I’m halfway-back. :-) (That just means I’ll be a little part-time this week). But more importantly, our Opal Harry Potter line is here, too! We’ve been waiting a long time for this and I know you’ve been watching for it. This is a smaller stock than we ordered (due to flooding in the Opal warehouses that destroyed some of the yarn) but we have plenty more on order, which is due to arrive as soon as their second round ships. Probably about a month. So start with this batch and we’ll get more up for you asap. This morning, we also put up: Enchanted Knoll Farm Fingering Weight, new Zecca re-stock, Namaste Bags, 3 AM Enchantments bags (new indie artisan – great sock bags), Gypsy Knits DK, Earthly Hues Fingering, Enchanted Knoll Roving, Hand Maiden Sea Silk and our Loopy Ewe striping colorway from Lorna’s Laces in the Sport Weight. It was a fun morning! Now we start working on the things that are in here for the next Sneak Up. It never ends – but we like it that way.
Thanks SO much for all of your wonderful emails, cards, cookies, flowers, fruit, caramel corn, and fun packages last week when I had surgery. You all are such an encouragement! I can’t say that it was a fun week, but each day gets better and I’m here at Loopy Central for awhile today, so that’s a step in the right direction. I didn’t do the amount of knitting and reading that I had planned on (and did more sleeping than I had planned on), but I did finish my first Transition Glove, which I love! (Yarn is from the Wollmeise Sock Club, but there are all kinds of wonderful yarns out there to use with this pattern.) I’m glad to hear that so many of you are participating in our Fall Challenge – it will be interesting to see all of the “hand coverings” that you choose to knit up. I’m ready to cast on my second glove this week.
I appreciate all of your good wishes for our Parents Weekend trip to college last weekend, too. We loved seeing College Guy and College Girl and they’re both doing just great. We found plenty of nice places to eat to relieve them of the DC (Dining Commons) Experience, including Greeks in Muncie (wonderful pizza in a little place almost in the middle of the Ball State Campus), Ivanhoes (which, as you may remember me mentioning before, has 100 flavors of sundaes and 100 flavors of shakes), and Payne’s (the best coffee, as well as really good panini, as it turns out.) Of course we didn’t just eat all weekend. We made the usual trip to the store to get them both re-stocked on things they need, we hung out, and there was also spinning involved. No, neither of them wanted to spin, but College Guy’s room-mate’s mom (Hi Jari!) is a Loopy Groupie and had just ordered a drop spindle. I don’t know if there have been many drop spindle lessons in college rooms across the country, but I’ll bet that it’s never been taught in this particular guys dorm room before. She did great and it was my first time to teach someone else how to drop spindle, so I learned along the way, too.
On to emails and the rest of today. What did you all do last week while I was out?
Thanks for all of the guesses on the next Challenge! A few of you correctly identified my knitting as the Transition Gloves from Shibui Knits. I have wanted to knit those ever since we got the pattern in over a year ago. Of course I had to overcome my dislike of knitting from a chart, and also my inexperience with colorwork. When Claudia’s Wollmeise Sock Club colors arrived, they seemed to shout “Transition Gloves” to me, and it was finally time to take the plunge. Now that I’ve started in on them, I see more of these in my future. I was sitting and knitting on them thinking that a black and white version would be SO cool (Shibui Ink and Ivory), as well as a red and white, and maybe a chocolate and blue, and ….. Well. You can see how much fun I’m having thinking up combinations. And then I happened to wander over to Ravelry to visit everyone else’s combinations, and added a few more that are now “must knit” combos. (Check out Natlie’s Piano Gloves – just what I was imagining in Black and White.) So the new Loopy Challenge, which will run from now until 12/31/08 is this: Knit something to warm your hands (or someone else’s hands. ‘Tis the season for starting your holiday knitting). It can be Fingerless Gloves, or Mittens, or regular Gloves, or even a muff. (Do they have knitting patterns for muffs? Seems like a felted muff might be fun.) In the spirit of “challenging” you a little bit, I encourage you to try something new with this. Maybe you haven’t knit anything for hands before and the whole idea is new. Or maybe (like me) you want to try colorwork, or learn two-handed knitting, or knitting fingers in gloves instead of mittens or fingerless mitts. Maybe you’ve done all of that so the challenge for you would be to design your own or adapt a stitch pattern you really like – like taking any of the sock patterns you have and using that pattern for gloves or mittens, for example! Whatever you choose, it will be fun to see all of the different options that people come up with. If you already have something in mind, post in the comments and tell us what you’re going to do. Otherwise, just hop in at any time. We will do another Knit-A-Long beginning in January. Remember, we’re alternating Challenges with KAL’s now.
