Friday, July 29, 2011

Featured Products Friday! (and Tough Love winners!)

Hello!  It's nice to see you all here at the end of the work week!  The featured product vlog has now found a new home on Fridays so I hope you all enjoy!  Please never mind that I was a bit confused about the day and time in the video--the change in day just happened! :)

This week with a little help from Jeanne who you'll also hear on the video, I am featuring Madelinetosh Tosh Sport, Gudrun Johnston's (aka The Shetland Trader) Aestlight Shawl, Poems Sock yarn, and Kollage square double point needles.  Let us know what you think!

Also, I have the results of our "Tough Love" contest!  Thank you all so much for sharing your amazing, and sometimes heart-wrenching, stories of "Tough Love."  These 5 winners were chosen using a random number generator (

1. Tinkergrumpybuns
2. DianeE
3. Jacqueline Korteland Boller
4. Knit-chat 
5. ikkinlala

If you are one of these 5 people, please e-mail your name, mailing address and color choice (from the colors we carry) for your skein of Sweet Georgia "Tough Love" sock yarn to  Thanks again to all who participated and thank you for helping us welcome Sweet Georgia into the JBW family!!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Happy knitting,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

JBW Pet-fest, part one!!

Hi everyone! 
Buddy is the border collie and Wiley is the german shepherd mix.

As you know, we Beans are big time pet lovers. You all have seen Buddy and Wiley all over the site, but we thought you might want to meet some of our other pets too!!

This little lil' guy is Riley! He lives with Terry and is about 2 years old. Riley loves clawing at the furniture, so Terry has a squirt gun she uses whenever he is out of reach and claws her furniture.  Now all she has to do is to point it at him and he shakes his head as if she had squirted him.

Here's Terry's favorite story about Riley:
"He does lots of funny things but the best story about him is that he arrived on my doorstep in S. America, a tiny little kitten about 6 weeks old, on a cold rainy evening when I really needed a pet to keep me company.  He was hungry, cold and covered in fleas.  I fed and bathed him, tried to find if he belonged to anyone over the next couple of days.  He ended up staying and he's such a cool cat (the vet in S. America called him an angel), albeit annoying at times, that I brought him with me on the 23 hour journey back to the states and my mom's house.  He was great on the airplanes, never making a sound until the last hour before I landed at the Sacramento airport.  I think by that time he really needed to use the litter box.  People were really surprised to see that I was carrying a cat on board the plane."

These three troublemakers belong to Kathy! 

This is Tater and he is almost 2 years old.  His full name is Tater Bug.  His best trick is playing dead... with a twist!  If you make a gun with your fingers, point it at him, say BANG and he will immediately drop and roll over. Tater is a scaredy cat...he's afraid of everything from a piece of paper to strange and sometimes familiar sounds- even his own shadow! 

Lacey is 9 years old.  Her best trick is the high five. All you have to do is say "high five" and she will jump up and smack your hand with her paw. She is a bit crazy - it might be the terrier in her.  She just can't seem to contain the wild side in her at times.  She can get so over-excited that she will run in circles repeatedly sometimes banging into things!

And this is Harley who is also almost two years old.  He and Tater are half brothers who are two weeks apart.  Harley is the older one but he is the smaller one as he is the runt.  They do everything together and I mean EVERYTHING!  They eat, play, run around, fight, explore and even sleep together in the same crate at night.  Harley's best trick is SO CUTE! You pick him up and put him on his back in your lap and say pray and he will hold his front paws up together (slightly crossed) by his nose.  

And this cutie-patutie is Wallace!! This esteemed professor of a pup belongs to Kristen. He's got a lot of nicknames (aka. Wally Dog, Wally World, Wally Boy, Walrus, William Wallace, Mr. Snarffules, Snarffulupagus, Mr. Fluffy Face, or Wally T. Wallace) for only being 4 years old!

His best trick is finding intricate new ways to get into the garbage. 

