Monday, January 28, 2008

A 100% football-free Superbowl.

One of the many rewards of blog readership: You guys get the first scoop on the big events! I'm going to send out an eblast in the next day or so, but you heard it here first:

Loops is having a Superbowl party!!!

Not to plagiarize Vickie Howell, but here is the Knitty Gritty:
THIS Sunday, February 3rd, 12noon - 10pm
Loops provides free beverages, you bring a snack to share (optional of course)
• All SUPERwash wools 10% off
• Selected yarns 25% off
• Restocked clearance section 50% off
• Here is the big one: Reach the touchdown on a WIP (any work in progress), let us take a picture of your finished object, and get $10 off any $50 purchase OR $20 off any $100 purchase (purchase must be made the day of the event). Yes, you can cheat and bring in a recently finished object - but it is so much more fun to finish something the day of the game!

So ya'll come - this is our first time to be open on Superbowl Sunday, and if it goes well, we'll make it an annual party!

Now, since a post without a photo is a boring post, here is a shot of Gina's long-dormant but recently finished Scribble scarf. She used Alchemy Haiku and some Prism ribbon from her stash (Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon works great for the ribbon, and Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Kidsilk Night or Kidsilk Spray is a good substitute for the Haiku):

And one more tidbit: The fabulous Jeff the Webman has added our TV story to the Loops homepage - see it up on the top, next to Brent's cute little Magic Lamp?

- Shelley
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Friday, January 25, 2008

New loot!

The spoils of TNNA Market have begun to arrive...and boy do we have some booty! First, the coveted Opal sock yarn, in both fingering and DK weights:

The coolest thing about this yarn is the Hundertwasser line. I'm still not sure how to pronounce this, but you can always ask Ingrid or Bruni for an authentic pronunciation. Anyway, the deal is that Hundertwasser is actually a person, an artist who does paintings, and then Opal translates the paintings into sock yarn. There's even a little picture of each painting on each colourway...look back at the photo and you'll see it!

Also new for our sock groupies, these cool little wristlets from Lantern Moon:

You may have seen Gina the Ninja walking around the store with her little nylon baggie attached to her wrist, unable to part with her precious socks-in-progress for even a moment. Gina, you NEED one of these much more elegant bags! That old nylon one reminds me of something you would take along with you when walked your dog for, um, scooping. No offense. Just please, consider an upgrade.

And lastly, you know that "Something New Coming Soon" sign that's been hanging where the Manos used to be?

Meet Malabrigo, one of the hottest yarns going on the web. It's kettle dyed in the same place as Manos, but it's 100% merino so it's so much softer. Plus, it's over 200 yards and only $10.99 a skein! If you're on Ravelry, you can check out this great free hat pattern than Gina Y. is whipping up (just one skein!). Not on Ravelry? Come in the store and we'll print out a pattern with your purchase. Our Malabrigo is a classic worsted weight so it's perfect for tons of sweater/cardi patterns. Yesterday someone bought it to make the Lush Hoodie Cardi from our Hot Loops wall. We got 19 of the 30 colors we ordered - more are on the way!

I strongly suggest coming in soon (like, today) - people have been attacking this stuff like wolves! Or looters...

- Shelley
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Desperation Chicken.

I feel like the time between mid December and now has gone something like this:


It has all gone by just about that fast. Last week, I didn't have time to make a grocery list, so Brent "winged it" at the store, which meant that by the time Thursday rolled around...and I was asked the inevitable question "What's for dinner?" ... the answer was: "I got nothin'."

Literally. All I had was a pack of chicken breasts. Oh, and water. I scoured the pantry and turned up a few more desperate ingredients and voila! Desperation Chicken was invented.

It actually turned out to be goshdarn good. So I'm sharing it with the rest of you folks who would rather knit than cook.

Desperation Chicken:
Dump package of boneless chicken breasts into water, add a few chicken bouillon cubes and boil for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Dump out water, rinse out pot, shred chicken and throw back into the pot. Add one can Campbell's Tomato Soup, 1 1/2 cups picante sauce, and about 1/3 cup diced green olives. Stir over low heat til heated through, and roll up in warmed whole wheat tortillas, with some shredded cheese on top if you've got it. Otherwise, just dollop with more picante sauce. Sour cream would also be good, but we didn't have any!

