Thursday, January 31, 2013

Purl sez, win this yarn!

Today, Purl would like you to win this fabulous bag of Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK:

Really, she would.  It makes her happy when people get excited.  Almost as happy as she gets when you play fetch with her nasty rubber chicken.

Or with her even nastier stuffed chicken.  (Are you sensing a theme here?)

Anyway, we Loops Troops absolutely adore Baby Merino Silk DK.  Gene loved it so much, he designed a baby blanket for it.

And it's not just for baby stuff.  The merino/silk content, soft hand and sophisticated heathered colors make it ideal for scarves, shawls and sweaters, too.

So, for your chance to win a full bag of 10 skeins, post a comment telling us what you would make with the yarn.  Be sure to leave your email address or name in the comment so we can find you if you win.  You can also tell Purl how cute she is.  She can never get enough of that.  Right, Purl?

- Shelley
shop online at

Friday, January 25, 2013

Giotto. Gorgeous any way you say it.

This week, we received a new shipment of one of our longest-running bestsellers at Loops.

Giotto is a ribbon yarn that is hand-dyed in colorways like no other.

(Purl was helping out with my impromptu photo shoot.)

"No, don't make me choose!" she says.

Each hank has great yardage and it knits up super quick.  Customers always say the same thing:  It's gorgeous!  How do you pronounce it?  And what can I make with it?

The company that sells it says it's pronounced "zhatto," with a soft "j."  I call it "gee-oh-toe."  It's named for an Italian painter, so maybe our Italian friends can weigh in on the comments...

As far as what to make with it, I love anything with a dropstitch.  The easy dropstitch really shows off the hand-painted beauty of the yarn, which you can see even better when you open up the hanks.

Here's an example of a dropstitch scarf in Giotto by helenodriscoll on Ravelry:

And there is a really cute tunic pattern we can send you with purchase of the 4 or 5 skeins of Giotto you need to make it.  Modeled her by Loops Troops member Pat "Call me!" N.:

Tracy is planning a knitalong on this tunic.  For details, visit the Loopalicious ravelry page.

And just to whip everyone into a little more frenzy, let's have a little giveaway.  Leave a comment on the blog about your favorite Giotto color, and what you would make with a free skein!  We'll draw a winner this coming Thursday, Jan. 31.

To shop our Giotto selection, go here.

Happy looping!

- Shelley

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ritalin Cowl.

My mom loves to tell the story about when I was a toddler and she begged the pediatrician for something, anything, to calm me down.  She insisted I was hyperactive.  He said no, he didn't think so, but she could try this new medicine called Ritalin.  And if I wasn't truly "hyper," she would know it, because it would make me even wilder.  Not possible, she said. 

Sure enough, a couple of hours later, she caught me trying to scale a brick wall in our living room.  Like a crazed spider trying to escape a metal bucket.  I don't know what's more disturbing, the story or the fact that our living room had a brick wall.  But hey, it was the '70s.

The truth it, everyone who knits has a little ADD I think.  That's why we all love casting on projects.  It's why we all have (shhhhh) secret stashes.  And it's why I like projects that don't get boring.  So I have a fighting chance of staying engaged until it's done.

That's why I designed this Ritalin Cowl.  It's perfect for ADD knitters.  Just when you get tired of a stitch, or a color, wheeeee here comes a new one!  I wanted to show off the amazing range of colors in this yarn from the Fiber Company called Acadia.  

Acadia is an absolutely luscious, completely original 2-ply yarn with a subtle tweed effect and the softest hand - thanks to the luxe combo of merino wool, baby alpaca and silk.   I think some people are a little afraid of it at first, with its tweedy tufts of texture.  But Acadia works up like a dream and has surprisingly awesome stitch definition.

I had such fun choosing colors.  At first, I was sure I wanted to cull from the gorgeous blues and greys:

But I just kept gravitating to this warmer palette.  The purples and copper and crazy lime were just calling to me.  HEY LOOK, LOOK AT HOW SHINY WE ARE, A-D-D GIRL.

And so my Ritalin Cowl was born.

Now, I'll bet you'd like the pattern already.

Ritalin Cowl
You will need 1 skein each of 4 colors Acadia.  I used Blackberry (A), Wild Onion (B), Amber (C) and Kelp (D). 
Using #8 32" circular needles, cast on 250 sts with Color A.  Join to work in round.  I tried not to twist, but I accidentally got one twist in there I guess...which isn't the end of the world...just do your best.

Seed stitch border:
Rounds 1:  *K1, P1* to end
Rounds 2:  *P1, K1* to end
Repeat these two rounds 2x more for a total of 6 seed-stitch rounds.

Still working with Color A, knit 10 rounds.

Still working with Color A, work eyelet ridge section:
Purl one round.
*YO, k2tog* one round.
Purl one round.

Now switch to Color B, knit 10 rounds, and work another eyelet ridge section.
Switch to Color C, knit 10 rounds, and work another eyelet ridge section.
Switch to Color D, knit 10 rounds, and work a seed stitch border.  (There is no eyelet ridge in Color D.)

Bind off very loosely.  Lightly steam block.
Be creative with your Acadia colors, embrace your knitting ADD, and enjoy!

- Shelley