Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bob and weave.

Last week was so insane, it was frankly a tremendous relief to get to Saturday. The perfect panacea to our residential toilet flood and resultant demolition was Dana and Gina's Stashbuster Weaving class at Loops from 1-4pm. I decided that an afternoon spent learning a new craft would be an excellent diversion from our homeowner woes. When in doubt, run away and play with yarn, right?!

(That reminds me of a little sign that used to hang on my grandparent's boat dock in Texas: "When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.")

Truth is, I haven't picked up a loom since maybe 3rd grade. But my, how looms have changed! The Cricket looms we used for our class are amazingly well-made, sturdy and portable. We began by learning all of the basic terminology (and yes, dear Cricket dealers, I do now know how to spell "heddle.") We paired off so that we could practice warping (or in my ignorant layman's terms, "stringing") the loom twice, and also because warping a loom takes a lot of space!

Harriet and I, being Loops employees, banished ourselves to the playroom to allow the "real" students to spread out at the class table.

After 3 hours of most excellent instruction from Dana, our resident Cricket expert, and Gina, our resident knitting vampire, we were bleary-eyed but satisfied in our newfound knowledge. So hooked was I that I went straight home, whipped out some scissors, cut my practice yarn off the loom (loved the Brown Sheep wool that came in the kit, but these just weren't my colors)...

...and re-warped my loom all by myself using some Spud & Chloe Sweater and Jade Sapphire cashmere from my stash.

Okay, so you can sorta tell I did it all by myself. I need lots more work on tension. But you've gotta give me a little extra credit for doing this at 1am while I watched the finale of "Lost" on the DVR.

Our next weaving class is already full, but we do have Cricket looms available, and they come with excellent instructions (including photos!). You can also find how-to videos online. I'm telling you, this is addictive stuff!

Meanwhile, if you took the class on Saturday, the generous Dana has offered to come to Loops this Thursday at 5:30 for an extra hour of catch-up instruction and tips. I will definitely be there (yet another excuse to get out of the house ;-)

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shrugging it off.

If you read the latest issue of Loops Scoop, you've read about the mysterious overflowing toilet that caused our house to flood while we were on vacation. We've been living in a crazy world of dehumidifying fans, ripped up floors, take-out and close sleeping quarters (2 adults, 3 kids and 2 dogs in one room!). Then, during last night's storms, rain starting coming through the ceiling in our one "good" room left!

It was like the book series, "A Series of Unfortunate Events." You know, sometimes you get to that point where all you can do is laugh, shrug and go forward.

So it was quite apropos when I received an email from Holly, one of our Loops Troops, containing a long-awaited girl's cardi pattern called "Sophie's Shrug." I fell in love with this when Holly entered it in our Louisa Harding design contest last year. I don't know what's cuter, the pattern or Holly's amazing photographs!

That's Holly's niece, Sophie, modeling the shrug. Holly designed the piece for her, but as it turns out, the shape lends itself to a wide variety of sizes, from a 3-year old to a slender 8-year-old. Holly had a rather chaotic photo shoot in her backyard, with bunches of nieces of various ages, all modeling the shrugs.

Sophie's Shrug is available as a instant Ravelry download for $5.99 here. It calls for 4 skeins of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran in color 6 (83 yards each, shown in the first photo) or Blue Sky Multi Cotton or Dyed Cotton (shown in Multi in the turquoise version; you only need 3 skeins if you used the solid Dyed Cotton).

It can also easily be altered for a smaller child by using a DK weight, such as Louisa Harding Kashmir DK, Alchemy Temple Superwash or Tosh DK, and a smaller size (5 or 6) needle. Or for an older girl, try a chunky weight yarn like Nature Cotton or Ariosa, and a size 9 or 10 needle. We're happy to help you find the perfect yarn and check your yardage.

Sophie's Shrug features an innovative applied I-cord that Holly came up with on her own. We are offering a free class Sunday, Jun 6 from 2:00-3:00pm, taught by Holly, which will focus on the applied I-cord technique and other techniques used in the shrug. Space is limited, and you must buy your materials at Loops. To sign up, call 742-9276 or email shelley@loopsknitting.com.

If you can't make the class, no problem - I would consider this an Advanced Beginner pattern that most anyone can master and complete fairly quickly! And if you run in to a bump or two, there's always Oops Clinic. So you can...yes...shrug it off.

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring FiberFest!

If you could squeeze Disney World into a beautiful, rustic barn in Southern Tulsa, you would have the Spring FiberFest that took place this past Saturday.

It was that magical.

The weather was as good as it gets in Oklahoma. There were pretty twinkly lights strung throughout the barn. Everyone started arriving at 11, and soon the fiber party was in full swing. We were selling kits for our classes left and right - the fair isle hat kits were going like yarncakes!

Phara and Ruth stopped by to say "howdy" - we saw tons of our awesome Loops customers:

Holly had a pretty table set up in a "Loops blue" theme, or maybe it was Tiffany blue? She was doing a brisk business in her knitsavers, stitch markers, little bags and pretty paper goods. I shamelessly snagged a bunch of knitsavers and marker sets to sell at Loops!

John wins Absolute Best Husband of the Year for manning Annie's "RoseKnits" booth while she was off somewhere rubbing elbows and Lordy-knows-what-else with Jared Flood ;-)

It was such a gorgeous day, many shoppers retired to folding chairs to hang out and knit.

Congratulations to Andrea and the whole STICKS and make: Tulsa crew for a fabulous first-time event.

We are ready to help you plan for next year! And a big thanks to Harriet, Billie Anne, Cassidy and Gina for helping to teach and man our booth, and to all of our customers who came out and supported the event with their time and checkbooks. More evidence that fiber love in Tulsa (and Bartlesville and Stillwater and Arkansas and Kansas...) runs deep!

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com