Friday, March 28, 2008

New spring things popping up.

We've all been crazy-busy getting ready for Hot Loops (especially Loretta - who has taken to cussing at me in emails and I'm sure would like to strangle me with a nice bulky yarn. BUT she is doing an amazing job getting a full TWO DOZEN new projects added to the Loops website - starting next week). Meanwhile, new stuff has been pouring in the door, and I wanted to take a quick moment to show you some of it.

First, two great new books arrived from Knitting Fever. One is the long-awaited Wandering Spirits - finally a great book devoted exclusively to Araucania cottons, including the new Pomaire. The other is a new spring Noro book, with great designs for Matsuri, the new Noro cotton blend that I'm in love with. Both of these books are great resources to get you inspired for knitting cool garments you will wear throughout our Oklahoma spring & summer.

I was talking with my friend Kristy yesterday, and we were agreeing that we both actually prefer knitting in the spring/summer over the fall/winter. My reason? No long sleeves to knit! Her reason? In the winter, everyone's wearing knits...but when you wear a hand-knit silk or cotton piece in the summer, you really stand out in a crowd. Case in point: She was wearing a gorgeous piece in Tilli Tomas silk at the time. I love that logic!

We also got two new yarns in from DROPS/Garnstudio. First is Big Fabel - another brand new yarn for the company. It's a worsted weight version of the runaway hit, Fabel fingering weight. (I talked to a fellow yarn shop owner who said she sold 100 skeins of Fabel in 2 days!)

Big Fabel so new, the free patterns here on the Big Fabel page of the DROPS site just use other comparable-gauge yarns. But Lena from DROPS sent me a free Big Fabel sock pattern - we're happy to give you a copy with any DROPS purchase.

Next is Lin, a sport weight 100% linen at (as usual) an incredible price point.

For some great free patterns for Lin, click here. I'll go ahead and show you my favorite:

And last but not least, we received a big lovely shipment of Adriafil KnitCol. Rumors have been swirling that this beloved self-patterning worsted merino was being discontinued. I got it straight from the Plymouth Yarn mouth: They didn't think they were going to be able to continue importing it, but then they found a way. Hooray! And we're celebrating with restocks of all the best colors, plus a beautiful new blue blend:

I'm sure Loretta will have all of these new yarns in the Loops online store before you know it. Wait...what's that faint cussing I hear in the background...oh hi, Loretta. Now Loretta, calm down...put down the Big

- Shelley

Monday, March 24, 2008

And the bag lady is...

And the winner of the Great Vinyl Bag Giveaway is...

Knottylady! Her winning caption:

"Shelleyyyyyyy? Can you heeaaaar me? You just ate a cupcake with bananaaaaana in it. I'm taking you to the hospitaaaaaaal."

And in case you missed the photo that belongs to the caption:

So here's the inside story behind the caption. Knottylady had baked some beautiful Martha-Stewart-worthy cupcakes for one of our impromptu Sunday knit-ins. Literally, the recipe was from the Martha Show:

Don't they look incredible? But alas, for me they turned out not to be a Good Thing. Someone saved one for me and put it on my desk. I coveted it for hours as I worked at the store on Monday, then grabbed it as I was leaving to pick my daughter up from school. I bit into it as I was driving down Lewis, anticipating the flavor...and then after a giant bite and a couple of chews, spit it out in a panic. It was a banana muffin, cleverly disguised as a cupcake - and I'm Majorly Allergic to Bananas. Haven't had one in 15 years!

I called the store in a panic and Ellen confirmed that yes, it was banana. I struggled to maintain control of the car as I dug in my purse for the Epipen - wondering if I should stop for Benadryl, but loathe to take it as I was slated to play a USTA tennis match that night. 2 1/2 hours of singles tennis in 37 degree weather does not usually go well for Benadryl zombies.

So...I opted to skip the Benadryl and made Ellen stay on the phone with me all the way to my daughter's school ("Go see the school nurse!" she kept yelling into the phone).

See? Now the comment makes more sense to everyone else. And yes, now I can laugh about it.

I must point out that this is slightly unfair, because knottylady happens to be an advertising copywriter. So she has the leg up in the humorous caption department - plus us female copywriters have to stick together. Although, now that I think about it, the banana incident may have been an attempt to minimize her competition in the marketplace. Mwah-ha-ha-ha.

