Friday, October 2, 2015

Buttonhole Basics Part 2: Crochet

Buttonholes are a must when you're a button collecting fiend! While there are many (many many many) ways to make a buttonhole, we've put together a quick tutorial on the basics! In our last post we covered 3 different types of knit button holes, and in this post we're covering 3 ways to crochet a buttonhole! Of course we're covering the classics, horizontal and vertical, and as a bonus there is the chain buttonhole!

If you like watching more than reading, we've filmed short video how-tos for all three of these buttonholes! Video links are below with each technique. :)

Horizontal Crochet Buttonhole: This buttonhole is my go-to. It looks clean, is sturdy, and is super easy to create. To start, crochet to where you want your buttonhole to start, chain however many you want your buttonhole wide (I did 3), skip the same number of stitches in the previous row (again, 3 for me), then continue crocheting. On your way back simple crochet across the chain! I like to crochet into the back V of the chain stitches when doing this. It's easy-peasy and I think it looks cleaner, too! Watch our video on Horizontal Crochet Buttonholes!

Vertical Crochet Buttonhole: You will need some extra yarn or a separate ball of yarn to make one side of a vertical buttonhole. I used a different color here so you can see where I switched to the scrap yarn parts. Crochet this buttonhole by working to where you want the buttonhole to begin, making sure you are crocheting towards the edge of the work on which you want the buttonhole. When you get to where you want the buttonhole, turn your work and crochet back across. Work as many rows as you want your buttonhole high (I did 3 rows of half double crochet), ending on a row that has you crocheting towards the buttonhole edge again. Pull your last loop out a ways so you can take your hook out and don't have to worry about your work unraveling. If you want to be on the safe side, you can put a locking stitch marker through that loop so it can't get pulled out by accident. 

Attach your extra yarn and begin crocheting the second side of your buttonhole working towards the buttonhole edge. You can attach your yarn in the stitch next to the 1st buttonhole edge, or a stitch away, it is totally up to you. I skipped that first stitch to leave a bit more room. Crochet one less row than you did for the first side of your button hole (2 rows for me!). Cut your extra yarn, leaving 4" or so, plenty to easily weave in.

If you put a stitch marker to hold your loop from the first side of your button hole, remove it, and get your hook in position to continue crocheting from that loop. For those who skip a stitch like I did for a slightly wider buttonhole, chain 1 and continue crocheting to the end of the row across second side of the buttonhole. If you didn't skip a stitch, don't chain and continue crocheting to the end of the row. Yippee! A vertical buttonhole is born! Watch our video on Vertical Crochet Buttonholes! 

Crochet Chain Buttonholes: Chain button holes are not only functional, they can look pretty, too! And they're beautifully simple to make. You can crochet these button holes along the last row of a project (shown here), or perpendicular to it along the vertical edges (not shown). To create chain buttonholes, all you need to do is slip stitch, chain whatever amount of chains give you the buttonhole you want, and slip stitch. 

For a flat buttonhole that sits against your work (shown in picture as the buttonhole closest to the hook), slip a stitch to anchor the buttonhole, chain the number of stitches long you want your buttonhole, skip that many stitches on the row below (or approximate length along the vertical edge), and finish it by slipping the next stitch. Note that this type of buttonhole isn't very stable and can pull when buttoned, distorting the fabric. To strengthen it, you can work a row or two of single crochet over it!

For more of a button-loop that arches out, chain more stitches than you skip in the row below, or don't skip any for a more teardrop-shaped loop. These can be stretchy, but won't pull at the finished fabric as much, just make sure that the buttons they connect to aren't placed at the very edge of the fabric, otherwise you'll have a gap between the fabric the button and button loop is connecting. Watch our video on Crochet Chain Buttonholes!

I hope you found this buttonhole tutorial helpful! If you have any questions, you ask in the comments, or send an email to our All Things Yarn expert Terry, at

Thanks for reading and happy crocheting!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Buttonhole Basics Part 1: Knitting

If you're anything like the button hoarders here (and yes, I am one of them), buttonhole making is essential in your knit and crochet projects. While there are quite a few ways to make a buttonhole, knowing the basics can be super-di-duper helpful when you are in the middle of a project and need to make some design choices. 

