Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ms. Blondie wants to know.

No, I'm not Ms. Blondie. In fact, lately I've been contemplating going back to Ms. Brunette-y or even Ms. Redhead, but that's another story.

Ms. Blondie is one of our longtime Loops customers. She is a fabulous knitter and one of those lucky folks who continues to look younger, year after year, even as the clock moves forward for the rest of us. She has learned the secret of choosing the perfect knits and modifying them to complement her own shape and coloring. She is also addicted to pattern books - much like myself.

Anyway, Ms. Blondie has a problem. She was thrilled to receive her Loops Loot reward for earning 30 Loops points in the 3rd quarter: A skein of Three Irish Girls Wexford silk/merino in our own exclusive Loopalicious colorway.

She excitedly searched for the perfect pattern, a "one-skein" cowl, and jumped right in - only to realize halfway through that her she was going to run out of yarn much too soon.

Hoo boy - we have all been there, right?

Ms. Blondie messaged me on ravelry, hoping we might have an extra skein in the back room or something. Alas, we had only enough skeins for our 76 reward recipients - not even a little commemorative scrap was left for yours truly :(

So, dear Loopies, here is your chance to help out a fellow knitter. If enough people comment that they would buy this yarn, I will place a re-order post haste. Would you buy this yarn? What would you make with it? Or should Ms. Blondie take her cowl to the frog pond and rip-it, rip-it?

- Shelley

P.S. To earn Loops Loot for the 4th quarter, just amass 50 points at either Loops store and/or online between now and December 31. Then look for a surprise in the mailbox come January!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back in black.

It's been awhile since I shared any of my personal projects on the blog, and I have to tell you, I've been in a black mood. Not a bad mood - just a black mood. So much so that I took on a cape-tunic in stockinette that required 13 balls of merino - well over a thousand yards. That's a lotta black! An Ott lite or at least a strong lamp is definitely helpful in this sort of situation. was all absolutely worth it. I made this design from the Bergere Origins Book #1. It is in Origin Merinos which is the loveliest, bounciest, smoothest merino I have ever worked with. Butter, I tell you - butter! I swear, I didn't even mind all that black stockinette. The yarn has such a nice twist, I never split it - even while using my Signature Stiletto needles.

The cape has such minimal shaping, I barely had to look at the pattern as I flew along, watching new episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Project Runway (so sad that April left) and various guilty-pleasure Real Housewives episodes. This was mindless knitting at its finest.

I was worried that the 100% Merino might be itchy or hot. Not so! I've worn this cape three times to work in the last week. I always get hot at work, running around helping customer. But the cape wings' natural "pit ventilation" kept everything nice and cool, and the merino breathes like cotton.

As if that weren't enough black, I next cast on to make a fast, easy scarf to showcase the Maya yarn from Tahki. We've had this yarn since spring, but the chunky vest model I made was really not season-appropriate. I had seen a capelet where someone alternated a fur-type yarn with a smooth one for a less in-your-face effect. I realized our new Tahki Dove yarn was very similar to the strand that anchors the giant fuzzy thick-and-thin chunks in the Maya. Voila, this long cowl was born!

Here's the recipe. It just takes one skein each of Dove and Maya. Don't be afraid to mix-and-match colors. Have fun with it!
Using #10 long circular needle (at least 32") and Dove, cast on 200 stitches. Knit 5 rows. * Switch to Maya and knit 4 rows, then switch back to Dove and knit 6 rows * Repeat from * two more times. Bind off very loosely with Dove (I used a #11 needle for this). Mattress-stitch ends of scarf together to make a cowl. You're done!

It only took me about 3 hours (vs. about 3 weeks for the cape). Wouldn't this be a great gift for a fashionista on your holiday list? I could barely stand to leave it on the mannequin, I love it so!

And in case you're wondering, I've cast on for my next project and no, it is not black. My eyes say "thank you!"

- Shelley
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If you Guild it, they will come.

