Archives from January 2009

January Contest!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 in Contest

dsc02321We have a super easy contest for you this month. See this pretty mannequin? We need a name for her.  She’ll be modeling hats, scarves, and cowls here at Loopy Central, but so far a name has eluded us.  She looks rather 40′s-ish, doesn’t she? Or maybe not.  So the contest for the month – leave a blog comment with your name suggestion OR tell us your grandparents first names in the comments section. We might find a good name from one of your grandparents, too. (And that way, we’ll have a good man-name in case we add a guy mannequin at some point.)  We’ll choose the name that we think fits her best! If you suggested it, we’ll be sending you some Wollmeise. (If more than one person suggests the same name, we’ll draw for it.) We’ll also do a random draw from all of the comments,  for another winner of Wollmeise, just because we want to. (By the way, I missed Blog De-Lurk day on Monday, so today would be a good day to do your annual de-lurk here on the blog – and get into the contest at the same time!)

Update on things here: We all need a bit of a Wollmeise Breather. :-) The two Customs-stuck boxes have come in, but the yarn needs to be photoed and put up and I’m heading out to CA on Friday.  So – no Wollmeise for awhile.  We haven’t decided about next week yet. And speaking of leaving, I’ll be back to the blog on Monday with another Loopy Limelight. (Thanks for all of your fun emails and comments about the Limelights. It is fun for me to share more about these wonderful dyers and knitters with you, and I’m glad you like it, too.) Next Monday’s Limelight features the indie dyer whose sock yarn I’m currently knitting into a sock. Wonderful stuff.

Monday: there’s no mail here in the U.S., so we’ll all off that day. (Me? I’ll be recovering from a very quick weekend in CA. The Elves? Spending time with their kids, who will also be off that day.)  All orders from Friday noon, through Monday evening, will begin shipping on Tuesday morning. I hope you all have a nice long weekend, if you’re lucky enough to have Monday off, too!

Sheri usingWendy’sS(p)ockspatternonmynewsock

Tricia in The Loopy Limelight

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, January 12th, 2009 in Loopy Limelight

dsc_0053Today we have Tricia from Earthly Hues in the Limelight. I love that Tricia uses natural dyes in the process, which makes her yarn special!  I know so many of you love Tricia’s work, and I’m happy that she agreed to be in the Limelight with us today.
Loopy: Hi Tricia! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Tricia: Hi Loopy! Which time? :-) I first learned to knit when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  I have memories of sitting with my Mom and learning very basic stitches, then getting frustrated and losing patience.  Those lessons didn’t stick. I learned to knit again when my son, Kevin, was about a year old, which would be about 3 1/2 years ago.  We had recently returned home from a trip to Colorado, where we spent a week around Estes Park and then a week around Gunnison.  We were in Estes Park (awesome farmer’s market there) during the week of the Estes Park Wool Market, but I was clueless.  I remember thinking, “That looks like it might be fun to go see . . . ,” but we went for a hike in the mountains instead.  Lucky for my husband and two boys, huh?  I probably would have gotten sucked in then and there!  Soon after we returned I investigated The Needling Yarn in Granville, my local LYS, and signed up for a beginning knitting class.  I made a felted bag that was knit in the round and all knits and purls.  I dropped a stitch and actually ripped out several hours worth of work to go “catch” it.  Now I know better and have several crochet hooks to use to catch that dropped stitch up to the current row! I’ve never not had a project on the needles since then.  It’s an addiction.  I actually need to knit.  But it’s not an unhealthy addiction, I think, because so far I haven’t done anything illegal or immoral to feed it!

dscn0598Loopy: You passed on the Estes Park Wool Market? Oh, my! What is your favorite item to knit now?
Tricia: Anything that will keep my boys warm.  I have three: Geoffrey and Kevin are 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old and Andrew is the greatest Husband-Boy ever.  Can I just tell you what he gave me for Christmas?  A 5-day beginning weaving class at Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire!  I don’t think he could have come up with anything better.  I’m currently working on sweaters for all three of them, which should have been Christmas gifts but weren’t.  One of the reasons is that I married a tall man who likes things long and roomy, which translates to needing a huge sweater.  I also had a lot of fun knitting a shawl for my Grandma Mary too. It was pale grey undyed alpaca with black, white, and scarlet accents, and I used a Feather and Fan pattern from Cheryl Oberle’s book, Folk Shawls.  I shortened it though, to fit my 4 ft., 11 in.-Grandmother’s frame!  She loves it and wears it to OSU Buckeye game-day parties where all the other ladies ooh and aah.

