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 […]
Narrowly escaping the Tulsa ice storm, five of us “Loops Troops” left last Friday for the annual TNNA market in San Diego. We cheered for Billie Anne as we took off, because this was her first commercial air flight ever (and pregnant to boot – now that’s a commitment to fiber). Luckily the first flight was smooth – but when we landed, it was about 40 degrees colder in Kansas City – brrrr! And San Diego wasn’t much better, averaging 40 degree highs during the four days we were there. One restaurant didn’t even HAVE a heater. Life is really tough for those Californians. Sigh.
Still, the show was our best ever. We made a big impact right off the bat, all entering the show with our “loopalicious” t-shirts. Sally Melville remarked that we looked like a gang – I agreed that all we needed were a bunch of chains and some semi-automatics. (“Be quiet and hand over the cashmere!”)
We bought so many great things for spring – over two dozen orders were placed with different reps – I really can’t list them all. Highlights included a big order of Louet 100% linen, Karabella laceweight cashmere, Migrations new lower-priced silk blend from Alchemy, tons of new patterns and some beautiful beaded yarn. We can’t wait for you to see it! I also bought almost every color of three new yarns from Debbie Bliss – a 100% merino (yes, for spring!), a pure cotton and a cotton blend. This was a bit larger buy than I planned, but I had a great reason. Because as I was sitting down with our rep to place the order, who should round the corner but three lovely ladies:
That’s Debbie Bliss on the left, Cornelia Hamilton next to her, Louisa Harding on the right. And me in the middle, trying not to faint or say anything completely stupid. Next thing I know, Debbie is offering to show me the yarn, despite our rep’s offer to do it himself. I spent nearly an hour with her – she was just as lovely and down-to-earth and brilliant as you would expect. I told her all three of my children grew up in her designs, and that I have two of her projects on the needles right now. “Only two?” she quipped. Oh that’s right, there’s also that Pure Silk shell that still sits on the needles from last summer…Make that three. She even said she would look into visiting us at Loops soon. Fingers crossed…
Here is the beginning of the cabled jacket I started on the trip, in Debbie’s Cotton Cashmere – a cotton/cash blend with beautiful softness, drape and definition (this is the back – the front has lots more interesting cabling):
After our first day in San Diego, we went to Rockin’ Baha for some real California vittles. We were all so exhausted we could barely drink our margaritas (somehow we perservered.) Then we headed back to our hotel by the bay, and Gina proceeded to give Dawn a makeover, complete with a facial. Unfortunately, I only have a “before” picture – but suffice to say that Dawn was completely gorgeous afterward.
Saturday was the first day for the show floor to be open, exhibiting all the yummy yummy yarn. Ellen focused primarily on standing in line for free book signings, earning her the nickname “Book Ho.” The downside of this was when she had to lug all the books through the airport on the return trip, resulting in this picture, below left.
Saturday night, we all attended an invitation-only event sponsored by Unicorn Books at a bar called Gallileo. This was the yarn world’s equivalent of the Oscar after-party. We chatted with Knitty Gritty’s Vicki Howell, Suss Cousins, Sally Melville and lots of other yarn royalty. Then we headed back to the hotel to collapse. Sunday it was another day on the show floor, followed by some non-yarn shopping in La Jolla. (The three San Diego newbies among us were shocked to discover that it’s not pronounced “la jolla” but “la hoya.”) We went crazy at lucy (a sporty clothing store, not the felted bag) and at Gepetto’s, we bought some toys for our little ones stuck at home with the ice and the daddies (I think more than one of us had visions of Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” while we were away.)
