Saturday, January 31, 2009

Only 1 Sleeve Left... More Cause-Related Knitting

I'm almost done! I actually finished this sleeve last night, so only have 1 more left to go... why do i always get to the last sleeve & then shelve it to start on a new project (now i'm working on a baby blanket)? You'd think that i could just finish the darned thing, eh?? And i still want to embroider little green flowers along the bottom of the sweater, so i guess i have a bit to go... Anyway, I'm still liking this Artyarns Supermerino Yarn and am loving the way that it seems so sturdy. I think this sweater is going to last Allison (and her baby girl) a very long time. I certainly hope so. Oh yeah, did I mention that doug and I used this sweater to film a few "how-to" videos last week? 5 of them, to be exact. There's one that shows how to sew up the hood, one about incorporating a new ball of yarn (or contrasting color), one for weaving in your ends at the end of the project, one for decreasing, and one for doing a bar increase. If you get a chance, check them out - and let me know if they are helpful!

In other news... our Breast Cancer Support Scarf has been so incredibly successful that we thought it was time to start knitting for other, just as important, causes. Jeanne and the girls at the store helped me put together the kits below - and we'll be knitting samples over the next month or so. From left to right, there's the Heart Disease Scarf, the Leukemia Scarf, and the Ovarian Cancer Scarf. For each of the kits, we'll be donating $5 of sales to organizations committed to that cause. Let us know if you have other suggestions, because together we can make a difference :)

Last thought - I just talked to a friend of mine yesterday and she informed me that the Superbowl was this weekend. Where have I been??? I used to be a huge football fan (Broncos), but just haven't paid attention in the last few years. What are doug and I doing for Superbowl Sunday? We're going to Reno to ship out packages! Tomorrow is our own superbowl... it's the first of the month, which means that the new Limited Edition color is being released. I have a feeling that this will be a popular one... or at least most of you will enjoy reading the story of how we came up with the color :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Traditional knitting? Not....

So Sandy and I have been talking about getting back to more traditional knitting, hmmm, for me right now that means Fair Isle knitting. So I did get a picture of my (sorta) Fair Isle socks in the last newsletter (from our project log), but I finished them! Yeah! I am leading up to doing a whole Fair Isle sweater for my 6'4" husband and need the practice. I am really happy with the socks, but I am still a bit tight, so it is good that I am practicing on smaller projects first. Sandy tells me to 'Think loose thoughts, Jeanne', and really I try, but well I am still a bit snug. Kristen, however, had fun modeling them for me with her cute Mary Jane style shoes! Thanks Kristen :)

Now several of you have asked me if I am going to write the pattern up for you and honestly I am not too sure, but keep your eyes peeled because if I do you will all be the 1st to know!

Sandy's traditional knitting urge is for lace, lace, and more lace! She picked up the book Shetland Lace and has been a busy little bee knitting up swatches! Beeeauuutiful! Her most recent project, the Icarus out of the Classic Elite Alpaca Sox is almost finished!! It is for her mother, Doris, and I can't wait to see it blocked!

Of course being the little 'Monkey See, Monkey Do' knitter that I am; I started one myself out of some lace yarn I had in my stash. Naturally I got sidetracked, but it is still calling to me. I must say as lace patterns go the Icarus is pretty simple and yet very elegant.

So stay tuned for our more traditional knitting updates.

On a side note I want to say that Ashley has (pretty much) picked her wedding dress! It is so neat and we are all a twitter around here thinking about wedding knitting.

As always, happy knitting! Jeanne

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The best of Reno!

I just couldn't let this go by without a quick SHOUT! Jimmy's was voted the Best of Reno, again, (2005 too, blush, blush) and this is by readers out there in the area. We are excited to know that we are doing our best to help all of you with your projects! Thank you to all of you who voted for us and for your continued support; without our fantastic customers we wouldn't be here and we know it. Jimmy's is committed to a team environment and that shows in this sort of acknowledgement. It isn't anyone of us that makes Jimmy's it's all of us together!

