Billie Anne and Mike went to dinner for BA's 29th birthday, while Ian hung out with us. I had to coax BA to take Lily's carseat out of the car and let us have a looksie. What a cutie!!!

As we stood there ogling her, she started to nod off in that adorable way that newborns do (kind of reminded me of me, with my knitting, the TV on and a glass of wine):

- Shelley
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sale, a day late!

So sorry...I forgot that I promised ya'll I'd put some lines ON SALE yesterday. Also, I forgot that not all of the clearanced items are up on our site yet (Kendall and Brent are working toward this) so in the meantime, I've put a few others in her for you. Here they are:

Rowan Ribbon Twist 50% off
RYC Soft Tweed 50% off
Rowan Cotton Rope 30% off
Louisa Harding Fauve 30% off
Nashua Natural Focus Ecologie 30% off
Debbie Bliss Soho (this felts too!) 30% off

So ladies (and gentlemen), start your shopping!

- Shelley

Monday, August 27, 2007

I bead bad.

As my kids would say (in a gramatically incorrect moment), "I be'd bad this weekend." I'm supposed to be doing my 2nd Hot Loops project. Or at the very least, the hat to match my cabled scarf for my cable class next month. But like you, I am not immune to the siren's song of a new yarn and pattern.

I was sucked in by this new Stitch Diva pattern, from a leaflet entitled Single Skein Stuff, that uses just one skein of Tilli Tomas Rockstar beaded silk (BTW, see that sweater on the cover of Knitter's? That's my next project). This handy Diva leaflet has four (five?) single patterns, including a bag, all from just one skein of yarn. I love the Stitch Diva patterns, including the new Hairpin Lace patterns. Very goth, very hip. This one looks like a scarf, but it is really a headband pattern that I have modified to make into a long headscarf. Headscarves are very big for fall and I like the way they dangle down below the bottom of my hair, kinda like those hairwraps you get on the beach.

Love love love this "seafoam" pattern. It is basically a variation on the very simple dropstitch. As they say in the pattern, it's basically garter stitch "with a twist." A very fast, very efficient way to "be bad." Plus, it should be done tonight. Unless I be bad and have a glass of wine.

- Shelley
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Loops Troops: Meet Paula!

I missed "Loops Troops Tuesday" because I was having fun with the here it is, a bit belated. If you haven't been to Loops on a Monday night, you probably haven't met Paula. Paula has a noble non-profit "day job" and works at Loops one night a week to feed her yarn obsession. She is always knitting something hip, and just finished up this quick project in Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Infusion Mohair. Mohair is back this fall in a BIG way. This particular pattern from Jo Sharp's "Contemporary Knitting" is quick and super-easy to make. It is basically a ribbed scarf that you seam together at the end to make a shoulder-warmer. (And if you're afraid of seams, this is a good place to start, because the fuzzy mohair hides the seam!) Paula loved knitting it so much she's making another one in solid charcoal gray.

Here are Paula's answers to our 12 questions. So far, I think she is the big winner in the Things We Didn't Know About Her category. Her answer shocked and intrigued us all!
1. What's your middle name? Lee
2. What's your favorite all-time yarn? koigu
3. How long have you been knitting, and who taught you? I've been knitting for 3 years - I learned from the internet and then Ingrid, Sherry, Dawn and Gina.
4. What's your favorite food & drink? FOOD - Ethiopian, no, really! The best is in Washington D.C., but a new Ethiopian restaurant opened OKC last year - you must go there. DRINK - lavender lemonade
5. Name three songs on your iPOD (or whatever). Tulsa - Rufus Wainwright, Summer's Gone - Aberfeldy and anything by Nina Simone
6. What's your favorite hand-knit or crochet item to wear? my black or red merino leg warmers
7. How big is your stash? I don't know, I put most of it the closet and under the guest bed so that I can pretend that it is much smaller than it is. This also keeps my marriage together as my husband thinks my stash is what I have in my knitting bag at the time.
8. What's your favorite movie? 8 1/2 and Godfather II
9. What makes you happiest? Knitting, uninterrupted
10. What's your favorite color? Green
11. Your biggest pet peeve is? Dirty dishes
12. Name three things about you most people don't know. I got my bachelor's degree in History. I have several strange phobias - one of which involves ventriloquist dolls - very creepy! I use to be a road manager and bus driver for a rock band.

