Designer Spotlight: Andrea Mowry

We’re back with another Designer Spotlight! We’d love to introduce you to Andrea Mowry (known as dreareneeknits on Ravelry). Andrea designs beautiful patterns, all of which are cozy. You may have seen her most popular pattern, Find Your Fade, released this past December. We recommend checking out her other patterns as well!

Loopy: Thanks for joining us today Andrea! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Andrea: I feel so lucky that my grandma taught me to knit as a child! If she hadn’t, I don’t know that I would be doing this today!! She taught me when I was around 9 years old, but I really got obsessed with knitting in my late teens. So I would say that I have been a “knitter” for about 15 years.

Loopy: What a special memory to have your grandma teach you! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Andrea: I love to knit all the things, and usually have a number of different projects on my needles. But my happy place is definitely shawls! They are the perfect canvas for me to play with color and texture and explore my creativity.

Loopy: Shawls are definitely fun to brainstorm ideas with and plan colors. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Andrea: Hmmm, this is a great question! As a designer, challenges come in a different way. Sort of like to trying to put together a puzzle, which can sometimes lead to lots of trial and error. When I was designing Ronan for Brooklyn Tweed, I had never knit a garment like that before and really had to play around to get the details to work out just as I wanted them to! It was challenging to figure out, but super satisfying!

Loopy: It is always nice to figure out a challenging problem! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Andrea: Since I first began seriously knitting in my teens, I would create my own little patterns and projects. It was before Raverly, and patterns weren’t as accessible then. I referenced a lot of Elizabeth Zimmerman books, which are so empowering, and I would just throw caution to the wind and try things out! When I was pregnant with my daughter I left my job as a pastry chef, and I finally had the space in my life to really give designing a serious go. I’ve never looked back!

Loopy: It’s so interesting you were a pastry chef! We’ll be happy to test anything you make 😉  And what a special opportunity, then, being able to spend time focusing on designing. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Andrea: I have so many favorites, for different reasons! Right now I am really loving on my Briochealuscious shawl. It is so fun to wear and I am obsessed with its playful brioche border. My Yoga Shawl is also at the top of my list, as I love how versatile it is, with so many different ways to wear it!

Loopy: Briochealuscious looks so fun and your Yoga Shawl just looks so warm. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Andrea: My favorite part of designing is definitely the knitting! To be honest, I really love all aspects of designing – even the tedious computer work! But physically knitting the sample would be at the top, and computer work at the bottom 🙂

Loopy: It’s fun to hear you like all the work. I do think it would be most fun to see how the sample works up as you’re knitting. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Andrea: Knitting is my full time job! I do also teach knitting workshops in addition to designing patterns.

Loopy: That’s awesome. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Andrea: Up until just a few weeks ago I was doing it whenever I could find time as I raised my two young children at home. Thanks to my husband now being home with the kids, I am able to work full time. I am so thrilled, as I really love what I do! I work from home, so I still get to be with my children, it’s just a little easier to focus now 😉

Loopy: What a great husband 🙂  Does anyone else in your family knit?

Andrea: My grandma still knits afghans and dishcloths! I have taught 2 of my sisters to knit, and the 3rd crochets a bit – but none of them seem to have been bit by the bug! I also taught my nephew who was a real natural, and I am hoping he continues to play around with it!

Loopy: It’s fun to be able to share your hobbies with others in your family and hopefully your nephew will stick with it! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Andrea: I used to be a chef, and will always love cooking and playing in the kitchen. I really enjoy embroidery and am really excited to expand my sewing skills.

Loopy: I bet your family appreciates what you make in the kitchen! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Andrea: Family time! My husband is a musician and it is really easy for us to just always be working. We really try to schedule in solid time to just be a family! Of course, that still involves lots of music and knitting, just in a less “work-focused” sense. An ideal day off would be making a fun breakie with my daughter, going on a family walk, and then sneaking in some knitting time while sitting next to my hubs as the kids play!

Loopy: Sounds like a great day! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Andrea: Yes! Ha! I love coffee and tea, I knit both English and Continental and I love all the colors! I am definitely more of a morning person than night person though 😉

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Andrea: Thanks for having me!!! xoxo

Andrea has provided us with a coupon code (theloopyewe) valid from today through next Friday, for 20% off of one of her patterns of your choosing, via Ravelry. You can find all of Andrea’s patterns at this link. (Coupon valid August 4-11).

Yarn Recommendations:

Worsted: Dream in Color Classy, Malabrigo Rios, Cascade 220 Superwash, Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, and Stonehedge Fiber Worsted

Fingering: Knerd String, Uncommon Thread Posh Fingering, Magpie Swanky Sock, and Cascade Heritage Sock

Camp Loopy 2013!

camp-loopy-2013It’s that time again – time to be a camper at Camp Loopy this summer! This is our third year hosting you all for Camp, and we anticipate a great summer of knitting and fun.