Serve with a bunch of veggies sliced and sauteed in olive oil and garlic (I had a lonely squash, zuchinni, and red onion in the veggie drawer).

Sorry no pictures. There was no time for that!

- Shelley
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Louisa Harding visits the Loops "digs."

Sixty customers and a bunch of the Loops Troops were treated to three hours of Louisa Harding's inspiring, charming, absolutely brilliant self this past Thursday. Louisa and the fabulous rep Cherry visited our "digs" (as Louisa would say) for an informal workshop. We learned so much about how she became a designer, where she finds her inspiration and other various and sundry interesting tidbits. Here are three things I bet you didn't know about this designer with her own fabulous line:

• Her great grandmother was a court dressmaker to Queen Victoria (no, not Victoria Beckham - the REAL Queen Victoria!)
• She had a design chosen for the Rowan magazine at age 21, before she had even completed college
• She is usually knitting on a deadline (for work), but does rarely knit for pleasure. She recently made an angora hat for herself, and when she goes to walk her dog, even if she had on her pj's and wellies with her hat, she still feels FABULOUS :)

Louisa talked for a full, fascinating hour during each of 2 workshops, keeping the crowd alternately intrigued and cracking up at her British-accented anecdotes.

Then we broke out into a crowd for book signings (here she is with Jennifer H.):

Great coat, Aloah!

Billie Anne learned that endowed gals should knit to their shoulder size, not their bra size:

A great shot with Karen:

And some good Karma:

Then we got to try on the fabulous garments, and found that yes, there is a Louisa design that looks great on everyone! One particular design looked great on two someones, and I think they had to duke it out for the yarn (guess who won?):

Only kidding. There was plenty to go around for Lee Ann, Ingrid and everyone else. Kim had a hard trouble deciding - all the Louisa colors are so gorgeous!

And Stacy, as usual, was "Tempted":

As were all of the Loops Troops in attendance:

And of course, Gina and I needed a pic with the hardest-working designer in yarn (did you know she designs 60 new pieces every year? And earlier in her career, she did 120 every year! Wow!!!):

And, as if this all weren't exciting enough, we had a little visit from our local CBS affiliate, KOTV Channel 6:

In fact, Rick Wells did a fantastic feature story that aired in Friday's 6pm nnewscast...all about Louisa and knitting and Loops. Click here to link to the TV story and then click on "Loops bringing back love of knitting."

We were so thrilled! Thanks Rick and the photographer (I think it was Mike?) for a wonderful piece. Already the store has been packed with people who are just now finding us after nearly 3 years in business! We are eternally, yarn-ally grateful. And thanks so much to Louisa and Cherry for an amazing visit. (Also thanks again to Cherry for the great - fast - dinner at Polo Grill. To our vegetarian guest, sorry for my gross story about chopping up spareribs in front of my daughter ;-) And sorry to the evening group that we ran late - hopefully the wine and food kept you busy, and Louisa made up for it by talking longer! We truly hope to have the pleasure of Louisa's company again soon!

- Shelley
NEW! shop Loops' huge selection of Louisa Harding yarn at

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good news and bad news.

First the good news:

We got a huge shipment of the ever-popular Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, including tons of new colors AND the coveted, brand-new multis. Plus we got this:

Nine colors of Ballet from Fiesta, including 2 new colors chosen by Billie Anne when I was away at market. I think she may need to help me pick colors more often - I love the ones she chose. We also got re-stocked in the popular Hot Loops pattern for the Ballet scarf.

Now the bad news: Loops will be closed all day today for the Louisa Harding Event. So you can't run in and buy this stuff. But more good news: Brent is working today to add all of these new colors to the website, and of course we'll open at 11am Friday so you can come in and get stocked up on new yarn and projects for the weekend. See you then - and I'll be back here soon with photos from the Louisa Event. Gotta go decide what to wear - KOTV will be covering it so the pressure is on!
- Shelley
shop online at

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Top 7 moments from Long Beach Market.

