Kitty Kaboodle: On the Needles

kittyKaboodle

This is our busiest time of year, planning all the excitement for next year’s Yarnathon & keeping up with your orders for this chilly time of year, but we still try to make as much time for our personal knitting as possible. We really love bringing in our projects to share with one another so why not share them with our online family too! Keep scrolling to see what some of the kitties are working on/have picked back up after a long hibernation!

Uncia by Lucy Hague

jessJess is currently working on Uncia by Lucy Hague. She is using Malabrigo Lace in Polar Morn to tackle this tediously beautiful wrap. This design is modeled after the detailed architecture of Gothic and Roman rose windows which pairs perfectly with Jess’s love of all things spooky! When she brought this in to share with the kitties, we were all amazed by how light and airy this shawl is knitting up. It’s going to be beautiful with her purple/teal hair!

 

janine-full

janineThis is the project that would earn Janine her Long Haul Badge but, boy, is it amazing! Janine picked back up Saltwater by Heidi Kirrmaier after she looked in a stray project bag and saw how incredible Madelinetosh TML in Cardinal & Whiskey Barrel look together. She really enjoyed the ease of this pattern so it will be great for her to bring to one of the Knit Nights that she hosts every Friday evening!

tracey-full

traceyTracey is notorious for having multiple projects on the needles at a time. She gets bored easily so she likes to switch between sweaters and socks and fun shawls. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Tracey has been flying through Woodfords by Elizabeth Doherty using our 2015 Madelinetosh exclusive colorway, The Fox on TML! This cardigan will be perfect for Thanksgiving morning as she prepares pies for her family’s feast.

 

emily-full

EmilyEmily was so struck by Camp Wilkerson by Caitllin Hunter that she immediately bought the pattern & had Tracey help her pick colors in Malabrigo Rios. They chose Pearl Ten, Natural, Frank Ochre, and Teal Feather. She cast on and has been jamming on this over-sized shawl. Rios is truly a pleasure to work with – so soft on your hands and her tight gauge really shows off the simple stockinette. She’s not on the home stretch, just two more stripes and the big block of Frank Ochre and she’s done!

erin-full

erinErin has been working on her project for our Colorwork Space Mittens KAL. She chose to tackle the Galileo Mittens and is using Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering Superwash in the colorways It’s a Supernatural Thing and Spores. She is the loosest and quickest knitter here so, kid duties permitting, she will have these babies finished in no time! Now, we aren’t sure if this Georgia weather will get cold enough for her to wear them but I’m sure she would crank her A/C just to sport them!

Share with us what you are working on! Any holiday knitting? Or maybe a special gift just for yourself?

Q4 Rundown

team_banner_test

It’s October and we are so excited for the end of the year! We have new Booster Club badges, 3 new KALs, and all new Power Boosts begin today. Take a minute to read over what’s new so you can earn as many stars and yards as you can to help your team blast through space!

New Badges

  • Fill in the Blanket (20 points) – Complete your Carson Throw! (or any other 1000+ yard blanket)
  • Tail of Two Bases (20 points) – Complete a project that uses at least 300 yards each of two different bases of yarn.
  • The Braidy Bunch (10 points) – Complete a project that uses a braiding design element.
  • Winter Wear (10 points) – Complete a cold weather project using chunky weight (or heavier) yarn. Can combine multiple projects to hit 300 yard minimum
  • Marky Mark (5 points) – Use 6 or more stitchmarkers at the same time in a single project.
  • Loose Screw (5 points) – Earn this badge if your tip becomes disconnected from your cable while knitting.

3 New KALs

q4

Colorwork Space Mittens – You must use 250 yards & have 5 fun patterns to choose from. The patterns range in difficulty for new & seasoned knitters!

  1. Earth & Star Mittens by Emily Bujold
  2. Andromeda Mittens by Emily Bujold
  3. Galileo Mittens by Laura Chau
  4. Starry Mittens by Brenda K. B. Anderson
  5. Comet by Tonja Osswald

Star Stitch – This KAL has a range of yardage minimums with coordinating prizes: 300-599 yards for 250 yards & .5 star and 600 yards+ for 500 yards & 1 star. You can use any pattern that incorporates the star stitch for at least 50% of the pattern.

Orbital Space Ornaments – The pattern Orbital Ornaments by Laura Chau (crochet alternative Space Mobile by Carolina Guzman) will round out our year of KALs! These would make adorable ornaments for your tree or great stuffies/toys. Use up those scraps as 200 yards/50g per color will make many ornaments!

Power Boosts

Check them all out on one page as well, if you prefer!

