Archives from February 2008

You Know You’re a Little Loopy When….

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 in Sheri's Top Tens

littleloopyYou know you’re a little Loopy when:

1. You think that a little stuffed sheep with a tan bellybutton needs to wear a red t-shirt that says “A Little Loopy”.

2. You do a Sneak Up on a week that Susan-the-awesome-assistant is on vacation and not around to help at Loopy Central.

3. You decide that a Dream in Color Knit-A-Long would be fun, and hey, why not offer a discount on the yarn, too?

4. You have no time to knit all of the socks that you want to knit, much less a whole sweater and a lace project that you have committed to doing, but you go ahead with the KAL anyway.

5. You have no idea what’s for dinner any night this week, but you’re convinced that it will all work out just fine.

6. You can’t keep up with the yarn and accessories that keep arriving, but you continue to order more anyway.

7. You always always stay away from the chocolate that is provided here for the enjoyment of anyone who pops into Loopy Central, and you’ve already partaken of it today. Twice.

8. You have people stopping by your house for a visit after dinner tonight and it completely slipped your mind until your on-top-of-it spouse reminded you about it 10 minutes ago.

9. You think that it’s perfectly ok to have a cup of Peet’s Coffee at 9 pm at night because you’ll be up working late anyway. And then you wonder why your spouse is looking at you funny when you start talking a mile a minute, nonstop.

10. You think that your Loopy Friends will totally understand being “a little loopy” and will probably have a few “you know you’re a little loopy when” comments to add to the list.

Sheri whatacrazycrazycrazyloopyweekithasbeensofarandit’sonlyWednesday

The Dream in Color Gals in The Loopy Limelight!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, February 18th, 2008 in Loopy Limelight, Shop News

DSC02612One of our favorite yarn companies here at The Loopy Ewe is Dream in Color. I have had a great time getting to know Veronica and Nancy, and I know you’ll like knowing more about them and their company, too! (This photo was taken in January, after a day at the beach in Cozumel while they were on a well-deserved vacation! Nice place to be in the middle of a Chicago winter, I’m thinking.) Enjoy Loopy’s interview today:
———
Loopy: Hi Veronica!
Veronica:
Hi Loopy. Thanks for inviting us to talk with you. I will be answering all of the questions for both of us because Nancy is off on a well earned vacation with her husband. Hopefully I don’t misrepresent her too much and hopefully she doesn’t come home too seasick.

Loopy: I’ll let you know if I hear from her about any discrepancies, when she returns! How did you two meet?
Veronica: Nancy and I have known each other for years. We met at a handwork meeting to create crafts to sell to fundraise for a Waldorf School that was still in the dream stage (it went on to become Four Winds Waldorf school and has been around for about 12 years). We worked together at the school for quite awhile: Nancy as the school administrator and me as a handwork/ kindergarten teacher. Waldorf schools are teacher administered. This means that the faculty and staff are in charge of everything. Also, most every major decision has to be made with full consensus. If you can do this within a group of 20 and come out friends I guess you can do anything together.

Loopy: That sounds like it was a good testing ground for you two. What made you decide to open up a yarn shop? (Some of our Loopy customers might not know you had a yarn shop first. Tell us about it.)
Veronica: We both dreamed of doing something that made a difference in the world. I realize that owning a yarn shop will not end world hunger but we hoped to do something that added to the beauty and creativity around us- that counteracted the consumeristic culture. Somehow a yarn shop seemed to fit that perfectly. We wanted to create a community of people that where inspired to create.

Loopy:
How did you then decide to make the transition from the yarn shop to the yarn company?
Veronica: Well, this is a funny story. What we really wanted was a subtle hand dyed superwash merino yarn for creating baby garments and blankets. In the first two years of the shop we had no acrylic or blend smooth yarns and very little superwash (although we had lots of fuzzy, fluffy, nubbly…. novelty yarn). All of our smooth yarns were natural fibers. We were determined to help people see that hand washing baby things was not difficult and that acrylic was not good for babies. Instead they helped us to see that they did not want to hand wash much of anything especially baby things. (Sorry it took so long for us to get it) I started to play with a bit of superwash wool that we bought from a traveling salesman hoping to come up with this “subtle hand dyed superwash merino”. Here’s the funny part: When we started selling Dream in Color to other shops we made the promise to all of the shops in our area not to carry it so that we would not compete with them. Our customers then had to go to other local shops or buy it online from places like The Loopy Ewe. We never did end up with a “subtle hand dyed superwash merino” to sell in our shop. We have now closed the shop to focus on Dream in Color so I guess we never will.

