Archives from July 2007

Sneak Ups and COLORS!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, July 20th, 2007 in Shop News

DSC00823.JPGThanks for all of your interesting comments about the Sneak Up this week. (And thank you to soooo many of you who sent me the very sweetest emails. I really appreciate you!) I thought today would be a good day to address some of the thoughts on it all. (And then we have some fun new website features to tell you about!) I didn’t have any photos to put in today, so you get my “flowers in Colorado with Sheri’s head shadow” shot. :-)

- Yes, the Wollmeise went quickly. But remember, we knew that it would. Also, remember that we will have more in a few weeks, and very regularly after that. You will have the opportunity to get it often. (So how many skeins of Wollmeise did I keep for myself? Well, you know that I used one to knit a pair of socks. Then I took one other one. That’s it. But I do plan to take a couple of skeins with each order that comes in, because I like this yarn just that much.)

- I totally understand those of you who would like us to limit purchases in the Sneak Ups. Really, I do. I wouldn’t want to be missing out on anything good, either! (Of course I’m just the kind of person who would also set an alarm to get up and check on whether or not something was happening if I was waiting for a particular yarn, but I probably shouldn’t admit that.) The only thing that we have limited here are the Loopy/Louise/Bart stitchmarkers, simply because they are so few and far between. So we set the limit at 2 sets per person. I want everyone to feel welcome and appreciated here, whether they buy one skein, or 20 skeins. I think that if we put limits on it, the “20 skein” people would not feel so welcome and appreciated. I will say that no one is buying in massive quantities to re-sell to friends, relatives and strangers. You all are just generally buying things to add to your own collection – and that’s great. Some of you collect skeins in every colorway. How fun is that? Others of you buy one or two from each line so that you have a great representation of all the different yarns. Still others pick and choose and appear to be very disciplined, and I’m still trying to figure you out. How DO you do that, when confronted with so much beautiful sock yarn? :-) In order to continue to be welcoming and appreciative to all, we won’t limit your purchases, but we WILL continue to schedule regular and frequent and large orders from all of our yarn companies. If you don’t get something this time, we promise to do everything we can to have it here for you again as soon as possible.

- Timing for the Sneak Ups – let’s just say it will be every Wednesday night at 8 pm Central, ok? That would work best for me and then you don’t have to be stressed and wonder when it is. (Oh. Wait. We can’t do that, can we? That’s what made Loopy roll over, and caused the whole Sneak Up thing to start in the first place. Dang.) Ok – we’ll continue to mix up the times and days and will try to make everyone happy, one week or another. I DO think that I’ll have Web Guy build in an automatic “release” for me, so that I can set the time and go to bed and not try to wake up at 3:30 in the morning any more.

- “Losing” things from your cart. Yes, it’s true – it’s not “yours” until you have clicked through with your payment. At that point, it is taken from our online inventory and no one else can have your skein. That’s just the way these things work. But we have a new warning system in place for you, which might help. (See below.)

Now the fun stuff. Web Guy has been working hard this summer, and here are the latest website features to show for it:

1) Colors!! Consider it “beta” at the momen, meaning try it out all you want…but let us know when/if you find a bug or how we can improve it. Paint yourself a skein by adding and subtracting different colors in your combinations to find out how many color combos you like. We’re still experimenting with the system, but we have about 400 of our items on there so far for you to color with. For example, when I click on one of the reds, I get these choices. Then I can click on any of the other dots to see red WITH something else. So if I then click on green, it narrows it down to this. It’s way too fun to play with.

2) “New” product icon. Whenever you encounter a product that’s been added within the last week to our store…we now have a little orange “NEW” icon that shows up after it’s name

3) Easier shopping cart additions. When adding an item while you’re browsing the store…you don’t even have to change pages anymore. When you click the “Add to Cart” a little popup will come up alerting you about the new item in your cart. (Check out the What’s New page. See the “add to cart” on each product box? Now you can shop directly from there on Sneak Up nights if you need to!)

4) Wishlists!! Err…not yet. Still working on it.

5) Popular shopping cart items. In an effort to soothe the frustrated (a.k.a. the “distressed people”), we’ll now highlight when an item that you have in your shopping cart is popular. So, for example…if you have a skein of Yarntini in your cart during the next Sneak Up, it will check to see how many others have the same idea. If more people have it in their carts than we have in stock, we’ll add the little orange message to your item. So if you see a little orange “Popular item right now” line by an item in your cart, you probably want to skedaddle your way through and complete the Checkout process. Yes, skedaddle.

So – what do you think about the new features? Fun, eh? :-)

Sheri hopingtogetsomegoodknittingtimeinthisweekend.ImustfinishmySockapaloozaPal’ssocks!

