Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ariosa tease.

Ooooh, I was so excited. I got one of Classic Elite's wonderful emails where they often include free patterns. Usually, the pattern is awesome - I particularly love Cecily's patterns, and the Daisy Chapeau from in MinnowMerino from Jil Eaton was adorable.

So imagine my ecstasy when I saw that this week's pattern is in Ariosa, the yummy new chunky weight that we ordered in large quantity...but which is slightly under-represented in the new pattern books for fall.

Then, I opened up the pattern and took a look:


On the bright side, Ariosa is the same gauge as Karabella Margrite Bulky, making it ideal for our best-selling 3-Way Wrap.

And I've also stashed some Ariosa to do SweaterBabe's Vine Lace Top-Down Cardigan:

See, when yarn is involved, there's always a bright side.

- Shelley

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hot Loops meets hot flash.

If I weren't just a wee bit too young, I would swear that the entire last week was one long hot flash for me.

Where the h@## is Brunie's fan when you need it???

The week leading up to the unveiling of a new Hot Loops wall is always a wild ride. I'm on the phone to vendors, begging for samples that haven't arrived, realizing we never got a whole order of yarn that was to be featured on the wall, formatting last-minute original patterns, and most of all, schlepping boxes like mad. I think I've gone through an entire stick of Secret invisible dry this week alone. Not to mention a tube of Abreva for the cute little fever blister that popped up mid-week. How special.

But when all is said and done (Gina, are you singing the song from "Mamma Mia"?), we have another beautiful Hot Loops wall, and really what has got to be the funnest dang yarn party anywhere in the U.S. of A.

Here's the crowd starting to form in the parking lot:

Everyone signed in as they arrived for a chance to win giveaways, including a Prism yarn grab bag valued at $200, a Berroco model in the new Inca Gold, a grab bag of sock yarn "orphans," and an Offhand Bag! Here's Becky, arriving and scoping out what's new:

Here's Amy, modeling the Offhand Bag she won at the end of the evening (and the bag happened to perfectly match her outfit!):

Here's Kathy, who loves the "pulse" of Hot Loops (and Loops in general), and always makes me feel so good about what we're doing here in our little corner of the yarn world:

Here's Ruth, who so generously offered to share her bag made from Debbie Bliss Como, the new chunky yarn for fall. Ruth finished her bag in record time and even modeled for the wall (see her photo behind her)?

Here are several guests, resting between pomegranate margaritas and madcap shopping:

Huge thanks to:
- All the Loops Troops who helped prepare the wall, and especially Gina, Barbara and Ellen for working during the party (Ellen having had an unpleasant test just 2 days prior, you know, the one that ends in "oscopy" promoted by Katie Couric).
- Cherry and Darry, the fabulous rhyming reps, who rush-shipped me models at the last minute
- Louisa Harding herself, who emailed patterns to me on Friday from the U.K. when it became apparent our pattern books would not arrive on time. How can such an amazing designer possibly be so helpful and unassuming? We heart Louisa!
- Loretta, for getting all the yarns up on loopsknitting.com with unending dedication
- Gina H. for designing and making the "It's an Emergency!" mittens at the last minute, and Gina Y. for offering to make the sleeves on the Sweet Pea sweater
- Billie Anne for, well, pretty much everything
- Brent, for yet another wall of beautiful photography, shot in our master bedroom on a Home Depot footstool, amidst barking dogs and a thousand other ad biz deadlines
- Our tremendous customers who always make it all worth it!

- Shelley

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Off color.

It's time for a new camera. My old faithful digital camera is pooping out on me (kinda like what Sandy does when she scarfs a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies). The camera has decided, without my input, to go all Film Noir on me. It's sort of like someone dunked the camera in the sink or tried to felt the pictures.

So, not to be deterred, the Faithful Blogger presses on. We were visited these past few days by Trish of Tanglewood Yarn. She unloaded a giant box, plus her suitcase, full of the most precious yarn on the market.

It's just shameful what my camera is doing to Trish's beautiful fiber colors. But even the best camera could not do them justice. Each pound of yarn takes several hours just to dye...then hour upon hour to handspin (Trish brought her spinning wheel and was spinning at the store for 2 days straight...still she has to employ 20-30 spinners at any given time to just attempt to keep up with demand from the lucky 10 stores who carry it). Then, for a very special few skeins, she hand-beads the yarn as she goes, slipping in a larger, funkier bead every now and then.

The yarn is priced by the ounce, and it is understandably expensive, for all the handwork that goes into it. This is the really big treat you give yourself after finishing 10 hats for charity, or running a marathon, or cleaning up after your dog who ate all the chocolate cookies. It's the gift for the knitting best friend who always drives you to the airport at 5am, or who just needs a boost because she's been down. No one could be sad when knitting with this stuff. No one.

Trish was an absolute delight. Thanks to Terrie for letting Trish stay at her studio (I took pictures but they disappeared off the camera - probably because there was too much color in Terrie's studio for the camera to handle!). And also to Gina H., Gina Y., Ellen, Dawn and Gene for "trish-minding" while she was with us. Even though it was "bucketing" (Trish's word for the rain) the whole time she was here, she says she loves Oklahoma and has promised to return soon - possibly even before Christmas! Meanwhile, I did nab a few skeins of her yarn to keep in stock for those of you who crave a fix.

Also, on Friday, we got two more eagerly-awaited shipments. First, a big batch of Malabrigo Worsted Merino, in some of the newest colorways (Azalea is my new favorite - red, deep purple and black!). Also back in stock is Charrua, the blue-brown combo that flew out in one day last time.

And last but not least, a two-box batch of Pagewood Farm Yukon arrived. Remember, the bamboo blend sock yarn that sold out so quickly last time? The most popular colors have returned, along with some new surprises. Here's a sampling:

Off to buy a new camera. I'm sure it will inspire me to blog more this week!

- Shelley

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Enabler.

New this fall on the WB Network..."The Enabler." The kingpin yarn store owner and her gang of fiber-pushing thugs encourage innocent fiberholics to delve deeper into their yarn addiction.

Tune in for the pilot episode, where the Enabler gets a whole new shipment of self-striping Noro in Cashmere Island, Kureyon, Silk Garden, Iro and the popular new chunky weight cotton/silk blend, Taiyo (shown here with Enabling vest pattern), as well as new books:

The shameless seduction continues when the Enabler wheels out a new batch of book titles, including Knitalong and One Skein Wonders (ever notice that "skein" rhymes with "cocaine"? Coincidence? We think not.)

In the episode's riveting climax, the last fiberholic standing tries valiantly to leave the store, having resisted all yarn temptation...when the kingpin directs her attention to the new Czech glass and 1950's vintage buttons:

Tune in tomorrow at 10am, 2042 Utica Square or conveniently online at loopsknitting.com.