Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spring KAL/SAL Wrap-up and FO Gallery!

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Spring KAL/SAL! It was a huge success and I absolutely loved seeing all of your beautiful Goodale cardigans! If you are on the Ravelry thread, please keep those FO photos coming! I will post my sweater photo as soon as possible. In the meantime, I was able to finish my 1-hour skirt:

1-hour Skirt in Amy Butler
Twilight Peony

Also, here are a few other FO's from participants who gave me permission to use their photos!




Mmhiscox- sorry I missed
your pic yesterday! :)

Thank you ladies for allowing us to showcase your beautiful sweaters! Readers, feel free to check out their Ravelry pages which I linked to in the photo captions for all of the info on their sweaters. Thanks so much to everyone who participated and to Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Brett Bara for participating in guest blogs for their designs! If you had fun participating in the KAL/SAL, let us know by leaving a comment, and tell us what we should do for the next one!

Happy knitting and sewing everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Crochet Corner with Dora Ohrenstein!

I love the individualism and creativity that characterize the crochet community. The crocheters I meet are often self-taught, curious folk seeking creative adventures.   When you embark on an adventure, I believe, it's smart to be equipped with as much knowledge as possible.

Ethereal Shawl
 by Dora
In my first post I spoke about how lovely crochet can be with finer yarns.  Of course, it really depends on what project you intend to make.  For some items, such as a winter hat, scarf, or mitts, a sturdy, structured fabric is best.  These are great projects for using worsted or bulkier yarns.  With these yarns, you can make a closed fabric, either with plain stitches like single or half double crochet, or a pattern stitch that creates a closed fabric, and be sure that the wearer will have protection against the cold. You can add even more warmth and structure with textured stitches like bobbles, puffs, and cables. For  these items you want to think about washable yarns that can take a lot of wear and care.
Impressionist Sweater
from "Crochet Insider's
Passion for Fashion"

If, however, you have in mind a sweater for indoor wear, I recommend looking at DK, sport or even fingering weight yarn.  Particularly if the pattern you are making is lace, it will be much more "legible"  if you use a thinner yarn.  The thinner lines of the yarn will give greater clarity to the lace stitch.   For the same reason, when working lace stitches, the yarn should be smooth, not textured, or the pattern will be difficult to see. Further, using a heavier weight yarn enlarges the scale of the pattern, often resulting in lace with really big holes, not so practical.  Who wants to get stuck on door knobs or cooking utensils?

Romantic Halter from
Inside Crochet magazine
What's equally important when it comes to crochet wearables is the question of drape.  Drape is the quality of fabric that makes it move and flow gracefully around the body.  It's much easier to create drape in crochet with thinner yarns.  In fact, I like to think of fabric drape on a continuum, going from items that require a lot to those where you want the opposite, more structure.  Moving from structure to drape,  I would put things in this order:

Bag, Belt, Hat, Jacket, Scarf, Cardigan, Summer Top, Lace Shawl.

Uptown Sweater: from
"Custom Crocheted Sweaters"
The more drape you want in an item, the easier it will be to achieve it with a finer yarn. There is nothing so gorgeous as a feathery light shawl in lace weight yarn!  Of course, it does require patience, but who says everything we make should be quick and easy?  I personally love digging into an intricate project, because I know how satisfied I'll be when it's done.  And I'm imagining all the lovely compliments I'll get when wearing it!

Aside from yarn weight, there are other things you can do to get more drape:  use open stitches, not closed. The more open is the lace, the more drape in the fabric.  Use taller stitches, not short (single crochet is not ideal for drape). Work in the back loop instead of both loops.  Lastly, choose a fiber that drapes well, for example, alpaca, silk, or bamboo.  Wools and cottons, generally don't drape as well, but depending on how the yarn is spun and treated, they can.  Acrylics like viscose can add to a yarn's drape. There are so many variables that can affect a yarn's performance that only broad generalizations can be made.  If you want to develop a feel for how yarns behave, hold a strand in your fingers and move it around, to see how pliable, or resistant, it is to movement. 
Bobble Hat by Dora Ohrenstein 

If, on the other hand, you want a more structured fabric for a bag or hat, you can do just the opposite.  Use heavier yarns with fibers like wool and cotton, that automatically lend more structure to the fabric. Use short stitches, or "fat" stitches that give the fabric more dimension, as mentioned earlier:  bobbles, puffs, and cables. Textured yarns are great for these kinds of items too.