Loopy: I like the picture of your grandma in her shawl. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Tricia: That scarf I started when I was 9!  But that probably doesn’t count, because it lives on as an eternally-UFO somewhere.  My Mom saves everything, so it truly wouldn’t surprise me to find it in a corner of a drawer someday, in a baggie marked “Tricia, 1982.”  But that could also be my Dad’s work too.  He files things.  You’d be surprised, and I’m sure I would be too, at what can be found in old file cabinets and boxes.  Seriously though, I think the most difficult thing I’ve knit is an intarsia and fair-aisle vest I designed and implemented for my kids.  It has a raven, which, if we had a family crest would be on it.  I’ve been told that Rawnsley means “raven” in Old English, and Andrew likes the symbolism.

Loopy: And now you’re a dyer. How did you go from knitting to dyeing?
Tricia: Well, I was curious about dyeing from almost the start of my knitting career.  I started to research dyes and techniques, and to lurk on some blogs within a year of learning to knit.  One blog in particular was maintained mostly by Jacki when she and Gail ran Cider Moon.  I think it was through there I realized they were going to teach a class at Knitter’s Connection in Columbus in June of 2007.  I signed up for their class, among others, but theirs was the one I really looked forward to the most.  It was a lot of fun, and very informational, and I still have those skeins of yarn in my stash.  I bought a spare microwave from the show organizer, and started experimenting with yarns and dye that summer.  Pretty soon I decided that the acid dye powders weren’t something I could feel comfortable working with in the house (remember I have two curious little boys?) and I started to research natural dyes.  So, Jacki gets the credit for peaking my curiosity.  It’s also due to being so inspired by other talented dyers, many of whom have yarn here at The Loopy Ewe!  I still lurk on blogs and websites, and am inspired more and more every day.  Though Jacki and Gail have gone on to pursue different projects, I know that without that class it would have taken me much longer to get where I am!

dscn1765Loopy: Jacki and Gail are both great at inspiring many knitters. How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a favorite?
Tricia: Well, my by-line kind of explains it: “Divine colour inspired by nature.”  I look around at what I see and I try to replicate a little bit of it.  The wrens in my garden this winter, all black and brown and tawny gold make me
want to try something that incorporates those colours.  Similarly, the greys of Ohio in winter are also inspiring.  Then there’s Rainbow Feet, which is my favourite … unless my favourite is 1776.  Anything that has indigo is my favourite I think.  Indigo is magical and mystical.  I’d love to demonstrate Indigo at a fibre show, because it really is something that’s so easy yet produces beautiful colour.  Yarn always looks terrible when it comes out of the pot, but within seconds the blues start to develop.  It seems magical but there’s a very good scientific explanation.  It’s the perfect marriage of science and art.  I don’t think I can adequately describe it.  Come on over some day and I’ll show you!

Loopy: That sounds like a deal! What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Tricia: My favourite part of running Earthly Hues is naming colourways.  Sometimes I know what I’m aiming for, but other times I just start throwing colour at yarn and decide later what it should be called.  My least favourite part, by far, is book-keeping.  I hate to do it.  I hate even acknowledging that it has to be done! It makes me scowl.

dscn2065Loopy: It makes me scowl, too. Ugh. Well can you tell us more about your family and your farm?
Tricia: I think the only member of my immediate family I haven’t mentioned is our German Shepherd dog, Zinfandel a.k.a Zinny-Dog, Zin, and Spastic Shepherd. She’s 7 now, but as a puppy she had these crazy spasms of energy where she’d drive us bonkers, which is how she earned that nickname.  I used it on my first blog, and considered using it for my dye business but then decided not to.  So, Spastic Shepherd Knits remains the personal knitting/family blog and Earthly Hues got its own blog.  Neither gets updated as much as it should.  Have I mentioned I have two small boys?  And a husband?  A dog? Oh, right.  I did.  We live in a beautiful home on 3 acres in Granville, Ohio now, but that’s to change soon because Andrew’s job is relocating us to New Jersey.  We’ve always had a garden, which includes annuals, perennials, and vegetables, and this past year I started a dye garden that has madder and coriopsis and a few other things.  We got the news about the move around the same time I was sowing seeds last spring, so I saved a lot of them for the next house.  I did learn, though, that Indigo will not grow in Ohio.

Loopy: You have a garden specifically for growing dye plants? That sounds wonderful! I’ll bet it’s handy to have all of that yarn around, all the time. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Tricia: My sisters both knit, as does my Mom.  My sister-in-law mainly crochets.  I have several aunts who either knit or crochet, and my Grandmother also knits.  I’m trying to convince the (little) boys that knitting is fun, and have even bought a book for them and big needles, but they say it’s “too girly.”  Maybe if they knew men who knit they’d be more apt to try it too?

