Sunday, September 30, 2007


And now, a little break from our usual preferred art medium of Fiber. Please indulge me while I brag just a teeny tiny bit on my middle, 10-year-old daughter. As I've shared here before, she's dyslexic. She's also a near-black-belt in karate, incredibly kind and funny, and an accomplished puppeteer (her occasional puppet shows at school have blossomed into highly-anticipated weekly events for all grade levels).

But the thing that really freaks us out is the clay. A year or so ago, she started disappearing into her room and emerging with little things like Earl & Cece:

(BTW, that's a loincloth. My daughter is very modest.)
Here's Flower Child:


And Pinkeye:

And when I say "little," I'm not kiddin'. Each of these "clay guys," as she calls them, is about 1 - 2 inches tall. Here's her newest one - Rasta Guy Knitting in a Canoe. She wanted me to take the picture next to some bananas, and "pretend he's singing 'Day-oh.'" But Brent's camera is in the shop, and I had to go outside to get this measly picture. If only you could see the detail:

I think that Rasta Guy, who is knitting with toothpicks, is intended to make me feel better about her chosen medium-du-jour. Can you imagine what this kid could be doing with yarn? Here is her take on Global Warming:

- Shelley
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A place for lace.

I got my Ravelry invite this week! Wahooooo! In case you haven't heard of Ravelry yet, put down your needles, pick up the mouse and hie thyself on over to sign up. It may take a couple of months to get your invite...but it shall come! And it is so worth it!

Ravelry is a free, online community. It was begun out of necessity and genius. The founder was frustrated that, whenever she wanted to knit a project, she would go online looking for others who had done the same project (to make sure it was worthy before casting on) - but the process would take hours of useless googling. (Of course, she could have tried the Shop by Project section of the Loops site with tried-and-true hot projects - but maybe she didn't know about us yet ;-). So she came up with Ravelry, where everyone posts all the projects they're working on, and you can instantly search and find zillions of people all over the country, making the Exact Same Thing.

(The apparent exception is my black lace silk dress. No one else is crazy enough to be making that!)

Anyhoo, while I was waiting for my invite, Loretta was kind (& trusting) enough to let me use her access to check it out. I found a group called "loopalicious" where they actually talk about stuff happening at our store. How cool is that? One of the topics is "What I wish Loops would carry" and one person said she wished we would carry more lace, that our lace supply often looks sad and forgotten. This was so true! Fortunately, I had ordered a bunch of lace in for fall...and today I gave our lace yarns their very own section, "The Lace Place."

Really, when I started pulling it together, I realized we have quite a nice lace selection. Left to right, top to bottom: The quintessential Lorna's Helen's Lace (with the handy, beautiful pie wedge shawl pattern right on the label), Karabella 100% Lace Weight Cashmere (hard to find and luscious!), Cashwool (great price for high-yardage merino), Claudia 100% silk lace, and a little Schaefer 100% silk.

We also support our lace lovers with Kendall's weekly (free) Lace Club, every Monday night from 6-8pm. And we have some great 100% alpaca lace on the I'm gonna work to pull some patterns & books into this area. If lace scares you, be brave! It's really just knitting and yarn overs. A great first lace project is the Slanted Eyelet pattern from Alchemy, which uses just a single skein of Silk Purse or Bamboo.

And of course, we have lots of other yarns throughout the store that are great for lace, like Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

So thanks for the suggestions, Ravelry Loopy Groupies! Keep 'em comin'!

- Shelley
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Some like it Hot Loops.

Whew! Busy weekend! First things first: The winner of the Lily Caption Contest is...Jules! Her winning caption:
"Pardon me, do you have any Gray Poupon?"

Honorable mentions go to Paula for "Knit, purl, poop" and to Jenn H. for "What?!? You didn't take time to check your gauge?"

Jules, please e-mail me with your address and I'll mail you your 3 skeins of hand-spun yarn! Congrats!

Now for the big news...Loops debuted our 7th Hot Loops Wall on Saturday night. For those of you who've never been in the store, this is a wall of 16 designs that we either create or personally hand-pick as the "best of the best" that the yarn world has to offer for the upcoming season. We try to include something for everyone - cute cardis, baby/kids items, socks, even a men's sweater! We take our own photos and have everything organized in columns with yarn, pattern, photo and knitted item. It's a cool concept that's unique to us. What's even coolor is that this time, Kendall is helping us get everything on the Shop by Project section of So far, there are four online, with the rest scheduled to be up this week. Here are a few highlights:

This chid's coat is called "Polkadot" and it's a free pattern on the Berroco site. You may remember this from an earlier post (remember "yarn gone wild"?) The yarn is slippery but the results are so cool. Berroco says "the yarn does this work" and it's true, especially in this pattern which is just a giant circle plus sleeves.

