Monday, March 29, 2010

What's comming up?

The 1st of April is not only when our Limited Edition color will be available (I happen to know this one is near and dear to Amber's heart), but our 5% Quarterly Rewards will be posted too! It is always exciting when the rewards are up and running, as you have all earned them and I LOVE to help you spend them.

The limited edition color for April really is a neat one and I will be buying mine ASAP! I think
I will get it the sock weight this time, so I can make socks (imagine :). Victoria has also done stitch markers that go right along with this color, so be sure to check those out too! They are called 'Everything Except the Kitchen Sink' and that is a HUGE hint as to the name of our upcoming color. The little tiny snip is just a VERY SMALL taste and I can't say more or I know I will give it all away, hee hee hee!! Our colors are top secret stuff, but I know you are going to love this one for sure!

It is trying to be spring here in Reno and I have been working on doing some spring cleaning of my knitting projects, so this weekend was a finish up weekend. I also worked on turning my compost pile, but I don't think you want to hear about compost, ha ha!

It's supposed to snow on Wednesday down here on the valley floor, so I am thinking of one more spring knitting push and I am going to finish up my Knitting Pure and Simple Summer Cardigan #294.
Imagine finishing projects what's up with that??

I also finished my Never Not Knitting Cosette Wrap out of Malabrigo Worsted yarn and it is sooooooooooo nice!! The pattern is super easy and was a breeze to work up.

I also dove in and finished off my Hydrangea socks, wow is this a trend? Nah it's just a fluke I am sure, so I won't panic, ha ha! I don't want to tarnish my reputation as a multiple project knitter, but I am sure it's just a temporary glitch in my otherwise well known starting and not finishing style of knitting, phew that was close! :)

Well that's it for now, so as always happy knitting and crocheting! Jeanne










Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stuffed Toys

Hello,

My sister came up from L.A. to visit me last weekend and since I refrained from schoolwork for the 3 and a half days she was here, I decided to knit while we chatted and watched movies (the things we love to do most). I decided I wanted to make her a stuffed animal because i was inspired by Sharon and Sara K.'s Iris monsters. Anyway, we found an adorable pattern on Ravelry called "Nellie the Elephant", and I had her look through my stash and pick some yarn. She picked out chartreuse/citron and teal worsted weight yarn and I cast on immediately. Of course I did not finish, and who knows when I will, but it felt good to knit after such a long time!! I have the body and one leg completed, I just need 3 more legs and ears, and eyes. I cant believe that only a couple months ago I was wary of dpns. They're awesome!!

An excuse to post a picture of my little cuddle bunny: A couple months ago I was almost done with a hot pink and lime green cat bed for my adorable cat Tin Tin, but still have not finished it!! I gave in and bought him a pink polka dot (dog) bed, but this summer I am going to finish the other one. He REALLY wants a fuzzy felted neon kitty bed, I just know it!

-Amerique










Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amaz-tastic Afghans!


Blankets are one of my favorite things. Some of my favorite memories are curled up with my mom under an afghan my grandmother had crocheted, reading The Chronicles of Narnia and making elaborate forts out of every blanket in the house –even my best friend growing up was named Blanky (he is a blanket). Whether it be a quilt, throw or afghan, there is warmth held by handmade blankets that is impossible to find in any store-bought blanket from Bed Bath and Beyond, even if it is electric. While I have always been somewhat envious of those who had the patience to knit or crochet an entire afghan, it was never a project I even considered tackling… until we received Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans book.


I know, I know, spring is here and the majority of us are not thinking about projects meant to keep us warm. But blankets are also indispensable on picnics, stargazing, chilly summer evenings around a fire-pit, and so much more! Every page of Afghans unveils a classic, funky, or simply gorgeous design. This fantastical book is the collaborative effort of Norah Gaughan, Margery Winter and the Berroco Design Team, each pattern a unique creation. Every project in this book is knit in Berroco’s yarn Comfort, which comes in three weights, Sock, Worsted and Bulky and is a silken bend of ultra-fine Acrylic and Nylon. Of course you can easily substitute any of your other favorite yarns as well :)


It would be impossible to pick a favorite from this volume of spectacular afghans, but there are a few I could actually see myself committing to a few such as Spiral and Greenway (also featured as kits on our website) as well as and as Kilim and Floret (not pictured, but you can check out these, and the rest of the afghans here). If you like what you see or are hunting for your next big project, I encourage you to check out this book!


