Monday, December 10, 2007

Sheri Berger- The Loopy Ewe!!

Is there a knitter in the world that doesn't know what The Loopy Ewe is? Or the wonderful woman behind the phenomenon? Sheri Berger is the creative owner of The Loopy Ewe, a predominantly internet business focusing on all things yarn, located outside of St. Louis, Missouri. There are drop in's to be sure, but most of the Loopy Groupies, as she calls the faithful, come to her from her website or her blog. It does seem that everyone loves Sheri! She very generously sat down to answer some questions for me---- thanks Sheri!

(KC) You seem to live life large Sheri! We've all read about your life and through the blog lately from College Guy heading off to the recent move. What do the holidays mean to you?

(SB) I love the holidays because it means seeing family and friends, having a little time off work to get some extra knitting in, decorating the house, and enjoying cold weather and fires in the fireplace (with a Peppermint Mocha by my side.)

(KC) mmmmmmm, sounds good. Personally at this time of year I crave the White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha but that's a small enough difference not to be mentioned!

(KC) Sheri, you are always so generous with your praise of others, and your love for your family on your blog. If you had to give an answer, can you tell me what has been your greatest gift in 2007?

(SB) The wonderful people that I have met through The Loopy Ewe!

(KC) Do you succumb to the holiday gift knitting bug?

(SB) Well, somewhat. I wish I had time to knit more gifts, but I do knit some.

(KC) Ah! The dreaded time thing! I firmly believe that the majority of knitters suffer from that disease! Do you have any plans for gifting this year?

(SB) Socks and fingerless mitts!

(KC) Ha! I would expect that you would have a sock or two up your sleeve, or should I say your fingerless mitt?

(KC) How do you plan to celebrate the holidays this year Sheri?

(SB) With family and friends both here in St. Louis and also in Iowa. We have some fun traditions that we like to do every year, too.

(KC) Do you have a favorite holiday recipe you would be willing to share?

(SB) We always make Frosted Sugar Cookies (below):

Julia's Sugar Cookies from Sheri

2 sticks margarine (1 cup)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 Tbl. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
Frosting Glaze

Beat together margarine and sugar. Add eggs, milk and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and baking powder and mix well. Chill in plastic wrap for 4 hours (or overnight is even better).

Roll out on well-floured surface. Cut and bake on lightly greased cookie sheet (or baking stone.) 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Cool and frost.

Frosting Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
food coloring
milk to desired consistency

Let glaze set until dry.

(SB) And Mint Sugar Cookies (below)

Mint Sugar Cookies from Sheri

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (10 oz.) mint-flavored chocolate chips

Combine 1 cup sugar and oil. Beat in eggs and vanilla till creamy. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in mint chips. Use 1 rounded tsp. of dough. Roll into balls and roll in 1/4 cup sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

(KC) I have to say that both of those cookie recipes sound really good but I'm particularly interested in making the Mint Sugar Cookies! I'd be in the kitchen right now as a matter of fact but I don't have any mint-flavored chocolate chips in the house! You can bet I'll pick up a bag the next time I'm out! I don't quite know why I'm so 'minty' this year!!! (Said while planning a route to the Post Office that goes by Starbucks so I can score a Venti White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha!)

(SB) We also love to make fudge (the recipe off the Marshmallow Creme jar is our favorite.) I know we have some non-dessert dishes we make, too, but the sweets are the fun ones. :-)

(KC) Sweets are always the fun ones. I never think they are so much fun when it means longer on the elliptical though! I also just received an early Christmas gift, "Nigella Express" by Nigella Lawson that has some really wonderful sounding must make dishes!

(KC) I know that you are incredibly busy with The Loopy Ewe! Your blog tells us all that time is extremely tight and time off is quite valuable. Do you have any secrets or tips for maximizing your knitting time during the holidays?

(SB) Yes, rent lots of movies and schedule "Family Movie Nights" once a week in November and December to "spend time together and relax in the midst of holiday chaos." You don't have to mention you're also scheduling these just to get more knitting time in. (ha!)

(KC) Great idea! I don't have a family all under one roof any more to schedule family movie nights anymore but it does make me think that it is the scheduling time to gift knit that is the most important thing! You know how it goes..... we always make time for others before we make time for ourselves!!! I wonder why that is?

(KC) Talking about scheduling, what things do you do just for yourself in this crazy busy time of the year?

(SB) I like to take a day to go shopping in a little historic district near us in December, and I also make sure that I schedule a few lunches with friends in there as well.

(KC) Sounds like a trip to St. Charles to me! That is one of my Christmas traditions as well! My partner and I vigilantly schedule a trip to historic St. Charles on evening during the season, if it happens to be not so doggone cold--- that is a bargain! We like to arrive around 4 so we can get a great parking space right along Main Street, and our first stop is always the winery for a leisurely sit around the fire pit outdoors and a couple of glasses of port! Then we walk and shop along Main, enjoying the vintage Santa's from around the world and the character actors on the route. We grab a bite to eat and enjoy the magic of the lights and candles and really feel the magic. My night is never complete without stopping by the old timey vendor selling chestnuts in a paper sack. Splendid! Now I just can't wait to go!

(KC) I know you have to knit a lot of swatches and putter with the great yarn at The Loopy Ewe. Is there anything special on your needles right now that you’re knitting just for yourself?

(SB) A Moebius Shawl out of Wollmeise yarn, and some alpaca blend socks.

(KC) They both sound absolutely wonderful! I can't wait to see pictures on your blog!