Snapshots

jessgirl

If you have ever wondered why our photos are so beautiful – the answer is Jess! She has a meticulous process for photographing all of our stunning yarn so we thought we would share it with you. From the yarn being delivered to our back door to updating the website with accurate & flawless photos, Jessica is hands-on and truly knows what she is doing. We are so lucky to have her talent and eye for detail!

img_4994Yarn Arrives

We love hearing the UPS man knock at our back bay door because that means we get to unpack big boxes of beautiful squishy yarn. Sometimes he only delivers a few boxes but sometimes, usually when we place a big Madelinetosh order, he slings 15 boxes off the truck. The excitement really begins as we load up our red dolly and bring those yarn bombs into our unpacking room. There’s a barrage of kitty paws ripping at the tape and squeeing over all the pretties!

 

img_4993Check-in

As we unpack the boxes, we count every single skein to ensure our order was filled correctly. We do our very best to make sure our inventory reflects exactly what we received. If we receive 2 bags of a colorway that don’t match well, we note the different dye lots on the invoice. At this point, we pick the skein from each dye lot that gives the best representation of the colorway for Jessica to photograph. We call this box of singles “orphans.”

 

img_4988

Compare

Before Jessica starts her re-photographing process, she compares the orphans to the picture we currently have on the website. Sometimes they match quite well so there is no need to re-photo but, most of the time, they need to be re-photographed because of the variability of hand-dyed yarn. We want to give you the best idea of what your skein will look like when you pull it out of your box so this is a tedious yet necessary process! Jessica’s eye for detail really comes into play here.

 

Re-photographing 

img_4983

Once Jessica compares the orphans to the website, she begins photographing! She expertly skeins and smooths each skein to make them look super pretty. It’s amazing how perfectly Jess can skein yarn – with a little twist and flick of the wrist, perfect skein every time! She then places the skeins in our photobooth, focuses the camera, and clicks away.

Funny story about our photobooth – there is Velcro around the edges of the booth for some reason. Well, Jessica has very fine, silky hair and it ALWAYS gets caught on that Velcro when she’s reaching to put the skeins inside. If you look closely at the picture, you can see where Jessica stuck scrap yarn to the Velcro so she wouldn’t get her purple locks caught every 5 seconds! Think this would qualify for the Tangled badge?

img_4990Edit

Jessica edits each photo to color and light correct – the camera does the best it can but sometimes it gets it wrong. This is where Jessica’s highly-trained eye gets put to work. She places the skein next to her monitor for reference as she works her magic. She makes slight color adjustments and “cleans up” any dust or stray fibers that may have floated in her booth. With the wave of her stylus, perfect photos are ready to be uploaded for your viewing pleasure!

 

Save, Upload, Add to Inventory

The final step in her journey is to save all the photos, resize them for thumbnails & zoom views, and upload them to the website. Dan created an awesome “Inventory Assistant” that allows us to add skeins to inventory super quickly and efficiently.

Adventures in Photography

Jessica & Emily really like going on photography adventures to get shots of our pretty yarn outdoors or posed around the shop. Most of the time, they get great shots quickly and enjoy the break from sitting in their offices. BUT! Sometimes, things just don’t jive. They encounter ants, some forehead sweat, wind, and skeins that just don’t want their photo taken. But the end result is usually worth it. They have been secretly working on a calendar so here is a sneak peak!

april02_800

From start to finish and depending on how big the shipment is, this process can take days. Jessica is really good about posting and updating inventory as she goes and the hard work she puts into her photography definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Give this kitty some praise in the comments below!

Statistics 101

Get your pencils and calculators ready, we are taking you back to Statistics class! We are weirdly obsessed with numbers, names, and odd trends. When we find a rare slow moment at the shop, we dive right in to our database and archives! You have probably never wondered about any of this information but we thought we would share it nonetheless.

Largest order: Order 83109 @ 35,626 yards placed on Feb 17, 2014Largest Order

Other honorable mentions –

Order 135249 @ 30,556 yards

Order 141931 @ 30,437 yards

Order 82744 @ 30,000 yards

How old is ESK: 9 years

Rarest countries that we ship to: Chile, Argentina, & Thailand – We have never shipped to any African countries (big surprise, it’s a little toasty for wool)

IMG_4868

This map is in Lindsay’s office – Amy adds a star to every city we ship to!

Most popular first name: Sarah

Number of orders shipped: 150,225 (as of August 31st)

Top 5 Yarnathoners of all time:

  1. nelson1122 with 702,090 yards
  2. lfsutton with 627,377 yards
  3. missknitty1 with 557,390 yards
  4. la.nateva with 556,388
  5. sjohnso3 with 543,760 yards

Our first customer: Jennifer in Merriam, KS (October 22, 2007) Here’s her order:

1 Cherry Tree Hill – Supersock, Tropical Storm

5 Artyarns – Supermerino, Color 139

4 Claudia Handpainted Yarn – Sport, John B

Our first dyer: Claudia Handpainted – here is Erin’s first e-mail ever to a dyer!

