Friday, February 24, 2012

FO Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you've all had a great week!  While some of us are away at Stitches West this weekend, I've prepared a fun FO post for you all!  Here are some of our most recent finished projects around the shop:

Monika recently finished this adorable Huck's Earflap Hat from Battle Born Knits in Misti Alpaca Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky.  Super cute!

Lastly, Rachel just finished and seamed her Cassidy Sweater!  She knit it in Miss Babs' Yowza Whata Skein but said that it's very similar to Tosh Vintage.  Didn't it turn out gorgeous?!?!

So that's it for FO's this week!  If you are going to be in Santa Clara this weekend, stop by our Stitch Red booth at Stitches!  We are booth #'s 117 & 119!  Hope to see you there!

Happy knitting,

PS.  Check out our new and exciting project-- Stitch Red!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monkey see, monkey do??

As some of you may know, Sandy and I are really good friends. We tend to see something the other one is doing and go "ooohhh I wanna do that too." Sandy has started a Trail Jacket by Knitbot, and I want to cast mine on too. Okay, so I admit I am the monkey who just has to get into the middle of things.

In the mist all the sewing, knitting and work, I am getting ready to give this fantastic pattern a go! Sandy is using Noro Kochoran from her stash, and I just can't say how lovely it is so far. As a matter of fact, I have six hanks of the very same color in my small yarn store and I think I will monkey on and maybe we can be twins! Ha Ha:) We just got some Kochoran in stock (on sale no less) and I am also considering color 75 for this project.

I really like the simple shape of this jacket and the potential for modifications. Sandy is adding some pockets to hers and is considering a slightly different collar.

Sorry for the short post, but I am off to look at other yarn for this pattern....hmmm...possibly the Taria Tweed, or Lana Grossa's Everybody...decisions, decisions...sigh...what a hard life I have, hee hee!

What would you use?

Ok, and now for the winners of the Jade Sapphire giveaway!  Our 3 winners (thanks to and only using the entries that made it in before midnight last night) were:

1) Autumn's Mom, who said, "I would wear it out to dinner to celebrate my 22nd wedding anniversary this year."

2) Sarah, who said, "The Ponchette would be a staple in my work wardrobe. My office is freezing year-round, and this would be great for days when an extra layer is needed!"

3)  Flossie Knits, who said, "I would wear it on my annual Montreal trip!  It would be perfect for the cooler weather!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and winners, don't forget to e-mail right away to claim your kits!  Be sure to let her know your 1st choice preference between Deep Plum and Hydrangea and she'll do her best to accommodate based on who responds the quickest!

As always, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!!

PS Have you heard about our fabulous Stitch Red campaign? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, so
Stitch Red was created in an effort to help create more awareness. You will want to check out out Stitch Red blog for all kinds of great information and guest bloggers, healthy tips and even heart healthy recipes!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview with Jane from Jade Sapphire yarns...and a giveaway!!!

We couldn't be more excited to be carrying Jade Sapphire's beautiful yarns!  Since we picked up both the Mongolian Cashmere 4ply, Moonlight, and the Silk Cashmere 2ply last fall, it has continued to fly off of our shelves!  We recently had the opportunity to do a blog interview with Jane Saffir, the wonderful creator of Jade Sapphire yarns, and we jumped at the chance!  Here is what she had to say about her company, her passion for yarn, and life in general...

Tons of pretty little
cashmere skeinlets!
JBW- Can you give us a super quick history of Jade Sapphire yarns?
JS- I started out as just another fiberholic who wanted to knit with cashmere yarn, which wasn't very available 8 years ago!  I rationalized my first purchase of cashmere by thinking that I'd start a business, when I really just wanted to knit with it myself.  Now, 8 years later, with more than 150 colorways and more than 10 different yarns, I wish I had more time to knit!

JBW- How many staff members does Jade Sapphire have? 
JS- We've stayed a very small company, with just a handful of office staff and dyers, and, of course, myself and Ken.

JBW- 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? 
Silk Cashmere 2-ply
JS- Hmm...I didn't go into the business with the idea of making a living.  Somehow a business becomes your life, and hopefully your living as well.  In my case, I had retired from a career as a teacher, and wasn't thinking about making a living.  I don't really have any good advice on this, except try to do what you love.

JBW- Does Jade Sapphire have any new designs that you’d like to tell us about?
JS- The Summer Ponchette, designed by Nancy Ricci of   It takes 2 skeins of our Silk/Cashmere yarn and is a great lightweight layering piece for summer.  That is what we are giving away today!

Mongolian Cashmere
JBW- So, we’d love to know a little more about you personally-- where did you grow up? 
JS- I grew up in New York and New Jersey.

