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 […]
It’s that time of year again. The holiday stitching rush has begun. To help you out, we thought we’d share some of the Loops Troops’ favorite “staff picks” for yarns and projects this season.
I’ll go first. Because, well, I can.
But first, a disclaimer: If you’re someone who might possibly be on my personal gift list, please stop reading now. Please. It’s so much more fun for both of us when you’re surprised.
So this year, I’m obsessed with these Audrey Gloves. Not only does it call for 100% cashmere, the perfect gifting fiber, but the pattern is easy. Seriously easy. Way easier than they look. And fast. Seriously fast.
I just got back from New York City, and I managed to get one mitt done on each leg of the flight. On the last leg (Detroit to Tulsa), I decided to take some lovely step-by-step, in-flight pictures to show you exactly how easy these are.
Step 1: Make a rectangle. There are two little rows of seed stitch. And there is a twisted rib stitch, but if for some reason that freaks you out, just do plain 1×1 rib stitch.
Step 2: Seam up one end. There’s no pesky thumb gusset to deal with. This is my favorite cheater way of making a thumb hole.
Step 3: Seam up the other end. See? A thumb hole.
Step 4: Make a smaller rectangle. Position it where you want it. I experimented a bit with this. (Okay, I didn’t follow directions well and sometimes positioned it wherever I wanted it, but it turned out ok. Full disclosure.)
Step 5: Make a third, tiny rectangle.
Step 6: Sew the tiny rectangle in place to make a bow. It’s not a science. Just get it on there.
Step 7: Done! Now make another one! These are so much fun, I experienced little to no “second mitt syndrome.”
In fact, I made 3 pairs on the trip!
On the left: Jade Sapphire 8-Ply. In the middle, Lobster Pot Cashmere. On the right, Jade Sapphire Handspun (less stitch definition but oh-my-so-soft). Each pair takes just one skein. You can buy the Jade Sapphire versions as kits, or you can get the Lobster Pot here and ask us to add on a pattern to your order for $5.99.
And guess what else? For you overachievers, we have a matching hat pattern! YAY!
shop online at loopsknitting.com
Holiday stress can be intense.
Holiday knitting stress can put you over the proverbial edge.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just pick the right pattern. Something very easy. Something very fast. Something in a special yarn or with a special touch that elevates it from “homemade” to “handmade.”
Last year, our go-to gift pattern was the Necks Big Thing. This year, we present…
The Xanax Cowl Kit.
You can also wear it folded over, like this:
Here’s all you do:
- Cast on 52 stitches in Malabrigo Rasta using #17 needles (straight or circular, doesn’t matter, ’cause you’re working back and forth).
- *Knit 2, Purl 2* to the end. Repeat this row to desired length (I did 20 rows). Cast off loosely in pattern.
- Feel your holiday stress melt away as you realize you can churn out a cowl in less than one episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.”
Use our stunning Jul pedestal buttons instead of a seam, and you just saved another 15 minutes. These buttons screw into the piece and are made of leather…
Cracked coconut shell and leather…
Or dried ferns and leather.
You just unscrew the pedestal button, separating the larger, “front” of the button from the smaller “back” disc. Place the front wherever you want it to close your cowl, then use the back as a sort of washer on the back of the cowl, and screw it back together. This protects your yarn and keeps the button firmly in place. Here’s what it looks like on the back of your cowl. It’s nice and smooth and flat.
The kit comes in 3 colorways: Lettuce/Black Leather.
Or Belgian Chocolate/Cracked Coconut.
Yesterday, we debuted two of our new Hot Loops Wall projects in our online store. Both are Loops Original patterns, created by our very own Loops Troops. Both are part of the new Osage Collection, named for towns in Osage County, Oklahoma, where we did our photo shoot and coincidentally, where a big-time movie is now being shot.
(Seriously, there have been George Clooney and Julia Roberts sightings all over the place. We keep hoping for Miss Julia to visit Loops, because we know she is a knitter extraordinaire.)
We can actually imagine Julia sporting this new pattern, called Burbank Bag. It’s a felted bag project from Gina Hills, made from Jewel Handpaint, a new thick-and-thin aran weight from Cascade Yarns. It also has a touch of Little Flowers from Crystal Palace, used as a carry-along yarn to give the bag extra texture.
Here’s the thing. While we adore both of these patterns, we would hate for you to pigeonhole these yarns as belonging only to these projects.
Because this Jewel Handpaint yarn is incredibly versatile and beautiful. Just gaze upon this color range:
It’s soft enough that it should, be no means, be limited to felting projects. You could make this.
And the yarn for the Barnsdall Blanket? It may be called Baby Merino Silk DK, but this ain’t your grandma’s baby yarn. It’s got merino. And silk. And yes, it is washable. But it’s about as far away from that chain-store-acrylic stuff as you can get.