A couple of week’s ago I did a post about “It’s a Perfect Day for …” and had you leave comments. So many of you mentioned that it was a perfect day for Chili that I had to make up a pot of it – it just sounded so good. So I thought I’d share the recipe with you. I got this recipe from a teacher that I used to teach with (way back when) and have been making it ever since.
3 slices fried bacon
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 – 5 (smaller size) cans Brooks Chili Beans
2 large cans diced tomatoes
3 Tbl. brown sugar
2 Tbl. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
8 chocolate chips
Fry bacon and set aside to drain. In bacon grease, brown hamburger and onion. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about an hour. (Or put it all in the crockpot on low and let it simmer all afternoon.) Cornbread Rolls go well with this chili.
We’re heading off to Indiana this afternoon for Parents Weekend at Taylor. We can’t wait to see College Girl and College Guy! (And I’m pretty sure that Payne’s Coffee and Ivanhoes Ice Cream will be on the schedule as well.) Also, I will be out of commission & out of the office most of next week, as I’m having a bit of surgery and am taking a few days to recover. It would be nice if it was something fun that would make me look 10 years younger, but alas, it’s nothing exciting like that! Keep me in your prayers and I plan to be back with you via the blog and email on Monday, the 29th. Susan and the Elves will keep the orders going out. They’re the best. If you need anything, feel free to call here or email Susan (susan AT theloopyewe DOT com). Have a great weekend!
Texas Loopies – is everyone ok?? We have a Hurricane Ike thread going on over on the Loopy Groupie Board on Ravelry, so we’ve kept up with a few of you over the past several days. I hope everyone is doing well – and in the other parts of the country that experienced Ike-Backlash, too. Let us know. Here in Missouri, the flash floods almost got us. We’re not in a regular flood zone – you know, the kind where all of the snow melts further up north and comes down the river and slowly makes the rivers rise down here until they hit “flood stage”. But we do have a teeny tiny (literally) creek and apparently it’s been known to “back up” with flash flooding. There was so much rain in such a short period of time that many houses and businesses were flooded. We drove by Loopy Central on Sunday morning and had a moment of panic. The first photo (click on photos to make them bigger) is what the front (corner) of the building typically looks like. There is a big field next to it and a very small creek past the tree line over there on the left. You wouldn’t know the creek was there if you hadn’t been told. It’s about 8-10 feet down in a ravine, and all of 3 feet wide on a typical day. I have often joked with my landlord about putting a flock of sheep out there in that nice big, green field. Sometimes we see deer wandering through there. On Sunday, it looked like the second photo. One big, muddy pool. And this was not the crest, as we could see the debris when we drove into the parking lot, indicating that it had gone higher. The third photo shows the corner of the back of our building and how close the water was when we were here. We’re on the opposite side of the building, but that’s probably not all that significant when flash flooding is going on. We checked and everything was dry inside, so it looks like the water didn’t get as high as the building itself. When we drove by 2 hours later, it was all back down and there was a field there again. (The “up” side of flash flooding – although it rises quickly, it also goes away quickly.) Probably a good thing we never pursued the sheep idea, right? (I was just kidding, really. No matter how much fun it would be. But I’m the type of person who would’ve gotten up at 3 am in the pouring rain just to drive over and check on them to make sure they were ok. And of course I would’ve made WH come with me. For that reason alone, he would never go along with such a silly idea as having a flock of sheep.)