JBW- What time do you typically start your day?  
JS- I wake up at about 7:00 a.m., and have the luxury of drinking my morning coffee in bed, brought to me by Ken, my partner in Jade Sapphire and life.  Before we started our business together, Ken was known among my friends as "The Fiber Enabler," always supportive of my passion for yarn.

JBW-  Gosh, that sounds nice!  What a keeper. :) So, do you prefer coffee or tea? 
JS- I love both, each in their proper time and place.  Coffee, as mentioned above, in the morning, or as cappuccino in the afternoon, preferably with a biscotti.  Tea, freshly brewed in a china pot, also in the afternoon, served in a china cup.

JBW- Tell us a little about your previous life—you know, before yarn…
JS- Hmmm...was there ever life without yarn?  I've had an interest in yarn and needlework since I was a little girl, although no one ever taught me how to do any of it.  I taught myself to knit out of a book, and, since I'm left-handed, I figured I should do everything with the opposite hand than what was described in the book.  The result is that I knit in the opposite direction than most people.  I start with the empty needle in my left hand.  A few years ago I forced myself to learn how to knit right-handed, but am more comfortable doing it left-handed.  The good part is that now I can knit back and forth, which comes in handy sometimes. As I mentioned earlier though, I was also teacher of little kids in New York City for over 20 years.  I was also an indexer of books for a lot of years.
Purl- the Jade Sapphire
Inventory Manager. :)

JBW- What is your favorite hobby?
JS- Knitting, of course, but I also absolutely love spinning!  And I do love crochet, needlepoint, embroidery...all of it.

JBW- What is your dream job?
JS- I guess I have it!  One of my favorite parts of it is getting to name colors.

JBW- What was the last crafty project (knitting or other) that you created?  
JS- I finished one Wonderful Wallaby and am almost finished with the second for our twin grandsons, 17 months old!  They're knit with cashmere, of course!

Purl waits for the UPS
driver. :)
JBW- What is your biggest accomplishment?
JS- Creating Jade Sapphire has definitely been my biggest achievement, other than producing two wonderful daughters.

JBW- Do you have a favorite possession?
JS- I love my yarn stash, and I love my spinning wheels.  I have about 14!  I am definitely an equipment junkie, in addition to being a yarn and fiber addict.

JBW- Next big adventure?
JS- Maybe writing a book combining patterns using our yarns along with a travelog showing the source of cashmere and its production into yarn.

Summer Ponchette

Thanks so much Jane for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at Jade Sapphire yarns!  Readers- if you'd like to enter to win one of 3 Summer Ponchette Kits (2 skeins of Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere 2 ply-- 2 kits in the Hydrangea colorway and 1 in Deep Plum, and the pattern), courtesy of Jane and the lovely folks at Jade Sapphire yarns, please leave us a comment letting us know where you would wear your Summer Ponchette -or- tell us about your favorite knit using Jade Sapphire Yarns.  

Please, only one entry per person.  Comments will be closed at Midnight on Monday, 2/20/12 PST and 3 winners will be chosen (using a random number generator) and posted on the Monday, 2/20 blog post.  Please be sure that you check back here on that day to see if you've won.  If the winners do not contact us within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen in their place. 

Thanks so much for reading, and happy knitting!


PS.  Jade Sapphire is one of the companies that has joined us in the Stitch Red campaign to help create heart disease awareness in women!  Learn more about Stitch Red here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Kitchener Stitch

Hi everyone!

I hope you all are having a happy Wednesday!  I thought I would share with you this fun little video that Jeanne did recently about how to do a Kitchener Stitch.  Many of us, including me, and intimidated by this technique, but as Jeanne shows, it's quite easy once you try it!  I'll be giving this a shot later tonight!  I hope you find this as helpful as I did!

Good luck and happy knitting!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where to start??

Laura's quilt top is beautiful!
So much (as usual) has been going on around here that I am not quite sure where to I guess I will dive right in.

Of course there is sewing and that is very exciting!! Laura's quilt top is hanging in the shop and I have squared mine up, while Sandy has pinned and squared her batting and pinned it all together with her back piece; nice work Sandy! Laura is on another trip, so I will update you on the sewing again soon!

Dr. Ocean was GREAT!

February is Heart Health month and I have mentioned that our Stitch Red campaign is taking off. We had our first Stitch Red knit night...yipppeeee!!! It was well attended and we had a fabulous guest speaker, Dr. Zeny N. Ocean DDS!! He came to help us all understand how important our oral health is to our heart health. It was so much fun!

Jeffrey was attentive!!