This year's Spring TNNA market in Long Beach was the best yet, by far. We bought more bags and buttons than we should have (thanks, Gina and Ellen) and more linen than we can hold (thanks, Ingrid). We made some really exciting cashmere purchases for fall and worked out a very exclusive appearance agreement for fall as well. And best of all, we secured a huge deal to be one of only 5 stores in the country to carry one of the top European yarn lines - but for now, we have to stay mum on that one.

Many of the yarns and goodies will start coming in right away - like Opal sock yarn (yeah folks, you heard right), Schaefer Laurel (a multi cotton) and Heather (a new sock yarn with silk and no mohair!). Others are planned for our spring Hot Loops debut. Either way, you won't want to miss a single week of Loops happenings this season.

But now, for the good top 7 favorite moments in Long Beach:

#7 When we arrived after a 5-hour series of flights, we were all famished and headed for King's, a local fish restaurant. Our waiter "Joe" was straight out of the movie Hairspray, and was thrilled to find some Oklahoma corn-fed women who weren't afraid to dive into a plate of mussells (or whatever those are, Ellen!) and then ask for the dessert menu!

#6 Brushes with fame: Spotted the two guys from ThreadBear, such a cool shop up north. Looked hard for the Ravelry people who were there, but apparently under the radar. Chatted with Louisa Harding (see you Thursday, Louisa!). Rubbed elbows with too many folks to name - the Alchemy pals Gina and Austin, Wenlen Chia of Twinkle, and a buyer who I swear was the guy from "Queer Eye" wearing a black sweater he had ripped, then torn up and added chains to because it was too boring. Never got his name.

#5 We went into a bathroom marked "Ladies" that had urinals, so we were all a bit discombobulated (the number of men's bathrooms steadily decreased day by day as the women took over the exhibit hall - poor guys!) We were all washing our hands when we noticed Ingrid banging on what she thought was a paper towel dispenser, trying different knobs to get a towel. We all broke into guffaws when we saw her because of course, it was a tampon machine. (No photos of this - Ingrid was too quick for that!)

#4 Got up early the last morning to soak in a little bit of the Long Beachiness, since most of our time was spent in the exhibit hall. Here are some shots from our balcony on the 17th floor:

#3 Had a nice dinner with my "date" Gina, since Ingrid and Ellen pooped out both nights and opted for room service (how was that burger, Ellen?). I even wore Gina's ring 'cause I forgot my wedding ring back at the room and didn't want to give any waiters the wrong idea. But I think maybe he got the wrong idea about me and Gina! ;-)

#2 On the return flight, Gina and Ellen plugged in to Gina's video ipod to watch old episodes of "WKRP in Cincinnati." Who downloads that??? Worse yet, they found it so hysterical that their guffaws disturbed the blonde in front of us who was tallying sales figures for Botox on her computer (sorry, couldn't help looking).

And the #1 moment...only because it is such an utterly rare sight...Ingrid NOT knitting:

She finished her travel project early (tiny violin playing here) and RAN OUT OF KNITTING. Oh the horror. The contraband sock yarn we secured for her on the show floor was not to her liking. Though we had ordered with them, Habu Textiles (oops, let that one slip) would not release a kit to her. So she pouted and suffered and did crosswords and read a frickin' magazine all the way home. Let this be a lesson to everyone: No matter if you only bring one outfit to wear over and over again, always bring plenty of yarn.

Last but not least, a photo of me in a happy moment - in the Dallas airport, almost home. Thanks to all the Troops and my dh for keeping things humming here at home-sweet-home:

- Shelley
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

One more starlet.

Oops, forgot to mention another Hollywood A-lister in my last post.

