Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolution Knitting--no easy feat!

So, I rarely make any REAL New Year’s Resolutions. I say this because every year I tell myself I will, and then I end up with sort of a random list in my head that I half-heartedly follow until about mid-January before I forget entirely about it. This year though, I figured, well why not? I should make a list of attainable to-do items and stick to it for once! I figured the best way to do this was to make my list entirely about knitting. Forget all of the health and wellness related resolutions that most people tend to make this time of year (not that those things aren't important), I am going to focus on the knitting!
Tea Leaves Cardigan
Now, this may seem like an easy feat--I mean, who doesn’t love these “fun” kinds of goals, right? Some knitters, and I am NOT one of them, start a project and diligently work on it until it is finished within a timely manner. I do exactly the opposite. I am the kind of knitter who sees a project and falls in love with the IDEA of it. The picking out of the perfect yarn, the casting on with glee and knitting the first few sections thinking all the while about how awesome it will be to finish and wear it. Usually about halfway through I lose my momentum and start to day dream about other projects. Does this sound familiar to any of you, or am I alone in my wasteland of UFO’s?
So here is my list, albeit a little short, of my New Year's Resolution Knitting:
  1. Finish at least 5 of the WIP’s on my Ravelry Page: I’ll be happy with 5, but more would be nice. Priorities are the 2 blankets on the needles (Umaro and Hemlock Ring) that were meant to be wedding gifts. These will get done first!
  2. Knit a sweater for my husband. I've started and stopped this process once or twice already with various reasons befouling my progress: not quite having enough yarn, making too small a size, and getting bored with the pattern to name a few. I have now decided on a pattern (Jared Flood’s Cobblestone Pullover) and acquired new yarn (Tosh Vintage in Stovepipe) and will be making it happen this year!
  3. Knit myself a Tea Leaves Cardigan. I’ve longed for one since I first saw it a couple of years back. I have some Tosh Vintage in Tart that is ready to be knit into my pretty red cardi!
  4. Write up and publish the patterns for the 6 or so designs that I’ve made over the last year for Marinade Designs. This sounds pretty easy, but I am a total slacker! Although I love the creative process and knitting of the garments, I often procrastinate at the drudgery of the number crunching and writing part, especially when I don't have a deadline.
  5. Cobblestone Pullover
  6. Put some of my design ideas out there and submit them for publication in knitting magazines and periodicals! I’ve been meaning to start this process for a long time but frankly have been a bit scared to try. This is the year I make an effort!

So these are my knitting resolutions, out here for all the world to see. I have to follow through now since all of you are here to hold me accountable. I’ll continue to post my progress throughout the year. If any of you have resolutions you want to share, feel free to post a comment. We are all in this together!
Happy New Year!
Kristen

PS. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan.
Visit jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A few of Kristen's Favorite Things...