This is the Ballet Scarf from Fiesta yarns. We are all gaga over this alpaca/tencel in dk weight that is ideal for socks, lace and garments alike! There is no "bad" Fiesta color.

This "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Beanie" is Ellen's solution to a little problem. There was a great hat in the Twinkle Handknits book and we just adore the plush Soft Chunky yarn, but the hat called for #19 DPN's...which by the way...NOBODY has! They don't exist - at least with our suppliers (and we've got a lot of them!) So Ellen came up with this Loops original pattern that uses #15 DPNs. Ingenious!
Now as for the party pics. I wore the Dress From You-Know-Where...YES it is finally done! Thanks to Diana W. for incredibly quick and brilliant seamstressing that turned Tilli Tomas' complex pattern into a masterpiece - and got it to cover "the girls."

Everyone was lovin' the food, catered by my friend Donna's new company, Josefina Cucina (lots of you asked for the phone number: It's 286-1370). We munched on antipasto with gourmet olives, pesto spread, stuffed mushrooms, ricotta cakes and burnt butter cupcakes. It was like food - yarn - food - yarn - wine - food - what a feast! Here are the early arrivers:

They came from as far away as Macalister...Coffeeville, Kansas...and these perky pals from Perkins, OK:

Good friends Pat and Linda came, even though Linda just became a grandmother to little Parker! (congrats, Bethany! little Parker will never be without a beautiful blanket to spit up on :)

We were thrilled to meet "Mr. Dr. Sid" - husband of prodigy/prolific knitter, Dr. Sid:

And here's Ellen showing Merne how to stock up on more baby yarn so she can get "just a few more projects" done before her little boy arrives. Merne just finished her Baby Surprise Jacket and plans to make 3 more!!! Better start casting on, Merne!

If you haven't seen "the wall" yet - visit soon or keep on eye on the website for updates!

- Shelley

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lily's Caption Contest!

So, are you feeling lucky?

Would you like to win a bunch of beautiful, hand-spun yarn?

Up for grabs are three big skeins of yarn, hand-spun by Helen Mathey-Horn. From left to right, there's 230 yards of wool, 600 yards of Wensleydale wool, and 265 yards of alpaca/merino/silk. All you have to do is wow me with an incredibly clever caption for this picture of little Lily:

We have our big Hot Loops party this weekend, and I will need time to I will announce the winner on Monday, Sept. 24. And Loops Troops (i.e. employees), sorry, you're not eligible to win this time - we've got to save some yarn for the rest of the world! But you are welcome to comment and share your considerable wit and wisdom.

Happy captioning!

- Shelley
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Monday, September 17, 2007

Stacy works the Bordello.

She toiled over it all weekend, but the results are totally delicious. Behold the latest Tempted Yarns color, Bordello. I was like a quarterback, dodging Loops Troops and customers who tried to nab the skein tucked under my arm as I ran outside to get a photo. (I think I was shaking a little after being accosted by these sock-crazed knitters; thus the blurry photo):

Stacy spotted our newest Loops t-shirts in the back room and HAD to have one. She says she owns every inappropriate knitting t-shirt, so this was a must for her collection.

I'm including this next photo for those of you who may not be able to read the printed message in the previous photo - although, well, this certainly shows off Stacy's bordello-esque credentials:

We also have them in turquoise with black writing. And for you more demure types, we have a turquoise T that says "Get more fiber."

Now before anybody freaks out, remember that this is all in fun. We know that meth and all other drugs are serious business, 'specially here in Oklahoma. The idea of the shirt is to promote a healthy addiction, i.e. knitting. Also, I have just been itching to do this shirt ever since Karen P. quoted her husband as having said it to her. So you know, it is really just a quote. Not my words. Really. But fun, nonetheless, in an I'll-wear-it-to-Starbucks-but-never-to-my-kids'-schools,-I-promise kind of way.

Both Bordello and the new shirts should be online within the week. If you just can't wait, call 918-742-YARN or come on by.

- Shelley
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

More-O Noro!

...And the hits just keep on comin'!

This week, Karl the magnificent brough us three big boxes of Noro. In case you've never experienced the unparalleled self-striping nirvana of Noro, now is the time to try it out. Often imitated, never duplicated, Noro is hard to come by and even harder to keep in stock - particularly certain colors. We got a big shipment of Kureyon including some brand-new colors (great for scarves, sweaters and felting), Silk Garden (including the coveted #87 and #84), Iro (similar to Silk Garden in content, but chunkier gauge), and a very very luscious new Something that will be debuted at our Hot Loops party this Saturday night. Here's a tiny peek at a little portion of the goods:

We also got a really juicy box of DK Superwash Me hand-dyed yarn from JKnits. They do some really unique colourways - great for quick socks and any project that calls for DK yarn that you really want to POP. We even got a couple of semi-solids - I've been ordering more of these for fall, since sock knitters love 'em for lacework and other patterning where you don't want bold variegation to get in the way of the stitchwork:

For all of you book collectors, we got some great new titles - I'm especially fond of the patterns in "Yarnplay." Stop in sometime this week and flip through them. In fact, I encourage you to make it a point to look through a new book every time you're in the store. Our hardcovers are a real treasure trove of inspiration. And then, when you're ready to make a bigger project like a sweater, you'll have the Perfect one all picked out.

