Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

This year has been amazing and thank you for your part in helping to make it so! I have had a wonderful year personally and Jimmy's has grown so much that we are in awe of it all. We (Laura and Doug) added a new little bean, Huck to the JBW team this year, Amber is now our E-commerce manager (well deserved too!) and we have more Bean's around the shop than ever before! WOW is all I can say to all this excitement. It is going to be interesting to see where we go from here and I am so glad that I am part of the team.

I had a GREAT visit yesterday from one of my customers, Susan, who brought in show-n-tell which is a fabulous use of our beautiful Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted yarn, thanks Susan! She took a class on how to use the Ashford Knitter's Loom last year and her husband used the class and her enthusiasm to get her the loom last Christmas. Well, Susan has been a very successful weaver and her use of color has earned her a prize in her local fair, way to go! Aren't these beautiful?

The scarf on the far left is in Black Purl, then Bittersweet, Gold Hill and Fresh. I am learning to weave and am truly inspired by these beautiful scarves out of one of my all time favorite yarns ever!!

So here's to the best year yet and looking toward tomorrow for love, laughter, learning and just plain fun!

As always happy knitting & crocheting! Jeanne

PS Don't forget that the Limited Edition Lorna's Laces will be out tomorrow (bbbeeeeaaauuutiful!) and your 5% rewards will be out too, enjoy you have earned them!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Learning new things in the new year...

I hope you all had as wonderful a holiday as we had around the shop and at home too! I know this little bean had a GREAT holiday with family and friends here at my house. Sandy and her family came over, along with my daughter and her friend for dinner with us. We just had a real fun time, stress free with lots of laughter and hugs.

Now most of you know what a technique junkie I am and the new Interweave Crochet magazine has inspired me to learn more crochet. The cover piece is such a beautiful Ruana wrap that I am going to make it and of course Sandy is encouraging me too, so she will be working it up with me.

Sandy is a really accomplished crocheter, but I am a novice and decided to dive in with hooks in hand this last weekend.

The wrap is done in Tunisian crochet using an afghan crochet hook (which we just started carrying) and I picked one up and got started practicing.

I did some stash diving and came up with the Allegoro by Classic Elite Yarns, yummy linen and organic cotton blend is really nice to work with and I decided I would make a wash cloth since it is machine washable.

This technique is actually quite easy and the result is a fantastic fabric that has a wonderful texture to it.

As you can see in the picture to the right you work by hooking all your stitches onto this long hook, cool huh? Note the bottom of my piece is flared, well like with anything it took me a bit to get my tension right, so I have a trapezoid wash cloth, ah well it's just practice. I am also going to single crochet a couple of rows around it to help firm up the edges.

Now the question is what yarn to use? Hmmmmm do you know where I can find some, ha ha!

Of course a self striping yarn will be a must for this project and I am considering the Tonalita yarn, by Trendsetter, wow is this yarn pretty! Sunset, color 2348, is right at the top of my list, as I love the orange in this color which will add just the right pop to the subtle browns and gray tones. What do you think?

Stay tuned for more on this one and I wish you all the HAPPIEST and healthiest of New Years filled with all the learning, knitting, crocheting that you can pack into it!

As always, happy knitting & crocheting!! Jeanne :)









Monday, December 21, 2009

Have I mentioned that I work for the most amazing people??


Well if I haven't mentioned before that I work for the most amazing people then I am mentioning it now, however, I am pretty sure that I have said this once or twice before. We had our annual holiday party on Thursday night and WOW is all I can say! We went to Ichiban Steak House in Harrah's here in Reno and then went to see the Shanghai Acrobatics and Kung Fu show after dinner.

Here we all are wearing sweater samples from the shop, even Greg got in on the fun!

It was a night to remember for sure and this has been a year to put in the books too! We have been busier than ever, Laura & Doug had our littlest bean, Huck and I was paid the most humbling compliment I have ever received in my life by Laura at the party. It makes me blush just mentioning it here, blush, blush. I have thought and thought about actually mentioning it here in a public way and decided that I needed to express myself here for all of you and my JBW family too!

Laura got up in front of all us beans (a lot of new little beans) and told them all that she thought I am the face of Jimmy Beans Wool and well dang I cried like a baby. So I have been thinking about this ever since and trying to put it into perspective for myself and I have come up with this little analogy, so bear (hmm should this be bare with me?) with me while I do my best to express my feelings.

Yes, most of you have met me and you see my face both in the shop and in a lot of our videos, but a face has a body and I am blessed with the most amazing body to help my face smile for all of you!

