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Swans Island, Loopy Cakes and Atenti Bags!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, March 31st in Pattern Links, Shop News

Happy Monday to you!  Starting this week, we’re making Mondays our Yarn Update days and Thursdays our Fabric Update days. That way, if you just knit/crochet or just sew, you know which day to check for new things on the website. If you do both, check both days!

Can you believe the first quarter of the year is over? That was fast! I have done something new this year – I’ve already knit up some Christmas gifts. (It helps to be knitting up the Celebration colors, and working on Giftable patterns.) I think I will be happy, once the fall rolls around and I don’t have a pile of things that need to be knit up. We have some beautiful yarn just up tonight, if you’re in the mood to start in on some gift knitting yourself. (Or – better yet – make something and keep it!) Just up, you’ll find:

Swans Island Natural Colors Fingering - 100% Organic Merino Wool. Swans Island wool is spun in a historic mill in Maine and then hand-dyed using all-natural dyes. You’ll love how soft this yarn is, and it comes with a whopping 525 yards in the skein, making it perfect for longer socks, one skein shawls, and sweaters! Pattern ideas for Natural Colors and Pure Blends Fingering: Checkerboard Lace Scarf, Gemma Shawl, Dissent, Geometry/Hypotenuse, Paulie, Yellow Wall Cardigan, Earl Grey, or Flutter of The Wings. Shown below in Lupine, Raspberry and Tarragon.


Swans Island Pure Blends Fingering - 85% Organic Merino Wool and 15% Alpaca. The Pure Blends are handcrafted in small lots, using a blend of the finest certified organic Merino wool and naturally colored alpaca. Minimal processing and a low micron count gives the Merino its incredibly soft feel. The color in the skein comes from the natural coloring of the alpaca fiber. It comes in just two colors – Seasmoke and Oatmeal.


Swan’s Island Natural Colors Worsted - 100% Organic Merino Wool in the worsted weight. (Also spun in Maine and dyed with natural dyes.) These skeins have 250 yards each, and work well for sweaters, heavier shawls, mittens, hats and scarves. Pattern ideas for Natural Colors and Pure Blends Worsted: Adara, Lila, Piscataqua, Overlynd, Alewives Hat & Cowl, April Mitts, Brimson, and Dustland Hat. Shown below in Mulled Cider, Beet Root and Rose Quartz.


Swans Island Pure Blends Worsted - 85% Organic Merino Wool and 15% Alpaca. Wonderfully soft and special. Make a sweater for yourself and a scarf or hat to give as a gift! It comes in just two colors – Seasmoke and Oatmeal.


Swans Island Natural Colors Lace - 50% Merino Wool and 50% Tussah Silk. Spun in a historic mill in Maine and then hand-dyed using all-natural dyes. Each skein comes with 530 yards, a great size for shawls and lightweight sweaters and shrugs. Pattern Ideas: Beaded Lace Scarf II, Morticia, Ipomoea, Juliette Scarf, Nuvem, Walk on the Moon, Pretty Thing (note – you can make about 3 from one skein – perfect for gifts!), and Radiance Shawl. Shown below in Guava, Lapis and Fog.


The Loopy Ewe – Loopy Cakes in Chocolate and Roses (a re-stock) and Majestic (new). We had a few people ask about doing a Loopy Cakes set for the stunning Peaks design by Maria at m1 Designs. The only thing you need to add is a skein of black to go along with it.


Atenti Bags - new prints in the Overnighter bags. I know many of you love these bags as much as I do. My favorite use is to keep it out near my knitting area, organizing (and hiding) all of my smaller project bags. I also love it for traveling. It makes a great carry on. Shown below in Summer Queen, Larks Caribbean, and Pointer.


Have fun shopping and we’ll get your orders packed up and shipped out tomorrow! 

Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew

P.S. The winner of our Three Things contest blog is Loide from Texas. Congratulations to you, Loide!

Designer Spotlight: Judy Marples

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, March 28th in Designer Spotlight, Loopy Life

JudyIn today’s Designer Spotlight, we have Judy Marples, designer of the Purl Bumps line of patterns. I have long loved Judy’s patterns (hello Ripple Rock Shawl, I am going to make you one of these days), and we’re happy to give you a chance to get to know her a little better, and to share some of her beautiful creations with you.

ripple rock shawlLoopy: Hi Judy! Thanks for being with us today. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Judy: Hi Loopy – thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! I hope I won’t be too long winded, I could blather on about knitting all day! Iʼve been knitting my whole life. My mother taught me when I was about 8 years old. Iʼm left handed and my mother was right handed so she decided that if I watched her knit in a mirror, that I could then knit left handed. That didnʼt work out so well and we both became frustrated. So finally she told me I DSC_0001was going to have to learn right handed and Iʼm so glad that happened. Knitting is really two handed anyway so I just compensated by doing all the movement with my left hand. I used to hold the right hand needle under my right armpit and the left needle would be going like crazy, lol. Iʼve gradually over the years changed my style where now I move both hands. I also teach classes and I always tell my beginners that there is no right or wrong way to knit. If my mother had insisted that I knit the “right” way, I probably would not have become a knitter.

