Monday, November 29, 2010

And the winner is...

Oh my goodness you all posted, tweeted, retweeted and just generally got so excited that I was jealous I had to watch from the side lines!! Your comments were great and your enthusiasm was unsurpassed!! I realize that the prize of 6 luscious hanks of our exclusive Landscape Collection yarn from Misti Alpaca in the winners choice of color...ooohhhh soooooo soft was a great motivator, but you all really got into the spirit of things and had a great time! We all had a great time watching along with you!

So I bet you are sitting at your computer reading this post and wanting to poke me with US 36 needles since I am dragging things out...hmmm maybe I won't tell you who the winner is until tomorrow? Ha ha I am a real stinker I know, but I have to have my fun too!!

I really enjoyed Debbie's guest blog and her love of knitting really showed; it gave me goose bumps! We are going to be featuring regular guest bloggers on Tuesday's and of course our regular posts have been ramped up for your reading pleasure! Debbie thank you so much for your post and for your beautiful winning entry in our Landscape Collection pattern contest!

On Wednesday's Leanne is looking at all the new products she has been entering into our system and highlighting some of her favorites. Leanne moved back to Boise Idaho a while ago, but luckily has been able to do her work for us in cyber space and boy I am one happy bean about that!! She is coming to Reno for a visit on December 15th and I know we are all excited to see her in person again!

On Friday's Kristen (who is an amazing knitter/designer and fantastic gal to know) highlights all our FO's and WIP's for the weekend! Her excitement for knitting and all of our projects shines through with every word and I can't wait to read about what we are all working on!

Of course Monday's are my posts and I have been given free reign to write about what fancies me, so watch out because I can get a little bit silly if I do say so myself! If you ever have something specific you would like me to write about please don't hesitate to let me know, as I love the hear what's on your mind and your suggestions are ALWAYS brilliant! Keep 'em coming!!

If you want to know when we have posted something new you can scroll to the bottom of this page and subscribe (look in the left hand corner) to get notices of our posts if you like! I have quite a few blogs I like to follow and this really helps me keep track of new posts, so I don't miss anything exciting!

You can also 'LIKE' us on Facebook and get little tidbits there everyday!

Okay just in case you are heading to the shop now with those US 36 needles in hand to give me a poke let's get to the heart of today's post and THE WINNER # 156 There is a Girl That Never Goes Out!!!! CONGRATULATIONS and you can claim your prize by sending us an email ( with your color choice and your shipping information (please include a phone number just in case) and way to go!! Please claim your prize in the next 48 hours, so we can get it off to you!! Don't forget to let us know what you make with your prize if you send us project details along with pictures we will feature you on our project log!

Thanks to all of you who participated in this fun giveaway and keep your eyes peeled as we will be doing more giveaway's!!

As always happy knitting and crocheting!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall Wrapped Up designer Debbie Swartzel and JBW's First Yarn Giveaway!

Do Something Creative Every Day

Those five words are on the wall above my desk reminding me that there’s more to life than groceries and laundry. Cross stitch, sewing, scrapbooking, stamping. These are just a few of the creative hobbies I’ve had and amazingly each of them prepared me for knitting. Cross stitch taught me to have an even tension, sewing an understanding of garment construction; scrapbooking and stamping introduced me to creating my own pleasing visual design with color, texture and placement. I’ve sold my stamps, have a cross stitch piece that’s been hibernating for years and my sewing machine is buried in the basement doomed to begrudgingly make its annual appearance when I can’t come up with a way to avoid it. Scrapbooking-I still scrapbook but it’s all digital today. No fuss, no muss and there are always enough “S” stickers!

In 2003, at the urging of a couple of friends I took the required private lesson and first six week class. I came home from my private lesson able to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off and I was in heaven. I immediately fell needle, yarn and marker for knitting. I just couldn’t put my needles down. My kids quickly tired of me saying, " just let me finish this row".

Fast forward to 2010 and a simple email from a friend: March looks like a long month at school, want to plan a play date? She wanted to take me to visit a yarn store where her good friend worked. Who could resist such an invitation? At Close Knit Knittery (sadly now closed) I met Teri, friend of my friend Deb, and Shari, the store owner. Teri had started designing and knitting felted messenger bags and I was duly impressed and inspired. A couple of years before I had purchased a similar garment to Fall Wrapped Up at a local outlet and I’d had nothing but complements. I searched the internet to no avail, I could not find a pattern for a wrap like the one I so adored. So now with a little inspiration from Teri, and encouragement from Deb, I set off to figure this darn thing out.

The trip to Close Knit Knittery inspired something else: the desire to knit in community. All these years I’d primarily knit at home, in the car (with my husband driving) at dance competitions and soccer tournaments and even a time or two on the beach, but never with other knitters. That same afternoon, I came home and searched for local knitting groups and to my surprise there was a group meeting that night at a coffee shop just a few miles from home and I got up the courage to go. There were just three of us that night but I felt welcomed and immediately enjoyed the company of these other ladies who loved yarn as much as I did and returned regularly through the spring and early summer.

