Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Yarns From Cascade!

Grapelicious Kid Seta Color 32
Happy Wednesday! And a most glorious day it is! Why? Not only is the sun shining in Reno but we have a TON of  new yarn from Cascade! Let's start with Kid Seta. Ever since I knit up the Annabella's Cowl with Debbie Bliss' Angel yarn and Madelinetosh's Tosh DK, I have been dying to do some serious laceweight mohair work. I love the sheer, ethereal texture and the fact that you can knit it up with just about any needle size from US 3 to US Huge (US 10 and up) for a quick project and a gorgeous, featherweight fabric. It really is the epitome of versatility: you can work it up alone for lacework, scarves and sweaters or double strand it with another yarn for that super warm, fuzzy-chic look!
Stylin' Kid Seta Cardi
Similar to mohair staples like Angel and Kidsilk Haze, Kid Seta is a mohair and silk blend with just a touch of wool. With 300 yards per each 25g skein and an extensive color palette to choose from, you'll love working with this wispy yarn! Check out Cascade's Free Patterns page on their website for some great free project ideas! My favorite is the Kid Seta Cardigan, a whimsical sweater perfect for those springtime picnics in our near future!

Hard to see, but there is sparklmazingness, I swear!
Ooo, and don't forget Kid Seta Noir! Nearly identical in yarnliciousness to Kid Seta, Kid Seta Noir has a filament of metallic running through it for an extra bit of bedazzlement! Not your typical sparkle yarn, Kid Seta Noir is ultra soft with no itch or scratch from its glittery metallic element making it the ideal yarn for those high fashion knits for your nights out on the town!

Eco Cloud Color 1808
Next up on the list of newness: Eco Cloud! Featuring an all natural color palette of undyed browns, grays and ecru, Eco Cloud is a deliciously soft blend of merino wool and baby alpaca. The plies of this yarn are woven rather than twisted for a chain-like fiber making it lofty and lightweight. Similar to Berroco's Flicker yarn (but without the metallic "flicker") or Lana Grossa's Alta Moda yarns, Eco Cloud is easy to work with and results in a thick, scrumptious fabric. Great for showing off stitch patterns, use just 3-4 skeins for the Wisteria Vest from Knitting At Knoon or just one hank for Stephen West's Windscheif hat!

Looking for a kid-friendly yarn? Try working with Pacific! This sturdy blend of acrylic and superwash merino holds up like a champ anywhere and everywhere from playground adventures to dinnertime debacles. Soft, warm, and machine-washable, Pacific comes in a rainbow of bright solid shades that kids will love wearing and that you'll love working with. Cascade has some spunky free patterns on their Free Patterns page for this yarn, as well, like Ben's Jacket and Garter Rib With A Twist Hat!

Heritage Silk 5653
Also new to our Cascade lineup is Heritage Silk! A step up in sock-weight luxury from the original Heritage yarn, Heritage Silk has a touch of mulberry silk for a soft, silky feel and just a hint of satiny shimmer! Still machine washable, this yummy yarn can be used for everything from socks to shawls and lightweight cardis to lacy fingerless mitts. With 437 yards per hank, the sky's the limit! While there are no Heritage Silk-specific patterns up on Cascade's site, there are several free shawl and sock patterns worth taking a look at if you're searching for some project inspiration - just click here!

Ultra Pima Quatro 3789
Can you believe there is even more? Okay, well there are no more NEW new yarns, but we will be receiving several new colors of the ever-popular summertime yarn Ultra Pima while Ultra Pima Quatro is now on our shelves! Quatro features 4 complimentary shades spun together creating a beautifully patterned and uniquely stunning fabric! New colors of Luna have also arrived just in time for the warm weather knitting and crochet season!

As always, happy knitting and crocheting!
Leanne :)

P.S. If our blog isn't enough and you enjoy hearing about the latest and greatest yarns, patterns, accessories and general JBW news, sign up for our bi-monthly Newsletter

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's a naming contest!