Happy knitting and crocheting!

-Leanne













Friday, March 26, 2010

Behind the scenes at Jimmy Beans...



We had a HUGE filming session on Wednesday and most of yesterday I was in mental la la land. It's fun to do these videos, but it really does tire all of us out. So many of you are so supportive of our filming that I thought you might like to see the other side of things and so Sara took on the picture taking for me, so I could show you some of the silly things that go on when we are filming. Left Greg and I are discussing the line up of products etc., and boo hoo, that was Greg's last day with us on a regular basis, as he is moving on to some fun new things. He will be popping in from time to say hi and help film (he's great at it), but he has really added a nice balance to a place full of women. Laura brought in a thank you cake and as you can see we liked it a lot! I think Greg maybe was able to take 1 piece home, sorry Greg what are you gonna do, ha ha!

We filmed 5 instructional videos for you and I have to tell you these make me a nervous wreck! I think it's because I just want to make sure you will be able to understand me when I blather on about this technique or that, but we got them done and with Victoria's help they are going to have fantastic little written descriptions with them to clarify some of my blather. They should be up in the instruction section of the site within a week or so and I hope you will let me know what you think. Here you can see Greg zooming in while I am talking about the Magic Loop and I did go over (very briefly) 2 at a time socks.

We reviewed so many cool new things including a bunch of Spud & Chloe patterns and Blue Sky Alpacas patterns too! We were lucky enough to have their trunk show visit us for the last few weeks (thanks BSA for letting us keep it a bit longer you are the best!), so I didn't want to let it go without showing you these fabulous garments up close and personal. To the left I am reviewing the Knit Chickens by Blue Sky Alpacas. This is the cutest pattern and I have it at home, so now that I have held the real chicken I will have to cast on!

We did anywhere from 44-52 videos total in about 6 hours, so you can bet that we were all bushed. I had Sharon join me for the review of the Lorna's Laces Iris the Gourmet Monster kit, Victoria (who I drug kicking and screaming but she did a GREAT job) helped me review her fantastic new stitch markers. Of course Sandy and I got a little silly in a couple of them and I even got Sara in front of the camera to help me review The Yarn Pull EZE, reluctant as she was.

We reviewed books, patterns, yarns, bags, wallets, yarn, patterns, bags, wallets, well you get the idea! Please let me know if you ever want us to review something for you, or teach you something new, as I really do pay attention. Connie one of our online customers had called that day and during a break I called her back to help her with a question and she was so excited that I was filming her suggestion for short rows. Stay tuned Connie it will be up soon and thanks so much for the suggestion!

Here are just some random pictures and from the filming day.

Sharon eating yummy cake to the left and Sharon and Shevawn just hanging out below.
Sandy what are you talking about and don't kill me for this one it was Sara, ha ha! What ever she is saying she really means it!



Of course to the right is Laura our very own 'Jimmy' and what's she gonna do lead the orchestra?




Everyone seems to be ridiculously afraid of the camera and here's Kathy hiding behind our black curtain. Silly Kathy come on out and join in the fun!


I will leave you with an image of Greg being serious and me well just being silly. What can I say that's me and thank heavens for all the other beans to keep me grounded, or I really think I would just float off into silly land.

As always happy knitting and crocheting! Jeanne




















Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's going on around the shop?

I wish ALL of our customers could come into the shop and see what's going on around there lately, WOW! Terry has taken over the organization of things and I can't tell you what a great thing it is too!

She has straightened, moved, restocked and just generally tidied up the place with the help of my other retail beans, Sara and Sarah!

No I am not stuttering we have 2 Sara's/Sarah's now and it gets a bit confusing, but I hope you get to meet them both real soon! They are both so neat you will love them!

I have also had some great show-n-tell lately and one of our regular customers, Marilyn, came in to pick a bit of yarn and have some wound, but what she had in her bag was AMAZING!! She knit this sweater up in about 2 months (she is a lunatic knitter and she thought that was a long time, but it might take me 2 years :) from The Rowan Lima Collection book. Of course this is knit out of the Rowan Lima yarn, color Chile 882.

