Thursday, April 28, 2011

FO Friday- Back on track!

"Kerchief"
Hi folks!  I have an abundance of new projects to share with you all today for FO Friday so let's get right down to it, shall we? :)

Sandy finished a gorgeous shawlette this week (and by "this week" I mean she was binding off on Monday and wore it to work the very next day)! The pattern is "Kerchief" by Kieran Foley.  This shawl is so unique--I just love it!  Sandy used Zauberball Crazy yarn in the "Flussbett" color with Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool for the colorwork section.  It's really beautiful and Sandy did such a phenomenal job!
"Barb's Koigu Ruffle"


Sandy's good friend Barbara just finished this awesome "Barb's Koigu Ruffle" Scarf by Churchmouse Designs.  She was kind enough to loan it to us for a few days and it's been on display in the shop.  She used a skein of Colinette Jitterbug yarn. The color is called Gauguin. Normally you would need two skeins of Koigu to complete this project, but this only took one hank of the Jitterbug as it measures in at 400 yards.  Nice!

"Springtime Bandit"

Sharon finished her Springtime Bandit a while back and has been enjoying it in the lovely Northern Nevada spring weather (which can often include snow well into May). You may recall she knit this pattern with just two skeins of Berroco Remix. It turned out to be a perfect fit and Sharon now has a new favorite accessory!

Botanic Hat

Shevawn just whipped-up an awesome "Botanic Hat" for her fella out of Malabrigo Rios.  The pattern is by Stephen West, one of our favorite designers around here.  We just started carrying a bunch of his patterns.  Although this one is not one of them, you can acquire it on Ravelry as a download.  It's such a cool design!  I think I may have to make one for my mister as well!  It's reversible, too, which I think is why I'm so drawn to it.  Check out more pictures of Shevawn's version on the project log to see what it looks like reversed.  So cool!  Nice job, Shevawn!

Annabella's Cowl

Kathy recently bound-off on her Annabella's Cowl.  Another in a long line of cowls made by JBW staffers since we received this pattern in at the shop but this one is just as beautiful and unique!  Kathy opted for the full length size and used Lorna's Laces Honor yarn with a strand of Lana Grossa Chiara.  The result is a soft and shimmery plush cowl that will keep her Mother-in-Law nice and toasty!  Kathy is one of our newer knitters and she is doing such a fabulous job!

Turkish Bed Socks

Lastly, Jeanne just completed a fun pair of Turkish Bed Socks, another one of Churchmouse's stunning designs. Jeanne used Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino for this pair, in color P344.  They turned out so fun!  I just love how the speckled variation of this yarn comes out in these short socks.  I am going to have to knit myself a pair of these to wear with my clogs. They are perfect!


Thanks for checking in this week for FO Friday.  To read more about any of the projects you've seen here, be sure to check out the project log.  I'll be back soon with more FO's and WIP's as we keep on a-knittin' around here.  Until then-happy knitting and crocheting to you all!

-Kristen

PS if you aren't currently getting our Newsletter I hope you will sign up, it's safe, secure and we NEVER EVER share any of your information with any other source! You can stay up to date on the latest and greatest here in the shop!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And now for something completely different from Noro!

Always one to paint (or dye) outside the lines, Noro offers a mesmerizing mix of classic fibers and original yarns for your knitting pleasure this spring, summer and beyond!

18 Purples, Green, Blues
My favorite fab fiber this season has to be Nobori by Noro. A creative combo of colorful single ply cotton twisted with a white nylon tape, this yarn may weigh in as a heavy worsted, but it feels as lightweight as a light worsted or DK! The breezy, breathable nature of cotton is mostly responsible for Nobori's lofty, cloud-like feel while the feathery nylon tape adds just the right amount of bulk (not to mention unique texture) for quick summer knitting on size US 10 needles.