I have said many, many times how grateful I am for Jimmy Beans Wool. There are just too many reasons why words could never truly express this gratitude but I did want to take the time to thank Jimmy (aka Laura) for all her support of my designs (aka 2 Askew Designs) throughout the years. THANKS LAURA!!!

When I came to work here four years ago, I had no idea that I would receive so much more than just a form of employment. I have learned, grown, laughed, cried, and gained the most amazing home and family. Even writing about it gives me goose bumps of joy!

It was only natural that when I wanted to start designing patterns, Laura graciously offered to help and, thus, 2 Askew Designs was born. The company began with two of us and our great pal Allison (the other Askew) started her own company, Knittinit. However, things have now come to a place where it's about time to choose a new name for my designs. Of course, who should be willing to help but Laura? It has been decided that we are going to throw the question of what my new designer name should be out to all of you out there in cyberspace!

So, with that said, I will put a disclaimer here. While I work here at Jimmy Beans Wool, my patterns are my own and JBW is one of my retailers. JBW is not responsible for my company in anyway shape or form and this contest is mine and mine alone.

I need your ideas and you can win one of my patterns for that idea! If your idea is the winner, then I will put $25.00 into your JBW account to spend how you wish!!

I am looking for a name that sounds like me! So, of course, this won't be easy! Ha-Ha! Post your ideas as many or as often as you would like. We will then create a poll for next week's blog that lists the top 3-5 (or more if needed) ideas for all of our readers to vote on. If your idea makes it onto the poll, you can choose any one of my patterns as your prize. Then, the winner of the poll will win the $25.00. It's that simple!

To help you out, here are some details about myself that might stimulate your noggin' for ideas:

1. I am a native Nevadan (a rare thing here in Nevada).
2. I LOVE, LOVE fiber arts (did you know that?) :-)
3. I also LOVE, LOVE my Harley Road King (I call her a Road Queen and her name is Pandora).
4. People have told me I am perky, quirky, silly, and just plain nuts.
5. Art is my life and soul in any form.
6. I am passionate about being in the moment (although, I am always working on that one).
7. I think the Sierra Nevada's are one of the most beautiful places in the world (which is saying a lot since I have traveled to some really beautiful places, including China).
8. I love to work in my garden!
9. Learning is #1 in my life.
10. Green is my favorite color.

So, have fun and good luck! Remember, Laura is just loaning me this fantastic venue to help out and this is ALL me and me alone! The prizes are from 2 Askew Designs, not JBW. If you have any questions that might help you to come up with the winning idea, please ask away! There are no stupid questions so please don't hesitate to contact me!

Thanks again, Laura, for all of your support and all of you readers out there for being so amazing!

As always, happy knitting and crocheting!


P.S. Good luck!

P.S.S. If you aren't getting out Newsletter be sure to sign up! It's free and JBW never shares your information and you can keep up to date with all the new happenings around the shop!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Journey of a New Knitwear Designer

The original "Neckie"
One of the benefits of blogging for Jimmy Beans Wool, is that I am occasionally allowed to “toot my own horn” so to speak. I am so lucky to work for a company that is so supportive of its employee’s diverse interests. Whether it’s related to knitting and crocheting, or something totally outside the realm of fiber arts like equine therapy or organic gardening, everyone here at JBW can feel loved and supported in those endeavors. It’s such a great environment to work and spend my days in!
When I designed the Basic Neckie back in 2004, I was working as a customer service representative at Patagonia (the outdoor clothing retailer). I was fresh out of college and just knitting simple hats and scarves for my friends for fun. I’d been knitting for years and knew the basics, but I hadn’t really gotten serious about it yet. A friend of mine at the time who was a brand new knitter came to me and said, “Kristen, I want to knit a neck-warmer with a button so that I don’t have to deal with a long bulky scarf, how would I do that?” I told her to give me a few days and I’d come up with something for her.  
Kudo Slouchy Tam
Thus the Neckie was born! I made one for myself first and wrote down the basic pattern for my friend, who then made one of her own. Soon after, I was approached by many of my co-workers who wanted Neckies to wear for their outdoor pursuits. It turns out skiers and climbers like the idea of a simple neck-warmer that is practical on the mountain yet stylish enough to wear out to the bar afterwards. Before I knew it, I had a side job! I was making and selling Neckies to all of my co-workers in multiple quantities! People wanted them in different colors for different outfits and to give as gifts! I was both flattered and thrilled that so many people liked my design.
Donner Pass Cowl
Soon after leaving Patagonia to serve as an AmeriCorps Volunteer, I started an Etsy shop and began selling my Neckies online. I also sold them in my friend Jena’s online consignment shop (her shop is no longer active, but she is still known as Miss. Modish at her style blog). I gave her six or seven Neckies one day and they sold in her shop within a few hours! 

