One of the fun things that we did at the Fling was to have everyone sign a 6 ft. tall Sock Blocker for Loopy Central. (I did get some funny looks as I was carrying this big “sock” through the hotel. Some guy accused me of being a Red Sox fan, FPS!) I found the perfect place to hang it in our foyer, so that we can remember all of the fun people who were here for our first Spring Fling. (I photoed it with the door in the picture so that you Flingers would be able to picture where it is, now that you’ve been here in person.) I wonder how many of these will fit on the walls here? I guess when we’re out of wall space, we’ll stop having Flings? (Or move. Yeah, that’s a better idea. We’ll move and get more wall space.) Now I get to walk by the Big Blocker every morning, and think of all of you as I start work! It’s very handy to have a hubby who can make such things.
Here is a picture of the Goody Bags that we gave to everyone when they checked in. It includes the red/black backpack (which I liked a lot because it has pockets and straps and is designed vertically instead of being a horizontal carrying bag). Inside was a skein of Wollmeise which Claudia dyed up for me just for the Spring Fling. (This is the first time she has done more muted colors – it almost looks like a watercolor painting of meadows and sea – which makes it a very special colorway, indeed.) We also included a pattern and samples from Cherry Tree Hill and Claudia Hand Painted (enough to make some sock blocker keychains or mini socks), some wonderful “Everything Balm” from Goodies Unlimited, a brand new pattern from Wendy and one from Cookie A (along with my favorite new heavy vinyl “pattern holder” – I use these all the time when I knit), a Loopy Ewe coffee mug (no, we can’t sell them because we don’t want to ship them, but they were perfect for giving away in person!) and of course some Loopy Kisses. We had a great time putting these together for everyone. And now, you have a chance to win one! Remember when I told you about April’s blog contest and gave you all month to do three random acts of kindness? Today is the day to report in and leave your comments as to what you found to do for others this month! You need to have done three RAKs to be entered into the random drawing, and I will draw the name a week from today. If we have a lot of entries, I’m happy to draw for 2 or 3 Goodie Bags. We love giving away prizes. So leave a comment with your RAKs and inspire all the rest of us to get out there and do the same!
No Sneak Up this week, but we have wonderful things in store for you next week. All of the shirts, hats, and sweatshirts will go up. (Don’t worry – we ordered a lot and still have multiplies in all sizes. The Flingers didn’t clear us out!) We also have more Pattern Tamers, a fun Loopy Necklace, Lawre’s Laine BigBags (ohsogorgeous), Duets, Schaefer Anne, Yarn Love, Seawool Fiber Roving from Creatively Dyed, Cashmere Sock Yarn from Perchance to Knit, and possibly (depending on how much time we have to get photos done) two new indie dyers – Beyond Basic Knits and Enchanted Knoll Farms.
Guess what? It’s time to Take Loopy on Vacation again! He had such a wonderful mix of adventures last summer and he has been bugging us about it all winter long. He’s ready to go again! Beginning with orders placed on May 1st, we’ll be including a Loopy Postcard in your order while supplies last. (We will plan to send one postcard with your first order in May. If for some reason you need a second postcard with your next May order, just leave us an order note.) I know that a lot of you have your very own Little Loopy, and it’s perfectly acceptable to pose and photo Little Loopy on your vacation, instead of the postcards. We’ll leave it up to you as to which you prefer. We’ll start a new ’08 edition of Loopy’s Summer Photo Gallery next week so that you can start sharing his adventures. We will have prizes at the end of the summer again, and will have you vote in several categories, so get photo-ing. Last year we had prizes for: Best faraway place that Loopy visited, most famous person that he met, most creative photo with Loopy, and most unusual place he visited. If you have any more fun ideas for additional categories, email me and I’ll share them on a future blog post.
Winners of the Q1-08 Challenge – for “randomly drawn from all entries” the winner is: Juli’s skirt. For the Reader’s Choice award from those who voted: Jennifer’s Venezia. Each wins a $25 gift certificate to The Loopy Ewe. Congratulations to you both! Don’t forget our Q2-08 Challenge that runs between now and the end of June.