For more details, you'll have to worm them out of Paula on a Monday night. Remember, Loops is open every weeknight until 8. There is always a fun crowd so come in and stitch...

- Shelley
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Head 'em up, move 'em out!

Howdy there bargain hunters...check out the 50% off clearance section:

This is as full as you'll see it all year. There are full bags piled up under the baskets! And this is the good stuff, the stuff you don't normally see on sale. Ya got yer Rowan:

Ya got yer Muench:

Ya got yer Classic Elite:

And ya got all kinds of other good stuff...but after this weekend, ya may not have so many dang choices! So mosey on down. Also after the weekend, I'm putting all of this on sale online, too! So all you out-of-townies be sure to check it out. Plus we've got some other brand-new goodies (not on sale, but still lovely), including popular Tahki Cotton Classic colors:

And two back-ordered colors of Colinette Jitterbug:

And of course, loads more coming next week. Stay tuned!

- Shelley
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lucy the devil dog names a winner (or three).

OK everyone, I've run your comments past my "zombie dog," Lucy, and the winner is...


Here is her caption for the contest photo that got the best response from our unbiased panel, i.e. me.
"Mabel looked into her dog's eyes and decided maybe it was time to sell her house next door to the nuclear power plant."

BTW, Tara has cracked me up many times before, because I love her blog, "The Half-Assed Knitter" It's one of those guilty pleasure reads. Plus, she says nice things about Loops so that gets her brownie points. (Tara, we'll overlook that recent foray to Hobby Lobby ;-)

You guys responded so nicely, I'm also going to award three Honorable Mentions. Each of the following will get 4 skeins of Rowan Cotton Rope:

"Wedgee!" -Kay

"None of the other zombie dogs have to wear bows." - e

"I want that KOIGU!!!" - Gene W.

If you're a winner, please e-mail me your mailing address so I can mail your goodies out!

For those of you who didn't win, or didn't play...I'll be having these giveaways every couple of weeks, so check back often.

And now a show'n'tell from Gene W., who when not busy blogging, created this mini version of a baby blanket from the Debbie Bliss Cashmere Collection book.

This super-easy baby blanket is made from just 3 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky. It's merino, cashmere and microfiber, it's soooooo soft and it's WASHABLE. So the little bambino can enjoy some luxury and still spit up to his/her heart's content. Gene had one blanket done in a couple of days, and had so much fun he made a second one:

Gene was kind enough to share his recipe: Cast on 60 stitches using #13 24" circular needle. Work in seed stitch until all 3 skeins are used up. If you feel like it, single-crochet around the edges, with the same color or a contrasting color. Give away (or use as your own personal security "lovee." We won't tell.)

- Shelley
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Giveaways - Taped and Live!

For your blogging pleasure, we have two giveaways going on this week. First, for a chance to win a FULL BAG of 10 balls of Rowan Bamboo Tape in pink (get it, "taped"?):

All you have to do is post a comment with a caption for the following photo:

The best caption will win the bag o' yarn. I am the sole judge and completely biased - your caption will have to appeal to my warped sense of humor. Or whatever. I'll make the decision and post the winner on Thursday night.

The other giveaway is this: If you live in Tulsa, come out for the Utica Square "Summer's 5th Night" free concert this Thursday 9/23 at 7pm. The concert is free, LIVE, and it's Midlife Crisis (great band!) and I am emceeing on behalf of Loops. There will be a giveaway at intermission - I'd like to think I'll have time to create a lovely gift basket, but with the kids going back to school this week, chances are it'll be a nice big gift card. Show up at the concert and look for the table to sign up for a chance to win the prize. See you then!