Don't despair, as I will be posting the name of the sweater, yarn amounts, needles and so on on our project log in the next couple of days, but until then these pictures will have to suffice. Sorry to be a bit of a tease, but I have been getting ready to do some filming tomorrow. I promise to get the details up ASAP! Thanks Marilyn for letting me take your picture and I just can't get over how great this project turned out!

Now that I mention the filming I love it when you all let me know what you want to have us tape for you, so please keep the ideas and suggestions coming, email me at info@jimmybeanswool.com. We have a HUGE list of new products and couple of new instructional videos on the list too!

So with that said I need to toddle off and get my stuff together for filming, hmmm, size ? 40" circular needles, tapestry needles, water in a cup, so can you guess what we might be working on teaching you?? There are 3 instructional videos in that list and if you can figure it out before they are posted I'll buy you a frozen yogurt, of course if you live out of town it might be a bit sloppy when it arrives, ha ha!

As always happy knitting and crocheting! Jeanne










Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Break Knitting

For students at UNR it is finally Spring Break! I, being one of those students, have been looking forward to this glorious classes-free week since Winter Break. Many students like to travel, catch up on homework, or do nothing and relax from the riggers of their studies. Personally, I love Spring Break because I can knit for a week straight instead of spending the day on campus or reading that pile of books next to my bed. During the semester I have to be careful with my knitting addiction, because once I start a project, chances are I will not get any schoolwork done until I finish it. When it comes to knitting, I have no self-control :)


My goal for this break is to finish a pair of fingerless gloves as a present for my roommate whose birthday is fast approaching. A few weeks ago, while procrastinating an assignment for my economics class, I found the perfect (free) pattern on Ravelry called Suzie's Reading Mits by Janelle Masters. These simple and stylish foves (fingerless gloves) knit up quickly in DK or sport weight yarn and keep your hands super toasty. I managed to finish most of the first one in the airport waiting for my flight to Boise (I did a little bit of traveling as well this break and visited the fam for a few days), and am almost done with the second! I chose to work with Louisa Harding’s DK weight yarn Grace, a 50% silk, 50% merino wool blend for its subtle sheen and heavenly feel. This luscious yarn knits up into a fabric the texture of clouds –or at least how I imaging clouds feel—it is absolutely delightful and I am contemplating giving my roommate something else instead ;)


With only a few days remaining, I am hoping to finish these foves tonight so that I have the last 72 hours of Spring Break to stick my nose back to the grindstone. I plan on powering through the next 8 weeks of the semester with the promise of a summer full of knitting waiting for me after finals!

Happy knitting and/or crocheting!

-Leanne










Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring is springing,,,,,


With spring comes my desire to wear comfortable light clothing, but my knitting does not get put away. I am one of those who can't not knit, so I just change the weight of what is laying in my lap. Of course I am ALWAYS knitting socks because they are easy to carry along and don't make me hot while knitting them. I am about to finish up my Hydrangea socks from Janel Laidman's book The Eclectic Sole, so I have to get going on another pair.

I am using the Handmaiden Merino 2/6 yarn in Fleur, but I think I will do my next pair in Panda Cotton yarn for a lighter spring/summer pair. I love the Panda Cotton because it wears like iron, but is so nice and soft to wear. Bamboo has one of the best wicking properties, so all of my Panda Cotton socks keep my feet dry and comfy all day! Of course now I need to decide on the color for my socks and what pattern to use?? Decisions, decisions!! How about Blueberry Pancakes?

Of course we just got the most amazing book into the shop yesterday (I bought it imagine?) The Haapsalu Shawl and I had been wanting to get it, so voila it appeared and I browsed through it last night while (see below) Huck was sleeping. FABULOUS!! This book makes me proud to be a knitter and humbled by the knitters that have come before me.

So I was going to finish this post yesterday, but it was a bit hectic in the shop AND I got to sit with our little Huck last night for a couple of hours and darn he's a sweetie! He fell asleep in my arms hugging his little sheep 'Chopper' and I had a hard time laying him in his crib. So alas, this post will get posted this morning and remember babies don't keep, so enjoy those special little moments. Ahhhh I am in baby heaven! When can I watch him again, please, please!!! :)

At any rate I could go on and on, but I need to get going to work and as always I wish you happy knitting and crocheting! Jeanne :)










Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cascade 220

Hello,

We have a great new book with AWESOME projects using Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash. Its called 60 Quick Knits in Cascade 220. Cascade 220 comes in hundreds of gorgeous colors, including some lovely heathers. I always recommend it to customers looking for a nice worsted weight yarn.

