Q2, Q3, and Scones!

DSC00835.JPGWow – you all must be the most giving group of knitters around. I can’t believe how many hats and mitts you all knit up for the babies in China and for Luba’s girls in Russia. DSC00838.JPGThe packages have come in so overwhelmingly, that it has been hard to keep track of it all. (Not hard to keep track of what you sent – we have big bins of those items! DSC00837.JPGJust hard to keep track of all of YOU!) Thank you so much for your generosity. I know that for most of us, knitting time is a luxury. Giving some of that up to knit for others is justDSC00836.JPG wonderful. We have 52 pairs of mitts and 37 hats to send off to Luba’s girls in Russia (plus a couple of gorgeous scarves). We have 102 baby hats and 50 toddler hats to send to the orphanage in China (plus a few pairs of cuter-than-can-be wee socks). Some of you included notes to say that your moms, friends and daughters helped with the knitting. (And Trish sent camo-foil wrapped Hershey’s kisses that she buys on the military base. Who knew there were camo-wrapped kisses?? We loved them!) Please leave a shout-out in the comments if you knitted up an item for the Challenge. We’re shipping these off to the recipients next week. I just wish I could be there when everyone received their handknits. I know how much these will be appreciated. The Q2 Challenge participants who won Loopy Gift Certificates (because we pick two random people to win) are Christine S and Tracy D. Thank you again to everyone who sent something in! We’ll do this again next year, and I already have two more wonderful places that we can knit for.

So it’s time for a new Challenge, right? As promised, the Q3 Challenge is about knitting something for yourself (or a loved one). The Challenge this time is to pick a sock or lace pattern that is a stretch for you in terms of new techniques (or just more complicated stitch patterns than you typically knit.) I typically end up knitting fairly simple patterns because I’m usually knitting while I’m doing something else and can’t concentrate too awfully hard on it. But there are some gorgeous patterns out there (and I’m thinking ALL of the Cookie A patterns, for example, and so many of the lace patterns I have seen) that take a bit more thought but will bring such beautiful results. For some of you who regularly do k2, p2 ribbing all the way up, ANY pattern will be a bit more of a challenge. Others of you have knit all of Cookie’s patterns and found them plenty easy, so maybe it’s time for an entrelac sock? You know your level of knitting and what will be a stretch for you. So – pick a pattern to challenge yourself and then knit it up and enter it into the Q3 photo gallery! We will pick a random winner for one of the Loopy Gift Certificates, and we’ll do a Reader’s Choice award with another Loopy Gift Certificate. All entries must be up in the gallery by October 1st and we’ll do voting that week. Can you add more than one entry into the Challenge? Sure! Challenge yourself over and over!

I know you want to know what is going up in next week’s long-awaited Sneak Up, right? Well there are some for-sures, and some maybes. WH is still plowing through all of the photos and plans an all-day-Saturday marathon, so we’ll see what all he can get done. For sure, the Wollmeise will be up. Also Spritely Goods, new Fiesta Boomerang colors, Misty Mountain Farms, Schaefer Anne and Lola, and Chewy Spaghetti in the fingering weight. Plus Maruca bags in the new fall colors, new limited edition Mrs. Kwitty bags, and some fun accessories that I ordered in June at the market. What else might be up: Cider Moon Flurry, Yarn Love, Yarntini, Fleece Artist, and Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome. (And now you know why I usually do weekly Sneak Ups. Too much arrives here from week to week!)

DSC00782.JPGToday’s recipe is a scone recipe that we have had and used in our family for a long time. These are wonderful for breakfast (and there is oatmeal in there – so it’s definitely good for you, right?) I included some of our scone making photos from being out in Colorado. We had expert scone lessons from Iowa Girl, who makes the most delicious scones for a wonderful little coffee shop/gift place called Barn Happy. (Her scone secrets? Cutting in the butter while it’s cold when you have a recipe that calls for unmelted butter- it’s all in the scissor action, mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, and then pouring them together and mixing – as little as possible – by hand. There you have it. The secrets of great scone-making.)DSC00786.JPG

Scottish Oat Scones

1 1/3 c. melted butter
2/3 c. milk
2 eggs
3 c. flour
2 1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. raisins

Add liquid ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another bowl. Pour both together and mix by hand until just moistened. Stir in raisins. Shape dough to form a ball. Pat out on floured surface to form 2 8″ circles. Put on greased cookie sheet and score (cut halfway through) into 8-12 wedges. Add a few raisins to the top and sprinkle a bit of sugar over all. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve with warm butter, preserves, or honey.