Silk Garden Lite Ladies Jacket
If you're looking for something in the DK or sock weight department, Noro has you covered there too! Based on two of Noro's most popular fibers (Silk Garden and Taiyo), Silk Garden Lite and Taiyo Sock give you at least two more reasons to love Noro! Silk Garden Lite is a luxurious silk, mohair and lambswool blend ideal for lacy spring cardis, wraps and shawls. This scrumptious DK weight yarn is one that gets softer and silkier the more it is worn, and  no matter what you create with Silk Garden Lite, we're sure you'll be wearing it as often as possible! Available in several breathtaking artisan dyed colorways that self-stripe in unmatchable rainbows of eye-catching hues, you can't go wrong with any of the spectacular shades from Noro.

09 Greens, Purples, Pinks
Taiyo Sock is a superb choice for summertime socks that ward off the chill of air conditioning, bright featherweight shawls for picnics on the beach and so much more! With over 450 yards per skein, you have plenty of yardage to play with. Modeled after its worsted weight cousin, Taiyo, Taiyo Sock is an airy blend of cotton, nylon and wool with just a touch of silk. Speaking of Taiyo (the original), several new colors of this yummy yarn have been added to our line-up so be sure to take a peek!


Now that I've got you drooling over the delicious of Noro, you're probably looking for some inspiration ;). Check out the latest Noro Magazine - Volume 9 for a nearly endless supply of fabulous designs using these new yarns as well as your old school favorites! We took the liberty of creating kits for some of our favorites such as the Ladies Slippers using Taiyo Sock, Nobori Sleeveless Vest and Silk Garden Lite Ladies Jacket among many others!

Have a beautiful day and happy knitting and crocheting!
Leanne :)




Monday, April 25, 2011

Filming all the new stuff!





We had a filming day last Monday and, boy, was it fun! We reviewed tons of new products, recorded great instructional videos, and started to work on our little bean bios (so you can get to know all of us a bit better). I can tell you that recording the bios got really, really silly! You are going to see a lot of new faces on camera, which makes me super happy since I've been pestering everyone to join in the fun for a long time now! Well, they finally jumped in and, sure enough, they found out how much fun it really is! Below, you can see Sandy and I being silly about a wonderful Churchmouse pattern that we both knit, which is an older review.




The instructional videos are always exciting and this last recording session was no exception! We recorded working in your floats while knitting fair-isle, basic crochet skills (how to make a chain and single crochet), some increasing techniques, and how to work with hand dyed yarns to minimize the obvious color differences. Amber and Erika did a little skit on two of their favorite bunny patterns, Kristen did some great reviews on all of our new patterns rolling in (even with her wrist injury), and we just generally had a GREAT time! In the video below, I showed you how to use Judy's Magic Cast on which I learned from Cat Bordhi's book, Personal Footprints for the Insouciant Knitter.





This is a job that is hard to stay on top of and I hope you will let us know if there is something that you would like us to record for you, either in a review or as an instructional video!

Thanks to all of you for watching and as always happy knitting and crocheting!

Jeanne


PS if you aren't currently getting our Newsletter I hope you will sign up, it's safe, secure and we NEVER EVER share any of your information with any other source! You can stay up to date on the latest and greatest here in the shop!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Knitting and broken bones...how are these two things related?

Hello everyone!  I hope you've all been well these past few weeks!  You may have noticed the absence of FO Fridays and WIP Weekends for the past two weeks, and no, I haven't been shirking my blog responsibilities.  I have a really good reason.  I swear!

Yep, definitely broken.
April 1st was my birthday...Happy Birthday to me!  I made plans with some friends that included my favorite pizza place in Reno followed by roller skating in fabulous 90's attire.  All was going well that evening until I decided to take a spill on the rink.  I blame it on the rental skates. Yeah, that's it, the skates! I broke my wrist.  To the tune of needing surgery (a metal plate and 9 screws) to fix!  Yikes!