 Kristen's favorite story about Wally Dog: "He's learned what certain words mean over the years. For example if you ask him if he wants to go for a "walk" or to the "dog park", he'll run to the door and bark and and jump around until you take him.  This has led us to not be able to utter those words in ANY conversation lest we get ourselves in trouble.  He also knows "Breakfast" and "Dinner" which spawns similar results.  "Bath" is the quickest way to take the wind out of his sails and usually results in him hiding under the coffee table.  Recently though, we've discovered that he knows what "Stinky Breath" means and any time we tell him he has it, he gets really embarrassed and shifty eyed, and leaves the room to sulk.  

And it's not just cats and dogs in the Bean family, Amanda has a 14 year old Chincoteague pony named Comet! Comet doesn't have many tricks per-say, but he definitely would be considered a trickster - there's no mischief he has not gotten himself into!  

He was Huck's first ride toward becoming a cowboy.  Even Laura hopped on for a gallop around the arena!

And that's just the beginning!  We've got lots more pets to share, so stay tuned! Do you have have pets too? Any funny stories you want to share? Feel free to tell us about them here or put them up on our Facebook page here so everyone can see your little bundle of love!! 

Thanks and happy petting (and knitting!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting back to basics...

I have been thinking a lot lately about what knitting means to me and it has been a flood of emotions. I think the true meaning of knitting in my life is the soothing repetition of each stitch as it flows from one needle to the next. I love the challenge of learning a new stitch, or technique, but am continually reminded that there are only 2 stitches in knitting and everything else is a variation on those 2 simple stitches.

Shevawn's Never Ending Story Cowl

**I am including a couple basic projects from our project log that may inspire you with links at the bottom of this post :)

Leanne's Annabella's Cowl

There has been a lot going on  in my life lately and knitting has been my constant companion through it all. I meet so many wonderful knitters daily and  even though some are new and some have been knitting for many years, we all have an immediate connection. It doesn't matter what we do for a living, where we are from, what language we speak, as we all speak knitting, it's magic! I have watched so many of my customers come from those beginning (frustrating) stitches to socks, sweaters, lace and much more.

I am so proud of each and everyone of them and proud of the knitters who only want to knit scarves, hats, or dish cloths...why not I say? Knitting should be fun!! As far as I know there are no knitting police, so knit on!!

We love to share our projects with all of you, but one of the most fun things is seeing what you are working on!! Share your projects with us and we will post them on our project log and you can also find us on Ravelry where we share lots of fun too!  We would love to hear your knitting stories and why you knit, so feel free to share with us! Who knows? You may give another knitter some much needed confidence.

Leanne's Annabella's Cowl from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

Shevawn's Never Ending Story Cowl from Cowl Girls

As always happy knitting and crocheting!


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Friday, July 22, 2011

Tough Love Giveaway!!- Welcome to the Family SweetGeorgia!

We Beans couldn't be more excited about one of the newest additions to the JBW family: SweetGeorgia Yarns.   We've got 15 of their super popular, Tough Love sock yarn (80% superwash merino wool, 20% nylon. 425 yards per 115g skein)in 15 vibrant, beautiful colorways!  Here are my 3 favorites:

Autumn Flame
English Ivy

Felicia used to be a competitive ballroom dancer!
Here are some things you might already know about SweetGeorgia yarns:

<---- This is Felicia Lo, a.k.a. SweetGeorgia who is the head designer and dyer!

SweetGeorgia Yarns is an artisan luxury hand-dyed yarn studio based in Vancouver, Canada. They are passionate about vibrant, saturated color and offer over 50 jewel-toned, semi-solid and variegated colorways. Their collection includes silk, cashmere and fine wool blends in 12 different yarns (ranging from lace to sock to aran weight) and 12 different spinning fibers.

But that's the stuff you already know, right? We wanted to know more about this entrepreneurial hand-dyed company, so we asked Felicia some "tough" questions! 

JBW- Where did you grow up?

Felicia- I was born on the West Coast of Canada in Vancouver but moved to Toronto when I was just two years old. Then just before starting high school, my parents moved our family back to Vancouver and I’ve been here ever since.  

JBW- Did you really just get married last week?  

Felicia- YES!  I've been married for just over a week now! :)

JBW: What time do you start work?