When I started working at Jimmy Beans Wool in 2008, I was starting to get a little burned out on making Neckies. I was also worried that I had become a “one knit wonder.” I’d been contemplating the idea of transitioning from “knitwear maker” to “knitwear designer” so I dug up my old Neckie patterns notes and wrote them down in pattern format and asked Laura, one of the owners of JBW if she would consider posting my pattern on the JBW “Free Patterns” page. She obliged, and my first knitting pattern was published!   

Hipster Hat
Flash forward 2 years. I’ve now started to design with more frequency and fervor under the name of “Marinade Designs.” My first 5 or 6 designs are perfect for the beginner knitter. The Basic Neckie and Kudo Slouchy Tam, both free on the Jimmy Beans Wool website. Last weekend I released 2 more patterns on my personal knitting blog Marinade including the Hipster Slouchy Hat and the Donner Pass Cowl. Both are simple but fun knits that can be done in a short period of time and make great gifts!

Coming soon are two more patterns: a chunkier ribbed version of the classic Neckie as well as a very basic hand-warmer pattern that I wrote for my knitting students at the JBW retail shop here in Reno. I’ll be posting these 2 patterns over the next couple of weeks as I finish editing and photographing the final products. All of these designs are super simple and are great for the beginner knitter looking to enhance their skills with each new project.

Chunky Neckie
These 6 designs are all being offered as free patterns. Why free you might ask? Well it’s simple. These are patterns that I have written and designed at the beginning of this creative process. They are not perfect. They are my own unique take on familiar knitted items and they are a young knitwear designer’s first efforts. I share them with you all in hopes that as part of the greater community of knitters, you’ll share with me your experiences and give your feedback. I am currently working on a myriad of other designs, some of which I hope to publish or have published in the near future. I welcome your feedback on the technical aspects of these designs so that I may write the best patterns possible, and learn from the wealth of knowledge that exists in this wonderful community.

I’ve had so much fun creating and writing these patterns down for you all and I look forward to hearing the wonderfully constructive things you have to say about them! You can reach me via my personal blog: or by e-mail at:  
Thanks so much to JBW for allowing me to share my little story in this space here, as well as to my JBW family for all their love and support as I work to find my niche in this amazingly creative community. It’s wonderful to go to work everyday with people who understand and share my passion for all things yarny and fiberiffic (that one’s for you Leanne!)  

I hope you all have a fun weekend filled with lots of wonderfully fiber-filled moments. I’ll see you all back here next week for the return of FO Friday and WIP weekend!
Happy knitting everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Knitting Green And Thinking Spring!

