Monday, February 23, 2009


Here comes one of those entries where nothing really goes together. These photos have built up in my "bloggable" folder but just haven't fit with any other topic. So let's dispense with the segues and just press on, shall we?

Most of you know my youngest is quite the Conspicuous Consumer. She is well-known for her love of plastic crap - Littlest Pet Shop, Fashion Pollies, etc., etc. She's never met a Target aisle she didn't like. Same goes for any mall fashion store. (Heck, her nickname is "Mal" - and she spells it "Mall") So, what birthday gift could be more perfect that these socks, given to her by a gal pal?

This is the Special Board outside the drive-thru Starbuck's at 91st and Yale. I wish they'd write something on it. Anything. Just to give me the illusion that my day might be at least a little special.

My favorite t-shirt belonging to birthday girl. Typecasting at its finest:

Really, really amazing new yarn from Tilli Tomas. Beads and sequins. Oh my.

And thanks to Renée for sending in this photo. She asked if Loops would be teaching a class on these scarves any time soon?

Loops Troops: any volunteers?

- Shelley
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Friday, February 20, 2009


Remember the old Budweiser commercials where the people would call each other and say "Whassssup?" And then there was one in the series with an Asian twist, where they would say "Wassssabi?" This is the word that keeps running through my mind as I whip through my latest project, the Wasabi scarf.

If you've never done a drop-stitch scarf, you should learn how. It makes a BIG scarf out of a little yarn, it's a great way to show off ribbon yarns, and best of all it is mindless. This is TV knitting at its finest. Go ahead, have that glass of wine, turn on American Idol and knit away. You'll have a whole scarf done before Randy can say, "Whasssup dog?"

I was inspired to start this at the store yesterday, when I saw that our big spring shipment of hand-dyed Colinette Giotto had arrived. This ribbon yarn has been one of the Loops best sellers from day one. The colors are stunning (so much more complex and vibrant in person), and we have lots of styles for super-easy tops that come out gorgeous with little effort - the yarn does the work.

We got a new color in Giotto, "Wasabi," a "slime green" as Gina Marie would say, but there is something so hip and spring-y about it. We already had another Colinette yarn, Isis, in the same color. Voilá - inspiration!

Here is all you do:
Using Isis and #11 needles, cast on 20 stitches. Knit 4 rows.
Drop Isis and pick up Giotto. K1, *do three YO's, K1* repeat between *'s to end, K1. (Make sure you always start and end this row with a K1.)
Next row, knit across, dropping all YO's.
Pick up Isis again and knit 4 rows. Then do your two drop stitch rows with Giotto...and repeat until you're almost out of yarn. End with 4 knit rows of Isis and cast off.

This is going to make a really long, wide scarf - reminds me of what the heroine wore at the end of "Slumdog Millionaire." But I think "Wasabi Scarf" sounds better than "Slumdog Scarf." Don't you?

You could also make it using just Giotto, no Isis. Giotto has over 160 yards, so it would still be a great scarf. Maybe just cast on 16 stitches to start. But it is fun to alternate the two yarn textures, as well.

Spring scarves are hot, it's true...but in case you would rather make a Giotto top, here are some ideas:
Sushi Tank (free ravelry download)
Waterlily Top ($4.50 download from Interweave)
Liesl ($4 online download from Ysolda, feather and fan pattern)
Plus, we have two store copies of discontinued Colinette books full of Giotto patterns, which we have been given permission to copy, free with purchase of the yarn.

Or, click to shop Giotto and Isis in our online store. Not all of the Giotto colors are up yet, but will be soon - right, Loretta? You can also call the store to shop: 1-877-LOOPSOK.

Happy TV knitting!

- Shelley

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I read once that a sign of great character is the ability to be self-deprecating. So I practice this often. Actually, I don't have to practice since I naturally give myself plenty of dorky material to work with on a day-to-day basis. I am becoming a self-deprecating expert.

So this is the self-deprecating blog entry where you get to feel smug and superior to the Idiot Yarn Store Owner.

You know that hat I was making for the Mr. Chivalrous Police Officer who saved me on Christmas Eve? The 100% handspun cashmere hat? The hat that turned out a little too big, so Gina H. suggested I give it a "light felting"? Here it is, laying flat on my washer. (I was laying flat on the ground).

It's like a hole-y hatcake pancake. Guess the police officer will have to settle for the heartfelt commendation I called in.

- Shelley
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heart savers.

When my youngest was very young, and we asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up, she would answer "a lifesaver." I knew she meant a paramedic, but I got a mental picture of a giant piece of pep-o-mint candy with arms and legs and a big hairbow.

Anyhow, we have a little something new at Loops today that brought this story to mind. Holly, one of our Loops Troops and shelf/yarn stacker extraordinaire, also makes these cool little knitting gadgets on the side. "Knitsavers" are small, partial crochet hooks that you can clip inside your bag, and keep handy for dropped stitch emergencies. She just made up a batch for Valentine's Day, or Go Red Day, or just These Are So Cute I Must Have Them Day:

She also made some stitch marker sets (these come in sets of 5 on cute little cards - great gift):

Right now, the new stuff is pouring in too fast for me to keep up. A couple days ago, we received the new Rowan and Debbie Bliss magazines:

Here's a peek inside the Rowan one (Side note: Have you noticed how many people incorrectly use the work "peak" in this context? I get at least one email a week screaming for me to "take a peak!" - it's my new pet "peave"):

And, in addition to the new Rowan Lenpur yarn, we got a big shipment of our favorite summer yarns in lots of new colors. Like Summer Tweed...

All Seasons Cotton...

...also Handknit Cotton (great for those Itty Bitty Hats), Denim and Glacé.

When I grow up, I want to be a Yarn Saver.

- Shelley
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Monday, February 9, 2009

I heart online tutorials.

So I fell in love with this "Bullseye" sweater from Stitch Diva Studios at the TNNA Show in San Diego.

Then I decided, hmmm...maybe I should make the sleeveless version instead (no sleeves = better chance of actually finishing it):

So then I sat down last night to cast on and...oops, no double points in size 6 in the house - but I did have a 32" #6 circular. So that meant I would need to learn the Magic Loop method to get started. No problem, I've been meaning to learn for years. But then, what's this? An "adjustable ring cast-on"? Huh? And M1L? M1R? I thought there was only one kind of Make 1! Oh, and what are lifted increases again? I haven't done those in ages. OMG! WTF?! %#$&*!!!!

Breathe...deeply...get a glass of wine...breathe again...and then the answer comes to me. Online knitting tutorials! It's the yarn girl's 21st century answer to Cliff Notes. I just googled "magic loop knitting video" and up popped a handy, step-by-step guide. Then I googled the cast-on thingie, and here came a video straight from the Stitch Diva herself. This one was even better, because I got a taste of both her genius and her edgy New Yorker "deal with it" attitude, which is part of what made me fall for the design in the first place.

Thirty minutes later, et voila:

Sure, it looks like a remedial granny circle. But to me, it's the beginning of greatness. And love, love, love the Tilli Tomas Plie silk.

Handy tip when googling: Just make sure to add the word "knit" or "knitting" to your search. I hate to think what might pop up if you googled "In the round video." Or worse yet, "fingering video."

Just sayin'.

- Shelley
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