Sunday, January 22, 2012

Love notes from Phoenix.

Welcome to my first blog entry from my iPad, composed from our hotel room at market in Phoenix.

Let me tell you, blogging from an iPad is not for the faint hearted. After about two hours spent getting 12 photos from my phone to my iPad to the web to the blog, I hope you will bear with me as I treat you to these slightly wonky photos and very rushed words!

First, the Phoenix convention center is beautiful but it's easy to get lost. And you don't want to go the wrong way, or you could end up at the Corrections Officers Convention(!)

From Tnna Phoenix

One of our favorite booths so far has been madelinetosh. The flowers, the cupcakes, the cowls!

From Tnna Phoenix

From Tnna Phoenix

From Tnna Phoenix

Hey lookie, it is Miss Mariel with new sassy bangs and a Tosh cowl soon to be released, (don't worry, the nice tosh gals promised to alert us when it's ready).

Next we visited our friends from Alchemy. Austin didn't have to twist our arm too hard to get us to order lots of new goodies.

From Tnna Phoenix

From Tnna Phoenix

We are really excited about this silk poncho and had lots of fun visiting with our Knit Collage friends.

From Tnna Phoenix

Some new yummies coming from Bergere Origin.

From Tnna Phoenix

From Tnna Phoenix

Can't wait for you all to see this in person at our Classic Elite yarn tasting coming up in February (do you have your reservation yet?)
From Tnna Phoenix

Visiting with Nadine from Be Sweet was a sweet ending to our workday.

From Tnna Phoenix

And this was a sweet end to our evening.

From Tnna Phoenix

Tasted just like key lime pie in a glass - maybe I need to recreate this for you to try at the Hot Loops party in March? Loved the name: "whip over the keys." Ha. Not to worry though...we are without a car and dependent on cabs :)

- Shelley

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yarn moxie.

We debuted our Friend or Faux kits a couple weeks ago, and within a few days, I had to (desperately, pleadingly) order more yarn in the Mink colorway, which was the color featured on our site and in our store model.

It's a well known fact in our biz: Everyone always wants the model color. Yes, the Mink is spectacular, with its subtle brown and black shadings. But it's sister, the gray-toned Shadow colorway, is equally gorgeous. And with gray having been "the new black" for the past two years, I thought it would be the first to go. Wrong-o!

But get this. The very first customer to lay eyes on the Friend or Faux actually bucked convention. Janet was the first customer through the door that morning, and though she was initially drawn to the Mink, she saw the Shadow and thought, "I'll try something different." Over the next few days, as we watched the Mink kits fly out the door, I had an idea. I issued a challenge to Janet: Get your cowl knit up by next week and let me take a picture, and I'll give you a Loops gift card.

Thankfully, she rose to the challenge.

Would you look at that amazing shading?

Janet is full of what I call Yarn Moxie. She's willing to take a chance. To see what other color adventures might lurk around the corner. I love that!

Here's another example of Yarn Moxie. It's Pat - wearing the Anthro Inspired Wrap I first made in Three Irish Girls Springvale. Pat liked the purple I used, but for her, it had to be red, red, red! Pat is Moxie personified.

And here is Susan, who had seen the Summer Flies pattern made in lots of different yarns, but never this shimmering Blue Heron Rayon Metallic. And never in this shade, that perfectly complements her fiery red hair and peaches-and-cream complexion.

So I challenge you to get in touch with your inner Yarn Moxie. Because half the fun of making it, is making it your own.

- Shelley
shop online at
P.S. Rayon Metallic is not available online, but we are happy to talk to you about all of our beautiful colorways when you call the store at 1-877-LOOPSOK.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Making it count.

This weekend, we completed our sixth annual inventory extravaganza at Loops.

Over the years, this has evolved from a chore into...well, ok it's still a chore. But it's fun, too. When we get all the Troops together, with Chinese food and cookies and lots of coffee, hilarity is sure to ensue.

When you're surrounded by this much yarn and so many awesome people, there are always bonding moments.

And like most knitters, we have at least a touch of OCD. So tidy shelves and neatly re-stacked skeins make us all very, very happy.

As evidenced by the previous three photos, Cassidy is never one to be camera-shy. Billie Anne, on the other hand, is an expert at hiding behind her barcode scanner.

On the first day, we inventoried the Utica Store. As always, Terrie came "dressed down" in her most casual pair of high-heeled boots.

As the "bossy-pants" of the inventory process, Billie Anne wore a t-shirt appropriate to the occasion.

As did yours truly.

All in all, you know it's a successful operation when you catch Loretta grinning from ear to ear.

Each year, though we announce the inventory dates far in advance, there are always a few customers who are disappointed to find our doors locked. We dread that moment! So it was with trepidation that I looked up to see one customer knocking on the door, with a sign in hand. It read, "Need a break? I have cookies!" Mary Jo, you have my unofficial vote for customer of the year. As we like to say around here, you don't suck. You ROCK!

One other benefit of means that market is just around the corner. In a couple of weeks, Gina and I will be heading to Phoenix to make mischief and see what's new. Can't wait!

- Shelley
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Friend or faux?

When I was little, one of my favorite picture books was about warm fuzzies. The book urged me to be the kind of person who gives lots of warm fuzzies, not cold pricklies.

Sadly, the book is no longer in print. But take heart, dear knitter. For today, we present a fabulous substitute, practically guaranteed to generate lots of warm fuzzies.

Introducing "Friend or Faux."

Is it real fur, or is it faux? With the amazing depth and richness of Prism Yarn's hand-dyed colors, we defy you to tell the difference! And when I snuggle this cowl up against my neck, it feels just like when I was a little girl, burying my cheek in my grandmother's fur coat.

Our Prism Yarn rep, Stephanie, showed me a cowl much like this in our meeting a few months ago, and I immediately jumped in line with a big order for two delicious colorways - "Mink" and "Shadow."

The original cowl had been created by the Prism genius, Laura Bryant. However, it required two different needles, and was done in an allover K1, P1 rib which, frankly, is quite a pain when working with the Plume faux fur yarn. So I created my own version. Here is how to do it.

Friend or Faux Cowl

Using Plume and US #10, 24" circular needles, cast on 78 stitches and join into round, placing a marker. Knit 12 rounds in Plume.

Change to Merino 12 and knit for 6 inches.

Switch back to Plume and work 12 rounds more. Bind off loosely. Lightly block if desired.

To purchase your Friend or Faux kit, click here.

Now, fair warning, this is not a cheap project. This is a treat to you, or someone you love. It's a treat to knit, and a treat to wear with your favorite black coat, or denim jacket, or long boyfriend cardigan.

You may be tempted to recreate this with a lesser faux fur yarn. I'm telling you this as your friend - resist the urge. "Fun fur" and the like will never, no not ever, measure up. This is one time you should do it in the good stuff, or not at all.

That said, there is one other faux fur on the market that I love almost as much as the Plume. It's Fourrure by Bergere. It is not hand-dyed, but it is incredibly soft and there is a nice array of colors. Match it up with one of our chunky yarns for the Merino 12 section, and you are good to go. Of course, we're always here to help you make the perfect match.

Either way, the cowl will only take you an evening or two to knit up. And we promise, you'll have a new best friend for your neck, sure to give you warm fuzzies for many winters to come.

- Shelley
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