This blog post covers how to knit horizontal, vertical, and eyelet button holes, and the crochet counterpart blog post is soon to follow! These are just the basic  concepts. As I learned while researching this topic, there are A LOT of variations and additional options, so if you're looking for something more advanced, I suggest googling the specific thing you're looking for, or check out the TechKnitter blog (she's one of Jenn's go-tos for knitting technique help). Additionally, we filmed short videos of all these techniques! If you prefer watching to reading, there are links to videos for each type of button hole construction below. *Disclaimer: I often confuse horizontal and vertical (and left and right for the record), so please excuse my mix-ups in the videos!*

Horizontal Knit Buttonhole: This buttonhole is easy to construct and involves  knitting 2 rows to complete. When you get to the place in your work where you want to make a button hole, knit 2 additional stitches and then bind off however many stitches long you would like your buttonhole to be wide. I bound off 4 stitches in worsted weight for about a 1" wide buttonhole. Begin working the second row as normal until you get to the bound off stitches, then cast on the same number of stitches you bound off using the backwards loop cast-on method (in my case, I cast on 4 stitches), then continue working the remaining stitches on your need to the end of the row. Voila! When you knit back across, you simply knit as normal into the cast on stitches!  Watch our video on Horizontal Knit Buttonholes!

Vertical Knit Buttonhole: To make a vertical buttonhole, you'll need some extra yarn or a separate ball of yarn to make one side of the buttonhole. Here I used a different color yarn to better illustrate the technique, but when you're knitting a project, you'll probably want the same color for consistency. ;) To start this buttonhole, work to where you want the buttonhole to begin, making sure you're knitting towards the edge of the work on which you want the buttonhole. Once you get to where you want your buttonhole, turn your work and knit back across. Work as many rows as you want your buttonhole tall (I knit 5 rows), ending on a row that puts you knitting towards your buttonhole edge again. Now it is time to knit up the other side of the buttonhole! Attach your extra yarn and knit towards the edge of your work. Knit up one less row than you did for the first side of your button hole (I knit 4 rows). Cut your extra yarn with 4" or so, leaving plenty extra for weaving in, grab your main yarn attached to the first side of the button hole and knit across the second side of your button hole to the edge. Fini! You will need to weave in 2 ends for every buttonhole using this technique, so if weaving in ends isn't your jam, you might want to avoid this one. Watch our video on Vertical Knit Buttonholes!

Eyelet Knit Button Hole: I saved the best for last! I think the eyelet buttonhole is the easiest, and it is by far my favorite. The only downside is that it is a one size fits all hole, so if you have really big buttons, but are knitting with sock yarn, this one might not work for your project. This is another two row button hole. Simply knit to where you want your button hole, knit two stitches, bind off one stitch, and continue knitting to the end of your row. On the way back, when you reach that bound-off stitch, yarn over, and knit to the end of the row. This yarn over replaces the stitch you bound off. As you knit back across again, be sure to knit into that yarn over. Yay! Another button hole! Watch our video on Knitting Eyelet Buttonholes to see this technique in action!

I hope you found this buttonhole tutorial helpful! Please keep in mind that when I say "knit", I mean it in the sense of knitting across your work, not using the knit stitch (i.e., you may be purling, not knitting, a particular row). If you have any questions, please post them in the comments, or email our knitting guru, Terry, at

Thanks so much for reading! Happy buttonhole knitting!!!!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Handling Your Hand-Dyes!

Handling Your Hand-Dyes!

We knitters are a crafty bunch! We love our hand-dyed yarn so much, we've figured out ways to make it look its best, even when it's not on its best behavior.

As we talked about in our last post, color changes in hand-dyed yarn can stack up in an unattractive way in pools and unwanted stripes. Here are some ways to put it in its place!

First, you can add design elements that change your stitch count. In a small project with a thin yarn, like socks, just one stitch can cause the striping sequence to change, taking care of any pooling issues. Try adding or subtracting a stitch in an inconspicuous location to see the effect. In a larger project where gauge is not as important, changing a needle size can do the trick!