Thanks Jimmy for making such a great place for us to come and play (oh yeah, maybe work too :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To knit or not to knit; is that the question?

Have you ever had one of those days when you just want to curl up on the couch and put on your favorite movie, cast on and just knit!! Well, today is my day to feel that way and I will get to do so in a bit when I get home tonight. NOTHING will stop me from doing so! If something/someone tries, well I just won't be responsible for the results. I do think I will let my dog snuggle with me, but everyone else better just get out of the way! So with that said I will show you what is calling to me to work on it; you may have already seen the beginnings of these socks on our project log. I am using 2 balls of the new Crystal Palace Mini Mochi Yarn, colors 103 and 108, alternating them as I go. I am having such a hard time putting them down! The yarn is sooooooooooooooooo soft and it has a nice sheen to it that is giving my socks some real pop! So happy knitting to all and I will let you know how the couch feels! Jeanne :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chemistry in the Kitchen!?

Every once in awhile I get a hankering to indulge my inner scientist (yes, I am the biochemist gone yarnmonger) so last weekend Amanda M. and I had a little good clean fun--making soap in my kitchen! Amanda and her husband are pretty experienced at the soap making--so there weren't any tragic lye accidents (it's pretty nasty stuff--very caustic) but here's a picture of us in all of our organic chemistry/Burning Man protective gear (Amanda's purple goggles!)

With all of that chemistry going on, I was feeling a little nostalgic and decided to cast on a beanie in the colors of my alma mater--the University of Nevada Wolf Pack. You can make one in the colors of yours (or for any team you like!) with our Team Beanie kit (matching free scarf pattern to follow!). This is how it looks so far (it'll have a few stripes of grey and the rest navy when it's done).


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Years resolutions are meant to be broken!!

My (very short lived) New Years resolution, was NOT to start any new projects without finishing some of the other ones first, hmmmmm, that is out the window already! Gads, I am absolutely crazed for knitting; what can I say? I have also fallen head over heels in love with one of our regular yarns, Rowans Felted Tweed! Did you know it is machine washable??

I have taken the plunge into the Tendril from Rowans Nature book and am using the color Dragon in the felted tweed. It calls for the Luxury Cotton DK which we don't carry, BUT I did a gauge swatch and vow to gauge as I go to make sure I keep things going in the right direction. I have learned my lesson on this one the hard way and loved Laura's article on the Shortcuts for the Lazy Gauger.

So with that said; as I said in my last post, I am a stasher and have 2 balls each (103 and 108) of the new Cyrstal Palace Mini Mochi in a pile waiting to be taken home to my little yarn corner of the world. I am thinking fair isle something or other?? Stay tuned for an insane knitter update!

Happy knitting! Jeanne

Friday, January 9, 2009

I do solemnly promise...

Not to be a Bridezilla! In a few months someone will comment they were my (Ashley) last words before being exiled to some faraway island for control freaks....but for now my intentions are good!

Cory (my boyfriend of two and a half years and friend since...oh I forget) asked me to marry him last Friday! Even though I sort of thought he had something up his sleeve, it still left me speechless--for almost too long, I think!

So now with my big news out, the wedding plans...ahem, or at least ideas...are starting to absolutely flood my brain. It's going to be a very much DIY-wedding, and we are determined to really make it reflect who we are. I think those are the most memorable, and most affordable (most of the time!!) weddings anyway.

By now I'm sure you've noticed my fixation on handmaking gifts, so here is my dilemma: Of course I want to make the gifts for my three (four?) bridesmaids, but they are all so very different--different interests, styles, body types, personalities. It's actually kind of funny that they're all my closest friends...oh and they all live in different climates (they are all from Reno, and that might be the only thing they have in common!). I'm not exactly stuck on knitting them something--I do know how to make jewelry, scrapbook, etc...but knitting is really 'my thing' with all of them, so I think a knitted gift would be really special.