Loopy: I think you need to find a cool hat or scarf that would appeal to them. Then they’ll see what fun things they can make. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Tricia: I love spinning yarn.  I know I’ll love weaving.  I read a lot of Elizabethan fiction and non-fiction from that era in history because it is my favourite.  I hand-stamp Christmas cards every year, but didn’t get around to it this year because of general busy-ness.  I also sew and enjoy drawing, singing, playing guitar, gardening, hiking, shopping local, volunteering in my kids’ classrooms, learning new things, baking and cooking (and eating) local foods, and writing.  I like words, which is why I got my BA in creative writing.  But you probably couldn’t tell I like words, right? Because my answers are so short, cryptic, and to-the-point?  Sarcasm is something I inherited from my Mom. My sisters have it too, and my brother.  It’s definitely genetic.  (Don’t try to deny it guys.)

dscn2054_2Loopy: You like words? We would not have guessed. ;-) What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Tricia: Having fun with my boys, big and small.  We recently spent a day going to lunch and then to COSI, Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry.  There are always interesting things there to learn about and play with.  It’s a great museum and I’d highly suggest it as a place to take kids if you’re visiting the area!  Another recent day off we took the boys ice skating.  Lots of fun and only a few bruises!

Loopy: Thanks for being in the Limelight today! Anything else you’d like to add?
Tricia:Save fuel, wear wool.”  It’s not mine – I got it from my LYS’s front window. I like it though, so that’s my final answer!  Thanks so much for the opportunity to introduce myself to all your readers. I’m honored to be a
part of the Loopy family!

Loopy: And we’re very glad to have you here!
Sock Club Signups are up on the homepage (although most of you have apparently already found that!). Also, watch for this week’s Sneak Up, which will include our next round of Loopy Legends, The YoYo CashSport, The Alpaca Yarn Company’s brand new Paca Peds colors, a Claudia Hand Painted re-stock, and a Namaste re-stock. (Note – if you ordered a Zuma Eggplant, they shipped out to us last week from CA. We’ll be emailing the pre-order invoices sometime this week so that we can get those right out to you as soon as they arrive.)

Sheri whostartedanotherNoroScarfthisweekend

Sock Club Signups Next Week!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, January 9th, 2009 in Shop News

dsc02319Today I promised some information on our 2009 Sock Club. We have a lot of fun putting these together for you, and we so appreciate all of your interest in being in it!  We have added in more spots for 2009, so hopefully that will help a bit.  Here are the details:

- Signups start on Monday, January 12th and continue through Friday, January 16th. There will be a link on the homepage when signups have opened up.

- Spots are assigned by lottery. (Why? Because so many of you told us that you really really dislike having to be ready to “pounce” at a certain time on a certain day, or stalk the website to see when it will go up, or “fight” to get through all of the people trying to sign up at the same time. And we agree. Who needs that stress?)

- If last year was your first year in the Sock Club, you DO need to sign up again, but you WILL be guaranteed a spot for your second year.

- If last year was your second year in the Sock Club, you are very welcome to sign up again and go into the lottery. We’d love to have you back!

- Each shipment will be $38 plus $5.95 shipping. (International sock club members will be charged international postage on a 2 lb. package.) We’ll bill you before each shipment, when we’re ready for the packages to go out. In general, you can plan to receive your kit by the middle of: March, May, July, September and November.

- When you sign up, you are committing to the entire year of shipments. We are able to stick with the “bill as they ship” method (which we know you prefer) because past Sock Club members have been so great about not flaking out on us mid-year!

dsc02318- Each kit will contain 1 skein of yarn dyed just for our Sock Club, 1 pattern written for that yarn, and some fun extra in each box. We like to make these “extras” things that you will use in your knitting or for yourself. Since you keep asking for Loopy-Logo items, some of the kits will include fun things we find and want to put Loopy on. Other kits will have other items. We like making up kits that you won’t find anywhere else and that say “Loopy” to you. Of course Loopy Kisses or Loopy Peppermints will come with each shipment, too. We know those are equally important.

- No hints on yarn or pattern designers this year! Just know that we’ve arranged for some of your favorite indie dyers and yarn companies to participate, as well as some of your favorite pattern designers. :-) The yarns will be mostly semi-solids or subtle colorways, that show off the patterns beautifully. We can’t wait to show you what they come up with. (Our 2008 Sock Club included yarn from: Cherry Tree Hill,  Dream in Color, sKNITches, Mountain Colors, and Wollmeise.  Our pattern designers included Monica Jines, Debbie O’Neill, Cookie A, Wendy Johnson, and Terry Ross.)