Are you on Ravelry yet? Loopy Groupie Heather set up a Loopy Group over there and it’s so fun to see all of your smiling faces and avatars in there. Come join the group if you’re a Ravelery person! And if you’re not in Ravelry yet – then put your name on the wait list, so that as they make their way through the invitation list, you will be on it. THEN come join the Loopy Groupies there. You don’t have to be an official LG to join – just a Loopy Groupie wannabe and Loopy friend. (And if you’ve ordered from us before – you’re a Loopy friend!)

Sheri mywonderfulmotherinlawiscomingtovisitthisweekend-yippee!!
Hopeyouhaveagreatone. 🙂

The hats and wristlets are arriving…

DSC00668.JPGIt has been so fun getting the mail lately, because I keep getting hats and wristlets for the Q2 challenge. Knitting Daughter and I set them all out on the bushes today so that we could get a picture of what has come in so far. Each one of them has been ooh-ed and aah-ed over at our house. Remember, you have until June 30th to get these in. This is a perfect way to use up some of your stash, but if you find yourself in need of yarn to use, just make a note with your next Loopy order and I’m happy to put some in there for you. I just appreciate your knitting time on all of this.

DSC00671.JPGSpeaking of knitting time, I have decided that knitting on Sundays just isn’t enough time. (Especially after the personal stash enhancing I did last week with all of the new yarns that came in. I don’t do that very often, but I seem to have really made up for things last week.) DSC00670.JPGYesterday, there were so many yarns that I wanted to knit with, and just not enough time. I’m going to have to work on that. I started a sock with one of the new lines that we will be adding in the next few weeks. Isn’t it pretty? I think this company has classy colors. The other picture is from one of our new indie dyers and this yarn is really just begging to be cast on. I thought maybe if I just wound it up it would help pacify me, but I was wrong. I still need to knit it soon. But I’m finishing the other one, first.

I have had people say “I wish I could see the colors that sold out so fast – just to SEE what you had in.” Did you know that you can go to our search feature and find them? Simply got to the homepage and find the blue box on the right hand side. Click on “Search The Loopy Ewe” and type in the colorway name you want to see. It will bring up the photo. Now granted, it’s not the easiest way to find a past-sold colorway, and we’re working on figuring out a way to do that. But in the meantime, this works. I thought some of you might want to take a look at last week’s Yarn Pirate and Perchance to Knit colors. Here are the names for a look-see: Apple, Black Water, Daisy, Dogwood, Isobel, Kona, Karma, Neopolitan, Primrose, Viola, and Wildflowers from Yarn Pirate. Perchance to Knit had: Primarily, Bougainvillea, Irises, Breezy and Pond. Both of these lines will be back in again soon. Watch for new colorways from Yarn Pirate in our May order.

Thank you for all of your fun color combinations and names! I have some of our indie dyers working on some of those wonderful suggestions. We also picked some of the names for our new Schaefer Lola yarns that will be up later in the week. They aren’t necessarily the colors you suggested with that name, but a few of your names were a perfect fit for this new batch. You’ll have to see if yours is one! I used the random number generator to pick a winner from our 224 entries, for April’s Loopy Loot blog contest prize. The winner is: Stariel! Stariel, email me your address and I’ll get this fun prize out to you. (SheriATtheloopyeweDOTcom) (Ok – links not working in the blog today, so if you want to see Stariel’s blog, you can visit her at: http://stariel.blogspot.com/)

I’m not sure about the Sneak Up this week. We have so many boxes of yarn here and WH has so many photos to take. I may end up putting things up on different days to see if that helps. But not today and probably not tomorrow during the day, so you site-stalkers can have a bit of a break! (I did get more colors of Hand Maiden Sea Silk and Hand Maiden Cashmere today, as well as another new company’s yarns. Those will probably have to wait until next week.) Sock Club packages will go out sometime next week, if all goes according to plan. I warned the postman.