Looking for ways to spend your JBW Gift Card?
Vintage Short Skeins
Well look no further! I’ve got plenty of ideas and exciting new products that will help you decide and keep you knitting, crocheting and sewing with pleasure throughout the new year!
Yarn:
-Debbie Bliss Party Angel- A fun, new sparkly yarn that is sure to turn heads when knitted in any way, shape or form. If you are short on ideas, check out the Party Angel leaflet!
-Madelinetosh Vintage Short Skeins- These skeins are just 10 yards short per skein and are a great price! Grab enough to make that Tea Leaves Cardigan you have been dying to make! I certainly did, and I cast on as soon as I finished my holiday knitting!
Jade Sapphire
Silk/Cashmere 2-ply
-Lana Grossa Lace Lux- This stunning new yarn from Lana Grossa is perfect for classic and stylish holiday knits! With a lovely sheen and soft halo, this yarn would be beautiful knit in a variety of different items. See the Lana Grossa Lace book for more ideas.
-Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere 2ply- If you really want to treat yourself, this is the way to do it! Gorgeous and soft silk and cashmere is blended into a fingering weight. You can do a lot with 400 yards--it’s time to start knitting!
Books:
-Coastal Knits- Since this book was released in November, we’ve hardly been able to keep it in stock. Full of beautiful and charming knits by designers: Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting and Hannah Fettig of Knitbot, this book is a great addition to any knitting library. I know many of my 2012 knits will be out of this book!
-Interweave Knits Accessories 2011- This special edition of Interweave Press is full of awesome knitted accessories to wear this winter and beyond! I love that it has so many different hats, cowls, gloves and mittens and other wearable items to knit. Also, check out the kits we’ve put together featuring these patterns!
-Kim Hargreaves’ Vintage Designs to Knit- I am a longtime Kim Hargreaves fan, and this new book from Rowan is a great homage to her classic vintage style. With plenty of shrugs, cardigans and pullovers, this book is sure to become a knitting library favorite!
-Textured Stitches by Connie Chang-Chinchio- This new book from one of the industry's most popular designers is full for 20 beautiful designs using simple construction with subtle texture to create wearable and unique garments. I’ll definitely be adding this book to my collection this year!
Needles/Accessories:
-Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Deluxe Interchangeable set- If you are still looking to complete your needle collection, then consider getting this all inclusive set from Knitter’s Pride! The beautiful laminated birch wood needles are colorful and sturdy as well as silky smooth to knit with. I love mine and I am sure you will love them too! Also available in a Starter Set and a Chunky Set.
Dreamz
-If metal needles are your cup o’ tea, the Knitter’s Pride Nova Interchangeable Deluxe Set is also a great buy! With a full range of sizes, a storage case, and super flexible cables, this set is a great investment. Shorter needle tips are also available to add to your kit for making smaller projects in the round. Just like the Dreamz, the Nova’s are available in a Starter Set and a Chunky Set as well.
"Gatsby"
-Dedicated Addi users will love the Addi Click or Addi Lace Clicks sets. These are all your favorite Addi needles, in a full range of sizes and interchangeable tips and cables. Both sets are nickel plated and extremely smooth but the regular Clicks have 5” tips while the Lace Clicks have 3.5” tips. The Lace Clicks have sharper tips and are compatible with 16” cable connectors for making smaller projects in the round. Additional needle tips can be added to each set as well. Not sure which set is right for you? Give our customer service team a call and we are happy to answer your questions! (877) JBW-KNIT (529-5648).
-Offhand Designs is back with gorgeous new prints and colors in their hand-crafted knitting bags! We just received a shipment of Zhivago Weekenders, Scotties, Gatsby’s and more. We are so excited to have them back in the shop!
Crochet:
-Simply Crochet from Interweave Press- This new book is awesome! It contains beautiful and stylish projects and lots of great expert crochet tips, including how to maximize your yarn yardage for each project.
-Seamless Crochet by Kristen Omdahl- Kristen’s new seamless crochet joining technique is groundbreaking for the crochet community! This new book explains her new technique and includes beautiful designs to accompany it. This new book is a must-have for any serious crocheter’s library!
-Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Crochet Hook Set- This set of 8 single ended crochet hooks comes in a clear pouch and is color coded for ease of use. Also check out the Tunisian Crochet Interchangeable Set.
Smooshy
-Pretty fingering weight yarns aren’t just for knitting these days! Check out some of our favorites for your next crochet project: Madelinetosh Sock, Malabrigo Sock, Noro Taiyo Sock, Shaefer Anne, Lorna’s Laces Solemate, Dream in Color Smooshy, and Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock!
Fabric and Sewing:
-Amy Butler Fabrics and Patterns- From the Lark Collection to the stunning Soul Blossoms, we have several of Amy Butler’s beautiful collections here in the shop! Also, check out her awesome patterns including: the Domestic Goddess Aprons, the Charm Clutch, the Sweet Harmony Handbag and Tote, or the Lotus Tunic and Cami. There are so many cute prints and patterns to choose from, the possibilities are endless!
"Kasbah" from Amy Butler's
Lark Collection
-Joel Dewberry Fabrics and Patterns- Joel Dewberry’s fabrics are lovely and inspired and the patterns to go with it are equally impressive! In fact, Jimmy was so enthralled with his prints that she is going to sew her first quilt using a collection of his prints in greys and yellows--Grellow! Jeanne and Sandy are going to sew along with her and make quilts of their own. What a fun project for the new year!
"Charm Clutch" by
Amy Butler
-Tula Pink fabrics and Patterns- I just love the whimsy of Tula Pink's prints. The Prince Charming and Parisville Collections are both beautiful and whimsical. When I saw the Frog Prince and Snail Scallop prints, I knew I would have to sew with them right away! I am planning to make a bag with one and a skirt from the other! What a way to make sewing even more fun!
I hope this list of some of my favorite things helps to guide you in finding the perfect crafty products to help you start the new year out right!
Happy knitting, crocheting, and sewing!
Kristen


P.S. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan. Visit jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Monday!!!