Seawall CowlLoopy: Your mom was smart, and I’m glad that you figured out how to make it work for you. What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Judy: My favourite is definitely lace. I just love everything about lace. I find the the charts and the math very satisfying. And I love the puzzle that sometimes needs to be solved within a lace design. I also favor it because the work is light and I can knit lace for hours on end, which I do most days!

East Gable ShawlLoopy: You have designed some amazing lace patterns. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Judy: Oh, that would be my Enchanted Forest Cardigan by Donna Karan. It was in Vogue knitting a long time ago, but I found it in the book Vogue Knitting Designer Knits, I think it was about 15 years ago. I was not an experienced sweater knitter at that time, and it had very complex cables and many, many charts. The charts had charts and no repeats! I still have the massive chart I created by photocopying and taping together all the Summer Mooncharts so I could knit the bottom of it in one piece. I became obsessed with it while knitting it. It was like the most fantastic novel in which you couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I was so obsessed that I think I finished it in about 10 days and I had a full time job at the time! I remember calling my husband more than once and asking him to bring home more post it notes. I was using them to mark the rows on the massive chart and I went through pads of them while constructing it, lol. Due Urban Forest Hatto my inexperience, when it was finished, it was way too big for me and hung off my shoulders. I donʼt think I ever wore it. I still have it though, I canʼt bear to part with it. I pull it out every few years and think that I should cut it and make pillows out of it but the thought of actually doing that makes me a little sad, so I fold it and put it back in the drawer.

Loopy: Oh my goodness! After all that, it was too big to wear? That’s sad! But yes, you definitely need to keep it. I’m glad you still have it for inspiration. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Eccentric CowlJudy: I started designing about 4 years ago. I had gotten into knitting lace a few years before and I had made several lace shawls and I was really ready for a new challenge. I designed Calais Shawl just to see if I could do it. Once I began working with the charts and the design process on that pattern I was totally hooked!

Dover CastleLoopy: That was a good next step for you to take, then. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Judy: If I had to choose, it would probably be Dover Castle Shawl. It was my first “for sale” pattern and it was so well received that I was beyond thrilled. The stitch pattern is an original that I created and I have great memories within that pattern.

Dovetail ShawlLoopy: What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Judy: My favourite part of designing is the beginning, when all the possibilities are in front of you. I love to swatch and play with charts and coax a design to come forward. I also love it when the design is complete, the pattern is written and I sit for a few days and knit a sample. I watch movies and knit and it feels so peaceful and satisfying once the design work is finished. My not so favourite parts? Proofing the patterns and the charts. And writing the written instruction to the charts, thatʼs always a challenge to get every last detail correct.

Elowen ShawlLoopy: It’s nice to hear that the actual knitting is still one of your favorite parts! Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Judy: I teach classes and really enjoy that. But most of my time goes into pattern designing and everything that goes along with that. I do my own photography, graphics, layout, advertising, etc and I really love the variety of the work.

Knit Night HatLoopy: A master of many trades! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Judy: When I first started designing, I had a part time job in my LYS as well as a full schedule of classes that I taught. I found it was always a struggle to find time for designing. I feel very fortunate that I am able to design full time now and still teach some classes.

Little Sparrow CowlLoopy: We’re happy that you can design full time, too. It means more patterns that you get to share with us. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Judy: My older sister began knitting about 15 years ago. Since then one of our favorite things for the two of us to do is visit yarn shops. We have done weekends away when all we have done is visit new shops and then knit. Always fun!

Poetry GlovesLoopy: Weekend knitting trips are always fun! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Judy: I have a loom and a spinning wheel but never seem to find the time to use them. I also love reading and listen to audiobooks while knitting. I like to listen to podcasts while I am out walking. I walk every day and recently took up Nordic walking, which I love. I also enjoy photography, quilting and sewing, and cooking. I have a serious Pinterest habit hunting for new recipes to try, DSC_0061lol. Iʼve been experimenting with vegetarian and vegan recipes and Iʼve always had a real interest in nutrition.

Loopy: Ok, now I have to go look up Nordic walking. (Ok – walking with special poles to burn more calories. Got it.) What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Judy: Hmm, a leisurely breakfast. Then a long walk, maybe a visit to a yarn shop and a book store Magpie Cowlfor a good browse (my two favorite types of stores). Then several hours to sit and knit with good company and a glass of wine.

Loopy: That sounds like a relaxing day. Lastly – Coke or Pepsi? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? :-)

Judy: Neither, I donʼt drink soda. Coffee, definitely. English (and in my dreams, continental). Solids (and semi solids).

