Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Supershort and supergood.

I'm on my way out the door, but had to tell you that Dave and Terri from Ozark Handspun will be at Loops tomorrow, Thursday, October 30th, from 11am-2pm. They will be returning from a trip to Arkansas and offered to stop by for a spell...bringing with them tons of luscious goodies like Opulent, one of their newest yarns:

Those of you who were a part of the Holiday '08 Great Ozark Hat Craze know that Ozark's website has lots of great free patterns, like this neckwarmer. So, browse online and then come by tomorrow. to touch-and-feel (the yarns, not Terri and Dave - though they might enjoy it ;-).

- Shelley
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gina Wilde and our Wildest contest ever.

Loops hosted Gina Wilde of Alchemy Yarns of Transformation for a truly transformative presentation this past Friday.

Here's a pic of Gina (left) and Terri - we decided that, with their hair and their love of color, they must have been separated at birth:

Gina also shares Terri's love of funky boots. Love, love!

Gina really got down with her presenation, demonstrating how she lays out each skein of yarn to hand-paint them in tiny batches of 5 skeins. I didn't know that Gina herself paints every single skein of Alchemy yarn!

All the crowd was mesmerized when Gina told us the story of the day she received a great offer from Random House/Potter Craft for her beautiful new book, Shibori Knits...the very same day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Through the end of October (that's this Friday), Loops will donate 10% of all sales of Alchemy Yarns to the Tulsa Young Survivors group, which distributes information to women under 40 diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Thanks so much to Gina and her sweet husband and business partner, Austin, for traveling all the way from California to visit us! We hope they will come again soon.

Now, to the contest...we had an incredible 267 entries in our Offhand Bag Contest! Thanks to everyone who shared the Loops love! The winner (by random integer drawing) is Terry Ross. Congratulations Terry - you win the beautiful green Offhand Bag!

Honorable mention goes to Julie Swaim, who has an amazing circle of influence (or just lots of really good friends). She got 24 people to enter the contest and mention her name! Julie wins an Offhand Tia accessory clutch. Your prizes will go out this week, ladies.

Thanks to all who entered, and be sure to keep an eye our for our next contest!

- Shelley
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P.S. Gina signed all of our Shibori Knits and Destination Alchemy books - order yours while they last!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sally rally.

We had a great turnout for the Sally Melville workshops at Loops yesterday. This is one of those times I wish Loops was about 5 times bigger, so we could have accommodated the huge waiting list! As it was, we held the classes next door at Polo Grill - which of course had the added bonus of scrumptious food and attentive service.

Here's Janet, noticing the cute waiter:

Only kidding. Janet and everyone else were intently focused on the purls of wisdom that Sally was constantly bestowing upon us in a never-ending stream. Here's a tip I learned: Are your sweater arms always fitting wrong? It may be how you're measuring your sleeve length. (Gasp! I've always done this wrong!) The proper way is to measure from the center of the back of your neck (the top of your spine), all the way down your arm to the wrist break, with your arm bent.

Another tip: When moving from the edging to the main body of the sweater, do an extra purl row for your increase row (using the lifted increase). This will give a more defined break from the edging to the sweater - plus you don't have to worry about increasing and starting your stitch pattern in the same row. Genius!

I was so late getting home that I had to make dinner, pronto. I have long been devoted to Rachel Ray's 30-minute cookbooks, but I recently discovered a huge treasure trove of recipes on her website. Last night I made Bacon Sloppy Joes. My youngest has always turned her nose up at "Sloppies" but who can turn down bacon (my sister used to be a Vegetarian Plus Bacon). Plus this recipe is full of "hidden" veggies. These were a huge hit! Tonight we're going to try the Cubano Pork Chops. Reasor's doesn't have the Peppadew peppers, so I'm gonna try Petty's.

Bonus: They have to be grilled, so Mom gets a little knitting time!

Thanks again to Sally...the quintessential knitting instructor...we hope you come back soon!

- Shelley
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Offhand Bag Contest!

Okay guys, this one is a biggie. It's been awhile since we had a contest, so we're giving away one of these:

It's a designer knitting bag from Offhand Designs - the most popular, roomy Zelda Grande bag in the "Bouquet" pattern. I have this same pattern in the Zhivago bag - love it!

And this time, we're leveling the playing field a bit. Usually, our blog contests require some cleverness on your part - like coming up with a creative caption for a photo. This time, you need not be witty to win!

