Remember the skein of Mini Mochi that I picked up at TNNA and showed you last week? It went from that ball to this sock during the week. As you can see, I was having too much fun watching the colors play out, and I made it long! (I still had more yarn left from that skein.) Knit up on size 2′s with 60 stitches with a K3, P1 cuff. This will be up on the website later tonight or tomorrow, in all 8 colors currently available. It reminded me of knitting with handspun – soft and loose and very wonderful. Yes, I’m knitting the second sock on this, because I want to wear them. What else will you find going up this week? Woolpets, Trekking (new colors and re-stocks), Panda Cotton (new colors and re-stocks), Louet, Sereknity, Beannie Baggies, Cherry Tree Hill Possum Sock, Annie Adams, and more Schaefer Nichole, plus Anne and Lola.
In the “My Accountant Cracks Me Up” category (although I know that “accountant” and “cracks me up” shouldn’t go together), I thought I’d show you the little notes he leaves on all of the different forms he has to prepare for me each quarter. (Another one of the joys of running a business.) Of course I most love the ones where all I have to do is sign them, but even the forms where I have to include a check are made a little easier because his frowny-faces make me laugh. He’s a good accountant anyway, but the faces just elevate him, in my opinion. (Another thing that cracks me up: Sneezing Baby Panda.)
We’re supposed to get a snowstorm tonight. 4-6″. Of course the weathermen here in St. Louis rarely get it right, so I’m not holding my breath. Hopeful, but not holding my breath. I figure if we’re going to have cold temperatures all winter long, which I like, we might as well have the pretty white stuff to go along with it. I only remember one winter season where I was tired of the snow. It happened my senior year in college and we still had big snowstorms in mid-April. I remember looking out our apartment’s kitchen window and thinking I was going to have to do something drastic if the white stuff didn’t just GO AWAY soon. Fortunately, it did. Go away. Soon.
Thank you so much for ALL of your name suggestions for our new Loopy Central addition! Not only did I enjoy reading the suggestions, I also loved reading all of your grandparents’ names, and some of the stories that went along with them. Michelle asked in Wednesday’s comments about the top five names mentioned. I wish there was an easy way to come up with that. Having read them all, I’m sure that Lupe, Lulu and Clara were 3 of the top five. All great names, but I didn’t pick any of those! (Loopy said “absolutely not” on the Lupe name. He thinks there can only be ONE Loopy, no matter how you pronounce it. Although he does seem to be quite taken with her. ) Some of the names cracked me up – like “Edith …. Head”, and “Anita Knit”, and the other ones that incorporated knitting into them. Some were great names, but reminded me of people or animals already in my life. Like Zoe and Gracie – our two cats. Or Lily – Elf Susan’s cat. Roxy – a good name, but I have a good friend named Roxane. Trudie – also a good name, but it’s Monk’s wife’s name, so it can’t be our mannequin’s name. Isabelle and Bella – I like both of those, but for some reason it reminds me of vampires…. And having been a teacher in my former life, there were also good names that reminded me of different students from the past. Being a teacher can really wreck some good names. There was one name that, the minute I first read it, I knew it was right. So our lady’s name is now Ava! Thank you to all of you who sugested that. I put the Ava-commenters into a lottery for one drawing, and Melissa from MA won that drawing. Then I drew three more names from all of the comments, to also win a skein of Wollmeise. We’ll be sending those off to Janelle in PA, Marie in RI, and Lara in MD. Congratulations to you four, and thank you again to everyone who gave us suggestions. I’m thinking that I’ll have to eventually get another one of these, because I still have a few names from your suggestions that I really liked!
Now I need your help with voting on our Q4-08 participants. The challenge was to “knit something to warm your hands” and learn a new technique while you’re at it. Check out the Q4-08 Photo Gallery of participants and email me with your favorite one by next Friday. (sheri AT theloopyewe DOT com) The winner gets a Loopy Gift Certificate, and we also draw one name from all of the participants for another Gift Certificate. There are a lot of beautiful finished projects photoed there!
We already have boxes and boxes of things arriving from TNNA and pre-TNNA orders. Fun! We’re unpacking and photo-ing as quickly as we can. I did forget to mention something else that I ordered for us – Annie Adams shawl pins, stitchmarker necklaces, knitting keychains and magnets. Beautiful things, and I’m anxious for those boxes to come in the door! I’ll keep you posted as things go up on the website. The next few weeks will be busy and full.