(KC) Okay, time for THE question this year--- I'm having such fun with it and I can't wait to hear your answer! Ready? With a very special knitting friend in mind, think of the perfect gift you’d like to give this year. If it were a true splurge, what would you choose? How about if you were a bit more budget minded?

(SB) Definitely a fun knitting bag - either a Ham's Jam bag or an Offhand Design Bag. If I wanted to stay within a smaller budget, then either the Maruca Bag or even a Loopy Ewe Totebag. I think one can never have too many bags. :-)

(KC) Amen sister!

(KC) Although I have given my friend Santa a long list from fellow knitters this year, there is always room in the sleigh! What would you like him to bring you this year?

(SB) A spinning wheel! I just learned to spin. But I'm not sure which kind I'd like yet. I'll try a few out and let you know so that you can tell Santa.....

(KC) MMMMMMM, I see! ***A note to Blitters----- we did this interview BEFORE Miss Sheri bought a spinning wheel of her very own, unable to wait for Santa at all!

(SB) Hee! You're right - I couldn't wait!!! So now all I want from Santa is more roving and about 6 more hours in each day so that I can get all of my spinning and knitting done. :-) :-)

(KC) You have knitters from all over the world who are Sheri fans or Loopy Groupies! Or both of course! Do you have any holiday greetings you’d like me to pass along for you? They're all listening you know!

(SB) We have the best Loopy friends in the world. Hi and hugs to all of you. :-) You know we love you here!

(KC) When the holidays are over and it's all said and done, as you are relaxing knowing that despite the odds you got it all done----- what will you be doing?

(SB) Stocking new yarns and lines for the new year, definitely. (We have fun doing that!)

(KC) And we appreciate that as well! Hope you get plenty of r&r in though!

(KC) The Loopy Ewe has been a huge success in the knit world this past year, you’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know about you! What has been your secret to success?

(SB) We love what we do, and we never forget that we're earning business from all of you wonderful knitters every single day. We never take that for granted.

(KC) I know I can’t be the only one who wants to know………… do you ONLY knit socks?

(SB) Well, no, but that's definitely my FAVORITE thing to knit! I also love fingerless mitts, and I have a few shawl patterns and lace yarns set aside that I really want to do. I also have a Log Cabin blanket that I'm working on in blues and browns, and a sweater that I'd really like to finish. It's short-sleeved, so I have until Spring of next year, right?

(KC) Absolutely! Right now spring seems very, very far away!

(KC) I understand that it would be impossible to choose a favorite yarn, a favorite vendor or a favorite designer as The Loopy Ewe carries a dizzying array of GREAT yarn! Can you narrow down a few things that you thing are really extraordinary?????

(SB) I actually don't add a yarn line unless I really really like it, so you're right - it's impossible to choose a favorite! I love every single line that we have (and the new ones that are on order and arriving soon!) Instead, I'll tell you some of my favorite colorways from a few of the lines:

  • Claudia: Peppermint Mocha
  • Zen String: Bart and Louise
  • J.Knits: Reno
  • Numma Numma: Baba Ganoush
  • SheePaints: Autumn Forest
  • Wollmeise: Raku-Regenbogen
  • Yarn Love: Tuscany
  • ShiBui Knits: Peacock
  • Dream in Color: Blue Lagoon
  • Fiesta: Madrid

(SB) I really do have favorites for every single line we carry. It means that I keep adding to my stash!

(KC) And you know that the bazillions of your fans will keep on watching as you keep adding new yarns and of course enjoying your stash enhancement! :)

(KC) Thanks Sheri------- and thank everyone at The Loopy Ewe for their hard work getting out those orders and Sneak Ups! Okay---- hands up---- who's heading over to shop right NOW?? :)


The most wonderful thing happened at the studio yesterday! The Mom of one of our brides picked up an order of photographs and she came upstairs and sat for a bit. She asked me how she could contribute to Wee Angels! I was so incredibly touched. She said that she didn't knit or crochet and how could she make a contribution anyway--- wow! I do have some little caps and booties to send along to Angel Sessions--- but she offered to make a few tiny little receiving blankets with a little satin edging. I know that all of the families that face the loss of a baby will be comforted by her loving gift. We sat together and shed a tear or two, and were both so grateful for our own healthy, great kids! If you would like to participate in Wee Angels, there is always room for contributions, I wish we never had to do another Angel Session but sadly, that is not the way of it.

It always makes me smile and get that nice happy warm feeling when the holidays are measured by the generosity of others. That is after all, what it is all about! It IS all about the love.

There is a fine glazing of ice on every surface outside this morning, I'm so glad that it wasn't more so that the lines went down and power was lost! It does rearrange my day a bit however. Instead of heading out to the studio via the Post Office (and Starbucks) I'll have to wait a bit while the temperature rises. I think that since I'm held captive inside my home (geez, bummer eh?) I'll wrap a few gifts and get the last few rounds of decreases done on the Knitty hat so it is DONE! I think I'll actually make breakfast for the first time in ages and ages and brew a pot of my favorite at home coffee indulgence, Santa's White Christmas from Barnie's Coffee. I grew to love that particular blend of coffee when Barnie's still had tons of retail outlets in the central Florida area and now the holidays start the day after Thanksgiving with the first pot of the year and I enjoy it until after new years when my stash finally runs out. Delish and soooooo fragrant! I'll even vouch for the decaf-- now that's high praise!

May your day be warm and filled with all of the things that make you smile in the midst of the holiday season!

No comments: