Today’s shop profile takes us across the pond – all the way to Colorado! – to the home of The Loopy Ewe. Around since 2006, The Loopy Ewe is both a bricks and mortar, and an online shop run by Sheri Berger and her family – and the depth and breadth of the products they carry is HUGE!
The Loopy Ewe has also built a strong community, both around their store and online, with fun events like their weekly knit night, classes, retreats, and subscription clubs (which I’ve had the pleasure of designing for!). Visiting The Loopy Ewe has long been on my wishlist, even more so after working on this profile! Read on to learn from Sheri what makes The Loopy Ewe so special.
Many of my readers are located in the UK and may not be familiar with The Loopy Ewe. Tell us a bit about The Loopy Ewe. How long have you had your shop and how did you get started with it? How did you come up with the name?
We started The Loopy Ewe back in 2006. My daughter and I had gotten into sock knitting and were finding it difficult to find fun sock yarns at our local yarn shop. We thought a store dedicated to just sock yarn would be great to have, so we set aside a corner of our basement and jumped in! (Ok – I did do several months of research, and then our son spent several months building the website. So I guess it was a little more involved than just jumping in.)
When we were thinking about a name, I thought “Loops” would be cute – only to find out that someone else had already thought of that fun name. So I started adding the word “loop” in different combinations, and came up with The Loopy Ewe.
Since we started with just sock yarn, I wanted our Loopy sheep logo to have red socks on his feet. All mis-matched, of course. By the time the shop was a year old, we had added in other types and weights of yarn and had outgrown the basement, so we moved into a brick and mortar space. After five years and a couple of expansions, we packed up again and moved the whole shop to Colorado, because we had always wanted to live out here.
The Loopy Ewe is definitely a family business! How did you draft your family to get involved? Do they all knit?
They were drafted by default! In the beginning when we were just starting out, I couldn’t afford to hire help, so they were the help. (And I have to say, they were all very willing to jump in and do what was needed. I didn’t need to twist arms.) Now we have employees but our whole family still works in the business. My husband does all of the photography for the website, our son built, maintains and updates the site itself, and our daughter does media and marketing for us. I feel really lucky to get to work with all of them and to be able to brainstorm ideas with them.
You run a lot of clubs and events – even retreats! – through the shop. Tell us about that and what your community of makers is like and how you’ve developed that community.
We do have a lot going on! But we love being more than just a place to buy yarn or fabric. Having things like our Camp Loopy, Loopy Academy, Giftables, and Spring (or Fall) Flings gives us a chance to do some fun and unique things, and interact with our sweet customers in new ways. We have the best customers, and it’s fun to get to know them better through these events. (LZB: I’ve also just discovered The Loopy Ewe webcam – talk about a way to live vicariously!)
Do you (or your family) dabble in any of the other fibre arts (spinning, weaving, crochet, etc)?
I have learned to spin, weave and crochet, just to be familiar with the things that our customers like to do. I actually like all of those things, but knitting is still my favorite. I did make both my husband and son try knitting when we first started the business. I thought they should have a feel for what we were going to be doing. But neither of them liked it enough to do more than a few rows. My daughter still knits a lot, though!
Tell us about Colorado – what is the knitting (or crafting scene) there like?
Colorado is wonderful – gorgeous mountains, lovely weather, and beautiful scenery. The Fort Collins area where we live is very artsy and full of creative people. We have four yarn shops here in our town and we all stay busy! Interweave magazine is located in Fort Collins, so they bring different designers to town from time to time for photo shoots and classes. And the Estes Park Wool Market is well known in the area and happens in June.
I notice your shop also has lots of lovely fabrics. Are you a knitter first and sewer second, or the other way around? Do you play favourites?
I learned to knit when I was young, but I think I made just a couple of things and then got busy with other stuff and gave it up for a time. (Although I was in a play in high school and my character had to sit in the jury box and knit during the court scenes. That was a relaxing play!) I learned to sew at a young age as well, and really did much more sewing and quilting for years, growing up. I came back to knitting when our daughter was in her teen years because she wanted to learn and it was something fun that we could do together. Now I still knit more than I sew, but I do have a whole list of quilts that I’d love to make some day.
Do you have a memory you can share of how you first got into the world of knitting or crafting? Who taught you to knit or how did you fall in love with it?
My grandmother taught me how to knit. I’m sure it was one of those early teen summers where we had nothing to do and were totally bored, willing to give knitting a try. I didn’t really fall in love with it then, but when I came back to it ten or twelve years ago, I was quickly smitten. I haven’t put it down since.
What is your favourite thing about being a yarn shop owner?
Wandering the aisles of color, dreaming of new projects and being inspired by the yarn. I supposed I could do that without owning the shop, couldn’t I? 🙂 But by owning the shop, I get to pick all the yarn lines and colors that I love, so the shop is filled with things that appeal to me. That’s a bonus.
If you weren’t running The Loopy Ewe, what would you be doing?
I might be teaching. I was a teacher before I “retired” to have kids and be home with them. Or I might have started some other business by now. Even with all of the responsibilities and challenges that come with having your own business, I do like it. There’s always something new to learn and always some other possibility down the road.
Any plans or exciting things happening with your shop in 2015 that you’d like to share?
Oh, we always have fun things going on at The Loopy Ewe! We just announced our Camp Loopy for the summer. This is a virtual camp with monthly challenges (yarn or fabric), and this is our fifth year hosting the Camp. It’s a fun way to get to know other knitters around the world and get some projects done, too. And in the fall we’ll start back up with our Loopy Academy – also a fun way to learn new skills and complete challenges. Of course we always have new yarn lines, new projects, and new contests waiting in the wings. It’s never boring around here!
Thank you so much Sheri for sharing The Loopy Ewe with us! Now I want to visit the store even more…