We’re back! It’s warm in California. Seems so strange that one part of the country can be -20 degrees with the wind chill and a few hours away (ok, by plane) it’s in the upper 80′s. We were walking around outside, enjoying the sunshine and I was trying to imagine the Midwest cold. It didn’t work very well! We did do a lot of walking (here’s the shot from our hotel room, with the convention center a few blocks down) and a lot of eating out (including one of my favorite parts of TNNA – dinner with the Veronica and Nancy from Dream in Color.) This time, Web Guy went with me. I’m pretty sure that it was the lure of a sunny weekend in CA and not the lure of a yarn market weekend with his mom, that got him to hop a plane from Indiana to San Diego. But that’s ok – I’ll take time with him whenever I can get it. It was fun to have him there!
I have to say, I didn’t see a whole lot of NEW at TNNA this time. There were a few things. But I also added in some additional lines from some of our already-well-loved companies, that will be fun. I found myself picking up the yarns that would make warm and wonderful scarves and shawls, or cowls and mitts, as I walked along. (Many would also make great socks.) So, coming soon, we have:
- Ballet from Fiesta. It’s a 50% Superfine Alpaca, 50% Tencel yarn with 350 yds. per skein. I have had a skein of it in my stash for 2 years and have loved how wonderful it feels. Now I am going to pull it out and knit past the sample that I did and make something fun! We’ll have it in 28 choices of colors for you.
- Bonnie’s Bamboo from Farmhouse Yarns. I picked up two skeins of this last spring at one of the shops here in town, planning to knit a shawl or something equally drapey and wonderful. 100% bamboo, 3.5 oz, 200 yds. It would make a gorgeous Clapotis, if one was so inclined. The colors are semi-solids, so patterns show up beautifully. We’ll have it in 10 colors. (We also put in another order for Fannie’s Fingering while we were there.)
- Lorna’s Laces new Pearl line. Remember Amy’s Vintage Office in the special silk/bamboo blend? It has been such a popular yarn base that they have added it in many colors and expanded the line. We picked out 13 colors to add to the Amy’s Vintage Office colorway we already have in stock. (They had a Clapotis done up out of Amy’s colorway, which was fun to see. I have had some of that yarn tucked away to make that very pattern out of that colorway. It’s just as beautiful done up as I suspected.)
- Crystal Palace’s Mini Mochi was one of the brand new fun yarns that I picked up. It comes in 8 colors and does subtle color changes (similar to Noro, JoJoland, etc). Pictured here is Autumn Rainbow and I’m most anxious to knit it into a sock. This is 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon, 195 yds. per ball. Extremely soft. They had scarves done up in all of the different colors, too. Beautiful. Also from Crystal Palace – new colors in Panda Cotton, which we ordered.
- Skacel’s newest sock yarn was another in the line of “subtle color changes” and we all 9 colors that they had to offer in that, too. It would be nice if I could tell you the name of it, but it’s not written on my order form (only numbers) and I can’t remember! (And I saw too many yarns and names all weekend for it to have stuck in my brain, apparently.) You’ll love it for socks and scarves. I think these subtle color-changing yarns are also fun to knit up into mittens and gloves and hats as well.
- We re-stocked and added all of the new colors of Colinette Jitterbug, which I know many of you have been waiting on. I love their vibrant colors and the way that the tight-springy yarn knits up. (The only thing I don’t like about it is that they send it all in big loops – like the way you’d put it on a swift to ball it – and we have to twist it all up into skeins ourselves. By the time we’re done doing that with all of those cases of yarn, our wrists are about ready to give out…)
- New colors of Jade Sapphire Cashmere Lace, as well as a re-stock of all of the other colors. I could spend all day picking up and setting down the different cashmere skeins in their booth. Eventually I’m going to add in their heavier worsted cashmere line, too, because I SO want to knit some sweaters out of it.
- A new superwash/silk/bamboo blend from Araucania called Itata Multy, that is going to make beautiful socks, scarves and shawls. I have always loved the way that the Araucania colors knit up, and this new blend is amazing. That’s color 1007 and 1010 in the photo. We’ll have it in all 20 colors (some multi’s and some solids).
- Alpaca With a Twist Socrates in new colors. We’ve had this line in for awhile (and I used it to make this scarf). It’s soft and wonderful to knit with and the price is great. Now I need to make myself a pair of socks out of it. They’d be so warm and toasty.
- New patterns from Claudia Hand Painted and Gardiner Yarn Works (including the cutest crocheted/felted bags. I need to find someone to make one for me, since I don’t crochet!)
- An intriguing little product called a “Knit Kit” that has all of the accessories you need for your knitting, and happens to be safe to take on planes as well. The gal who owns the company has spent 2 years developing it.
And … I think that’s most everything. I placed lots of orders with our regular companies before I left, so we do have a HUGE influx of products arriving over the next few weeks. Whee!! I hope you’re ready!
I know many of you already caught the Sneak Up this week, but just in case you didn’t, we added in: Numma Numma BabyBoo, new colors from Lorna’s Laces and Claudia Hand Painted, Schaefer Nichole, new Shibui patterns and yarn, and more Loopy Ewe clear totebags.
