Yesterday I spent time visiting hotels for our Loopy’s Spring Fling Knitting Retreat. I have learned two things.
1. Most hotels are NOT set up with nice comfortable chairs and a well lit place for 50-60 knitters to hang out and knit. For pete’s sake. And those hard, uncomfortable folding chairs will not do.
2. Finding the right facility to provide that is pricey. (But then again, good concentrated knitting time, visiting Loopy Central, good food, new friends, and a get-away weekend is pretty priceless.)
I may have found a place, though. (Mmmm – cushy leather chairs, wonderful lighting, an abundance of snacks and beverages available all day, fun shops, restaurants and a Starbucks nearby, etc.) I’m checking out one more place in the next couple of days, and then I can finalize and get back to you with information, prices, details, etc. It will be April 24 – 27, 2008 (with an option to do April 25 – 27 if you can’t come in on a Thursday, but why would you want to miss out on Thursday??) More details when they come available.
I’m really having a lot of fun concentrating on RAK’s for the month. Your ideas have been inspiring and thank you again for sharing them. On Monday, you’ll want to leave your blog comments with the RAK’s that you did this week, so that we can do another drawing for another great gift basket.
I thought I’d share a salad recipe with you today that really can’t decide if it wants to be a salad or a dessert. Really, it looks like a salad. But it tastes like a dessert. So you can decide. (I say call it a salad and then have ANOTHER dessert at the end of your meal. ha!)
3/4 cup margarine, melted
3 Tbl. brown sugar
2 1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1 lg. pkg. strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
3 cups cold strawberries (I use sliced, frozen ones)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
Mix the margarine, 3 Tbl. brown sugar, and pretzels together, then press into a 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Dissolve the gelatin in 2 cups of boiling water; stir in the strawberries (no need to thaw them). Chill just until it begins to set. Blend together cream cheese and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread on cooled pretzel crust. Pour strawberry gelatin mixture over the cheese blend and chill.
We just re-stocked our Knitspot patterns, Zephyr Stitchmarkers (including cute new holiday ones!), Zecca Accessories, and some ShibuiKnits yarn (more enroute). Coming up in next week’s Sneak Up: Hand Maiden’s new Swiss Mountain Silk Cashmere (65% cashmere, 35% Silk – incredibly wonderful), Hand Maiden Mini Maiden (50% Silk, 50% wool), Hill Country Sweet Feet, J. Knits, Schaefer Anne, Lola and Heather, and more Chewy Spaghetti Fingering colorways.
FYI because people keep asking: Noro Kureyon’s new sock yarn is on its way, the next Wollmeise Sock Yarn may be here in December if the post office cooperates, we’ll have more darning eggs in different woods as soon as we can get them, Dream in Color Classy will be back in again in December, along with all of their new colors and their entire new Lace line, Sheepaints, Duets and Yarn Pirate are all in transit, and we do have a lot of fun new lines and accessories on order, too – we’ll keep you posted. (Whew. I think that covers most of the commonly asked questions lately.)
On tap for me this weekend - finish my spinning homework for my spinning class on Saturday, finish a pair of socks that need to be in the mail to someone on Monday (ok, they were supposed to be in the mail this week), and work on projects with some new yarn line potentials. Kind of a knit-filled weekend, wouldn’t you say? I just subscribed to Netflix (they had a 2 week trial period) and have been watching the BBC comedy “Keeping Up Appearances“. It cracks me up! Great for knitting weekends like this one.
What’s on tap for you this weekend? Knitting?
So, I’ve been spinning some more. Three more rovings done up for your perusal. I do feel like I’m getting the hang of it a bit more, but (as you can see) I still have a long way to go to get to sock yarn! The purple and green roving came from Miss Violet in my last L&V order, which was very fun! I love how it turned out. The Purple and Blue is from CopperPot Woolies and I have more from her that I am anxious to work on. The last one came with a colorway name on the band but no company/web address info, and so of course once I opened the envelope and put it on my roving shelf, the whereabouts were gone. (Note to etsy sellers: put your info on the bands so that we can come back for more when we want to!) I still haven’t washed and hung them to set the twist. Consequently, all of the candle jars (there are 3 – filled with coffee beans and candles) and one of my fall glass vases, are lined up along the mantel with yarn wound around the bottom of them. I either have to wash these, or stop spinning. I’m out of temporary places to keep the yarn. My assignment from my last spinning class was “practice, practice, practice”, and I think that I have complied. Now I’m supposed to spin some plain white (boring) roving that they sent home with us, so that at the next class we can “learn to ply”. I never was very good at waiting for things.
