Well, hello there. Welcome to Loops. The one-and-only, new, consolidated, bigger, even better, even loopier Loops at 61st & Yale in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This store has been nearly 10 years in the making. We invent, we grow, we learn, we reinvent. We add more spinning, more play, more fun. We add more comfort, more […]
I consider these yarns “kissing cousins.” Both have the same weight and twist and great saturated solid colors as well as lovely variegated colorways. The Araucania Huasco is 100% merino, and the Ella Rae Lace Merino has the superwash factor added to its 100% merino base. I am happily surprised that I can’t “feel” the difference between the two.
My first project with this yarn was the Jeweled Cowl.
It’s been a favorite at the shop for over a year now, and it still winks at me every time I go in. Placing beads on the yarn was easy; the tight twist of the yarn prevented splitting as I applied the beads with the crochet hook. One of these days, I’m taking this project home! Just warning you Shelley…if it goes missing, you know who to call first.
I then knit Magrathea with the Lace Merino and loved every minute of it–the yarn has a bounce to it that makes for smooth, even-paced knitting. Since the fabric was drapey right off the needles, I wondered how it would take the blocking necessary to open up the lace. No need to worry, the yarn behaved beautifully and has held its shape without losing its softness or drape. It’s one of my favorite projects.
So when my daughter asked for a scarf to showcase her love of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I was excited to be able to pair the golden Huasco with the black Lace Merino in the Pendulum shawlette that’s currently on my needles. Being a Philadelphia Eagles fan, this project might have taken a long time to knit if I wasn’t knitting with a great yarn. But this is such a treat to knit with, it is flying off the needles. And just so you know, if my daughter ever leaves this scarf here at home, it will be my Bumblebee Scarf, not the Steelers Scarf!
When the horrific tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th, we were all temporarily paralyzed. We stared at our TV screens like the rest of the world, wondering, “how”? And then, “why”? And then, “What now?”
But knitters don’t stay paralyzed for long. Within minutes of the tornado touchdown, we started receiving messages on our Facebook page, wondering if we were ok. And very shortly thereafter, the emails began flowing in – from Kansas, from Alaska, from Ireland: “How can we help?”
The answer was Loops of Love. Brent threw together a logo. We put it on the Facebook page. An initiative was born.
And less than 6 weeks later, we had this:
More than 250 handmade blankets, prayer shawls, facecloths and toys, ready to load up and deliver to Moore, to be distributed to the families affected by all the recent tornadoes, including those that struck Shawnee and other areas before and after May 20th, leaving thousands without homes.
Of course, the victims needed water, and food, and diapers. But we stitchers know the comfort that only something handmade can bring. And to help them feel even more loved, we attached a Loops of Love tag to each item, along with the name of the person who made it.
We packed everything back into the boxes and stuffed our Expedition full. There was barely room for our 3 kids! Luckily, Moore is just over an hour from Tulsa. So, off we went.
In the aftermath of the disaster, naturally the Red Cross and other relief organization sprung into action. But it was reportedly a group of about 10 small, area churches that really led the effort, with tiny Trinity Church of the Nazarene at the helm.
And on the front lines was Patti: Minister’s Wife. Relief worker. Angel.
Patti’s eyes welled up as she told of a young girl who arrived at the church with a heavy shoebox. She opened the box to reveal nearly $200 in bills she had collected herself from friends and neighbors. But what made it heavy was several pounds’ worth of loose change. Patti said she could just imagine tiny children breaking open their piggy banks to help with the relief effort.
And then this box arrived from “a friend.”
Inside the box:
The church was packed full of household items – cereal and toothbrushes lined the halls in makeshift stacks.
After we bid Patti farewell (with a promise to return in a month or so with another load), we drove a couple of blocks to the area hardest hit by the biggest twister. To our surprise, it wasn’t blocked off, and we were able to drive right into the neighborhood – or what was left of it.
This photo is dark, but the message on the tarps is clear: HOPE STILL LIVES HERE.
What struck me the most – more than the damage, or the debris in the trees, was just this: The emptiness. The wide open space. The way you can see the sky – too much sky.
Our car was so quiet as we left the neighborhood. We decided to stop by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to end our trip on a high note. Still, you can see in these photos from the Chilhuly glass exhibit, that the disaster was still on Cecily’s mind – and that it would likely remain with all of us for some time to come.
Still, it was such a valuable lesson for our kids, the importance of reaching out and helping. And I personally felt so blessed to be among the messengers of hope. So, a heartfelt thank you to all of you, around the world, who have made and still are making donations to Loops of Love. I can tell you, firsthand, it has made and will make a difference…a first stitch in the fabric of these families’ lives, as they work to knit their world back together again.
It takes a brave person to open their deepest, darkest secrets up to the public.
As I’m about to show you, Loops Troops member, Tracy is a very brave person.
In the spirit of National Knit in Public Week, I asked Tracy to share all of the projects she currently has on her needles. An admitted cast-on-aholic, Tracy has, shall we say, quite a few. But we know that sharing these may not only relieve some of the guilt you feel for having so many projects, but also inspire you to cast on something new! We’re sneaky like that. Mwahaha.
Now, here’s where it gets really dark and even more secret.
Next, in a moment of unprecedented courage (and perhaps just a little pressure from me), Tracy agreed to share photos of her stash. You know how you all feel so guilty about that one bin of unused yarn hiding in a closet or under your bed? Well, behold the stash of Tracy:
And these are her knitting books:
Plus a little more yarn on the top shelf:
Now, don’t you all feel just a little bit better? And don’t you all feel the need to cast on something new? Yeah, we thought so. And we know a couple of places you can find a great new project.
shop online at loopsknitting.com
Maya is one of the new spring yarns from Berroco, and one of the 16 new yarns out of the whole big yarny universe that made the cut for our spring Hot Loops Wall.
Maya combines silky Pima cotton with just a touch of soft baby alpaca in a chainette yarn that is surprisingly lightweight for a worsted yarn. That means quicker summer knitting!
We chose the Bajada shawlette for our Hot Loops shoot. First, because shawlettes continue to be the hottest projects at our Loops stores right now. And second, we love how lace works up in Maya, all lofty yet with great definition.
I just adore this image from designer Norah Gaughan’s blog for Berroco, where she shows how Bajada echoes the colors and drape of a bleeding heart.
Sometimes the yarn gods smile upon us, and we lucked into a couple of extra hand-knit Bajada models from Berroco.
Now here comes your chance to win one of these two shawlettes! Just post a comment telling us what project you’d like to make with Maya. You might choose one of the patterns from the new Maya book. Or the new Norah Gaughan Vol. 12. Or you might browse around Ravelry…I found this Sunburst Shawl, this Zoey Cardigan and this “I love you DOG” shawl (no, it’s not a shawl for a dog…or Randy Jackson…but it is really pretty). Whatever you find, remember to come back to the blog and post a comment! We’ll choose two winners this Thursday, May 23, and announce them on the blog as well as the Loops Facebook Page.
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?)
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?
shop online at loopsknitting.com
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.
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.
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!
Loops Troops member, Loretta, fell in love with Rowan Lima last fall when it first arrived at Loops.
“It flew off the shelves pretty quickly, but I was able to get two skeins that I turned into the Rikke Hat,” Loretta says. “It was so cute and knit up so quickly that I immediately cast on for another one, both of which ended up in Chicago with my daughter. They are super soft and plenty warm.”
Rowan Lima has a chain-like construction that makes it light and lofty. It’s composed of 84% baby alpaca, 8% merino and 8% nylon, and has 109 yards per skein. Originally introduced as a DK yarn, Lima is really a worsted and works up best at a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch or even less. It is much softer at a looser gauge, and the chainette construction helps minimize pilling so you can get away with the looser gauge.
Lima’s big sister is Rowan Alpaca Chunky. It’s 98% alpaca, 2% polyamide, and 76 yards per big, chunky skein. It knits at 2.75 stitches per inch on #15 needles. And even though she usually prefers smaller-gauge yarns, Loretta has fallen for this one, too.
“Then I realized I could whip up another for my daughter in Rowan Lima. I modified it slightly to make it a bit smaller to make sure my 2 skeins would get ‘er done and, sure enough, it’s as cute and wearable as ever.”
“Now I’m thinking, maybe one more in Rowan Alpaca Chunky. Hmm…which color to make?”
Today’s Loops Troop pick comes from Barbara…and Gina! They are both in love with the Fibre Company’s Road to China Light, a strong, soft, drapey yarn with lots of body – perfect for luxurious, soft sweaters and accessories.
Kettle dyed for beautiful depth of color, Road to China Light is 65% baby alpaca, 15% silk, 10% camel and 10% cashmere. Each skein is 159 yards, and it works up on a recommended gauge of 6-6.5 sts/inch on US #3-4 needles.
Barbara’s first project in “RTCL” was the Dustland Hat by Stephen West. She loved it so much that she cast on for another project, turning Jared Flood’s Guernsey Wrap into a scarf. “I got the idea from VisualFallacy’s Father’s Day Scarf on ravelry.com,” Barbara said. “I cast on 34 stitches, holding the yarn double. I just love how this yarn feels in my hands. Such a pleasure to knit with.”
Gina H. seconds Barbara’s emotions about Road to China Light. “I LOVE this yarn!” Gina says. “It has to be one of my all-time favorites. So soft, a beautiful sheen, it has a fine “halo” and best of all, the color is a subtle semi-solid. Yum!”
Gina designed our Osage Cowl using RTCL.
She’s also working on a Sycamore Vest in RTCL.
Road to China Light is available at both Loops locations. You can also preview the colors or purchase the yarn here on loopsknitting.com.
Today, Loops Troops staff member Ruth weighs in with her favorite fast-knitting yarn for holiday gift knitting: Debbie Bliss Riva.
“British yarn Riva – lofty yet warm, love the heathery colors,” Ruth says. “Riva is perfect for a simple moss stitch scarf. Decide the width you want after determining your gauge. Cast on an odd number of stitches accordingly. Then just K1, P1 for every row. At the end of one episode of “Downton Abbey Season #2,” you are well on your way to a lovely Christmas gift. Now bring me some figgy pudding!”
Debbie Bliss Riva is a supersoft blend of 70% wool and 30% acrylic. It has 88 yards per skein and knits at a chunky gauge of 3.5 stitches to 1 inch on US #10.5 needles. You can also try #11 or even #13 needles for a soft, drapey look and feel.
Shop Loops’ great Riva selection at either location or here at loopsknitting.com.