Loopy: We’re really glad that you veered off into this direction! What is the best part of your business?
Veronica: Everything! We love every part. I would do this even if I won the lottery tomorrow. I think Nancy likes the challenge of the business end of things: making sure that we are keeping costs down, production up, crossing the “t”s, dotting the “i”s (thank God for Nancy, don’t ya’ll think!). I love walking into the shop and seeing all of the colors- the yarn hanging there drying. I love skeining it up and taking joy in the one skein in the pile that just seems perfect to me. I think we both love the “problem solving” aspects. There are always little puzzles and such that crop up every day to work on. We are both very solution oriented and love to “fix” whatever needs to be ‘fixed” (believe me, that is a good thing, because the list is endless). We also have a great staff and we all have a great time everyday. I love practical jokes (which is a good thing since most of them are directed at me) and Nancy loves to play them – great for staff morale and we have lots of funny stories to tell when we get home.

Loopy: You make yarn dyeing sound fun. What is the most challenging part of your business?
Veronica: Creating Dream in Color from scratch. Neither of us have a manufacturing background. Nancy’s background is education (although she is an awesome business person) and I have degrees in Anthropology and Religious Studies. But like I said before, I don’t think we would be happy if there was no challenge.

Loopy: How did you both learn to knit and how many years have you been at it?
Veronica: I think Nancy has been knitting since she was a little girl. I remember her telling me that she did 4H knitting projects in school. I am going to claim that her mother taught her since her mother is a real mother-type of mother (great cook and such, you know the type, good potato salad and soup, has you over for Thanksgiving- thanks Mom). I learned in Germany on a vacation in 1989 from a young girl who took pity on me. I was going crazy on all of those trains because I could not read. My German is so bad I was afraid I would miss my stop if I did not pay close attention. I must have knit the world’s longest scarf. I swear it was 12 ft long. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my mom is not a good cook/ good mom type but she is the artistic type not the knitter type)

Loopy: You must’ve gotten your artistic genes from your mom. Do you still get any time to knit these days?
Veronica: Nancy is a sporadic knitter. She is very fast but she runs hot and cold depending on what else she has going on. I always have about 3 projects laying around. I am kind of an OCD knitter and I sort of start frothing at the mouth if I go too many days with no knitting. Fortunately I can knit and watch DVD’s on my laptop before I go to bed at night (yummy). I was just about to do that tonight when I remembered about you. So here I am… visiting with you.

Loopy: I’m glad to hear that you both still do knit! Do you have a favorite pattern or item that you have made?
Veronica: Sorry, I can’t answer that one for Nancy. I really like the sweater that I just finished. It is the Mike/Ike sweater by Black Purl designs. I even learned how to sew in a zipper. I wear it almost everyday. There are many, many patterns that I dream of. Several of them are on Knitty.com.

Loopy: You’re the only company that has a whole aisle devoted just to you at Loopy Central (we call it “Dream in Color Alley”), so we’re definitely glad that you’re into the yarn business! Before the yarn shop and yarn company, what other jobs have you had?
Veronica: Well, like I said before we both worked at Four Wind’s Waldorf school for quite a few years. My last five year there were teaching kindergarten. Before that I had a variety of jobs (everything from receptionist to resident artist/ art shop clerk) in between college and teacher training. Nancy taught math in High School along with other assorted things. We both also did stints as full time stay at home moms (hardest job I ever had!).

Loopy:
We know that many readers like to listen to books on tape or watch movies while they knit. Any book or movie recommendations you’d like to share?
Veronica: Gosh, I wish Nancy were here for this one. She is part of a book club and everything. I am sure that she would have tons of good books to recommend. She just read Devil in the White City and I know she liked that a lot. Her favorite movie lately is “Once”. I saw it as well and I agree! It is totally awesome. I have been on a huge Buffy: the Vampire Slayer kick lately. I know, not very high tone of me but I read almost nothing but nonfiction, stuff like Collapse: How societies choose to Fail or Succeed (more interesting that it sounds from the title, I promise) and I need an outlet. Don’t laugh… I am a big Joss Wheaton fan (director of Buffy) and I also loved his series Firefly (browncoats rule).

