Three projects that I’m still knitting and wondering how I can “up” my hours to 36 in a day instead of 24:
- DC KAL Sweater (one more sleeve and the ribbing to go)
- Noro Scarf (I’ve already picked a few more Noro colors that I must knit)
- Wollmeise Scarf (ditto. I want to make a Krauterbeet for myself.)
(The photo? Gale’s Art BLF Roving. It just arrived today. I thought it would make a colorful photo to start out the blog today. This is her regular BFL. We will have more of her Black BFL roving next.)
Three things that I’m putting off this weekend in order to get more knitting time:
- laundry (having no kids in the house all week did help to reduce the laundry load)
- cleaning (ditto. The house has stayed amazingly neat and tidy.)
- cooking (good time for eating out, right?)
Three places I will visit this summer:
- Ohio (TNNA Market is next week – I’ll go find more fun stuff for us!)
- Florida (taking a family trip down to see Web Guy over the Fourth of July)
- Indiana (to get both kids off to college in August. I can’t think about it.)
Three places I will not visit this summer:
- Colorado (my favorite vacation spot in the midst of St. Louis Summer Heat)
- Germany (even though it’s my turn to visit Claudia the Wollmeise)
- Michigan (although eventually I will get there to visit Friend Meg and Cool-Yarn-Store-ThreadBear!)
Three Eight+ fun things that will go up next week:
- 8 brand new colors of Noro Sock (oh, they’re so pretty. I took the photo so it’s not WH/Web Quality, but you get the idea of the new colors, until you can see them up next week.)
- 21 brand new colors of Araucania (I love knitting this yarn)
- Woolly Boully, Sheepaints, Gale’s Art BFL Roving (see first photo for a sampling), new Shibui and Claudia HandPainted colors, The Loopy Ewe Zephyr Stitchmarker Set, etc.
Three Six+ new lines that you’ll see here soon:
- Neighborhood Fibers Yarn and Roving
- Spirit Trail Fiberworks
- Hazel Knits
- Malabrigo Worsted Weight
- Sugar Bunny Blvd
- Yarn Love Roving
- Indigo Moon Yarns
- (and a few more that are still a secret)
Three more fun things coming soon:
- our new Duets order which will contain some previous cool colorways that many of you have been asking for. Angela is the Queen of Heels and Toes Sock Yarn!
- new Knitting Bags (because we all know that I have a thing for bags. And I know you do, too. You’ll love these.)
- new non-wool sock yarn options (and some new wool sock lines, too)
Three things that made me happy this week:
- the best-ever Molasses Sugar Cookies that came in the mail from Michele in Maine
- emails from my two kids who are away
- yarn shopping spree from the new stuff that came in this week because I needed more in my stash (1 Woolly Boully, 4 Araucania, 2 Sheepaints and 4 Noro. In case you wanted to know.)
Three things I’m doing this weekend:
- eating out at Granite City because my friend Janice keeps telling me I have to go there
- picking up Knitting Daugher and Mum-in-Law from the airport (yay!)
- planting flowers in the flowerpots by my front door because it’s time, FPS.
It always amazes me that so many of you are up late at night when I do a Sneak Up. I’m definitely a Late Night Owl and when I do a Sneak Up late, like I did last night, it’s fun to see how many of you are still up. (Of course for those of you overseas, it’s a whole different ballgame.) Sometimes being a Night Owl has its perks, and it was definitely time for a late night one. We hadn’t done one at that time in awhile. Last night we put up lots of fun stuff:
- Yarn Pirate Merino Tencel
- Lime & Violet Sasquatch Sock
- sKNITches Syncopation Striping
- Gypsy Knits BFL
- All Things Heather
- Great Adirondack Silky Sock
- J.Knits Superwash Me Sock
- Malabrigo Lace (about 20 colors – and about 25 more on the way!)
- Mrs. Kwitty’s Sock Sacks and Pocket Pals
- Lawre’s Laine BigBags
- Offhand Designs Bags
- Sock Blockers
- New Wendy Knits patterns
And everyone was very quick to find it. We’ll be working on all of your orders today! (Note – the sKNITches is sold out already. This was Sam’s last self-striping order for us, but she has promised that she’ll keep doing Loopy’s Red Striping Socks in the future! And of course we’ll continue to have her wonderful semi-solids and variegated yarns here.)
