Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Filming again...

Well we have been out of the filming business for a bit, due to some cute baby distractions, but we are going to be up and running again for the next three days, YEAH! We have been taking notes too on all the things you want to hear about and learn. We will be adding more to the list of instructional videos and those are some of my favorite ones to work on (please keep the suggestions coming). There is nothing I like better than encouraging your creativity by teaching you new techniques to add to your knitting arsenal.

I have mentioned before that I am soooooooo lucky to have my job and just love telling you about the new stuff we have added to our inventory in the form of our video reviews, gosh it's so rough touching all this stuff for you, ha, ha. I have heard from so many of you on how helpful they have been in choosing the right products for your personal styles. Since we have been in the baby mode with our cute little Huck, the list is quite long and I would think that Doug will be getting them up within the month or so.

Some highlights of the list are the new Lantern Moon needle cases (new colors) and a new LARGE elegant case (Marilyn) for your needles comfort.

There is also the adorable Baabs that has me running around the shop bleating like a sheep and just being generally silly. Of course ask anyone, nothing new there, blush, blush. Now I don't want you to think that all I do is bleat like a sheep, because I have plenty of other ways to be silly too. For instance Sandy and I regularly break out in a show tune (dancing and all), or there is always our favorite, I'm a little Tea Pot!!

The list is so long that this is just the tip of the iceberg and I can't wait to tell you about the new Berroco Blackstone Tweed yarn that I am knitting up in a double knitting pattern (that technique is on the instructional list and so much easier that you may think ;) from the new Knit.1 magazine. Of course this latest project has a lot to do with Sandy and our friend Barbara, who are also knitting up the same scarf as shown in the magazine, out of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze yarn.

Well stay tuned to this same knitting channel for our bright and shiny faces helping you learn about all the fantastic products that we carry.

Happy Knitting! Jeanne baaaaa, baaaaa, baaaaa :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New FO's and trying to finish all those UFO's.

I know I sort of lamented a bit about all of those UFO's floating about my house recently, so I finally decided to do something about it! I figured they weren't going to finish themselves so I had better pick up those needles and get busy! On my days off last week, I did just that and I have quite a bit to show for those efforts.

First I finished the adorable Presto Chango Baby Sweater that I had started for my friends little girl "Hoot" a few weeks ago. Thanks to Sandy, I was given a flash course on the proper way to do a mattress stitch (somehow I had managed to avoid it for so long) and I was on my merry way. It came out so cute!

Next, I was bound and determined to finish the Ishbel Shawl in the Noro Kureyon Sock (color 220) which had been sitting lonely and neglected on the needles since just after Mother's Day. I pulled a late night one evening and pushed through just ten more rows and I was finally finished! I think my mom is going to love it, don't you? I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out (this photo of it blocking hardly does it justice)...now I just have to finish mine...

Lastly, I had cast on for the Pleated Vest by Blue Sky Alpacas with some lovely Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky back in February or March (amazing how time flies when you are knitting!) I decided to pick it back up and was able to finish the whole back in one afternoon. Since it is going so quickly, I am hoping to finish it within a few weeks so it can go on display in the shop for a bit before it gets cool enough for me to wear it. I am making a few modifications to the pattern to fit my shape a little better so keep your eyes peeled for those on the project log.

Once I finish with this, I can feel less guilty about starting on the Napoleon Vest in the Blackstone Tweed, or something beautiful in the Lustra...both are lovely new yarns from Berroco... Oh it feels so good to finish projects! Hope all of you are having a productive summer as well!

Happy knitting,

Friday, July 24, 2009

What more could a knitter ask for?!

Ok, you know how when you see a pattern in a book or magazine and the angle they shoot it from looks AMAZING...but you always wonder 'what does the back look like' or, 'what does that stitch pattern really look like up close'? And once in awhile, your doubts keep you from taking the erm, sheep by the...uh...horns...and knitting the project.