First Order EVER

Our newest dyer: Hedgehog Fibres

Famous ESK shoppers: Stephen West, Katie Franceschi, Vickie Howell

Biggest Black Friday: 1,837 orders shipped & 10,011 items sold in 2015

Number of customers who have participated every year since 2008 (when the Yarnathon began): 23

We hope your enjoyed your statistics lesson today, students! The kitties, especially Erin, love looking through old data so hopefully this scratched that part of your brain that has been asleep since college.

Shop Stories

Shop-Stories-header

Just like anything else, ESK has little quirks and smirks that make this shop what it is. With 9 girl kitties, floods of customers, deliveries, and phone calls, there is no such thing as a normal day around here. There are odd things we have come to know as normal and stories that still make the kitties laugh to this day.

Curtis

We have two mailmen that visit us each day – one that drops off our mail like your lotto cards, returns, and love notes and one that picks up the outgoing packages. The gem of a man who drops off our mail is named Curtis. Let’s paint this picture – Curtis is a wiry man who talks a mile a minute but doesn’t really say much. We know he’s here because every day when he walks in with a handful of letters, he yells, “Mail call!” He knows he can drop the mail anywhere but he always makes sure to ask if it’s okay if he leaves it on the table.

One afternoon, the outgoing packages had not been picked up so Jess called the number that she thought was the post office. It was actually Curtis’s personal cell phone number that he gave us for emergencies of the mail variety. She left a voicemail which, apparently, caused Curtis to fall in love with her. The next day after yelling “Mail call!” he told Jess that he listened to her voicemail a few times because he liked her voice to much. Awkward.

Crystal Springs

IMG_4718We drink A LOT of water around here. Everyone is so busy rushing around and Erin’s number one rule is to stay hydrated. Consequently, we have to change the Crystal Spring water jug often. If you’ve never tried lifting one of those things, they weigh a ton! There’s two quirks that we have realized about these jugs: 1. We ALL think we are the ONLY one who has to dead lift these things because nobody else changes them. 2. Lindsay gets really annoyed when we leave the green stickers that cover the lid of the jugs all over the kitchen.

 

Friends

AlvinFor some reason, friends of the critter variety love us. Lizards, luna moths, ant armies, and many more have snuck in our door but nothing beats the adventure with Alvin. A few months ago, it was a nice cool day so Janine propped open the front door to enjoy the breeze. Alvin, a darling little chipmunk, must have smelled all the wonderful yarn and decided to come in to shop. His cuteness was welcome but the fear of his chompy little teeth were not! After a short trip to a hardware store, the purchase of a humane trap, a failed attempt that involved a blockade of boxes & cocoa powder to see if he ran out (we thought we would be able to see footprints – WRONG), and a lot of peanut butter, little Alvin was set free in the woods. May he live long and prosper…just not in a bed of silk & cashmere!

Short Quirks

Any salesperson who walks in is both amazed and confused as to what it is we do.

We all have a junk drawer in our house but we have a junk ROOM that houses party decorations, our Christmas tree, t-shirts, Knit Night chairs, and stuff we don’t even remember. Nobody is allowed in there but us – embarrassed face.

Lindsay doesn’t like that we are called “ESK Kitties” because she is a dog person.

Erin’s office is a calculated mess. She knows where everything is amongst her soda cans, Del Taco cups, and tons of papers.

Someone goes on a coffee run just about every day.

We scare each other…a lot. Not on purpose but there are so many blind spots around the shelving that it’s almost impossible not to run into someone. So, if you are visiting and hear a gasp and then a barrage of apologies, it’s totally normal.

Jess has an at home and an office yarn stash.

Everyone knows when Emily is having a rough day because she has her “mood lighting” on in her office which consists of 5 small lamps. It’s pretty romantic.

We try to answer the phone by the second ring but sometimes, we lose the phone around the shop. If we answer semi-out of breath, it’s because we were running around trying to follow the ring!

We have a shower at the shop & we don’t exactly know why. We are located in a business park so we suppose the previous renters had some seriously stressful (and sweaty!) meetings.

Everyone here loves a good pen. There is an unwritten rule that “borrowing” them is not acceptable.

That’s the end of the quirks we are willing to share. Some we like to keep to ourselves because they’re the weirdly special things that you only come to know by being a puppy…see, I’ve tried ESK puppies for Lindsay but it just doesn’t work!

Shipping Queen

Shipping-Queen

If you have ever wondered how we ship so quickly, the answer is Lindsay – our Shipping Queen! We thought it might be fun to give you all a glimpse into our shipping process by following Lindsay around for a day. She does SO MUCH for us so be ready to be in awe of “A Day in the Life of The Shipping Queen.”