I had an email from Claudia this morning and she has arrived safely back in Germany. Her family is glad to have her back, but I miss her!
Wow – what a fun weekend we had with all of the Spring Flingers! The best part for me was getting to meet so many of the people that we have come to know and love over the past 18 months at The Loopy Ewe. What a fun group of women. Here is our group shot (missing a few people who were …. ahem …. busy rolling in the yarn that they had just purchased on their Loopy Central Trip….) By the time they arrived here for the weekend, they had all become great friends through the Ravelry Loopy Spring Fling group and it was like a reunion of sorts. We had fun knitting, taking classes with Wendy and Cookie A, eating great food, making Starbucks and Coldstone runs, and having everyone over to Loopy Central. They have already informed me that they want a spot at next year’s Fling. Of course there are soooo many others of you that we want to come, too! So we’re working on how we’re going to make that all happen. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here’s a photo-summary of some of the highlights!
We started on Thursday afternoon with registrations and goody bag handouts. (I’ll photo the goody bag for Wednesday’s blog. Remember, I’m giving one away to the randomly selected winner of the April Blog contest. Did you do your 3 random acts of kindness this month? I’ll have you post them on Wednesday’s blog for a chance to win.) We had knitters knitting all over the hotel lobby, confounding the other hotel guests as they wandered by and wondered about all of the people laughing and talking with sticks in their hands.
Then Leslie arrived with cupcakes from an amazing cupcake place here in St. Louis and pandemonium broke out. Don’t mess with knitters trying to get at their cupcakes.
That night, we started with a Dessert Reception and there were many wonderful choices to select from. (Because, you know, the cupcakes didn’t fully meet our “dessert quota” for the day. And besides, that was hours ago.) Here you see Claudia talking with Adrienne. Claudia doesn’t like to be in pictures (that was her in the group photo behind the Spring Fling sign) but she’s ok with people taking her backside.
We had a large room with comfy chairs, tables and room to spread out and knit. One of the things I loved was that most people moved from table to table at different times of the day, so that everyone got to know everyone else.
Capi brought Crocs for Claudia. I think Claudia has worn them every day since then, and we’re off to shop for more today. (I asked her if she’d rather do some sightseeing or some shopping and she quickly voted for shopping!) Remember Capi’s Limelight Interview where we had a photo of her Croc collection?
There were classes going on all day Friday and Saturday, as well as scheduled trips to Loopy Central. I went on the trips to Loopy with the shuttle bus and it was so fun having everyone here in person! The last group in on Saturday afternoon was so worried that there would be nothing left for them to shop from and they soon discovered that the shop stays well-stocked, even after lots of dedicated Loopy Groupies have been there in person.
After they finished shopping, people sat on the red couches or in our entryway, knitting while everyone else checked out. One thing about knitters, you can always count on them to entertain themselves with their knitting if there is ever wait-time.
Everyone had a great time shopping and went back to the hotel with full bags at the end of their trip. They all wanted to know which group spent the most money at Loopy – are they competitive, or what? I’m not telling!
Even though we have switched to Loopy Peppermints for orders now that the weather is warm again, we still keep a full bowl of chocolate kisses at the shop. (In fact, Little Loopy likes to swim in them.) I thought you might also like to see Claudia’s socks. She likes to wear mis-matched pairs. With this pair, she carried over a little color from one to the other. We loved her socks!
On Saturday’s Loopy Central visits, we had these cute cupcakes for the shoppers! Susan-the-awesome-assistant’s sister and niece made these for us.
One evening, a few of us went to the Japanese Steak House for dinner and were entertained by the waiters/chefs who prepare your meal at your table. Here you see (left to right) Kelli who was here all the way from New Zealand, Cookie A from CA, Capi from AZ, Wendy from VA and Sharon from CA. (Claudia and Janice are hiding….)