Fear not fellow knitters...Vogue has the answer. And it's brilliant. Vogue 360 not only gives you a 360 view of each and every garment in the magazine (starting with their Spring/Summer 2009 issue), but it gives you close-ups of things you never imagined possible without having it right there in front of you. Stitch details, under arm construction, under collars...it's literally like having a sample garment right there in front of you (minus the ability to fondle the yarn itself, of course...when we figure out virtual yarn fondling we'll let you know!). And, it's set to snazzy music ;-)

Seriously though--check it out. You can see the 360 degree view of all of the garments in the magazine, or once the first one starts playing you'll find a little bar down at the bottom to select specific ones. It's a fashion show right on your computer! A great example is the Botanica Medallion Cardigan (the cover knit from the Spring/Summer Issue) knit from Blue Sky Alpaca's Skinny Organic:

After seeing the 360, I think I'm in love! We've got the kit if you're in the same boat I am--you'll want to select 'Kit with book or pattern' if you don't already have the Spring/Summer 2009 Vogue, and make sure you have the needles (or order them separately--they aren't part of the kit). Because, you know...I need another project on my needles...don't you!?!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Organizing stash, or the taming of the yarn??

I have been overwhelmed with my stash of late and as most of you know it's a bit LARGE after working at Jimmy's, sheesh!! I am sure that Laura orders things that target me specifically, but with that said (come on Laura give me a break) I had to get a handle on what I actually have.

A while back I built a lovely display for my prized collection out of those metal mesh cubes and it was great, UNTIL I would suddenly get inspired and pull something out of the 'display' to play with. Down would come a bag, ball, or hank of something and I was so inspired to do whatever I would be into at the moment, that it would lay there looking forelorn until something else would come down to join it. I am most certain that at night the yarn, needles, notions and what not would have a party and multiply until I couldn't see my work table underneath.

A quick side note on the new Namaste line of bags and Needle Binders, etc., I got a Lime binder and of course a bag, (the Malibu) but I am a bag addict too! I am taming my circulars with the binders and the extra mesh inserts, (why do I have so many US 6 needles?) wahoo! I am so thrilled that we got this line into the shop and well I just can't toot this horn too much!

I confess I have a problem and I just couldn't see my way through the mess to work on it. I would make an attempt once a week to get it tamed, but as I unearthed something I would again want to play and well there you go off to the races again!

Soooooo my husband and son are out of the country touring Jordan, Egypt, Israel and some other exotic places (HOT) for the next 2 weeks, so I decided to take the yarn by the fibers and make a big change! I would be taking pictures of this process for you, but I loaned my camera to my son for the trip (Chris you better take care of that camera if you ever want to drive again :) and alas you don't get ongoing pictures, sorry. However, I promise to get you organized pictures and maybe I am kind of glad that you can't see my true nature in this mess that I have created.

Ok, ok, moving on to the Que theroy of knitting and I know quite a few of you who use this theroy with great success, hmmmm, we will see how it goes for me. I bought 30 letter size cardboard boxes and have so far used 18 (and counting) to carefully house my stash. Now hold on to your computer, but I am even labeling the boxes with the contents of my prized yarn, wow! See Laura I can do it if I really put my mind to it LOL :) of course the true test will come once I allow myself the 5 qued projects and devote myself to them. I mentioned this to Kristen who said she thinks that she has about 12 on the needles right now and I haven't even gotten to my UFO's yet, which are housed in 2 cubes.

So what to que that is the question? I am still on my Knitting Pure and Simple Open Summer Sweater, #294 out of the Oasis yarn. I have my stalled but not forgotten Shoalwater Shawl by Fibertrends out of the Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. There are socks galore at least 5-8 pairs in various stages of completion and I know somewhere in the mess is the Icarus Shawl begun in Misti Alpaca Lace yarn.

Naturally since this whole situation occurs in my bedroom I had to clean my closet out (hence the doing this while my guys are out of town for 2 weeks, will that be enough time?) and so I have piles of stuff for charity laying in heaps and the metal hangers have multiplied to the point of four paper bags (for recycling) and counting.

Stay tuned and if I can dig my way out of the yarn, clothes, hangers and dust bunnies I will give you an update soon!

As always happy knitting and lots of cool drinks in the shade, oh yea with knitting/crocheting!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Housework Lament....

