Sunday, June 29, 2008

Smock, smock, who's there?

I just finished one of my favorite pieces I've made in a long, long time.

It's the Gracie Smocked Top & Tunic, and it's from a new line of single patterns called Heirloom Stitches. I met the designer at market last year, and loved all of her styles. They have that classic look that you see on well-mannered children in the Deep South. Not that my little model is particularly well-mannered, but she IS awfully cute in this:

The pattern calls for Tilli Tomas Pure&Simple Silk and Rockstar Beaded Silk, which is gorgeous of course (I saw the model at market), but I went more practical and used Plymouth Jeannee. I love this yarn! It's a cotton blend, very soft, washable AND dryable (though I never machine dry my hand-knits), and works up fast in a nice worsted weight but the finished product is surprisingly lightweight. And get make this size 8 was under $25 retail!!! I used tulle ribbon from Hobby Lobby for the straps, which is the perfect touch, I think.

The pattern called for a picot bind-off with a crochet hook - which I did across the bodice, but not around the bottom ruffle. At the end of the ruffle, I think I had around 1,000 stitches! I'm a knitting enthusiast, not a knitting masochist.

- Shelley
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prism Isms.

The Prism Trunk Show is here! This was a major hit last year, so we brought it back again. It's taken me a few days to get the pictures up, but here's my excuse: Gina Marie took fabulous pics with her ridiculously expensive camera, but they were like, 8 gazillion megs, and I couldn't get them to load. So I added it to Brent's honey-do list (I'm allergic to honeydew, but he's allergic to honey-do) and he has just now had time to re-size these suckers for me.

Everyone thinks of "Stuff" yarns when they hear the name Prism, and for good reason - Laura and LJ personally hand-dye a dozen yarns or more for each "stuff" yarn, then hand-dye them end-to-end into a one incredible skein that "changes and you go." These are incredibly fun to knit with, and come in several varieties - some with mohair or eyelash, some without. My favorite is "Cool Stuff" because I'm allergic to mohair - but they are all stunning. Here are just a few of what we received:

But the Prism line is so much more than Stuff! Prism is truly the Cadillac (or Range Rover) of hand-dyed yarns. They have classic, smooth blends as well as upscale novelty-type yarns. The Trunk Show lets us bring in more lines than we could ever stock, plus beautiful models to touch and feel. Prism is the line for people who want to knit and wear a true original - something that can never be duplicated by the Gap. It's hard to say what is better - knitting with this yummy stuff or wearing the finished piece to endless "oohs" and "aahs." Check out "Manhattan":

The yarns are so unique, we inevitably hear people making up new "ism's" to try to describe them, like "the smooshy-shimmery one" or "the fallish colored one" or "the smooth ribbony one." Gina took some great photos but you really, really need to come and see the show, touch and feel - or if you live far away, call us and we'll help pick out a special skein or project that is just right for you.

We have the show through this 4th of July weekend, then it's back to Prism it goes. Be sure to come by before the "isms" are gone!

- Shelley

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mochimochi and hoochie hoochie.

Yesterday, we were wow'ed by the wonderful Anna Hrachovec, knit toy designer extraordinaire and creator of mochimochiland (pronounced mo-chee not mokee). Anna is in town from Manhattan for a friend's wedding, and agreed to teach her first-ever workshop right here at little ol' Loops! Everyone had a marvelous time and made great progress on Looper, the knit-and-felt toy that Anna designed exclusively for us!

Anna is teaching another class this Saturday from 1-3, and I'm planning to attend. Last I checked, we still had a couple of spaces left. Call the store at 742-9276 for details. If you can't make the class, Anna is doing a meet-and-greet at 3pm. Also, we got a big bad shipment of Cascade 220, with brand-new colors includidng some of their new hand-paint colors, so there are lots of hues to choose from for your very own Looper. I think I'll make my DD a pink one :)

Now, on to the hoochie hoochie:

The Boredom Buster Bootie skirt from the book Romantic Handknits is complete! However, I don't think I'll be wearing this to client meetings, as originally intended. The lace is just a tad too revealing. I think it's going to be best for dates with my hubby in very dark restaurants. I think the problem was my chosen yarn was so stretchy, it didn't block and stretch like the corn-based yarn called for in the pattern. But it WAS a really fun knit (thanks, Annie Modesitt!).

Last but not least, we received our first order of a brand-new line of bags that I've been wanting to carry for quite some time. It's an American-made line called Atenti, and we're carrying the Overnighter bags – which will hold several projects at once – plus the matching "cosmetic" bags - great for notions.

And my personal fave (this will be a sleepover bag for my daughter):

Also, OSU fans, we have a great orange bag on the way! Look for a new order coming next week.

- Shelley
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Three debuts.