Felicia- We officially open the studio at 10 am for visitors, but I’m usually answering emails and starting my day as early as 7 am. I’ll usually do all my “desk work” until about noon when we all break for an informal lunch break. Then the rest of the day is spent dyeing. I’m trying to maintain a normal workday schedule, so mostly I dye for just a few hours every day but occasionally the dyeing process runs as late as 10 or 11 pm. 

Lightening Round! 
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee all the way. 
  • Do you eat the licorice jelly beans or throw them away? Throw them away! :)
  • What was the first album you ever bought? Cyndi Lauper, the one with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun on it.... She's So Unusual.
  • Little Known Fact: I started my first business, a dressmaking and alterations service, when I was 16. 
  • Next big adventure: Marriage. 
JBW- Finally, as a small artisan yarn company, do you have any advice for those folks out there hand-dying with kool-aid in their sinks on how to make a living doing what they love? 

Felicia- From my personal experience, I always believe that people should do what they love.  It’s truly a blessing to discover what you love. If you love dyeing, keep on dyeing. But know that doing what you love doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to transition into a business. There are MANY, MUCH easier ways of making a living. As any entrepreneur will say, you need to put a huge amount of blood, sweat, tears, as well as time and energy behind your passion. In making any passion into a living, I would recommend making a plan and sticking to it. Don’t compare yourself or your business with others. Just compete against yourself to constantly improve in your chosen living.

And now it's your turn to do some sharing! We've got 5 glorious hanks of Tough Love to giveaway to 5 lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment on this post (only one per person, please!) telling us your own personal "Tough Love" story between now and Thursday, July 28th at noon! The winners will be chosen randomly and announced on next Friday's Featured Products post.  If you don't win here, you might be able to snag a hank or two of Tough Love on WoolWatcher Wednesday, the 27th!
Want to learn more about SweetGeorgiaYarns? Here's their info:

Welcome to the family, Felicia and SweetGeorgia! 

Good luck everyone! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Featured Products Blog!

Tough Love in "Pomegranate"
Hi Everyone!
I hope you all are having a fantastic week!  It’s been so busy around the shop lately (don’t worry, I’m not complaining) that we didn’t get a chance to film any videos last week!  Hence, the written Featured Products Blog instead of a Vlog.  Never fear, though, since the Vlog series will be up and running again next week with fun new products! Until then, here are the exciting new items we have for this week!

If you haven’t seen Sweet Georgia’s Tough Love Sock yarn yet, prepare to be impressed!  This 80% Merino Wool and 20% Nylon yarn is exquisitely soft and super strong.  Not to mention that the color palette is to DYE for!  Ha-ha, get it?  Dye- Die?  :)  Sorry, I can’t help being cheesy!  Anyway, Tough Love is an awesome fingering weight yarn that comes with 425 yards per 100g skein. Use it to make a pair of delightful socks for your tootsies or a pretty wrap for your neck!  I can’t wait to get mine in Pomegranate!  Yum!

Butin Collar in "Elena Piscopia" 
Speaking of delicious fingering weight yarn, the new Butin Collar kits from Laura Nelkin are an awesome way to use up the leftover tidbits in your stash!  These kits are easy to knit up in an evening and create a lovely hand-knit piece of jewelry to give as gifts or to keep for yourself.  Adorned with shiny glass beads, the Butin Collar is a classic accessory with a modern twist. Get started on holiday gifts today to create a keepsake necklace that recipients will cherish for years to come! 
Riveting Worsted

Also new in the shop this week is the Kollage Riveting yarn in both Worsted and Sport. These yarns are made from recycled blue jeans, which certainly appeal to my eco-friendly side. I just love the muted palette of colors and the soft feel of this cotton yarn. They are perfect for summer knitting!  I was lucky enough to snag a sample skein of the sport and I’m trying to find the perfect project for this special yarn.  Both weights offer very generous yardage at 163 yards for the worsted and 350 yards for the sport.  

Weekend Knits!
Lastly, have you seen the new Interweave Weekend Knits 2011 yet? It’s awesome!  I immediately was drawn to the cover piece: the “Spoked Cardigan” knit in Noro Kureyon.  I love the unique design of the body being knit vertically in one piece by using short rows!  Absolutely gorgeous!  This issue also contains a large variety of designs ranging from cardigans, pullovers, shawls, cowls, scarves, and hats. The best part is that there is also a variety of difficulty levels, making this issue great for new and experienced knitters alike!  I can’t wait to cast on!