From there, on to the airport. I started with my usual pre-plane glass of wine, and had an experience perhaps even greater than the Debbie Bliss encounter: I GOT CARDED at the airport bar. Those of you in your 30s and beyond know exactly how blissful this can be. Nevermind that the bartender was at least 90 and clearly vision-impaired. Here’s me with Gina after getting carded:
Those who know me know I’m not really a big drinker, but that San Diego to Phoenix flight made me grateful for the airport wine. After taking off over the ocean, the captain warned that the flight attendants would have to hustle with the beverage service, because it looked like there were “a few bumps” ahead. Next thing we know, we’re rockin’ and rollin’ and the bell is going off and the captain says, somewhat nervously, “Flight attendants, take your seats! Code 4!” Now I don’t mind the rockin’ and I don’t mind not getting my beverage and I don’t even mind the flight attendants sitting down, but what the heck is code 4? Does the captain want a snack, or did we just lose an engine? Our airplane virgin, Billie Anne, took this in stride, but Dawn looked like I was feeling inside:
Still, we survived and made it through Phoenix to Tulsa, where that pilot executed an A+ perfect landing, to cheers from the entire plane. Guess we had all been imagining how they would land on 4 solid inches of ice. Hooray for runway shovellers!
One more thing: I met our “computer guy” at the show. His name is Daren and we all agreed he is as nice as he is good-looking. (Funny aside: Daren thought I was Ingrid because her picture is in the blog so much!). Daren helped us change our blog so it is now much easier to comment – so click on the comments button and let yourself be heard!
Happy knitting and stay warm (wool helps!),
Ahhh joy. Inventory time has arrived.
All but one of the 16 Loops Troops dug in yesterday to count ALL THAT yarn. Well, not quite all. We still have lots more to go, and since we are all really into finishing things (haha), we are going to close today (Monday) for inventory. We will re-open Tuesday at 11 a.m. Here are Annie and Ingrid counting away. What a surprise, Ingrid has chosen to count the cashmere.
We were all looking our Sunday (the-boss-dragged-us-out-of-bed-to-count-yarn) best. So when I asked if anyone had a project I could take a picture of, Kendall was happy to oblige – provided her face didn’t show. So here is anonymous Kendall with her 100% silk, lace, reversible shawl. This is a new yarn that will be arriving in the next few weeks, and Kendall has promised to teach a class.
Paula said she didn’t have any projects with her – then I noticed her sneaking out with this fabulous bag. It’s the “sea anemone” bag from the Tracy Ullman book (with a couple adaptations), in Manos.
Emily is so excited about her “first really hard project.” Mind you, this 17-year-old has made felted intarsia bags and socks out the wazoo. So we hope you are inspired by her sweater in Pure Merino from a recent Interweave Knits. Emily says “Yay!” Her mom, Gina says “It’s a-DOR-able!”
In contrast, we have a rare shot of Gina H. making something that is NOT mind-numbingly difficult. This is a simple scarf in Karabella’s Aurora 8. Gina loves this yarn – incredible stitch definition. And January is a month for doing what you really want, whether it’s a complex sweater or a simple scarf for yourself. Because, after the holiday knitting frenzy, you’ve earned it. Seriously.
Coming up…more spring orders may arrive this week, along with three huge needle orders, hopefully some re-orders from Cascade, Manos and others, and some more surprises. I will probably put a few yarns on special this week after inventory. And next week, five of us head to San Diego for the spring TNNA show. So there should be lots of, um, interesting pics. See you then.
The happiest part of Happy New Year is the sale is over! Wahoo, what a sale it was! Here is a pic of the line before the store opened on Tuesday (thank you, ladies, for letting me snap the picture and not trampling me
It is so nice to see a few blank spaces in the storeroom…because that means we can buy more spring yarn! Already, some new yarns are arriving. The latest yarn from Southwest Trading Co. is Gianna, an enviro-friendly soy/wool blend in a chunky weight, perfect for quick, soft baby blankets. Really yummy colors! We also got this great kit that has, I think, 34 balls of Gianna in a rainbow of colors, plus a pattern for an easy, self-fringing blanket big enough to fit a twin bed. And it is a great price to boot.
We’ve also put out the coveted, new Esperanza lambswool/alpaca blend, great for felting but also soft enough for sweaters or scarves. This is the yarn we’ve been using for the new Sophie bag. I just finished one and added some Joy for fun.
Ingrid is teaching a class on this bag later this month. Check out the Loops January Class List for details. Hurry, the classes are filling quickly this month. I think everyone has resolved to do more knitting in 2007!