I started on my project for our next Loopy Challenge and I love it! I’m learning new things. This project challenged me to learn colorwork, two-handed knitting, and chart reading. I was talking to Loopy Friend Sharon about charts and she said, “If a pattern isn’t charted, then I go ahead and make one. I don’t knit from written directions if I can help it.” I said, “And I’m just the opposite. If something is charted, I write it up as written directions. I don’t knit from charts if I can help it!” Well obviously I had to become a better chart reader. Fortunately this one was easy. And I’m so happy to have conquered the two-handed knitting thing, as it’s so much easier for doing colorwork. (In addition, I’m understanding how much fun it is to do colorwork….) Can anyone guess the pattern I’m using or the item I’m making? Or the new Challenge? (Hint – it’s not a challenge to use a specific yarn, and it’s not a challenge to do colorwork.) I’ll fill you in on the Challenge on Friday. I’m anxious to finish this so that I can wash and block it and see how it turned out.
It’s time to cast your votes for your favorite “Loopy’s 2008 Summer Vacation” photos! You’ll find over 250 shots from Loopy’s photo album and by the looks of it, he had an amazing summer. Check out all of the places he went and the people he met. It’s a wonder that he agreed to come back here and live at Loopy Central until we start it all over again next May. (Although he’s a bit puffed up about it all. We’ll have to humble him a little before we allow him out with all of you again.) So take a look and send us your vote for any or all of the categories below. Send your answers to susan AT theloopyewe DOT com by 9/30, and we’ll have prizes for all of the winners!
- best “far away” place that Loopy visited
- most interesting famous person that Loopy met
- most unusual place that Loopy visited
- favorite photo that Loopy was in
Last but not least – We put all of the Cascade 220 up last night, along with Hand Maiden Swiss Mountain (have you seen the free pattern that we had designed for 1 skein of Swiss Mountain? Wonderful gift idea), new colors of Louet Gems, more Beanie Baggies, and a re-stock of some Noro Kureyon Sock colorways that sold out in the beginning and have been backordered ever since. We had to increase the “What’s New” pages to 18 just to handle it all! Just for fun, try out our Beta-Mode “Search the Loopy Ewe” function. Click on that link on the homepage and then bring Cascade up in the vendors list. If you also click on the “Tiled List” icon, you’ll get to see thumbnail photos of 50 colors at a time. (And then there are 5 pages of the Cascade to see.) Cool, huh? Another Web Guy invention. We hope to finish it up over the holidays, as not all yarn weights and single colors show up in those searches and we have more fun things to add. But it’s nice to play with in the meantime.
Today we have Angelina from Zen String in The Loopy Limelight. Angelina has been one of our indie dyers for a long time. In fact, when I found her, her company was called Cinnamon Stitches and she was just then changing it to Zen String! We debuted her yarn in February of 2007 and you all have loved it ever since. Angelina is the dyer of our famous Loopy Legends line (she’s working on another big batch of that, as well as a brand new batch of Loopy Legends which will come out after the holidays.) She also came up with our fun signature colorway, Bart and Louise in the Garden (seen pictured here.) Have you wondered where that name came from? Bart and Louise are Loopy’s siblings (officially it’s Black Bart and Sister Louise), so Angelina took that information and ran with it. We love the colorway. (More of that arriving soon, too.) Angelina took a dyeing break this summer, but she’s back at it full force and you will see a regular influx of Zen String yarn, starting in the next month or so. Get ready! (Other photos shown here are from the Loopy Legends line: Theresa’s Italian Vineyards and Janice’s Sunshine in Winter.)
Loopy: Hi Angelina! We’re so glad to have you in the Limelight today. You are one of our long-time, beloved indie dyers and we’re happy that people can get to know you a bit better. Tell us how long you’ve been a knitter and who taught you?
Angelina: Hi Loopy! I taught myself to knit after many trials and errors, after my mother passed away almost four years ago.
