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!


Loopy Q2 Quarterly Challenge

We have some fun Frank and Martha socks up in The Loopy Ewe Quarterly Challenge Photo Gallery that need voting on! (There are two pages, so be sure to view them both.) Remember, I’m drawing one name from all participants for a Loopy Ewe $25 Gift Certificate, and YOU are voting on the Knitter’s Choice Award for the second $25 Gift Certificate. Email me your vote for your favorite socks from that gallery (sheriATtheloopyeweDOTcom) and I will announce the winners of the Loopy Q1 Challenge next week. If you did not get your sock picture posted on that gallery, you’re always welcome to still submit them. Remember that you can do this by going to your Loopy Ewe account and clicking on Photos.

We’re mixing things up a bit for the Loopy Q2 Quarterly Challenge. For the months of April/May/June, the challenge is to knit from your stash – something for charity. Actually, something in particular for two worthy causes that I have in mind. Two Loopy Friends are involved with things that I would love for us to contribute to. Meg and her husband will be adopting a baby from China and she would like to take a lot of baby hats with her to donate to the orphanage. She mentioned that she was trying to get a few of her friends to knit hats and I thought, “Well shoot – WE can do that!” The thought of each of those sweet babies getting a hat knit with love is enough to motivate me. Meg thinks that baby hats through age 1 would be good. I know we all probably have books with baby hat patterns, but just in case you need one, here are a few free baby hat patterns that you can just print out. There is no rule on what pattern or what yarn – but I would say make the yarn soft and scratch-free. 🙂

Free Baby Hat Patterns: (but without the buttons on it!)

LubaThe second charity knitting idea is for Loopy Friend Janice. Janice makes wonderful felted bags. She sells them and then takes all of her profits and donates them to Luba. Here is what Janice said about her in one of her blog posts: “Let me introduce Luba. Luba is a woman living in Russia who works with young women ages 14-25 who have found themselves alone and/or orphaned and in difficult living situations. She helps teach them basic living skills as well as helping them obtain good nutrition during the long cold winters. When the young women are starting out on their own, Luba helps purchase clothes and other essential items they will need.” You may wonder why they are all bundled up in their classroom. There is very little heat in there. Fingerless gloves would be perfect for them, as it will keep their hands warm but still allow them to do their school work. So the second charity knitting choice is to take some of the yarn you have in your stash and turn it into fingerless gloves for these girls. (I also included some mitten patterns, if any of you would rather knit mittens. They’ll use those outside, too.)

Free Mittens & Fingerless Mitts Patterns:

If you do not have yarn in your stash to use, just add a note to your next order that you’d like a skein of yarn for the Q2 charity knitting and I’ll donate yarn for you to use. I know how very much all of your beautiful work will be appreciated. When you’re done, please email me and I’ll send you my address so that you can tuck them into a padded envelope and send them to me. I’ll wait until the end of the quarter and will then ship boxes off to Meg and Janice. Like this quarter’s challenge, I’ll be drawing a name for a $25 Loopy Credit, as well as having everyone vote on the Knitter’s Choice award for the second $25 credit. You can upload your photos through your account into the Q2 gallery, which will be up next week.

Thanks for participating in this challenge to knit for others! Next quarter – we’re back to knitting socks for yourself, with a challenge that is guaranteed to teach you something. Details in July!

Sheri totallyenjoyingWeekTwoofSpringBreak

Martha, Frank, and The Loopy Quarterly Challenge

DSC00069.JPGRemember this photo? Perfect example. Please note that the two socks on the right and the one on the left are not for me. The socks “for me” are the other three in the middle. Now read on to see what this has to do with anything.

There are two distinct types of sock yarns – the Marthas and the Franks. Take this quick quiz to see which describes you best:

1. When you have a crisis in your life, you: a – scream and then vent to a friend, or b- you are never in crisis-mode

2. Your coffee of choice is: a – Vente Mocha with 2 shots, or b- regular, black

3. Your knitting basket contains: a – what knitting basket? or b – each of your projects in Ziploc bags

4. What’s for dinner? a – whatever you can find in the freezer when you get home, or b- whatever is on your menu calendar for that day

5. When reading the newspaper, you: a – skim the front page & head to Lifestyle, or b – read the main stories & editorial pages

6. In a crowd, you like to: a- stand out, or b – blend in.

7. The number of knitting projects you have in the works: a – more than five, or b – less than five

8. These kinds of test: a – amuse you, or b – annoy you.

Score yourself. Mostly A’s? You’re probably a Frank. Mostly B’s? You’re probably a Martha. (Yes, very unscientific. Very stereotyped. No real rhyme or reason to it. But I think it’s a good basic indicator. What do you think?)

So who are Franks? Franks are people who like to wear bright, flashy, “look at me” types of socks. You figure, “What’s the point in wearing anything that isn’t fun?” We named it Frank after a guy we know who has worn red “look at me” socks with every outfit for as long as we’ve known him. He makes a statement with his well-known red socks.

And who are Marthas? Marthas are people who like to wear classy, conservative, “normal” looking socks. You might love big jewelry or have a fancy car, but in socks, you prefer them to blend in. We named it Martha after a calm, soothing, classy teacher I once had. When you were in her room, everything was right with the world.

Personally, I am a Martha with my socks. I confess to loving the color red (and carry a red purse) but with my socks, I tend towards the dark jewel colors and more subdued tones. I am in a rut. Thus, The Loopy Quarterly Challenge!

The Loopy Quarterly Challenge is simple: Every quarter, I will issue a new sock “challenge” for anyone who wants to participate. Everyone is welcome! In this first quarter of the year (Jan – Mar), move beyond your normal sock color choices and pick something in the other camp. If you’re a Frank, pick a nice, classy Martha sock yarn to knit up. If you’re a Martha, pick a fun and wonderful Frank sock yarn to knit up. Send me a picture of your Martha Socks or your Frank Socks (socks on rocks, socks in trees, socks in bushes – remember our fun sock photo-taking themes) and you will be entered into a drawing for a great First Quarter Prize! (Actually – we’ll have more than one drawing. We’ll have one drawing from the pool of all participants, and we’ll have the Reader’s Choice Award for the one that all of you vote on as being the best representation of the challenge.) All photos must be in by the last week in March, and the drawing and voting will take place the first week in April. So get knitting!
DSC00425.JPGHere is the yarn that I have picked for my Frank Socks. I love the colors in this Tiger Lily by All Things Heather, Penllyn pattern. I thought it was beautiful when it arrived. But I also thought I’d never wear it. You know what? Now that I’m knitting it up, I absolutely love it! I’m calling these my Happy Socks and I can’t wait to finish them and wear them. Life’s too short to wear boring socks. 🙂 (Psst – I’m using my amazing sterling silver Celtic Swan needles. Want some? I have two sets left, here.)

So are YOU up for the challenge? Are you a Martha or a Frank? (I wonder – do you think there are more Marthas in the world or more Franks? Leave a comment and tell me which you are, and we’ll do our own informal poll.)

Sheri maybeIoughttoknitALLFranksthisquarter