Chunky in 01 Blue Corn
As we venture further into the 21st century, environmentally friendly or "green" products are becoming more and more common. This of course applies to yarn as well. While there are an increasing number of organic, all natural and recycled fibers out there, it can be difficult to find the right combination of sumptuous texture and color selection in a yarn you actually want to make something out of. Enter Misti Alpacas new Best Of Nature Worsted and Chunky yarns! You can't beat the certified organic 100% alpaca for softness and warmth, and each splendiferous color is dyed using the most environmentally responsible pigmentation processes!
Worsted in 04 Colorado
Each color is derived from the naturally occurring hues of plants and minerals. Both the chunky and worsted weight yarns are dyed using Misti Alpacas's signature hand painting process which results in subtly variegated solid colorways that bring out the highs and lows of each understated hue. My favorite part? Well, aside from the fact that I am seriously in love with the finger-pleasing softness of anything Misti Alpaca, I find it fascinating that the colors can vary based on when and where the naturally occurring dye bases are collected. For instance, blue corn from July could result in a slightly different blue than blue corn harvested at the end of September. Colors will basically stay true to what you see on our website or in person, but as with any hand dyed yarn there will be small variations between dye lots. Isn't that just the coolest?!

6580 Tanzanile
Also new to our ever-growing stock of most excellent yarn is Regia Lace! Soft and easy to care for, Regia Lace is available in a myriad of bright, self-striping colorways. Perfect for sophisticated shawls and sheer, trendy apparel, this wool and polyamide blend is soft and fun to work with. At just $15 per 100g ball (that's over 650 yards of eye-catching yumminess!) Regia Lace is an affordable way to get your lacework fix as the weather slowly warms up!

"Leanne! Crochet me!"
Speaking of warm weather, we could really use some here in Reno right now! I woke up to snowy rain this morning instead of sunshine. :( Thankfully we have the Spring 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet to inspire summery thoughts of the sunny days to come! Page after page of lacy shawls and tops in cheery pastels make this collection of timeless crochet designs the perfect place to get started with next season's projects! My crochet hook is telling me I should really think about abandoning my cirulars and start working on the Chamomile Cardigan.

Mmm, interchangeables!
Unfortunately I might just have to ignore my crochet hook because I have had an eye on the Clover Takumi Interchangeable Circular Set ever since they arrived. I am a big fan of bamboo needles, not only because they are lightweight and a little softer to hold than metal needles, but the tend to grip yarn a little better than metal. I have a propensity to drop stitches so I am often thankful for that minuscule bit of extra friction! Clovers are always my go-to needles for anything, and as my circular collection is continually expanding now seems like a great time go invest in a quality set of interchangeables. The Takumi set includes 12 finely crafted tip sizes US 3 through 15 and five of the most popular cord lengths! Tips and cords also come in a luxury case for easy organization and portability. The transition between tip and cord is smooth and snag-free with a snug connection that won't unexpectedly detach! Sorry crochet hook, things aren't looking so good for you...

Happy crocheting and knitting!

Leanne :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

March Comes in Like a Lion!

Do you remember the old saying, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?" Well, we have had a lion running rampant here in Reno-what with all the snow and high winds-so I am hoping anxiously for the lamb on the way out. Of course, I am quite fond of lambs, anyway since they wear one of my favorite fibers...ha ha!!

The rain and snow have been pretty steady over the last couple of weeks which is making for some nice little green spouts all around my garden so, of course, it makes me want to get into the garden and putter around. We tore our front yard apart last year and I can't wait to get planting this spring. We have lived in our house for over 25 years now and this was a bit over due...what do you think of our quasi cobblestone walkway?

I have an idea for some knitted items to adorn my yard for the warm weather, inspired by some local yarn bombers. If you haven't heard of yarn bombing-it is one of the coolest ways (in my humble opinion) of making a statement within a community. Here is a blog by some very subversive knitters that I happen to know...shhhh!

As you can see, this is a nice blank slate to plant, sculpt, and just generally play with, so if you have any ideas for me I would love to hear them!

My daughter (Shelly) and her partner Rory are Urban Farmers and lately we have been discussing what to plant that is edible and the best places to plant these yummies! They are HUGE proponents of self sustainability within our local community and I am certainly on board! Our house sits on almost 3/4's of an acre here (most of that land is in the back yard) so why not make it work for us?