So, that is the featured products update for this week! I promise to be back next week with a Vlog and, of course, some more new and amazing products that are coming our way very soon! Until then, have a great rest of your week!

Happy knitting & crocheting!

P.S.  If you love hearing about new products and sales, our Newsletter is the one of the best ways to receive that info twice a month!  Sign up here!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding knitting is on my mind...

I am happy to report that my daughter (Shelly) and her spectacular beau, Rory are now officially engaged!!! Woohooo! Of course that means what to knit and will there be a wedding shawl? Shelly and Rory DON'T read this on penalty of beating with a US 50 plastic knitting needle :)

I just bought a bunch of Cascade Eco Wool in color 9004 to knit Brooklyn Tweed's (aka Jared Flood)  Umaro...lovely don't you think? I am considering knitting it in a single strand (if I follow the pattern I would double it up) and adding some repeats (# to be determined) to get the right size blanket. I will be swatching that ASAP!! I chose this beautiful yarn due to the ecological nature and of course the value doesn't hurt either, hee hee! The kids will appreciate that it is natural from the sheep and therefore environmentally sound. I chose the color due to my furry 'grand kids' (meow) and the thought that they may enjoy snuggling up to this beauty once it is done.

The date hasn't been set yet, but there is talk about October, so if there is to be a shawl I need to get this show on the road. Once the bride decides if she would like such a thing I will let you know what pattern, yarn and what not, so you can stress along with me on the actual completion of said shawl, ha ha!

At any rate we are all thrilled and can't be more excited for this fantastic family event. I want to thank all of you for your wonderful support on last weeks post and it's so nice to follow that one up with this wonderful news!!

As always happy knitting and crocheting!


PS If you aren't getting our twice monthly email Newsletter then you should check it out! Stay up to date on the latest and greatest here at JBW and remember we NEVER share you information, so you can sign up without fear! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Little Bean in the City...

Happy Friday!

The last few weeks have felt like a whirlwind with all of us traveling far and wide, going on mini adventures (or quite grand ones, for that matter) and spending time with our loved ones. Terry just back from Washington for her son's wedding, Bethany went on an outing with her boyfriend to Alaska for a friend's wedding, and Ailene is gearing up to go study in China! Although not as far as the far East, I got to go on my own weekend trip a few weeks ago to bustling, wonderful Seattle, Washington.

Summertime in the Pacific Northwest always seems like a blessing to us desert folks - it's sunny (most of the time, at least) but not blistering hot. Plus, it rains! Yippee! Anywho, my boyfriend and I flew up to the Home of the Space Needle for the weekend to visit his sister and brother-in-law. Although, we only stayed a few days, we got to see and do a lot. And, of course, what's a trip without yarn thrown into the mix? Not one worth taking, I'd say. So, after a few days of 'subtly' dropping hints about a certain coveted visit to a certain yarn shop, I found myself on the ferry to Bainbridge Island!! At this point, you might be thinking, "Wait, didn't I hear this already?" Which is true - don't worry, you're not going crazy. This is also the same reaction that the nice ladies at Churchmouse had...bless their patience with us silly gals at Jimmy Beans. We sure do love their patterns. Jeanne did take the trip a few months ago for a fair-isle workshop but -don't worry - I have a few more things up my knitted sleeve.

Eat your heart out....
Flood love!
Jeanne said it before and I'll sure say it again - Churchmouse has the most beautiful shop! I was truely amazed by their displays and, of course, getting to see all of their patterns knit up in person! The Linen Stitch Scarf - a work-of-art. Seriously, that thing should be in the Louvre. Or in my closet. Both would be equally acceptable.
Of course, Churchmouse has a
fantastic selection of Jared Flood goodies from all of his patterns, plus his new yarn, Shetland!