- Shelley
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rowan, Rowan, Rowan your boat...

Picture me upstream in a river of boxes, without the proverbial paddle:

This is but a mere portion of our Fall Rowan order - all 6 boxes, with more on the way - which arrived on Friday. It's all priced and ready to go out on Monday (Ingrid, I hope you're eating your Wheaties today :). Here are some sneak previews:

That's the new Tapestry Collection book, surrounded by all the lovely Tapestry colors we are carrying. This book is full of gorgeous, very wearable patterns. The self-striping yarn does the work! The other big Rowan book for fall is New Shapes, full of patterns "suitable for the beginner" in Big Wool and Little Big Wool. We have also brought in lots of new colors in Big Wool to choose from. If you're looking to make your first garment, or just want a quick, fun knit (who doesn't?), this is worth a look:

And this is my absolute favorite...the Rowan Story Book of Little Knits. It's a beautiful, hardcover, very English book:

Inside are stunning patterns, from simple to more challenging, for the elusive 3-to-10-year-old age group! Wahoo! And even better, there are actual stories in here - charming little tales with little pen-and-ink ilustrations! Sit down with your child, pick out something to knit, and then when they wear the knitted item, they can pretend they are the character in the story. How cute is that?

We also got the new Kidsilk Aura (a heavier weight of the popular Kidsilk Haze - or as Kendall refers to it, Cracksilk Haze) plus Calmer, Kidsilk Night, etc...And Rowan was just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of other shipments are keeping Karl the UPS guy busy (yes we recently found out it's Karl with a "K" - please forgive us, kind bearer of new yarns). There was a yummy shipment of Art Yarns Supermerino in old favorites plus new colors:

A book shipment, including the new "Easy Knitted Socks":

Some incredible, almost edible hand-painted silk lace from Claudia:

And here is something fun from Louet: Hand Dyeing Kits! These were a hit at TNNA, where they had them all set up and let us hand-dye our own sock yarn or thick-and-thin scarf yarn on the spot! The boxes are sealed shut...but they come with everything you need, including dye in squeeze bottles, yarn and instructions. Click here to see some sample socks. We will try and do a demo or class with these later in the fall.

Grab some now for great holiday gifts. In fact, if you like these lines, we advise you get in to Loops ASAP and pick out your favorite colors. Same goes for each new line as it arrives. Little birdies in the industry have told us that many shipments have been behind this year, and re-orders are not a sure thing...So shop it while we've got it! (OK, we're not running out of yarn anytime soon, but your favorite color may not be around next month). See you soon -

- Shelley
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Man stash.

It started innocently enough. I had just finished making a comprehensive list of all the yarns we stock at Loops for use as a staff reference tool. (Did you know we have 29 different cashmere and cashmere-blend yarns? 18 sock yarns? 19 felting wools - not to mention 45 other, non felting wools? 41 cottons and heck, even 5 different bamboos?) Anyhoo, I went searching for a 3-ring binder to hold the 8-page, single-space list...and when I opened my husband's supply closet, something in the corner caught me eye:

Yes, fiber lovers, I'm sure it jumped out at you, too. There, among the manly cardboard, the CDs and military-issue files, was YARN. A big ole box of it.

I had found Man Stash! Had he secretly been learning to knit? Had he become jealous of my stash, and hidden some of his own away, just to even things up? Of course, he gave me his best innocent look:

He claimed it was from "an old photo shoot" and he must have "just forgotton about it." Mmm-hmm. I think this warrants further investigation. Or at the very least, continued fortification of my own stash. After all, how would it look for his to be bigger than mine?

- Shelley
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Troops Tuesday: Meet Ellen!