Here we are the day a week before the 2nd day of the New Year...wow!! I don't know about you, but I love the New Year for many reasons! Of course, I try hard NOT to make resolutions, but there is always one or two that sneak up on me. So, with a week to think about it, I thought I would see if you all have anything that you would like to commit to this coming year? I would love to hear about the things you would like to change in your life in the next year. To get the ball rolling, here are just a few of the things I am considering making a real commitment too:

1. Exercise (I have already started walking at least 4 days a week)

2. Commit 70% of my diet to raw food (always working on this one)

3. Finish my projects (again, always working on this one)

4. Add 3 designs to my Battle Born Knits line (sadly, I have several ready to be test knitted and just have to follow-up, sigh)

5. Learn something really new once a month

Okay, so that's as long as I want any list to be, but again I would LOVE to hear from you about your ideas for the coming year. Maybe we could work on something together this year and talk about it here on the blog...what do you think?

I can't wait to hear from you all and you can email me at jeanne@jimmybeanswool.com with your ideas, or just to say hi!

As always, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!

Jeanne

P.S. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan. Visit www.jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Our favorite holiday traditions...

To help us all get a bit more in the holiday spirit, and as most of us busily prepare for this weekend, we thought it appropriate to share some of our favorite holiday traditions with you all. I hope you enjoy hearing what the “Little Beans” love to do this time of year:
Kathy:
“My mom and I always watched The Grinch (the cartoon version) every year and drank egg nog and ate cookies.”
Sharon:
“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas me and Tim (my mister) always give an extra bag of groceries to the food bank. Most bags can be bought in line at the stores. We also carry extra clothes and toiletries in our car to give out to the homeless on street corners when we are out and about.”
Monika:
“Our favorite holiday tradition is to celebrate Christmas twice…. We are so spoiled! In Germany, people have a nice dinner on December 24th, and after caroling or just enjoying family time, presents are opened that evening. So we do that first, and then Santa comes overnight and brings another little something for us to open on the morning of the 25th. Double the fun and excitement!”
Tiffany:
“When I was a kid, we went to my aunt's house every year for a delicious home-cooked Christmas dinner made from scratch. Ten years ago my family moved to Reno, away from our extended family, and we tried to create the same home-cooked Christmas dinners... and wound up with home-cooked disasters. We realized that our cooking skills don't go beyond oatmeal and microwavable popcorn. It turned out that for my family trying to put together a whole Christmas meal was an extremely stressful Mission Impossible. So, we did what all self respecting bad cooks do; we let the professionals handle it. Now every Christmas we meet up at our favorite local restaurant for breakfast and we're able to enjoy the day without the stress. I guess my favorite thing about holiday traditions is that if an old one isn't working out you can always start a new one.”
Leanne:
“Listening to my mom's old polka music and Alvin and the Chipmunks xmas album while decorating sugar cookies.”
Bethany:
“My favorite holiday tradition is curling up on the couch and watching The Charlie Brown Christmas special and The Grinch (the old one!) back to back. That's how I know it's time for the Holidays to start!”
Jillian:
“My favorite holiday tradition is the Christmas Tree Pickle. My mom is is part German and each year she hides a (fake) pickle in the Christmas tree-- a German tradition. Whoever finds the pickle first gets a wish or opens a present early.”
Amanda:
“My family always goes to an action movie and we eat chinese food for dinner. It is a day to enjoy being lazy together.”
Kristen:
“My husband and I usually spend Christmas with my in-laws since my parents live in another state and usually the weather intervenes with our holiday travel plans. On Christmas Eve we get together with all of the close family friends and their kids and have a big soup party (every family brings a different kind of soup or stew to share) and play board games. There are usually about 40-50 of us and it is a fun way to spend the evening. Then the day after Christmas, instead of dealing with traffic and shopping malls, we head south to Markleeville and go to the hot springs for a snow hike and soak. We have dinner somewhere nice on the way home...usually the old-timey Basque restaurant in Minden. Also, I have made it a tradition to start knitting something for myself on Christmas Day after I’ve given all of the gifts I have worked so hard on for months. It is my awesome reward!”