Gossamer, one of our most popular yarns, has just arrived in two back-ordered colors – chocolate brown and navy. All it takes is 2 balls and the basic ability to create a knit stitch, and you’ve got a stunning wrap. Yes, you can even do this while enjoying a glass of wine. There are also two easy sweater patterns and a ruffled shawl pattern in the store.
Hope your new year is off to a great start! Please post a comment so I know there are people out there reading this
…One of these mitts just doesn’t belong. Can you tell which mitt is not like the other, because Shelley was delirious as she tried to complete just one more Christmas gift?
These lovely mitts (Ingrid’s pattern in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk) for my mother-in-law were nearly complete when I noticed a small ribbing issue. All of the non-knitters I showed them to couldn’t tell the difference. But then a knitting friend dropped by and zeroed right in on the problem. Thanks, Lisa!
Yes that’s right, all you prodigies out there. One is 1×1 rib and the other is 2×2. Which also has the added bonus of making one set of ribbing look longer than the other. So I will be knitting another one for my good-natured MOL. Proving that holiday knitting is never really done. Sigh.
Getting psyched up for the big sale tomorrow. 75% off clearance. 30% off all in-stock yarn, magazines and kits. 10% off books, needles, notions. Gonna be crazy. Better go get some sleep.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my first sock it complete.
No, not just the first sock of a pair, but my FIRST SOCK ever. Uh-huh, it’s a bit horrifying but I have never made socks. I’ve been knitting 22 years (yes, that means I started knitting in the womb – hah) and my first project was a cable sweater. I’m not afraid of a challenge, just didn’t see the point. Even after reading the wonderful odes to the joy of socks by the Yarn Harlot , I remained unconvinced. But finally, I found a reason to make them – a certain someone I know who likes to sleep with as many layers as possible – yes, even in the August Oklahoma heat.
I knew this person would appreciate these thick socks, made from Art Yarns Supermerino. I also knew she would love the fairisle ones in fingering weight that I started three months ago…but she can’t really appreciate a half-done sock that’s still on the DPN’s…which is where that first sad sock still lies, buried under much newer, shinier, instant-gratification projects.
So here it is…THE SOCK. I was so excited when I finished it, I almost jumped up in the middle of the kid’s karate class and shouted “It’s done!” But rather than risk embarrassing myself in front of the cute instructor, I decided to just show you guys:
Also, had a great meeting with Paula, our lovely new Schaefer yarn rep, and she convinced us to start carrying the Schaefer line. Actually, it didn’t take much convincing. We especially fell hard for Esperanza, a felting yarn of 70% lambswool and 30% alpaca. This is the softest felting yarn we’ve ever touched, and it comes in these superskeins named after powerful women (think Harriett Tubman and Indira Ghandi). Paula had a great little bag called the Sophie Bag made from just one skein! Ingrid snagged a skein on the spot, and her bag was finished the next day. So move over, Lucy bag…Sophie is in town!
We predict this is the next big thing in bags. The yarn should be here in just a week or two…
Lastly, while Ingrid was posing for her shots, Kate-the-wonder-purse-maker came in with yet another great felted bag, featuring one of our exclusive felted flowers. Kate says, in a good week, she can make 3 felted bags! Kudos, Kate.
Oh, and if you need one more last-minute gift, check out Gina Y.’s Last Minute Hat class this Saturday from 1-3. It’s made with Noro Korochon and really turned out wonderfully.
The pace in the store, as you might expect, is happily frantic. Everyone is coming in with that wild look in their eyes – “I’m almost done with the 14th pair of socks. I think I have time for another scarf. What do you have in super bulky?”
To help everyone out: a couple of Christmas freebies. Call it a thank-you for being among the first to read the blog. First, if you buy some Lobster Pot 100% cashmere to make Ingrid’s “Pinch Me” set – either the fingerless gloves or the neckwarmer or both – you will get the pattern free. If you come in the store or call us, just mention this blog. If you order online, I will automatically include the pattern in your shipment – anytime between now and Christmas. Here is a link to purchase on the site: http://shop.loopsknitting.com/Store/TabID/511/categoryid/765/Default.aspx
The next freebie is courtesy of Peggy, who created this awesome set using Rasta yarn – an aptly named super bulky thick-and-thin from Rio de la Plata. The scarf is just a 1×1 rib (or you can do a 2×2) on size #15 or #17 needles. Peggy has graciously agreed to share her pattern for the hat:
Cast on 40 stitches using #15 – 16″ or 24″ circular.