My honey Geoff loved him (note the name)
Cheryl brought Jeffrey who is a guide dog in training and let me tell you he was a BIG hit with everyone!!

 Of course there was knitting at a knit night (imagine??) and I forgot my knitting (imagine??), so I was doing a little pining :(

As some of you might know, I have been working towards a healthier lifestyle through a raw food diet and I really enjoyed Dr. Ocean's approach to whole-body healing practices (as well as personal awareness). Quick update as to my progress with my lifestyle change: I feel great!! I am not going to say it isn't a challenge, but I have tons of support both in my home family and my JBW family!! Thanks gang for all your support. I have more energy and am starting to lose weight again

So, with all of that I will wish you a happy, healthy day! Do something good for yourself today, take the stairs, run around the house after you finish that row, or whatever you can to treat yourself the way you deserve!

As always, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!


PS Have you heard about our fabulous Stitch Red campaign? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, so Stitch Red was created in an effort to help create more awareness. You will want to check out out Stitch Red blog for all kinds of great information and guest bloggers, healthy tips and even heart healthy recipes!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Stitch Mountain!

Jimmy Beans Wool is the first-ever official yarn, knitting, and crochet supplier to U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing! This partnership has helped to create our newest adventure, Stitch Mountain!

What is Stitch Mountain you may ask? It's a marketing and promotional campaign created by Jimmy Beans Wool and the wonderful people at Red Heart® yarns. It encourages people to be creative on and off the slopes by building awareness of the yarn industry and exposing people to different crafts, fibers and companies.

Stitch Mountain unites two of Jimmy's biggest passions, yarn and skiing! It is also a great way to give back to the skiing and snowboarding community that was a big part of Jimmy Beans Wool's success. When the shop first opened in Truckee, CA in 2002, skiers and snowboarders consistently came into the shop asking for yarn to make beanies and other winter accessories. They helped drive the success of Jimmy Beans Wool in the early years, and we love them for it!

As a part of Stitch Mountain, we also are sponsoring Olympic Pro Snowboarder, Lindsey Jacobellis! Lindsey is not only an awesome athlete, but she is also an avid knitter, crocheter and knitwear designer! She designs and knits hats for her charity, HATS4HOUNDS, and will be designing some cool hats for us down the road!

Stitch Mountain

To kickoff Stitch Mountain, the amazing Red Heart® team, designed some fun patterns to help you accessorize on and off the slopes.

Zigzag Neckwarmer

Snowboarder's Throw

Stitch Mountain is also making its debut this weekend at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Canyons! Check out some of the pictures Jimmy sent so far from Canyons below.

We have officially hit the big time!
Delta, Sprint, Stitch Mountain...
Same thing, right?! Go yarn!

Up and running!

Support Stitch Mountain by checking out the Stitch Mountain page, like our Facebook Fan Page or pick up a kit with your favorite Stitch Mountain design.

Go Stitch Mountain!

P.S. Have you heard about our fabulous Stitch Red campaign? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, so Stitch Red was created in an effort to help create more awareness. You will want to check out out Stitch Red blog for all kinds of great information and guest bloggers, healthy tips and even heart healthy recipes!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Swans Island KAL...all good things must come to an end.

Welcome, everyone, to the final Swans Island Anna's Cowl KAL blog post!  I hope you have all been successful in this process and are either finished, or close-to finished with your cowls. I don't know about you, but I have really LOVED knitting this pattern and using this yarn.  It's a really simple and beautiful knit.  Thank you to the designer, Breean Miller, for designing such a lovely cowl!

 After removing my provisional cast on, it was simple to pick up those stitches and continue with the lace pattern on the second side.  After the bind-off, I soaked my cowl in lukewarm water and some gentle soap and laid my cowl out on a towel to block.  Never tried blocking before?  Well here is an informative video that I did a few months back that illustrates different ways to block items.  It's a bit long, but worth watching if you'd never blocked before or are still new to it.  I hope it helps!

Now, I'd like to know where you all stand on the issue of points.  To point, or not to point?  That is the question.  I really like the look of the original cowl, so I chose to block out my points, but the shell lace pattern really lends itself to a softer more rounded edge as well.  Which one did you or would you choose?

So, that is pretty much it for the Swans Island KAL.  I will keep the Ravelry Thread going for a few more weeks in case there are a few folks still finishing up.  I would LOVE to see your finished pieces, so please post photos, or a link to your photos on the thread!

Thank you so much to all of you who participated in this fun KAL!  If you have feedback or suggestions for the next KAL, please drop me a line and let me know:  I'd really love to hear from you!

As always, Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back to sewing...