I made myself stop spinning after last weekend (actually MOVED the wheel to a corner of the family room) so that I could work on knitting. I am supposed to be shipping off a pair of socks this week and I still have the heel and cuff of the second sock to do. I also made this fun fingerless mitt over the weekend and I love how it turned out. I used Monica’s pattern, (pattern sold out again – more being shipped to us today) along with some beautiful J.Knits yarn (I really like all of the J.Knits semi-solid colorways). Unfortunately, these are for someone else, so I will have to re-knit them for myself when this pair is done. It’s a quick knit and would make great presents. Mitts don’t take a lot of yarn and there are so any wonderful patterns out there. (Monica has others, including a new one that she is shipping to us. Knitspot also have some fun fingerless mitts that we ordered last week, too.) If you’re running out of time to knit socks for people for the holidays, consider some fingerless mitts.
We got all of our new Hill Country Yarns in this week and they’re being photographed today. Wow, I really like that line. Gorgeous colorways! More fun stuff arriving this week and next week, too. But in the meantime, we’re still working on alllll of your Sneak Up orders from this week (you all had a lot of fun, didn’t you? We’re having fun packing them, too!) I also want to tell you that I’m really impressed with how many of you have friends and family members who have already purchased lots of nice gift certificates for you for Christmas. Either you have done an excellent job of being on top of them about this, or there are just some really nice relatives out there. You’ll be happy.
The Random Acts of Kindness comments have been so inspiring to read! I might point out that they don’t have to be “random”. I think kindness in general needs to count, as long as you are going out of your way to do something nice. It’s ok if it’s pre-planned and not exactly random. I did the first random drawing this morning, and the winner of our first $75 gift basket (which will be shipped out to you on January 2nd – so you do have to wait a bit) is: Candace. Congratulations, Candace (and please send me your address so that we will know where to send your gift!) Now, start saving your Random Acts that you are doing this week for next Monday’s blog, where we’ll do the next drawing. I found several fun new things that I want to put into practice, just from reading through all of your ideas. You all are really kind. No wonder I like you so much!
Yesterday at lunch, Knitting Daughter (aka Starbucks Barista) was telling us about a lady who comes through the drive-through line for her coffee and frequently pays for the person behind her, too. Now wouldn’t it be fun to drive up to the window and hear, “Yours is free today – the lady ahead of you took care of it.”? Since I frequent Starbucks
quite a bit once in awhile, I decided that I’d do that on occasion, too. Not all the time. But maybe once a week. Which got me to thinking about other Random Acts of Kindness that I could be doing during this season of giving. And then I started thinking about how fun it would be if we all did that from now until the end of December! So we going to sponsor “Random Acts of Kindness Month” here at The Loopy Ewe. Each Monday, we’d love to have you leave a comment about a random act of kindness that you did during the past week. Some people like to do this anonymously (like me), but rest assured that the people you are being kind to probably have never heard of this blog, so you’re safe in sharing it with us. Not only will you enter yourself into a weekly drawing here, but you will inspire all of the rest of us with your ideas and kindness. (And really – inspiring others to random acts is, in itself, an act of kindness, right?) Since you’ve had no warning for today’s contest, I think it’d be great if you’d leave a comment about a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) that someone has done for you. That will give all of us some great new ideas. (Or if you do one today, enter it today.)
The prizes? Each week we’ll pull one name from the list (and if you do more than one act, leave more than one comment – you can be entered more than once) and we’re going to send you a fun Loopy Loot package worth at least $75. (Hey all of you book authors that are Loopy customers – and there are a lot of you! – if you’d like to donate an autographed copy of one of your books to put into one of these 6 drawings, we’d love that! Ditto to all of our Loopy indie dyers and Loopy indie artisans. I’m not going to email you and solicit products – we are happy to stuff the packages right from inventory here, too, but if you want to contribute, it could be your RAK for the week!) We will ship all winners at the same time – on January 2nd. That way we can make sure that all 6 packages are of equal value. We’ll do drawings for the next six Monday posts (including today and ending 12/31. We’ll draw on Tuesdays, so that all of the Monday comments will be included.)