They aren't really shawl/wrap wearing girls, so that's out. Two of them live in warmer climates, but visit Reno scarves might not be entirely inappropriate. But, before I decide on anything (I'm like this with everything about the wedding!) I'd love to get some more I ask you this: What do other knitting brides knit their bridesmaids (if anything? or am I crazy to try and knit things while planning a wedding?!)??


Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Need Advice!

Hmm... I just realized that those ("i need advice") are 3 words that rarely come out of my mouth... . I wonder if that means I'm a know-it-all? Or maybe i simply DO know it all. Ha ha - i'm joking, of course. Well, the truth of the matter is, when it comes to knitting and picking out patterns, I'm constantly in need of feedback and advice... i typically run to Sandy and beg her to help me, but since I'm at home (and she's an hour away), I was wondering if you guys would help me with a critical decision: what to knit for Allison's soon-to-be-born baby girl.

Allison has fair skin and very red hair (as does her mom and sis), so i'm guessing the kid will be similarly complected (is that a word?). That said, I think i've already chosen a yarn (Artyarns Supermerino Yarn in color 105, with 119 greens for embroidered flowers).
What i'm having trouble with is the pattern. Part of me wants to knit the Knitting Pure and Simple poncho below (in the smallest size) so that Allison can throw it over the kid easily in the winter. (She lives in my home state of North Carolina, so even lightweight wool might be too much for the summer months.) But part of me wants to knit the cute little cardigan (it's a free pattern on the Knitting Pure and Simple website), with green flowers embroidered around the bottom (guess i could do that with the poncho also). Anyway, I'm dying to get started on this (but promised myself i'd get through at the least the 6th color on my kidsilk haze scarf first), so any advice you give would be greatly appreciated. The patterns are below, as well as cute little voting boxes for you to use... (at the very bottom of the post - under the photos and near the "share" button). Blogger now has these "reactions" things, so I guess we'll just test it out and see what happens.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Scarves to Throws, Merino Ribbon Throw

I'm plugging away at sewing the scarves together... I've got 8 done - only 4 left! I've been able to get one scarf done each morning - accompanied by a morning latte, of course. I've attached the following photo so you can 1. see how it's looking and 2. see what the biggest problem is with having multiple people knit on the same project: some of the scarves are different lengths! As you can see, the Pioneer scarf (far right) is a few inches longer than the rest. What to do??! I guess there's nothing to do but unravel a few inches from the end... but finding the "end" (vs. the "beginning") was a bit of a challenge. Finally, i realized that almost all people cast OFF tighter than they cast ON, so i was able to figure out which end was actually the end ... and then undo the cast off row... and unravel until i got to the right length. Then i cast off again. :) Next up? The Charcoal scarf. P.S. If you don't know what project I'm talking about, take a look at our Scarves To Throws Project.

Speaking of beautiful throws knitting by various people, I want to show you a few photos of the most gorgeous afghan in the world....the one knitted for doug and me by all of the girls at Jimmy Beans Wool.

Can you believe this? Photos certainly don't do it justice (it's breathtaking) and it looks absolutely perfect on our new couch! The girls said that Wiley and Buddy aren't allowed to use it, so we're keeping it nice and folded on the side of the couch - so only I can snuggle up with it at night... (and isn't Sandy's Blocking Board amazing?) I simply can't tell you how much this throw means to me - to know that every single stitch was knit by one of the girls is just mind-boggling.

I am so lucky.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year, new yarn!!! Wahoo!

I hope this finds everyone out there in good fiber form, because we just got some amazing yarns into the shop! I am so excited to work with the new Manos Del Uruguay Wool Clasica Naturals which is so new to us that there are no pictures up yet! However, don't worry I have some for you to see here and I am sure the pictures will be up in the next couple of days. This yarn is so soft and I am lusting after the red one that is in the right hand picture. Hmmm, maybe a sweater in fair isle using the red, rust, and brown??