If you haven't met Ellen, the simplest way to describe her is, she keeps things interesting! She's married to a cardiologist, used to own a quilt shop, and has two miniature horses that live in her backyard - and that's just the beginning! She and Billie Anne call themselves the "doom twins" because for them, the cup is always half empty. And yet Ellen is always full of life - no conversation is ever dull. She is also good at stirring the pot - keeping everything humming and buzzing. Here she is in a wrap she designed using Muench Stars and Bel Air:

Here are Ellen's answers to my questions. I think she showed great restraint:
1. What's your middle name? Mary
2. What's your favorite all-time yarn? Whatever I am knitting with at the time.
3. How long have you been knitting, and who taught you? Learned about 3 years ago at a local knitting shop
4. What's your favorite food & drink? Favorite drink is Dr. Pepper, food.....turkey and dressing with gravy
5. Name three songs on your iPOD (or whatever).Believe it or not I have not songs on my iPod. I have 5 books, bunch of NPR podcasts, knitting podcasts
6. What's your favorite hand-knit or crochet item to wear? My hand-spun cashmere shawl.(Surprised?)
7. How big is your stash? I have an obscene amount. One wall of one room. (Shelley's note: I have seen it. It is epic.)
8. What's your favorite movie? I have about 6....Love Actually, Inherit the Wind, The Color Purple, Star Wars, Napoleon Dynamite, & Shakespeare in Love
9. What makes you happiest? Rob (hubby), Arielle (daughter), and my animals (LOTS of them)
10. What's your favorite color? PINK!!!!!
11. Your biggest pet peeve is? Hypochondriacs
12. Name three things about you most people don't know. I hate swimming in ponds or lakes, I am a home body, and I have a huge crush on George Lucas!

- Shelley
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Monday, August 13, 2007

Tamami's Blue Sky Cable Bag & other show 'n' tell.

I've been stockpiling photos of customers' recent finished projects, so it's time to empty out the camera and share them with you!

First, a web customer named Tamami in Arizona ordered the Loops Cable Couture Bag Kit with the Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky in red. I encouraged her to try the darker rattan handles we had in stock. She had her yarn in just a couple of days and had this made a couple of days later! Plus she added her own flower - cool to know there was enough yarn left to do that.

I complimented Tamami on the bag, and she responded with this note:
"Glad you like my red bag :) It was so much fun to learn how to do the cable stitch by this kit. I did not want to stop knitting!!! As far as the flower corsage, yes, I just had enough left over yarn from the bag :) Now there is only a foot yarn left. LOL. I crochetted the flower by using a pattern in Japanese where I am originally from, but had to reduced some stitches to make it work with the left over yarn. I found a very similar one in English for you. The 2nd one in blue with a dark blue button seems to be almost like mine :) But looks like you still need some adjustment as your yarn is pretty thick :O [click here for the flower link] It's like a 3D flower and mine only has two layers, instead of three like this pattern. Thanks again and enjoy! -Tamami

On the subject of bags, fabulous Aloah came in with two fun bags she recently finished - think they are both gifts for grandchildren. The one on the left is from a Loops kit containing Rowan Little Big Wool and beaded fringe. The one on the right is made from Berroco Tutu - I think there's still some left in our clearance bin. The free pattern is called Fubu.

Next, here is the lovely Bonnie in a yummy shade of Orchid Blue Sky Cotton. The Eyelet Cardigan Pattern is quick and simpler than it looks, she promises!

Next we have prolific Patti (I swear, she finishes a new garment every week! We are impressed!) in a design from the Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton/Stella book. Pure Cotton is very much like Blue Sky Cotton - super soft, non mercerized, same gauge and lovely colors:

The always friendly, always fun Harriet just finished this great wrap in Rowan Denim. I want to call your attention to the piece de resistance, the gorgeous shawl pin from Moving Mud:

And last but clearly not least, we have I-love-a-challenge Joy (she has been learning Norwegian and asked if we had any untranslated patterns from Norway!) with the cutest little frog. She used the pattern from SWT - you can view this online but it is only available free from stores that carry the line. The pattern called for Karaoke but I think Joy used Cascade:

Everyone be sure to hop on in this week...I'm going to mark-down a few favorite yarns that are being discontinued by the manufacturers, in order to make room for the giant boxes of new stuff headed our way!