I am so very lucky to have such a great retail team behind me helping my face be a happy one and that is Terry & Amerique.

Terry has come to us like a gift from the knitting gods and is so generous with her knitting knowledge (she is amazing!) and is always up beat with a kind word and a smile for anyone and everyone. We would be hard pressed to replace her and I hope she stays with us for a very long time!! Here she is to the right, knitting, imagine, ha ha!!

Then there is Amerique who has such a gentle voice and beautiful smile that I keep asking her to quit Grad School and come work all the time, but alas, she seems to have a goal in mind with this school thing, ha ha! Amerique and her fabulous smile are in the picture to the left!




Then a face has a body with a head and brain which runs all the other parts of the body. That head and brain are of course Laura and Doug who of course do so much that I could write about that all day and never get it all down here. Thanks both of you for making JBW a fabulous place to come and play everyday!! (To the left Laura is holding up her cool new bag knit by Sandy and wearing her cool new hat, knit by me. To the right is Doug just smiling away, hmmm, typical Doug :)



Then there is the neck, shoulders and arms and that has to be our new E-commerce manager (congratulations!!!) Amber. She does so much to keep the show running (too much to write here, pretty much everything) and I am so proud to work with her and call her my friend, thanks Amber for keeping my little face smiling so well!! To the right is our own Amber and her date Todd. I am sorry Amber that this is not such a great picture (she is soooo pretty) but I just couldn't get a good one with the chef dancing around there.


Of course there are hands and fingers so the whole body is dexterous and can function in a elegant way and that has to be our own Sandy who is so amazing pulling your orders, organizing the back and keeping us in supplies that our body would just crumple into a heap without her there. Thanks my 'Jo' aka Sandy for all you do to keep me up and running in the front!! Here is Sandy to the left wearing her fabulous gifts from Amerique and knitting, who would have guessed?





You know when I think of hands and fingers I have to also think of Victoria who is our buyer and keeps all of our inventory flowing, so you don't have to wait for your projects. I just don't know how she does it and keeps her kids on the right track, her needles clicking (she is an amazing knitter) and answers all of our requests via email to please order this, order that and always with a smile, thanks Victoria it is such a joy to know you and work with you!!

When I think of hands and fingers I have to add Karla to the list, our fabulous weekend shipper and just all around fabulous bean!! Karla is so good with the customers, shipping, emails and just generally lights up the shop that it wouldn't be the same without her!! Here she is with her sister having a blast!

Now we have grown and have added some new muscles to our body and those run some of the things that you may not ever really think about, but first I need mention Greg who is such a good sport and is a man of many talents, shipping your packages to you, taking out the trash (you are the trash king in my book, thanks) moving refrigerators and just willing to do whatever needs to be done around here, thanks Greg for all you do to keep things rolling along!!

Then there is Shevawn who came back from India in late spring and somehow we lucked out and she started working for us with her fabulous personality and amazing ability to learn; we are truly lucky to have her doing our back orders, checking our shipments of yarn, etc., and so on, and so on!! She hit the ground running and has learned so much about our operation in such a short time that it is quite impressive, thanks Shevawn!! The picture to the left is Shevawn (right) and Leanne clearly having a great time!





Now we do have some really new little beans and I would like to introduce you to Leanne, Ailene and Sarah. They have all just jumped into the fray with a smile and willing hands; none of them seem to flinch when asked to do a job no matter what it is. It is just so cool to work with all of these fabulous beans that maybe I am the face (I am dubious about this title however), but like I said a face needs all the other parts to be able to smile. Sarah was finishing up her secret santa gift right at the table, how cool is that? To the left is Ailene showing off the hat that Sarah finished off at dinner to make sure it fit!


That brings me to the heart of the body, well sure it is all of us, but truly all of you who are our customers and keep coming back to us with your business. We know you can shop elsewhere and we hope you do too, at your LYS, but when you can't get what you need there we are so humbled that you shop with us.

So the body that is Jimmy Beans Wool thanks all of you for making us such a success and we all wish you the best of Holidays with a New Year filled with everything that you deserve.

As always happy knitting! Jeanne











Sunday, December 20, 2009

More last minute knitting

Hello,

Change of plans - forget about my "make felted slippers for EVERYONE" plan. Now its just one knitted gift each. A stocking cap for my 10 yr old sister, slippers for my 25 yr old sister, a scarf for my 27 yr old sister (in Rowan Colourscape Chunky), and a felted bag for mom.



