Archives from June 2007

Good News, Bad News

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, June 22nd, 2007 in Bad New/Good News

Good news: You all ordered enough yarn to tide you over for the 3 weeks between this Sneak Up and the next. Holy cow!!

Bad news: We’ve packed so many orders that we’re dreaming about them in our sleep.

Good news: We ought to be all finished up by tomorrow so that we can get a good night’s sleep again.

Bad news: The mailman is extremely annoyed.

Good news: He’s a sub. Our regular mailman will be back on Monday and still likes us.

Bad news: I’ll be leaving Monday morning, so no blogging for 2 weeks.

Good news: I may need to slip in a post sometime, if anything exciting is going on. I’ll miss you all too much.

Bad news: Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll be too busy knitting. :-)

Good news: Our first case of Wollmeise arrived so I can take a skein to knit on vacation.

Bad news: It’s just one of several cases and the rest haven’t arrived yet.

Good news: You are going to LOVE this yarn, if you haven’t tried it before.

Bad news: I do, too. I had a hard time picking just one color.

Good news: Susan-the-awesome-assistant (who has put in so much overtime this week to help with all of these Sneak Up orders – we love her) will be here packing orders for you while we’re gone.

Bad news: That means that you can still get orders while I’m gone.

Good news: That means that you can still get orders while I’m gone.
(ahem – some will see this as good, some will see this as bad. Take your pick.)

Bad news: We already have some more really wonderful yarn in-house for the next Sneak Up. (Oh – wait – that’s good news!)

Good news: Using the Random Number Generator, the winner of this month’s “What was your first job” contest is Phyllis! She gets a $35 Loopy credit in her account, to buy some fun Loopy Loot. (I had so much fun reading all of your comments. I’m thinking that most teen-agers ought to read through them all. They’ll realize how nice they have it nowadays, don’t you think? Wow – there were some doozies in there.)

Have a great couple of weeks and get lots of knitting done. I’ll be asking about that when I get back! I’ll also share the Q3 Loopy Challenge with you when I return.

Hugs to you, Sheri (gotanygoodnews/badnewstosharewithmetoday?)

It’s still Wednesday. Barely.

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, June 20th, 2007 in Uncategorized

DSC00763.JPGI’m just slipping this blog post right under the wire here. Wednesday. :-) I’ve been busy. Packing orders, knitting socks, playing with yarn, etc. Yesterday Dr. Jackie and her friend James came by to shop in the Loopy Room. James very kindly asked me how my Summer Of The Second Sock was coming along. (Remember the plan? I was to knit matches to all of my twinless socks so that by fall I’d have about 15 new pairs (PAIRS) of socks? I had to admit that I … umm …. haven’t knit a mate yet. Not even one. I was hoping my SOTSS idea would just kind of go away. (But that doesn’t really happen when you put it out there in front of everyone. That ought to teach me.) I may need to start wearing mis-matched socks. There are just too many yarns here that I’m either testing out for the future or knitting up because we are getting them in. Just way too many choices. Here is evidence of what I have been doing. The first sock was done in Fiesta Boomerang (Mochachino). It’s just 48 stitches around and went together in a snap. (Pattern from Josiane – you can see her version in the photo gallery – sKNITches Breathmint.) I wanted to knit this up to make sure that I (with size 11 feet) could get a pair of socks out of one skein. This is less than half the skein for one size 11 sock, so I was very glad. The Fiesta colors are so gorgeous. We have 10 colors in now and 15 more on backorder, arriving shortly. The yarn is springy/squishy/comfortable. I really like it.

DSC00764.JPGThe next sock is my Duets-in-progress. The Duets skeins come with a pattern on the label, but since I knit toe up, I devised my own. I ought not to have done 2 brown rows in the round after completing my heel, but oh well. I know better for the next one. I have plenty of brown left, so I think I will also do the ribbing at the top of the sock in brown. This yarn comes with a variegated regular skein, and then a matching solid mini skein for your toes and heels. I like the idea of coordinating toes and heels!