We've had three big events this week, so let me share this abbreviated version of The Week in Pictures with you. First and foremost:

Kristin and Greg's sweet baby boy, Cameron Anthony, was born at 12:42 Monday morning. He weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz., and is 21 1/2" long. Everybody is doing great, at least the last I heard! This is their first baby, so I'm sure they left the hospital with that "Oh my gosh, what now!" feeling, but by this weekend, they have surely mastered the mysteries of the First Poop and the subsequent First Bath.

Our second big, unexpected event was a pop-in visit from world-famous author Maggie Sefton:

Maggie has written five best-selling knitting-related mysteries, including "Knit One, Kill Two." She was in town to visit the bookstores and promote her newest book, "Dyer Consequences." Rest assured, Loops will soon be stocking the entire Maggie line. We had a great visit - Maggie was so full of energy, and took time to talk to Emily (Tempted Stacy's daughter) about a writing career. BTW thanks, Stacy, for taking the pics! Gotta get the batteries changed on my camera.

And last but clearly not least, our debut at Woodward Park for the Tulsa version of WorldWide Knit in Public Day was a big success!

This was the scene around 10am, when it was just beginning to fill up. It got much more crowded as the morning wore on. The gals from Lowder Farms showed up with their spinning wheels, and I counted SEVERAL knitters of the male persuasion in the crowd - we always like to see that, guys. It became so crowded, in fact, that we were visited by the Sheriff, who required us to purchase a permit. My daughter, who had nicely agreed to come and hold up the WWKiP Sign, panicked at the sight of the Sheriff: "Mom, I can't get arrested!" I explained that they don't usually haul you down to the pokey for knitting - but still, she developed a severe case of hiccups that did not subside until I handed over my $100 check for the permit and the sheriff told us we were free to go and stitch.

Oh, what we endure for our craft.

- Shelley
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pushing the right buttons.

When she needs a break from her lil' sis (who does know how to push her buttons), my artistic middle kiddo retreats to her room, the "world of clay." The other day, she wanted to make something new out of her Fimo, so she asked me for an idea. "How about buttons?" I casually suggested. "Maybe you could sell them in the store?"

A short while later, we had this:

My favorite is the one I call "Dyslexic OU." Surely there is a market among reading-challenged Sooner fans. OSU fans get the cactus version (I guess that's my daughter's mental image of Stillwater - desert?). And you gotta love the surfboard (inspired by our recent beach trip), winking smiley face and the chocolate chip cookie.

Now, anyone know where to get the little clear shanks to glue on the back? Hobby Lobby was a no-go. As soon as we find 'em, the button maker is in business and taking special orders :) Anything to promote sibling summer harmony.

- Shelley
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer reading.

I don't know about ya'll, but my "regular" reading has gone down the tubes. I still buy novels, have a daily subscription to the paper, and my husband is a magazine junkie so we have, like, 10 mag subscriptions at least. But the reading inevitably falls prey to the knitting.

I did manage to read "The Appeal" by John Grisham on my beach trip, but only after 16 hours of knitting on the drive down. And heck, I didn't know about the national tomato/salmonella panic (which has been all over the papers) until I was standing in line at a sandwich place and read their sign! Barely spared my family in time, since I was all set to make gazpacho last night.

Anyway, if you're like me, then this is your kind of Summer Reading: A whole new slew of stitching books arrived at Loops yesterday:

There's something for everyone in this batch of new releases: Amurgurimi World (crocheted toys), Knitted Critters (adorable knits for tots), Little Box of Socks (great portable format of single cards for each pattern, co-authored by the awesome Charlene Schurch), Ocean Breezes (fun summer scarves), and Nicky Epstein's Signature Scarves (the title speaks for itself - start one now, and you'll be stylin' come fall).

And from Rowan, a big surprise for Kim Hargreaves fans:

That's right, Kim is back with Rowan, doing her own in-house designer line, and two amazing new books! Each book is loaded with 21 of Kim's signature clean, contemporary designs: "Nectar" for spring/summer and "Heartfelt" for fall. All use popular Rowan yarns, and Kim will have her own line of colors within these existing Rowan lines for fall. These came in yesterday and Nectar is already almost sold out! If you've been looking for summer inspiration, this is where to start.

Three-Way Wha????

The fabulous Ronni is never content to knit a project as written. She's always branching out with her own spin on designs. So when she came in wanting to make Ingrid's 3-Way Wrap, but in "something different," we worked out a version using Colinette Giotto. The result is perfect for summer parties and oh-so-stunning in person:

Web customers, if you want to buy Giotto for your own version, you'll need 3 skeins and size 10.5 or 11 needles. We'll include a free pattern with your order!