Before I forget, honorable mentions go to these captions:

"We have secretly hidden a tiny camera in a skein of cashmere to catch the reactions of unsuspecting husbands upon seeing the price tag. Let's watch...."
- Billie Anne (who would have thunk it, the bookkeeper has a great sense of humor ;-)

"Acrylic yarn in a vinyl bag??? I.Think.Not."
- Maria (this was Brent's favorite - aren't you impressed that he, as a non-knitting male, understood the humor?)

Thanks for everyone's entries. It does my heart good to see all those comments! Keep commenting - it what we bloggers live for.

- Shelley
shop online at
P.S. Knottylady, hope it's ok that I borrowed your cupcake photo.
P.P.S. Won the tennis match :)

Little Ingrids and Brunis in the making.

My last post was such as sad one, I thought we could all use a little knitting happiness.

A few months ago, Gina H. told me that her brother, who is a teacher in Germany, wondered if we might have a couple pairs of needles to donate to the classroom, in case a child or two might want to take up knitting. I handed her a slew of boxes of lighted needles, which were originally available only in the long 12" size, and had been sitting on the shelf awhile.

Well, it turns out those needles were a huge hit. Look at these cute pics:
Can't you just picture our own resident German knitters, Ingrid and Bruni, learning to knit (I know Ingrid learned at age 5)? Look, in this next picture, "Ingrid" is checking out "Bruni's" work. She's about to tell her to rrrrip it out!

Here is what Gina's brother, Dan, wrote to say:

Dear Gina,
Once again, my multi-age class of 2nd and 3rd graders want to thank you and Loops for donating those marvelous knitting needles. Thanks to those needles and Mrs. Torres, our resident knitting teacher, my classroom has been transformed into a class of kids who learning the value of concentration, focus, and commitment. Walk into my classroom in Heidelberg, Germany on any school day and you will see pockets of children carefully listening to a lesson or story while quietly knitting away. As you can see from these pictures, my boys are picking it up as quickly as my girls. One of my boys is even in the process of knitting a scarf for his father who is currently deployed in Iraq. I don't know how often he's going to be able to use it, but it's the thought that counts and I know that his father will treasure it always.
We will continue to send more pictures as we progress throughout this school year!
Dan L.

And here come some more cute photos:

Thanks to Gina for coordinating this effort. It feels great to send a little Loops love across the Pacific. And maybe some day, these kiddos will become Loops shoppers! (Yes, we ship overseas ;-)

- Shelley
shop online at

Friday, March 21, 2008

Most miserable blog EVER.

Normally, I love blogging. It's the perfect combination of writing (love) and yarn (love LOVE). Simply put, it makes me happy.

But not tonight.

Tonight I have to talk about something that's literally breaking my heart.

We have to give Sandy back.

She is an amazing dog. I'm completely in love with her. She follows me everywhere. Her big tail starts wagging - thwap, thwap, thwap - the instant she hears my voice. She loves belly rubs. She has an inexplicable attraction to terrycloth. When we've been gone awhile, we come back to find our bathroom towels on the floor, with a telltale Sandy hair or two. She kisses us like there's no tomorrow. She is loyal and brilliant and loving and so grateful that we rescued her from her previous (very unpleasant life). She stopped with the door destruction after a couple of days - housetrained instantly - is now leash-trained and has learned to Sit for treats and petting. She loves cheese and peanut butter and walks and resting her head on my feet while I knit.

But - she keeps scaring two of my kids. It's when she's sleeping or tired and they come running through the room, hopping and shouting as kids will do. It freaks her out. She lunges and growls and, though she doesn't bite, I just can't live with the fear that she might. We tried a trainer and puppy Prozac. But the truth is, our house is grand central station, what with us officing at home and all the clients and playdates coming in and out. It's just a frenzied environment for a dog who needs a peaceful one.

I need Sandy. But Sandy needs a nice couple or single person who needs a very best, best friend. It is just too much for her, here in our chaotic, crazy, lovely home.

The kids are not happy about it, but they know it's best. She's going back to the SPCA tomorrow - which also happens to be my 40th birthday. I want to keep her longer, but each day gets harder. As much as it breaks my heart to give her up - I know it is best for her, and safest for my kids.

The very best birthday present I could have, is to find the perfect home for Sandy, and know that she will be loved forever. She SO deserves it.

If you are interested, please please email me (, and I'll forward your info to the SPCA. It's a rule that she has to go back there, at least for a couple of days, before she can be adopted out again. After all she went through to leave there, it just makes me physically ill. But it is the rule. And they do adore her there.