So much has been going on around here that I am sure that you all thought we had forgotten about our quilting. Not true! Here, in my first quilting post, you see the start of the project and the interesting choosing-of-the-fabric process. While we have been posting about all the recent travels to all the fantastic events, the quilt project has been moving forward in the background. So, I am going to give you a quick update on our sewing adventures. Since Laura is the novice seamstress (hasn't sewn a stitch yet) I thought it might be fun to 'interview' her about the process:

[Jeanne] How hard was it to choose your fabric combination for your quilt?
[Laura] Not as hard as I thought! once I figured out which birds to use, the rest just started to “appear”
[Jeanne] What attracted you to the color combinations? 
[Laura] They are subtle, but still fun (the yellow)!
[Jeanne] Why do you want to learn to sew?
[Laura]  Because, between sewing and knitting,  then I can make ANYTHING!!
[Jeanne] Will you use your quilt, or hang it on a wall? 
[Laura] Not sure yet. maybe a little of both? 
Discussing layout
Great answers Laura...thanks!! 
Laura has had a short break (2 weeks) from all the traveling to get the word out about our Stitch Red campaign and so last Thursday we went to her house to cut our quilts. Sandy had already cut hers and sewn it together (she's the teacher, so she's allowed to move ahead a bit ha ha) and wow did Laura and I learn a lot!! I have sewn a lot of things over the years, but have been nervous about quilting, so decided to learn how and reminded myself that I tell all you all the time to learn something Jeanne take your own advice right? 
The most important thing was to make a safe place to cut (remember we had Huck around), so we chose her kitchen island and it was great! The foreground pile is my fabric waiting for its turn under the knife. You see Laura making her first cut with Sandy helping out.

She got almost all of her quilt cut while we were there (Huck wanted to be tucked in :), so Sandy left her cutting mat and rotary cutter, as well as her rulers and Laura finished up like a pro!

Great job Laura!!
I do have enough sewing and cutting experience that I cut most of mine at home later, but it was super helpful to have Sandy's fantastic skills and advice to get me started.

I can't wait to see how Laura's sewing comes together and will post some pictures on that really soon! 
Bethany has loaned her machine to Laura and this way she can see what she likes, or even if she likes it. 

However, judging from her response so far, I think she's hooked!  

I am super excited and not so nervous anymore...gee whiz it's just like knitting in the sense that sometimes you have to go back a few steps. 
Jeanne's layout

Let me know if you have any questions and I would love to hear about your sewing projects!

As always happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!


PS Have you heard about our fabulous Stitch Red campaign? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, so Stitch Red was created in an effort to help create more awareness. You will want to check out out Stitch Red blog for all kinds of great information and guest bloggers, healthy tips and even heart healthy recipes!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Interview with Kristin Omdahl of "Seamless Crochet"!

Kristin Omdahl
We recently had the opportunity to interview Kristin Omdahl as part of her blog tour for her newest book, Seamless Crochet, so we jumped at the chance!  Kristen is one of the crochet (and knitting) communities' most influential designers and she creates some truly stunning pieces.  Here is what she had to say about Seamless Crochet:

JBW- Can you give us a super quick description of Seamless Crochet and your inspiration behind the book?
KO- Seamless Crochet is a technique of crocheting motifs, joining them as you go, and NOT cutting yarn between motifs. The motif fabric is created in one continuous piece of yarn with no ends to weave in!