This just in: Loops was graced with a visit this morning by the famous, funny and fabulous Maggie Sefton, author of five bestselling knitting/murder mysteries! Maggie will be at Barnes & Noble at 41st & Yale, 7pm tonight (Wednesday), signing copies of her newest novel, "Dyer Consequences." We don't have copies yet, but I'm ordering them today! Look for photos with Maggie in the next blog post.

- Shelley
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Thursday, June 5, 2008


Take heart, my landlocked friends, this isn't another post about the beach. It's literally about Nirvana, a brand-new yarn for us that was ordered back in January and arrived as a great start-of-summer surprise.

Nirvana is from Mango Moon, the company that makes our soft Recycled Silk made from saris. Like the silk, this yarn includes recycled fiber, is handspun and hand-dyed. No two skeins are alike. The difference is the content: 30% recyled viscose, 67% cotton, and 3% spandex. The result is a wonderfully soft, cool-to-the-touch yarn with a springy stretch.

But who am I kidding, what we really fell in love with is the colors. Here are just a few:

We were also more than a little enamored with this free pattern for the cutest little baby hoodie, which uses 3 skeins and size 9 needles. Gene is making one up for the store - thanks, Gene!

Loretta-the-wonder-web-queen has already loaded Nirvana onto our site - click here to shop.

One more cool thing about Mango Moon: They support the NGO Organization N-WEG to help women who have been rescued from abusive situations. The women who come to the shelter are able to use their spinning and knitting skills to rebuild their lives, while continuing to care for their children. Proceeds provide a safe shelter, health care, education and the dignity of financial independence.

Have fun finding your own Nirvana! And be sure to read down to the previous post - I posted twice today for double your blogging pleasure :)

- Shelley
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Music to stitch by.

We have had several requests lately for the Loops Playlist. Periodically - but never often enough for the Loops Troops or some of our "regulars" :) - I update our list of songs that play in the store. While it may seem that some of these play over and over again, we actually have a rotating list of at least 50 songs at all times!

All of these were originally available on iTunes, but the first bunch are from American Idol contestants, and may no longer be available. So I guess you'll just have to come hang out at Loops to hear them! I confess to a soft spot for contestant Jason Castro, who is affectionately referred to as "dreds" around our house.

Sorry, this is gonna make for a really long post. But here goes...

Loops Playlist, Spring/Summer '08
Brooke White, "Let It Be"
Carly Smithson, "Here You Come Again"
Jason Castro, "Travelin' Thru"
Jason Castro, "Hallelujah"
Jason Castro, "Over the Rainbow"
David Cook, "Always Be My Baby"
Idol Artists, "Shout to the Lord"
Leona Lewis, "Footprints in the Sand"
Ingrid Michaelson, "The Way I Am"
The Weepies, "Can't Go Back Now"
Jason Mraz, "Details in the Fabric"
Leona Lewis, "Better in Time"
Ferras, "Hollywood's Not America"
Duffy, "Mercy"
Natasha Bedingfield, "Pocketful of Sunshine"
Jordin Sparks, "Tattoo"
Leona Lewis, "Bleeding Love"
Turin Brakes, "Pain Killer"
Snow Patrol, "Chocolate"
Sheryl Crow, "Love is Free"
Ryan Cabrera, "True"
Rufus Wainwright, "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk"
Remy Zero, "Prophecy"
Ray LaMontagne, "Hold You In My Arms"
Rachel Yamagata, "Reason Why"
Plain White T's, "Hey There Delilah"
Panic At the Disco, "Nine in the Afternoon"
Martina McBride, "My Baby Loves Me"
Martina McBride, "Over the Rainbow"
Martina McBride, "In My Daughter's Eyes"
Martina McBride, "This One's for the Girls"
Martina McBride, "Anyway"
Linkin Park, "Shadow of the Day"
Joshua Radin, "Paperweight"
Jashua Radin, "Star Mile"
Jewel, "Stronger Woman"
Jessica Simpson, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
Janet, "Feedback"
Israel Kamakowiwo', "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - yea, I really like this song!
Imogen Heap, "Hide and Seek"
Fiona Apple, "Paper Bag"
Counting Crows, "You Can't Count On Me"
Coldplay, "Warning Sign"
Cary Brothers, "Ride"
Carrie Underwood, "All-American Girl"
Blake Lewis, "When the Stars Go Blue"
Barenaked Ladies, "One Week"
Athlet, "El Salvador"
Amy Grant, "Abide With Me"
Amy Grant, "Anywhere With Jesus"
Amy Grant, "Big Yellow Taxi"
Amos Lee, "Arms of a Woman"
Aimee Man, "Today's the Day"

Just think, if you downloaded all of these and listened through them one time while you knit, you could probably make a whole scarf!

- Shelley
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