Friday, March 26, 2010

Two Friday funnies, a freebie and a phenom.

Monday was my birthday (39, again!) and I got some great cards, but this was the hands-down winner. Warning: If you have a Wii and love to knit, you might "wii yourself" over this one:

That's your visual funny for the day, and now here comes your audio funny, courtesy of Alana over at Never Not Knitting. Here's your link to the hilarious NNK Theme Song.

In the mood for a Freebie? (Who isn't?!) We have a great Facebook Friday Freebie, today only. Go to the Loops facebook page to read all about it.

Lastly, check out this phenom. Lauren H. is almost 13 and an expert beader. She brought me the most beautiful stitch marker sets to see, displayed in a professional case. We made a few tweaks (like adding a larger Beginning of Row marker, and specifying clip-style tips so they can be added to your knitting after the fact). I suggested she develop some unique packaging and "name" her company. Love the "Loops blue" cards and the name she chose - "Possibilities."

These are a Loops exclusive! Get 'em while they last and support one of Tulsa's youngest entrepreneurs.

- Shelley
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Chowder, Citron and serious swag.

Maybe it was just that I was so ecstatic to be on terra firma after our thrilling plane adventures, but I had an amazing time in Seattle at the Yarn Market News conference. The weather was actually better than what we left behind in Tulsa, and there were breathtaking views of Puget Sound:

We worked our way down the seafront, sampling the amazing coffee and the best salmon chowder I have ever tasted (sorry, no photo of that - I was too busy slurping it down to grab my camera).

There were even more lovely views to be had inside the W Hotel, where our conference took place. When you get 100 yarn retailers together in a room, you can only imagine the knitwear on display! We were like a bunch of chimpanzees, picking at each other's garments - "What yarn is this?" "What's that pattern - it's amazing!" My favorite was this "Citron" - can't remember the name of the model but doesn't she look cute?! Citron would be gorgeous in the new Madeline Tosh sock yarn that arrived while we were away (only takes 1-2 skeins!)

Also amazing was this tunic from the cover of Vogue Knitting Winter '09, as worn by Jessica, the adorable organizer from Yarn Market News (on her, it is more of a dress):

The speakers at the seminar were warned not to be discouraged if the audience didn't make eye contact - because of course we would be knitting :)

Everything about the W is uber-cool. Even the coasters:

After 2 days of classes, we got the ultimate treat - a yarn shop crawl of 5 Seattle-area yarn stores! They had a hard time narrowing it down, since there are more than 20 yarn stores in the area! First was Tricoter, where we met the lovely Beryl and Lindy, and spotted this beautiful Alchemy shawl from the Shibori Knits book, I think.

From there, it was on to Fiber Gallery, where we spotted - yes - another Citron! This one was in a Pagewood Farm yarn.

The last shop on the tour was Earth Hues, an amazing place that hand-dyes their own yarns (and other things) from all-natural materials. The color closest to you in the photo is actually made from insects. Neato.

But the best part of the whole trip (besides arriving home after a lovely non-eventful flight)? The swag, baby, the swag! Look at all of this loot! Some of this will probably become door prizes for our Hot Loops party this Saturday night. Except those Addi Lace clicks - they are all mine!!! (And yes, Virginia, we put a bunch of sets on order - expected later this Spring. Call to get on the special order list.)

- Shelley
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not to worry, it's just a little fire in the engine.

Gina, Billie Anne and I left home at the absolutely inhumane hour of 3:30am Sunday to begin our journey to Seattle for the Yarn Market News Smart Business Conference. I am quite sure that whoever planned this conference either (a) didn't notice that it was Daylight Savings Time "spring forward" day, or (b) lives in Seattle so that (a) did not apply to her.

We groggily boarded the first plane for the quick flight to Dallas. The plane goes up, the plane goes down, we're there. No need for a glass of wine or any type of pharmaceuticals for me. I even managed to get a decent start on my new lace project along the way! I silently patted myself on the back as we headed for the next flight.

Note to self: Patting self on the back is often a precursor to disaster.

Twenty minutes into our Seattle flight, we were happily knitting along, blissfully ignorant...

...when the captain came over the p.a. system and said something unintelligible. The p.a. did not appear to be functioning properly. Then suddenly we began a sharp bank to the left. The sharp bank turned into a u-turn, which is always disconcerting to us Oklahomans since they're illegal in our state. Plus, you know, we're 20,000 feet up.

Several of us (self included) nearly tackled a poor flight attendant and asked what was going on. She said a "fire warning light" in the engine had come on, and the captain had decided to return to Dallas. She said they didn't expect anything exciting to happen. Well, I can assure you that the next 20 minutes were the most "exciting" that I've had in some time.

As we landed on the tarmac, we spotted a fire engine speeding toward us. They had to inspect the plane before we could pull all the way to the gate (better for the plane to explode far away from all those people, I guess). Once they announced that we could de-plane, it was the fastest and most orderly de-planing you have ever seen. Back in the airport, when they finally announced that we would not be taking the same plane on to Seattle, a loud cheer erupted from the crowd.

After strongly considering the possibility of just staying in Dallas a few days, doing a little shopping and driving back to Tulsa, I was gently prodded by Gina onto plane #2. After some knitting and some free wine from our male flight attendant, it was all friendly skies again.

We knitters are a resilient bunch. Especially when there's free wine.