I love that it looks much more expensive than it is, with its subtle changes in hue that feel almost hand-dyed. Case in point: This.
And I love that you can use it for other things besides baby. Like this.
I confess, I’m not much of a pigeon fan. But thinking outside of the pigeonhole? That is something to coo about.
shop online at loopsknitting.com
Some people ask me while I still go to market, when these days most yarns can be sourced and purchased through reps and websites. My answer can be summed up in one word: Surprises.
One such surprise greeted us at market in Phoenix last January. If you’d told me that a yarn with funky little flecks would become the fiber I couldn’t stop thinking about long after the show, I never would’ve believe you.
And yet, this Acadia yarn, from this group of incredibly nice people with the decidedly un-pretentious and indescript name The Fibre Company, etched itself on my heart. My fingers yearned to play with its smooshy, merino/silk/alpaca dk goodness.
And then I saw this Quaking Aspen Shawl – the way the flecks added interest without disturbing the stitch definition. I was smitten.
This photo of Never Not Knitting’s Peurperium newborn sweater is another great example of Acadia in action. You can just feel the softness, the loftiness, the richness of the color.
And this Schoodic Cardigan by Hannah Fetig hints at the longevity of the yarn. This is no flash in the pan. It’s a yarn for a forever sweater – combining softness and sturdy twist in beautiful harmony.
This time of year, there’s a new surprise almost every day at Loops. I’ve been busy sprucing up every corner, creating little pockets of surprises for our customers. Here’s a new display of our Feza Alp Exquisite yarn (and a one-skein Effin Scarf below).
And I took our amazing array of Alchemy Silken Straw and gave it its due, hanging the skeins so you can see them in all their handpainted gloriousness. The New Magician’s Scarves hanging above were made by Loretta and Gina, and each take 2 skeins Silken Straw (1 each of two colors) and 1 skein Sanctuary.
I made our Alchemy Tweedy “smile.”
And filled our favorite Loops blue cabinet with baby yarns and projects.
Another fun surprise just arrived – ChiaoGoo Twist Interchangeable Needle sets in two sizes. Gina is holding the “Complete” set with sizes 2-15, while the “Small” set has sizes 2-8.
And the best surprise of all – I unzipped the outer pocket to find a needle gauge, cute stitch markers and other gadgets. How fun!
I don’t mind divulging that I ran right home with my set to cast on something new. This is going to be a Felicity hat in Malabrigo Rios for my friend Maria, who has just begun her fight against cancer.
I am hoping this hat will be a small, bright surprise in her day…in a way that only a handmade gift can be.
Today I’d like to introduce you to the next hot project on our Hot Loops wall for Fall – the Shattered Sun Shawlette in CashSilk Lace from Sweet Georgia Yarns.
I first fell for this yarn when I laid eyes on this model at market in Phoenix:
And then, I touched the yarn. Game over! Delicate, soft and ever so slightly glossy, this 2-ply laceweight is 45% cashmere, 55% silk, and one skein has 400 yards so a little goes a really, really long way.
“Quick, someone hand me a pen so I can write an order!” I said.
This half-pi shawl may look intimidating, but it’s really only 2 rows to remember. Plus, Sweet Georgia owner Felicia Lo has made a really nice little video introducing the basics on how to knit it.
Loops Troops member, Linda, made our Shattered Sun Shawl in this spectacular turquoise.
She signed up to knit it without feeling the yarn, and when I handed her the skein, it was like Christmas. You should have seen her eyes light up! Plus she loved making the pattern – said it was very well written.
Get your Shattered Sun Shawl Kit, including the one skein required plus pattern, by clicking here.
shop online at loopsknitting.com
This coming Saturday, September 22nd, Loops will host our 15th Hot Loops Party. We have been doing this party every fall and every spring since we opened in 2005! Each time, we add a new surprise or two, but some things remain constant.
First, we always reveal 16 new yarns and projects, carefully culled and curated from the thousands of new patterns and fibers we preview each season. Second, there are always margaritas and great food.
And third, there’s always a line of stitchers, waiting to get in when we open the doors to reveal the new Hot Loops Wall!
I was going back through the Hot Loops pics through the years, and thought it would be fun to share a quick retrospective, with shots of my kids sprinkled throughout, so you can see how much we have all grown in 7 short years. So, starting with 2005…
Some things have changed through the years. Many former customers have joined the Loops Troops.
We took a second store from OSU class project to reality…
And last year, Cassidy was one of our models (quite the hammy one, at that)…
…but this year, she’s our Hot Loops wall photographer!
We hope you will be with us when we debut our new Hot Loops Wall this Saturday at 7pm. Reservations are just $25, and can be made by calling 918-742-9276 (toll-free 1-877-LOOPSOK), emailing us, or coming by to reserve in person. If you’d like to make a road trip, maybe with some girlfriends, feel free to contact us for hotel suggestions!