Here's me in the ER
looking awesome in my
shiny Blue Dress!
Although the break was kind of painful, I managed to stay in good humor at the emergency room cracking jokes with the nurses and doctors.  I mean, come on, dressed the way I was, a grown woman with a Roller Skating injury like that?  It WAS pretty comical.  Anyway, at least I can laugh at myself, right?

So I have spent the last few weeks recovering and sleeping a ton! Who knew that building new bones in your body uses a LOT of energy? I had surgery last Monday and since then I have been able to knit in small increments at the recommendation of my orthopedic surgeon.  He said it would help speed up my recovery. Hurray for some good news!



From the Purl Bee

Tosh Merino Light
I started out knitting with some mohair and I don't know what I was thinking!  It was a little too tough to manage when you don't have much of a grip.  I broke my right wrist which is my dominant side.  Luckily I am a continental knitter or I might be having a tougher time of it.  I decided to start off with some simple garter stitch so I began working on this adorable baby blanket which is a free pattern from the lovely folks over at Purl Soho.
It's called the Super Easy Baby Blanket and it's a free pattern on the Purl Bee Blog.  I chose to do mine in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light so I adjusted the pattern for a smaller gauge.  I cast on 200 sts on a US size 5 needle and I'm really excited about the colors.  Shown here in order from left I have: Espadrilles, Milk, Olivia, Clover, Kelp and Kale.  I am undecided on the 7th color but I figure I don't really need to decide that right now.  I don't actually have anyone to knit this for at the moment, but it's a lovely little project as all that garter stitch makes my hands, wrist, and fingers very happy! (I'm thinking about knitting it for Bethany, because she is so Awesome.)

Top Down Swing Pullover
"Royal Wedding"
Somehow, in all of this bone-breaking craziness, I managed to score eight skeins of Lorna's Lace's Green Line Worsted in the "Royal Wedding" color which was the Limited Edition for this month.  Although I'm not really into all of the hullaballoo surrounding the actual Royal Wedding, I was completely drawn in by the lovely shades of blue in this color.  I knew immediately that it would be perfect for the new Knitting Pure and Simple pattern I recently purchased!  So this morning I cast on from the ball I hand-wound last night while watching an encore of the first episode "A Game of Thrones" on (my hubby is an uber-Fantasy nerd.)  The pattern is Knitting Pure and Simple #115, Top Down Swing Pullover.  It's a cute, 3/4 sleeve, tunic length sweater that has a bit of drape to it.  I really like it and I think it's going to be pretty in this yarn.

So I hope this helps to explain my absence here.  Next week I get to have my post-surgery splint taken off and will have a removable brace that should allow me even more mobility.  I can't wait!  There has been all kinds of knitting going on at the shop, so I'll be back next Friday with a real FO/WIP post. If any of you have experienced something similar to my injury and have any wisdom to impart for the recovery process, please feel free to share!  I welcome any and all suggestions!

Happy knitting!

Kristen

PS.  Are you receiving our twice-monthly newsletters yet?  If not, they are a great way to find out about Limited Edition Lorna's Laces colors, sales, new items, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  Read through past newsletters and sign up to receive future ones here.

        

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Summery Rowan Yarns and Books!

Spring seems to be more serious about sticking around lately and I have been soaking up as much sun as I can! Soon it will be time to switch gears and start knitting up lightweight summery things instead of thick scarves and woolen sweaters... I am sooooo ready! To kick off the season, Rowan has introduced two spectacular new yarns with a heaping pile of pattern support.

Panama 308 Jacaranda
Panama has already begun to fly off our shelves and it is pretty easy to understand why. This sock weight cotton, linen and viscose blend is ideal for those relaxed-chic tanks and tops! The yarn itself consists of multiple strands of the different fibers woven together giving Panama a light, airy texture with plenty of swishy, flowing drape - not to mention a subtle glow given off by the viscose. Available in a complimentary palette of unique pastels, this yarn is the ultimate warm weather fiber!

Cover: Banana Wrap -so appealing!
Wondering what you can do with it? Check out The Panama Collection from Rowan! Including 15 stunning designs that reflect this year's fashion trends, featuring open-work stitches, exquisite crochet and bold stripes. For those crisp July evenings, consider the exotic Banana Wrap or, for a stylish sweater to wear at the office, the Guava Pullover is perfect! And don't forget my favorite, the Bread Fruit Tunic! This roomy top can be worn with jeans on a lazy weekend or over a swimsuit for a trip to the beach!

934 Wild Rose
The second new Rowan yarn, Savannah, is another exceptional fiber! A soft, worsted weight cotton, Savannah has thin binder threads of silk wrapped around it in criss-cross fashion creating an ever-so-slightly bumpy, uneven texture. The dusty desert shades are colorful yet understated, making them a perfect compliment (or alternative) to the loud tropical tones of the vacationing  months!

Rowan was sure to provide a stellar array of projects for this fabulous yarn, as well, in The Savannah Collection! Designed with classy comfort in mind, many of these 12 gorgeous patterns combine a relaxed fit with a fitted silhouette for casual elegance that can be dressed up or down (depending on your mood)! Lightly layer up with the Desert, an open short-sleeved cardigan that can be pined closed at the neck with a shawl pin or show off your stitch skills with Oasis, a fabulous tunic featuring beautiful lace paneling and a delicate leaf border around the top!

Eeek, just writing about these marvelous yarns makes me want to play hooky and knit!

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!
Leanne :)




Monday, April 18, 2011

On the homefront and an upcoming book!

My sweet smelling Freesia!








Spring is being a bit stubborn here in Reno but this knitter is being stubborn right back...take that, lousy weather! We had four yards of wonderful planting mix delivered to our house and we have placed almost all of it in our new front yard. My daughter and her beau (Rory) came out last weekend to lend a hand and we got so much done, thanks you two!







We dug, moved, shared cuttings, cleaned, planted and just generally made serious headway on the garden. I want to incorporate edible plants in amongst my wonderful flowers and have to figure out exactly what to put where. My front yard can be a very shady spot so I need plants that don't require full sun to thrive and ones that are able to tolerate the high desert weather extremes


Sierra has the best seat in the house!




There is a Paiute legend here that says to not plant until the snow is melted all the way off of Peavine mountain and for this native Nevadan, it has shown itself to be a good one to follow. If I do plant, I take the precaution of covering if needed. We do have a very short growing season here but with some careful planning, we can make the most of that time.


Let's knit, swirl!








In other news, I had the most wonderful visit from a fabulous designer, Sandra McIver, and got to see her new book, Knit Swirl up close and personal!! We became immediate friends and had so much fun talking about our passion for knitting.

I enjoyed my visit with Sandra and her husband Bill and am looking forward to doing some fun things together that I know you all will enjoy being a part of!




This new way of looking at the one piece jacket is truly amazing and I can't wait to work one up. Sandra has created four basic templates that lend themselves to some very creative outcomes for the hand knitter and there is truly an infinite number of ways to go with these great designs!!

You all know what a terrible tease I can be and this new book is not quite out for purchase BUT will be really soon! The reason I am giving you this tantalizing sneak peak is to get your creative juices flowing!

Sandra's site says that the current release date is June 1st, but I happen to know that we may have it available in the shop sometime around May 5th, so stay tuned! Of course June 1st isn't that far away either and I can tell you that this book is going to be worth the short wait!

As always, happy knitting and crocheting!

Jeanne

P.S. If you are not already signed up for our Newsletter, I hope you will jump on board! JBW never shares, sells, trades, or barters your information, as your privacy is our number one concern. You can stay up to date on the latest happenings in the shop! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We're Never Short On New Stuff: The Latest And Greatest!