Monika figured out the best widths for her Brat Pack Headband that kept the yarn from randomly pooling. Take a look:

Lace is also a good solution. It changes the gauge of the knitted project and adds an element of visual interest that can distract the eye from and pooling problems you may be having. Heather used an eyelet pattern in her Bodacious beret to keep pooling out of the body of the hat, so it's contained to the top as a more controlled design element:

An asymmetrical shape helps with pooling, too! Rachel used this technique in her Cell Block Shawlette (top of page), along with purposely placed drop stitches, to control pooling issues. Kristen also used the asymmetrical shape trick and some simple eyelets to keep her Claire Shawlette looking neat:

Finally, Leanne took things up a notch and paired her hand-dyed yarn with a coordinating solid color to bust up color stacking and pooling in her Scrunchy Heart Legwarmers- so cool!

These are just a few tips - do you have more? Share them in the comments!

Happy Knitting!


[Yarns shown in photos are Lorna's Laces Limited Edition colorways '15 June - The New Black (still available in Helen's Lace) and '15 July - Brat Pack]

Thursday, June 11, 2015

All About Hand-Dyed Yarns!

Hoards of Hand-dyes! Chris's Glacier Sweep Shawl, Monika's Avenger Cape in Craigh na Dun, Baah La Jolla Yarn, swatch of Rachel's Outlander MKAL 2015 Shawl, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Christmas at Downton, Kristen's Edith's Secret Shawl, Phydeaux Soie in Mon Amour, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Devon

Exciting things are afoot...or a-needle, we should say: we're kicking off a celebration of hand-dyed yarns at Jimmy Beans Wool, and you're invited to the party!

Just don't be tardy.

For the party.

Yes, I just wrote that.

Along with a series of instructional articles in our next few Newsletters, we'll be taking and in-depth look at each type of hand-dyed yarn we carry and how to get the most out of it. Now that's something to celebrate!

Monika's Avenger Cape in Assemble!

And what better way to get our party started than with Lorna's Laces? It was Lorna Miser herself who inspired Laura to start her own yarn shop, so one could say that JBW wouldn't exist without Lorna's Laces. Together, we've created a series of Limited Edition yarns that celebrates everything pop culture, from our favorite TV shows to current events around the world.

Rachel's Outlander MKAL 2015 Shawl in Craigh na Dun

Though they dye solid and tonal colors, Lorna's is best known for their variegated yarns, especially the bright, saturated colorways that knit up into amazingly colorful, one-of-a-kind creations! One look at a garment and you can tell it's Lorna's - there's just no other yarn quite like it out there! You can see what I mean in the garments pictured above.

Lorna's Laces yarn gets its distinct look from the special hand-dye process: the dyers plan a colorway down to the last detail, including the sequence in which the colors will appear on the skein. Then, the hanks of yarn are painstakingly dyed section by section. The final result is a circular hank with an almost color-blocked look, but when it's wound into a ball and knit up, the colors appear in the knitted item in the same sequence they were dyed on the skein, giving that fun, variegated effect we love so much!

Autumn's Magrathea Shawl

Now, as gorgeous as these yarns are, they have their challenges - most notably, when your project varies in size or shape, the colors line up differently in each row, sometimes causing unwanted striping or "pooling", which looks like irregular "blobs" of color on your project. Some people love this effect - it is quite artistic, after all! - but sometimes it can detract from the look you're going for.

An example of pooling in the Outlander Shawl - in this case, the symmetry makes it an appealing design element!

So, how to solve it? Wouldn't you like to know! And we'll be telling you in our next post :)

Let us know your other favorite variegated hand-dyes! We love Baah Yarn, Lotus Yarns, Becoming Art, and the list goes on! What's on your list?

Happy Knitting (with Hand-Dyes!)!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Drop it Like it's Hot (your stitch, that is...)

Top: Monika's Deep Sea Shrug/Wrap; Bottom: Diagonal Drop Stitch Shawl, Drop Stitch TShirt, Drop Stitch Scarf

We've been dropping stitches left and right lately...and loving it!

No, we haven't lost our minds. Not THAT kind of dropped stitch - we mean "drop stitches" - the kind you drop on purpose for an artistic effect!

It's like lace...with a little cheat. Kind of like how when I'm reading a book that I hate, I speed-read to finish it faster, and my husband calls it "cheating at reading".

But you didn't really need to know that. :)

Drop stitches create an open, airy fabric that's great for shawls, scarves, and even sweaters that can be worn over tank tops. So drop some stitches and let that breeze flow through!

But where to start? Well, here's a place:

Leanne and Rachel are here to help!

As Leanne and Rachel so helpfully explain, many drop stitch designs are accomplished by making yarn-overs on one row, and then dropping the extra yarn off the needle on the next row. Genius! 