Here are some pics we took tonight:

- Shelley

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New bag giveaway!

First, thanks to all of you who have been so patient with the "7 Days of New Spring Stuff" which has turned into the "11 or 12 Days of New Spring Stuff." Today, we have the ultimate New Thing. And since you've been so patient, I'm going to combine Day 7 with Day 8 - and start the promised giveaway! Plus, I'm linking to "Works for Me Wednesday," by Shannon of Rocks In My Dryer blog, because I do believe, if you want a really organized knitting bag, this one will Work For You.

The Loops Troops have been begging me for three years to buy clear knitting bags. Everyone loves to show off their knitting in progress, and clear bags make it easy to find your needles or stitch markers, they reasoned. Sherry was the #1 proponent of these bags. A Very Vocal Proponent. My problem was, I just thought they looked cheap. Sorry. Who would carry a cheap vinyl bag when you could have a lovely, original Offhand Bag?

Still, the voices would not be silenced. Then, at January market, Ellen, Gina and Ingrid practically hog-tied me and sat on me and squeezed me until I finally gave in. But secretly, I actually WANTED this clear bag. It was the special one, the chosen one I had been waiting for. Finally, a supplier had come up with a clear bag in keeping with those that have graced the designer runways of late:

These bags are large (12"x18"x3") and I really like the shape. The vinyl is softer, more flexible and more luxurious (if vinyl can be called luxurious). They come in 3 very nice colors - black, a sparkly silver, and a darker pewter/silver, my personal favorite (shown in photo). But the best part: While hog-tied at market, I put on my negotiator hat and finagled some clear accessories bags with the Loops logo! One of these is included with each large bag, and the set is $59.99.

My advertising side said that I should print the Loops logo on the big bag, too - but the hog-tiers refused to untie me until I committed not to harm the precious big bags.

So, in case you haven't already guessed, we are giving away one of the new clear bag sets in pewter. All you have to do is submit the winning caption for this photo:

As always, this is NOT an impartial contest - the decision is solely mine and based on what impresses or cracks me up the most at that moment. Contest ends at midnight, Sunday, March 23 and I'll announce the winner in the blog on March 24. Be sure to include your email address or some other way for me to contact you in your comment. And, sorry Loops Troops, but you are not eligible to win - although I always enjoy your witty repartee, so feel free to comment. Then you can go buy a bag with your discount ;-)

Happy captioning!

- Shelley
shop online at

Want to buy a bag for Easter and can't wait??? Call the store toll-free at 1-877-LOOPSOK.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New new new new Noni.

Day 6 of New Spring Stuff: The new Noni felting patterns are here! We heard there might be a slowdown when the Noni mastermind had a baby - but apparently, motherhood hasn't slowed her down in the least. Here's just a samplin' of her latest collection of felted goodies, most made with Cascade 220. This is my fave, "Flamenco":

"Lenten Roses" is made with Tilli Tomas beaded Flurries:

Cutest lunch bag ever - great gift for your eco-conscious kids or friends:

This oven set would be a wonderful Mom's Day gift. Stripes are great for using stash left over from other projects:

Love the flowers on this one:

We're now on an auto-ship program where we receive 6 copies of EVERY new Noni pattern as soon as it comes out! We also have great backstock of existing Noni patterns. So any pattern you see here on the Noni site, we have or can get for you. We can also special-order any hardware you see on the bags, for a small fee. Plus, our Cascade 220 is now available here in the Loops online store.

One more day of New Stuff to go...then the blog giveaway! Stay tuned...

- Shelley

Thursday, March 13, 2008

And the sparkle theme continues.

Day 6 of New Spring Stuff is for all of you gypsies (Gina Marie, I'm talking to you) and really, all of us have a little place down deep inside that yearns for the bling. I know, you might always choose the practical, superwash wool in modest earth tones, but part of you is screaming: Vegas, baby!

And so I give you the newest Louisa Harding yarn, Jasmine:

Yes, it has undeniable bling, but in a very refined, some might say repressed, British sort of way. And did I mention that the touch of bling resides amidst a very smooth, drapey-yet-firm cotton and bamboo?

There are some great designs for Jasmine in Louisa's newest book, Summer Classics. This is "Laurie":

And this is "Cecelia":

There is also a longer-sleeved version of Laurie, which Louisa herself wore when visiting us in Tulsa at our humble little Loops. She had it cinched at the waist with a thin little satin ribbon, which can be removed after a large dinner at, say, the Polo Grill.

