Monday, April 26, 2010

Amateur photogs on the loose.

We are often asked who does our photography for Loops. The answer? "Everybody!" Brent does the photography for Hot Loops. Customers supply lots of great photo shots (we love those!). Often, we ask permission of designers and other folks on Ravelry to borrow their shots (in fact, the new banners in our front windows are courtesy of Alana of Never Not Knitting - thanks, Alana!).

But the majority of photos you see in our e-newsletters and blog are on-the-run snapshots courtesy of Gina Marie and YT (yours truly). There usually isn't time for lighting checks or creative backdrops. We just head to a handy locale, like Gina's backyard, and snap away. Gina often commands that I climb up on her wall and shoot down at her - "It's slimming!" - like in this photo of her new Irmo in Berroco Weekend:

Here's an outtake - sort of an "oops" but kinda sexy in its own way!

I love my Photoshop program...I can easily compensate for lame lighting or sloppy framing with a few clicks of the mouse. Like in these photos of my Ribbed Lace Bolero (free pattern here) in Tahki Cotton Classic, I was able to crop out my bootie and even smooth a few of my smile lines: we are in our favorite amateur photography "tableaux" - the brick wall just outside the store. Maybe not couture, but handy. Here, I've done a little more bootie-cropping on Gina's photos of my new Meandering Vines shawl (free Ravelry download here). It's made from just 2 skeins of our new Araucania Trauco, a hand-dyed 100% cashmere fingering-weight yarn. This affordable cashmere is just $29.95 for over 300 yards, making this beautiful piece less than $60 to knit. Not bad for 100% yumminess.

And last but not least, I took this artsy shot on the pea gravel in my front yard. These are brand-new, darling tape measures made by a woman that works in a doctor's office with Gina Y. These were left on my desk in a brown paper lunch bag - looked like a drug dealer drop-off. But inside...voila! A darling Mother's Day gift!

Ta-da! Hooray for amateurs! Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

- Shelley
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Monday, April 19, 2010

A PSA and a Mastercard commercial.

First, a Public Service Announcement: I sent out our mid-April Loops Scoop newsletter, and listed the wrong date for the upcoming STICKS South Tulsa Fiber Fest. It is Sunday, May 2, from 11am-5pm. There will be free class instruction (knitting, crochet, fair isle...), great fiber-y vendors, and a beautiful outdoor setting. Admission is FREE! Please go to the Fiber Fest Facebook event page for all the details, and RSVP. It will help remove some egg from my face. Thanks :)

Second, I just returned from New York City! It was my fourth trip in 4 years, but the first trip for my oldest, my youngest and my mom! I thought I would write my own little fantasy MasterCard commercial for you, featuring some of my favorite things that we did in the Big Apple. So here goes...

Incredible view from hotel window: $200 a night (in NYC, a bargain).

Sugar high from Dylan's Candy Bar (5,000 kinds of candy!), $54.

Addams Family tickets: free (long story, amazing show).

Breakfast at Stardust Cafe, where aspiring Broadway singer embarrassed son: $74.

Visit to Purl Soho (coincidentally, on the day of their big move!), including yarn and free bag: $32.

Window shopping, free:

Custom muppet from FAO for the middle child who stayed home, $130:

Great random photos: Free.

Brunch at Pastis where I caught mom checking out the waiter, $75.

Moments of peace between the oldest and youngest, and time spent with my mom: Priceless.

- Shelley

P.S. My favorite digital ad in Times Square, for American Eagle. I think we should all make this our personal slogan:

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Pina coladas, fake tans and summer projects.

The other day, the Oklahoma wind was sweepin' down the plain, and you could just feel summer coming. I was so hot and parched while driving the kids home from school, I did something I rarely do - I reached for my daughter's drink. It happened to be a Quiktrip Freezoni in a flavor I had never heretofore experienced: Pina Colada.




If you are lucky enought to have a Quiktrip within a 100 mile radius, you've got to run out and try this thing. Instantly, you are on a beach somewhere. Your body is tanned and flawless in your string bikini. You are radiant and refreshed. Seriously, you don't even need to add rum to this stuff to feel giddy. I normally shun the oversweet frozen concoctions, but I may have to work my way through the other flavors. (Don't be afraid, Pina Colada is white, not lime green - this is the only photo I could find).

