Thursday, June 25, 2009

Red eye?

I didn't sleep much last night - one of those nights where you wake up with your mind racing about everything you've gotta do, rummaging through the back corners of the brain for random worries. And yes, I did a little late-night knitting. So I'm hoping some home-brewed Starbuck's will cure my morning "red eye."

Which reminded me, I have this great photo of my DD making creative use of a couple of cherry sourball candies. And I thought, what a great time for a photo caption contest!

To enter the contest, just post a comment with a creative caption for the photo above. I will announce the winner on July 1. Winner receives a full bag of Louisa Harding Kashmir DK (merino/cashmere blend). We choose the color - I promise it will be a good one!

Happy captioning!

- Shelley
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just passing this along.

We found out Friday that one of our favorite yarn lines, Colinette, is changing distribution models. Instead of using a "middleman," they're going to be distributing directly to their U.S. stores. Meanwhile, their previous distributor was offering in-stock yarn at a discount.

I immediately jumped on the phone and ordered all the Giotto that we could get our hands on! From Loops Day One, this has been one of our top-selling yarns. The beautiful rayon ribbon knits at about 3 stitches to the inch, and Colinette is masterful at designing contemporary patterns that are super-easy to knit and look great on lots of figure types. Giotto has become a staple for beautiful, beginner sweaters, as well as wraps and scarves.

The distributor must be in a hurry to clean out the warehouse, because we got our shipment of Giotto yesterday! We got lots of longtime favorites plus some gorgeous new colors:

This picture is great but Giotto is really one of those yarns you've got to see in person to appreciate the hand-dyed colors.

Now through June 30th, we are going to pass the savings on by giving our customers 10% off Giotto (including what we already had in stock). We have a full book of free patterns we can offer you, including this "Mermaid" sweater, or we can help you put a shawl together, or you can knit the uber-simple free Wasabi Scarf pattern while watching TV.

Since the Giotto just came in, some of the colors haven't been added to the online store yet, but there are a bunch. Click here to shop Giotto online. We will apply your 10% discount when we process your order.

Also new online are Gina's new "385" pattern, Schaefer Laurel, and Koigu Kersti and KPPPM.

Happy shopping!

- Shelley
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Two Friday freebies!

I've got two freebie pattern deals for ya'll today. Buy the yarn, and get the pattern free!

The first is "385" from Gina Hills. A few months ago, while Gina was shopping in a very chi-chi area of Florida, she came across a designer sweater she just had to have. (I won't say the designer but the initials are MM.) It was a simple design she knew she could make herself, but sometimes it's just easier to buy it, right? Then she saw the price tag - $385 - and decided a new Gina/Loops original pattern would be born.

She made hers in Be Sweet Bambino (bamboo/organic cotton) in the perfect "slime green"and the result is even nicer than the designer version IMHO. It takes 6/7/8 skeins to fit chest sizes 34/38/42 (size 5 needles).

If you want to buy the Bambino online, we will include Gina's pattern in your package for free. Same deal in the store - this offer is good through June 30th.

Speaking of Be Sweet (small digression here), I put the much-coveted Be Sweet bags on sale yesterday 40% off. That is a major deal, baby. So, while you're out Father's Day shopping, why not treat yourself to a little somethin' somethin'? I promise you will get tons of compliments when you carry one of these bags. And proceeds go to help South African womens' groups.

Only 5 Be Sweet bags in stock, while they last (but if you miss out, the Amy Butler bags are also on sale).

Now for Freebie Pattern #2. I am having so much fun with Terrie's Slipstitch Scarf pattern. This is about as easy as falling off a log (right, Elizabeth?) but it looks oh-so-complex, almost like a woven piece. It is also completely addictive (I just started this at the store yesterday and woke at 6am thinking must knit slipstitch scarf):

I am using Colinette Banyan handpainted cotton blend on a #6 needle I already had, so this scarf is under $20! I used "Lichen" and "Neptune" but "Fruit Coulis," "Fresco" and "Marble" would also pair great together. Terrie has been making one in Alchemy Silk Purse. Order/buy either yarn and the pattern is yours free!

- Shelley
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Monday, June 15, 2009


Today I found myself remembering Horseshack from the TV show "Wecome back, Kotter." Remember how he used to raise his hand and go "OOOH! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh-ooh-ooh!"

Look,we got in a bunch of Schaefer Laurel Cotton (mercerized, worsted, hand-dyed). Ooh, ooh-ooh!

You can make this with it (pattern free with purchase).

Ooh. Ooh-ooh! Or this (1 skein for newborn, 2 for 6-12 months,pattern also free with purchase):


And Ellen is making another Baby Einstein Jacket from Koigu Kersti:

Oooh! Oooh-ooh! This is in the book "The Knit Stitch" by Sally Melville - probably already in your knitting library. And - ooh! ooh! - it's super easy! All knit stitch!


- Shelley
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why I'm obsessed with this scarf (and why you should be, too).