I did go through the drive through today and I did pay for the person behind me. I was hoping that someone who really needed a free coffee would pull up behind me. Instead, a guy in a fancy sports car pulled up. What to do? Because of course
I was making judgements about him and his fancy car and the fact that he could well afford his own coffee I wondered if he’d appreciate it? Then I stopped myself. I decided he must need a kindness today, so I went ahead and paid for him and then sped off as fast as I could so I would stay anonymous! And, unbelievably, on the back of my Starbucks cup today, I noticed that it says: “Pass the Cheer. A good way to pass the cheer when you’re on the road is to pay the toll for the car behind you. Do this and you might start to look at stoplights as holiday lights instead. Red means to stop and be thankful for a moment. Green means to out and do nice things.” What a coincidence! But you don’t have to spend money to show a RAK. How about letting the person behind you in the grocery line go first? Or go to the manager of the next store you shop at to tell him or her something nice about the person who checked you out. Or …. well, you get the idea. Share your other ideas with us.
Speaking of winning things, I totally forgot to announce the winner of our November Blog Contest last Friday. I think I was too involved with getting my holiday rules down (and you all added some very good ones to the list – thank you.) The winner of the November blog contest is: Genny. Genny has a fun Loopy credit in her account to spend on her next order. Thank you again for all of your great musical suggestions!
Lastly, we have more fun yarn coming from Cherry Tree Hill. We’ll be getting some very special Supersock, at a really good price (a savings which of course we pass right along to you.) More details when they arrive! We also just got a large shipment of Lorna’s Laces today, which we’ll be putting up. And we’re still working on this week’s Sneak Up for you. It’ll be a good one.
1. No one has to get up at 4 am to shop anywhere the day after Thanksgiving, or any other day of the season. There will be more specials and sales during normal business hours in the next month. (FPS*)
2. A big bowl of chocolate by your side throughout the next few weeks will do much for your disposition. You don’t even have to eat any of it. Just having it there will make you feel cheerful. Trust me – this bowl sits out at Loopy Central and we like it here. (Most of these kisses make their way to you, but not all of them. ahem.)
3. You can take off any day or evening for knitting and no one can question you. You’re going to be “working on holiday gifts that need to get done on time” – even if some of those “gifts” are for you. (You get gifts, too.)
4. Calories don’t count on Sundays. Yes, it’s important to watch what you eat during the holidays, so that you don’t gain weight like some people are apt to do. But calories don’t count on Sundays, so make that your day to indulge.
5. Yarn purchases between Thanksgiving and the first week in January all fall under the “holiday budget”. Because you never know when you might need another skein or two of something, or when you might need another knitted gift. So stock up.
6. There’s nothing wrong with “wrapping” gifts in cute gift bags. (aka – “pop them in the bag with some tissue and call it good”). There is knitting to be done and you know darned well that wrapping all of those gifts with paper that needs to be cut and messing with tape and ribbons and such will take away from good knitting time.
7. You can send holiday letters pre-printed from your computer, or you can send cards with just your signature, or you can forgo the cards altogether. And no one is allowed to make you feel guilty about that.
8. At least two nights a week need to be set aside for “Family Movie Night” during the holiday season. (aka – “I need to knit tonight – you know, to get the holiday knitting done – come watch a movie with me.”).
9. Stores and malls are dangerous places (filled with crazy people in the parking lots, and flu germs at this time of year – think about it). You might want to do your shopping online and save the stress and your health. (Etsy is one of the best places to find wonderful gifts for everyone on your list. Or at least the ones you’re not already knitting for.)
10. If you don’t want appliances or kitchen utensils, or another jar of bath gel, or a store-bought sweater that really isn’t your style, then fill out your wishlist at The Loopy Ewe and let people know what would REALLY make you happy this year.
*FPS (for pete’s sake)