Fun on Etsy

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 in Uncategorized

I’m a big fan of Etsy. I have found many of our wonderful indie dyers over there. And I do love shopping there quite a bit, too. Since I know (I KNOW!) that all of you just spent all of your money over here in the early morning Sneak Up, I thought it’d be safe to post some fun etsy sites without being accused of trying to get you to spend more money. :-) These aren’t yarn sites – but some are related to knitting, and some not. Imagine my surprise when this cute penny rug showed up (who sent this to me? It’s wonderful – thank you so much!)

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=5717517

Since it was bill-paying day (see Monday’s post) and since I needed some diversions to keep me from bill-paying for awhile, I clicked around on other Etsy sites.

This cracked me up:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6079384

Loved these photos:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6053111

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=304064

So dang cute – I bought the knitter one:

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=101018

Love this soap shop:

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5068641

Had to buy this for my Loopy Ewe tag necklace:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6395734

Fun off of Etsy:

http://www.moonrakerbeads.com/index.php

What are some of your favorite Etsy shops – not yarn, but other fun things? I have a whole “favorites” section dedicated to etsy in my bookmarks.

A quick yarn update – I did the Sneak Up at 3:30 am this morning, just so the Wollmeise would still be available mid-morning for everyone. Well. It was STILL gone by just after 8 am. (Claudia – we love love love your yarn!) Remember, we’re getting more in August and as often as we can after that (hopefully monthly). Sooner or later, I’m hoping we’ll actually be able to keep it in stock. Later, I guess.

Many of you have asked about Dream in Color. It turns out they are going to be able to ship our next order to us tomorrow after all! So – watch for more Dream in Color next week. Yay!

Back to packing orders……..

Sheri lovingtheLoopyGroupieforumoveronRavelry-comejoinus!

Things that bug me.

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, July 16th, 2007 in It bugs me

DSC00834.JPGDragonflies. I don’t get them. They are buzzy and crackly and flitty and if one ever flies in my face I will scream. This guy was outside on one of our shrubs and he was huge. I know that people have dragonfly jewelry, and sew with dragonfly fabrics, and have dragonfly logos. What is the draw? Fill me in.

Other things that bug me today:

1. Bill paying. I hate bill paying day and I waste so much time doing everything BUT the bills on days like today. There really is no reason not to like it. I just get tired of all of the stuff – envelopes, stamps, stubs, return address labels, checks, etc. (Yes, I do pay some online, too.)

2. Heat. We are under a heat advisory for the entire cotton-pickin’ week. That means the heat index is supposed to go over 100 degrees every day this week. Great.

3. Yarn in boxes. Funny to have yarn on this list, but it does bug me when gorgeous stuff comes in and it has to sit in a box for a week or two, waiting its turn to be photo-ed and put up. Today? Big boxes of Fleece Artist Cashmere, Sea Silk, and Mini Maiden arrived. It’s gorgeous. And more of that wonderful BFL yarn from Gypsy Knits! But it all has to wait its turn to go up. Hopefully next week.

4. Calories. I was so dismayed to find out that my Grande Peppermint Mocha has 300 calories. 300 calories, for pete’s sake!! It has severely cut into my PM intake. (And I think that makes me cranky. But I digress.)

5. Computers. I had written this whole blog entry and clicked to add the dragonfly photo. Instead, the entire entry disappeared. I had to write it over. I was not happy.

But on the brighter side:

1. The bills are done and paid for the month.

2. The air-conditioning is working full blast and keeping things very comfortable in the house.

3. At least I get to play with all the new yarn for a bit. It flies out of here once it goes up on the website.

4. I may need a PM today anyway. The heck with the calories.

5. The blog entry is done again. This time I will save it before adding the photo. (Not that it was my fault before….)

So – anything buggin’ you today? Or can you clue me in about what there is to like about dragonflies?

Sheri mymum-in-lawworkedonassemblingsockclubgoodiestodayforournextshipmentyeehaa!