My best friend/college roommate, Jamie, and I used to joke (while pulling an all-nighter cramming for finals) that we really wouldn't mind a June and Ward Cleaver sort of family dynamic. You know, the old cliche image of the housewife vacuuming in heels and pearls? My favorite image is actually out of the movie Mona Lisa Smile, when Julia Roberts is angry with her students and is showing them slides of those ridiculous girdle advertisements and she yells something about them being the most educated women in the country and they'll able to calculate the volume of every meatloaf they make--or another part where they're talking about reading literary classics while vacuuming. Oops--got off on a tangent. Anyway, I think in honor of my upcoming wedding, Jamie made me a really (yes, really really) cute vintage-looking apron for Christmas. I'd show you a picture of it--but it's in the washing machine as we speak.

I'll admit, it hung in the closet for a good three months after she gave it to me (in part because I didn't want to ruin it with say, bleach--and in part because aprons sort of seem cliche to me) but in recent weeks I've noticed something about housework. It is absolutely, entirely, unarguably NEVER ENDING. I mean, the minute laundry is done it's time to go to the gym and wham-o...you've got gym clothes and towels ready for the washing machine. You mop the kitchen floor, and your soon-to-be father in-law comes over with his muddy work boots and grabs a bottle of water on his way to the backyard. You get the idea. And I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm sure it isn't really new in my world either, but with a mere 26 days until the wedding and about 1.5 million little things to do just for the event itself, I'm really starting to notice the perpetual nature of housework.

So at one point last week, perhaps thinking back to childhood days when costumes made all the difference (did you ever go to the doctor wearing a Superman cape or a Ninja Turtles belt?--yeah I wasn't a doll kind of girl) I went to the closet and pulled out my hand-sewn vintage apron. I'd like to say I put it on and it transformed me into Superhousewife, and though of course it didn't, psychologically it seems to do something. It's like it puts me in the mindset to just get the housework done and move on to, say knitting or good literature (not while vacuuming!). On another important note, I realized that Jamie made it with the intention that I would use it, not that I would let it hang in the closet for ever and ever just because I didn't want to ruin it. It's an apron. Don't they say life is short, use the nice china? Use the nice apron. Sheesh.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Help me out with a name...

So about a month back, I blogged about a little hat pattern I was working on the design for, and now I finally have the pattern finished! I am excited to be done with this design however, I am struggling with a name...any suggestions? I should have this pattern finished and ready by mid-next month but hopefully sooner than that! The pattern will be written for both the Small and Large sizes. I am so excited to debut this--I can hardly wait!

These two sample hats are done up in the in the Peach Tree and the Whale's Road colorways of Malabrigo Worsted Merino. I just love the softness of this yarn. It is amazing! The Peach Tree is the smaller version and the Whale's Road is the larger. The Peach Tree color seemed to pool a bit oddly on the small size, but I bet it would work just fine for the Larger one. This hat also looks great in a self striping yarn like the Noro Silk Garden as seen in the original version I made (and some of the colors are on sale right now, that's right, SALE).

Besides working on getting this design ready to go, I have been thinking a lot about, actually dreaming about, the new Berroco yarns we will be getting in this coming Tuesday... I really want to make the Napoleon Vest from the Blackstone Tweed book (and about 10 other things from the Norah Gaughan books). I'll be waiting with itchy fingers the moment the UPS van shows up at the store on Tuesday, ready to pounce on that Berroco shipment. Hopefully Amber and Ashley won't mind me diving in head-first!

But really, it's far to HOT here right now to be thinking of such things... I'll just continue along with my small and lightweight summer projects and dream of the cooler days of fall ahead... Happy knitting to all!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Frogging, babies and gauges

I blogged last time about my beginnings of the new Knitting Pure and Simple pattern, Summer Open Cardigan #294 and well, rippit, rippit!! I had to hippity hop to the frog pond on this one, but luckily it is so simple that I am getting back on track again. Now you would think I know what I am doing, but alas, (even though I tell you all the right way to do things) I didn't gauge this one properly. So I went back to square one, or stitch one as the case may be, and did a little math. I am using the Southwest Trading Company Oasis yarn and THOUGHT (didn't do the math) that I would need to go up a size, NOT!! Do as I say, not as I do, sheesh, Jeanne!!! Ok, ok, enough of this diatribe and suffice it to say I am doing my size (42") and the math says I will add 2 inches of ease to this one. I love the pattern and the yarn and can't wait to really get going. I am going to add a bit of a contrast to the bodice with a slip stitch pattern (I did knit a swatch) and not the lace as I previously talked about. I am using Burgundy and will do the contrast in the Cornflower. I am really excited now that I am taking my own advice.