If you are interested in learning a bit more about their Urban Farm, you can check it out here.

Here you can see Shelly with one of her chickens who thinks she's a roost!

As I write this I am looking at the snow outside and there is more to come! Today is the first full day of spring and I am really hoping for those little lamb's on the way out!

As always, happy knitting and crocheting!


Friday, March 18, 2011

FO's and WIP's...just another week in the life of Jimmy Beans Wool...

Orchid Thief by: Ysolda Teague

Happy belated St. Paddy’s day to you all!  St. Patrick's Day is always a big one for my family, not only because my family is part Irish, but also because it’s my dear Mama’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mom)!  I had hoped to have a beautiful shamrock green Orchid Thief Shawl from Brave New Knits finished in time to give to her, but I think at this point she’ll be getting it for Mother’s Day.  I started this a few months back and it was put on hold for a few other projects, but I do intend to finish it soon!  It’s in the lovely Lettuce Leaf shade of Madelinetosh Merino Light.  I was so excited to find that 1 skein would be enough to do the whole shawl! 

 Edison Bulb Awesomeness!
On to some projects for this week!  We only have a couple to share, but I am so excited at all of the loveliness that is being knitted in the shop these days!  I am constantly awed and amazed at the talent of these beautiful women I get to spend my days with.  Such a wonderful group of people.  One of these wonderfully lovely ladies is Leanne, who recently finished her unique take of the Annabella’s Cowl from Churchmouse Patterns and Teas.  Leanne knit hers using the same modifications that Sharon and I did, and she knitted it in the Edison Bulb color-way of Madelinetosh Tosh DK with 1 skein of Debbie Bliss Angel in the Violet color.  I just love the contrast of the bright neon yellow with the purple.  It’s such a fun combo and suits her perfectly!
Erika's Cute hat!

Erika, one of our shipping extraordinaires, just finished this darling little crocheted hat with its cute little flower embellishment. She said it’s for a friend, but I think it looks so cute on her! Erika is a relatively new knitter, but has been crocheting for years and it shows.  It inspires me to crochet more.  Maybe I can get some pointers from Erika!
Nostalgic Mara Shawl- So warm!

She is also working on the Mara Shawl (a free pattern from Madelinetosh) out of Malabrigo Worsted Merino in the Nostalgia color-way.  This is one of my favorite colors from them and I just love how it is turning out with this pattern.  This WIP is a gift for a family member who lives in a very cold climate--it will be quite warm indeed!  We are all so proud of Erika’s knitting confidence since she only started working here a few short months ago!  
Kristen's Pink Posy Mara!

Speaking of Mara Shawls, I finally finished mine!  Hurray!  It took a about a week to do that last little bit of ruffle where you knit in 2x2 rib for 3-4 inches.  It wouldn’t normally be so tough, but at that point you have about 900 stitches on the needles!  Whew!  What a workout for my little fingers! The bind off alone took me 2 hours!  I knit mine in Madelinetosh Merino Light in the Posy color and I just love what a beautiful shade of pink it is.  Normally this pattern calls for a DK weight, but I knit mine with a fingering weight on size 5 needles and just knit until it was the same dimensions as the pattern.  My shawl turned out the same size as the original, and it only took 2 hanks!  Plus, its super soft and squishy which I love!  Of course I haven’t blocked it yet in this picture, but it still looks nice I think!
CJ's Remix Hoody

In other WIP’s this week, Nicole just started the Knitting Pure and Simple Men’s Hooded Pullover (pattern #105).  She is knitting it in Berroco Remix which is made from 100% recycled fibers.  It’s such a cool and surprisingly soft yarn, not to mention good for the environment!  This will be a gift for her husband CJ who is currently deployed in Afghanistan.  We know she misses him a ton so hopefully she’ll be able to throw that energy into finishing this for him by the time he returns home!