Q2, Q3, and Scones!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, July 13th, 2007 in Loopy Challenges, Sheri's Recipes

DSC00835.JPGWow – you all must be the most giving group of knitters around. I can’t believe how many hats and mitts you all knit up for the babies in China and for Luba’s girls in Russia. DSC00838.JPGThe packages have come in so overwhelmingly, that it has been hard to keep track of it all. (Not hard to keep track of what you sent – we have big bins of those items! DSC00837.JPGJust hard to keep track of all of YOU!) Thank you so much for your generosity. I know that for most of us, knitting time is a luxury. Giving some of that up to knit for others is justDSC00836.JPG wonderful. We have 52 pairs of mitts and 37 hats to send off to Luba’s girls in Russia (plus a couple of gorgeous scarves). We have 102 baby hats and 50 toddler hats to send to the orphanage in China (plus a few pairs of cuter-than-can-be wee socks). Some of you included notes to say that your moms, friends and daughters helped with the knitting. (And Trish sent camo-foil wrapped Hershey’s kisses that she buys on the military base. Who knew there were camo-wrapped kisses?? We loved them!) Please leave a shout-out in the comments if you knitted up an item for the Challenge. We’re shipping these off to the recipients next week. I just wish I could be there when everyone received their handknits. I know how much these will be appreciated. The Q2 Challenge participants who won Loopy Gift Certificates (because we pick two random people to win) are Christine S and Tracy D. Thank you again to everyone who sent something in! We’ll do this again next year, and I already have two more wonderful places that we can knit for.

So it’s time for a new Challenge, right? As promised, the Q3 Challenge is about knitting something for yourself (or a loved one). The Challenge this time is to pick a sock or lace pattern that is a stretch for you in terms of new techniques (or just more complicated stitch patterns than you typically knit.) I typically end up knitting fairly simple patterns because I’m usually knitting while I’m doing something else and can’t concentrate too awfully hard on it. But there are some gorgeous patterns out there (and I’m thinking ALL of the Cookie A patterns, for example, and so many of the lace patterns I have seen) that take a bit more thought but will bring such beautiful results. For some of you who regularly do k2, p2 ribbing all the way up, ANY pattern will be a bit more of a challenge. Others of you have knit all of Cookie’s patterns and found them plenty easy, so maybe it’s time for an entrelac sock? You know your level of knitting and what will be a stretch for you. So – pick a pattern to challenge yourself and then knit it up and enter it into the Q3 photo gallery! We will pick a random winner for one of the Loopy Gift Certificates, and we’ll do a Reader’s Choice award with another Loopy Gift Certificate. All entries must be up in the gallery by October 1st and we’ll do voting that week. Can you add more than one entry into the Challenge? Sure! Challenge yourself over and over!

I know you want to know what is going up in next week’s long-awaited Sneak Up, right? Well there are some for-sures, and some maybes. WH is still plowing through all of the photos and plans an all-day-Saturday marathon, so we’ll see what all he can get done. For sure, the Wollmeise will be up. Also Spritely Goods, new Fiesta Boomerang colors, Misty Mountain Farms, Schaefer Anne and Lola, and Chewy Spaghetti in the fingering weight. Plus Maruca bags in the new fall colors, new limited edition Mrs. Kwitty bags, and some fun accessories that I ordered in June at the market. What else might be up: Cider Moon Flurry, Yarn Love, Yarntini, Fleece Artist, and Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome. (And now you know why I usually do weekly Sneak Ups. Too much arrives here from week to week!)

DSC00782.JPGToday’s recipe is a scone recipe that we have had and used in our family for a long time. These are wonderful for breakfast (and there is oatmeal in there – so it’s definitely good for you, right?) I included some of our scone making photos from being out in Colorado. We had expert scone lessons from Iowa Girl, who makes the most delicious scones for a wonderful little coffee shop/gift place called Barn Happy. (Her scone secrets? Cutting in the butter while it’s cold when you have a recipe that calls for unmelted butter- it’s all in the scissor action, mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, and then pouring them together and mixing – as little as possible – by hand. There you have it. The secrets of great scone-making.)DSC00786.JPG

Scottish Oat Scones

1 1/3 c. melted butter
2/3 c. milk
2 eggs
3 c. flour
2 1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. raisins

Add liquid ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another bowl. Pour both together and mix by hand until just moistened. Stir in raisins. Shape dough to form a ball. Pat out on floured surface to form 2 8″ circles. Put on greased cookie sheet and score (cut halfway through) into 8-12 wedges. Add a few raisins to the top and sprinkle a bit of sugar over all. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve with warm butter, preserves, or honey.

Are you on Ravelry yet? Loopy Groupie Heather set up a Loopy Group over there and it’s so fun to see all of your smiling faces and avatars in there. Come join the group if you’re a Ravelery person! And if you’re not in Ravelry yet – then put your name on the wait list, so that as they make their way through the invitation list, you will be on it. THEN come join the Loopy Groupies there. You don’t have to be an official LG to join – just a Loopy Groupie wannabe and Loopy friend. (And if you’ve ordered from us before – you’re a Loopy friend!)

Sheri mywonderfulmotherinlawiscomingtovisitthisweekend-yippee!!
Hopeyouhaveagreatone. :-)

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