I am also in love with the lavender and teal blue, um, the greens, and alas, ALL OF IT! We are going to be getting patterns that are designed for this yarn and I can't wait to see what they are going to be.

We have also added the Legacy Bulky yarn by Vermont O-Wool and the colors are fabulous. It is super soft and of course I want it. Sheesh, we talked about my stash over the holiday's and I think I could go at least 3 years, maybe 4. That may be a conservative estimate, but what the heck, I am gonna buy some yarn :)
Here is Kristen showing off the yummy Legacy yarn. I am thinking maybe a throw with a chevron pattern using the Desert Blush, with Sprig, and the Clay. It would work up so fast on an 11 needle!
I could also mention the new colors that came in the Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend, but I just might faint if I keep going. If I don't cast something on in one of these yarns tonight I am going to well, go nuts (of course everyone around would say, nothing new there :)
Happy Knitting! Jeanne

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Working through the Scarf, a New Couch and More!

Well, as you can see from the photo, i didn't quite finish my Rowan Kidsilk Haze Yarn scarf while in Wisconsin (and I never got to go for a run), but i have gotten into the 4th colorway... a taupey-lavenderish color. I've been knitting for 5" with each color, but started to realize that 100 stitches made for a scarf that was simply too wide (for my tastes, anyway). What to do??? Even though i'm only 18 inches into the thing, i'm not about to rip it out... instead i'll just block the heck out of it! So that's what i did last night (after trying out my new pressure cooker for the first time - whew, was that scary!). You can tell that i stretched the heck out of the scarf because it's now belled at the bottom... but i don't really care (can you believe i used to be a perfectionist?).... now i have almost 22 inches of scarf... it's like Santa gave me 4" of knitting for free! (And, yes, i realize that you are supposed to wait and block the garment once you've finished knitting, but i just couldn't stand it any longer. I needed to do it right away.) And now i'm a much happier camper.

Anyway, I'm having fun with this scarf, but just started to get a bit anxious because i realized that i haven't been working on my friend Allison's wedding blanket (i'm doing the Colinette Absolutely Fabulous Throw Kit in ivory) AND she's going to have a kid (a girl) in a few months, so i need to get cracking on something for the little squirt. I have to tell you - when Allison (wedding photo on the right) and I were little girls (5-6 yrs old), we made a pact. The first one to have a child was REQUIRED to name the kid (if it was a girl) "Allisaura." Get it? Allison + Laura = Allis(on)-(L)aura. Well, we've been chatting pretty regularly and she recently broke the news that her husband doesn't like the name. Is he crazy?? Geez! Anyway, I need to pick out a project for the little kid pretty soon... even if i am a little shell shocked that she's going to name her something different. Ha ha.

Ok - one last thing before i head down to reno (it's the 1st, so i'm going to go ship out some of the new Lorna's Limited Edition Color - New Years Lights). For whatever reason, doug and i have, in almost 11 years, never purchased a couch. For the last 7-8 years, we've been using a hand-me-down green couch from a friend. The couch is great, but it has lots of holes, and one side is completely ripped up due to an anxious Jack Russell (apparently, our friend's dog thought there was a mouse in the couch and decided to take matters into his own hands - paws!). Well, we've been saving our credit card rewards for a few years and have finally broken down and ordered a couch. it's going to arrive on saturday! In all honesty, doug doesn't use the couch very often because it bothers his back, but as you can see from the photo, Wiley and i love to sit on the couch together... and we love using the Yak blanket i knit last year. We're really hoping that he loves the new couch as much as the old one... :) P.s. notice the snow on the deck behind my head? It's even taller now!

More news later - i still need to share the photos with you of my new AMAZING Merino Ribbon blanket, knit by all of the girls at the store. It's absolutely incredible, so i want to make sure that i'm not in a hurry when i write about it. (and i need to make sure that i don't cry).