Because knitters are all alike, we wondered what size needle the chopsticks might be, so Wendy got out a needle gauge to check it out. There was a gal at the next table who noticed this odd behaviour, and said, “Hey are you knitters? I am too!”
Back at the Knitting Lounge, there was lots of fun going on. Adrienne shared spinning with several people. Here she’s giving a demo to Kelli. Stacy, of Tempted Yarns, also brought her wheel and inspired us with her spinning.(I didn’t take nearly enough photos this weekend. I missed several opportunities. Next year I must do better.)
Leslie got a group of knitters together before the Fling and 16 of them made squares for an afghan for Claudia. It turned out beautifully and Claudia was so touched. I have offered to ship it to her, but she won’t give it up. I’m not sure she trusts me not to keep it …..
Another group, led by Tammy’s beautiful voice, wrote a song and sang it the last night we were there. Guess what? You can hear it on Flickr right here. It was so funny!
All too soon our long week-end was over and we had to say our good-byes. (Kelli and Claudia were roomies, so you get another backside photo of Claudia in her very cute Wicked Sweater made from her own Peppermint Prince colorway.) We left with fuller suitcases, more projects on our “must knit” list, more yarn for our stashes, less sleep, more food, and more friends than when we arrived. And we all want to do it again. Next year, y’all have to join us. (Allen – it ought to be “all y’all”, right? I had some southern-speaking lessons from Allen of Numma Numma this weekend.)
Special thanks go out to Janice, my dear friend from Iowa who held down the fort at the hotel while I was back and forth to Loopy, to Cookie A and Wendy for classes that everyone raved about, to Claudia for making her first trip to the US, to Web Guy for driving down from college to help out and meet everyone, to Wonder Husband who made a gigantic sock blocker for everyone to sign (I’ll show you on Wednesday), to Knitting Daughter who helped here at Loopy Central, to the Elves who put in a lot of overtime last week and over the weekend, to my mom for making brownies for us, and to all of the rest of you for such a fun weekend. We miss you already!
(And Claudia wanted to add a few sentences – see below.)
From Claudia: Hi Ladies it was a pleasure and great honour to meet you all. Next year, same place, same fun, wouldn’t that be cool? Thanks for all and I didn’t expect to get such a warm welcome. Love you all, American knitters, American beef and your comfy beds (not your swimming pool toilets with too much water, it scares me)
A quick blog post today, as we’re all scurrying around doing Sneak Up orders and getting ready for the Spring Fling. It occurred to me that the Flingers will all get to see Loopy Central in person, and some of you non-Flingers might want a tour. (I know we’ve shown a few pics before, but things change here so much that it was time for another one!) So I hope you enjoy the photo-tour. By the way, my friend Janice arrived yesterday afternoon from Iowa, and Claudia (the Wollmeise) arrived from Germany last night. They’re both here helping out today. Janice is helping with pulling the orders and Claudia is helping with boxing them up. (And guess who else came in to surprise me yesterday? Web Guy/College Guy! He wanted to say hi to the Flingers on Thursday night, before heading back up to college on Friday.) It has been a fun week.
We have a foyer when you first come through the door. This is what part of it looks like right now, but we’ll be changing it. We’re going to add diagonal wooden cubbies along the Red Cupboard wall, for additional space. (And then the Red Cupboard will go where the spinning chairs are.)
This is where we eat lunch. The counter is to the right as you walk in the doorway from the foyer. Do you like the red stools? They’re so comfortable.
And of course you’ve seen the Loopy kitchenette before. This is an important area because it’s where we keep the M&M’s and drinks in the fridge.
WH made this red island just this month. We love the added space, and the engraved Loopy title in the top of it. It’s actually redder in person than it looks here. Don’t all of the Little Loopies look like they’re having a great time? (You know you can click on any of these photos to make them bigger, right?)
It’s hard to get everything into one big photo, so I just took different views for you. Here are some of the aisles of yarn.
And the peg wall with sock blockers and bags and patterns.
This is our back winding table area (with the door to my office in the background.)