I also recently whipped up the Hoot Hat by Spud & Chole, using the Outer yarn in their line and it was such a fun knit that I am going to knit a second one up. I will say that I knit the 1-2 years size and I am going to give that one to Victoria's daughter Alice as it is a bit big for little Huck. I wanted to make it for him to use this winter, but it is a bit big. Alice was in the shop and tried it on and loved it, so Alice, this one is for you :) I am going to do it again, as I had enough of most of the yarn and just needed to add one more hank of the blue, in the 6-12 month size for Huck.

Speaking of Huck, he was here the other day and is right at 6 weeks old and boy is he awesome. Sandy got to hold him, but he decided to be a bit vocal for her and she just went with the flow. He finally feel asleep and she layed him out on some of our finest Noro Silk Garden yarn. The blanket he is snuggled up to is done in the Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton yarn. That blanket is a fun one, as Laura took all the knit samples we had and sewed them up. It is so soft and snuggy, how could Huck not fall asleep?

So we did leave sleeping babies lay for a bit and got some work done.
As always, Happy Knitting!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trying to stay in the present...

So, I have that common problem that many knitters around me seem to have...the inability to stay in the present. I can't seem to start and finish a project in a timely manner without getting excited about something I saw on Ravelry or in the shop and deciding to cast on. This is why, like many other knitters, I have so many UFO's floating 'round my house. Twelve was my last count... How have I gotten to this point? Less than a year ago I had one maybe two going at a time, now I have TWELVE! Since I started working at JBW, it has become too easy to keep adding to the growing collection of projects. I justify new purchases with, "well, I won't always work in a yarn shop" or "but I need a small project to take on vacation," or "I need something mindless to knit on in the evenings when my brain is fried." Sound familiar?

I vowed never to become THAT knitter, but alas, I have. Which is why, when I was in the shop the other day looking at the new Knitting Pure and Simple Patterns and Spud & Chloe Yarns, I couldn't resist dreaming of future projects. I love the new KPS Neckdown Boatneck Pullover. For ages I have wanted a Navy and Cream Rugby Striped Boatneck Pullover and I think this would be the perfect easy pattern to do that in. I was thinking the new Spud & Chloe Sweater Yarn would be perfect. The "Lake" color is just about perfect for the navy. What I love about this yarn is how season-less it is. It really can be worn year round, and you can't beat the fact that it is machine washable! Gotta love it...

Anyway, I've been a good girl and have refrained from buying until I finish a few other projects. I'd like to get about half of these UFO's done by the time summer is over...let's see how successful I am... In the meantime, happy summer knitting to you all!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Late evenings Wahoo!!

My husband is such a cool guy and tonight he took me to Harrah's here in Reno for the Greg London Show and well we had a date! Imagine, 2 silly old married people out on the town listening to this guy doing impressions of Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Ozzy Osbourne, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and all the silly old fav's! Oh yea he even did good 'ol Tony Bennett! Yea baby I left my heart in San Fransisco too!

It really was a lot of fun and while I didn't get too much knitting done on my Southwest Trading Company Oasis sweater, I had a great time! Naturally I had it with me, but had to stop in the middle of a row to applaud! Diane Soucy of Knitting Pure and Simple fame, has recently released some new patterns and I just couldn't wait to cast on (hmmm imagine :) her new Summer Open Cardigan pattern, #294 with this great yarn. Of course it is coincidentally on sale for 40% off.

I just adore her patterns because they are so easily modified and of course simple, ha ha! I am going to add a bit of a lace pattern around the bodice to just give it a bit of my own style. I also went down a needle size to accommodate the gauge of the yarn. I am knitting the next size up, and yes I did gauge it for a change of pace.

Of course Sandy and I were talking today about how easy it would be to add a bit of a slip stitch design to the bodice with a contrasting color. My main color is Burgundy and the contrast would be something like Cornflower for a little pop. Sandy likes to put ideas in my head, sheesh, Sandy I had a plan really. I like the slip stitch idea too. What to do, what to do??

What do you think?? Of course I hate to mess with perfection, so we will see.

I guess I better go to bed (11:18, way past my bedtime), but after one more row...as always, happy knitting!