I have picked a new name for our mannequin! I’ll have to blog it on Friday (along with the winners) because I’m out of time and space here. And yes, I did read every single one of the 1124 suggestions. They were wonderful!
I’m back from TNNA (and warm weather in CA) and I’ll post all of the details on Wednesday’s blog! In the meantime, I wanted you to meet Marie of Brooklyn Handspun in today’s Limelight. I’m knitting a sock with her yarn in Aquatic and it’s amazingly soft and wonderful. I wish you all could reach through your monitors and feel this. (Web Guy needs to invent that technology….)
Loopy: Hi Marie! Thanks so much for being in the Limelight today. We love having your yarn here and I know that many of our Loopy customers have had fun adding it to their stashes and projects. How long have you been a knitter, and where did you learn to knit?
Marie: Hi Loopy! My grandmother first taught me to knit when I was 10, although I didn’t really have the patience for how long each row took so needless to say I never went beyond a little square of fabric. In 2003, I went craft supply shopping. I made a lot of wire and beaded jewelry back then, and noticed all the colorful yarn. I wanted it all but I had no idea how to use it so I decided to try my hand at knitting again and taught myself how to knit from a book I was gifted.
Loopy: I re-learned to knit in adulthood from a book, too! I’m glad it “stuck” this time, for both of us. What is your favorite thing to knit, and what is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Marie: Socks of course! I love quick and colorful socks – I don’t have the patience for large knit items and socks are great for knitting on the subway. I have also started to really enjoy crocheting amigurumi. I usually stick to simpler knits since I rarely have time to really concentrate on a difficult pattern, although right now I’m crocheting lots of little flowers for my wedding bouquet using a tiny steel crochet hook and embroidery thread – that has been pretty challenging.
Loopy: That will make such a unique bouquet – and one that you can keep. How did you move from knitting to dyeing?
Marie: I actually went from knitting, to spinning, to dyeing. After knitting for a while I thought: why not make my own yarn? So I bought a drop spindle on ebay and 2 weeks later bought my first wheel – I was hooked. A few months into spinning I got tired of plain white fiber and decided to experiment with some koolaid dyeing. The results were wonderful and that same week I went out and bought 20 colors of acid dyes. I was fully addicted to dyeing fiber and my own handspun when I really got into sock knitting. At that point, 2005, there really weren’t too many indie yarn dyers so I started to dye my own sock yarn and well, the rest is history!
Loopy: It’s nice to know that you were one of the first indie dyers out there. There do seem to be a lot of them at this point. How do you come up with your colorways? And do you have a favorite?
Marie: I take inspiration from wherever I can get it – nature, printed fabrics, even grocery store packaging! I keep a little book with me and whenever I see a great color combo, I take note of it for the next dye session. I can’t say I have a favorite since my colorways are always changing. I am drawn to deep purples and burgundy.
Loopy: The little book idea is a good one. That way you always have ideas to run with when it’s a dyeing day. What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Marie: I love the act of creating, of picking colors and seeing them mingle on a skein of yarn – it’s very satisfying, but I think my favorite part is seeing the items knit by my customers. I get such a thrill knowing our combined efforts will make a beautiful finished object. My not so favorite part is accidentally dyeing my hands wild colors, you should see the looks I get on the subway when I’ve had a little “color explosion.”
Loopy: I would think if you had been dyeing with reds, you might look a little dangerous. Although maybe people give you a wide berth that way! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Marie: I consider this to be my second job. I feel I put just as much time and effort into Brooklyn Handspun as I do my day job where I am a paralegal extraordinaire. It’s especially apparent when I’m dyeing all day on the weekends and late into the night. It can be difficult with 2 jobs, but I love what I do so it’s worth the sacrifice of some personal time.
Loopy: It’s probably a good outlet for the right side of your brain, after working in the left side all day long. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Marie: I am the only knitter in my family, although my 9 year old niece has shown some interest. I think I can turn her into a little knitter in no time!
Loopy: Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Marie: I enjoy most things of a crafty nature, such as jewelry making, quilting, sewing, photography – anything that involves creativity and color. I have a weakness for fantasy novels and can spends days on end reading them if given the opportunity. I am also a classically trained singer and when I had time I sang with a small opera company, although now I generally just annoy my cats singing arias around the house.
Loopy: So some of our yarns might’ve been sung to as they were dyeing up? I like that! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Marie: Hmm a day off? What’s that? If a day off does exist, then I think I’d sleep in, knit for a few hours in my PJ’s listening to music, bake something sweet and sinful before sitting down with a good book. If, after all that excitement, I still have energy, I’ll order in some dinner, cuddle up on the couch with my partner and our 4 cats, grab a WIP and watch a good movie.
Loopy: Thanks for being in the Limelight today, Marie!