After completing a project with a deadline I immersed myself in developing this pattern. This took some collaboration with some people on Ravelry, reading about various techniques and editing and reediting a chart on Excel. As soon as there was something on paper that seemed like it would work, I cast on. And frogged and cast on again. Thankfully, like childbirth the pain of these false starts faded quickly. My new friends at the coffee shop urged me to submit the pattern on Ravelry or and I started looking into it, downloading a template and reformatting it.

So how does someone from North Carolina come to be a fan of Jimmy Beans Wool? A native Californian, I’ve loved Jimmy Beans Wool since I visited their Truckee, California store with my mom shortly after I started knitting and both of us grieved its loss though a highlight of our last family visit to the Lake Tahoe area was a road trip to Reno to visit the original JBW in person.

About the time I was trying to figure out how to market my pattern, Jimmy Beans sent their June newsletter announcing the Landscape Collection pattern contest. When I saw that announcement, I just knew that this was the venue for my debut pattern so I sent a picture and description of my original which was a light worsted weight and waited to see what might happen. The timing almost made me wait for another time as there wasn’t much time from the announcement until the schematics were due, and I knew that if I was selected as a finalist I’d lose a lot of knitting time as we were leaving on vacation the day after the finalists were to be announced. But every once in a while you just have to go for broke and see what happens. I’m glad I did. We returned from vacation to a box full of beautiful yarn and after working out gauge and adjusting the pattern for this luxurious chunky alpaca yarn I giddily started knitting.

I have to say that I have been honored to have been chosen as a finalist for JBW’s first pattern contest. I pray that I will not be a one shot wonder but will add other designs that knitters will enjoy. One plug for my pattern, all I can say is that no matter how hard we tried the photos really do not do this garment justice. In this case the thousand words may be worth more than the photo. I hope that knitting this will bring you and whoever wears it much pleasure. May you do something creative every day, too!

Bio: Debbie began knitting in 2003 and began modifying patterns almost immediately. Fall Wrapped Up is Debbie’s first original pattern though there are other designs swirling around inside her head waiting patiently for her to find the time to develop them. Debbie lives on the shores of Lake Norman in North Carolina with her husband and two children on the verge of emptying the nest. A preschool director by day, knitting is her refuge, her therapy and her daily creative outlet.

In honor of Debbie's wonderful pattern (which is available free on the Jimmy Beans Wool website) we are giving away 6 beautiful hanks of the Misti Alpaca Landscape Collection yarn in the color of your choice. Coincidentally, this is just enough to complete Debbie's creative design!

To enter the contest, leave a comment (only one per person!) between now and November 28th at 2 pm PST. Using a random number generator we will pick a post and that person will win the 6 hanks of Landscape Collection yarn. Jeanne will be announcing the winner Monday November 29th here on the blog, so check back in to see if you are the lucky winner!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shop local is the word of the day!!

Where would we be without the small local business? Personally I think the small business is what makes shopping a unique experience. I love shopping with local artisans too and there is an upcoming local event on December 4th, the Rogue Art & Craft Village will be held at Rainshadow a charter school here in town! This event is put on by another wonderful local venue, The Holland Project which supports the local community's love of art and helps to foster that love in our young people too!

Classic Elite Yarns is having a Love Your Yarn Shop giveaway for just this idea of supporting our local businesses. I know I will be sending them my receipt for my $40.00 LYS purchase!

We always encourage you to frequent your LYS and I hope you have one that you love as much as I love mine. Of course mine is JBW, so I am a bit partial ha ha! I do send people to one of our other LYS's, Deluxe Yarns Etc., as Florrie has things that I don't always have.

Then there are fabulous shops here in town like Never Ender which our own Amber is a co owner with her mom Melanie! I was just in the shop the other day checking out some of the new offerings and WOW I am in big trouble!

I love popping by Never Ender and then crabbing a coffee at The Hub a quaint, cozy coffee house right next door. You can find Melanie chatting about the current fashions and brightening up the place before she opens her shop right next door!

I hope you will take time to get to know your local businesses and support them in your community, as it really makes a difference to all of us!

I wish you all a Happy Holiday this week and hope your week is filled with all the best of everything!

As always happy knitting and crocheting!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

FO Friday/ WIP Weekend

Happy weekend everyone!!! My apologies for a belated Friday post, but we had some technical difficulties here yesterday. Good thing I have some awesome stuff to share with you this week! It's been an exciting week around here as we all gear up for the holidays! The pressure is on to finish those gifts, or in my case, to start them..

We have a few exciting FO’s this week! It seems a few folks around here
are knitting Annabella’s Cowl from Churchmouse Patterns. Nicole, was the first to finish hers this week and brought it in for show and tell! It’s beautiful! She used Misti Alpaca’s Pima Silk Hand Paint with a strand of Rowan Kidsilk Haze. It came out lovely! Nice job Nicole!

Amber (a self proclaimed non-knitter, but I know better) finished a mini-version of the Alpaca Hug Cowl from our Free Landcape Collection Patterns. She chose the Misti Alpaca Darcy’s Garden color to knit hers in and it came out great! Amber, we know you love to crochet, but you are a pretty proficient knitter-- there's no denying it!