Loopy: Lots of great suggestions to check out – thank you! What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
Veronica: Geez, I think I have already let it all hang out. I guess you figured out I have a sense of humor. How about this: My favorite type of music is punk/pop and my favorite band is My Chemical Romance (I think front man Gerard Way is too cute, too young, and I am happily married, but still, too cute). And Nancy is full of surprises. She surprises me every single day (occasionally shocks me as well). I think anyone who knows Nancy would find that to be surprising. She seems so “put one foot in front of the other” but don’t let her fool you. Still waters run deep, don’t ya know!

Loopy: Good to know. It sounds like we need to watch out for both of you! Anything else you’d like to add?
Veronica: We love all of the projects that people create with Dream in Color yarn. You guys are SO amazing. I see all of the cool things that you knit with our yarn and I am floored. I love to lurk on Ravelry and on blogs just to get a peek at all of the great things that I would like to knit with our yarn if I had the time. Thanks for helping decorate the world with beauty and helping to counter all of that consumerism with your “I can do it” spirit. We can change the world one sweater/sock at a time. Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

Loopy: Thanks so much for chatting with us today!
——————-
News Flash: We’re going to do a Dream in Color Sweater Knit-A-Long! If you’re on Ravelry, hop on over to the Loopy Groupie board and read all about it. You pick whatever sweater pattern you’d like to knit out of Dream in Color Classy and email me that you want to be a part of the DC-KAL. We’ll put up a Dream in Color Sweater Photo Gallery when the first person completes their sweater from the KAL, and all sweaters from this (posted by June 1st) will be eligible for a Loopy Loot grand prize drawing. I want a Dream in Color sweater out of Cloud Jungle, and I know I will get it if I have some accountability through a KAL. :-) (One other nice thing – just for those who have emailed or messaged me that they are participating AND who put DC-KAL in their order notes, we’ll give you a 20% discount on the Classy that you order for this sweater. This is not a discount code or coupon, so you won’t see the price change when you order. However, we will take the 20% off of your Classy skeins when we process your order and collect the funds. When you get notice that your order has shipped, you can log into your account and see what your total ended up being. This offer is good through 2/29.) I hope you’ll join us!

Sheri hangingoutwithKnittingDaughtertoday(nomail=wetookthedayoff)andwe’re….knitting!

Loopy Legends™

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, February 15th, 2008 in Shop News

Thank you for all of your nice birthday wishes for Knitting Daughter. We had a fun time celebrating her 18th birthday. (And she did read every one of your comments and says thanks as well!) Now we’re settling in for a nice long weekend of knitting, and maybe a little shopping, too. Monday is a holiday here in the States, so no mail will go out. We’ll pack orders up until the last minute today, and then we’ll get everyone else’s out on Tuesday when we’re back in.

We have such fun lines on their way in to The Loopy Ewe. It’s hard to keep track of them all! It’s going to be a busy spring. Next week’s Sneak Up will include: Tempted, Posh (so glad to have this back!), Prism Lace, ToastyBoo from Numma Numma (a new Merino/Bamboo/Nylon base, and we only get it this one time. I already bought a skein of it for myself). Also, Fannie’s Fingering from Farmhouse (try saying that 10 times). Farmhouse has two socks yarns – this is their newest one which just debuted at TNNA in January. This Fannie’s Fingering is soft and squishy and knits up beautifully. I’ll show you the sock I did with it next week. We also have two new accessories for you, and we have more of the Red Loopy Ewe Canvas Sock Totes to put up.

You know how much we appreciate your business and support. We simply couldn’t run The Loopy Ewe without every one of you! We’re always looking for fun ways to show our appreciation and we have come up with something new that involves yarn. :-) Next week we’re introducing a new line that we’re calling “Loopy Legends™”. This line is dyed for us by Zen String – and you know what a great job Angelina does with color. We have taken 12 of our top customers (who truly ARE “Loopy Legends”!) and designed a colorway after them. I gave Angelina the name and some color suggestions for each one, and she took it and ran with it. I can’t wait for you to see them! We’ll do 12 new “Legends” about 2-3 times a year, and will also do re-orders of each colorway as needed. I hope you like them. (For those of you who are one of our first 12 Loopy Legends – we’ll be shipping you a skein of your colorway early next week so that you get to see it first!)

