You may recall us swooning with excitement earlier this year over one of our new yarns, Squoosh. Whether you’ve been savouring the colours online or experienced the softness in the shop, we now have the perfect pattern to compliment. A collaboration between Loop’s owner Susan Cropper and designer Paulina Popiolek, with photography by Kristin Perers, we are thrilled to introduce ‘Josephine’.
The design process started for Paulina before Squoosh even graced our shelves, when Susan gave her a skein to experiment with. Between the two of them, the idea for a long crescent shaped shawl began to form and, with her confidence in Paulina’s creative decisions, Susan entrusted the rest of the process to her.
Paulina described to us how the yarn’s characteristics started to inform her ideas of what the finished item should represent: ‘something girly, pretty and whimsical’. Her swatching process was somewhat instinctual, letting her imagination take over and trying different stitches for the border. Though drawn to a classic picot edging, Paulina designs with an aim to involve a different technique in each pattern. Therefore, an elegant short row edging was the answer to finish the shawl.
Paulina is a long time friend and regular at Loop, producing stunning shawls that we adore. She finds knitting the perfect medium to express her creativity as it combines the beauty of art with the practicality of making something you or others can use. Her initial venture into pattern writing started when someone asked for the instructions of a self-designed garment she was wearing. Though she never thought it would be the start of something professional (she jokes that Ravelry was to ‘blame’ for that), she is delighted that her creations are finding their way out of her wardrobe to be recreated on your needles
The images for ‘Josephine’ were again a collaboration, this time Susan styling for the photographer Kristin Perers. Susan and Kristin have worked together for many years, meeting when they both worked for magazines. This artistic partnership has also seen Kristin involved with the shooting of the patterns ‘Honeyblossom’ and ‘Charm’, as well as the shop’s publications Vintage Crochet and Juju’s Loops.
Originally from Chicago, Kristin studied Fashion Design and, after working for companies such as Calvin Klein, moved to London. Writing her book ‘The Seasonal Home’ lead to a spell working with Elle Decoration and Toast as a photographic stylist. Her most recent project, ‘This is 50’, is a moving and inspiring series of photographs and interviews, exploring different women’s lives. Kristin describes it as ‘role models who can show me how to do it [turning 50] with style and grace.’
You may also recognise our charming model Ali, the latest Loopette to join the team at the shop. Ali has recently relocated to London from South Dakota to study Theatre Direction (and knitting!).
So, now you know a little more of the background of ‘Josephine’, but there is of course the all-important catalyst to the design – Squoosh! The oh-so-soft mix of merino and cashmere (with just a touch of nylon for a little sturdiness) comes from indie dyer, Erica. As she is currently based in the States, we are proud to be the only UK stockist of Squoosh. The only question is which colour…
Whether you opt the sample colour ‘Winterfell’, or a similar classic neutral…
…deep purples and pinks?
Or maybe the emerging daffodils and crocuses are putting you in the mood for a spring palate.
As Squoosh is classed as a heavy lace weight yarn, you could also chose a shade from our large selection of 4ply yarns . Just make sure you have at least 512m (570 yds) for your project.
We think the Eden Cottage Titus with its blend of merino and silk would give the subtle drape and stitch definition needed for Josephine.
If you love a pop of colour, the saturated hue of Shalimar Breathless would add a fantastic addition to your shawl collection.
Whether that’s with mouthwatering berry shades…
Or making a fresh and zingy shawl with blues and greens.
There is also the luxury of Artisan Yarns Camel and Silk, with its amazing lustre and drape.
Whichever yarn you choose, we can’t wait to see your beautiful finished shawls. Several of the Loopettes are waiting to cast this project on, so we are sure we will be seeing a few versions of Josephine on customers and staff alike!
Here at Loop we are proud to bring you beautiful artisan yarns and to see them created into everything from stunning shawls to tiny booties. So it only seems fitting that your tools match the quality and uniqueness of the skeins you choose. For crochet, we have something extra special to show you…
Furls are exquisite crochet hooks, lovingly handcrafted in a small studio in Austin, Texas. Founder and President, Harrison Richards, formed his company with the concept of creating a hook that complements the love and dedication that crafters put into each item they create. Ergonomically shaped and ethically sourced, Furls are a beautiful tool to treasure.
The teardrop shaped body is designed to sit between the thumb and index finger, while the tapered end supports the natural curve of your fingertips. The nature of the hook therefore minimises strain on the muscles and tendons of the hands, reducing fatigue and allowing for hours of comfortable crochet.