Jasmine is in stock in-store - not on the site yet but if Loretta has anything to say about it, it will be soon!

- Shelley
shop online at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A total eclipse of the sock.

Are you children of the '80s singing the song along with me? "Turn around bright eyes...turn around bright eyes..." Anyway, our Day Five of New Spring Stuff might possibly eclipse all other days thus far. Introducing Eclipse, a new Tempted Sock Yarn exclusively from Loops:

Head Temptress Stacy came by today and helped me package up the first installment of Tempted Sock Club #2. Well actually, I mostly drooled over the samples Stacy brought for future club selections, and Stacy did most of the stuffing. But anyway, she brought along Eclipse, which uses the sparkly base yarn from the runaway hit February sock club yarn - but with beautiful black and greys and silvers that complements the yarn so incredibly. It's like the Little Black Dress of Sock Yarn. In fact, couldn't you just see some lacy thigh-highs out of this? Va-va-va-voom.

Tired of socks - or just looking for something more seasonal? Stacy suggests that you check out the Mystic Light Shawl Knitalong, which is just now forming. It would be Mega Mystical in this yarn.

We will work on getting Eclipse into our online store - but for now, to get yours, just call the store 742-YARN (local) or 1-877-LOOPSOK (toll free).

- Shelley

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sock lovers, please don't hurt me.

Sock people (you know who you are), please refrain from throwing things at me, calling me "evil temptress" or cursing. I KNOW you have more sock yarn in your stash than you can ever knit. I KNOW you have 25 pairs of half-finished socks on the needles.

Still, I must share with you this Day 4 of New Spring Stuff. And this one is really, really new - as in, you've probably never seen it before, since it's hot off the yarn press:

It's called Milan. It's from Tilli Tomas. It's hand-dyed. And (here's the really evil part) it's made from Merino, Silk and Cashmere. Yes, cashmere. Kinda like Koigu meets cocaine. Except legal, safe and socially acceptable.

Tracy from Tilli called me up, out of the blue, and offered us a trunk show. "I'll send you a bunch of colors for a couple weeks and you can see how it goes," she said. How could I refuse? And how could you?

- Shelley
shop online at

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ingrid's current addiction.

When I first met her, it was triple espressos (only Starbuck's would do) and cashmere. The drink hasn't changed - in fact, Ingrid was recently voted our local Starbucks' favorite customer. But her primary yarn addiction is undeniably linen. And only Louet linen will do.

Last summer, it was Louet's triple-tiered sportweight skirt, which she re-designed into her own version and knit - how many? Three? Four?

Then it was the Euroflax skirt from Knit Two Together. Sweet jujubes, you'd think she'd grow tired of the stuff after - what? 20,000 stockinette stitches? And yet, at market, when she spotted the Louet booth, her reaction was that of a starved dog who had just spotted a gigantic t-bone. She literally dropped her bags and SPRINTED to the booth.

So this brings us to Day Three of New Spring Stuff:

We received a large shipment of Euroflax, with re-stocks of popular colors (including the Charcoal that Gina H. used for her eye-popping Lacy Wrap), and some really yummy new Louet colors too. My personal favorite is "ginger."

Gina H. and I challenged each other to knit the Knit Two Together skirt. Hers is finished. I'm still "considering colors." Or in other words: Gina, can I borrow your skirt sometime?

One other really cool thing from Louet. They are introducing a brand-new subscription pattern service. This is very unusual - a breakthrough of sorts in the yarn world. You subscribe at one of three levels - from three patterns a year, to unlimited downloads. So, why would you do this, with all the incredible free patterns out there on the web? Because linen patterns are rather hard to come by, and great linen patterns are as rare as the new Snake Webkinz. And, while I'm all for yarn substitution, linen is just not that easy to substitute. It's sort of a fiber unto itself (although Merlin, the linen/merino blend also from Louet, is great for those who are afraid to step right into the 100% linen stuff).

You can download all the info on the new Louet service here. The pattern library goes live on March 15. Plus there will be a place on the subscription form where you can enter your favorite yarn store's name (shameless hint).

Watch out, Starbucks. Come March 15, you may lose your favorite customer - unless you can deliver her triple espresso to her home computer.

- Shelley
shop online at

Friday, March 7, 2008

Day Two of New Stuff.

