Sunday, December 06, 2009

Tulsa & Loops

Hi Knitters,
Well, what a week that was. I am home after an adventurous four days on the road. The time in Tulsa started with an extremely late arrival on Thursday night. I think I got to my hotel around 1am, which for me is not good. I am an early bird not a night owl. The next morning I was picked up around 7am for a live tv segment on a local news show. When I awoke the next morning after a few hours of restless sleep, I went to take a shower only to find that the shower in my room did not work. I had a newly remodeled room and there was something wrong with the shower lever. I called the front desk and they sent up a hotel engineer and a security guard. They couldn't get it to work either. They offered me another room to take a shower in (not to move, just to shower in, kind of like a dorm or something, wonderful). By this time it was 6:30 and there was no time left. I whipped my hair into a ponytail and grabbed my trunk show suitcase and headed out the door. Only me.
The tv went great. The producer said they would put the clip up online but they didn't so I don't have a link to share. I would have liked to have seen the segment. When I returned to the hotel there was a lot of shuffling around but eventually the shower was fixed.

The owner of Loops, Shelley, kindly drove me around and I appreciated that so much. She is a firecracker and fun and nice to be around. She took me out for lunch with a few of her staff members and a lovely Itty-Bitty fan and blog reader, Lee Ann. It was wonderful company and fantastic food. I had a great time.
Let me tell you a little about Loops. The shop is located in an upscale outdoor mall that is just gorgeous. It has character and a good mix of local and national stores and restaurants and bakeries. It is spectacular. Shelley's yarn shop has been open for 5 years and is a bubbling, energetic, community of knitters. The shop is fashion-oriented, featuring the hottest trends going on in the knitting world. The staff is simply incredible. I know this because on Friday I spent time in the busy shop just kind of soaking it in. The shop is fully staffed with plenty of hands on deck. They were amazingly kind, helpful, friendly and upbeat. They were working so hard when I was there. It was a great sight. All is well in the knitting world in Tulsa, that's for sure.
The store has enormous picture/display windows which lend themselves to the light and fresh interior of the shop. The shop inside has a great energy and an easy bustle that is enjoyable and inspiring.
Every detail is looked to when you get inside. The main focus is customer service and ease through organization. The inventory is ample, inventive and unique but also includes every staple yarn you could possibly want. It is truly a beautiful treat inside. Shelley, the owner, is trained in marketing because she also owns a successful advertising firm and you can tell. Shelley is full of ideas and is a true knitter down to her soul. She knows her store and products through and through and she is always thinking of new ways to improve and keep things interesting. She could talk about yarn and knitting and patterns for days. She is full of information that is keen and in-tune with what is going on in the current knitting world both online and locally. Tulsa is very lucky to have this innovative shop with Shelley leading the way. Wow, it is all impressive.This wall is one of the best features in the shop, it is called Hot Loops. The shop features its own "hot" pattern picks and I think it is changed out 2-3 times a year. This is about the best idea for a yarn shop I have ever seen.
The top box is a big photo of the featured project. Here is where it gets really good and easy for the customer. Underneath the photo you can reach in grab the knitted sample to hold and get the pattern right there. Then directly under that you can reach in and grab the suggested yarn. How great is that? What an ingenious set up! I love that. Great job, Shelley!!
The store is warm and urban looking at the same time. Everything is so well done and attractive, inviting and appealing. Samples are pouring out of every corner. You cannot come out of there without a million new ideas for your knitting. Inspiration abounds.
The friendly staff is constantly cleaning up the shelves, winding yarn, chatting. It is really homey and comfortable. Everyone is welcome. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly and willing to help. They make the shop.
To make things even more inviting for mommies and grandmas, there is a gigantic play area with French doors so you can see in but keep the kids contained at the same time. That Shelley's always thinking.
It is well-stocked to boot. Shelley, being the mom to three, is really thinking about how moms love to knit but it can be difficult to go to a yarn shop with little ones in tow. I thought this was fantastic and I would have absolutely loved this when I had little ones with me years ago.
The store room is even fun to look at. It is so good in every nook and cranny of the shop.On Saturday, I had my event at the shop. When I got to the shop, there was a stack of books that people had already bought for me to sign so that was nice. It was a meet and greet and book signing. Although the turn out wasn't big in numbers, the knitters who did take the time to come were truly special and I had so much fun meeting them. One woman brought her Ribbit and a wonderful hat she had just knitted from the hat book to share. She was adorable and excited (I wish I had a photo).

This little sweetheart really enjoyed the toys. I loved seeing her peek over the table at the toys.
This isn't a great photo, but this little girl focused in on Wrap Me Up Puppies, which are becoming a favorite from the book. She kept passing them back and forth to these kind knitters who happily played along. This went on for a long time. Her mom bought the book and the yarn to make the puppies right away. I think the girl's name is Lily. She was so cute.
It was fun to see her enjoying the toys so much.
These two were so much fun. Ginny is on the left and Keitha is on the right. They drove in from Oklahoma City for the event and sat next to me and knitted for a long time. I loved this because we could chat. I really enjoyed them, they were so sweet. Ginny had me sign her books and her Itty-Bitty Hat book was nearly worn right out. She also had almost every page tabbed. That warmed my heart, I do that same thing with the books I love.
That is Shelley chatting with a customer. Shelley is really amazing and I can't say enough good things about her. Her energy and love of knitting drives the shop. She was a wonderful host.
Here are some more fun Itty-Bitty fans. Ginny and Keitha are on my left and Cathey is on my right and Julie is next to her. These ladies were awesome. I really enjoyed meeting them. Thanks for stopping by!
This is Lee Ann who took the day off of work on Friday to join the Loops team and me for lunch and to hang out in the store. It was a pleasure to meet Lee Ann. She knew every blog post I have ever written by heart. I thank her for her support and fun-loving nature. She is a gem.
Cathey is a newish knitter. This is her version of the Braided scarf from my Spud & Chloƫ blog (it's a free pattern). It is made out of Outer. Here is the link to the pattern if you are interested. Instead of the I-cords, Cathey knit garter stitch strips and braided those. I loved the look!
Here is another little girls who just loved the toys. She, too, was at the perfect height to look over the edge of the table and reach the toys. Her mom works at the shop, too. They hung out for a bit. She also liked the nesting dolls.
Here is Lee Ann in her Braided scarf and she also wore her Taiyo Reversible scarf to lunch the day before. She is so cute, everything looks good on her.
See, the puppies again! Little girls love putting the puppies to bed with their blankies.

Well, it was a wonderful time at Loops. If you are in the area, please stop by. They also have an online shop, classes, a blog and loads of ideas for every level of knitting. You can find all of this on their site here. I signed a ton of books that are currently available at the shop so if you couldn't make the event but want a signed book give them a call or stop by to get one!

Thanks for hosting me! You are the best and most generous hosts and your shop is really special. I loved my time at Loops.

Be sure to take a look at Shelley's blog post, too. She writes an excellent blog you may want to follow.

On a quick side note, I finished the Tiny Elf Knitalong and it turned out so cute! It is a free pattern and is up in parts right now. Next week I will put up the complete pattern for download. It knits up super slick in one piece from the bottom of the body to the top of the hat. The elf ears, arms and legs are picked right up. The only thing stitched on are the excellent and pointy elf shoes. I love this pattern!

It is good, good, good to be home! I am home for awhile now so that feels nice.
Love you, Knitters!
best, susie