Dolce Tote from
Crochet Today magazine
What about when you are substituting one yarn for another when making a pattern?  Of course, you're apt to stick with the same yarn weight, but you may not realize that the fiber content is also important.  A sweater designed in a silk blend yarn is going to look and act very different from one made in wool, and vice versa.  Silk is slinky, wool much less so.  Take a close look at the design and see how much it relies on the slinkiness of the silk, or whether it will be fine without it. 

I hope these points will be useful for your future crochet adventures!

And once again, I leave you with Dora's tip of the day:

When working two stitches in sequence over a bunch of skipped stitches, the loop of the first stitch can get very large as you stretch over the space between. To avoid that, make the first stitch, then hold the work so that the place you need to insert for the second stitch is close to the first stitch, in other words, scrunch up the fabric as necessary.  Make the 2nd stitch, and tug a bit at the yarn after completing it.  Voila - no more big top loop!

Happy crocheting!

All designs on this page by Dora Ohrenstein.

Dora Ohrenstein is an author, designer and writer whose most recent book is Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments that Really Fit.  Her website  is a great source for articles, interviews and techniques, and where she teaches online crochet classes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring Knit-along and Sew-along- Week 6 check in!

Hi everyone!
Almost ready to separate the sleeves!
I hope that you are all making progress on both your Goodale cardigans and skirts (if you are sewing as well)!  I’ve been admittedly remiss about knitting my Goodale due to some other work-related knitting that has been going on. As in-house designer here at Jimmy Beans, I often have to set aside less deadline-oriented knitting for designing. I don’t mind because designing is super fun, but it sometimes means that other projects sit on the needles a little too long! 
You'll notice my Goodale update picture to the right. I am two rows away from dividing for the sleeves and will probably do that tonight. You can’t really tell from this picture but my sweater already measures 10”! I’m not sure how the gauge became so off, but it’s probably ok if I have some extra length anyway. I was just surprised when I measured it the other day. I’ve followed the pattern exactly, but I think it’s just the gauge. In any case, I think I am going to get a ton of wear out of this once I am finished!

I ironed my fabric like a good girl.

Step 1 of french seams, sew the
sides together with the printed
side of the fabric facing out!
I also began work on my skirt just last night. I only had a few minutes before dinner so I cut and ironed the fabric (Amy Butler Twilight Peony in Azure) and sewed the french seams. French seams have to be my new favorite thing when it comes to sewing. They are by no means a new technique, but I recently fell in love with the amazingly neat and smooth inner seam they create. And they are SO simple too! You just place the fabric together with the printed side facing out and sew. Trim the edges down to about 1/8-1/4 of an inch, and turn inside out and iron down the seams. Then sew another seam with the printed sides of the fabric facing in. Now you have a nice clean seam on the inside that won’t fray! 
Sewing the inside seams-
Step 2 of French Seams.
Brett goes more into this in her book and in her video online that I shared in last week’s post. I highly recommend trying it if you haven’t already! I have a decent size stack of fabrics that I’ll be making into more of these skirts for summer in the coming weeks. I think they are becoming a new wardrobe staple! After I make a few more of those, I am planning to make a whole bunch of new pillow cases for my bed using the french seam technique. Brett gives a simple pattern for pillow cases in “Sewing in a Straight Line” as well. I have really been bit by the sewing bug!
Ready to go for the next steps!
I’ll finish my skirt in the next couple of days and I hope that you are all well on your way to finishing your new spring outfits! I would love to post some pictures of you wearing your finished outfits if you’ll let me! Feel free to e-mail photos directly to me at and I will include them in next week’s wrap up post in a gallery of FO’s! If you made both the sweater and skirt, I’d love to see them modeled together. If you just made one or the other, that’s fine too! Please send them along! I can’t wait to see what you all have created these past six weeks!
I hope you all have a fun and productive Memorial Day Weekend and I’ll look forward to showing off some of your FO’s next week!