- Shelley
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Saturday, August 11, 2007

A wild college party.

Last weekend, we bade farewell to our beloved Emily & Marisa. Both girls are heading off to begin their sure-to-be-illustrious college careers. We sent them off in true Loops style - with a party of course! Ellen was the hostess with the mostest (yes Ellen, we all know you have the mostest!):

And everyone was having fun doing their best Esther Williams imitations:

Afterwards, their was knitting by the light of tiki torches, and a few tears. Marisa is headed to Florida Gulf Coast University to study in the hospitality field. Her mom, Gina Marie, is driving her down to Florida as I write this, and will take three weeks off in Florida for a very long goodbye! Then she and Gary are off to Italy for three more weeks of Empty Nester celebration, as Marisa is their last baby bird to leave the nest. We will all miss Marisa's inimitable sense of style, girly taste, sweet sense of humor and love of a good party. Here is one of my fave pics of Marisa, modeling a French Girl pattern in Rowan Ribbon Twist:

Marisa started as a "Stock Girl" at Loops but eventually began working on the floor. Customers loved her style and eventually, she even learned to knit - and enjoy it! Although she had to be careful it didn't cut into her dating time :)

Emily, on the other hand, has been a true yarn addict since the moment she picked up the needles just a year or so ago. She has already made a Koigu sweater and many other challenging garments. Right now she's doing the Mystery Stole out of our Lobster Pot cashmere lace. It looks like a Master Knitter's project! Here is Emily wearing a hat from the Twinkle book, in Soft Chunky. Her mom Gina Y. knit it for her in less than an hour:

Emily is going to TU so she won't be gone for good! She is so talented in both piano and violin, and received a prestigious music scholarship with a stipend (it's every parent's dream - everything is covered!). The only downside is she is not allowed to work while in school. So she is going to try to get a TU knitting group started. If you're interested, post a comment or e-mail me and I'll pass along your info to her. Here is another of my favorite Emily pictures. Like their mothers, the two Ginas, Emily & Marisa have been great friends for years, and they share the same love of all things pink:

Also headed to college is Ellen's only child, Ariel, who was accepted to an impressive drama school in NYC (see Esther Williams pic, far right). Ellen is going to have a blast visiting her at "Ariel's" apartment and scoping out NYC yarn stores. And Barbara's eldest, Eric is headed to George Washington University. Oh, the talent pool of the Loops Troops and their offspring! There may be a lot of empty-nest-itis around the store the next few months. Good news is...knitting cures the blues, girls! So CAST ON!
- Shelley
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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New arrivals!

She's here! Billie Anne & Mike's beautiful, sweet, gorgeous, precious, easygoing little Lily Delaney arrived this morning, weighing in at 7 lbs., 10 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long.

The delivery went very smoothly (only 1 1/2 pushes!) and as Lily was being wheeled to the nursery for her first bath, she was a bit bored with her adoring crowds:

She has sweet little dark curls, fair skin and the pinkest little mouth - just like Snow White! Here, she is giving Daddy a tiny gesture as if to say, "Hey Pops, who said you could take my hat off?!"

And here she is, all stretched out, perfectly ok with being poked and prodded as long as she could have her fingers to suck on:

With proud big brother, Ian:

Congratulations to Billie Anne and her entire family! Way to go, crochet queen!

Now, this will be utterly anticlimatic after Lily's arrival, but we did get some exciting new arrivals at Loops. There was a huge box of Regia (all types), especially some highly requested solids and tweeds. There was the newest Sock Club color in SWT Tofutsies. And there was the long-awaited Twinkle line, including Twinkle Soft Chunky and Cruise:

The Twinkle book is soooo couture - tons of hip chunky sweaters and accessories, plus delicate cottons:

Gina H. finished a scarf in less than one day! It's straight from the book and modeled by Marisa, who leaves for college on Thursday! We had a going-away get together for the Loops college-bound girls on Sunday...more on that next time.

Please add a comment with advice for Billie Anne...

- Shelley
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