Thursday, February 25, 2010

Louisa strikes again.

She's done it yet again. One of our favorite British designers, the lovely Louisa Harding, has just released three new, amazing books. (Her spring yarns are due to debut later next month, but these books all feature her existing yarn lines - yay!).

There are two key elements that make Louisa's books stand out far above the crowd. One, the amazing photography by her husband, Stephen. These are not crank-out-a-pattern-in-the-studio shots. These are an act of love - for photography, styling, lighting, and mood.

And the second key element is Louisa's design aesthetic. Like a Project Runway star in the making, Louisa brings us fresh takes on each season, while staying true to her personal aesthetic of femininity and the perfect blending of classic and modern.

"Belle," the first new book, is dedicated to Louisa's Mulberry Silk. As a silk yarn aficionado, I think Louisa's Mulberry is one of the best deals on the market. Spun from the finest Mulberry silk, it has a tight twist that resists slubs and pillings. And the saturated colors are to die for! Here are three of my favorite designs from Belle...The cover design, "Dove":


And "Osprey":

The second new book is "Bijoux," which features designs in Jasmine, one of my favorite Louisa yarns. Jasmine is a bamboo blend with a teensy bit of sparkle. It is also very well priced for the quality. Here is the cover:

"Opal" takes 8 skeins of Jasmine:

"Coral" takes 7:

And "Amber" takes only two skeins:

Last but not least, we have the "Beresford Beach" book, which features children's designs in Nautical Cotton and Albero yarns. I love that each design is made up two ways, one with each kind of yarn. Here is "Winchelsea" in Albero (just 5 skeins!), and then in Nautical Cotton:

And check out Rye in Nautical Cotton and then Albero. I may have to make this for Mallory:

We have a great selection of all of these yarns in the Louisa Harding section of the Loops Online Store. Choose your favorite colors today and you'll have something beautiful to wear when Spring finally arrives!

- Shelley
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy First, then make it last.

One recent wintery day, this very bubbly customer approached me at Loops. I'd noticed her before, because she just sort of emits this fearless aura that's, well, happy. She was wearing a super-cute hoodie with an illustrated egg on the front.

She introduced herself as Debbie Vineyard, owner of Happy First and a Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor. Long before it was a company, "Happy First" was a simple greeting that Debbie used as a way of celebrating: the first day of every month, the first big milestones in life, the first moments of living each day.

Debbie wanted to do more than just wish people well. She dreamed of creating something that could motivate others to actively identify and pursue personal happiness. And Happy First was born.

I was so taken with Debbie, and her cute designs (I learned the egg appears in some form on almost every shirt she designs - it is a sign of new beginnings), that I purchased a "Tennis Chick" hoodie right out of the back of her car. I've already worn it 5 or 6 times - like her other shirts, it is soooo soft and made from organic fibers. Plus the design is really eye-catching.

Then Debbie showed me her latest design, "Survivor Chick," printed on a hemp-blend t-shirt that is very "un-hemplike" in that is is incredibly soft and drapey. I love the "dirty purple" color. We decided to carry some at Loops, because we have so many customers who are courageous survivors:

Then Debbie agreed to design a special "Knitting Chick" t-shirt for us. Check it out!

I even decided to carry some "Tennis Chick" bamboo t-shirts, because I am not only a yarn addict, but a tennis addict as well:

We have the shirts in a wide range of sizes, from XXS to XXL. We have just one or two of each size, but we can get more quickly as they sell out. We've just added them to our online store, here. And a portion of every sale goes to leukemia and lymphoma research.

How will you put your "happy" first today? Buying yourself a new T and some new yarn would be a great start!

- Shelley
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Bombs away.

I was having lunch at Felini's on Saturday (love that spicy tuna salad!) and the owner was telling me that her daughter has gotten really involved in Yarn Bombing. She recently yarn bombed the Woodward Park Native American sculpture.

Yarn Bombing, led by "craftivists" Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain, is the art of crochet and knit graffiti, or "covert textile street art."

It might be a subtle little fiber addition to a public statue or fixture:

Or a very big statement of fibery love:

One of my favorites appeared on this public arbor, "raining cats and dogs":

What a great way to use up old stash, especially the yucky acrylic stuff, and spread your love of fiber in a very public way. I think it's such a cool way to bring a smile to people's faces. And I would especially love to see our tree outside of Loops dressed in its own "tree sweater." But alas, Mr. Helmerich adores his trees and would probably not take kindly to his tenant "dressing" one in its own knitted outfit. But if some of our customers had the idea and took it upon themselves...well...who could blame them...?

