Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dirty laundry.

We're getting ready to sell our house. We bought a new house farther south, closer to our kids' schools and most of their friends. Getting our house ready to go on the market is, of course, a process. It started with paring down the kid's clutter (a.k.a. plastic crap - we practically needed a full dump truck for the Fashion Pollys alone!).

With that done, our house looks great, I must say. We've done a lot of polishing and decorating and some major outdoor overhauling over the past almost two years that we've been here. Poor Brent spends every weekend from dawn to dusk sweating over our full acre here in Midtown. I would remind him that it was his choice to let go of the lawn crew because he decided our eldest "is old enough to help me out in the yard." I could rib him about his horticultural perfectionism. But that would surely be counterproductive.

Anyhow, while we have improved most every square inch of the house, there was one last bastion of nastiness that lay hidden behind closed doors. I enlisted the help of fellow knitter, designer and "stager" extraordinaire, the phabulous Phara, to upgrade our sad laundry facilities. Check out this before picture. I know ya'll are chartreuse with envy over the lovely "antique" wallpaper, circa 1920:

Now, look at the results. Ty Pennington, eat your heart out!

Phara also went through our house, room by room, ajusting pictures here, arranging knick-knacks there. It made an enormous difference. (If you want to hire Phara, you can reach her through Ravelry, where her rav name is "colorcrazed.") Lucy, for one, is ready to step out and head to our new digs cross-town!
(See, that's her paw steppin' out below her ladylike beard!)
Also steppin' out is Eileen, in this beautiful wrap sweater that she made from Alchemy hand-dyed Silk Purse in the Grass Harp colourway. It is just stunning with Eileen's auburn hair.

And in case you're considering steppin' out to Loops to seek out new fall projects, we just received a new batch of Trekking XXL in brand-new colors:

Also, Stacy came in and took Terrie's Bono Kimono class this weekend, bringing with her a fresh batch of Glam Grrl in Cherry Bomb, plus new Gothique and Foliage. We sold nearly 100 skeins on Saturday! But there are a few left...

That's all for now. Sandy just ran through a fresh coat of polyurethane on our newly-refinished kitchen floor. Gotta run!

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Malabrigo madness.

Everyone just seems to be in love with this stuff. And what's not to love about Malabrigo? Gorgeous kettle dyes, thick-thin for texture, supreme softness, excellent price for the yardage (the multis are even the same price as the semi-solids!) and gazillions of patterns on Ravelry. Not to mention the sympathy factor - Tobias and his crew suffered a terrible fire a few months ago - but they're quickly getting back up to speed and we were thrilled to get a nice big order with new colors. Sorry, but this pic just cannot do the colors justice:

I ordered in amounts of 20-30 of each color this time, because so many of you have been making garments with it. But the hottest project has been one that requires absolutely no knitting on your part. How, you may ask? Terrie has designed a new coat that she looms from Malabrigo (or most any other yarn, but the Malabrigo makes the coolest patterns in the knitted fabric!). She trims them in Prism yarn and the result is just stunning. In fact, I'm having her make one for my mom for Christmas (Mom doesn't read the blog too often so let's hope she misses this one).

This Saturday, Terrie is doing a free workshop. She'll bring a bunch of her loomed designs, and you can check them out in person. If you like, you can choose a design and a yarn, and get on her make-to-order list. The event is free, this Saturday, August 23 from 2-3pm. No need to pre-register. So plan to come by. If nothing else, it is guaranteed to inspire you to make one-of-a-kind creations this fall!

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cardboard Jungle.

I call it "warehousing." Yesterday, I put on my grubbies and headed to the storeroom to take on the mountain of corrugated cardboard that had come dangerously close to the ceiling. Karl the Magnificent UPS guy has been earning his keep, loading us up with boxes of glorious fall yarn orders.

There was one order from Plymouth that was just shy of 300 pounds. Folks, thatsa lotta yarn.

After a four hour "boxing" workout that rivals anything Denise Austin can dish out, I had some semblance of order. In my exhausted state, I managed to snap a few photos from the new Crystal Palace shipment. My favorite is Panda Silk, a sock weight bamboo-merino-silk blend. Mmmmmmm...

Crystal Palace has great free pattern support on their website, straw.com. In Panda Silk, check out the Silken Ease Scarf and Ribbon Socks.

We also got Panda Cotton, a sock weight bamboo-cotton-elastic that's a great choice for all those whiny people on your holiday gift list who say they can't wear wool. Waaaaaaaaahh...(only kidding folks, you know I'm allergic to mohair):

And I love the new colors of Taos, the worsted weight wool in the prettiest striated colourways. It's very soft and felts great, too. I found this cute new hat pattern on the site. Takes just one ball. Pick your favorite color and GO!

Got a bambino to knit for? You can't miss with Puffin. This fleece yarn is so soft and squishy, it's like a "wubbie" in a ball. Make an easy blanket or - ohmygosh - look at this Baby Toddler Hoodie Pattern. The cuteness runneth over.

We may actually catch up with the cardboard today, if Karl spares us. Please, Karl, have mercy! My biceps need a break!

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Apple for the teacher.

It will be several weeks before my kids are all back in school. Sadly, our babysitters have all returned to college and/or high school. And, adding to the joy of working at home without childcare, our electronic babysitter, i.e. cable TV is not working. So, rather than pull my hair out, run around in circles or scream and cry, I decided to do something constructive:

I recognize that this might possibly fall into the category of crocheted toilet paper covers, or end up on one of those horrifying websites like What Not to Knit. BUT it is useful - it prevents the apple from bruising in the teacher's lunchbox. And let's face it: What teacher wouldn't remember the child that brings them a Koigu Apple Cozy?

Click here for the pattern which is free, easy, takes about an hour and uses about half a skein of DK yarn. Just don't make one if your child is in the same class as mine. I want mine to be the only stupid-a%% apple protector sitting on their teachers' desks ;-)

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

P.S. Click on the pattern even if you're not making one, just to see the "banana protector," which looks more like something they should be selling in an adult bookstore!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Segue, schmegue.

It's that time again...my "blog photos to use" folder is overflowing, so here comes one of those "etc." posts where nothing necessarily relates to anything else. In fact, let's make it 100 percent segue-free, shall we? Here goes...

Wenche's Norwegian granddaughter in a dress from the book Barefoot Knits - everything from this book is made in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, as is this darling dress:

New "Cable Brim Hat" pattern co-designed by our own Sherry and her sister, Ann - uses just one skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Look for a class on this hat in August, and a matching scarf pattern coming soon...
(BTW the model is Claire, babysitter extraordinaire).

Sammye's baby set in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, from a recent issue of Vogue Knitting (yes, that's two mentions of cashmerino yarns but no, that is not an intentional segue):

Allie's B4 Bag, made from various felting yarns including Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride (I think) and a bunch of fun buttons. Felters, be sure to click on this B4 Bag link and check out the various color combos - gorgeous!

Blanket that Dawn just finished in a simple crochet stitch, made from three different colourways of Blue Sky Organic Cotton. She may offer this as a class in September. What do you think? Now we just need to get her to write up the pattern, if she would ever read this blog or her email (not so subtle hint here, Dawn ;-)

Sweater made by Wenche using leftovers - yes, leftovers - from the Cotton Fleece garments she made for her grandchildren. She just did this pattern out of her head!!!

Um, just a thought here, but Norwegians may be officially smarter than Americans. Probably all that fish they eat - it's brain food, you know.

And yes, okay, there was a segue in there. But I barely even took advantage of it. Really. Although I did exploit the italicize key just a little bit.

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com