I had a fun trip down to Fort Lauderdale with Web Guy over the weekend. Amazingly (sadly) I didn’t finish my DC KAL sweater on the long car ride. I really can’t explain this. I am not a super fast knitter, but I think I knit along at a pretty good clip. I didn’t knit for the first few hours because we were talking and I was watching the scenery, but after that I was knitting pretty much the whole time. I’m still focused on being done by June 1st, though. Hopefully next Wednesday I’ll have a photo. Have you checked out all of the sweater photos that are rolling in from the KAL? It’s SO fun to see what everyone has done! Keep the photos coming. If you get yours into our photo gallery by June 1st, you will get the bonus. (Check back on the blog on June 1st – we’ll let you know what your reward is for completing it by June 1st.) We will continue to stock the DC Classy for you, and we also have a whole bunch of Malabrigo Worsted on order, because I think I need to knit a sweater out of that, too. We’ll start up another KAL this summer (not a sweater this time – it’s too hot to have a sweater sitting on your lap while you knit) – watch here for details in a couple of weeks. (Like the squirrel photo? Apparently you Floridians have very friendly squirrels. This guy looked like he was going to jump up on the railing to see us.)
Look where Loopy landed this week – Alaska! My Mum-in-Law took Knitting Daughter up there to visit Wonder Husband’s sister and her husband. (That would be KD’s aunt and uncle.) What a nice graduation gift, don’t you think? Loopy is having a marvelous time. I’m not sure he’s going to want to come back from there. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. I hope you have some fun plans for Loopy this summer. A few of you have already started turning in your photos with Loopy. (He has already met Lucy Neatby and now he wants to dye his fleece purple, FPS.) The postcards will continue to go out in orders until they run out. We’re only putting them in your first order after May 1st, but leave us an order note if you need another one in a later order. We had a lot of fun seeing where he went last summer, and we know you’ll rise to the challenge this summer as well.
This month’s contest is easy and follows along the question of Night Owl vs. Early Bird. Leave your answer in the comments and we’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner one week from today. Here’s the two part question: Are you a Night Owl or an Early Bird? And what would be your ideal time of day or night for a Sneak Up to go up? (Note – those of you who are regulars here, have kind of figured out that Sneak Ups normally happen in the earlier part of the week – M – W, but we do try to vary the times in order to catch everyone at their best time at one point or another.)
Lots of celebrating going on at our house this week. College Guy and Mum-in-law came in last weekend, just in time for Knitting Daughter’s graduation from high school. I know this picture is a little blurry, but this is her on the way back up the aisle at the end of the ceremony, beaming because it’s official – she’s done with high school! She is a happy gal. We went out to dinner afterwards to celebrate with her, and then the Senior Class had an all-night lock-in that was a lot of fun for everyone. KD came home at 5:30 the next morning, ready for some sleep! Today, it was back to being a Barista at 6 am and making her mom a Venti Skinny Hazelnut with one Sweet and Low.
The other celebration we had this week was for College Guy’s 21st birthday. The actual date was last week (and thank you all for your wonderful birthday greetings for him, as well as graduation greetings for KD on Monday!). Since he was in the midst of finals on his birthday, we waited until he came home to do a family party for him. (My poor family – two celebrations, two nights in a row. Everyone held up remarkably well through the whole thing.) We went and found these awesome cupcakes at a cupcake bakery in town yesterday. They’re delicious and huge and I wish this place was just a wee bit closer to my house. Or maybe not. I’m still trying to figure out how one can own a cupcake bakery without eating them all every day.
We did some re-stocking yesterday and put a few things up, but we’re not doing an official Sneak Up this week. (You know when we skip a week, that always means an overload for the next week. But we’ll be ready for it.) We only get College Guy home for one measly week this summer (oh, and 3 days at the end of the summer) because he has a great internship in Florida for the summer. He leaves on Saturday already. I’m driving down there with him (knitting time plus time with CG = one happy mom) and will be back on Monday night. It’s a good thing that this is Memorial Day Weekend. That also means an extra day of knitting for everyone, right?
This week we have Cheryl Potter, owner of Cherry Tree Hill Yarn, in the Limelight. Cherry Tree was one of the first companies I ordered from when I was setting up The Loopy Ewe. My first skein of their sock yarn was in the Green Mountain Madness colorway and I was hooked as soon as I saw it. We started with just a few of their colors (I don’t remember how many) but now of course we have all of them for you. (As well as a lot of exclusive colorways from them in the past year.) Cheryl is a delight to work with and a great business woman. I know you’ll have fun getting to know her a bit today!
Loopy: Hi Cheryl! First of all, how long have you been a knitter, and who taught you?
Cheryl: I began knitting at the age of 8 with some Dazzle yarn my mother bought me at Woolworths. It was sparkle yellow and lime green and I knit myself a t shirt top. Remember this was the 70′s so I was really hip. It was my first FO with my mother’s help of course!
Loopy: Sparkle yellow and lime green? Actually, The Loopy Lady’s first sweater was in a yellow and lime green, back during that time, too. That’s funny! Do you have a favorite thing that you like to knit?
Cheryl: Large multi–directional garments are my favorite. I hate to finish a project so I make sure it’s something big like a rug or an afghan or a large shawl or jacket knit with fingering weight yarn.