From all of us at Jimmy Beans Wool, we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!
And most of all, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!
Kristen

PS. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan. Visit jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A handmade holiday by little beans...

Well, the holidays are here and all of us beans are like little elves, knitting and crafting like crazy to have hand made gifts to give this year! Many of us, as usual, left our holiday knitting until the last minute and are hurriedly trying to crank out gifts in time to wrap and place under the tree. So, since it’s pretty much all we can think about at the moment, we thought we’d share with all of you what we are making as gifts this year!
Sandy is knitting these darling gloves for her daughter out of the “Knitter's Book of Yarn” by Clara Parkes. The lovely pink yarn she is using is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in “Whisper.” Shepherd Worsted is awesome for knitted gifts because it’s machine washable!
Terry is expecting her first grand-baby in January and has been knitting these darling Wool Diaper Soakers out of Cascade 220 Tweed. The pattern was purchased on Ravelry from Closeknit.

Amber is sewing some of her gifts this year and made this super cute jewelry roll for her mom out of Cath Kidston’s book “Sew!” She used Joel Dewberry’s gorgeous “Bloom” fabric from his Aviary 2 collection. Isn’t it cute?

Jeanne’s son Chris requested a purple beanie for Christmas, so she knit him this super cute beanie out of Manos del Uruguay Striated Dyed Wool yarn. The design is a modified mistake rib and she just kind of made it up as she went. That Jeanne, so creative!

Tara is knitting this cozy scarf for her grandma out of Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Flamme yarn. The pattern is a free one on Ravelry called “Scrunchable Scarf.” All of us beans just love Ravelry’s extensive pattern database. It’s truly indispensable!


Shevawn knit the Rustling Leaves Beret from the Coastal Knits book for her sister in Madelinetosh's Tosh Sock yarn. The project took less than one skein and turned out beautifully! I'm sure her sister is going to love it!

Last but not least, I (Kristen) am knitting all kinds of different items. I have knit 3 of these chunky Rasta Neck-warmers from Malabrigo Book 3. Instead of the Malabrigo Rasta (which we currently out of as we wait patiently for our next shipment) I used Cascade Magnum which is super soft and comes in great solid colors! I am also knitting a variety of hats for family members, mostly basic beanies, but also a number of these fun earflap hats using a chunky tweed yarn (pattern coming soon from Marinade Designs).





I hope you all are having fun finishing the last of your holiday crafting and knitting!
Happy holidays,
Kristen

P.S. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan.

Visit www.jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

JBW parties...

It's that time again and boy how the time has just flown by! Here at JBW we have an annual party to celebrate all we have accomplished in the last year and to just have a good time!


Yummy menu!!


Our special remembrance this year!!

This was my 5th celebration with JBW and I must say it was amazing for so many reasons not the least of which is all the new little beans who got to be here...woohoo!

You all have kept us super busy this year and it has added jobs here at the shop with our current little bean count at 39...yes you read that right...39!! We couldn't have gotten to this point without you, so THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!

This year we went to the Washoe Steak House and boy it was superb!!

Sasha and her husband Frank had a great time!

Sandy, Nicole, Amber, Jane, Kristen and Casey having fun!

We had cocktail hour from 6-7 and then sat down for dinner.

We had a very special guest, Jeffrey the black lab, who is a guide dog in training and was very affectionate! Cheryl, one of our newer beans is a dedicated volunteer trainer of these fantastic dogs, and Jeffery was well received!
Jeffery says woof!
I suspect at some point he may have gotten a treat or two...but you'll have to ask him.









We enjoyed toasts, speeches and some real fun times. We have a secret Santa exchange every year and the gifts provided great joy and excitement!



Shevawn always has the most beautiful smile!
Kathy is showing off her ruffle scarf from Leanne


Shevawn's secret present is a mystery that she will have to solve...fun!

Sarah got a window thermometer so she will know that it is too cold to wear shorts

Kristen got some great 'hippy' books on herbs and healthy foods, yum yum!

Marilyn got a hand sewn bag from Sandy!