My next summer tip comes from Suzanne, my hair stylist who is also a wonderful knitter and crocheter. She told me about Antidote, a self-tanner that purports to have absolutely no nasty processing smell ("smell like a flower, not a chicken!"). Being of Dutch descent (i.e. pasty), and since I spend a fair amount of time running around town in a tennis skirt, I am eager to try this stuff. If I end up looking like this, I'll let ya know!

Now, on to the yarn portion of this post. I'm trying to decide on my next summer project. I'm headed to NYC this week (a birthday present for Sam, who's turning 14 and has never been to the Apple) and I need some good little projects for the plane. After Meandering Vines, the last thing I thought I'd want to do is a lace project. But the Little Silk Shrug pattern by Pam Allen from "Lace Style" is calling to me.

It would only take 2 skeins of Mulberry Silk, and would be so cute over summer dresses. But I also love Emmaline from the new issue of, which only takes 4 skeins of organic cotton Sprout:

Or...the Ribbed Lace Bolero by Kelly Maher, in Tahki Cotton Classic (4 skeins).

Or...I could chuck the summer thing altogether, and make Sixteen. Such a cool hat. Maybe in Malabrigo or Thistle.

Eek! So many projects, so little time! I'm headed to Loops today to make my decision. Feel free to weigh in with comments.

- Shelley
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

A very public knit-off.

Apologies to our faithful readers for my short blog absence, and also for the blog move, which was necessitated by some technical changes that our blog service instituted out of the blue. (Surprise, Shelley!) If you read your last Loops Scoop, you know why I've been too busy to blog. We announced that the second Loops location will open this summer at the Renaissance Center near 83rd and Memorial in Tulsa.

We are stupendously excited about this next phase in the growth of Loops. Since the day we opened at Utica Square, almost 5 years ago, we've been inundated with requests from our customers in Broken Arrow, Jenks, Catoosa and beyond for a "South Tulsa Loops." At long last, we found the perfect location, in a beautiful center with easy access to the Creek Turnpike and 169. We will be joining two other Utica Square merchants, Ihloff Salon and J. Spencer, along with several other wonderful restaurants and stores. Our new space, which will open this summer, will have several lines that will be exclusive to this location. We're having so much fun designing and buying new yarns!

Meanwhile, there's lots of exciting stuff going on at our Utica Square store. We unveiled the new Loops Wall for spring to rave reviews. If you haven't had a chance to get by and check out the new wall, you can see the new projects at Loretta has five of the most popular new projects up, and the rest should be up soon. Here's one of my faves, the Just A Sek shawlette by Holly:

While you're at it, check out our home page, where we've added links to our loopalicious group on, as well as a facebook box in the upper right corner. Check out our new facebook page (where there is a secret unadvertised special on a certain line of luxury yarns this weekend, hint hint).

If you've been following us on Facebook, you no doubt saw the impromptu "knit-off" between Cassidy and me last weekend. Cassidy had vowed over margaritas (a dangerous thing) to finish her first sweater, Klaralund, in Noro Silk Garden. (By the way this is a great beginner sweater pattern - you just make four squares and sew them together to make a sweater.)

A small but thrilling house fire temporarily delayed her - ironic, since her hubby is a firefighter. In an effort to spur her on, I challenged her to a knit-off. If she could finish her sweater before I finished by Meandering Vines Scarf in our new Araucania Cashmere, I would buy her Starbucks for a week. Or vice versa. It was on. Throughout the day, we were posting our progress on Facebook. I was knitting like a madwoman all day. Here I am in the car on the way back from church (don't worry, I wasn't driving and knitting).

By the time we went to my mom's for Sunday night dinner, I had knit about a foot of lace. Still, the ball of yarn did not appear to be shrinking, and time was running out!

We got home from dinner and I checked Facebook with growing dread...And yes, there was the undeniable proof, Cassidy had finished her Klaralund:

She even broke her Chibi darning needle in the process. Broke. Her. Chibi. Those things wear like iron. Seriously, this girl is competitive!

The knit-off was so much fun. Why not start your own knit-off with a stitching friend? You could pick a new spring project, or challenge each other to finish a WIP. And if you're on Facebook, post your photos so we can follow along. It's a win-win, even for us losers who are left to buy our own Starbucks - because everyone makes progress on projects.

And by the way Cassidy, my shawl is done now. Nanny nanny boo boo.

- Shelley
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

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