Gasp! Breath-taking!
If you haven't heard about it already, be sure to check out the latest Color Commentary hue from Lorna's Laces! Designed by none other than Jared Flood, Grand Street Ink, is available in Shepherd Sock, Sport, Worsted, Lion and Lamb, Honor and Helen's Lace. A rich purple with chocolate and indigo undertones, this sumptuous shade was inspired by graffiti art on Grand Street in Brooklyn.

Knit it! You know you want to!
To accompany his breathtaking color, Jared also designed a stunning shawl pattern, Rock Island, which can be knit in either Helen's Lace or Shepherd Sock. You can find the pattern through Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry! For those interested, Lorna's has put together a KAL for this deliciously lacy shawl starting May 1st which you can sign up for on Ravelry!

Need some new needles for said KAL? Look no further than the Blonde Wood Circulars from Lantern Moon...now on sale! These luxurious needles are lightweight and durable with Lantern Moon's signature liquid silk finish for smooth, snag-free knitting.
Superb Circs!
The transition from cord to tip is made seamlessly by a finely crafted brass connector so you never have to worry about your stitches catching. Even if you're set in the circular department, take a peek at all the Blonde Wood Needles, which are now 25% off!  I've got a pair or two of these exquisite needles and love every minute that they spend in my hands!

Zoe - Lilacs and Clover: texturemazing!
While my hands are busy with Blonde Wood needles, my eyes are riveted on new yarns from Trendsetter: Zoe, Cherie and Bohemia! In true Trendsetter fashion, all three are unique fibers unto themselves. Zoe happens to be my favorite with its multi-textural composition of different strands spun together that create a truly one-of-a-kind fabric. A glitzy cotton blend, Cherie is a bright summery yarn with a sparkly thread running through the eye-catching colorways - perfect for lightweight wraps, tanks, and tops! Last but not least, Bohemia is a super soft cotton and acrylic blend with beads attached directly to the yarn (no pre-beading here). Similar to Trendsetter's Soleil, Bohemia can be knit alone or double stranded with another yarn for added interest and texture!

Wishing you a most spectacular day!
Happy knitting and crocheting!

Leanne :)




 

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Company Name with a Lovely Visit to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas!

Well, it's official! The new name for my design company is (drum roll, please....) 'Battle Born Knits'!!!! I LOVE, LOVE it!!! Thank you so much, Flossie, for the name and be sure to call our shop with your information. Congratulations on your win. Thanks soooooooooo much to everyone for all of your wonderful input. It was really difficult to narrow all the great choices for the poll! Stay tuned for my new blog and there will be, of course, a new pattern in the works too. :-) Also, I haven't gotten information from the 4 other choices for the poll...please let me know your pattern choices and how I can get them to you! Thanks again!

Leaving the dock at Seattle
Now, on to my trip to Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. All I can say is....*SIGH*, what a great trip! Churchmouse Yarns and Teas sponsored a wonderful Fair Isle color class with Janine Bajus and what I learned there is truly invaluable!

 My friend, Barbara, and I went together and had a wonderful time on the island. It may have been a bit wet and cold but the warmth that we felt from everyone we met kept us snug and happy!



Come on already, let's knit!
 I immediately fell in love with everything about the island and Churchmouse Yarns and Teas is one of the most charming shops I have ever been in. Kit and John (the owners) were so welcoming and all the people who work there are simply amazing! 

 Of course, Barbara and I both shopped and came home with fantastic treasures. I brought back some of their winter blend tea and have already enjoyed some this afternoon...yum, yum! Here's Barbara, waiting on the ferry!



Cookies, Crumpets, and Tea..Oh my!
You can see that we were well supplied with amazing snacks, coffee, tea, and lunch both days!

The tray is almost all gone...that's how yummy everything was!

The aroma of the teas is so lovely!





The workshop was phenomenal and has inspired me to take all my knitting to the next level. Janine was a GREAT instructor and happily dealt with my own personal knitting challenges like the real professional she is! Here's a snap of the Churchmouse storefront!


