Saturday, November 17, 2007

Meet Me at Penn Station

Hi Knitters,
Back for another installment! This time it's Philly all the way. Let me digress for one moment about Saturday night. My sister and I jumped in a cab on the way to our hotel from Knitty City and we had an interesting cab driver. Apparently, he and his girlfriend were not getting along because he suddenly called her on speaker phone right in the middle of a friendly chat with us. Her name was Lisa. He would say in a slow, methodic voice, "Lisa, did you listen to my message?" She would say no. He repeated the question many times and Lisa would go silent. Then he said slowly, "Do. Not. Make. Me. Suffer. I am too old to suffer." Can we say awkward? It was weird all around. He got kind of creepy there. My sister and I kept saying, "Do not make me suffer," for the rest of the trip. He also balked at the tip I gave him which was plenty generous. If there is one thing I am it is a generous tipper. You can put that on my tombstone. I had had enough of him for sure.

I can never get enough of Craig Rosenfeld (photo above) though. He is the owner of Loop in beautiful Philadelphia. Early Sunday morning we jumped the train leaving from Penn Station for the hour long ride to Philly. The train was a pleasure to ride. It was empty, clean and quiet. We arrived at Loop early and so we walked down the street and had a yummy breakfast at a quaint little restaurant with a Spanish twist. When we finished Craig had opened his door and off we went. Loop is a fantastic shop and the customers just love it there. What's not to love? He opened Loop as an online shop in 2004 and did so well that he opened the storefront in 2005. Craig is friendly, smart, really funny and an accomplished knitter. He had us laughing a lot while we were there.
We set up the trunk show and it was a casual open house style event. I love those the best. People just come and go and chat and look and buy yarn and books. It is so much fun. As soon as the shop officially opened there was a constant stream of business. It was downright crowded. Loop has a strong following and deservedly so. Above is Melissa and look, her sweet son is clutching itty-bitty hats as he slept on her shoulder, so cute. He is wearing the turtle hat without the turtles, she hadn't made them yet. Just look at the elegant shop in the background. The displays are so clean and fresh and stylish.
A lot of the photos are a little dark due to the morning light shining through the big front windows, but the store is anything but dark inside. The natural lighting was fantastic. I love the way Craig simply placed a line of hooks in several spots on the walls and hung rainbows of yarn. This creates a stunning visual display, very clever. Loop has a distinct style to say the least.
Craig even winds your yarn with a smile. They had one of those electric ball winders and I want one! This is a slick tool. Unfortunately, it costs over $300 so I will most likely not own one anytime soon but it's fun to dream. He sold tons of yarn and books while I was there and this winder never stopped going. There were also 2 classes starting the minute my signing was over. They have a great class schedule. Loop is teaching one hour mini-classes on all sorts of topics. They are inexpensive and not a big commitment. Craig said these are really popular so you should check this out if you are in the area. The classes being taught when we were there were mittens on dpns and the knit stitch.
This sweet woman (right) drove from quite a distance away with her daughter and stayed almost the entire time I was there. She was so cute and excited about itty bitty things. I loved meeting her. She made her daughter drive because she is a nervous driver. What a good daughter.
Loop had comfy couches and a big back table. The accomodations are inviting and sleek at the same time, not an easy thing to achieve. One thing I loved was a big basket filled with crocheted granny squares made out of Malabrigo. They were gorgeous squares. I have to make some. He had the wound yarn in the basket along with finished squares and it just looked so inviting. If I hadn't been "working" I would have sat right down to make a few myself.
Sorry about the dark-ish photos, but the woman on the right is wearing her first finished sweater and it was beautiful. It was knit out from the center back in a circle with the sleeves picked up and knit in the round as well, no seams. She is expecting her first baby and was so interested in baby knitting. It was such a kind, interested group.
Here is a bright, sunny shot for you. Look at that fantastic shop, the knitters aren't bad either. There are mannequins all over the shop wearing sweaters, vests and accessories. What a seller the knitted samples are. I don't have a picture but I am going to be making this in the near future. It is so cute. Craig also had a free pattern for fingerless gloves made out of Koigu Kersti and I bought a few skeins to make those up. I will share all of that later.
Here is Craig with his wonderful staff. These young women were so fun and helpful. What a treat. Really, you just have to go to this shop or visit online. I couldn't recommend it any higher.
This beautiful young mom, Nicole, drove two hours with her husband to come to Loop to see me. Let me tell you why this is special. See that pretty baby named Maeve? She is the youngest of eight children, yes eight. The oldest is ten, yes ten. Twins? No. My uncle has eight children that include three sets of twins and two singles. They had eight kids under 5-years-old. I haven't found anyone to beat that stat, but Nicole may be even with the no twins factor. Anyway, it was great to meet her and her husband and the beautiful Maeve. If you want a fun twist to the rosebud hat from itty-bitty hats take a look at Maeve's hat. Nicole knitted it in chocolate brown and pink. She only made 3 rosebuds and a couple of leaves. This hat is incredibly cute and the colors are spot on. What a great, creative twist. I love to see people make patterns their own like this!

It was a great day at Loop. Thanks to Craig and his trusty staff for making a pleasant, fun time for us. I would love to come back any time!
best, susie
p.s. Next up Black Sheep Knitting! Do I have some stories to tell you that may just include a few more celebrities...
p.p.s. I have heard from a couple of readers that the elefante link didn't work for them. I don't know the reason because it works for me every time. It is linked to Adobe Reader so maybe that has something to do with it on different computers. I also put the pattern in complete form in a post here so you could print it out this way. Thanks for the interest.