Nicole got something really cool, but I couldn't hear with all the excitement, but she was thrilled

Last year we gave Laura (aka Jimmy) and Doug a box full of knitted and crocheted squares made by all the little beans and it only took us until last week to get it put together. So, taking into account the 9 months of collecting the squares and the year in between completion we are all really happy to have the project done!

Somewhere along the line, Laura had mentioned to Kristen and Bethany that she had been thinking about juicing and so all of us little beans chipped in and got them a juicer.


The super fun part was how surprised they were! I am here to tell you that Doug and Laura (Laura especially) are really hard to surprise.

The next morning, Laura was texting everyone with a great picture of their 7:00 am juicing progress and thanks!

I know I speak for all the little beans when I say that this small gift can't truly express our gratitude at all you do for us!! Thanks!!!

There is so much more I could include about this fun night, but there just isn't room in one post. I think this lets you know how much fun we have here at JBW and I hope you all realize how truly grateful we are to you for your business and support!

Without you, we wouldn't exist and thanks just doesn't seem like enough, but hopefully bringing you into our family helps!



I have said this more than once, but I LOVE my job (which really isn't a job at all, it's a labor of love)!!!

I love coming to work in the morning, I love seeing everyone I work with, I love helping you all with your projects and well, I am so grateful for my home at Jimmy Beans Wool that again, words just can't express what's in my heart!

7:00 AM juice is yummy!

I will close with my personal wish to all of you for a Happy Holiday and Joyous New Year and from all of us at Jimmy Beans Wool THANKS!

As always, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!

Jeanne

P.S. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan. Visit www.jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!





Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lana Grossa Condito-- the perfect last minute gift yarn!

If you haven’t seen the Lana Grossa Condito yet, you are really missing out! It arrived at our shop early this fall, just in time for the winter ruffle-craze, and we are absolutely loving it! The best thing about this yarn is that it can be “knit” without actually knitting! I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain... There are several different ways you can create scarves with this fun and funky yarn without even using needles or a crochet hook. If you have 10 minutes and 2 hands, you are all set! Watch this quick video of Lana Grossa’s rep demonstrating how to “knit” with this yarn:




Our fearless leader Laura, aka. “Jimmy”, visited Lana Grossa in Cologne, Germany recently, which got her really excited about the Condito yarn. She said it was the one new yarn that she just fell in love with and HAD to order right away. In fact, she liked it so much that she made herself scarves in several different colors that she wore to Palm Springs recently for her big business growth summit! Here she is wearing her Condito scarf at the Winning Women Awards Ceremony:
At the "Winning Women" Awards Ceremony


Nicole and Casey
modeling 2 versions of
the Condito scarves


The yarn itself is amazingly soft and versatile too! Condito is 74% merino wool (which explains the softness), 8% mohair, 8% polymide, and 10% acrylic. It is already knitted in a tubular structure which you can “pull apart” to create a fun ruffled texture. You can knit it by looping it through itself up one side, chain crocheting it, or running elastic thread through it while doubled. You can create long scarves or cowls that can be looped twice. It is really that versatile as well as easy to work with.


Lana Grossa has also provided some amazing free patterns to accompany this yarn. We have created some easy kits on our website so you can see what the options are. There's a sewn scarf, a cowl, and a crocheted scarf to choose from!
Laura and Kirsten
from Muench Yarns in the
Lana Grossa showroom.


One aspect of this yarn that Laura is really drawn to is the ease of use. You don’t even need to know how to knit! It is also the kind of yarn that you can knit super quickly (in 5-10 minutes depending on the pattern you choose) so it’s perfect for last minute gifts. She also likes how accessible it it is--ANYONE can do it! She thinks it would be a great project for kids since the learning curve is a bit easier and not at all time intensive. Sounds like the perfect pre-knitting lesson for your younger knitters. Overall, these factors along with the fun colors and textures make Condito one of the most interesting and unique yarns to hit the knitting scene this year!
Condito Cowl
So, if you are still trying to crank out some last minute knitted gifts for the upcoming holiday, be sure to check out the Condito yarn! It’s a lot of fun to work with, is beautiful, and provides amazing instant gratification. Who doesn’t need a little bit of that every once in a while? I know I do!
Happy holiday knitting everyone!
Kristen


PS. Have you seen our latest catalog yet? It’s 48 pages of pure, 100% Rowan. Visit www.jimmybeanswool.com/catalog to sign up for your free copy!