- We’ll send you an email either way, so you’re not wondering if you got a spot or not. These will go out sometime next week, as soon as we’re back and recovered from TNNA in California!

- Sock Club (& past kit) patterns typically go up for sale at The Loopy Ewe 6-9 months after they have been sent to Sock Club members. The fun extras are sometimes offered at a later date here as well. You can check out some of the ones from last year here and here and here. The yarn and Sock Club bags (which are sometimes included in a shipment) remain exclusive to the Sock Club members.

Sheri whothinksknittingandwearingyoursocksisbest,

Knitting Along with Loopy

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 in Loopy Challenges

dsc02314It’s January, which means another Challenge or Knit-A-Long! (Not that these Big Guys are knitting.  Rather, they seem to be stirring up trouble here at Loopy Central at the moment.) I had something in mind for this quarter, but in the meantime, Anne in MD started a Clapotis Knit-A-Long on the Loopy Groupie board on Ravelry.  There are so many of you working on that (myself included!) that I think it’s wise not to muddy up the waters and add yet another one. So – jump in and join us!  It started January 1st and you will find the pattern for free on (here’s the Clapotis link by the brilliant Kate Gilbert).  I’m making mine out of some Hand Maiden Sea Silk that I had in my stash. (Well, technically it was in my stash because I frogged the project I had started with it. Twice.) This is the first time I’ve done a Clapotis and I’m having a lot of fun with it. There’s something refreshing about purposely dropping stitches and watching them unravel. :-) Now I really want to make another one out of Amy’s Vintage Office.  It’s on my new list.  So leave a comment below if you’re participating in this KAL with us.  The fun thing about the Clapotis is that you can use any yarn that strikes your fancy.  Different weights and materials will render different sizes and draping, but it’s all fun.  If you’re on Ravelry, check out the Clapotis link to see what others have used and how it looks. I’m not sure when it ends on the Loopy Groupie board, but we’ll leave it open here for the first quarter, meaning you should finish by 3/31 and have your photos posted by 4/15. (Here’s a tip from Sandy in WY that I thought was great.  She added a stitchmarker to the very bottom starting point of her triangle, to keep it from curling up.  I wish I had known that when I started, as it about drove me nuts. I’ll definitely use that tip on the next one.) Be sure to add your photos from the 4th Qtr. Challenge ’08 to the Photo Gallery by 1/15 so that we can vote and award prizes.

Update on the things that many of you have been emailing me about and asking!

1.  We do have Schaefer’s new Nichole yarn on order and the first part of our order is shipping out this week. We’ll have it up asap.  We may put the first half up and then the rest later when it arrives, instead of making you wait for the whole thing. We also do have more Anne, Lola and Andrea on order for you.

2.  Namaste’s Zuma Eggplant order is stuck in Customs at the moment. They’re hoping they’ll have it to ship out to all of their shops by mid-January.  They know we’re all anxious to get it in!  If you are on our pre-order list, we still have one with your name on it for you.  If you did not pre-order and want to, I do still have a few available from this first order.  Email me.

3.  Sock Club details coming in Friday’s Blog Post. Sign-ups begin next Monday, the 12th.

4.  Malabrigo Sock and Worsted – have been on order for a long time, and we’re not sure when it will be in. But we’re looking forward to getting it.

5.  I’m heading off to our twice-a-year TNNA Market in a week, so that I can stay on top of all of the new yarns and trends for you! Email me if there is any line/yarn you’d like me to look into while I’m there.  I’ll add it to my list.

6.  Did you catch this week’s Sneak Up? We added lots of Hand Maiden Casbah, bellamoden Fingering, new Tempted Roving, Gypsy Knits DK, Loopy Soap, Romney Ridge Calendars, Addi ClicksOpal Wintermarchen, and patterns from Figheadh and Nelkin Designs.

dsc02317Lastly, Happy 25th Anniversary to my Wonderful Hubby. :-) I remember thinking 25 years was a long long time when my parents celebrated their 25th. It seems to go pretty fast when you’re the one in it! We were married on a cold, snowy night and it was beautiful. I added this particular photo because so many of you know my friend Janice, and if I’m going to show what Paul and I looked like 25 years ago, then I think you ought to see Janice and Steve, too. It was a fun weekend with all of our favorite friends and family there with us!

Sheri whothinkswealllookjustthesametoday(cough)

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