Never have I been so happy to land in a new city (this was even better than arriving after the "Code 3" airplane incident of '08, and the "large bird in the engine" incident of '06).

We practically sprinted from our plane to the hotel, and skipped down to the famous Public Market, near the original Starbuck's, where they throw the fish. I captured this fish-throwing shot, but the fish is just a blur. They really fling them fast.

Then we explored the market, which brought to mind a scene from "Pirates of the Carribean." There was a store just for BAG (as we affectionately refer to our dear Billie Anne Grigg):

And there was an entire store devoted to maps - my son Sam loves maps and will be so excited!

There are all sorts of interesting things to see in this city:

So, whatever happened to the plane? I don't know, nor do I care. After something like that, you just want to say a prayer of thanks and high-tail it out of dodge. Later, after things settle down, you may feel a little crabby.

But we're in a beautiful city, learning so much, surrounded by the leading thinkers in our industry and other relevant fields. Plus, there were giant swag bags, which I'll blog on tomorrow.

Onward and upward!

- Shelley
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Just when you thought yarn couldn't get any cooler...

...the nice, brilliant people at Pagewood Farm have figured out how to weave felted flowers into yarn. "Bouquet" is available in cream, black or brown:

Here's Harriet, whipping up a quick scarf on #19 needles. She only cast on 6 stitches! The flowers just sort of pop up at random. Suddenly, thick-and-thin wool is Spring-y!

- Shelley
shop online at (or to order "Bouquet," call 1-877-LOOPSOK.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Ravelympics injury: Back Man to the rescue.

Apparently, Olympians aren't the only ones who suffer from injuries. It seems that the "Ravelympics" competition on, and my mad dash to the knitting finish line, has brought on that most dreaded of knitting injuries.

Hello, Knitter's Neck.

I woke up a couple days after finishing my Gypsy cardigan with a crick. This was not just your usual stiff neck. I couldn't turn to check my blind spot in traffic. Every turn of the head was excruciating. And without realizing it, I was holding my whole torso funny. Remember Joan Cusack with the back brace in "Sixteen Candles"?

And okay, several days in a row of kamikazi "cardio tennis" probably didn't help either.

So I called up Dr. Tyler Bachman, who has treated me for a couple of minor tennis-related snafus in the past. Dr. Bachman is a chiropractor who specializes in sports-related injuries. (Isn't it funny his name is like "Back Man?" What a coincidence, kind of like those Brander people who specialize in branding!)

He was quite embarrassed when I made him pose for this picture, and also a picture of an article he just had published:

Unlike other chiropractors I've encountered, there is not an ounce of sleaze to be found in Dr. Bachman. There's no long, drawn-out drama. He finds the problem, he fixes the problem. Plus, he's a super nice guy with an equally super nice wife and new baby (the baby may be modeling for our next Hot Loops wall, if I can talk them into it!)

Anyhow, Dr. Bachman took x-rays and pictures don't lie. Here is the curvature of a normal neck:

And here's me:

Clearly, all of those late nights spent hunching over picot edging have taken their toll.

If this seems familiar, you may want to give this treatment a try. It's really not as scary as it sounds. First, you go into a little room where this nice person hooks pads to your affected area, and you get to lie on the "roll-y table" that gives your back a wonderful kneading.

Then, you head to Dr. Bachman's office, where he very gently adjusts you, then takes the extra step of working your muscles in unique ways to loosen them up. I was a little sore the first day, but the next day - voila! - the Sixteen Candles effect was gone.

Dr. Bachman even sent me a text the next day to make sure I was doing ok. He did the same for my husband (rotator cuff), my sister (sciatica) and a colleague (getting fixed up before a skiing trip). Everybody is on the mend! Life is good!

Time to start training for Ravelympics 2014 :)

- Shelley
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Ravelympics finish line.

If this were the real Olympics, I might have been disqualified in the photo finish. But this is the Ravelympics, where anything goes! So you'll just have to take my word for it that I started this Gypsy Cardigan the 2nd day of the Olympics, and finished it on the last day, before the end of the closing ceremonies. Now I've finally gotten around to having Brent take a photo:

"Gypsy" is from Louisa Harding's book, "Cardigans," in black Kashmir Aran and Glisten. I just love the way the Glisten creates a beaded look when you use it for an edging. IMO the best part of the piece is the picot edging. You do this at the beginning of each section and then change to the Kashmir. Look ma, no crochet!

This is already becoming a staple in my wardrobe, a great alternative to a shawl, when I want to add a handknit touch to my outfit, without having to fuss with keeping it on my shoulders.

Also this week, we got a new batch of our award-winning t-shirts, this time in a flattering coral-pink for Spring:

The Stab shirt (also in black) won a Judge's Choice Awards last week at the Tulsa "Addy" Awards for excellence in advertising. The award was for "best unifying message to a large group." LOL! Shop all of our Loops Wear here.

The Spring yarns have continued to pour in this week. My favorite new arrival is the Giotto yarn from Colinette, one of our most popular yarns, in a new rainbow of "Dali" semi-solids. Impossible to get a photo that does these justice, but here goes:

I'm working on three different Hot Loops projects, but having a hard time keeping my hands off that Gold Giotto. A long Spring cowl is calling to me!

- Shelley
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Q: What do you do when you're 9 years old with two ADD parents?

A: Make checklists for them.

Q: What do you do when you're 9 years old, you're bored, and your parents' phones are boring, basic black?

A: This.

And this.

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