Friday, November 30, 2007

37,440 minutes.

Yesterday, my mailbox was loaded with catalogs screaming "Last minute gifts!" Even the folks at were in on the pandemonium, with an email full of "last minute gift" ideas.

I have news for these people. IT'S NOT EVEN FREAKIN' DECEMBER! I counted, and I have 37,440 minutes until Christmas. I'm not even close to the last minute. I have so many dang minutes that I can easily finish the 14 projects I have left. Including the sweater for my mom I haven't started. Right?

And just to prove it, I think I'll throw in one more: One of the new felting kits we just got in from Pick Up Sticks. These foolproof kits are from the queen of felting, Maggie Pace. You remember the Sushi Wallets from our spring Hot Loops Wall? We got a bunch more, in red and also the coveted blue:

But since, acording to the powers that be, it is Last Minute Gift Season, I didn't stop there. We got the darling "snugs" kits for kids:

Two huggable hats kits:

A clutch kit and a coin purse kit (that makes 2-3 little coin wallets!)

And my favorite, the Plum Blossom Pillow Kit. I've been wanting to make this ever since we moved to our new house. It would look soooo good on our bed. We've had this as a single pattern for awhile, but now that we have a kit, I'm out of excuses!

Anyway, I'm figuring it should only take 5,000 minutes or so.

- Shelley
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P.S. Loops gift cards now available online!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Knitting Little Luxuries: the book that saved Christmas.

First, thanks for your patience while the site was down for two excruciating days! There was apparently a fire at the source of our server in Utah, and after much frenzied rebuilding, everything is back to normal. Rest assured that all of this took place completely out of our control (oh, so much fun for this control-freak knitter here!) and FAR FAR AWAY from any yarn!

Now, on to the post I was preparing when everything went wacky...

Honestly, I didn't know what I was gonna do. I hadn't even started filling in my own dang Holiday Gift Knit To Do List. As a yarn shop owner, naturally I have friends and family that anticipate hand-knit gifts at the holidays. And yet, as a yarn shop owner, I find my holiday knitting time generally reduced to the hours between, oh, 2am and 4am.

My denial was running deeper than de Nile.

And then, like a literary angel from above, Louisa Harding's blessed new book, "Knitting Little Luxuries," arrived. This book IS my Christmas list! Plus (big bonus here) it uses all the Louisa Harding yarns we have been amassing ever since the line debuted. I've already finished 1 1/2 pairs of her beautiful fingerless mitts, in Grace Silk & Wool and Glisten, which gives such a pretty beaded effect. There are patterns for both a striped version:

And a "plain" version that is anything but! (This photo reminds me of an arsty version of the shower scene from "Psycho." It's hard to capture mitts without looking a but creepy):

Bonnie has almost finished three little bags from the book for the young girls she's teaching to knit. I think I will make this for one of my nieces. It's made in Thalia, a soft ribbony-looking yarn that knits up all soft and textural. Two skeins of Thalia made three bags. Bonnie has already woven her ribbon through, and just needs to add the knitted flowers from the pattern.

Of course, if you read my Turkey Day e-blast, you already know that Louisa Harding is coming to Loops! She will conduct informal workshops at the store on Thursday, January 17th. The first workshop was scheduled from 6-9pm and has sold out, so I'm opening up a second workshop from 2-5pm. While we will be paying a fee to bring her to town, we're making the workshops FREE to our customers because we want as many people as possible to experience this. It's a huge thing for Tulsa and we want a great turnout, so that she (and possibly other famous international yarn types) will visit again.

If you haven't already signed up for the Louisa event, please click here to email me. Please give me your phone number and, if you can only make the evening workshop (due to a pesky job or something ;-) ask to be on the waiting list. Some of our evening attendees may choose to switch to the day class.

And finally, here's a photo of an international yarn type who visited Loops on Black Friday. It was such a wild, fun day because we had so many visitors from around the country - and the world! This nice knitter was with the rock group "Australian Pink Floyd," except she was quick to point out she was actually from England. Still she was fun to chat with and enjoyed the store. Darn if I can't remember her name - although why I thought I would remember it without writing it down amid the Black Friday chaos, I'll never know!

- Shelley
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tilli yourself silly.

A person could truly, truly go crazy over this trunk show.

Tracy from Tilli Tomas has lovingly packed up all of her most popular yarns in a cornucopia of colors and sent them all to us for what she swears will be her last cash-and-carry trunk show. Just too much trouble, she says. But oh, is that trouble worth it from your perspective! Now this is what I call a Thanksgiving table:

I give thanks for the sheep who gave up their merino fleece to be spun and beaded into the lovely Flurries:

I give thanks for the icky little silkworms who gave up their goods for the delicious Rockstar beaded silk and Plie plied silk:

And I give thanks for the cows who donated some milk protein for the gorgeous, soft yarns called Elsie, and the seaweed in the lovely silk-and-seacell Fleur de la Mer:

But most of all I thank Tracy, for sending the beautiful samples and dozens of gorgeous patterns, when she most surely would rather have been baking her pumpkin pie or whatever. Here's my next sweater (once Christmas gifts are done - haha):

A simple lacy scarf:

Cutest baby hat ever for the spoiled rotten:

Funky little puff-sleeved jacket in Elsie:

Darling felted, beaded cell phone holder:

In fact, one skein of the feltable, beaded flurries can work wonders in any felting project. Imagine it around the top of a Sophie bag! But whatever you're into from a yarn perspective, imagine yourself at Loops tomorrow before it's all gone! And in case you didn't read my Loops Turkey Day e-blast - free Lighted needles Friday with any purchase of $50 or more, while supplies last. See you then!