So this is where I am going to leave us with FO's and WIP's for this week.  I actually have many more projects to share with you as it seems we've all been busy bees lately!  However, in an effort to not overwhelm you all, I am going to save them for next week!  I have plenty more lovely projects to share from Sandy, Shevawn, Bethany, Erika and the rest of the JBW crew next week, so check back then to get the full scoop!  

Happy knitting everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lorna's coming!!!

And soon!

Lorna Miser, creator of delicious colorways and amazing patterns will be at our shop THIS SATURDAY!!
We know it's super short notice, but if you are in the area and want to join us we'd love to have you. Here are the details:

Who: You and Lorna! (and some other fans!)

Where: 5000 Smithridge Plaza, A11 Reno, NV 89502

What: Lorna will be giving a 30-45 minutes tutorial on her book, The Knitter's Guide To Hand-Dyed And Variegated Yarn and the be signing books!

Why: This is a chance to meet the woman who literally wrote the book on hand-dyed and variegated yarns.

We hope you can join us this Saturday, March 19th from 1pm-3pm. See you then!

Jimmy Beans Wool Gals!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Yummy Yarn!

Distracting deliciousness -718 Sapphires
We've gone Universal! That's right, Jimmy Beans has taken the world by storm, and now, the Universe! Okay...not really, but we did add yet another fabulous fiber to our shelves from the out-of-this-world company, Universal Yarns! Classic Shades is, well, a classic. This worsted weight wool and acrylic blend has a rich, silky soft texture you'll love working with and adore wearing. I am sitting next to a box of this scrumptious yarn yumminess right now and keep getting distracted by the deliciously eye-catching colorways. Self-striping by nature, there is an ample palette of deep jewel hues and soft natural tones so no matter what your color preferences might be, there is something for everyone!
Self-stripe-tastic Sweater!
Need some pattern support for this smile-inducing fiber? Check out the Mountain Shades Cardigan by Yumiko Alexander, the Classic Shades Shawl, Afghan And Scarf Project booklet or the Classic Shades Kids book!

08 Spectrum - perfect for a flashy scarf!
Also new to our line-up are two new trendy yarns from Rozetti: Marina and Soft Payette! For those of you getting sucked into the ruffle craze, Marina is definitely worth a try. Similar to Flamenco by Trendsetter, as well as Katia's Flounce and Triana, Marina features a net-like construction that is knit along one edge to create a frilly fabric perfect for scarves, edging and accessories! Available in multi-color self-striping hues as well as bright solid colors, Marina is a treat to work with and wear!

05 Pink Tourmaline will grab anyone's attention!
Soft Payette is another fashion-forward yarn perfect for sleek, stylish knits. This DK weight yarn is a 70% acrylic, 22% polyester and 8% Soft Payette blend. What exactly is Soft Payette? I have no idea as to the precise definition (I Googled it and came up with links to this yarn and Payette, Idaho), but I am going to go out on a limb and say it is the strand of glittery sequins spun into this soft, easy to work with yarn! :) With an excellent selection of bold solid hues to chose from, Soft Payette is the perfect yarn to use for glam accessories or paired with another fiber to create a unique, eye-catching fabric!

Keep an eye on our New Featured Kits page and the next newsletter for some great ideas for all three of these fiberific yarns!

Happy knitting and crocheting!
Leanne :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interview With A 2010 Beans For Brains Recipient

The Sassy Classy Myrtle Cardigan
A short while ago, I had the privilege of interviewing one of last year's recipients of the Beans For Brains Scholarship, Snowden Becker. One of the five scholarship winners chosen in 2010, Snowden submitted her Mrytle Cardigan, the pattern for which is available on Ravelry along with many of her other fabulous designs! As it turns out, Snowden is not just a supersweet gal to chat with on the phone, she is also a very intelligent knitwear designer extraordinaire! Snowden is currently working towards her doctorate with the School of Information at the University of Texas in Austin. Her studies and research are centered around audio-visual materials, such as amateur films and home movies, the documentation and preservation of these materials and their importance as historical references in a digital age. Of course I was curious as to how Snowden managed to find such a unique calling, especially one she seemed so passionate about. Snowden happily obliged to give us the scoop.