Our bins are ready, our samples are knit, our new yarns are coming in by the pallet-full…now all we need is YOU!
shop online at loopsknitting.com
Just in case there has ever been any doubt, let me clear this up right now.
Loops has the best. Customers. Ever.
Case in point: Tracy.
Not only is Tracy a fabulous mom, head of her PTO and all around supercool person. But she can make up patterns. From scratch. And then she makes up the cutest pattern in our favorite new yarn (Sweet Fiber Yarns hand dyed, washable Merino Twist Worsted). And she brings the hat to the store, agrees to be photographed in said hat without warning, and then…just to further illustrate my point…she offers to make the pattern free on our blog.
Yes, free. Could this get any awesome-er? (“Mm-hmm,” I hear all you English teachers murmuring. “You could avoid butchering our language with words like ‘awesom-er.'”)
Okay, Tracy did have to be coerced into the photograph just a little.
But eventually, she came around.
I just love how she added the two subtle little beads to emphasize the owl effect of the cables. And how her choice of reverse stockinette really brings out all the shading in the hand-dyed Sweet Fiber colorways.
Now, these two did not need much coaxing. Or rather, my daughter didn’t need coaxing. Our new puppy, Purl, didn’t have much of a choice.
But see, the hat works great on an 11-year-old head, too.
And now without further ado, here is the pattern.
Woot! Hoot Hat
by Tracy Keeter
Using one skein Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted and size 8 needles, cast on 100 stitches and pm for beginning of round. Work 2×2 rib in the round for 2 inches.
Round 1: purl to last 2 stitches, p2tog
Round 2-4: purl
Round 5: p1, k8, *p3 k8; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 6: p1, *C4B, C4F, p3; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 7-12: p1, *k8, p3; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 13: p1, *C4B, C4F, p3; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 14-17: p1, *K8, p3; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 18: p1, *C4B, C4F, p3; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 19: p1, *C2b, p4, C2F, p3; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Round 20-23: purl all stitches
Measure work: If piece measures less than 5” from the cast on edge, add additional purl rows until it is long enough.
Round 24: *p12, p2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, p1 (92 sts)
Round 25-26: purl
Round 27: *p11, p2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, p1 (85 sts)
Round 28-29: purl
Round 30: *p10, p2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, p1 (78 sts)
Round 31-32: purl
Row 33-45: Continue as established, with each decrease round containing 1 stitch fewer before the p2tog, and ending each round with p1, until 43 stitches remain on your needles.
Row 46: purl
Row 47: *p4, p2tog; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p1 (36 sts)
Row 48: purl
Row 49: *p3, p2tog; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p1 (29 sts)
Row 50: purl
Row 51: *p2, p2tog; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p1 (22 sts)
Row 52: *p1, p2tog; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p1 (15 sts)
Row 53: *sl 1 wyib, p2tog, psso; repeat from * (5 sts)
Break yarn, leaving a tail (about 7” long.) Using a tapestry needle, run tail through last 5 stitches and pull to tighten. Weave in ends.
Tracy had enough yarn left over from her one skein of Sweet Fiber to make matching handwarmers. Look for that pattern too, coming soon!
Shawlettes are everywhere these days. With their simple, architectural shapes and wearable versatility, I love knitting them. But to be honest, I’ve gotten a bit numb to the sight of them. Only once in awhile does one jump up and say, “You must knit me. Now.”
Such is the case with the Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya Kefelian.
Since the moment I laid eyes on it, I’ve been pondering what yarn to use. I’ve stood before our many fingering/sock yarns, looking for the perfect, inspired color combo. And then, as so often happens, it was a customer that enlightened me.
We had just announced Cascade Ultra Pima as our featured yarn of the week, which meant is was 30% off for one week only. Said customer was looking for something to make with it, when she spied the upcoming Aranami Shawl class on our new September Class List. Voila!
We started putting colors together, and darned if there weren’t several that worked beautifully.
Loops has a great range of Ultra Pima colors, and it has this awesome drape and color saturation just like silk – yet with the durability of cotton. But until now, I had overlooked lovely Pima for the Aranami becuase it’s not sock weight, but sport. No problemo! We’ll just go up to size 4 or 5 needle, and get a bigger shawl, to boot!
Thank you, brilliant customer. Problem solved!
Yes, it’s hot in Tulsa right now. Really, really, really, really, reallyreallyreally hot.
But you’ll be glad to know that’s not the subject of this post.
Instead, let’s talk about the hottest (as in most popular) pattern at Loops right now: Loretta’s infamous Effin Scarf. This is the scarf it took her years to perfect, though it is brilliantly simple in that it is essentially a one-row pattern. It’s also the scarf I kept bugging her about – “when are you going to have that cute pattern ready, Loretta?” And thus it earned its title when she charmingly replied, “Oh yeah, I’ve gotta get you that effin pattern.” In fact, this is kind of what she looked like when she said it.
