Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In which I realize my photography is inferior.

We recently hosted one of my favorite people, Sharon of Three Irish Girls - a.k.a. she of superior skills including yarn-dying, geography, photography and baby-holding.

Sharon brought with her a saliva-worthy trunk show of one-of-a-kind yarns (called "Carpe Yarnem" colors), as well as a long-awaited delivery of her new, utterly delicious bamboo/cotton hand-dyes in worsted and fingering weights.

Whilst with us, Sharon taught a class on "Yarnography" - the art of photographing yarn and projects. I have never felt such shame for the measly iPhone 4 that I use to take my shots. I promise, dear Sharon and dear readers, to save up for a Big Girl camera very soon. I also promise to finish every project I've ever started.


And meanwhile, back down here on earth, I will share with you my sub-par photos of the divine Davina, wearing an Anna's Shoulder Wrap that she made from Three Irish Girls yarn, and proving that she even looks great in iPhone photos.

There is also Mary Jo with her spectacular Summer Flies shawl in Noro Taiyo. This, too, defies the limits of my phone-camera with its undeniable loveliness.

And even without "F-stop control," my phone was able to capture the feeling that fall was in the air when my kids returned to school this week:

There's something to be said for the ability to pull out my very portable phone in the parking lot outside the hair salon, immediately after I had made the rash decision to go red, hoping it would somehow hasten the arrival of autumn. It's hard to turn one of those humongous camera-plus-giant-flash thingies around and grab a photo of yourself in the 105-degree heat.

My wittie bittie phone tried mightily to capture the excitement of our Classic Elite Yarn Tasting on Saturday. But I have a feeling that nobody's camera could have fully documented the pure joy that was in the air - wines, cheese, yarns and models paired perfectly to help us usher in the fall.

If you weren't able to join us, check out the new yarns and pattern books on our Loops Classic Elite pages.

And if you'd like to see what a real pro and real camera can do, read Sharon's post about her visit to Loops. Cracker Barrel aside, it is a thing of beauty.

- Shelley
shop online at loopsknitting.com

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On the needles and off the stove (featuring Mariel's Hot Fudge Sauce).

It's hot in Oklahoma. Seriously hot. Abu Dhabi hot. 114 without the heat index hot. Breaking every possible record hot.

So I am going to do something really rebellious and counter-intuitive here, and talk about knitting. And hot fudge.

Actually, most of Tulsa has retreated indoors entirely, leaving the streets as empty as Dust Bowl times. And many of us are knitting. I for one have made nice progress on my Chadwick Shawl from Stephen West, our favorite designer du jour. It's in Tosh Sock and I am completely addicted to this pattern. And so it is that I brazenly pull out my w-o-o-l to work on inside while the outside temps approach the levels of another planet much closer to the sun.

So addicted am I to Stephen's West Knit patterns, that I couldn't resist joining our many Loops Troops and customers who have cast on for the first West Knits Mystery Shawl Knitalong. This is my first "mystery" KAL and I am really into it. If you've never done one, here's how it works. You go to Ravelry and download the beginning of the pattern, and each week there's a new "clue," or section of the shawl to work. What it will end up as is a mystery, even to you! These are the colors I chose in Ella Rae Lace Merino:

We had a great group join Gina Y. at Utica this Tuesday from 2-5 to work on the knitalong. We will be adding a group at Loops South on Saturdays at 11. So come join Gina, or me and Linda, as we unravel (ravel) the mystery together. We also have a thread going on our Loopalicious Ravelry group.

The other item that I just finished is this tank in Bergere Sonora cotton blend. I call it the "bravery tank" because you knit it (super easy pattern), then as you're casting off you drop stitches to create the ladder effect. But it's worth it to be brave for the oh-so-chic result! Plus, all those ladders make it naturally air-conditioned.

Sandy kept trying to join the photo shoot:

Hint: if you like this tank, keep an eye out for this week's Webby Wednesday deal on the Loops Facebook Page.

This tank only took me a couple of weeks to make, largely due to some airplane knitting time. My son, Sam, and I took a weekend trip to Washington D.C. to see the sites and meet up with my childhood friend, Sarah. This is my favorite pic of the trip, because Sam is known for his complete inability to lie:

It's not easy dragging a teenager out of bed, even for waffles at a Belgian restaurant:

We stayed at a hotel right by the White House, and I got what I think is a pretty nice picture at dusk (considering it was just my iPhone):

When we returned to Tulsa, I found that Miss Mallory had almost finished her first project in the round - a cowl in Tanglewood Superwash that Trish gifted her with last year. Nice job, Mal!

When I returned, it was time to bid farewell to our summer intern, Mariel. Her boyfriend, Sam, had arrived to drive her back to Nashville.

But before she left, Mariel bestowed us with the ultimate gift: Her family's famous Hot Fudge Sauce. As insane as it sounds to turn on the stove in this heat (could there be any more evil-sounding words than "double boiler"?), I have to tell you it is absolutely worth it.

Here is the recipe:
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares
3 T butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 t vanilla
1 cup sugar
Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Add sugar, milk and vanilla. Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens. Pour over ice cream, eat straight from the pot, or pour into the bathtub and roll around in it (ok, not really...but the thought did occur to me).

And here is the photographic proof of its deliciousness. First Cecily:

Then Brent ("Don't touch my sauce!"):

And finally, Gina (she and her husband Gary were over for dinner) - who took one bite and immediately grabbed her phone to take a picture of the recipe.

Happy knitting (and fudging!),

shop online at loopsknitting.com