All you have to do is email me at and ask to be entered in the contest. This will get you one automatic entry. Now here's the juicy part...we're trying to spread the word about our fabulous online store. Truly, thanks to everyone's hard work, I believe is becoming one of the best websites in the U.S. for luxury yarns. No exaggeration! But we need to get the word out to the rest of the world, so...

If you email a friend about our contest, and they email me and mention you, you will receive two additional entries in the contest! Thus you have tripled your chances to win. The more friends you refer, the better your chances.

All of the emails will be added to the Loops mailing list to receive our bi-monthly e-newsletters. So it is important that your friends email me directly at (rather than you just sending me their addresses) because otherwise it could be considered spam. And spam - both the act and the mystery meat in a can - is bad.

I realize this could massively clog my email. But I'm willing to take the risk for the greater cause (insert stirring patriotic music here).

On Saturday, October 25th, I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner. So go ahead - bring on those emails!

- Shelley
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Sandy report.

Yes, we still have her.

Sandy, the half-lab, half-golden-retriever that we adopted from the SPCA last February is firmly entrenched as a permanent part of our family.

Much to the chagrin of Lucy, our 6-year-old lhasa apso and self-appointed Alpha Dog.
When Sandy gets really hyper, or hogs the attention, Lucy gives her best "get-back-bi#$@" bark. If that doesn't work, she nips at Sandy's heels, doing her best to avoid the lethal backlash of Sandy's enormous tail. (Sandy has two nicknames: "Slurpy" for the very wet kisses she desperately covers us with when we enter the room, and "Boom Boom" for the huge wagging of the tail that gets faster and louder the closer you get to her, i.e. the more she anticipates getting petted).

Lucy has learned how to guard her food to keep Sandy the heck away (Sandy will eat all of both food bowls plus the entire contents of the pantry plus the contents of Billie Anne's trash can if left to her own devices).

The thing that cracks me up about that photo is the proximity of the random hairbrush lying on the ground, as if Lucy just groomed herself.
Vestiges of Sandy's background still remain. She occasionally mistakes the toilet for a water bowl and our shag rug for the toilet ($200 went out the door to the carpet cleaners, just today - but to be fair, our rug is sorta the color of dead grass). She still sticks very close to me and Brent ("velcro dog"). She still barks at Billie Anne (force of habit) and goes crazy when the doorbell rings (naturally, I'm always on the phone with a client at that time). She is and will always will be terrified of rain (her pervious outdoor "home" had no roof).

But she knows "sit," "down," "treat," "car ride," and she is very patient with letting the kids snuggle her. She inexplicably pulls down the towels from their hooks and snuggles them when we are gone for any length of time. Lately, she has taken to tearing at our bedsheets as if to say "Make the bed!" She sleeps well at night, finally. And often, during the day.

Yep, we still have her. And she has us. For good!

- Shelley
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Adopted yarns.

We have some yarns around the store that are perfectly lovable, sweet, and easy to get along with. But they are a bit older than the others. The lure of "brand new!" has perhaps worn off. Maybe they have been relegated to a slightly obscure shelf, or there simply has never been a knitted sample on display.

In short, they needed to be adopted.

Loops Troops to the rescue! I made up an Adopt-A-Yarn list and most of the employees - and even several customers who happened to be hanging out that day! - volunteered to find a great pattern and breathe some new life into these little gems with a great store sample. The reward? A company party (with prizes of course) at a local hotspot.

Here are some results of the generous souls who let a little yarn into their home, if only for awhile:

Gina Y. adopted Colinette Prism and made a Thorpe hat (free pattern):

Ellen adopted Blue Sky Royal Alpaca and made her own free pattern for a cowl:

Kristin adopted Rowan Denim and made a bib from the Mason Dixon Knitting book:

Barbara adopted Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy and made this free pattern for the Vine Lace Baby Hat (free Ravelry download):

Billie Anne adopted Louisa Harding Mulberry (100% silk!) and created a pattern for this rose scarf - free with purchase of the yarn. Isn't this awesome?

There were about a dozen more Adopted projects - thanks everyone! Look for them around the store at Loops!

- Shelley
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

The backrub sweater.

This is fast becoming my favorite sweater, ever. I wore it at the store today and everyone who saw me, even Sherry the Anti-Hugger, could not resist running their hands over my back to feel the luscious cashmere/silk that is only Tanglewood. It was like getting free massages all day. So I have decided to dub it "The Backrub Sweater."