Today’s recipe is one that Loopy Elf Sue brought in as a leftover for her lunch one day. We all gathered ’round because it smelled so darned good. And then we all demanded politely asked for the recipe.

DSC01455.JPGSue’s Pasta Con Broccoli

1 box shell pasta
2-3 heads of broccoli
1 (8 oz) carton of heavy cream
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
(I added in chicken as well)

Prepare broccoli florets. Cook pasta, adding broccoli when boiling water/pasta has 5 minutes of cooking time left. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat a small amount of butter or olive oil. Cook garlic until tender. Add cream and tomato sauce. Heat through.

Drain pasta and broccoli. Return to pot and add sauce and cheese. Toss and serve.

Have a great weekend! What will you be knitting? I’m finishing up my Farmhouse sock (so that I can show that to you next week) and starting that gorgeous green skein that I showed you awhile back. Why? Because that line has arrived and we’ll be photoing it next week so that it can be in the next Sneak Up after that!

Sheri thesmellofburnttoastjustwaftedthroughourentirebuilding.ewwww.

Weird. The Sun is Shining

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 in Roving

DSC01573.JPGReally – this is big news today. Why? Because we’ve had a lot of cold, blustery, gray days. Now if you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I like those kinds of days. But even I have to admit that after too many of them, you need some sunshine. It’s still cold, though. The windchill was negative 1 this morning. In true St. Louis fashion, tomorrow will be almost 50 degrees. FPS. That will be nice for Valentine’s Day, won’t it? I made cookies, which I do several times a year around most holidays. Always this recipe. Only the shape and frosting color changes. We love these cookies! The other great thing about tomorrow? It’s Knitting Daughter’s birthday. She was my most favorite Valentine’s Gift ever!

DSC01579.JPGI completed some fibery things over the weekend. First of all, I knit up a skein of the Kid Slique in Woodland. I absolutely love how it turned out and it was quick and easy. Test-Knitter-Sharon said, “Hey, why don’t you just cast on 12 stitches on size 11 needles and then do: Slip 1, *K2tog, YO*, K1 on all rows?” (See why she’s a test knitter? It was easy peasy and fun.) The scarf is almost 5 feet long. Loopy had fun modeling it, but I have taken it back so that I can wear it. Of course now I want to make it in a few more colors…..

There was spinning this weekend, too. I have been wanting to spin up some of the Alpaca With a Twist Roving and picked the soft gray. Apparently there is a bit of a learning curve when spinning pure alpaca, because it came out just so-so. The roving itself is amazing. DSC01582.JPGSo soft to work with. This was pure operator-error. And although my skein is a little wonky looking, it feels absolutely wonderful spun up. I need to knit it into a nice hat, as I want it on my head. :-) All of you experienced spinners out there – is there a trick to spinning with pure alpaca? What might I need to do for future spins? (Because there will be more Alpaca spinning in my future. I really do like it.)

DSC01581.JPGCheck out this Tempted Bordello roving that I spun up. This might be my new favorite skein that I have spun. Not only do I love the colors, but I think it looks ok, too! It’s always interesting to see how different people spin up the same colors of roving. Blogless L-B cracked me up when she asked me one time, “Have you decided how you’re going to spin that?” Umm …. like there is a choice? I just start spinning and take what comes from it. I’m so not yet in the mode of figuring out color placement and how I want them to “mix” and look in the end. red1lorez(Ok – let’s be honest. I so don’t have the skills to do all of that figuring yet.) I’m just happy when it comes out looking like something I might actually knit with. (Edited: Here is a photo that WH took of this skein of handspun. Now do you see why he is the official photographer and photo-correcter here at TLE?)

Speaking of spinning, I ordered a Victoria from Louet to keep here at Loopy Central. It might also be the beginning of possibly carrying spinning wheels here. What do you think?

I hope all of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day tomorrow, with lots of chocolate and cookies and fun times with those you love. We’re taking Knitting Daughter out for dinner to celebrate her special day!

Sheri isitbadtohavecookiesandcoffeeforbreakfast?That’spurelyahypotheticalquestionofcourse.

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