After getting a BA in Fine Arts and deciding she probably couldn't make it as an artist (she hadn't quite discovered knitting yet!), Snowden got a job working at the UCLA Library School and realized libraries might just be where it's at. "Everyone I met seemed to really enjoy their jobs and no one had anything bad to say about the program," she told me. It just seemed right. So, she went back to school in pursuit of her Master's in Library and Information Studies and never looked back. It was when she moved to Austin, Texas with her husband that Snowden re-discovered knitting. "My mom tried to teach me when I was nine at out LYS," she reminisced, "They had angora rabbits there and I think I was more into the rabbits than knitting at the time". A stranger in a new city, Snowden was on the lookout for ways to meet people and find a social circle outside of the university. Always an artsy crafty person, she found a knitting circle at her amazing LYS in Austin and the rest is history. Spending time with a diverse group of young and old, experienced and newbies, Snowden not only gained a new group of friends, she discovered a place that pushed her as a creator and inspired her to develop her designs. "It is like training for a marathon," she analogized, "when you are supported by a group of people it is easier to go that extra mile". Like running, knitting is great because it can be your social time with friends and fellow creators and/or it can be your alone-time as a relaxation activity.
Snowden wearing her Thundercloud Cowl

Having no aptitude for designing anything other than garter stitch scarves, I couldn't help but drill Snowden on the finer points of sizing and design. Where exactly does one come up with the idea for a pattern? Snowden's reply: "Vintage stuff, I love vintage clothing. But a lot of times there is only one of something, and it might not fit you." So what do you do? Make your own! Ok, that seems pretty straight forward, but then there is the question of sizing. It is one thing to make custom sized garments "for you" but creating garments for other sizes can get tricky. That is where the knitting circle really comes in handy. Whether it is real world models or the voice of wisdom, "My knitting circle is probably my greatest resource," says Snowden.

And don't forget math! I'm sure you remember while taking algebra and wondering, "when am I ever going to use this?" Well, in your knitting...that's when! Snowden pointed out that "patterns and knitting are all about math". And it is so true! X stitches over 1 inch, decrease every Y row to get Z stitches...ta-dah! Simple algebra. "I'd like to thank my 8th grade math teacher, Rita Gary," Snowden laughed, "I might have been skeptical then, but I now am a total believer in the practicality of algebra."

As mentioned before you can find Snowden and her delectably knittastic designs on Ravelry, or follow her blog,! She has even blogged about us once or twice so you know it is worth checking out! ;)

Like you are doing right now, Snowden found out about Beans For Brains on our blog! For those unfamiliar with it, Beans For Brains is a college scholarship Jimmy started last year for deserving crocheters and knitters. Six finalists will be chosen (five from the States and one international) to receive $3,000 to use towards achieving their goals of higher education! This scholarship is awarded based on academic merit and all applicants must knit or crochet. The deadline for applications is April 1st, so if you haven't already applied, pick up that hook or those needles and get crackin'! And if you aren't thinking about school but know a hard-working student/fiber artist who is searching for some extra cash, let them know about Beans For Brains. You can find more information and applications on our website :)

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Monday, March 14, 2011

I am going to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas on April 1st!!

I am sooooooooo excited about my upcoming trip to Bainbridge Island, Washington (close to Seattle, just in case you needed some spatial orientation)! It is the home of Churchmouse Yarns and Teas and it is also where I will be taking a workshop on Fair Isle knitting. I am going with my friend Barbara and both of us are acting like two giddy schoolgirls, talking back and forth about the arrangements, the class, the trip, what to take and so on...I feel like I am waiting for a new toy to arrive and it's stuck in the mail somewhere. I am in love with the Churchmouse patterns and have knit two of their cashmere berets.

Isn't it lovely?