- Shelley
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pedicures & petit fours & giveaway!

It's that generous season where we all get that warm and fuzzy feeling all the way down to our toes. So, as a reward for all their hard work in October, the Loops Troops got together for pedicures at Hollywood Nails, complete with petit fours from Lambrusco'Z and wine! Here are some of our girls enjoying the massage chairs (ooooohhhh) and getting some pampering for those toes that tromp around on our concrete floors all day long:

Check out Ingrid and Peggy with their knitting bags. They never stop!!! Now, at least when I get my pedicures from now on, they won't think I'm completely crazy when I pull out my knitting. Here is Barbara enjoying herself:

Here's Gina, the princess behind the camera:

And here are some of the finished products. I call this one "Circle O' Toes":

Everyone, please comment and give us your guess as to who belongs to the gold toes and the turquoise ones (no cheating from those of you who were there!) I'll reveal the crazy color girls next week.

And now, the giveaway. Fabulous Shannon, who has the blog Rocks In My Dryer, had an online giveaway "carnival" awhile back, and it got so huge she decided to create a whole website for giveaways. She gave us a great write-up yesterday, and already has 50+ comments! We are giving away a coveted 3-Way Wrap Kit. To enter to win, click here and post a comment. Shannon will draw a winner on Monday, November 26. Good luck!

- Shelley
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Meet Kri - I mean, KIRsten.

Meet Kirsten, the newest Loops Troops member. No, that's not a typo and this isn't a repeat of a really old post (no writer's strike here!). Yes, we already have a KRIsten, who is blonde and sweet and talented. And now we also have a KIRsten, who is blonde and sweet and talented. And Danish.

Now, we know you people can keep track of this. After all, you keep track of complex patters and yarns in your stash (well sort of). If you can tell a Ktog from a K2tog, you can tell Kristin and Kirsten apart.

Here are some more hints to help you remember KIRsten. She graduated from the Danish Handcraft Guild, which is like, getting a mega-advanced COLLEGE DEGREE in knitting. Prior to having kiddos, she used to have her own business designing and selling wedding gowns. She has knitted since she was 6 and has a lovely accent (watch out, Ingrid!;-). The samples she brought in to show me were TDF and would put Hanne Falkenberg to shame. Yes, she knitted what she is wearing in the picture. And according to her application, she "loves to help people out with knitting problems."

So, I wondered, should I hire her? In the words of my 6-year-old, "Duh!" Kirsten will be training this month, stocking in the early mornings, and you will start to see her on the floor in December. Also she will be teaching classes soon.

And here is one more trick to help you remember her. My daughter's newest American Girl doll is Kirsten, the helpful girl who immigrates to America from Sweden:

Welcome! :)

- Shelley
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aw, shucks.

OK ya'll, I know I was pretty needy in my last post. But your comments made me feel sooooo good. I'll go back and refer to them often, especially on those days when I'm feeling overwhelmed or, you know, my darling daughter tells me something charming like the good 'ol "I hate you! I wish you were never born!" (Clearly, she has not thought through the ramifications of that statement on her own existence.)

But for today, my mood is "thumbs up, all the way!" thanks to you guys.

Yep, that's a WIP shot of my sister's Koigu gloves - just one thumb (oh, and another whole glove) to go. Thanks, Gina, for using your bazillion dollar camera to take these great pics.

Who says knitting isn't art? Next, here are some pics from the "Alex" jacket in Debbie Bliss Stella. This was a challenging cable but I obviously love a challenge, or I wouldn't have a yarn store. Yuk yuk.

Now, I saved the best for last.

Alchemy has this great Color Guru Scarf pattern that calls for their Synchronicity silk/wool. But Gina H., being the color renegade that she is, decided to try it in the gorgeous, self-striping Migrations, which is also wool/silk but has the added advantage of being more affordable. This pattern calls for 7 skeins - one of each color. It's available in our online store, and if you order the 7 skeins, I'll throw in the Color Guru pattern for free!

How's that for happy?

- Shelley
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Monday, November 12, 2007

No comment.

Hey, I've been feeling a little unwanted. Unloved. Unappreciated. And no, it's not my husband's fault (at least not this time). I need comments! I crave them! Sure, I can look at and see that hundreds of you are reading every day. But still, when no one comments, I feel I've let you down. Did I fail to inspire? Tell a stupid joke? Sell my yarn a little too shamelessly? Maybe you're sick of seeing my dog, who always wears the same expression? Or were you just too busy to hit the comment button?