How does it work?  First of all, there is no travel involved. This is Virtual Camp! That also means no bugs, no musty tents to sleep in, no campfire smoke in your eyes, and no blisters from hiking up the mountain. Just lots of knitting, meeting new friends, contests, challenges, and fun!

We will be knitting a different challenge project each month, for the next 3 months. You can choose to knit for one month, two months, or all three months. There are prizes for completing your projects on time and an extra bonus for doing all three. I know quite a few of you have mentioned that your Camp Loopy knitting will be used for holiday gifts, which is a great way to get a jump-start on those projects.

camp-loopy-month-one-challengeHere is our schedule:

Project One: needs to be knit or crocheted between 6/1 and 6/30 (with a photo of the completed project uploaded to our Project One Photo Gallery by 7/1).

The Challenge for Project One – We’re starting out with a one-skein project, using a yarn that you have not used before.  You can use a single skein of Lace weight or a single skein of Fingering weight yarn, and your project must use at least 375 yards of the skein, so make sure the skein you’re buying has at least 375 yards in it.

Project Two: needs to be knit or crocheted between 7/1 and 7/31 (photo uploaded by 8/1).

Challenge Two details coming in June!

Project Three: needs to be knit or crocheted between 8/1 and 8/31 (photo uploaded by 9/1).

Challenge Three details coming in July!

International knitters/crocheters: Since we started the Camp Loopy Store Week earlier this year, we don’t anticipate that you’ll need extra time on the deadlines. Hopefully your packages will get to you in plenty of time to start on the Project One dates with everyone else. But don’t delay in ordering – get it in as soon as you can.

camp-loopy-benefitsThe benefits:

1. If you need to purchase yarn for your project, we are offering a 20% Camp Loopy discount for the yarn during a designated “Camp Loopy Store Week” each month.The first discount, for Project One, is valid on one skein of fingering or lace weight yarn purchased during Camp Store Week One (May 13-19).To get the discount, you will need to leave us an order note on the order, telling us which skein of yarn will be used for your Camp Project. We’ll apply the discount when your order comes through to us. If you’re going for free shipping in the U.S., please make sure that your discount won’t take you below the $75 level, or the website will add the shipping charge back in after we do the discount.

2.  If you have your photo uploaded to the Camp Loopy 2013 Project One Photo Gallery by the deadline, you’ll be eligible to win one of our Loopy Gift Certificates for that month. We’ll be having the blog readers vote for the Reader’s Choice Award each month, and we’ll also be using the random generator to pick a few more winners for Loopy Gift Certificates as well from each month’s gallery!

3.  If you choose to do all three projects with us (photos uploaded by the deadlines and yarn for each project purchased during Camp Store Week for that project) we will also be awarding you a special skein of fingering weight yarn, in an exclusive Camp Loopy Colorway. (We will have 3 different exclusive Camp colors for you to choose from, so that you can pick your favorite.) This luscious skein will be perfect for socks, shawls, scarves, cowls, or mitts. We love this yarn base, and I know you will love it, too.

So if you participate in all three months of Camp and follow the guidelines, you’ll get 3 projects done at a discount, you’ll no doubt earn one or more Frequent Shopper Bonuses and maybe some extra things through our Loopy Rewards Program, and you’ll get a special skein of exclusively dyed fingering weight yarn for yet another project. Cool!

camp-loopy-FAQ'sNow – here are the answers to your Frequently Asked Questions about Camp Loopy:

Q. You say this first project needs to be a yarn we’ve not used before. I’ve used Dream in Color Smooshy before but have never used Dream in Color’s Smooshy with Cashmere. Would that count?
A. Yes, that counts. It can be a company you’ve used before, as long as you’ll be using a base from that company that you’ve not used before.

Q. I’ve used a yarn that is 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Nylon from Three Irish Girls before, but I haven’t used that same 80/10/10 base from Dragonfly Djinni. Can I use Djinni and have it count as “new to me”?
A. Yes, that counts. It can be a base (like 100% merino, or 80/10/10) that you’ve used before, but it needs to be a company/base combo that is new to you.

Q. I have picked out a fingering weight pattern that will take 700 yards, so I will need to purchase 2 skeins for this project. Is that ok?
A. You’ll want to pick a pattern that works with one skein of yarn, instead. Or find a laceweight project, since many of our laceweight skeins have higher yardage per skein.