Janine's playpen!

We learned about color progressions in Fair Isle design and Janine brought ALL of the colors of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift (a great yarn to work with fair isle) to the workshop for us to play with.
You can see how Janine uses her colors to create the most lovely garments.


Her tams are inspiring and her sweaters are to die for!







She reminded us that all this happens one stitch at a time which is such a great mantra! It all looks impossible at first but, when broken down into just the one stitch, it's not so overwhelming after all!

My little bits of color swatching!
The sweater to the right is so beautiful and, if you look closely at the cuffs, you can see the date and Janine's initials knit right into the piece, BRILLIANT!

I can't wait to go back to visit, knit in the shop, and just hang out! There is so much on the island that we didn't get to see on our quick trip but I plan on going back for an extended trip again real soon!

 It was wet but that makes for some really green views and, of course, coming from the high desert I enjoyed seeing all of that green!

Thank goodness Barbara thought to bring umbrellas for the short walk to and from our hotel since they turned out to be a real necessity!


 As we left, I felt that we had made some great new friends and I hope that if ANY of them are coming our way, they will let us return the wonderful welcome we received from them!



As always, happy knitting and crocheting!

Jeanne

 PS Don't forget to sign up for our Newsletter for the most up to date JBW new products, sales, instruction and much, much more!










Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Royal Wedding Mania And More!

Royal Wedding in Baby Me Boo
You may have noticed that we do not currently have much of this month's Limited Edition Color, Royal Wedding, left in stock. Contrary to the popular hypothesis currently brewing, we did not try to pull the mother of all April Fool's jokes. This fresh medley of vibrant blues just proved to be ridiculously popular! I am having Eclipse (LLE color of July 2010) flashbacks since this color is flying out the door just as fast! If you haven't been able to nab a hank of your favorite Lorna's base in Royal Wedding yet, no worries! We've got more on the way and it should be here soon! Order yours today before it disappears! :)

Bring the royal wedding to you!
While you're waiting, you might want to get in the wedding spirit with the Knit Your Own Royal Wedding by Fiona Goble. Just because you can't make it to England to celebrate the union of Kate and Prince William in person doesn't mean you can't bring the wedding to you! I'm not going to lie, we were maybe just a little too gleefully giddy when this book arrived - it is just so cool! Complete with instructions to knit all the participants of the wedding, from the bride and groom to the bishop and the royals' adorable corgis, this book also includes a fold out scene of Westminster Abbey to really complete the Royal Wedding experience and display your creations. If you have a lot of random scraps, this is the perfect project for using up all those bits and pieces tangled up in your stash!

Bamboo Swing Cardigan
Of course, we've got plenty more new arrivals here at the shop. One of my new favorites is Be Sweet's Bamboo yarn. Made from silky soft bamboo fiber, this yarn is eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, and just downright awesome. The satiny sheen and flowing drape of this yarn make it perfect for elegant, high fashion garments, as well as comfy, everyday wearables. Take the Be Sweet Swing Cardigan, for instance. This one-size-fits-most cardi features a relaxed silhouette that looks carefree and stylish worn over just about anything!

Cotton Spring 1015
Two new yarns from Artyarns are also settling in on our shelves: Cotton Spring and Cashmere Glitter! As you might expect from any fiber from Artyarns, both yarns are available in stunning palettes of artistic and unique colorways. Cotton Spring is a lightweight cotton and wool blend perfect for summertime knits! Use just one hank for a trendy headband or 3-4 for a lacy wrap!

Cashmere Glitter 1018 Gold
For those who are all about sparkling yarn (like me!), Cashmere Glitter is hands down one of the most gorgeous fibers available on the market. Unbelievably soft cashmere spun with just a hint of Lurex for an understated twinkle, Cashmere Glitter is ideal for delicate shawls and scarves that will compliment your favorite dressy ensemble!

Happy crocheting and knitting!
Leanne