Happy knitting and sewing!

Pssst! Have you ordered your copy of Knit Red yet? They are here and ready to ship immediately! Yay! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jimmy Beans Wool Spring KAL/SAL- Sewing and Crafting with Brett Bara!

Brett on Martha's show demonstrating
how to sew the skirt! Be sure to check
out this video at the links below!
We just love Brett Bara's book- Sewing in a Straight Line and her blog Manhattan Craft Room! So when we saw that Cecily Glowik MacDonald, the designer of the Goodale Cardigan we planned to knit for the KAL, had been sewing the One-Hour Skirts from Brett's book to pair with the designs in her upcoming book, we thought it was a great opportunity to get Brett involved in the KAL fun! We did another blog interview with her in January a few months after the book came out, and figured this time we'd have her share some tips with us for beginning sewists! We hope you enjoy this 2nd interview with her and if you are planning to make a skirt, be sure to follow the links provided at the bottom for all of your skirt sewing instruction needs! Brett has graciously shared this pattern with us, so even if you don't have the book, you can still make a One-Hour Skirt!

Here is what Brett had to say about crafting for a living, sewing, and her beginner tips:

JBW- You are sort of an all-around crafty guru and your blog Manhattan Craft Room has everything from sewing to knitting and crocheting and food recipes. How did you end up working in this industry and in so many different areas of crafting?

Even Fifi (Brett's Kitty) wears
a One-Hour Skirt! :)
BB- I have been crafty my whole life (I get it from my mom), but I never thought making a living from crafting was even an option. In college I studied English, with the goal of working at a magazine, and after graduation I moved to New York to pursue a career in publishing. So I started working in magazines right away, and for the first seven years or so I mostly worked on men's and women's magazines, writing about health, relationships, beauty--all that typical stuff. Then one day I got a lead on a position as a crafts editor at Woman's Day Special Issues, and that was the moment when I was finally able to combine my career in publishing with my lifelong experience crafting. And everything just flowed from there! After that position I went on to be the Editor in Chief of Crochet Today magazine and the host of Knit and Crochet Now. These days I'm happily self-employed, working on my own projects and designs, which are all on my blog. I do cover a lot of different subjects, and that's just because it truly reflects what I actually do in my life. I love to do just about anything creative, and I tend to like to jump around from one project to the next because I love the process of starting something new. One day I'm knitting a shawl because I want a shawl, and then the next week I'm making a big birthday cake for a friend, then after that I'm sewing curtains because I need curtains, and then I'm repainting vintage furniture because I found a piece at a flea market. My crafts just flow from whatever is happening in my real life. And if I don't have the skills to make whatever it is I want, I try to learn--that's really my favorite thing, delving into a new subject and learning all about it, and eventually making something totally new.

JBW- What made you decide to feature back-to-basics patterns with "Sewing in a Straight Line?"

Cute kids versions of the One-Hour
 Skirt as seen on Martha Stewart.
BB- It seemed like I kept hearing people say that they would love to be able to sew, but that it seemed way too hard and they had no idea where to start. Meanwhile, I knew that sewing didn't have to be difficult. One day I was sewing something (I think it was a quilt) and I realized that the project I was making, while it looked kind of impressive, was actually made with nothing but straight lines, and that really anyone could make it. So I got the idea to do a book of projects that were sewn with only straight lines, with the hopes that it would help people see that with the right shape and fabric, and the right idea, you can sew really amazing projects with just simple skills.

JBW- We love how the book really leaves a lot of room for embellishment and individualization with each pattern. What is YOUR favorite pattern in the book and why?