On a whim, I asked our Loops Troops to bring any Effin Scarves they might have knit to our monthly employee meeting. I knew it was popular…but I wasn’t prepared for this:
And those, my friends, are just the ones Loretta has knit!
It seems everyone has gotten in on this Effin Scarf action.
|Loretta – looking more friendly here|
|Jane – who didn’t have makeup on so made me promise to crop.|
|Sorry Jane – you’re “outed” in the big group photo!|
The thing about this pattern is, it works great with so many yarns. Ideally it’s a sock, DK or light worsted with some drape – linen, cotton, bamboo, silk, or component yarns work great. Some of our favorites are Louet or Prism Euroflax Sport, Alchemy Tweedy or Silken Straw, Feza Alp Natural, and Taiyo Sock.
shop online at loopsknitting.com
For two years, we have been asking – no, begging – our friends at Prism to dye linen. See, we’re kind of into linen at Loops. Actually, we’re quite fanatical about it. We love that we can machine wash it, and it just keeps getting softer. We love the drape. And most of all, we love the way we can knit with it by the swimming pool, and it still feels cool, even when it’s hotter outside than two rats making love in a wool sock.
We’re also fanatical about Prism. The way Laura from Prism combines colors – well, there’s nothing else like it in the wide, wide world.
But dyeing linen is tricky. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the colors can go all muddy on you. And Laura was doing just great, thank you, dyeing everything else from merino to cashmere to fur.
Finally, though, we wore her down. Or maybe her creativity and curiosity just got the best of her. Whatever it was, we’re so very, very glad that she decided to do this:
Presenting Prism Euroflax Linen, custom dyed 100% linen that is machine washable! Colors as shown above, top photo left to right: Ebony, Sapphire, Mallard, Shadow, Agean, Shale.
Middle photo: Sagebrush, Highlands (my model color), Avocado, Orchard, Tapestry.
Bottom photo: Embers, Hibiscus, Plumberry, Cabernet.
A development of this magnitude called for a very special pattern. Something easy, something on-trend, something everyone can make and wear. Something…wait for it…free.
And so without further ado, I present Fifty Shades of Linen. A sexy, swingy, wear-with-anything top, named in honor of the books that have – gasp – taken the western hemisphere by storm. And also in honor of what seems like 50 shades of color in every single skein of this luscious, saturated, no-holds-barred linen. If you’ve read the Fifty Shades series, you’ll know what I mean when I say, “Oh my!”
Fifty Shades of Linen
Prism Linen, 270 yards each skein, 3 skeins (warning: I barely had any left)
Size 7, 32-40″ circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge of 4 sts and 6 rows to 1 inch in stockinette
Size F crochet hook
Cast on 140 sts.
Work 6 rows in garter stitch (knit 6 rows).
Next row (RS): beginning with a knit row, work 11 rows stockinette.
Next row (WS): knit all sts.
Next row: K1 *k2tog, YO* repeat from * to last st, K1
Next row (WS): knit all sts.
Repeat the last 14 rows (from ***) 5 more times, ending with a WS row. Work should measure 12″ from beginning. If not, continue 14-row pattern until you reach 12″.
Next row (RS): Knit 70 sts, PM, work 70 remaining sts.
Next row (WS): purl all sts.
Next row (RS): work to 2 sts before marker, k2tog, sm, attach 2nd ball of yarn and SSK, work to end of row.
Repeat last 2 rows 20X (40 sts decreased). Continue working straight for 8 more rows, ending with a WS row. Work should measure 20″.
Begin back of sweater:
Next row, knit across first section, cast on 40 sts using backward loop method, knit across second section (140 sts). Work in stockinette for 8″.
Now, switch to 14-row repeat (working from *** above and creating eyelet ridges) until piece measures 39″.
Knit 6 rows (garter) and bind off loosely.
Steam block the entire piece, taking care not to press too hard on the eyelet ridges to maintain texture.
Fold sweater in half at the top of the V-neck so it has a front and a back. Using stitch markers, mark for side seams at 4″ from hem and at 12″ from hem. Now, sew an 8″ seam between the two markers, leaving your piece unseamed at the bottom 4″ (your “vents”) and at the armholes.
Using F hook and starting at the middle of the back neck, work one row of single crochet down the V neck and back up to the middle of the back neck. I skipped every 4th stitch in order to close the V slightly.
Here’s a crude little schematic I drew. (Don’t judge.)
Note: I really came down to the wire on my 3 skeins. This is all I had left:
If you’re unsure, get 4 skeins and make Gina’s Biased Cowl with the extra skein. Awesome gift!
And one warning: When you make this, people will want to borrow it. And it will be hard to get it back.
shop online at loopsknitting.com