2Time to wake up – Lindsay is an early riser! She wakes up so she can spend the morning with her husband before they both start their days.

 

first-breakfastFirst breakfast – before the gym, Lindsay enjoys her most important meal of the day…twice!

 

3Gym time – Lindsay and Larry hit the gym early to beat the crowds. She loves a peaceful workout before the craziness of shipping tons of yarn orders begins.

 

4Commute – Lindsay commutes an hour to work each way, every day. She has become a big fan of books on tape!

 

5Arrives at ESK – This is the scariest part of Lindsay’s day. Imagine walking into an extremely dark building all alone trying to find 10 light switches. Luckily, she keeps a pair of slippers under her desk that she immediately puts on for comfort!

DSC_0233

second-breakfastSecond breakfast & e-mails – As Lindsay nibbles on her second breakfast, she is answering all of the customer service questions/concerns that you all have.

 

DSC_0217

6 Print orders – Lindsay starts printing out the orders that have poured in over night at 6 AM to ensure your package is pulled and shipped as fast as possible.

 

DSC_0232

630 Pull orders – This is a big process, especially when the day before was a 150 order day! She turns on her music and zooms around the store in her slippers. It looks like she is on an episode of Supermarket Sweep!

DSC_0242DSC_0249

7 Pack orders – Kinsey arrives to check the orders that Lindsay has pulled & packed. Lindsay has to be sure she has chosen the correct box for the weight of the package or if it’s an international customer. She adds the prizes you all have earned and makes sure all your yarn matches nicely.

DSC_0222DSC_0225DSC_0246

9

Lunch time – By the time the rest of the kitties arrive, Lindsay is usually relaxing in the break room, playing a game on her phone, and enjoying her lunch.

 

10 Scan, Tape, Ship – After Kinsey has checked all the orders, it is time to scan the invoices so they are marked as shipped, top the boxes with tissue, tape them up, and put them on our big cart for USPS to pick up.

DSC_0239

DSC_0219

11 Load up the cart – Lindsay gets to play a little Tetris to see if she can fit all the boxes on the cart. The First Class mailers all go into giant plastic bags. Once the mail truck arrives to pick up the packages, they scan a sheet we print out (this is what creates your tracking numbers), and do their best to fit everything in the truck. Sometimes, they have to come back for a second pick up or switch to a bigger vehicle.

DSC_0216

2pm The End – A mere 12 hours after The Shipping Queen wakes up, she is ready to go home to her husband and dogs! She drives an hour home and is usually in bed by 7PM so she can come back bright and early to start this process all over again!

Lindsay definitely deserves some kuddos for all she does. If you’d like to share your thanks, comment below!

Introducing Yarnopoly!

yarnopoly_Board_Final

Drum roll, please…We are so excited to announce our newest customer rewards game: Yarnopoly! This game will take the place of Yarn Lotto cards for a limited time so see what properties & prizes you can collect before we switch back to Yarn Lotto.

What’s Yarnopoly? Play our version of everyone’s favorite board-turned-give-away game. You will receive a Yarnopoly card, or two if you are in the 10K Club, in each order you place. Open the card to reveal your playing pieces. Playing pieces could either be properties with base-inspired names, railroads, or instant wins. The 6 instant wins include:

  • $5 store credit
  • $10 store credit
  • Soak Sampler
  • Notions Rescue Kit
  • Project Bag
  • Skein of Yarn

If you collect all the properties from a specific color (ie: Navy Yarnopoly is TML Turnpike & Pashmina Parkway), you win a BIG Yarnopoly prize! If you collect all 4 Railroads, you win a $2000 shopping spree! The full list of Yarnopolies and their prizes are listed on the board above or click here to download and print a larger version.

What’s changed? Logistically, not much except for creating this super fun new game! You will still receive Yarnopoly cards in every order just like Yarn Lotto cards. 10K Clubbers will still receive 2 Yarnopoly cards. You still have the chance to win instantly but you now have the added chance to win BIG prizes if you collect a Yarnopoly.

Rules:

  1. Yarnopoly cards will start to be included in orders placed on July 14th.
  2. The end date of Yarnopoly is a surprise! We will announce when it is nearing the end based on how long suppies last.
  3. Yarnopoly pieces expire 90 days after Yarnopoly ends.
  4. If you get an instant win, send in your filled out card just like a Yarn Lotto card.
  5. If you win a Yarnopoly, send in your winning property pieces with a filled out card and we will contact you via e-mail.
  6. Non-property spots on the board are decorative.
  7. If you win a Yarnopoly in store, your prize may not be claimed in store. Please leave your property pieces with one of kitties and we will contact you via e-mail about your prize.