Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lost in translation.

My last couple of blogs have been quite verbose. And I'm gearing up for another long-winded one later this week, 'cause two huge shipments are arriving that I'll want to blather on about. So I thought I would give this entry to ya'll short and sweet.

My mom got the kids some glo-sticks for Valentine's Day. One of those dollar store things, made in a friendly Asian country (you know, one of those that also makes "hand-knit" cashmere sweaters for $5). But there is a wee little problem with the wording on the packaging. Either something was lost in translation, or the little kiddos might be getting a couple of doobies with their glo-sticks. Which makes this a real bargain at just $1.

Read carefully now.

Long lasting! Great for parties, festivals and concerts!

Come to think of it, the kid in the picture appears to be enjoying either (a) an illegal substance or (b) too much birthday cake.

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Friday, February 22, 2008


I love yarn. All yarn. Deep inside, I never get tired of meeting with reps and going to shows and touching all that lovely yarn.

But - though I risk offending other yarn reps by saying it - one yarn line is clearly the loveliest of them all. It is pure knitting nirvana. It is Alchemy Yarns of Transformation.

No other line can really touch their luscious handpainted goodness, whether it be the purity of 100% Silk Purse:

The equally pure, yet fascinatingly textured Silken Straw:

Or the ethereal silk-and-mohair Haiku:

Until now, frankly, the only thing holding Alchemy back was their pattern photography. The "backyard shots," as Gina-of-Alchemy referred to them, simply did not live up to the quality of the yarn and the sheer brilliance of their designs, which regularly wowed us as the clear standouts at the trade shows. But now, Alchemy is poised for true greatness upon the release of their first book, "Destination Alchemy," in which they feature all of their best-selling patterns, with shiny new photography and a charming storyline.

The designs make the most of the yarns, are eminently wearable, and best of all, many are made with just a skein or two of this precious stuff which, admittedly, is pricey - but oh so very worth it. The book uses just three yarns. The "Queen of Hearts" is in Silk Purse (5/6/7/8/9 skeins for finished chest sizes 32/36/40/44/48"):

So is "Naturalist" which calls for (5/5/5/6/7/7 skeins Silk Purse plus 2-4 skeins Haiku, for chest sizes 33/36/39/42/45/48):

Just one skein of Silk Purse gets you the Tres Tres Chic Kerchief:

The Slanted Eyelet scarf can be made from 1-2 skeins of Silk Purse, Migrations, or Bamboo, but my favorite is this version in Silken Straw:

The show-stopping Josephine Baker bag uses 4 skeins of Silken Straw:

Alchemy's Haiku is more than the usual mohair. The handpainting and yummy blend (40% silk, 60% mohair) take the softness and color to new dimensions. And the yardage is great. "Muse" takes just 5-6 skeins to fit chest sizes 32-44":

And the Enchanted Wrap takes just 2 skeins:

"Destination Alchemy" holds 20 designs in all. As a stockist for the book, Loops is part of a small group of stores that is carrying every color in every yarn used in the book, in addition to the already generous supply of Alchemy we had on hand. Of course, that quantity is fast depleting this week, since we have had the "Destination" trunk show on display. (It has to ship on to the next lucky store Monday, so be sure to visit on Saturday if you haven't seen them yet). But there is still a huge selection here in the Alchemy section of the Loops online store. So go ahead, pick something out in that perfect color. After all of that holiday gift knitting, you truly do deserve it :)

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sandy. Rhymes with insanity.

I'm not going to lie. The first couple of days with our newly-adopted dog, Sandy, were a little crazy. After being beaten and abandoned by her previous "owner" aka Scumbag, she had such separation anxiety that we literally could not leave the house. The first night, we put her in one of those big metal crates from Petsmart, in another room, and within 15 minutes she had bent the bars, Superman-style, to free herself and join us on our bed. The next day, we tried putting her in the garage when we had to leave for an hour or so, and this was the result:

But now, thanks to patience, love and a little puppy Prozac, Sandy is settling in. She has learned to sleep on her dog bed NEXT TO the bed, and I taught her to "sit" in about 3 tries. She was almost immediately housetrained. She adores cheese and any kind of candy. She loves two things most of all: Giving kisses:

And jumping up on things, especially if there might be candy up there:

We're working on that one.

Now we can leave the house for awhile without fear that doorways will be shredded. Sandy and Lucy have become partners in crime. Night before last, we got home to find a tupperware container that HAD been high up on a countertop had been pulled down, opened and the doggies had gorged themselves on the iced gingerbread men inside. Last night, Sandy rooted out all the candy that our son had apparently stashed in his room (Sandy loves: peanut butter cups. Sandy can live without: those boston baked bean peanutty things.)

Speaking of Lucy: If Sandy hogs all the attention when we arrive home, Lucy barks at her indignantly and even chases her around. But other than that, they peacefully co-exist and actually love walking together. Lucy has found solace by retreating to that girly world that she loves best:

- Shelley

P.S. Don't forget Loops is taking part in the annual Utica Square "Sale in the Square" today (Saturday). All Hot Loops wall items are 25% off and other items throughout the store are 25-50% off. Come in and check it out!

shop online at loopsknitting.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

For those Valentines who wait until the last minute to shop (i.e. all of them).

If your Valentine is the procrastinating type - and aren't they all? - here are some hints you can drop, just in time.

From left to right:

1. Prism Cool Stuff Half in Carnation - makes a stunning diagonal scarf

2. Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Strawberry Smoothie (yum!), great for a Sophie Bag

3. Tempted Sock Yarn in "I Want Candy", i.e. OU Sooners color. Make socks or try making a Sweet Baby Cap with it.

4. Alchemy Silk Purse in "Punky" - one skein makes the Slanted Eyelet Scarf (see alchemyyarns.com)

5. Patagonia Nature Cotton - I just adore this chunky cotton made with organic vegetable dyes in Chile. We just got in a bunch of new colors. Great for your very own Boobholder!

6. Debbie Bliss Stella. If you're on Ravelry, check out the Anthropologie Group's Knitalong thread for Debbie's Cap Sleeve Cardi. They requested to use my photo - I feel so honored! And get this: The pattern was released as a free pattern by Prima magazine. Stella is available in the Loops online store.

7. Louisa Harding Mariposa in a really pretty new pink!

Hey...I just realized I've given you 5 free pattern links in a single entry. Who says blog reading isn't worthwhile?

And finally, a little Valentine's poem (or as my youngest writes it, "pome") - for your hubby/boyfriend/S.I.:

Roses are passé,
G-strings are "Eww!"
What she wants most
is tiny and blue.

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Please, Karl, make it stop.

Some people's nightmares are in color. Others are in black-and-white.

Right now, mine are in the kraft brown of a UPS box.

You'd think, after three years of buying yarn, I would learn to stagger the spring shipments. But no, each year, in a frenzy of anticipation, I proclaim "Send them as soon as I can get them!" and as usual, Karl the UPS man brought three of our biggest orders at the same time. Six dollies full of boxes. Here is just a smidge of it:

First came Rowan with my favorite spring magazine and yarns thus far. According to Ingrid, she and Loretta did "the work of 16 people" to get it all stocked. We've added new yarns like 4-Ply Cotton:
There are lots of designs for this yarn in the new magazine, like this:

Plus there are new designs and new colors in old favorites, like Handknit Cotton:
Oh my goodness, that guy - I mean, erm, that SWEATER is hot.

And Summer Tweed:

And Calmer:

And Damask - one of my favorites from last season which was often overlooked:

Next in the door was our huge Plymouth order. Ya'll have responded so well to this line, with its wonderful quality and extraordinary price points, that we have added a bunch more of their yarns, including the new Heaven Lite (a worsted version of the popular Heaven):

Fantasy, a worsted cotton in incredible colors that is great for easy, quick baby sweaters and beautiful blankets:

And last but not least, Dreambaby DK. I have resisted acrylic yarns but this one is special. I did my research talking to other yarn store owners from afar, and all agree this is the softest, most durable, acrylic-baby-yarn-that-doesn't-feel-like-an-acrylic-baby-yarn. Ellen already whipped up some booties for Lily - adorable!

There are also restocks in Heaven and Oh My, plus two brand-new Plymouth yarns that will debut on the Hot Loops wall in March!

Karl also brought two precious boxes full of Schaefer Yarns. There is Laurel, a huge skein of hand-dyed cotton:
Just two skeins makes this gorgeous wrap, the winner of Schaefer's annual pattern design contest:

And Heather is Schaefer's newest sock yarn. Unlike Anne, their other wildly popular sock yarn, Heather has no mohair. It's superwash merino, nylon and - wait for it - silk!

OK, I think that's enough for one post (!). But I will tease you about my next post with one more phrase:

Debbie Bliss Prima Bamboo/Wool

And one more picture:

If you're the type who doesn't like to wait, come into Loops today and see for yourself!