Vigneto ShawlJudy has offered all of our blog readers 20% off of one pattern in her pattern shop. The code is: theloopyewe and it will be valid from today, through next Friday (April 4th). Pop over and pick something you love! She is also running a deal where if you buy 3 regularly priced patterns, the fourth one is free (no code necessary). If you’re like me, you might find a lot more than one that you need. Have you knit any of Judy’s patterns yet?

Sheri whoisgoingtofindawaytogetthatRippleRockontheneedles

Malabrigo, Sock Rockets, Riley Blake and More

Photo: Sheri Berger
Thursday, March 27th in Pattern Links, Shop News

The Thursday Update is ready for you! Today we added in:

Malabrigo Rios – This worsted weight yarn comes 210 yards to the skein and is 100% Superwash Merino. Beautiful for sweaters and vests, blankets, scarves, hats and mittens. Pattern ideas: A River Runs Through Mitt, Ziyal, Camden Cap, Carabe, On the Grass, and Julissa. Shown below in Teal Feather, Purple Mystery, and Lettuce.


Malabrigo Sock – This fingering weight yarn comes 440 yards to the skein and is 100% Superwash Merino. Great for socks, but also wonderful knit up into shawls, cowls, scarves and lightweight sweaters. Pattern ideas: Geology Shawl, Celery Cardigan, Criollo, Metro Kerchief, Hoar Frost, and As You Wish. Shown below in Boticelli Red, Pocion, and Azules.


Malabrigo Arroyo – This sport/DK weight yarn comes 335 yards to the skein and is 100% Superwash Merino. It knits up beautifully for sweaters, but also shawls, cowls, hats and gloves. Pattern ideas: Feathers in the Wind, Angelus, Ruxton Shawl, Drizzle, Rock the Lobster, and Ritenour. Shown below in English Rose, Chircas and Coffee Toffee.


Malabrigo Mecha – This bulky weight yarn comes 130 yards to the skein and is 100% Superwash Merino. Quick to knit, you’ll find it is perfect for hats, cowls, mittens, gloves and warm scarves. Pattern ideas:  Kaysia, Sidai, Wombat Shaltuch, White Leaf, Nollie Hat, and Distinction. Shown below in London Sky, Chuy, and Arapey.


Addi Sock Rocket Needles – More Sock Rockets in the house! I know many of you have been waiting on these. They are usually on backorder, but we’ll keep getting them in just as often as they can send them to us.

Riley Blake Fabric’s Treasure Map Collection – 14 different adorable fabrics and a Loopy Short Stack. If you have little boys in the family, this would make an awesome quilt or toy bag! And for those with no kids but who love pirates, don’t you need a project bag out of this? I might. And be sure to check out the Treasure Map panels. A sampling shown below.


Moda Fabric’s Bartholo-meow’s Reef - 14 different fabrics (and a Loopy Short Stack) in pretty royal blues, aquas, oranges and limes. Be sure to check out the scuba-diving cats, bobbing along! There are also some pretty mixer fabrics in this collection that will easily cross lines. A sampling shown below.


Have fun shopping and we’ll get your orders packed up and shipped right out!

Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew

TGV High Speed Knitting

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, March 26th in Finished Projects, Loopy Life, Pattern Links

TGV-The-Loopy-EweThere are some patterns out there that are just made for high speed knitting. The TGV (High Speed Knitting) shawl by Susan Ashcroft is one of them. Here’s the one that Elf Roberta whipped up in no time. She actually started it to have something easy to work on at Knit Night this week, but it was done too quickly! She made this out of one ball of Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Crazy Socks in the Pinstripe color. But look at all of the other fun colors in that lineup, too. I can also see it in one of the Kauni colors that we just re-stocked in the shop.

TGV-Sheri-The-Loopy-EweThis pattern also looks great in solids. I knit this one out of Madelinetosh Sport (or DK), using one skein for the body and one skein for the ruffle. I remember it going very quickly and thinking I needed to do another one, soon! (Which I haven’t done yet, but after seeing Roberta’s, I’m ready to start one up.) It would also be beautiful in Shalimar Breathless DK, which is another favorite of mine.

Shalimar-Breathless-The-Loopy-EweI also think it would be fun to knit this pattern using skeins that shift subtly from one skein to the next. Like Glacier, Juniper Berry and Neptune from Shalimar Breathless. This is a combination that one of you ordered awhile back, and when I saw the three skeins next to each other, I bought a set for myself, too. (See the kind of trouble I get into when I look at your fun order choices??) This would also be a fun pattern to do with a multi-color body and a solid color ruffle. Or make one with stripes with one of the Loopy Cakes sets. The possibilities are endless. Fortunately, the knitting is High Speed, so you can make several!

Do you have other favorite patterns that knit up super quickly? If so, share them with us in the comments below. I’m always looking for great (quick) patterns.

Sheri willletyouknowwhatIdecideonformynextTGV

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