Loopy: Knitting was probably very therapeutic at that time. What is your favorite item to knit now?
Angelina: This is a hard one for me to answer, since I sadly haven’t knit as many things as I’d like to. Of course I love knitting socks. Even more, I adore wearing hand knit socks. Hats, baby clothing, scarves … those are all fun, too!
Loopy: I think one of the reasons so many people knit socks is because they’re so wonderful to wear. We totally understand that! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Angelina: The most challenging thing I ever knit was my first project after learning to cast on: a baby soaker for my little one on the way. In no way was it the most difficult, but I ended up knitting the silly thing backwards and inside out! I still can’t figure out how I did that one. Before my daughter was born, I accidentally felted the soaker, saving her from having to actually wear the thing.
Loopy: Sounds like the washing machine was looking out for your daughter. How did you make the move from knitting to dyeing?
Angelina: For me, dyeing was actually long before knitting. Before my adventures into fibers, I was a fiber artist of the fabric kind. I dyed many types of fabrics for several years before picking up my first pointy sticks. I actually dyed the yarn I used for the ill-fated soaker with Kool-Aid! I can be very picky about colors.
Loopy: I don’t know many people who dyed the yarn for their very first knitting project. I’m sure that’s a record of some kind! How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a favorite?
Angelina: Usually I find inspiration for colorways by looking into nature. Sometimes I have a particular thing or person I wish to celebrate in color. Gosh, one favorite is an awfully hard task! Jamie is a special colorway to me as it is a tribute to my sister … Georgia tends to be my pick for my daughters … the boys really love the red ones like Soloman …. do I really have to pick one?
Loopy: Ok – we’ll let you off the hook on narrowing it down to just one. But speaking of family, tell us about yours.
Angelina: I have 4 kiddos: 2 boys and 2 girls, ages 10 to 2. They help with small Zen String tasks, and let me know when they think a color doesn’t quite work. All of the kids want a spinning wheel of ther own, and continually add to my “to knit” list. (Though none of them are proficient knitters or spinners yet.)
Loopy: Does anyone else in your family knit?
Angelina: I taught my sister a few years ago. She loved it intermittently … and I still have to cast on new projects for her. I did begin teaching my son, though he loatheed the bulky acrylic yarn that came in the kit. (Good Boy!)
Loopy: Well it sounds like you’re raising him right! It must be all of that good quality yarn he is around, day in and day out. What would be your favorite part of your job, and your not-so-favorite part?
Angelina: The absolute best thing about what I do is definitely seeing the yarn to its finish. I think of myself as an art supply provider, and the crafters as the real artists. It’s what keeps me going and thinking of new dye techniques and fibers. I am simply giddy to see a colorway worked up for the first time. As for the no-fun part – overselling carts and backorders, without question!
Loopy: Do you have other hobbies that you enjoy?
Angelina: Along with knitting and spinning, I really love organic gardening, sewing, photography, pottery, and I like to dabble in many mediums of art as well. There’s a craft for every occasion around here.
Loopy: Wow – I have no idea how you fit all of those wonderful things in, with your dye business and four kids. What if you had a day off – what would be your favorite way to spend it?
Angelina: Oh this one is easy! I’d spend the day under a grove of giant sequoias, knitting. Preferably a sweater for me, because I’ll never get a quiet moment to start one if I’m not isolated in the woods somewhere. If I could be so bold, I’d request some berry lemonade and fresh fruits and veggies. Back in reality, I love spending my days off with the kids, playing and lounging, mostly.
Loopy: You need to jump in and start yourself a sweater, even if we can’t provide the sequoia part! Thanks for being in the Limelight today. Anything else you’d like to add?
Angelina: I feel like the luckiest mama around, doing what I love and spending my days with those I love. Thanks so much for the chat, Loopy!
I hope y’all had a great weekend and stayed safe with the storms. On Wednesday’s blog, I have a few “The Day Loopy Almost Flooded” photos to share with you. (aaack!) On Friday, I’ll tell you about our next Loopy Ewe Challenge, which is going to be fun.