Monika used this technique in her Deep Sea Shawl/Wrap, pictured below in Yarn Carnival Fire Dancer in our May Micro Brewed Series color, Jacques Cousteau. Gorgeous!

Other drop-stitch designs (like the vertical lines you see in the orange sweater in the top photo) are created by dropping a stitch off the needle and letting it unravel all the way down to the cast-on edge. The cast-on keeps it from totally unraveling, so you're safe! Whew! And you get a vertical row of lacy eyelets with just a flick of the finger. It's like magic!

Does that make us magicians? Yes. Yes, it does. Stitchmagicians!

Now get out there and make some stitchmagic. Practice up and you'll be all ready for THIS:

What the what! It's Rachel's latest Mystery Knit-Along, where you binge on clues as you binge on the newest episodes of Orange is the New Black on Netflix! It starts June 12th, and the mystery item features drop stitches in a new and interesting way! But that's all I can tell you, or I might have to kill you! 

Just kidding. I'm a lover, not a fighter. But I will fight for yarn.

Seriously, though, you're gonna love this Binge's so genius, it's nearly criminal!

OK, I'll stop now. But one last thing: don't forget your yarn! Pick up a Binge MKAL kit - it includes the download code for the pattern, too - or grab any skein of Sportmate and let them know in the notes you want the download code, and they'll add it to your order for just $3!

Happy Knitting!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

All About Reversible Cables!

Erika's Outlander Shawl in Fable Fibers Novel and TML; Rachel's Moebius Braid Cowl

Suddenly, we can't get enough of reversible cables.

And why not? They're pretty awesome. Just take a look.

As anyone who had the pleasure of knitting Rachel's 2015 Outlander Mystery Shawl (above, in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Limited Edition color Craigh na Dun) knows, they're not hard to execute, but the results are amazing - beautiful cables that look as good on the back side of the fabric as they do on the front! Which comes in mighty handy when you want both sides of your project to be equally gorgeous (and who doesn't?). Scarves, cowls, and shawls that wrap around your neck or get tossed over a shoulder certainly fall into this category.

Like the Moebius Braid Cowl Rachel designed for Knitty, below:

Reversible Cables glean their magic from a simple stitch we all know and love: rib. Surprised? We were, too. It seems that easy k1, p1 rib has some hidden talents. Namely, if you pattern cables with it, the backs of them look the same as the fronts, a quality we already make good use of in everyday rib on collars, cuffs, edgings, and more. 

Here's a closer look of one of the cables in my Outlander Mystery Shawl. Look familiar? It was formed by keeping the k1, p1 stitch pattern as I knit the cables off the cable needle.

The rib stitch keeps the cables nice and stretchy, too. Bonus!

Want more? This great video from Rachel explains the ins and outs of this handy trick, and shows you how to do it, too! Keep that one in your back pocket. You're welcome.

Let us know what sorts of projects you've used reversible cables in. We'd love to see them!

Happy Knitting,


Friday, May 8, 2015

The Game is On! Game of Thrones MKAL Progress

The Game of Thrones Mystery Knit-along has officially begun! Kristen posted the first clue on Ravelry on May 3rd, and Ravelers grabbed their needles and cast on for this bulky-weight mystery project inspired by Tyrion Lannister. Using Lorna's Laces Cloudgate in our April 2015 Limited Edition color, Casterly Rock, the first clue flew by and we soon had the beginning of something special on the needles! Take a look at some of the progress Ravelers have made:

Jennilynn's Mystery Project in Casterly Rock that eyelet lace I spy in there? It's making that hand-dyed yarn look great!

moonrevel's Game of Thrones Mystery project is looking nice!

Some Ravelers have chosen alternate colorways, and they look gorgeous as well!

CakerKnits chose Cloudgate in the Campbell colorway

Our Leanne chose Prepare to Dye (another Lorna's Limited Edition color!) for her colorful creation

And different yarns are knitting up quite nicely, as well!

knitwitkara is using Classic Elite Chalet and she thinks it's heavenly!

annelacanne is proving Cascade 128 is also a great choice! (We have it in Superwash, too!)

How is your Game of Thrones mystery project looking? Share some photos with us!

We can't wait to see what next week brings! You can read even more about it over here on Kristen's blog!

Happy Knitting!