Sheri 90degreestodaywhichremindedmeexactlywhatIdon’tlikeaboutSt.Louis

Gone, gone, gone

DSC00621.JPGGone: the heads off of the chocolate sheep from yesterday. (Because of course here at The Loopy Ewe we have chocolate sheep, not chocolate bunnies. If there had been bunnies, the ears would be gone.)

Gone: College Boy, heading back up to college in Indiana. We had such a great time with him at home. So sad to have him go back. The good news is that in just a few weeks – ok, 38 days – he will be back for the summer. That makes us happy!

Gone: The pretty flowers that came out in the spring-like weather last week, but froze themselves into oblivion in the 20 degree weather that seemed to come out of nowhere over the weekend. At least I was able to get a few bunches of lilacs before they froze.

But making me feel a lot better (about everything except College Boy):

DSC00625.JPGA sock gift! Sweet Hariamrit submitted her beautiful Miss Match socks to the photo gallery and I thought they were such a fun idea. So I emailed her back and said, “Cute! I need to make some of those.” She responded that she’d love to make them for me if I wanted to send her the yarn. (Seriously – I thought she must be kidding. It still amazes me when people make socks and give them to other people. I know how much work goes into each pair!) So these beauties arrived last week and have already been worn. They’re out of the Louet Sport and I think I need to make most of my winter socks out of sport weight from now on. They are SO warm and comfortable. Isn’t she wonderful for sending me socks?

DSC00626.JPGA new indie dyer! I have a whole wonderful batch of Chewy Spaghetti here in-house. I quickly picked out this pretty spring color and knit up my first sock in the pair. I loved working with it and I love how it turned out. All of our Chewy Spaghetti colors will go up in next week’s shop update and you definitely will want to pick some out for yourself.

This week’s update! Not today – but sometime this week – I’m doing a “Sneak Up”. What is that? It’s when I don’t announce a specific time and date for the shop update (which tends to incite mass hysteria at times) and instead I just sneak up the new yarns. I did do a mini Sneak Up over the weekend. Have you seen the new Regia Silk Colors I added? Check out the current edition of Knitty for a beautiful pattern with the Regia Silk. I also added some fun Regia Stretch colors to our stock. But I digress. Back to this week’s Sneak Up. We have oodles of Fleece Artist in the regular sock base, as well as Fleece Artist in the new Sea Wool sock base. We also have gorgeous colors of Cider Moon going up. I already shared the repeat colors with you the week before last, but saved all of these new colors for this week. Here is a little peak of what will be up at The Loopy Ewe soon. I could only show you a couple of shelves of each….

DSC00624.JPGDSC00623.JPGDSC00622.JPG

We also have really cool stuff arriving every week that I have been keeping from you. Can you believe it? I’m waiting for a few more orders to arrive and then I’ll put it all up at once. I can’t wait to share it with you. Fun stuff to look forward to!

We have winners in the first Loopy Ewe Quarterly Challenge! The random “pick a name out of the hat” winner of a $25 Loopy Gift Certificate is: Alison L with her Sock Thief socks. And the winner of the Knitter’s Choice Award (and thanks to SO many of you for voting!) and also receiving a $25 Loopy Gift Certificate is: Alyson W with her “Martha, to me anyway” socks. It was fun seeing all of your submissions for the Loopy Q1 Challenge!

Did anyone knit up anything fun over the weekend? I have a couple more socks almost done that I’ll be sharing soon. Both from NEW lines that we’re adding. 🙂

Sheri weatheriswarmagaintodayboyaretheplantsandtreesconfused

Good Questions and a Good Salad!

Thanks so much for such generous responses to the Q2 Challenge. You all are so wonderful! I can’t wait to see what we come up with and can ship off. I hope it’s a lot for these two great causes. Several of you had some good questions, and although I always answer blog comment questions individually, I thought these were some that everyone might be wondering.