She's often spotted at Loops. She flits around, chatting with customers. She gets so comfortable hanging out, she often takes off her shoes and walks around. If she's had her decaf white mocha from Starbuck's, she really can't sit still, and has a tendency to dominate a conversation. As for yarn, magenta and purple are her colors of the moment, but it's sure to change tomorrow, depending on what the hottest designers at Limited Too are showing. She seems to have a new guy every day, but there is one hottie that she's definitely crushin' on. Don't ask for details - only her BFF and her mother know for sure.

Her look in this photo is a vintage Debbie Bliss, handmade for her sister years ago and lovingly handed down (i.e. tossed at her by her big sis who became a tomboy and swore off pink forever). This is probably the last time it will be worn by this generation - look how short the sleeves have gotten! But our starlet wisely added a coordinating pink layer underneath to camouflage the fit issues. It was also her idea to add the sunglasses and the Starbucks cup for anonymity. Ahh, the price of fame.

- Shelley
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Stars come out at Loops.

Today, I'm not talking about any Hollywood types, although there are several who like to shop here (what happens at Loops, stays at Loops). But we were visited by two very different celebrities over the past couple of weeks, each of which caused quite a commotion in the shop!

First, Lamon Brewster, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 2004-2006, dropped by to visit his friend and Loops employee, Dawn, on Thursday night. For those of you who don't know, Dawn is quite the connected gal. Through her association with the Osage tribe, she meets many fascinating people. In fact, last year she had to miss a Loops event because she was having dinner with Mel Gibson - her second one!

By all accounts, Lamon was a great sport and a super guy. Now, if we can just get him to take up knitting! The Thursday night group was thinking of making him a hat to remember us by (a Really, Really Big Hat.)

The second celeb to grace us with her presence was the creator of Mochimochi Land, Anna Hrachovec, a New Yorker and "admitted cute addict". Plus, according to the staff, she's Really Really Nice.

If you're on Ravelry, check out her mochimochi group. And, oh look, she also made the Illusion Alien Scarf from the S&B book, just like me! I feel famous by association!

Seriously, her mochimochi characters are absolutely adorable (new lingo alert: "ab-ad"). If you're not on Ravelry, check out her website here. We're going to offer her Love Gun as a class in February. Maybe she will visit us again someday, and do a workshop? Hint, hint?

Or maybe a boxing workshop is in order. The skills might come in handy during our end-of-year sales ;-)

- Shelley
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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Why, oh why?

Say it isn't so! Sometimes the powers that be in the yarn world make decisions that make absolutely no sense to me. Why, oh why are these colors of our beloved Blue Sky Bulky alpaca/wool being discontinued?

The camo...the blue-on-blue...the gorgeous grey-on-black...noooooooooo...
Of course, I naturally panicked at the news and bought up a whole mess of the stuff. Even red-on-orange, a color we've never carried. You can buy it in-store or by clicking here to shop our online selection. This is the stuff for a stunning Cable Couture Bag. Or if you're planning a ski trip soon, check out Gina's Blue Sky Bulky Pom Pom Hat, recently added to our website.

Also new this week, a bunch more Adriafil Knit Col (the fun self-striping yarn on the Hot Loops Wall), a large order of Addi Turbos, and some great books, including:

This fourth installment in the Stitchionary book series is all about crochet! Billie Anne is beside herself! And for sock lovers, we got Folk Socks and the new Vogue Ultimate Sock book:

Next entry: Star sightings.

- Shelley
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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Resolution: Gratitude.

At the turn of the year, we often think of how we can better our lives. We fret that we need to lose weight and exercise (difficult to balance with our need to knit - although you can always follow Ingrid's example and knit while doing crunches on an exercise ball). We worry that we should spend more time with family and friends (knitting buddies DO count). We angst that we need to get out of debt (although, for yarnies with a luscious LYS nearby, this can be downright impossible).

I say, let's all resolve to be more grateful.

Grateful that we have two hands and the joint mobility to knit and purl, if not the dexterity for four-stranded fair isle.

Grateful for our health, and grateful that even if we're sick, we have knitting as an alternative to daytime TV.

And most of all, grateful that, no matter how hectic our job might be, we do NOT do THIS for a living:

- Shelley
find a great project, fast! shop online at