If we were in Australia (or in an Outback Steakhouse commercial), we would say this Blooming Cotton Scarf is just so bloomin' fun.

The dirty little secret is, it's also incredibly easy.

Yeah, sure, it's rated as "easy" by Interweave. But what does that really mean to all of you scarf lovers out there who under-rate your own skills, who refuse to even call yourselves Advanced Beginners, and who continue to beg us for "TV knitting," "Knitting I can do while drinking my glass of wine," "Knitting I can do at the lake," "Knitting I can do while flying on a trapeze" etc. etc.?

It means just what it says. This. Is. Easy.

In fact, I think it's by far the most complicated-looking yet easiest to actually make project of all time. It will be an heirloom, the scarf you wear and people gape and say, "You're kidding? You made that? You should quit your day job and knit all day. You are clearly a knitting prodigy. I marvel at your skill."

Now I know that most of you don't really believe me. "Give me garter stitch or give me death!" you say. So let me spell it out for you.

1. You need to know how to cast on, and you need the patience to cast on 400 stitches. But you do the scarf the long way which means it goes fast. Let us show you the knit-on cast-on (EASY!) and it will save you trying to guess how much tail to leave for 400 bloomin' stitches.

2. You get to pick out colors - this is also fun - and don't worry about color theory or anything because the scarf is ingeniously designed to blend your colors beautifully even if they don't match. Even if you choose lime green as your main color!

3. The scarf uses a slipstitch technique which is really Color for Dummies. This makes fair isle look like a Ph.D. discipline. Believe it or not, you only knit with one color in each 400-stitch row. For instance, in this row I am knitting with pink. I knit some of the stitches with the pink:

And some of the stitches I do NOT knit, I simply slip the taupe stitches (from an earlier row) from the left needle over the right needle without knitting them:

The slipstitching pulls the rows into little circles so you get the scalloped effect without you even trying.

4. All you need is the knit and the slip stitch. There is one purl row in the pattern, but Eunny Jang even gives you the option to turn the work and knit that row so you never have to purl! The whole scarf is knit in the round. Then at the end you cut it and tie the cut pieces off (with plain ole' knots) to make fringe. Easy! Easy!

By the way, the Louisa Harding Albero is really truly yummy to work with...the lenpur (renewable tree pulp) gives it a silky feel and vibrancy, while the cotton gives it enough "grip" to make it easy to work with. Love it!

Come in and pick out your colors - we love helping with that.

- Shelley
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Blooming Cotton goes to the beach.

As promised, I cast on for my Blooming Cotton Scarf in Louisa Harding Albero the night before last. I ended up dragging it out to the beach in order to get the 400 stitches cast on...this is best done when one's brain is half-melted by the sun so one doesn't notice how boring it is. But then I started the pattern and everyone is so right...this is So Much Fun. Like knitting chocolate. Just when you get tired of one color, you get to switch to another. Here is Blooming Cotton on its beachy towel:

Here is Blooming Cotton frolicking in the surf:

We've mostly had nice weather, but we did have a couple days of spotty rain, so we did a little browsing and hanging out at Baytown Wharf:

We spotted some dolphins and this very tame crane:

And we saw a crocodile and mermaid:

And then we spotted a truly mysterious creature (as I was taking the picture, it was yelling, "this does not go on the blog!") But the kind creature later relented:

- Shelley
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel.

OK, so I didn't get Rusted Root finished by Pine Bluff, Arkansas. But then again, we didn't go through Pine Bluff, Arkansas! We took the "Texas route" to Destin and either we had the wind behind us, or traffic was light, or we were covered in Pixie Dust...but somehow we got to Destin in a record 13 hours (usually it takes us at least 15!). We also had the benefit of minimal pitstops. Only when we arrived in Hattiesburg, Miss. for the night did I realize that my youngest had "held it" all the way from Tulsa - 10 hours! She shall forever hold the title Superbladder. I don't know whether to be proud or fear a bladder infection.

Anyhoo...I did finish the Rusted Root on the trip! I had it all done except for the weave-ins by the time we hit Alabama. Here is Rusted Root entering downtown Mobile:

Rusted Root enters the Mobile tunnel (under the Mississippi River - always a crowd pleaser):

Rusted Root reaches the proverbial (and literal) Light at the End of the Tunnel:

Rusted Root crosses Mobile Bay (I am holding the camera white-knuckled. Bridges make me break out in a cold sweat):

And Rusted Root, weave-ins done, not blocked but nonetheless complete!

I really love love love...the Calmer knit on 8's makes it fit perfectly and it breathes, even in the hot Florida sun.

Tonight: casting on the Blooming Cotton scarf. And hopefully, I'll be reading all the details on the ravelry/loopalicous group about the fabulous visit from Takako of Habu Fibers. I can't believe I'm missing it - but Takako changed her schedule after we'd already planned our vacation. Can't wait to hear the scoop!

- Shelley
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