K 3 rounds. P 1 round. K until piece measures 6 1/2 inches from beginning.
Begin decreasing, changing to #15 DPN’s when needed.
Row 1: *K3, K2tog* to end (32 sts.)
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: *K2, K2tog* to end (24 sts.)
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: *K1, K2tog* to end (16 sts.)
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: *K2tog* to end (8 sts.)
Cut yarn and pull through last 8 sts. Weave in ends and wear or give away!
And I have some more photos for your “free viewing pleasure.” Below is the sexy Ellen (work it baby, work it) in her newest shawl creation, made from two new Muench yarns: Bel Air and Stars.
Next is Sally, ecstatic to be finished (well almost, but we’re not counting those weave-ins) with her Louisa Harding “Glisten” cardi. Isn’t it great in the gold? We know who will be lookin’ all shimmery at her holiday parties.
And lastly, we have Elizabeth’s beautiful sock made with Claudia & Co. handpainted yarn. We went crazy for this stuff when Sherry found it in California. I wish you could reach through the computer and touch this sock. It is pure butter – so smooth and drapey.
That’s all for now – please do click on the “comments” button and tell us what you think! – Shelley
At long last…the Loops blog has arrived. Since opening Loops in May of 05, I have regularly sent out newsy e-mails to our ever-expanding group of “loopies” – people who shop at our flagship yarn store in Tulsa, OK. Ya’ll apparently love these e-mails. And there’s so much to tell. Every day, at least five hilarious, cool or touching things happen at the store. Still, I feel that anything more than 2 e-mails a month can be an imposition.
With a blog, I can rattle on at length, and if you choose to keep on reading, well, there is no guilt on my part.
I also hope to convey a bit of the wonderful community you feel in the store. Since adding e-commerce to our site a couple of months ago, our online and phone sales have taken off, and our list of customers across the country keeps growing. We want you to feel the same stuff our customers feel in the store – a sense of contentment to be among fellow stitchers, a feeling of inclusion, excitement over new yarns and projects. We want you feelin’ the Loops love.
That said, I will jump right into the latest…
Famed knitting heretic/goddess Annie Modesitt recently graced us with a weekend of workshops. The weekend was off to a literal rocky start when, after picking Annie up at the airport, I took us on a death-defying icy drive (Tulsa had just been hit by a record-breaking blizzard – so where were the snowplows?). Then I took the wrong exit off I-75 and ended up on icy backroads around Pine and…somewhere (the signs were all covered in ice). Then we sat at a railroad crossing that was flashing for, um, 15 minutes or so – never saw a train. After jumping the tracks across the ice (hope my mom’s not reading this) and pointing the car toward the tall buildings of downtown, we finally made it to Annie’s hotel. And from there, on to the Loops holiday party. Things were finally looking up.
Here are some of the Loops Troops at the party wearing their new “loopalicious” t-shirts (Ellen, Marisa, Ingrid and Annie F.). The wine bottles behind them are an indication of the BIG fun had by all.
Annie’s classes were very creative and full of interesting detours (much more enjoyable than our impromptu detour through downtown.) Annie developed a Modular Knitting class just for us, and an original pattern to go with it. Below is Gina H.’s version of the bag. Ever the over-achiever, Gina had her bag completed and felted overnight (proof of what we always suspected: Gina is a vampire.) Seriously, like all of Gina’s work, it is just gorgeous:
From Loops, Annie moved on to tape an episode of “Knitty Gritty” in L.A., where we can only assume that Vicki Howell did NOT get lost driving Annie through an ice storm.
“If yarn were meth, you wouldn’t have teeth.” – Karen P.’s husband
Welcome to the new LoopsKnitting.com Blog. We are just getting started so check back often for updates. Also check out our new Free Patterns section on our web site at www.loopsknitting.com