What do you think of my chart keeper in this picture? It may not be fancy but it works for this big chart-ha ha!

I know fair-isle sounds really scary, but it isn't so bad. While I have not done it on a big project yet, I have steeked some swatches and it's really neat! Knitty posted a great article by Wendy D. Johnson (aka Wendyknits) about this age old technique.

Janine Bajus will be teaching this workshop and this is the Tam we will be working on along with swatches and anything and everything Fair Isle. You can see the nice stranding of colors on the inside. It is such a lovely way to knit! If you have never tried it,  I hope you will.

Most of you know how big I am on learning new things to build up our knitting confidence. This takes patience, but will take your knitting confidence over the top. Here's to learning something new today and remember- it's only knitting!

As always happy knitting and crocheting!


Friday, March 11, 2011

FO Friday and WIP Weekend...

Hello everyone!  I hope you all have had a really wonderful and productive week.  My week has been so jam packed I've hardly had any time to knit!  I was really hoping to have my Mara shawl to share with you all (I am only 3 rows away from the finish line), I'm trying to make it to the gym every evening to train for that run I signed up for this spring so my knitting has taken a bit of a backseat this week.  I am hoping to get caught up over the weekend...

In any case, I do have a couple of semi-recent FO's as well a few exciting WIP's to share this week.

Lovely Cables Galore!
First up, we have a Gretel Tam by Ysolda Teague that I knit last summer out of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed.  It was such a fun pattern to knit that I couldn't put it down while I was working on it.  Even now, I am so tempted to make another one!  We just started to carry Ysolda's patterns and books in the shop but this one can be found in the new Debbie Stoller book "Superstar Knitting."  If you haven't seen her books Whimsical Little Knits 1&2, the designs are absolutely to die for!  I hope you will take a peek and knit some of the charming designs for yourself!

Babies! :)
I also have a darling little Presto Chango sweater that I made out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran a bit back.  It turned out so cute and was a really fast knit.  This particular sweater was knit a couple years ago in hopes that one of my few friends who were having babies would have a girl!  To no avail! All boys!  Finally, some good friends in Wisconsin recently had an adorable little girl so I will be shipping this off to them next week!  This design is really so fun to make and quite easy so I'll most definitely be making it again and again.

Watch out for the Sandy Bandit!

On to some new WIP's!  We've had just a couple this week as folks are still working on many of the projects I've already shared in this space.  Sharon loved her 1st Springtime Bandit out of Berroco Remix (which is just a few rows away from finishing) that she decided to start another!  It was love at first sight for Sharon with the "Plaid Blanket" color of Tosh Merino DK so she snagged two hanks and is now using them to make this fun version of the Bandit.  Sandy saw Sharon's project sitting on the customer service desk yesterday and wanted her photo taken with it.  Silly Sandy!

Lastly, I've started a 2nd Potato Chip Scarf out of Lorna's Laces Green Line DK in Catalpa.  The jury is still out for me on the one I started a few weeks back.  I love that color of Lorna's Laces (Robin's Eggs- April 2009 Limited Edition) but I just don't love the way those colors are pooling in that particular pattern.  C'est la vie!  I'll just have to find something else to knit with that colorway!  This Catalpa color is so subtle in it's color changes that it is really knitting up beautifully.  I am absolutely loving the result this time around and I can't wait to have this scarf's ruffly goodness hugging my neck!  It's the perfect springtime scarf!

If you haven't tried the Lorna's Green Line yet, make sure to do before it's gone!  Lorna's has discontinued this line of their yarns and Jimmy Beans has bought the last of it.  Lorna's will be dyeing pre-requested colors over the next 6-8 months for us.  We get about 1 new color a week so keep checking the site for your favorites!  We don't know what colors we are going to get from week to week as it is based on their dyeing schedule, so each new shipment is a fun surprise!
Well, that is it for this weeks FO's and WIP's!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with sunshine (or a warm cozy fire depending on what part of the country you reside in) and knitting!