- Shelley
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Buttoned up.

The spring yarns are pouring in as steadily as the rain outside as I write this. Leading the way is a new shipment of Nature Cotton and Patagonia from Araucania Yarns, one of my favorite lines. The beautiful hand-dyed colors and soft texture of this thick-and-thin cotton are just unlike anything else on the market.

The two yarns are interchangeable, mix-and-matchable. Nature Cotton is the semi-solid version, and Patagonia is the variegated. Here are a few new colors we just received. Nature Cotton "Gold" - a golden taupe:

Nature Cotton Dark Teal:

Nature Cotton Earthy Pink:

Patagonia #250:

And Gina's favorite, Patagonia #249:

I think I saw her sneaking out with the Patagonia 249 and this new book from Jenny Watson, Araucania #5 - she's going to make the jacket on the cover I believe:

I went looking around on Ravelry and found this Buttony Sweater in Nature Cotton made by Sam:

...proving that bulky cotton can by very flattering when you use a great pattern with a fitted silhouette.

The new Nature Cotton and Patagonia colors should be online soon, but meanwhile you can shop our great range of existing colors here and here. Get ready for your own personal Spring Fling :)

- Shelley
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Monday, February 15, 2010


Oh my goodness, has it really been 14 days since my last blog? Bad Shelley! Bad, bad Shelley! So sorry everyone, it has just been so busy...and maybe the weird weather has me in some kind of time warp. The Olympics adds to the warp - it is so mesmerizing, makes me want to stay glued to the TV (and my knitting) 24/7!

I have been wanting to share a couple of things with you guys. First, Andrea sent us this photo of a simple skinny scarf in 3x1 rib using the amazing A.L. de Sauveterre "Mont Blanc" cashmere. I'm telling you, you just can't go wrong with this stuff.

She wrote about it on here blog, here.

And here is something new and Neato. Let's say you want to make this scarf (hey, it only took one skein, and why not spoil yourself, right?). You head over to to find it. Before, you could find it by clicking Shop by Brand and then A.L. de Sauveterre. But now, there are two more ways to find this yarn (or any yarn on our site).

Right now, you kinda have to know the secret passage to this feature. Soon, it will be obvious and available to all. But meanwhile, here's the trick: From any page inside our online store, you will see a little "Our Products" link up toward the top left of the page. Click it, and you'll get to this magical new page that lets you Shop by Brand, By Weight or By Fiber.

So for instance, if you were looking for this luscious yarn, you could search by Brand (A.L. de Sauveterre), by Weight (it is a DK weight), or by Fiber (cashmere). Very handy for those of us who can't always remember names (yours truly included).

It's really fun to play around with this and discover new yarns. For instance, did you know Loops currently has 16 kinds of cashmere and cashmere-blend yarns? And 33 cottons?

As our friend Tanglewood Trish would say, Whoa-whoa-whoa!

- Shelley
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ribbon to the rescue.

I finished my Baby Back Ribs Skirt in Alchemy Temple, and I was so excited to wear it to work at Loops, along with my brown tights, rockin' boots that Brent got me for Christmas, and the perfect suede jacket which just happened to be hiding at the back of my closet.

This was such a fun, easy knit. The Temple yarn is heaven to work with - all the joys of a squooshy, spring-y merino with the surprise flecks of a true hand-paint. The vertical ribs really do great things for the female form!

I jetted around in this all day at Loops without a hitch. Then as I was leaving Utica Square, I decided to dash into Bruce G. Weber to have some earrings adjusted. They were some of their inexpensive promotional hoop earrings, so I was a little embarrassed to ask them to fix them, but I "manned" up and headed across the parking lot, summoning my confident look. Just as a car came up behind me, I detected a little too much breeze across my bum.

Sure enough, my skirt had gone low-rise. Reeeally low rise. Thank goodness for the brown tights! I hiked it back up, got my earrings fixed and headed straight to JoAnn's for some thin ribbon to thread through my skirt's waist - a little Ribbon Insurance for next time ;-)

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P.S. I used just over 5 skeins of Alchemy Temple in colorway "Two Rock" for my skirt, and made it an inch longer than the pattern calls for.