So just this once, ya'll give me a shout-out. Soothe my writer's sensitivity. It should sustain me for, oh, a couple of weeks anyway (when we have our next giveaway - THAT always gets a load of comments.) ;-)

P.S. When you comment, tell us where you're from. It'll be more fun that way.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's in the water.

Yeehaw, it's been a super crazy week at Loops. Starting with last weekend, when the "dream job" article came out featuring Loops in the front section of the Tulsa World...and Jason Wright did not one, but two style stories, two days in a row with Loops mentions (thanks, Jason!)...then mid-week, Yarn Market News came out with a quote from us about websites...and on Wednesday, we got a call from none other than Vogue Knitting, requesting a copy of our Holiday Knit To-Do List for an article on blogs in the Winter Issue! All this, plus the SWTC Boot Camp for Socks and 3 other trunk shows. So, will you forgive me if this blog is a bit disjointed? I mean, er...more disjointed than usual?

I'll start with this cute photo of Lily, baby daughter of our own Billie Anne. Lily has taken to squinting whenever she sees me or hears my voice, knowing that a flashbulb is coming. Note how she averts her eyes:

Lily is Billie Anne's first baby since her son, Ian, was born 9 years ago. And now we're starting to think there could be a special something in the Loops water (perhaps placed there by certain members of the Loops staff, who love any excuse to knit for babies, but whose biological clocks have safely timed out)...because Kristin is also now expecting! Congrats! Here she is holding Lily and already looking maternal:

Next here is cute Paula, who wisely avoids our water, and thus avoids the swollen legs of pregnancy, which could put a crimp in her passion for legwarmers:

These legwarmers were made with Highlander, the supersoft new tweed alpaca/wool blend from Alpaca with a Twist. Coincidentally, we just got four new colors in yesterday. Did you know that some of the best colors in the best yarns tend to trickle in later in the season, because they are the ones that are always on backorder? That's my story and I'm sticking with it. Anyway, you just cast on 44 sts using a #6 needle, and work in K2P2 rib for the whole legwarmer. One skein per 'warmer!

Another tidbit, I just put a massive amount of Colinette Tagliatelli on sale 50% off. This hand-dyed ribbon is actually 100% wool which is cut into thin, wavy strips resembling tagliatelli pasta. It is fantastic (and fast) for throws, pillows and wraps. Here are a couple of designs from the book "Rock Gods and Movie Stars":

Tagliatelli's not for sale online, but we have a new toll-free number, so you can call anytime during regular hours and we'll tell you what we have in stock. Same goes for the Highlander and well, pretty much any yarn that's not yet in our online store. The toll-free number is 1-877-LOOPSOK (1-877-566-7765) and our holiday hours are Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm and Sun 12-5.

Lucy says, "Buy more yarn! My grooming ain't cheap!" :)

- Shelley

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Help for holiday procrasti-knit-tion.

I'm a bit behind on blogging because I've been busy coming up with ways to make holiday knitting and shopping easier for ya'll and yours (youra'll?). Here's what we have done in the last few days:

1. Put Loops gift cards on the website so your friends far and wide can buy them for you. We can send the card to the buyer or straight to you (quicker gratification, I'm all about that).

2. Set out our "Wish List" card file so you can fill out what you would like (you know, the stuff you always lust for but never buy yourself, like a winder/swift combo, Offhand Bag, beaded silk, cashmere or Lantern Moon needles). We would love if you all would fill one of these out. 'Cause when your hubby or BFF comes in and wants to get you something besides a gift card, they look in that file and we just hate that look of disappointment when they don't find your name/hints in there.

3. Made this really cool "Knit Gift To-Do List" to help you organize your holiday knitting (and, ahem, get started on it). It's got ideas for each potential person on your list. Brent did an amazing job with this, I must say. They are free in the store; you can also click here to email me and I will send one to you. Here is a glimpse:

Got to get to bed now. Traffic was heavy in the store today and I've got a heapin' helpin' of stocking to do in the a.m.
- Shelley
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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Little luxuries for a little less.

The long-awaited Alchemy Dyed Colors have arrived! These are hand-dyed, rather than hand-painted, colourways in some of Alchemy's most popular yarns. The best part? They're 2/3 the cost of the hand-paints - and still the same luxurious fiber content!

We got these colors in Wabi Sabi Dyes (66% silk, 34% wool):

And these colors in Synchronicity - a popular 50% silk, 50% wool blend:

To browse available designs in these yarns, check out the Alchemy Website. I'm getting ready to start on the Tripitina coat, and Gina H. is planning to do Urban Refugee. Ingrid already whipped out a Girl Next Door pullover, which is on display near the Alchemy.

And speaking of Ingrid, check out this jacket she just finished in Noro Iro. Wow!

And one more show and tell...Gene just finished this little "Wubbi" blanket in Trendsetter Zucca. For those of you who love Plymouth Heaven, be sure to check out Zucca. Same yummy, fluffy feel and more vibrant colors. Too cute!

- Shelley
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