And this is the view from my office door, looking back into the main area of Loopy.
Here is our Red Couch Area. We sit here to make up Loopy Kisses, which is what Janice is sitting there doing at the moment (did you notice that we’re back to peppermints for the warm months? Bummer. Of course we still keep a huge bowl of kisses here for us. We can’t imagine not having our wooden bowl of Loopy Kisses at all times.) When any of our kids come to visit us here, they usually end up hanging out on the couches as well. Today Web Guy is working on the computer there. I wish I could say that knitting takes place there, but we don’t knit much here. Just at home. (Susan is in the background, printing your order labels and talking to one of you on the phone!)
Of course I wanted to show you a photo of some of the Elves who are working today. You can see Mary and Marianne in the foreground. Janice in the denim jacket (she’s an Honorary Elf today.) In the back we have Anna, Sue and Donna. Also here, but hiding – Claudia. (Claudia won’t let me take her photo. We are going to have to make a sign to hang around her neck at the Fling … “No photos!” But she’s bent down behind the island, hiding next to Janice.)
And this is what the front area looks like as of 10 minutes ago, when our day’s worth of UPS deliveries arrived. Sigh. (The UPS guys don’t get “the whole yarn thing”.)
I had better get back to work up front. The Elves don’t believe me when I tell them I’m working back here in my office. They think I’m snoozing or something, FPS.
No blog post on Friday, as we’ll be mid-Fling, but I’ll check back in on Monday with Fling Photos for you! Have a great rest of the week. (And come Fling with us the next time!)
If you’re a Wendy Knits reader, or a Loopy Legends Collector, you’re already heard about the elusive L-B! Well guess what? Loopy tracked her down and interviewed her for this week’s Limelight! She has a soft spot for animals of all kinds, so it’s no wonder that Loopy was able to talk her into the interview. It’s still next to impossible to get a photo (which makes one wonder if she truly does exist, or is a figment of Wendy’s imagination.) Here is a photo from our Fall Knitting Weekend last year. L-B tried to hide behind Maggie the sheep, but she was only marginally successful. She did give me permission to share this photo with you.
Loopy: Hi L-B! Well you’re a Loopy Legend, and you’re a Wendy Legend, right? (Which is better than being an Urban Legend, we think. Or maybe you’re that, too?) Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed today.
L-B: L-B in the Loopy Limelight? But haven’t you already interviewed Wendy? It’s commonly thought that I am Wendy’s imaginary friend. But, I’ll be happy to answer your questions and let your readers decide if I am real or not!
Loopy: We’ll read your answers verrry carefully, with all of that in mind. So when did you begin knitting, and who taught you:
L-B: I began knitting around the age of 9, teaching myself from an old book that had pictures of a baby tangled up in yarn. I began knitting doll clothes, especially dramatic, multi-color and lace hooded capes for my trolls (I remember learning yarnovers and pulling the long troll hair out from the holes!) and cabled hats for myself and freeform wall-hangings!
Loopy: Do you have a favorite thing to knit?
L-B: I love all forms of knitting now, but if I had to choose only one style, it would be Aran. I began spinning in the mid-seventies when acrylic was rampant and I wanted to knit with wool. I don’t spin as much now, but a beautiful handpainted roving or a fleece fresh off the back of a sheep at the State Fair never fails to lure me back!
Loopy: Since none of us feel like we ever have enough time in the day to knit, do you have any tips for us:
L-B: Time? I would trade much of my stash (please don’t ask) for more knitting hours in the day! My knitting goes everywhere I do–I knit on breaks at work, in restaurants, standing in the grocery line and even at stop lights (dare I admit that?). I enjoy knitting while mall-walking and one day felt a tug on my yarn. I turned to find one of the senior mall-walkers holding my yarn. The ball had fallen out of my bag as I walked and he had picked it up nearly on the other
side of the mall! He said he started rolling up the ball wondering what he’d find at the other end! Now, my challenge is to find knitting time with a puppy in my life. I’m getting good at tossing the ball a long way and knitting until Rose returns with the ball.