DSC00765.JPGLastly, my Dream in Color Smooshy Sock, using the Monkey pattern from Knitty. Can you believe this is my first Monkey? And isn’t this yarn amazing? We have all 24 colors and I put a re-stock order in with them a couple of weeks ago, so that we’d have a whole other order of it coming in again soon. Probably by the time I’m back from vacation. That’s a good thing, because I know once you get this yarn in your hands, you’re going to want more. This is one that we’ll plan on keeping in stock all the time, as best we can. This yarn doesn’t stripe or pool – the colors just kind of blend subtly. Next I want to use the Good Luck Jade colorway.

Of course there are more yarns here that I “need” to knit with. I can’t wait to start packing my knitting bag for vacation. (Oh – and I have a new knitting bag. Do you ever get the feeling that I might have a wee bag problem? As in, I keep buying them? It’s true. But this is a new line for us and I can’t wait for you to see it. I’m glad my bag arrived before taking off. I will be able to fit a whole week’s worth of knitting in there.)

Sheri darnIthinkI’mgoingtopostthisanditwillbeaftermidnightso

(P.S. And to help keep YOU busy while I’m on vacation, look at all of the things that just went up: Seacoast Handpainted Merino, The Knittery, Posh, Fiesta, Dream in Color, Duets, Zen String, Fleece Artist Sea Wool, Loopy/Louise/Bart Stitchmarkers and Kitchener Stitchmarkers. Holy cow.)

The Troublemaker … and A Contest!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, June 18th, 2007 in Contest, Shop News

DSC00761.JPGHere she is. The Troublemaker. This dog has cost more time and money the past week than … well, than I don’t know what. 3 nights at the vets last week, an ultrasound today, plenty of $, and the upshot is that she’ll probably live forever after all this. Jeesh. (Yes, she’s feeling just fine now, for those of you who are feeling sorry for her. I won’t give you the laundry list of issues, but I know you’ll ask so the answer is she’s going to be fine.) Troublemaker.

Sneak Up list, right? It’s going to be a big one this week, and then we’ll have two to three weeks without a Sneak Up. :-( I don’t know if I’m actually capable of not doing a Sneak Up for 3 weeks, but WH is entirely capable of it and thinks it’s a marvelous idea. We will be leaving on vacation next week and gone the week of the Fourth of July as well – thus, no new products to go up. However, Sarah-the-housesitter will be here taking care of Zoe and The Troublemaker and bringing in boxes of yarn every day as it arrives, and Susan-the-Awesome-Assistant will be here packing your orders and getting them out to you while we’re gone. So you can still find plenty of fun things to satisfy your yarn cravings. Indeed, you may look at this week’s list and think spreading it out over 3 weeks is a good idea. Why three weeks if we’re only going to be gone for 2? Because the week we get back, WH will have to put some extra time in on his regular job to catch up from vacation, in addition to doing a lot of photography on all of the things that arrived while we were gone. So I’m guessing the next Sneak Up will be the week of July 16th. Of course earlier if it works. And I’ll be re-stocking some of the regular stuff as it comes in between now and then. (Shhh – did you see that we have ALL of the colors of Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in at one time? I’m sure it’s a fluke, and I’m sure we’ll sell out of something soon, but for a few minutes, they’re all here. And there is a lot of it.)

So on this week’s list for Sneaking Up….

For sure: The Knittery, Fleece Artist Sea Wool, Fiesta Boomerang, Chewy Spaghetti, Seacoast Merino, Duets, and Dream in Color. Also, more Kitchener Stitchmarkers, more Counting Bracelets, and more Loopy/Louise/Bart stitchmarkers. I have sock photos of Fiesta, Duets, and Dream in Color to share with you on Wednesday. I have loved knitting with each of them.

For maybe: Posh, Spritely Goods, and Scarlet Fleece (depending on how many photos WH can get done.)

New things coming in between now and when we do our next Sneak Up: The Plucky Knitter (from one of our very own Loopy Groupies!), Urban GypZ (with a cool twisted yarn base), Wollmeise (an indie dyer all the way from Germany and we’re so excited to get her beautiful yarn here), new fabrics in Mrs. Kwitty bags and needleholders, the Maruca Designs fall fabrics (oooohhhh), plus our regular monthly indie-dyer orders and a few other surprises. Lots of boxes to come home to after vacation to look forward to.