I've got new Muench yarns and customer/project photos to show you to, but they'll have to wait - Mom's coming over for dinner, we've got a playdate going on (twins!), Brent's at church and the laundry pile is mountainous!
- Shelley
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Have you been Tempted by the sock club?

There are still some spots left in the beta testers group of the new Loops Tempted Sock Club! In case you haven't heard, we've created this club in response to the huge surge in sock knitting. Sock knitters have a seemingly unsatiable appetite for new colors! So Stacy and Amanda of Tempted Yarns fame are whipping up a new, exclusive color each month just for Sock Club members. Loops is the only store in the U.S. where you will find Tempted Yarns. Here is your first look at the exclusive Sock Club color for September. It's called...

"Koi in a Blender"

Club members also receive a free pattern that we will specially select each month to work with the exclusive colorway. Here is a sneak peek at the pattern for September, worked up by Gina Y., who, as usual, followed me around the store until I would hand over the sample skein. It became a sock before it knew what hit it - maybe took 3 days? But...where is the second sock, Gina?

If you're interested in joining the club, e-mail me or call the store at (918) 742-9276. You can pay for a 6-month membership upfront or by the month, and choose to have it shipped to you or pick it up. We already have Sock Club members from coast to coast!

P.S. The model in the picture is the beautiful Jackie, daughter of my equally beautiful good friend and tennis partner, Karen. You can see Jackie modeling great new looks for Fall at the Hot Loops preview party, next Saturday, Sept. 22 from 7-10pm. For reservation information, call the store at (918) 742-YARN.

- Shelley
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Goody goody yarndrops.

Today there was tons going on both inside AND outside Loops. The post-flood fans and dehumidifiers were running inside, so a bunch of Loopies dragged chairs outside to enjoy the gorgeous day - you could smell fall in the air!

And inside, we were madly tagging and shelving some yummy new "yarn goodies." Our big Berroco fall order arrived! Berroco is always at the leading edge of yarn trends, and one of my favorites of the season is Pure Merino Nuance. You'll find it in the top bin of 4 bins containing various Pure Merinos.

The 100% pure, washable merino was a huge hit for Berroco (and us) last fall. So they came out with the new Nuance. According to Berroco, "A unique degrade dye technique renders a chiaroscuro effect, enhancing the style of each knitted item." You've got to love that copywriting. "Chiaroscuro"? Can't you see some chick sitting in a little room with a typewriter, eating Hostess snowballs and coming up with these descriptions? Still, we LOVE the yarn and the gorgeous new patterns. Here's a taste:

You can check out the other Berroco patterns for Pure Merino by clicking here. Also in the Berroco order was Trilogy in new colors and with a great new pattern book. According to the sugar-high Berroco writers, Trilogy is a "strand of a fulled bourette, a ribbon and two cotton components all held parallel with an invisible nylon binder." Whatever! What the heck is a bourette? But I do agree with their assessment that Trilogy is "a feminine alternative to tweed." It's also very soft and quick to work up.

Here's one of many cute Trilogy patterns from our books:

Here's a great free pattern for a crochet bag in Trilogy:

And here's another free pattern for an adorable shrug:

We also got a new shipment of luscious new Claudia handpainted fingering merino - like Koigu but with Claudia's own unique sense of color.

Obviously it's great for socks, but one of my favorite patterns is this free pattern from Knitty for the Spanish Dancer Shawl.
And tomorrow is another day! The fans will be going OUT and I'm sure more new yarn will be coming IN! So come be a yarn goody-goody :)

- Shelley
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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Yarn, women and children first!

It started with a call from Sherry at 9:30am Saturday. I was just starting the Hot Loops photography session with our models, who had driven in from out of state and had to drive back later in the day. There was a lot of shooting to be done here at our state-of-the-art photo studio, a.k.a. my bedroom.

Here's how the call went:
Sherry: "Shelley?"
Me: "Oh hi, Sherry. How's it goin'?"
Sherry: "Well Shelley, now of course you know the whole store is underwater."
Me (thinking she is joking): "No Sherry, how would I know that?"
Sherry (completely serious): "No really Shelley, you need to get down here."

Turns out that a lot of rain in a very short time had brought several inches of water into Loops, as well as all of the neighbor shops in our "row," as well as Williams Sonoma which is directly above us. Did it come in through the ceiling? Did it come in under the front door? Who is to blame? Will insurance cover the damage? Will Utica Square do anything? None of these thoughts were at the forefront. The first thought was...