Q. Can we participate with weaving instead of knitting or crochet? 
A. For Camp Loopy, we’re sticking with knitting or crochet.

Q. I didn’t get to order during Camp Store Week, but if I order my project yarn later in that same month and complete the project by the deadline, does that still count, even though I know I don’t get the Camp Loopy discount? 
A. Yes!  Make sure that you add a “Camp Loopy” note to your order, so that we know you’re participating. You’ll still be eligible for the project drawings and prizes for that month, and if you finish all three projects by the deadlines, you’ll still get the bonus – a free skein of that luscious yarn, exclusively dyed.

Q. I want to participate using yarn from my stash. Does that still count? 
A. You are welcome to participate and knit from stash and upload it to the gallery, as long as it’s yarn that we carry at The Loopy Ewe. (We always require projects in our Photo Galleries to be from yarn that we carry at TLE.) You will still be eligible for drawings and prizes for the month, but you won’t be eligible for the free yarn at the end.

Q. When you say to knit the project between 6/1 and 6/30, when EXACTLY does the timing start? 
A. You can start at 12:01 am your time on 6/1 if you’d like, although a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast might be a better idea. The project needs to be done by 11:59 pm on 6/30, your time. The photos need to be uploaded by 11:59 pm OUR time (Mountain Time) on 7/1.

Q. Should we be starting a new Camp Loopy Group on Ravelry? 
A. No. Since it’s an activity through The Loopy Ewe, I’d like to keep it as a part of our regular Loopy Groupies group. However, you’ll see Camp Loopy threads popping up on the Loopy Groupie board, based on different activities each month. For the first month, we’ll be splitting you up by Hiking Groups, and each group will be hiking a different mountain. Look for the starred mountain on the drawing on your Camp Loopy order sheet to see which group you’re in. (Note – this is totally for fun, and for those of you who want to chat in Camp Groups on the Loopy Groupie board. If that’s not your thing, you can stay out of the hiking groups and just knit! But … I’ll bet you will meet a new friend or two if you participate in the chats!)

Q. When you specify yardage in a project, can I use up the yardage by knitting double stranded? So if you say we must use 375 yards, can I do a 187.5 yard project, holding the yarn double? That would use 375 yards. 
A. No. No doubling the yarn to get the yardage. If you’d like to knit something double stranded, you’ll need to use 750 yards so that you end up with a 375 yard project when it’s done.

Q. How do I know if I’m on track for the free yarn bonus, and when will I get it? 
A. If you purchased your project yarn during Camp Store Week (or later that same project month) and uploaded your photo by the deadline, then you are on track. Once Camp is over and the yarn is ready, we’ll send you a notice to let you choose your camp colorway. You will have the option of having your bonus yarn added in the box with your next order from us, or you can choose to have it sent to you right away on its own and we’ll just add a shipping charge to that.

Q. Why do we have to purchase the yarn during Camp Store Week each month, if we want the bonus? 
A. Two reasons. One – it costs us money to fund this (the contests, the extras, the free yarn at the end) and your purchases help us to be able to afford to do this. Two – it helps us to guarantee that everyone is knitting for the project during the designated time and not simply pulling a finished (or half finished) project out of their pile and saying they did it “for camp”. It keeps an even playing field for all of the people earning the bonuses.

Q. Will we have the chance to buy t-shirts with the Camp Loopy logo, like we did last year? 
A. Yes! They’re on order and we’ll put them up on the website as soon as they arrive. And maybe a couple of other fun campy things, too. The first Camp Loopy extra is up on the website now – a drawstring project bag that’s a real hoot. ;-)

camp-loopy-on-ravelryIn addition to getting projects done along with discounts and free yarn rewards, another part of the fun is talking to fellow campers on the Loopy Groupie Board on Ravelry. We will set up chat groups each month during Camp, based on a different criteria each time. For this first month, we’re dividing you into Hiking Groups, based on which mountain you will be climbing. (Mt. Loopious, Mt. Fiberopolis, Mt. Knitsalot, Mt. Tinknomore, and Mt. Kaytwopeatwo.) Look for the starred mountain on your Camp Loopy order form. If you’re knitting your camp project from stash, feel free to choose one of the groups on your own. Jump into the discussion and share which project you’re going to make and what yarn you’re using, then report on your progress during the month. You’ll make new friends each month, because we’ll have another way to group you for the next month! (Not on Ravelry? No worries. Participating in the groups is not required. We just add those in for extra fun.)

We’re so looking forward to camping with you again this summer, and we have lots of fun things planned. Grab your hiking boots and your project bag, and get ready to roll! (Need a new project bag? We had some special owl bags done up for Camp Loopy!)