Last night, Loops South hosted the Tulsa K.N.I.T. Guild. As always, there was a good turnout, and there were so many great projects in the "show 'n' tell" portion, my personal queue has grown by leaps and bounds!

First, Ruth arrived from her "day job" to help me work the register, and she was wearing her new Braided Scarf in Spud & Chloe Outer. This free pattern is just darling, so quick to knit, and washable to boot. Great job, Ruth!

Calista just kept pulling one awesome project after another out of her grocery bag. This was my favorite called Duck Soup. I just love how the i-cord loops are all different colors. She said she used a multi yarn and it just worked out that way. This is a $6.50 pattern download here and as Calista said, so worth it! Would be perfect (and washable) in Spud & Chloe Sweater or Berroco Vintage.

Nearly everyone in the crowd had a project to share, but none was so prolific as Kat. Dang, this chick turns out one amazing project after another! From fine crochet lace to this gorgeous Hey Teach sweater, no wonder she always scores so many ribbons at the Fair (by the way, for a winter version of Hey Teach, try Dream in Color Classy - amazing hand-dye colors, great yardage and superwash).

Kat also had this "Not Another Bag" from Sally Melville's knit stitch book I believe. This gives me felting fever (or should it be Felting LeFever?)

Love the idea of incorporating your Ravelry username into your nametag, Kat! I may have to steal that one!

- Shelley
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Monday, October 4, 2010

In which Sam finds a soulmate.

This past weekend, Loops had the distinct pleasure of hosting Sharon from Three Irish Girls for a trunk show and workshop. I knew from her blog, and from our email correspondence, that Sharon is funny, bright, articulate and, well, tall.

In person, she is downright hilarious, brilliant, gorgeous and yes, even taller. The pics on her blog of Sharon in her fuzzy pistachio bathrobe simply do not do her justice - and neither, it turns out, does my iPhone camera, which took photos even fuzzier than her robe. In fact, the whole weekend I became painfully aware of the inadequacy of my photo-taking, as Sharon kept snapping shots with her ginormous, heavy, professional-looking one. Oh Sharon, I hope your pix turned out better than mine!

Anyhow, our whirlwind weekend began Friday evening, with Sharon setting up the amazing trunk show. She had promised "I'm really good at displaying yarn," and boy, did she deliver! She turned two folding tables and our odd assortment of baskets into a true candy store of fiber. Of course, it helps that her yarns - every single one of them - are stunning.

The next day, it was an Irish frenzy as the customers descended on the trunk show. Some came from as far as Chicago to get their hands on Sharon's "carpe yarnem" one-of-a-kind skeins, which they were seizing with abandon. Even as Sharon's workshop began in the classroom...

...the frenzy continued out on the sales floor. Here are Gene and I trying to navigate the madness:

That evening, my family joined Sharon for dinner at Stonehorse Cafe in Utica Square. It was here that my 14-year-old son found his soulmate. Unfortunately for him, she is married with 3 kids and lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

If any of you know Sam, you know that he is obsessed with geography. He can tell you which roads you need to take to reach any city in the U.S. You've heard of Garman GPS? Well Garman has nothing on our "Samman." He is quite proud of his encyclopedic knowledge...or at least he was until he met Sharon, the tall, blonde, former National Geography Bee champion.

Sharon had Sam on his toes as she quizzed him about the national language of Ecuador (it's English). When he didn't know the answer, she quipped, "Yeah, call me when you know something."

It's true love.

Look closely at this family pic after dinner, and you can see that Sam is clearly starstruck.

...Or maybe that's the red eye from my cruddy iPhone camera. Whatever. Cupid's arrow has definitely found its mark.

While Sam's broken heart heals and Sharon makes her way back to Minnesota, the rest of you can still shop the trunk show, which we couldn't bear to part will be with us at Loops South through this Saturday, Oct. 9. Plus we have a huge new shipment of 3IG yarns in Springvale Worsted, Springvale DK, Adorn Sock and Lindon Merino. Come find your own skein-y soulmate.

- Shelley
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