A stripe for all seasons.
Anyways, after our excursion to Churchmouse, we stumbled across some yarn bombing in one the 'park squares' of downtown. Trees upon trees all gussied up in yarn splendor! Suffice to say, it was a wonderful surprise. Lately, it seems that the fiber arts have been getting more attention - whether it's due to the fact that there's more intrepid yarn bombers out there or maybe that everyone's catching on. Who knows? It's really great to see more and more people showing off their craft and placing fiber arts in a more public forum.

Here in Reno, the entire month of July is called 'Artown" where hundreds of local events featuring art, music, dance, etc. are showcased. This particular weekend will be an 'art bombing' event, put on by a local arts organization, The Holland Project. We are so excited to see what they're going to put on. One of my friends has been crocheting for hours upon hours, trying to finish - she says her finger tips are dyed!

Watch out for the "bridge troll"!

Well, that's enough of my fabulous weekend in Seattle. More pictures to come of the upcoming 'art bomb' event in the biggest little city in the world. How do you incorporate knitting and crocheting into your vacations? Detours to yarn shops, fiber craft museums? What have been your favorites? What about stumbling across yarn bombing or even meeting fellow fiber nuts along the way? :)

Well, whatever fun trips you've been on this summer, we all hope you're having fun, staying safe, and wearing lots of sunscreen!!

Happy knitting and crocheting (and yarn bombing!)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Featured Products Vlog!

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Hope you are all having a great week!  Before I take off for the weekend to be a part of my best friend's wedding, I thought I would share with you all some awesome new products!  This week we are featuring Frog Tree Pediboo, Noro Hitsuji and the new Spud and Chloe Patterns.  Enjoy!

Have a great rest of your week and happy knitting!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today is a Gift...

Well, in my last post I talked about my trip to the coast and riding with my brother-in-law but when I came back little did I know that I was to see him again right away here in Reno. I debated about what to write about in this blog but since you are all so much a part of our JBW family, I decided to share what has been going on here in my life...even though it is a bit sad.

We got back on a Friday night. On Saturday, we cleaned up, unpacked, and just generally settled in...ahhh.... home! That afternoon, my husband called his mother to let her know we would be there Sunday to have breakfast with her, to take her shopping and what not. Boy, was she excited to hear that! Well, the next day, we got moving and called her on the way out to her place with no luck. We assumed she was in the shower but, alas, that wasn't the case. She had passed very peacefully the night before at 87 and will be missed by our family very much.
Gloria and Chris Mother's Day 2011
I can't tell you how amazing my JBW family is and how much I adore each and every one of them!!! I let Terry know right away that it was clear I would need some time off (sheesh...I had just come back from a week off) and they ALL pitched in to make sure I had the entire week off to take care of my family!!

My husband's brothers and their fantastic wives came into town and we cried, laughed, and just generally celebrated Gloria and enjoyed each others company. We don't get to see each other very often since the middle brother, George, lives in Nashville and Chris (the youngest) lives in San Juan Capistrano. Because of this, the wives have never had too much time together to get to know each other. Now our husbands may not be so excited that we got to share so many notes. However, some real bonding occurred and I think we all found it a great experience, even though the circumstances were sad. I say often that today is a gift - that's why it's called the present, so I wish you all the best present you can have today!!

As always, happy knitting and crocheting!


P.S. There was knitting, of course, and as Elizabeth Zimmerman used to say 'knitting through all crises'!! I finished my Liesl and continuously knit a pair of simple socks as we chatted. My sister-in-law, Katherine, knits, too and she finished a Traveling Women shawl and then worked on my Saroyan (I am using Tahki Tara Tweed) since she didn't have anything left to knit with her. I think Cathy was watching and we may have set the seed for learning to knit in her mind/fingers, so I will keep you posted on that front!

Friday, July 8, 2011

KAL Larch FO Awesomeness!

Hello everyone!  We made it to the end of the KAL!  Hopefully you all had a good time and made it through without tinking or frogging too much!  I had a great time and am looking forward to the next Jimmy Beans Knit-a-long.  We are aiming for sometime in October, so we’ll keep you posted.  
For now, here are some of the lovely FO’s from the Larch Endless Possibilities KAL:

Kristen's (that's me) Larch in
Endless Possibilities

2nd view- the whole Enchilada

Diane's Larch in Endless Possibilities
and edged with 3am Enchantment's
Superwash Merino yarn. 