Sheri goingtoneedsomeenergybarsforthehikeupthemountain

P.S. We do have new things up for you on the website today, too. Just up: Blue Q Bags, Skein Top Draw Sock, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Lorna’s Laces Haymarket, Dragonfly Fiber Djinni Sock, and a few backordered colors of Malabrigo Sock. Check them out!

Connections of All Kinds

I like having friends who knit. Knitters are fun friends to be connected to. It’s always fun to see what they’re working on, and sometimes they even let me borrow their beautiful work to show to you (and display in the shop). For example, this gorgeous shawl that my friend Sheryl made. (Sheryl’s hubby Michael is a Loopy Elf.) This is the Dandelion on the Meadow, done in Madelinetosh Prairie in the Violin color. Isn’t it pretty? I wish you could feel it. It’s almost weightless. The nice thing about making a shawl out of lace is that it’s very lightweight, but very warm (if you’re knitting with wool or silk).

dandelion-on-the-meadow

And a closeup:

dandelion-on-the-meadow-closeup

I’m working on a Nuvem (“working” meaning I started it last Thanksgiving and haven’t worked on it since that week. But hey, it’s in my knitting bag, ready any time I want to get back at it!). It’s another shawl that calls for lace weight yarn and is going to be very warm to wrap up in. Viajante is another new pattern done in lace that you might like.

Speaking of connections, are you connected to us in all the ways you can be connected to us? (Because we love connecting with you! And also, I’m trying to see how many times I can use connected/connections/connecting in one paragraph….)

You can find us on:

imageFacebook We  post on there about what has gone up in the Monday Update, what I’ve blogged about, what might be happening in-store on a certain day, questions I’d like your input on, and then yesterday we posted a fun video taken around the shop – go check it out!

image-3Pinterest I have boards on there for Project & Pattern Inspiration, Colorwork, Crochet, Yarn Bombing, Tips, Ambitious Projects and Unusual Projects. There are so many fun things to find and share on Pinterest. I’m going in and adding to the boards every couple of days and there’s always something new!

imageInstagram This is our newest project, so watch for that to grow in the days to come. We’ll be adding photos from around the shop, photos of incoming shipments, photos of the Elves being silly, photos of Loopy being silly, and anything else that will give you the flavor of things around here.

image-1Ravelry The Loopy Groupie board is the best. Seriously. If you have any knitting question, you can pop it up there and have an answer almost immediately. It’s awesome. You’ll also find pattern ideas from other Groupies, product sharing, finished-project photo sharing, and Loopy Swaps going on from time to time.

image-2Twitter We mostly use Twitter for announcing Monday Updates and Wollmeise Updates. If you don’t have Twitter, you can still get a text to your phone when we post to Twitter. Just text “follow theloopyewe” to 40404 and you’ll get our texts on Mondays and Wollmeise days.

Come connect. We like having you around! 

Sheri whocan’tbelieveit’stimetogohomealready.
Wheredidthisdaygo?

 

Toasty Mittens

One of the classes we’re teaching this quarter is “Your First Mittens”. I wandered by the class while it was in session and decided I needed to make those mittens, too. They are incredibly thick and toasty feeling. Made from a bulky weight yarn, they really keep the chill out. You can find the pattern free (Super Bulky Mittens for Women) and I made it with 1 skein of Malabrigo Rasta. I did add a total of 4 extra stitches to the mitten to make it a little larger, and I also did 10 rows on the cuff to make them a bit longer. This pattern would be equally stunning in The Fibre Company’s Tundra or Spud and Chloe Outer. I made this pair for a gift, but since it only took me one evening of knitting, I’m planning to make a pair for myself as well.

While I was looking for that pattern on Ravelry, I came across a few other fun, bulky (quick to knit) mittens and mitts you also might want to check out: Raglan Mitts, Axel Mitts (I like the turn-down cuff), Highly Regarded Mitts, Chunky Cables Wrist Warmers, Shelburne Mittens, Basket Weave Mittens, and Herringbone Mittens.

Of course as long as you’re making mittens, you might as well make a hat to match, right? So check out these cute bulky hat patterns (and remember – bulky usually means quick-to-knit): Garden Gate Mittens and Hat, Super Chunky Super Quick Toque, Thorpe, and Bella’s Hat. With just under two weeks until Christmas, it’s probably time to do a few bulky projects. Do you like to knit with bulky yarn? Those needles (size 11) seemed so big when I started, but by the second mitten I was whizzing right along with them. Plus, I really like that the mittens are so warm and thick. I imagine it’s the same with anything you knit out of bulky yarn. There are definitely a lot of pluses in using it.

Sheri whomightbeanewbulkyfan