This book contains some ADORABLE patterns, my favorites being the ones for kids. The Octopus Mittens are my favorite, and I know that Amber and Sarah W. are partial to the Puppy Mittens and Monkey Hat.













This book has me thinking about Christmas already. If I start now I might have actually have finished gifts for everyone on Christmas morning. What a concept . . .

-Amerique

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How about learning more suff??

You know I don't think I can come to work without leaving with something new, dog gone it! What's up with that?? LOL!

Today I bought the book Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden a fantastic designer who has compiled an amazing amount of information within the pages of this book!

WOW this book has absolutely everything that you could ever want to know about how to create your own custom fit garment!

I can't wait to study it in detail and create my own perfectly fit sweater, jacket, or just whatever I want to make just for me!! Of course the jacket on the cover is what drew me in with all those beautiful twisted stitches how could I go wrong with??

So with that decided I better go get some yarn to go with it?? HA HA HA!! Ok, ok now that you have picked yourself up off the floor (because as many of you know I have more yarn than I will ever be able to work up) I am thinking of what yarn to use for the jacket, no really I am.

I don't think I have it in my stash, what am I to do?? I guess I will just have to buy some more yarn...imagine??

How about the Cascade Lana D' Oro yarn for the project? This yarn is one of my very favorite yarns to knit with and I think it is because of the 50/50 blend of wool and alpaca. The hand is just perfect and I have knit quite a few small projects with it, so a big one would be a real pleasure.

Of course I love the Ecru for this classic project and since this yarn is so affordable I won't have to take out that second mortgage to pay for the jacket.


At any rate stay tuned for more on this project and as always, happy knitting and crocheting!

Jeanne

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My New Best Friend the Knit Kit


I’ll admit that even though I’ve worked here for several months now, until recently I had never really sat down and gotten to know the Knit Kit. After the two of us had a heart to heart (I have a tendency to bond with inanimate objects), I think we are destined for a long and beautiful friendship. Not only do we both appreciate efficient organization and enjoy knitting on-the-go, we are both from Idaho! Our relationship is not exclusive, however, and several of our customers have given the Knit Kit rave reviews! And if that isn’t enough to convince you of the knitasticness (or crochetrificness if that’s how you role) that is the Knit Kit, Martha Stewart herself, the Grand Priestess of Crafts, will be singing praises of this must-have accessory today on her show, so check your local listings! If you aren’t able to see Martha’s expert appraisal of the Knit Kit, fear not! We will be posting our own video review on the site soon, so be sure to check it out!

If you are not already familiar with the Knit Kit, the original has many nifty “knit knacks” all in one compact and durable device including a 5 foot long measuring tape, thread cutter, crochet hook, row counter, stitch markers, point protectors, and collapsible TSA compliant scissors (yes, you can take them on the plane with you)! The Teal Knit Kit features two new handy-dandy updates wrapped up in this snazzy new color! How can one possibly improve upon such a magnificent invention? Well, the Teal Knit Kit has accomplished that feat and it now features a double ended crochet hook –a large hook for those bulky yarn projects and a smaller hook for more delicate creations—and a darning needle so that no matter where you are, those loose ends can be taken care of in a jiffy!

Referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife” of knitters, the Knit Kit travels easily in any purse or knitting bag and keeps all of the essential knitting accessories organized and easily accessible anywhere you go. If you are like me and make sure that you have a knitting project with you at all times, just in case you can get a few rows in here or there, the Knit Kit is the perfect solution to those moments where you would trade your soul for a pair of scissors or can’t remember exactly what 5.75 inches looks like.

As I mentioned before, the Knit Kit and I have become quite close, and with all the Knit Kit has to offer, I envision us only becoming closer with time ☺

-Leanne












Sunday, March 7, 2010

Love of Knitting

Hello,

Love of Knitting is a great magazine, with clear, easy-to-follow instructions and a variety of fun styles. In the Spring 2010 Love of Knitting Magazine there are several patterns that call for yarns that we carry: String of Pearls (Muench) and Cotton Classic (Tahki Stacy Charles). These yarns are perfect for spring and summer.