I am driving down to L.A. on Tuesday morning, and I'd like to have everything finished by then, so I don't have to keep disappearing in order to finish my presents secretly. I'm also going to knit my grandma a scarf in Swirl Chunky in Desert Flower, but I can work on that up until Christmas Day, because I probably wont see her until then.

We had an amazing Christmas party on Thursday night! We had dinner at Ichiban at Harrahs and then saw a fun show with acrobats!! We exchanged our Secret Santa gifts, and Eileen (my secret Santa) gave me two skeins of Swirl DK in Vera!!! I'm so excited to do something with it - after the holidays, of course.

-Amerique







Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh Lorna’s Laces

Last weekend I (Amber) went to Chicago for a little vacation where I got to spend a whole day working at Lorna’s Laces. Amanda, who is the manager of LL, put my friend and me up at her adorable apartment in the city and took me to work with her on Friday.

We arrived about 9 am and were greeted by Beth (the owner of LL) and her Great Dane Pearl (yes, the yarn is named after her).



My day started off with a nice tour of LL led by Amanda where I asked a million questions. I met about half of the regular LL staff who were more than happy to answer my second million silly questions. A typical day at LL consists of 2 dyers, 3 people who wind, label and organize the yarn, Amanda, Beth and Pearl (who mostly just wanders around looking cute). They dye about 20 different yarns including Roving and Buffalo Gold’s Bison yarn, *See picture to the right* (which is amazing by the way).



There are PVC pipes hanging EVERYWHERE for drying yarn, about 4 Dye Tables, some tables used for labeling and boxes and boxes of natural (un-dyed yarn). While wandering around looking at and touching EVERYTHING I came across the stamps for our Limited Edition colors, past and future. I spotted one very special to me because it was for a color I had tried to design for this past October and then ran out of time. I come to find out that one of my tasks for the day is to work with Amanda to dye that special color. How excited was I?! So it was off to look through the custom color book to try to explain to Amanda my vision. Since I am not very good at explaining things this took a little longer than Amanda probably expected. After we had a rough idea it was off to the dye tables to mix some colors. We tried about 4 different greens before we nailed it, and boy did we nail it!



The other colors were easy and we got dying. The finished product is exactly what I wanted and I would love to tell you what colors it is and the story behind it, but you are just going to have to wait a few months til it comes out…






*Before I went to LL I had no clue of the process of “Hand Dyed” yarn, so I am assuming a lot of you do not either. So here is a quick run down. First you mix the dye (which is a powder) and hot water. Then you pour the dye onto the hanks of yarn and work the dye in. Once you get the yarn dyed you heat it for about 40 minutes. Once out of the heat you place the hanks into a washer and rinse them out. Then they hang to dry for about a day, depending on the humidity in the air. Then the yarn is twisted into hanks, labeled and packed up. Sounds pretty simple, but it is a lot of work.



Feeling pretty accomplished and hungry we went off to get coffee and sandwiches down the alley from LL. Boy oh boy, the food in Chicago…well, I am sure the food in most big cities, AMAZING! We had bagel sandwiches, which were nothing short of incredible.

So after lunch we headed back to LL to meet Beth who had her own mission for me. We were going to work on the February limited edition color, and film it. Now if you have been watching our video reviews on JBW’s website you will notice one key player in the JBW team who does not do videos, yes me! I avoid cameras like the plague, but for Beth, Michael, Amanda and Pearl I would do anything. No, not really, but Michael was so funny while filming and I was so interested in Beth’s lesson that I forgot about the camera. Beth and I dyed sample hanks of 3 different options for Jimmy to chose from. I will give you a little taste by saying this…it is Valentine’s colors this year, much happier than last years. But again, you will just have to wait to see.



Unfortunately there were some camera malfunctions and I don’t think we got any of that, but you will get to see me dying one of the top-secret new LL colors that will be released in January. I have 2 favorites of those…aren’t you sooo excited to see them now! Well, you have to wait till January, and no I do not take bribes!! (Total lie, I like all chocolate covered foods and flowers).




In-between my dying adventures I got to label and bag up yarn and even help fill orders.

I got to put yarn in the Jimmy’s cube, which was very exciting. Next week when I unpack the LL shipment I can say, “I put this in this box!”, and all the little beans will look at me like I am crazy (more so than they already do).