One last FO this week is by one of our lovely shop customers named Rosemary. She has knitted some beautiful things before, but this is my very favorite so far! She knitted this darling dress from the new book "Modern Top-down

Knitting" by Kristina McGowan which is a great new book we just got in this week. I'm already eyeing the Cafe Tunic and the Layered Ruffled Sweater. Rosemary knit the Promenade Dress (and added long sleeves) in a gorgeous shade of Cascade 220 Superwash, color #859 Lake Chelan Heather. She popped by the shop on Thursday to show it off and I just had to get a picture! Nice job Rosemary! So inspiring!

This weekend we are expecting a little snow here in the Sierras. Well, more than a little, 6-10 inches actually! Many of us will be curling up at home and working on some warm woolies i’m sure!

I started this pair of fingerless mitts last Saturday and am sure to finish them this weekend.

They are a modified version of Churchmouse’s Welted Fingerless Mitts and i’m knitting them in Crystal Palace Yarns’ Mochi Plus in the Spice Market color. These are going to be so cozy and

soft! I realized last weekend that in all the years i’ve been knitting, i’ve given away every pair of fingerless gloves (except my first pair, which were kind of a disaster) and i’ve never kept a pair for myself! Well, now i’ll have some, just in time for it to get really cold here!

Sandy is working on this adorable slouchy hat in Kogarashi by Noro, from the new Noro

Magazine- Vol. 28. The colors in this yarn are beautiful, as Noro usually is, and the pattern is super cute too! It's already available as a kit on our website too! I may have to ask her to knit me one next! It’s sure to keep her head warm this winter!

Other WIPs on our needles this weekend include

Annabella’s Cowl (see above) for Kathy

and Shevawn. Shevawn is also working on her first pair of fingerless mitts from an easy pattern I gave her from a Fingerless Mitts class I teach from time to time. She just learned how to create a thumb gusset. Go Shevawn!

Terry is hoping to finish up her Be Sweet Diagonal Shawl in the Extra Fine Mohair, (yum!) and Nicole is hoping to start a slouchy hat as a holiday gift for her best friend. Bethany cast on for her first sweater last weekend, and it’s looking great so far!

So that’s it for our FO’s and WIPs this week! What have you all been working on? Feel free to share with us! Hope you all keep warm this weekend and see you next week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Few Of My New Favorite Things: Part II

I know I used this blog title last week, but it was just so catchy! We get so many new products each week it can be tough trying keep up with everything going on in the fiber arts industry. To keep you in the loop I'll be highlighting the latest incoming yarns, patterns, notions and more every week!

Firstly, we are now carrying 148 colors of Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino Light! This classic, squishy soft 100% superwash merino wool can be used for anything from socks to sweaters. A single ply sock yarn, Tosh Merino Light comes with a generous 440 yards per 100 gram hank -just one skein is plenty for a pair of ultra cozy socks! Like all Tosh yarns, Merino Light is hand dyed in small batches  and boasts a nearly infinite palette of rich, classic and unique colorways. My favorite changes on a daily basis -today is Bungalow!

Liwen, an artisan dyed yarn from Araucania, is another recent addition to our stock. Unbeatabley soft with a unique thick-thin texture, Liwen is a bulky superfine alpaca and wool blend. The gorgeous colorways and sumptuous hand make this yarn a great choice for one-of-a-kind hats, cardis and scarves... actually any project as long as it has constant contact with your skin!

One of our latest, greatest and favorite-est knitting/crocheting accessories has a name that says it all: the Handi Tool! This handy dandy notion from Susan Bates is a combination knitting needle on one end and crochet hook on the other. The Handi Tool is perfect for picking up dropped stitches, adding fringe, fixing mistakes, and anything else you can think to use it for... self defense, roasting marshmallows, toothpick, just to name a few possibilities :) It also makes a great stocking stuffer for the fiber artist who already has everything!

Speaking of stocking stuffers, I am sure you are well aware that the season for holiday parties is fast approaching and sweater weather has arrived. But you know what that means: the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue is here too! Full of elegant, dressy knits perfect for wintry get-togethers and holiday celebrations, along with cozy pullovers and wraps for cuddling in front of the fireplace. This Holiday Vogue has plenty of classy and fashion-forward knits ranging from casual to timeless to glamorous. 

Of course we couldn't help but fall in love with a few... well maybe a dozen... or two of these stunning designs. One of my absolute favorites has to be the Welted Pullover, a comfy yet stylish sweater knit from one of my favorite Cascade yarns: Baby Alpaca Chunky (soooo incredibly soft)! The pullover itself is a unique design featuring clever details such as a varying widths in the welts and an elegant lace detail at the back of the neck, great for weekend wear, walks along the beach or an afternoon running errands. If you'd like to take a virtual peak at all of these fabulous project, just click here!

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Also new to the website, and another reason Jimmy Beans is one of your favorite things! We now have real time inventory posted for all items we carry (not just the sale) along with lead times for out of stock items. Of course you can still order out of stock items and we will continue to send emails letting you know when you can expect your order to ship!