Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lucy sez...

...a cake of Blue Sky Bulky makes a good pillow.

Lucy also sez, "Don't you even think about casting on with this."

- Shelley
shop online at

Monday, August 23, 2010

Word to the wise.

Don't ever try to knit with beautiful, natural alpaca while you are having your hair cut.

Fortunately, my hair - along with some tiny twigs - came right out after a soak in our Eucalan wool wash in the yummy grapefruit scent. Bonus: my Treads mitts emerged even softer, with a beautiful halo, and a brightened, gorgeous cream color.

The alpacas that produced this very yarn will be at Loops South this weekend! Grace and Bella will be in the Loops South parking lot on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 10am-2pm.

We'll also have a face painter who will be painting an alpaca "tattoo" on any willing faces! Plus the face painter can also do balloon animals. We hope everyone will tell their friends and family - whether or not they knit - about this event!

Also, Stefanie Japel arrives for Grand Opening weekend this Friday, and will have a meet-and-greet Friday from 4:00-6:00pm. This is open to the public - so come join us.

Last but not least, we will have giveaways, prizes and a Lantern Moon trunk show - awesome needles, hooks, bags and accessories from Vietnam.

See you this weekend!

- Shelley
shop online at

Pot o' gold?

You may recall that, during the Loops South Grand Opening, I gave each of the 16 Loops Troops their very own Three Irish Girls Rainbow Mini-Skein sets in Springvale. They were challenged to come up with their own idea for this super-luscious set.

And boy, have the Troops been gettin' busy!

Linda is making a tubular scarf, separating the mini set colors with some deep brown Murphy Springvale in a regular-size skein.

And check out this Open Summer Cardi that Linda is also doing in the 3IG Lindon Merino. Wow, she has been flying along on this cardigan! In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she finished it over the weekend. And since it's top-down (no seaming), she might be wearing it today!

Loretta is always putting down her own photography skills, but take a gander at her Linen Stitch Scarf photo. Sooooo beautiful. We have these Churchmouse patterns in-stock. This makes me want to buy another Rainbow set and cast on, Loretta!

Gina is caught up in her Looking Glass Sweater using full skeins of Murphy and Curacao Springvale.

And it looks like Holly has a similar idea, which she has charted out in full-on, detailed Holly fashion for a matching set of hat and mitts.

Cassidy - no surprise here - was planning to make Bitty Booties! At almost 600 yards, the set will make lots and lots of booties. Then, her knitting bag got stolen from her car in her driveway. It also contained her nearly-complete Abalone in Araucania Toconao. Very sad story...but the cure is, of course, more yarn and knitting :)

Our college student, Emily, is making a funky set of legwarmers. Can't wait to see how these turn out.

Annie and Gene have also cast on baby projects. Gina Y. and Ruth (along with many of the Thursday night Loops South knitting group) are both making my Tigger Scarf - a free ravelry download here. Wonder who will reach the pot o' gold at the end of the Rainbow set first?

- Shelley
shop online at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Squeaky wheel.

I'm not afraid to be the squeaky wheel. I always try to be pleasant and professional about it, but the reality is that one must occasionally squeak to get things done.

On the other hand, I'm really not a fan of squeaky yarn.

If you're reading this blog, you've probably already learned that "Once you go natural, you never go back." We've all tried knitting with those chain-store acrylics to save a buck, only to find that our hours and hours of work are for naught, because we can't stand to squeak when we wear the sweater. Ew, it's so much worse than nails on a chalkboard!

Well, today I'm here to tell you that there's an exception to every rule. Actually, a few exceptions. There's Berroco Comfort and Comfort Chunky, which Berroco says are superfine acrylic and nylon. I don't know if they're as superfine as, say, Bradley Cooper. But they do make surprisingly wool-like, washable knitwear!

And the ultimate exception to the rule? The magical Marble Chunky by Kertzer. A lovely, unsqueaky, washable 340 yards for twelve bucks and change - and with those colors, who can argue?

One of my favorite uses for Marble Chunky is the good ol' Feather and Fan stitch pattern. It does amazing things to the color repeat.
And here is a great Ravelry example of how Marble Chunky looks in a crochet box stitch.

Gene is a big fan of the Marble Chunky, and he worked up a one-skein blanket he wanted to share.