Bethany's Larch in Endless Possibilities, she's a
loose knitter so hers came out HUGE!  It's beautiful!

Chameleo, aka. Alison, is almost done with hers
in Tosh Merino Light "Bearded Iris" which
she already had in her stash!  Lovely!

Bethany and I posing in the shipping department
for a photo op.  We love our Larches!

So that is it everyone!  I'll look forward to seeing other finished projects on Ravelry!  Hope you all had as much fun as we did here at JBW!  See you all for the next KAL!

Happy knitting,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Motorcycle Road Trip...Happy 4th of July!!!

Summer road trips - what can be more fun? Why, knitting, of course! Also, motorcycles on Highway 1 in California! We packed up and left two weeks ago to meet up with my brother-in-law in San Luis Obispo and do some riding together...woo-hoo!!

Thankfully, we have a toy hauler that carries our bikes. This makes it a bit easier to get to the good riding spots without having to fight the freeways on two wheels, which can be a little scary. We met up with Chris (my son Christopher's namesake) and rode to Solvang together. Unfortunately, he had to head back to L.A. right away to get back to work but it was great seeing him, even if it was a short visit!

Of course, there is an amazing little yarn, weaving, and spinning shop called the Village Spinning & Weaving. I could have spent all day there but the guys were ready to roll! Sigh! Solvang is a charming little Danish community just west of Highway 101 and I can't wait to get back there to spend some real time checking it out!

Now, I did mention knitting earlier. I took my Liesl by Cocoknits and am almost finished with it! I can't wait to wear it and will be working one up for my daughter soon!

Everything was blooming and beautiful along the coast. Although, it was a bit foggy and cool most of the time we were traveling. I loved it! (And we  came home to a nice warm Nevada summer.)

We drove from San Luis Obispo up Highway 1 which was beautiful!!! I hope you are all having some great adventures now that summer is here!

As always happy knitting and crocheting!


PS Are you getting our twice monthly newsletter? It the best way to say up to date with what's going on around the shop and we never, ever share you information, so check it out and enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Binding off on the KAL and a special Harry Potter treat!

Welcome to our final blog post for the Endless Possibilities KAL!  We’ve made it to the end folks!  (Or hopefully you will very soon.)  It’s been a fun road, and we are finally ready to bind off.  I’ve taken some pictures to share with you of what the bind off should look at since it is a bit tricky at first.  Once you do it a few times it’s quite easy!  This was a new one for me and I really loved learning something new.  So here’s how you do it:

Insert the threaded needle into the first two stitches on the knitting needle as if to purl.  Pull the yarn all the way through those 2 stitches.

Now run the needle back through the 1st stitch and run all the way through again.  Lift that stitch off the end of the knitting needle and let it go.

Your bind-off should look nice and loose, somewhat like the picture above.  This is a very stretchy bind off which is good for blocking later!

So that’s pretty much it!  Once you finish with the bind off, block your shawl and wear it with pride!  If you’d like to share your photo with us, I’ll be posting a gallery of finished projects on the Blog next friday.  If you’d like your Larch to be featured on the blog, please send your photo via e-mail to me (attn: Kristen) at  If you used a different yarn than the Endless Possibilities, please let us know what it was along with your first name (or Ravelry call sign) and I’ll put as many as I can into the gallery next week!  The deadline for this is Wednesday July 6th!
Lastly, I wanted to tell you all about the gorgeous new color Lorna’s sent us yesterday...the July color of the month- He Who Must Not Be Named!  You all voted and this beautiful color won!  

Thanks to all of you who gave your input!  As a special treat, we had one dyelots worth (40 skeins) of Shepherd Sock of each of the special Hogwarts house colors named after their house mottos.  We have “Bravery” for Griffindor, “Ambition” for Slytherin, “Intelligence” for Ravenclaw, and “Loyalty” for Hufflepuff.  Buy all 4 or just your favorite but get them quick because we only have a few to sell!

So that is it for today folks!  Hope you all have a great 4th of July weekend and I’m so looking forward to seeing your FO’s for the KAL next week!
Happy knitting,