JBW- Do you have a favorite design (or designs) from the book?   If so, what are they, and why?
Buttercup Blanket
KO-That is a tough question, but one of my favorites is the baby blanket called "Buttercup Blanket" because the motif has a 3-dimensional flower that looks like it is appliqué-sewn onto the motifs, BUT IT IS NOT. It is also crocheted in one continuous piece of yarn along with the motifs. I think this motif would make BEAUTIFUL pillows in a beautiful deep red mohair blend yarn.
JBW- How did you get started at a designer?
KO- I was a single mom desperate to find a way to make a living with a 20 month old baby. I asked a magazine and a yarn company if they were interested in my designs and they took them immediately. My freelance career started right away. My contact at the yarn company suggested I attend a trade show (TNNA) and there I met many yarn companies and publishers (many of whom I still work with today).
JBW- Now that "Seamless Crochet is completed, what is up next for you?
KO- I have written 2 books (one knit and one crochet) since writing Seamless Crochet. When I complete a manuscript, it is usually 12 - 18 months until it is released in stores. I am currently working on the content for the next season of Knitting Daily TV and a new series of books that are a little different from the knit and crochet books I have written so far.
JBW- Do you have any advice for new designers who are just getting started out there?
Jaime Hat
KO- Network, promote, be on time, be professional, and LOVE what you do because this is a very labor intensive career.
JBW- Is there anything else you want to tell us about Seamless Crochet or any other current projects?
KO- Seamless Crochet offers a wide range of patterns for all levels of crocheters. The Radiance Sparkly Scarf is a perfect beginner project. The book includes a 1-hour DVD with me teaching a workshop on the techniques in the book, including a complete crochet-along for the Jaime Hat.
And now for the fun part!  We always like to ask a few more personal questions so that our readers can learn a little more about you!
JBW- Where did you grow up?
KO- I was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Detroit, Michigan suburbs.
Blue Skies Chunky Cowl
JBW- What time do you start work?
KO- Around 7:30 in the morning I start work, after I drop my son off at school. I work until the afternoon when I pick him up. Spend the afternoon & evening with him, and start back up with work from 8:30 (his bedtime) until around midnight (my bedtime).
JBW- Do you prefer coffee or tea?
KO- BOTH! I love a local coffee (Manatee made on Sanibel Island, Florida) first thing in the morning because it is a mild coffee. But I am truly a tea junkie. I love chai oolong, jasmine green, and many many more.
JBW- Tell us about your previous life—you know, before yarn…
KO- I was a model growing up. I modeled from age 12 to 17, in Detroit, Chicago and New York. It was a wonderful experience.
JBW- What is your favorite hobby?
KO- That is a tough question. A hobby is something you do to escape from your work and regular life. Piano, guitar and barefoot running on the beach are my favorite forms of escape/zone out.
Star Mobuis
JBW- What is your favorite book?
KO- I don't have just one, but I LOVE a few: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, The Outlander (whole series) by Diana Gabaldon and The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
JBW- What was the last crafty project (knitting or other) that you created?
KO- I made a few bracelets and necklaces last week before I left for a trade show. Before that I made many knit and crochet garments for my current book and magazine projects.
Flower Trivets
JBW- If you could be any animal (besides human), what would you be and why?
KO- I love lions a lot. But as long as we are going to pretend to be something we can't be, I'd rather be a mermaid.
JBW- What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
KO- "We Bought A Zoo" and I was sad that the mom was dead in the movie. That's a tough subject for me, as a mom. Had I known, we wouldn't have seen it in the theater.
JBW- What inspires you?
KO- Geometry and Nature inspire me.  I especially love the geometry of nature.  I LOVE creating textiles from things I see in other mediums.  For example: beautiful tile work, seashell shaping, water movement, or even the texture of a snake's skin or alligator's scales.

Thank you so much Kristin for the inside scoop on the new book and your other projects!

Hope you all have a great weekend and happy crocheting!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Diane Soucy is teaching a Top-Down Sweater Class at Jimmy Beans Wool!

Hi everyone!  I have some super exciting news for all of you local Reno-Tahoe customers!  On Saturday, February 11th, 2012, Diane Soucy of the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern line will be at Jimmy Beans in Reno to teach a Top-Down Sweater Class!  We are so excited to host Diane here in Reno for the first of what we hope will be many Designer Workshops.

Diane's Class will focus on top-down sweater construction using the top-down sweater pattern of your choice (check out all of her awesome designs on our site here).  She will focus on topics such as fit, customization, and the basics of creating your perfect top-down sweater! 

The class will be held from 10am-5pm with a 1 hour break for lunch.  The cost for this all-day workshop is $80.  Please call the Jimmy Beans Wool Retail store for more information and to sign up- (775) 827-YARN (9276).  The sign up deadline is Friday, February 3rd, so please call to reserve your spot as spaces are limited, however, you may make your payment anytime up until February 10th.

Hope to see you all there!

Happy knitting!

Swans Island Anna Cowl KAL- Mid-point!

Well folks, we made it through the halfway mark of the Anna Cowl KAL!  Give yourselves a big pat on the back!  Now it's just smooth sailing since the rest is just a repeat of the first half.  I just bound off on the first side on Monday night and I was really pleased to see how the pattern is shaping up.  What a fun and easy knit this is!

I used a US size 10 needle for the bind off so that it will be nice and loose when I go to block it and pin out the points.  I have a funny feeling that this cowl is going to grow quite a bit when I block it.  The Swans Island Worsted is so scrumptious and squishy, but it seems to have a lot of give.


Also, you may have noticed that I made my middle section a bit bigger. I added about a 1/2" to the middle garter stitch section.  I am a pretty tall person so I wanted a little bit more width.

We've had a lot of lovely pictures and conversations happening over on the Ravelry group, so if you haven't checked that out yet, please feel free to do so!

If you have finished photos you would like to share for the blog next week, please e-mail them to me at:  As always, please let me know if you have any pattern questions or concerns!

Happy knitting!