I can’t tell you what my favorite parts were because they were all so good. I learned a lot, got offered a job, and even got to design 2 Limited Edition colors. I really enjoyed learning how it all worked and hanging out with the LL crew who are all so amazing. I wish they were closer so we could get together more, but at least now I have an excuse to get out of town and maybe even a job one day!

PS. I had to share this one last picture I took. It is of our photo of the Limited Edition Color for March '09 "Garden Daze", with the note "I Heart Jimmy March '09". Stephanie (Head Dyer at LL) printed the picture out, wrote the note, and hung it on the wall. I just thought that was real neat.




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I have a knitting protegee!

I am so excited that I have a young knitter in my life who is doing such wonderful things and reminding me how exciting, frustrating and just plain confusing it can be to learn this art. Sara is 16 and my sons girlfriend.

She has knit 3 scarves (all different) and is now working on her first hat. She chose Ann Norling pattern #54, Spiral Rib hat and is using Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn for this project. The color is Limeade M120 which matches my sons new ski jacket, wow, will he be visible on the slopes. She worked up to the point of the decreases last night and I gave her a lesson in the use of double pointed needles. She had an ah ha moment, boy was it cool! She went home at 9:00 and I bet that the hat is finished today because knitting was on her mind for sure!

I can't wait to see what she knits next! I hope your knitting is going great and you are not stressing about getting those last minute gifts done. It will all work out and remember why we knit, IT'S FUN!!!

As always happy knitting! Jeanne










Sunday, December 13, 2009

Last Minute Holiday Projects

Hello,

I know I am not the only one scrambling to finish gifts - at LEAST half of the customers I have helped this week were buying yarn for last minute Christmas gifts. I decided (and am now second guessing this decision) to knit gifts for all of my female family members (the men are indifferent to nice things). I decided to make them all felted jester slippers (so cute!) and then one extra thing. I'm making my mom a bag, my grandma a scarf, and two scarves and a hat for my three sisters.

I finally bought some Swirl Chunky the other day, and I'm glad I did, because its going fast! I bought two skeins of Desert Flower for my grandma's scarf.

I am also excited about the Malabrigo Worsted Merino I bought today in Deja Vu! I am using it in the bag I'm making my mom.


I have to get to work!

-Amerique





Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A winter wonderland, teeth, dogs and tennis anyone?


It has finally snowed here and boy did it cover us up with a blanket of white stuff! Now the weather has decided to get super cold and was -3 degrees this morning at my house and I know for some of you in the northern states it may not sound cold, but to us high desert rats here in Reno it is a bit chilly. I must admit that I love it though and hope that the power stays on and all will be well! Here is a picture of our parking lot in front of the shop and there were 3 backhoes here Monday making the snow mountains that will now be here until late spring.




Of course this cold weather really stimulates my desire to knit and I just finished Terry's easy slouch hat pattern and once we get all the kinks worked out we will be putting it up as a free pattern on the site, thanks Terry for such a great pattern. I used the Lorna's Laces Swirl DK yarn in Watercolor and stranded it with the Rowan Kidsilk Haze yarn in color 626.




I am one lucky bean as I got to take care of our littlest bean, Huck, the other night, what a GREAT baby! Doug and Laura got to go out for a bit of holiday cheer with their neighbors while I got to hang out with the baby and of course those dogs you all write to me about, Buddy & Wiley.














Wiley is looking at the tennis ball on the floor and then Buddy took the ball from Wiley, sorry Wiley!

Huck is sitting in his basket and as you can see he loves his little pumpkin from his first Halloween. The next day his first tooth popped out so chewing on that pumpkin helped.

I loved taking care of him and getting to know the dogs too! Thanks you guys for trusting me with these treasures and come on go out again, please, please!

As always happy knitting!

Jeanne

Monday, December 7, 2009

Time to Knit Again

Hello,

After Wednesday I will be done with classes, and able to actually KNIT!! My goal is to make at least one knitted gift for each of my family members (excluding the two men, because they could care less) and I'm going to try my hardest to do it. I am making a pair of cute multicolored jester slippers for all the women (I found the pattern for "Jester Slippers" on www. ravelry.com) and then another item, like a scarf or hat. I have all the yarn, and all the patterns, now I just have to make the time, and find the drive to power through it all before I go home for Christmas on the 22nd.

I also have two hanks of Saphira in color #561 that I want to make a nice warm scarf out of, because its so FREEZING lately, and I don't have a scarf I really like. A customer told me about the "Sinful Ribbed scarf" which is a free CEY pattern on ravelry, and I think I'm gonna use the Saphira for that.

-Amerique