In the photo, I have added buttons but have not yet added crocheted loops to hook them through. I do, however, adore these buttons, which are sort of a little-known secret at Loops. They are made of natural Tagua Nut, and the really cool thing is they are Stackable. I added the little bars to the "slices." You can mix and match the colors to create a custom look (we have lots of other colors, and ovals, too). Pretty irresistible.

Right after I sewed them on, I discovered that the new shawl closures and "afterthought buttons" from our newest local artisan, Kay, had arrived. Kay is a metalsmither who disliked the way that most pins and buttons were too heavy and dragged on her knitted items. So she invented these yarn-bead-and-sterling-silver creations that are super-light and so eye-catching.

The price on these is really reasonable for all the handwork that goes into them - $15.99 for the button sets and $22.99 for the shawl pins (really they're not pins, though - the wires twirl through the fabric rather than pinning through - another plus!).

The price on the Tanglewood, not so reasonable...this mini sweater was over $200 to make. But I guarantee you this yarn will never sit at the bottom of your stash pile. It WILL get knitted and worn. And the backrubs? Priceless.

- Shelley
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oopsie daisy.

Encouraged by the positive comments on her last blog entry, the intrepid blogger presses on with this bonus entry...

This morning I woke very early, well before dawn, and started to change out of my PJs. But I realized the outfit I needed was downstairs. Too lazy to re-dress, I dashed down the stairs in the buff, taking comfort in the fact that the house was pitch-black and it was too early for the neighbors to be up. Right?

Wrong. Just as I reached the bottom of the stairs, a light out yonder window caught my attention. I turned to face the light and saw a pair of SUV headlights staring back at me from the driveway. And yes, they saw my headlights, too.

Then the phone rang (before 6am) and I started to wonder if I was dreaming. This was just all too B horror movie. But it was my friend Erin, saying she was sick and couldn't play in the tennis tournament today.

Naturally and thankfully, there are no photos to go with the story. But I do have some visuals with this list of the past couple day's happenings at Loops:

1. Fall order from Offhand Bags arrived, including more than 20 bags in 5 fab new fabrics. Here are just a couple:

2. Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket DVD arrived!!!

3. New order of Cascade 220, wahoo!

4. Gina Y. already made up a couple of adorable bats (and no, that is not an oxymoron - Anna from MochiMochiLand can make anything adorable! click here to check out the pattern in our online store)

5. Elizabeth and Gina Y. held a free "duct tape dummies" event based on the instructions in the new book, "Custom Knits." Ruth, you are a great sport!

And by the way, a little duct tape would've come in handy at 6am this morning!

- Shelley
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Blogger, wherefore art thou?

Forgive me, fellow bloggers, for I have sinned. It has been 13 days since my last blog.

I wish I had a good excuse. It’s just the usual crazy-busy life. But you deserve better, faithful reader! So, to help get myself back on track, I’m committing, right here, right now, to blog every other day for the next week! Here are my planned topics:

• Adopt a yarn
• The Sandy Report
• Shiborigasm
• Contest!

Ooh…ooh…can you feel the excitement building? Okay, maybe not. But for today, let’s start with my current WIP, which has the dual honor of being (a) the smallest sweater I’ve ever knit, and (b) the most expensive sweater I’ve ever knit.

Now, with regard to (a), it’s not that I’ve lost weight and am now knitting a smaller size. No sirree bob. It’s just that, with regard to (b), this yarn is so very precious that I went looking for the shortest little sweater I could make and still call it a garment.

This is Tanglewood Fiber Creations, hand-spun, hand-dyed cashmere/silk in – well, it doesn’t really have a name. Trish wanted to dye up a red, but this came out so close to their mega-popular “Newport Rocks” color, they decided to scrap it. So of course, I had to buy her two remaining skeins, and then she threw in an extra ball, just to be extra nice! So I went searching for a mini-mini-sweater and found a free ravelry pattern called Catherine's Mini Cardi.

This pattern is designed to use two skeins of Tilli Tomas silk (you could also use Louisa Harding Grace or Mulberry, probably – but might need an extra skein depending on yardage). I think I’ll have to make another one in silk because this is the most fun little top-down knit I’ve ever done!

Of course, I have to use up Every Scrap of this precious yarn, so I’m adding a hood, adapted from a new Noni pattern, “One cute hoodie.” (Didja know that Noni’s new fall collection includes garments, including great hoodies for the whole fam, and some adorable coats?).

This may be genius, or it may just be dorky. The yarn feels so dang good to knit with, I honestly don’t care. And anyway, if it’s dorky, there’s always the contest to keep you intrigued. Sometime later this week. Mwah-ha-ha-ha…

- Shelley
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