BB- That's such a tough question! I think my favorite in terms of easy projects is the One-Hour Skirt, because it really is so easy to make and it seems to have inspired a lot of people to try sewing. I've gotten emails from tons of readers who really didn't sew, but made the skirt--and they're always so happy and proud and inspired to sew more. That's a great feeling. My favorite in terms of more challenging projects is the Wonky Diamonds on Point Quilt. I have it on my bed and it makes me happy every day. But it really is a challenging quilt -- not for the faint of heart!

JBW- What are a few of your top tips for beginning sewers?

The original One-Hour Skirt
from "Sewing in a
Straight Line"
BB- I do advise beginners to try to get help from a real human their first time out. If you don't personally know someone who can sit with you and help you on the machine till you get comfortable, take a class at your local fabric store. Also, read your sewing machine manual! It's not exactly exciting reading, but you'll learn a lot. Go through the whole manual with some scrap fabric and try out every feature, page by page. You'll learn a ton. I also highly recommend making a muslin before starting any new project (a sample of the project you're making, but sewn in muslin or another inexpensive fabric rather than your real fabric). This process really allows you to work out any kinks so that you'll have much greater success in the end.

JBW-  Tell us a bit more about the 1-hour skirt-- what do you love most about it and do you personally have any of these skirts in your wardrobe?

A collage of One Hour Skirts from
a class Brett taught at Etsy.
BB- I have about twenty of these skirts in my studio, in every size from baby to adult! (And even one to fit my cat. It's true.) The skirts are great because they really are quick and easy--I can actually make one in about 15 minutes now! And they teach you some good micro lessons: how to sew French seams, how to make a waistband casing, how to do a hem, even how to measure your body.

JBW- What tips do you have for our SAL participants who might be attempting to sew a garment for themselves for the first time?

2. Be sure to wash, dry and very thoroughly iron your fabric before beginning.
(Otherwise, the fabric might shrink later when you wash it, and may cause
puckering in your seams.)
3. Even though I said above it's helpful to sew a muslin, if you're just anxious to
get started and you don't want to sew a muslin, just go ahead and start sewing, but
choose a fabric that's not too expensive. That way you can feel free to go just for it,
without having too much to lose.
4. Lots of people have trouble sewing in a straight line when they first begin. To help
with this, stick a strip of masking tape on your sewing machine, next to the presser
foot, so that you can line the edge of your fabric up with it as you sew. It helps!
5. Have fun! It's just sewing. If you mess up, tear out your seam and start again, or
cut a whole new piece of fabric. Don't stress!

JBW- What projects are you currently working on or what is next for you in the crafting world?

BB- What am I not working on?! I'm still trying to finish decorating my apartment, and I'm working on some designs that are going into some upcoming books, as well as my regular sewing column on Design Sponge. And I've got a lot of big projects in the "hopeful" file that will hopefully become a reality in the near future! :)

Now for the sewing fun! To make your one hour skirt, check out these super fun resources that Brett has kindly provided us with:

Here is Brett's video on how to sew the One-Hour Skirt:

Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara – How to Sew a Skirt in One Hour from Rarebit Productions on Vimeo.

You can also read her post about visiting the Martha Stewart Show to make these skirts on her blog. Also, check out the Martha Stewart Website for the full written directions and materials as well as another video. I recommend watching both videos and reading the written instructions as well.

Now, for the winners of the yarn and fabric giveaway! First off, the following two winners each win three skeins of Cascade Venezia Sport in a color of their choice:

Commenter #24- Jeanie, who said:  "I joined the Kal and am using Madelinetosh pashmina in Victorian Gothic- can't wait to get started! Thanks for this fun knit along! Jeanie"


Lucky #13- Forensicgrl, who said: "I'm in! I hope to cast on tonight. I'm making my Goodale in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Thundercloud."