Danee said: “Can we do adult hats for Luba too?” Janice says that yes, adult hats for Luba would be great. There is a group of knitters at her church that make scarves for Luba, but it sounds like there is a need for hats as well as fingerless mitts and mittens.

Tara said: “How do you think Luba’s girls will wash these fingerless gloves? I’ve got some pretty colors in “non-superwash” yarn in my stash. Do you think I should use it or stick to easy care yarn?” I think sticking with easy care yarn is probably best. I’m not sure how frequently/easily they will be washed, so the easier the better.

Kim said: “I thought your quarterly challenge was a great idea, and I was wondering if sock yarn would be okay for the baby hats? I’ve got tons of it, and I would try to use fairly soft stuff (like Lorna’s Laces, Claudia’s, etc.) I have zero experience with babies, so I have no idea if that would work. I’m trying to used the baby hat pattern in the Not Just Socks book.” I think using sock yarn is a great idea because 1) most is easy care, 2) most come in beautiful colors, and 3) most of us have an overabundance a bit of it.

Tracy said:I have some ecological wool that I think would knit into very nice Fetching gloves (although…it’s cream…is color an issue?)” It’s probably better to steer a bit clear of whites and creams, only because – as stated above – I’m not sure what the laundry and washing arrangements are for these groups. I have no doubt the cream gloves would be beautiful, though! Meg says that the hats will be washed in hot water in China – so that’s a good thing to keep in mind.

Dynna said: “You mention it doesn’t matter what pattern or what yarn we use. Does that mean we can use yarn we didn’t buy from you? I’m sure we all have yarn from various places and I just want to follow your desire.” Definitely use whatever yarn you already have in your stash. This isn’t a sales drive for The Loopy Ewe by any means! In fact, don’t forget that if you don’t have any yarn in your stash that will work, just let me know the next time you order and I’m happy to donate a skein for you to use and will pop it in your order. I just appreciate that so many of you are willing to donate your time to a good cause.

Darinka sent me a note: “We’re a family formed by adoption (12 years and counting now!) and I have maintained strong ties with the orphanage in China. While the hats are a lovely thought, there is no guarantee that the facility will need them in the smallest sizes provided. Depending on the facility there may be few infants in resident—perhaps mostly toddlers, etc. Also sometimes our thoughtful gifts are made of materials that are difficult for the facility to handle and launder. Unless the specific needs of the orphanage are known I would caution against the hat idea.” I contacted Meg to double check on this and she said, “As far as sizes go, toddler sizes would be loved and used too. Each orphanage is different and has different needs. Although, we don’t know which orphanage our baby will be coming from-I asked our agency if there is a need for hats. They checked with a coordinator in China and reported back that the hats would be used and appreciated.” So yes, hats are needed, and yes you can also make them through toddler sizes.

Please know that if we get more hats/gloves than these particular organizations can use, I will make sure to distribute the rest to very worthy organizations that will be delighted to have them. I just liked the idea of starting with charities where we have a connection of some sort.

And now – another good salad recipe. (I love good salads. Does anyone have good salad recipes that they want to email to me?)

DSC00620.JPGSpring Green Maple Salad

5 oz. (7-8 cups) mixed spring greens
2 apples, cubed (Gala or Granny Smith)
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
1/4 cup maple syrup (use real maple syrup)
5 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

For dressing: Mix together maple syrup, vinegar, mustard and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with greens/apples/cherries and then garnish with pecans.

DSC00614.JPGFinally, look at the beautiful socks that my Sockret Pal Rebecca sent me. She has been such a wonderful Sockret Pal and has truly spoiled me. I love the socks – they fit perfectly and aren’t they beautiful? Thankfully, the weather has turned cold here again and I’m wearing them as often as possible before it gets warm for good and all of my socks hibernate until the Fall. Rebecca – thank you again. It has been so fun “meeting” you!

Sheri
haveyoueverstartreadingblogsatnight&thenallofasuddenrealizedthatit’s1:30am?
Youhaven’t?Oh.Ihaven’teitherthen.ahem