Gene's One-Skein Marble Chunky Baby Blanket
You need: One skein of Marble Chunky, a 10.5 24" circular needle, and 2 stitch markers.
Cast on 80 stitches. Knit 8 rows.
Next row: Knit, placing one marker after the first 5 stitches, and the other marker before the last five stitches.
Next row: Knit 5, slip marker, work stockinette stitch (knit all right-side rows and purl all wrong-side rows) to next marker, knit 5.
When blanket measures 25 inches from beginning/108 rows, or when you have about 20 yards of yarn left, knit 8 rows of garter stitch and bind off (removing markers as you come to them). Weave in tails.

As luck would have it, we just received a large shipment of Marble Chunky at the South Loops store, and expect another shipment any day at Utica. You can also find Marble Chunky here in the Loops online store.

Be the squeaky wheel and get yours before it's gone!

- Shelley
shop online at


For today's special, we're featuring ham and cheese.

The ham is Emerson, Cassidy's little boy. And the cheese is how he stole the show in the Loops feature story that ran yesterday on KOTV Channel 6 in the 5 o'clock news.

To watch the video, click here.

And if you are drooling over the yarns, but you live to far away to come nab some, you'll be happy to know that Loretta has added 12 (!) new lines to the online store. Here they are in all their glory:
Bergere Origins Bambou
Berger Origins Alpaga
Berger Origins Cachemire
Bergere Origins Soie
Berger Origins Merinos
Dream in Color Smooshy
Dream in Color Classy
Three Irish Girls Springvale
Three Irish Girls Rainbow mini-skein set
Three Irish Girls Adorn
Three Irish Girls Lindon
Malabrigo Twist

Need some ideas on what to do with all this luscious yarn? Keep your eyes peeled for a blog entry featuring the rainbow mini-skeins!

- Shelley
shop online at

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A picture's worth ten thousand skeins.

Our second Loops location in Tulsa opened on Friday in the Renaissance Center at 83rd and Memorial. Although the official "Grand Opening" weekend is scheduled for August 27th-29th, after months and months of work it felt pretty darn "grand" to open the doors and share our new store with the world!

We knew from the beginning that we wanted an open, modern feel to the space. Yarn stores tend to get cluttered over time, so we designed-in tons of organization to minimize the clutter and create a "clean palette" to inspire our customers.

Some of you might remember that we worked with the Interior Design School at Oklahoma State University, under the direction of Rick Bartholomew, who made our Loops south store their semester project. We incorporated several of their ideas, including the round ceiling soffit that became a centerpiece of the store. Phara, one of our Loops customers, helped find the awesome chandelier and provided enormous help and input in selecting colors, flooring and accessories.

This is an area for our patient husbands, boyfriends and sons to rest, complete with manly magazines and handheld games. Some of the OSU students took the "man cave" idea to the extreme, designing in a wetbar, fireplace and plasma TV. Hmmm...maybe next time!

We wanted to put a big focus on buttons, since, well, who doesn't love buttons? This display was a group effort of the OSU students' inspiration, our display magician Kara, and my random idea to utilize air duct rings as the circles. They were readily available, didn't have to be forged and fit our very modest budget. It turned out very "Trading Spaces." I love it!

Before it was a Loops, this space was an upscale meat market (like, for actual meat - not a bar!). There were cabinets all along this wall, and we decided to re-purpose the center cabinet, painting it Loops blue to provide some "pop." It's the perfect setting for our Be Sweet yarn and Offhand Bags.

All weekend, customers were drawn to this "yarn bar," where they have their "own" computer to search for pattern inspiration.

Our classroom, which can hold up to 20 for celebrity workshops, has a 14' x 10' magnetic wall where customers can post photos of completed projects.

Staying true to my passion for involving kids in the love of yarn, we have a great playroom featuring a chalkboard wall and puppet theater - generously "donated" by my own kids who have outgrown it. These toys have generated lots of fond memories for us - it was really neat to see new kids enjoying them all weekend.

Even the bathrooms (yes, that's plural - two bathrooms!) are cool:

Last but not least, my favorite photo of all. Here are the Loops Troops in front of the store on our first open Saturday!

Left to right, back row: Gene, Loretta, Dawn, Linda, Gina H., Terrie (hiding behind Emily), Gina Y., Ruth (hiding behind Jane), Cassidy, Harriet, Billie Anne (eyes closed because she's thinking of all the bills we will have to pay), Holly, Barbara. Front row: Annie and me. Everyone is holding their Three Irish Girls mini-skeins, their opening weekend gifts (watch for a blog post to come about this soon).

Hey, that's 16 people - my lucky number! And yes, I feel so lucky and blessed to know each of them. We hope you will come see us at Loops "South" - and Loops Utica - very soon.

- Shelley
shop online at