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Month: October 2014

How to Knit the Right Gift

How to Knit the Right Gift

There’s been a lot of discussion on the blogosphere lately about “knitworthiness.” This is how to determine if a certain person is worth hand-knitting a gift for. Rather than rehash all the wise advice that’s already out there, I’ll just direct you to: Prairie Girls […]

FO: wee Envelope

FO: wee Envelope

I mentioned in my first post that I have no idea what I’m doing technically with the blogging. Knitting and not shutting up about it, I got. Fortunately, my friend Jeni from The Blog Maven graciously set up the website for me in her spare […]

LYS Review: Looped Yarn Works, Washington, DC

LYS Review: Looped Yarn Works, Washington, DC

I first found Looped Yarn Works a few years ago. Some friends and I were on the way to dinner in Dupont Circle when I noticed a signboard on the sidewalk, advertising a knitting floor on the second story of the building. (Hey, Looped. Your signboard totally works. Good on ‘ya.)

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We wandered up, and I was in love. Hobby stores are so dependent on the taste of the owner/buyer. Sometimes this coincides with the taste of the customer, sometimes not. During that first visit, I felt like I’d found a store to my taste.

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I’ve been back a few times over the years and made Looped one of my first stops on this trip to the United States. In fact, I’ve been three times in less than a month – once to add to my stash for some specific projects I had in mind, once to sit and knit, and once to introduce a budding knitter and new DC resident to the store. Twice I had my 2-year-old with me, so one of the first things I can say is that they were very tolerant of him. Even though its a small space with lots of tempting things to throw (they are “balls” of yarn, after all), they were patient with him and pointed him to a small basket of knitted toys wearing small handknit sweaters, which they invited him to play with. I was utterly charmed.

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I was also charmed by the can of reading glasses to borrow, though I’m not there yet, thankfully!

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As I mentioned, Looped is small, but they make good use of the space. After walking up one flight of stairs, you enter the center section, where the cash registers, needles, and notions are kept.

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To the left is a room with lighter-weight yarn, with heavier-weight room in the front room to the right. The staff are exactly the right amount of helpful – there to answer questions but knowing when to back off when you just want to browse. They were eager to rummage through just-arrived boxes of yarn to find me just the perfect color of sock yarn I needed. They also had substitute yarn suggestions when I told them I was looking for a particular brand (and I ended up leaving with the great substitutes).

The store is full of beautiful knitted samples to delight a variety of personal tastes, and each has a tag listing the pattern name, where to find it, and the yarn used. I particularly liked the DC-themed samples.

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Another nice touch for the customers is a bulletin board with staff current projects and a computer to use with suggestions of helpful knitting sites. Ravelry, of course, is at the top of the list.

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Looped has a frequent buyer program. They will keep track of your purchases, and once you spend $250, you get 15% off a future purchase. And they *will* keep track – they still had me and my previous purchases in the system, even though I hadn’t been in the store in a few years. Again, a nice touch.

Things That Could Be Improved

Important note: neither of these things is going to stop me from visiting, nor should they make you.

  1. The store has a lot of gorgeous yarn – but I personally wanted more superwash options. As I said to one of the staff members, “I’m knitting a lot for babies and feet lately.” However, remember my point about hobby shops living and dying by the customers’ tastes? This one is completely personal and doesn’t necessarily apply to every customer. You can’t please us all.
  2. As a pregnant woman, I was incredibly grateful customers are allowed to use the bathroom. Because this is downtown DC, there isn’t a lot of extra space. Therefore, the bathroom is crammed with excess stock, display materials, etc. While I sympathize, a lot of the stuff was on open shelving. Even hanging some curtains to mask the shelves would make the space feel a little less claustrophobic. That said, beggars can’t be choosers.

Location

Looped Yarn Works is located at 1732 Connecticut Avenue, NW #200, Washington, DC  20009, just north of Dupont Circle. Their website is loopedyarnworks.com.

FO: Modern Baby Bonnet

FO: Modern Baby Bonnet

I’ve a Finished Object (FO) to share with you! Here’s my Modern Baby Bonnet by Hadley Fierlinger, as published in Vintage Knits for Modern Babies in 2009, which I believe I received as a birthday gift from my aunts a few years ago? I’ve been busily knitting for […]

LYS Review: The Knitting Boutique, Glen Burnie, MD

LYS Review: The Knitting Boutique, Glen Burnie, MD

As I mentioned in my first post, one of the things I’m really excited about is reviewing Local Yarn Stores (LYS). For years now, I’ve loved to seek out an LYS, any LYS, in cities where we’ve vacationed. I tend to buy a skein of […]

An Auspicious Start?

An Auspicious Start?

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing here. Auspicious start to a new blog, huh?

Aside from not knowing what I’m doing technically, I’ve really resisted the urge to blog at all. In a world with lots of really amazing knitting blogs, I’ve questioned what value my added voice would provide. I used to only read and delight in the yarnharlot’s blog, but I recently added several other knitting blogs to my Feedly queue that have saved my sanity during the excessive time I’ve spent in waiting rooms lately. However, even those haven’t been able to keep up with my appetite. Add to that all the cross-pollination that happens in the brain when you read and think about and are inspired by other people’s work, and the urge to create my own knitting space grew too much to ignore.

Another reason to get my own space comes from a New Year’s resolution I had: design, knit, and publish at least one knitting pattern – and then see if a complete stranger would knit it. A few friends graciously test-knit the pattern for me, and I threw it out on Ravelry in April… and two strangers bought it!

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Not the two strangers – just my two favorite knitwear models.

I have yet to see their finished products posted on Ravelry or know if they’ll ever actually knit the pattern, but they, and the 36 people on Ravelry who favorited it, generated such warm fuzzies that the ideas for more patterns started coming fast and furious. My brain is full of knitting, people, and I need to get it out.

Here’s what I envision for this space:

  • a place to collect my original patterns and inspirations in one spot,
  • a place to rhapsodize about other people’s patterns I’ve got on the needles,
  • a place to review local yarn stores (LYS), since finding an LYS in a random city and buying a skein or a book as a souvenir is something that delights me and that my husband graciously enables, and
  • as requested by a friend who is a relatively new knitter, a place to pass on some of the tricks and tips I’ve figured out during my decade of knitting. I taught knitting for a few years and really loved being able to show students techniques that, while not called for in the pattern, made their knitting lives easier.

Basically, I have no idea where this will go. There are no LYS in Kenya, where I currently live, so a friend there and I have been struggling to build our own little knitting community. We started a club with a bunch of beginners, but I’m hoping this virtual community will fill some of that gap. I don’t know if readership will grow or if it will become a solitary place to collect my thoughts – but I’m excited to experiment. Many thanks to Jeni of theblogmaven for helping me get started.