String of Pearls is a really pretty yarn by Muench, perfect for sweaters. It has a great pearly shimmer, and an interesting, corded, tube-like construction.




Cotton Classic is a yarn that doesn't get enough respect, in my opinion. We often recommend Cotton Classic for dishcloths and potholders, because of its durability, but sometimes we forget that its also great for garments. It's vibrant colors and smooth texture make it a great option for a lightweight, easy-care piece.



We have a few new kits on our site for some nice, summery sweaters using String of Pearls and Cotton Classic. Check them out!

-Amerique









Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stitches, stitches and more stitches!

We survived and should get buttons, or T-shirts made saying exactly that! Phew we are a tired bunch of Little Beans for sure! Thanks to all of you who stopped by and said hi and of course the volunteers who worked with us, WOW, we wouldn't have gotten through it all without you!! Thanks so much!

We got down to Santa Clara mid afternoon on Wednesday and here we are unloading stuff out of my truck. As you can see the silliness has already begun! We worked on putting our booth together until 6:00 when we had to get out and go do some knitting, or hot tubing, or just put our feet up it was Little Beans choice on that one.

Sandy and I retired to our lovely room in the Hilton right across from the show (good call Laura) and knit the night away. Amber went hot tubing and then Laura, Victoria and Amber met up with Della of Della Q accessories and visited for a bit. Ok nighty night!


Here is our booth in the process of coming together and I think we all felt like it might not happen, but in true Jimmy Beans Wool style we pulled it off with time to spare!

The show always opens on Thursday night for a preview and we had this booth put together and up and running by show time at 5:00!!


Here is Sandy the cube builder! Watch out for that mallet, ha ha!! Go Sandy go!!!







Toni, one of our favorite (pic on the right) customers and budding inventor of the Yarn Pull Eze, which is now available for preorder on our site and was at the booth demonstrating this great little gadget for passersby!

She was at the end of the booth that featured the Trendsetter Cha Cha yarn and free pattern from 2 Askew Designs and she did a fantastic job of helping out! Thanks Toni you are the best!

A quick side note on the Cha Cha we did an instructional video on how to work with this fun ribbon yarn and you may want to take a quick peek before you cast on!

We had some fantastic discontinued Crystal Palace yarns with us and they just flew out of the booth! CPY Aran Marl is a 102 yards of knitting/crocheting pleasure. Also there was the CPY Sequoia yarn, Aran Print, and the CPY Kaya yarn too! All of these great yarns were a huge hit and we did bring back just a bit of each one, so you may want to take a look and get on board before we sell out.



Iris the Gourmet Mo
nster made her debut at the show and I can't wait to knit her up!! She is so cute and was a huge hit with our customers! I love the Revelation yarn by Lorna's Laces yarn and I think I will knit my Iris up in Zombie BBQ, what do you think?

Here is Amber well, just being Amber with her sassy little attitude! Gotta love her for sure and she was so awesome to work with at the show too!

Victoria was a dynamo and lifted, toted, and sold with a vengeance! Victoria you are my idol and so cute too! I didn't get a good picture of her at the show because she was moving so fast, but here she is to the left with her usual great smile and fantastic can do attitude!

We were all amazing if I do say so myself, but of course I am a bit biased when it comes to us little beans, ha ha! We met so many of our out of town customers and hugged, laughed and just enjoyed getting together!

One morning Sandy and I came to the elevator and found this little 'Yarn Bomb' on the phone there! Knitting strikes when you least expect it to!

Then there was my personal favorite, Colleen, who rides a Harley with a side car and is 82! Of course she is a knitter too and since I ride my bad girl Harley we hit it off with a laugh and a hug!


Well I am sure I could go on and on about all the knitting celebrities we met, the beautiful things we saw and just the general fun we had, but I better get back to work and catch up here in the shop. I must say that the little beans we left behind to hold things together did a FANTASTIC job and the shop was in great shape when we came back! THANKS!!

As always happy knitting and crocheting! Jeanne