Furls source Mexican Cocobolo and Blackwood, a material which creates a hook that is light and warm to the touch, with a smooth finish allowing yarn to glide through. With every purchase, the company ensures a portion of sales benefits the reforestation of tropical rainforests, ensuring this important environment and resource is protected.
As a thoughtful gift for the crocheter in your life, or a complement to your haberdashery box, we can see each hook becoming a beautiful heirloom.
Ready to try your first granny square, but not yet sure of the basics? Why not book a place on our Beginners Crochet Class? For those of you who are already addicted to crochet (or should we say hooked ?) our Improvers Class will help you take the next steps of colour changing and stitch techniques. Though if you can’t wait to pick up a hook, we have a great selection of new crochet books to inspire and teach.
‘The New Crochet’ has 35 beginner friendly projects, with clear step-by-step photo tutorials. Inspired by its modern layout, we think this chunky cowl would look great in the cool neutrals of Quince & Co. Puffin : perfect for a quick project to keep the last of this year’s winter chill away.
With its range of accessories and stitch techniques, Erika Knights’ ‘Crochet Workshop’ is another great resource to see you through your initial stitches. These delicate hand warmers are a perfect excuse to enjoy using the soft alpaca goodness of Melange.
If you already have the techniques practiced, then ’10 Simple Crochet Patterns’ is just the thing to slip in your project bag. Sarah Hatton’s designs are light and airy, favoring cotton yarns that make us ready for warmer days (can we mention spring yet!?)
Finally, if you need your first hook to start your collection, then these colourful chaps from Rico are just the thing.
Made from acrylic, these tough hooks come in larger sizes from 7mm up to a generous 15mm, making them perfect for chunky cowls and squishy blankets.
So, whether you are starting the first stitches of a new project, or enjoying your current WIP, Loop wishes you Happy Hooking!
You may have seen this beautiful crochet blanket around our London shop, or when it was quietly released on Ravelry a few months ago. Like most handmade things, this pattern has a long and lovely history, and we thought it was about time we shared it with you. Follow the thread…
Now for something completely different – new Koigu Merino Lace at Loop! We have always been head-over-heels for Koigu’s wonderfully unique colourways; Koigu’s Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (or KPPPM) has been a mainstay on our shelves for years. It’s not hard to see why! The short colour repeats in the variegated skeins, or the delightful speckles, make for some very fun knitting indeed. The Babette Blanket Juju crocheted using some of Koigu’s wonderful colourways is a Loop classic. So when Koigu announced they were coming out with a laceweight, we couldn’t resist!
We told you a couple of weeks ago to expect big things in 2014 – well, one of those big things has arrived! Say hello to Squoosh. Loop now stocks the completely delectable Merino Cashmere Lace from this indie dyer and we’re pretty much over the moon about it. Cosy enough to keep your hands feeling comforted whilst knitting, but light enough to make a wrap or shawl that will take you through to spring, Squoosh is a heavy laceweight that’s seriously soft. It’s not called Squoosh for nothing – once you’ve picked up a skein, you won’t be able to not squeeze and smoosh and dream of what it will one day be.
The gift-knitting rush is over, and we’re back to the daily grind. It’s cold outside and we could use a little comfort. Sometimes, for knitters, comfort comes in the form of a gorgeously plush skein of thick-and-thin hand-dyed yarn. We can’t think of a better way to stave off the January blues than by working up a simple but beautiful, enormous, cosy scarf in one of the dreamy colourways of Colinette Point Five. In semi-solid or gently variegated hues, each stitch is a new colour experience, making the simplest garter stitch pattern an adventure.
Happy 2014 to all you lovely knitters and crocheters out there! We had such a lovely time over Christmas, helping you choose projects to give as gifts, helping your loved ones choose presents for you, and generally revelling in the cold weather and festive vibe. We’re not too sad the holidays are over because there is so much to look forward to at Loop in 2014. There are new yarns (!), wonderful workshops and lots of fun to be had this year, and we wanted to share some of that excitement with you. So here is a round-up of our favourite things in 2014!
With just four more sleeps until Christmas, you might think your gift-knitting ship has sailed. But with the help of the newly arrived Malabrigo Mecha, we did a little experiment and discovered that this Chunky Seeded Cowl can save the day! Knit in just three evenings, you can have a super-cosy cowl and great gift by Christmas morning.
The Christmas season is in full frenzy now, with just under two weeks until the biggest gift giving day of the year. It can be easy to be swept away in it all, but two new arrivals at Loop have the power to make us pause and meditate on the small, special things in life. Often at this time of year, knitters and crocheters can think of nothing but the chunkiest of wools for whipping up quick projects (more on that next week!), but it turns out that the perfect gift you’ve been looking for might be the one made of of the finest, tiniest threads.