And miraculousy, we did. Thanks to the herculean efforts of Sherry, her muscle-bound husband Sandy (who knew lawyers could lift such heavy furniture?), Kendall, Kristin, my mom and her husband Dave, plus two shop-vacs and a bunch of mops, we got everything clean and somehow managed to open the store by noon. All the yarn on the shelves was saved - some by as little as half an inch! Despite the fact that huge fall shipments were piled up in the storeroom, the bottom layer of bags were tightly wrapped in plastic and survived. Only the small portion of yarns kept in baskets on the floor were sacrificed, along with all of our area rugs, carpet, some kits and magazines.

Here's a portion of the mess, having been dragged outside:

Today, Ellen and I spent the afternoon with water damage specialists, an electrician, our insurance agent and David, our superhero computer guy who drove in from Morris, OK on a Sunday to dismantle all the computer equipment, so we could remove the rug from under the front counter unit. Fans and dehumidifiers throughout the store have been working overtime, so that at this point, I think the inside of Loops may actually be the driest spot in Tulsa right now.

I am so thankful to all of the Loops Troops and everyone who jumped in to keep everything humming despite Mother Nature's best efforts to dampen our spirits. Lots of customers asked how they could help...and the answer is the same as always. Keep knitting, and keep buying yarn! I know that, to relieve the stress of the weekend, I personally made some good progress on the Stella jacket:

So, we'll be open at 11am Monday as usual...and we hope to see you then!

Soggily yours,
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Friday, September 7, 2007

Knitting and tattoos.

My bestest oldest (or should I say longest) friend, Sarah, who married a Spanish pilot and up and moved to Madrid :( forwarded a Newsweek article about tattoos and knitting that you should click on and read.

Here are two quotes from the article:
"Between 2004 and 2005, the purchase of fashion yarn increased 56 percent. The fastest growing group of knitters are teens and twentysomethings."
...okay, I like that one. Wholeheartedly agree.

Then article goes on to talk about "microsurges" - small changes in popular culture that can point to signficant larger trends. Another quote:
"The microsurge in knitting among teens? It represents a turning away from the prevalent online obsession of most young Americans. 'People are looking for new outlets of self-expression,' says Penn. “There is a premium on individuality that is rapidly rising.”

I agree with (and wahoo! for) the individuality thing. But knitting as an antidote for online obsession? I think not! Have these people ever read a knitting blog (or two, or five hundred?!) Have they heard of Ravelry?

The article also says there is a microsurge in "the uptown tattooed" - people making more than $75K a year are much more likely to be among the 30 million Americns with tattoos than members of lower-income groups.

So what do you we all need tattoos of cashmere skeins on our lower backs? If it helps my income bracket, bring on the needle! ;-)

- Shelley
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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Blissing out.

It must have been meant to be (inasmuch as choosing one's next knitting project can be cosmically connected). All of you chose the Stella sweater for my next project. Then I walked in the store and realized a banner with that sweater has been hanging in the front room since spring (!). Then the entire fall shipment of Debbie Bliss arrived! So yes, I am knitting the Stella sweater - although I chose a slightly less conventional color. The silk blend colors are so rich, I felt guilty making it in cream - so I chose #14 - a kelly green. Maybe it's the old Edison Eagle in me (for non-Tulsans, green was my high school color).

And yet now it is taking all my willpower not to cast on with one of the gorgeous new yarns we received in 5 big boxes of Bliss. Ingrid and I needed most of the day to get everything priced and update our display - but WOW:

My favorite new book is the Cashmerino Collection. Last year we ran out of many colors in these lovely, soft, washable yarns. So I stocked up in all of them, with lots of new colors (love Debbie's new fall pallette) in Cashmerino Aran & DK, Cashmerino SuperChunky, Cashmerino Baby, Astrakhan (same content but in a soft boucle), plus Alpaca Silk Aran & DK.

Again and again, I come back to this line for great garments and the sweetest baby gifts. If I want to get noticed, it's Rowan, Louisa Harding or Alchemy...but for a cozy, stylish but understated sweater that I'll wear forever, it's Debbie Bliss. Let me give you a little slideshow. From the new book:

From the new Baby Cashmerino book:

And don't forget, we have a great collection of Debbie books from recent seasons. The Cashmere Collection is one of my favorites. Here are a few samples:

We buy Debbie yarns in "garment quantities," i.e. multiple bags, so you can make sweaters. We will never have more choices than right now. The weather's getting cooler, so come on in an pick your color and cast on! And don't forget to check out Debbie Bliss in our online store - we are updating the quantities and hope to have all new colors online within the week. If you don't see what you want, just give us a call - chances are it's on the shelves. We love shipping yarns all over the country - how fun to have Loops friends far and wide!

- Shelley
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