Loopy: We know you love animals, and they seem to love you, too. Tell us about your pets.
L-B: Rose is the most recent of my furry friends. She is a 6 month old Australian Shepherd who was unfortunately bred with double-merle genes, resulting in total deafness and some visual impairment. She was rescued by a wonderful woman with Aussie Rescue (ARPH) and I adopted her in March. She is an amazing dog who doesn’t seem to know she has any limitations. When she can’t see or hear me, she can scent me out. I’m training her with hand signals which she picks up quickly, but I have to be creative to get her attention to actually see the signs. A stick with peanut butter on the end has been a fantastic training tool! Lucky cat is well-known at Wendyknits for wooing Lucy, but they have yet to actually meet. Still, he “wears” his tuxedo at all times in the event he ever meets Lucy. Clancy, the beagle, and Molly, the tortoiseshell cat, round out the group, all of them with special challenges that constantly inspire me.
Loopy: They’re all very beautiful animals! And speaking of Lucy and Wendy, how did you and Wendy get to become such good friends. (If, indeed, you are two different people….)
L-B: Wendy and I met via her blog as we have the same passion for traditional knitting, then later in person since we both live in Virginia. Wendy is focused and prolific in her knitting while I can be perfectly satisfied knitting “nothing” with two swizzle sticks and embroidery floss as I did years ago on an airplane when my knitting needles were taken away at security. The process of knitting, manipulating the stitches, playing with color, fascinates me, which helped lead me into doing test and sample knitting for Apple Laine, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Clara Parkes’ book, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and , of course Wendy’s book and patterns. We are best of friends and possibly alter-egos. Wendy calls me Hippy Crunchy (I call her Bag Ho) and I boast 34 years as a vegetarian and nearly as long as an avid New England Contra dancer, whereas Wendy enjoys omnivorous gourmet cooking and has graphed Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album and knitted it into a sweater!
Loopy: So are there any tales you’d like to tell about Wendy? Now’s your chance, you know.
L-B: What do you not know about Wendy? You mean that I can share, right? Well, her generosity is well-known, but did you know she gives her handknitted socks away to the Salvation Army? No telling where you may see her socks on the streets of D.C.!
Loopy: I think you probably just started a run to The Salvation Army. You two invented the phrase “Sock Yarn Doesn’t Count as Stash.” (Which you have graciously lent to us for a few fun products.) How did that come about?
L-B: Our phrase “Sock Yarns Don’t Count as Stash” was born out of our agreement last year to knit from our stash until we met at Stitches East. But, we were addicted to The Loopy Ewe and also wanted to rejoin the BMFA Rockin’ Sock Club, so we decided to amend our “tongue-in-cheek “rules” to agree that sock yarn and spinning fiber did not count as stash. But, man, did the sock yarn stash grow! (again, don’t ask!) I was already hooked on yarn from Apple Laine, Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Claudia, but The Loopy Ewe introduced me to my newest favorites, Tempted, The Sanguine Gryphon and Zen String! I really do need to put the sock knitting down sometimes to knit the aran and lace weight yarns that are being neglected.
Loopy: We like that you’re a bit addicted to sock yarn and we don’t think you need to put it down for a second. But we might be biased…. Thanks for agreeing to be in The Limelight with us today!
The Spring Flingers are coming! We’re so looking forward to having some of you here in just a few short days. (But we really wish that all of you could have come. Next year?) Due to preparations for the Spring Fling, The Loopy Ewe will be closed for in-person shopping this week. However, the online shop never closes and we’ll keep shipping orders, so you can keep shopping online during this time. This week’s Sneak Up will include: Duets, Hand Maiden Casbah, Numma Numma BabyBoo, Scarlet Fleece (more new colors), Noro Sock Yarn (only part of our order came, but we’re happy to share what we have so far), Pattern Tamers, and Gales Art Roving (this is Black BFL, hand-dyed – amazing stuff). So, lots of fun things to look forward to this week.