So – the contest for the month – tell me about your first job. It’s summertime and many of us had our very first jobs during the summer, right? (Besides babysitting, which I did often, too.) My first summer job was a Disaster with a capital D. I was 14 and I signed up to de-tassle corn. (I lived in Iowa. Everyone de-tassled corn in Iowa in junior high or high school. It was “good money”.) You dressed in long sleeves and long pants so that the cornstalk leaves wouldn’t cut your arms and legs, you walked down the rows of stalks that had grown over your head, and you plucked the tops off of the stalks and tossed them behind you as you went along. When you pulled the tassles out, you frequently got a shower of bugs on you. The aisles held in all of the heat and humidity that the summer had to offer. And it was downright awful. After an hour, my shoulders ached, my shirt was filled with bugs (ok – maybe I exaggerate a bit – but not much) and I was feeling nauseous from all the heat and humidity. So I quit. My very first job, and I got paid for a whopping hour of time. There – now don’t you feel better about YOUR first job? What was it? (Nobody quits after an hour. Your experience had to have been better!) Leave it in the comments and I’ll use the random number generator to pick a Loopy Loot winner this Friday.

Sheri Ihavestuckwithalltherestofmyjobsandworkedhardsincethen-ifonlytoprovethatIcould. :-)

P.S. Email me if you have Q2 hats/mitts to mail and I will send you my addresss. I don’t want to list it on the blog!

Amazingly Generous

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, June 15th, 2007 in Uncategorized

DSC00759.JPGWow – you all are amazingly generous. The Loopy Q2 Challenge hats and mitts just keep rolling in and I’m even having a hard time keeping up with it! Look at all of the beautiful knitting you have done! DSC00757.JPGAs of today, we have 16 pairs of fingerless mitts and 24 hats for Luba’s girls, and we have 61 hats for the babies in the orphanage. We are taking these donated items until the end of June (or really,

about July 10th) and then I will ship these boxes of love right off to the recipients. DSC00758.JPGI wish I could be there when they open them up. I wish I could see all of the smiling babies with their wonderful hats on, and Luba’s girls with their warm hands and heads next winter, in their cold school setting. Thank you all for what you have done on this challenge. I know there are still more in the works and more in the mail and they will truly be appreciated.

Speaking of truly appreciated, look at what my wonderful coffee swap partner sent me a couple of weeks ago! This box arrived one day and I took it to The Loopy Room to open. College Guy and Susan were in there packing orders. I opened it up and Susan and I took one look at the biscotti and said, “YUM!” and we immediately both ate one. College Guy looked horrified and said, “You don’t even KNOW that person!” and Susan and I said together, “She’s a knitter!” Enough said. And Theresa, being the generous gal that she is, even agreed to share her recipes for the biscotti. So here you go:

DSC00723.JPG Chocolate Espresso Shortbread (adapted from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Preheat oven to 300F, with the rack in the lower third of the oven.

Whisk the flours and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl and set aside. In the blow of an electric mixer (with the paddle attachment), beat the butter, sugar, espresso powder, and salt at medium-low speed until welll blended (don’t overbeat). At low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing just until the dough is no longer crumbly.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, cut to fit. Press the dough evenly and firmly into the cake pan. Press the back of the times of a fork all around the edges to make a decorative border. Bake the shortbread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it is no longer shiny and is set. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Using a knife, cut the warm round into wedges.

Makes about 12 large wedges.

Lavender Shortbread (adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld)

8 ounces unsalted butter, chilled
4 teaspoons fresh lavender buds, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour

Place the lavender buds in a food processor with the sugar. Grind until the lavender is quite fine. Don’t open the lid immediately. There will be lots of powdery sugar dust, so wait at least five minutes for it to settle.

Transfer the sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle, and add the butter. Beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth and there are no detectable lumps of butter. Do not beat until fluffy. Add all the flours at once and continue to mix on low speed, just until it forms a cohesive dough.

Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Press the dough firmly into the pan, making sure to fill it evenly. Place the cookie in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300F. You want to bake the cookie until it is just golden brown. Check it after 30 minutes, but it probably will need longer. If it does, I tend to take a peek through the window every five minutes. Remember, if you are going to be checking often, don’t open the oven door or you will loose all your heat!

When done, allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan and cutting. Do cut them before they cool completely, since they are softer when warm.

Note: If you want just plain butter shortbread, omit the lavender and just use unadulterated sugar.

Sheri muchknittingtogetdonethisweekendandonMondayI’lltellyouwhatnewyarns

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