And lastly, the winner of two yards of fabric of your choice from Jimmy Beans Wool's fabric selection is:

Commenter #28- Mary, who said: "I'm in with Madelinetosh Sport in Silver Fox for my Goodale. I'm excited! "
Winners- Please e-mail me with your color/fabric choices and mailing addresses at: to claim your prizes!

Thank you so much to Brett for participating in our SAL and providing us with all of this valuable information and tips! Good luck to everyone doing the SAL with starting your skirts! Of course please let me know if you have any questions or get stuck. Feel free to e-mail me directly at the address above or comment on the Ravelry Thread for the KAL. Also, please post finished skirt and sweater photos on Ravelry if you can or e-mail them to me if you'd like them to be featured on the blog in the final post!

Happy knitting and sewing!

PS. If you read this entire monster post- whew! Nice work! I'm giving you a virtual pat on the back! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Monday and Applied I-Cords...

Hi everyone!

Happy Monday to you all! I recently went looking around on the inter-web for a video on how to do an Applied I-Cord for my Goodale Cardigan for the Spring KAL and didn't even realize that this video was right under my nose the whole time. Our amazing Jeanne made this video last year and I had completely forgotten about it. In any case, I hope you all enjoy it and find it as helpful as I did!

Lastly, I wanted to announce the winner of the Vogue Knitting Crochet giveaway!  Thanks to, the winner is commenter #7- msamethyst1 who said: " I love crochet as it makes me feel connected to my Mom. She died 2 years ago and she was the person who taught me how to love crochet."

Thanks everyone who left comments on Dora's post and congrats to the winner! Msamethyst1- if you would please e-mail me your full name and mailing address at:, I'll be sure to get your copy of the magazine to you asap!

Hope you all have a great week and happy knitting and crocheting!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Crochet Corner with Dora Ohrenstein- Vogue Knitting Crochet!

Designer: Vicki Hollingsworth
The crochet community is all abuzz!  What's all the excitement about?  The absolutely gorgeous 2012 Special Collector's Issue of Vogue Knitting Crochet!! OMG, the designs are so stunning.  Many favorite designers are represented, including Kathy Merrick (whose shawl graces the cover) Nicki Epstein, Mari Lynn Patrick, Robyn Chachula, Japanese designer Yoko Hatta, Lisa Daehlin, Cristina Mershon, Mary Beth Temple, Kristin Omdahl, Candi Jensen, and Shiri Mor.  I'm pleased as could be that my design is in there too, plus an article I wrote titled "Fine Finishing for Crocheted Sweaters."  Vogue styled and photographed the designs so beautifully, each one really shines. 
Designer: Nicky Epstein

I took this opportunity to ask Editoral Director Trisha Malcom about this issue and here's what she said:

DORA:  What made Vogue Knitting decide to do a crochet issue at this time?

Designer: Lisa
TRISHA: We've been wanting to do another crochet issue for several years. Our original crochet special issue, from 1994, is highly collectible and people still tell us all the time how much they love it. As crochet is really having a moment right now, in the fashion world as well as in the world of craft, we thought it was a great time to highlight it.

Designer: Kathy Merrick
DORA: What kind of crochet ideas/styles were you interested in presenting?  What kinds of proposals leaped out at you?

TRISHA: We wanted to showcase the many ways crochet can work. We wanted to show how crocheted fabric can drape and move, and how the stitches can be incorporated in a striking variety of ways. The proposals we loved were fresh and interesting, and gave us new ways to think about crocheted garments.

DORA: Do you think the perception of crochet is changing among yarn crafters?

Designer: Kristin
TRISHA: Absolutely. It's another skill set to have, an exciting new thing to try, and for many of us, something we know how to do but might want to explore in a more advanced way.

Designer: Robyn Chachula
DORA: Who do you think will be the audience for this issue -- dedicated crocheters, knitters curious about crochet?

TRISHA: We hope it will be all of the above! We hope to entice new crocheters, as well as challenge and inspire the experienced hookers.

DORA: Was your selection of yarns different than it is when you do a knitting publication?