- Shelley
find a great project fast! shop online at loopsknitting.com

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Superbowled over.

Wow - we were just blown away by the success of our first 100% football-free Superbowl party. The attendance was Giant and so many people crossed the finish line on their WIPs! Thanks to Dawn and Gina Y. for taking the photos, since I had to leave the party to attend to the needs of a certain very possessive golden retriever mix (more on that in a future post, when I can type without her looking over my shoulder).

Here is a just a small portion of some of the finished projects you either finished at the party or brought in to show us:
Phara's Central Park Hoodie in Cascade 220
Amy's pompom scarf in Rowan Big Wool
Mary Jo's socks in Tempted. BTW Amy and Mary Jo both finished two projects - teacher's pets! Maybe they were hoping for extra discounts ;-)
Rebecca's cute hat (sorry, don't know the pattern or yarn - Rebecca if you read this, maybe you can comment and share?)
Janet's Blue Sky Fitted Tank pattern in Prism yarn. And last but absolutely not least:
Dana's Princess Leia Hat! Everyone agreed that Dana needs to make Terrie's Obi One pattern to go with the theme. May the force be with her.

And I don't have pics yet, because we've been so busy unpacking and tagging, but the big Rowan and Plymouth spring orders have arrived! If you are a fan of these lines, get in to Loops now for a first look and first dibs on the best colors. We've added lots of new yarn lines and colors this season. See you soon!

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Friday, February 1, 2008

Tempted Sock Club Part 2!

Hey everyone, I'm sure you know the Tempted Sock Club has been a big hit. This was a fun way to introduce more people to Tempted Yarns, the locally dyed Oklahoma sock yarn that's taking the world by storm with its deep, vibrant, attention-getting colorways, high quality and edgy names like "Punk Junkie" and "Koi in a Blender." Wait until you see the last installment of the first Tempted Sock Club this month - you've truly never seen another sock yarn like this!

No wonder Tempted Yarns was recently picked up by the revered Sheri at the Loopy Ewe and written up by wendyknits...but Loops still has lots of exclusive colors and the ONLY Tempted Sock Club!

To check out some of Stacy's work, go to temptedyarns.com. Or visit the temptedyarns group on Ravelry.

Anyhow, by popular demand we're offering Tempted Sock Club 2. For $180 you receive a new, exclusive color of Tempted every month for 6 months. OR choose the auto-charge option and pay by the month at $32 a month throughout your 6-month commitment. The club runs March through August. Shipping is included and it's easy to join - just Email me.. But we are limiting the club to just 100 members (Stacy can only dye so much!) so don't be tempted to procrastinate ;-)

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

New member of the family.

Don't worry, I haven't been hiding a baby bump under all those big sweaters I wear. We just fell totally, completely in love with a teenager named Sandy:

Sandy is a 3-year-old golden retriever/lab mix that was living in a horrible, abusive situation with a mean guy who then abandoned her, along with her sister, her sister's puppies and a bunch of other dogs he kept in a pigpen outside. Sandy was lovingly rehabilitated by the Tulsa SPCA (you guys rock!) and then she appeared in the mobile SPCA unit outside of Lambrusco'z (that's what we get for breaking our New Year's resolution to eat out less. Hah!).

In fact, I had just made it to the car with our 3 kids and started the motor, ignoring their begging and pleading to check out the dogs, when Sandy caught my eye and I rolled down the window and uttered those fateful words, "What's that one's name?"

She is the absolute sweetest dog. Look back up at her photo and notice she already shows a fondness for my Offhand Bag. Clearly a dog of good taste. She is NOT housebroken although so far, so good (big thanks to Loops customer, Sara M. for lending us her crate, temporarily). And best of all, it appears that Sandy and Lucy might be able to co-exist:

Lucy found Sandy in the house upon her return from the groomer (shameless plug here for Patty & Terrie's pet grooming, 499-2344 - the kindest, most conscientious groomers - and just look at the lovely results!):

After a short growl ("Hey humans! Don't you see there's a strange dog in the house! Watch out!"), Lucy warmed up and they are laying here on either side of the chair, sleeping.

Now, in case you would rather read about knitting than dogs, check out Brunie's new sweater on the cutest little model around.

The pattern is "Avery" from beeskneesknits.ca, and Brunie made it with Tempted Fiesta and Regia. What an adorable use for sock yarn! Great job, Brunie! Now can you make that in Golden Retriever size? ;-)

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com