Loopy: You hate to finish a project? That’s interesting! What’s the most difficult project you’ve attempted?
Cheryl: I’m knitting a large tapestry shawl out of Supersock right now and I must say it is daunting. It took me 2 weeks just to graph the motifs with Stitch and Motif maker and there are no repeats. But the color combinations are just amazing and you can use so many in a tapestry.
Loopy: You’ll have to put a photo on your blog when it’s done. We’d all like to see that. When do you find time to knit?
Cheryl: I like to knit nights and weekends. On trips to yarn shows I make my husband drive so I can knit in the truck. When the weather is really bad in winter it gives me a great excuse to knit while watching a movie during snowstorms. Of course we have a generator so that I do not have to knit by flashlight when the electricity goes out.
Loopy: What made you take the next step and look into dyeing your own yarn, and how did you learn how to do that?
Cheryl: Back in the dark ages when I was in college, handpainted yarn was in its infancy and Kaffe Fassett was new to the knitting world. I took one look at his book Glorious Knits and knew I did not have the patience for all those bobbins but I did want all those colors. So in true Indie Dyer style, I space dyed my own yarn and called it faux fairisle. I must have knit every garment in that book twice. I did not know then that there even was something called handpainted yarn. In graduate school I took it a step further by visiting the Navajo Indian reservation while pursuing my fine arts degree. At that time Navajos were hand dyeing Brown Sheep yarn for their rugs and wall hangings. I established an account with Brown Sheep and began dyeing and selling my own yarn. It was my very first handpainted effort and with this yarn I was “discovered” by Interweave Knits magazine.
Loopy: No doubt you were one of the first true “indie dyers”. How do you come up with your colorways? And do you have a personal favorite?
Cheryl: We live in the wilderness of Vermont and most of the colorways are inspired by nature. This rural pastoral area is pretty much untouched by technology–no cell towers, for example–and the lush and vivid colors of the Green Mountains are breathtaking. Whenever we visit some exotic place we come up with a color: Misty Moor from visiting Scotland two years ago, Caribou Creek from camping in Alaska last year. My favorite is still Wild Cherry because it was such a joyful discovery. While walking property to buy land up here in the Northeast Kingdom, we came upon a forgotten orchard in a clearing in the woods. The berries and cherries and apples were delicious shades of burgundy and mulberry, russet and scarlet. It was like walking into a fantasy land that time forgot. That clinched it for me–I had to move up here into what the locals call God’s Country and the less reverent just call The Kingdom.
Loopy: I am particularly fond of Wild Cherry, too, as that is what my socks are knit from. (And that’s the colorway that we send out in “Loopy’s Red Sock Kit”. You know we order more bags of that colorway than any of them!) There are a lot of dyers out there these days, how do you stay fresh and unique in what you do?
Cheryl: I like dying custom colors, like the ones I do for you. It takes you away from production work and into a more ethereal place. I started small and sometimes it is just so much fun to dye small non repeatable batches. This is why we do Potlucks and Lottery, just to keep on experimenting and pushing the color envelope.
Loopy: Tell us about the Maple Syrup your family does! We’d also love to hear about your family. (Love the photo of the Sugar Shack!)
Cheryl: My family is totally involved in the business. My husband makes his very cherry Maple Syrup only for yarn stores. It is the fanciest grade available and he does it all with horses and bucket the old fashioned way. His sugar house was built in the 1700′s and some of his maple trees are 150 years old. My older daughter just graduated from college and among other things is an Indie Dyer. She has a blog and a website and loves to talk about dying on Ravelry. I have seen her dye sheets and overdye sweaters she did not like the color of, and recently we did a project together involving a horse blanket. Her big thing now is helping other small dyers find ways to buy small amounts of yarn and dyes inexpensively. I wonder where she found her contacts? My younger daughter is only in 8th grade but she works for CTH all summer. Last year she earned enough yarn money to purchase her own Quarter Horse. He is the horse pictured wearing the handpainted saddle blanket my other daughter designed on our CTH homepage at www.cherryyarn.com
Loopy: How fun that your daughter has turned dyeing into a business, too! You have a new book coming out soon – can you give us a bit of information on that?
Cheryl: It is called Skein for Skein and it is all about substituting one yarn for another and making it work. I’ve teamed up with 3 friends who work for other yarn companies and we’ve all picked 4 designs to show you what works and what doesn’t work. This is the first time I’ve been allowed to publish designs that don’t work. I hope knitters will enjoy our bloopers.
Loopy: We always like to know about bloopers. Anything else you’d like to add?
Cheryl: Thanks Sheri, for being so adventurous with your sock yarn. I think your customers must love it that you are not afraid to get unique colorways from us and they must love the fact that you name them yourself. I enjoy visiting your website because it is so interactive. Some day we should do a dye class together!