Today, in the continuing parade of new Spring stuff is: Two new books. Actually we got a whole big order of books but these two are my faves - both from Classic Elite. The first is "A Touch of Luxury," a cute little softback that is jam-packed with great patterns in luxury yarns. I want to make them all!

We even got a mini-trunk show with two of the pieces from this book. One is the Sinful Scarf - so yummy it makes me want to make a cashmere scarf even though spring is here:

The other is a hooded scarf in Obsession - Ellen and I are both jonesing for this. Obsession is a beautiful and misunderstood yarn. It's a multi-color cashmere and people think it's this tiny strand, but actually it's four strands, loosely twisted, and knits up to a bulky gauge! No photo of this one - you'll have to come in a check it out in person. But here are a few other shots from the book.

We have some of these yarns in stock, and the cool thing with the luxury division of Classic Elite is that you can order the yarns by the skein - so it is easy for us to special order any of them for you. Just ask!

The other new book is...ta-da! Twinkle Weekend Knits!

You all know what a huge hit the Twinkle Soft Chunky - we're down to 5 colors at the moment - and the first book from designer Wenlen Chia was a smash. The new book has more of what you love - great scarves and hats, TDF chunky sweaters etc. And don't forget to try out the Cruise yarn. It's a fine 70% silk/30% cotton, but you hold it four strands at a time to get an amazing chunky-yet-drapy effect.

We only received 6 of the Twinkle books but more are on the way, along with more Soft Chunky. Also on the way - 5 more days of New Stuff! Stay tuned...

- Shelley
shop online at

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The 10 days of Easter?

Those of you who saw the Garnstudio/DROPS holiday calendar should be excited about this one. There's a new DROPS "advent" calendar for Easter! Not sure how this works into the liturgical calendar. But anyway, a new, free pattern opens up on the calendar each day - no peeking allowed. Click here to see the calendar.

And in this spirit, I'm introducing The Seven Days Of New Stuff. Spring things have been coming in so fast and furiously, I've been getting woefully behind (sort of like when my knitting projects pile up - what to do - blog? knit? blog? knit?). So each day for the next 7 days, I will offer up a glimpse of one of our new thingies, culminating on Day 8 with another Loops blog giveaway!

Day One Of New Stuff is...Comfort DK and Comfort Sock! Woo-woo, it's a two-fer. Meaning I will talk about two new things. NOT meaning you get 2-for-1. I have to watch you bargain hunters ;-)

Hot on the heels of the hugely successful Berroco Comfort comes two new gauges of this yummy, washable, dryable yarn. It's a mix of superfine acrylic and superfine nylon which is just about the only acrylic worthy of gracing the Loops shelves. It's also supersoft. And (although I don't like to use this word, but let's face it) supercheap.

Here are some cute patterns from the two new books:

And here are some...wait for it...Free Patterns, Cisco and Cecil,

That's all for today - look for Day Two Of New Stuff tomorrow. Unless I decide to knit instead.

- Shelley
find a great project fast at

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dyslexic Gardican.

I haven't shown any WIP's or FO's lately, so I thought I would share this one.

My middle dd is also a ddd (darling dyslexic daughter). She recently did a school presentation on Albert Einstein, who is one of her heroes because he was reportedly dyslexic.

Did I mention she is also an excellent artist and a real ham?

So when I ran across these buttons at market...

I just had to make a canvas for them. I found a great Knitting Pure & Simple Pattern (Child's Neckdown Cardigan or as ddd would read it, "gardican") with an optional hood (a must for all tomboys), and the perfect color of indigo, ddd's favorite color. I chose Colinette Cadenza, a handpainted superwash merino, but had to hold it double to get gauge. This definitely drove up the cost, but the effect is amazing and I have become a huge fan of this yarn. And heck, what good is owning a yarn store if you can't splurge on your ddd with yarn-at-cost? Anyway, I think the results were worth it:

I have some other WIP's but can't show you because they're for Hot Loops (and also, one is going to do double-duty as a gift for Kristin, who is expecting a new knitter-to-be.) By the way, if you haven't made your reservation for the Hot Loops party, do it now! We had almost 40 signed up as of today, so we can take maybe 10 more. It's Saturday, March 29 at 7pm. Cost is $25. I would tell you more but suffice it to say, you will have fun. What happens at Hot Loops, stays at Hot Loops!

- Shelley
shop online at
Have you seen the new DROPS section and expanded Alchemy line?