Designer: Dora Ohrenstein
TRISHA: It was largely the same. We looked at how the yarns would work up into the proposed fabric and shape, and made what we thought were good matches between the material and the idea.

DORA: Do you think you'll do another crochet issue next year?  Or sooner?

Desginer: Shiri Mor
TRISHA: We'd love to. Stay tuned! 

Isn't that last bit great news?  To celebrate this "crochet moment" Trisha mentions, we are going to give away one issue of the magazine.  If you'd like to win, please post here and tell us why you love crochet. The deadline to enter is Sunday, May 13th at 11pm (PST). Jimmy Beans Wool will choose the winner randomly and we'll get your copy sent out right away! Check back on Monday, May 14th to see who won!

For those of you who missed it, the winner was announced in the Monday, May 14th Post.  

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great weekend!


PS. All photos are courtesy of Vogue Knitting.The Nicky Epstein photos were taken by Paul Amato for and the rest were taken by Rose Callahan.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Week 4 KAL check-in and First FO's!

Hi everyone!

I am sorry this is a bit late but this week I've been struggling to find fodder for this KAL post! Jeanne is finished and her Goodale is gorgeous, but I haven't been able to track her down to get a photo of her wearing her sweater! Terry had to rip hers back because she wasn't happy with her increases but is getting back on track, and I just haven't had time to knit on it due to some other exciting work-related knitting I've had to finish. Luckily, that is done for a bit, and I can re-focus this next week and get caught up! In the meantime, I've gotten permission from some of the gals over on the Ravelry thread to share their FO' pics with you all! We've had three KAL participants finish in the last week which is amazingly fast! Nice work!

First we have Sara who is forensicgrl on Ravelry. She is also one of our local Reno customers and used to work for us here at JBW when she was finishing up school a few years ago! Sara knit her Goodale in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a lovely shade of charcoal called Thundercloud. I had the pleasure of seeing the almost-finished version at our Cascade Yarn Tasting last week.. Sara decided she wanted a little bit more coverage to make this more of a multi-season sweater so she added 3/4 length sleeves. I just love how she did the pocket and will probably do the same on mine! It seems to make so much sense. Feel free to check out her project page for more info.

Next we have Ellen who is known as SadieVae on Ravelry. Being one of the fastest KAL participants, she has been providing all kinds of helpful tips over on the Ravelry Thread for all of the knitters. I love the color of Tosh Pashmina that Ellen chose, it's called Grasshopper and it's a bright leafy green. She also provided lots of project notes on her Ravelry project page, so feel free to check there for some helpful hints! Thanks Ellen for all of your help! It's been awesome having you in the KAL as well!

Lastly, I've got one of our international participants, Sarah from the UK who is also known as aspellofwinter on Ravelry! Sarah knit her beautiful variegated Goodale in Manos del Uruguay's Silk Blends yarn. The color is simply stunning and will go with just about everything I expect! She also provides all kinds of helpful info on her project page. Thanks so much Sarah for participating in the KAL!

Thanks so much to all three of our first finishers for allowing us to use your photos as well as for participating. It's been a lot of fun having you in the KAL! As for the rest of us still knitting, there is plenty of time left. I'll look forward to seeing more FO's in the coming weeks! Also, it's not to late to join. You still have until next Tuesday to chime in on the roll call to be entered to win some of our fun prizes! I'll announce the winners in next week's blog post when I introduce the sewing portion of this KAL/SAL!

See you all next week and happy knitting!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Guest Post with Lindsey Jacobellis for Stitch Mountain!

Recently, Jimmy Beans Wool became a proud sponsor of U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. Snowboarding! As part of that sponsorship, we were also given the opportunity to sponsor an individual athlete! We would love to introduce you to Lindsey Jacobellis! Lindsey is a professional snowboarder and is considered one of the most predominant athletes in her sport. She is a seven-time X Games Champion and Olympic silver medalist. We are so excited to share with you her story behind our partnership! Here is what Lindsey had to say:

Lindsey Jacobellis
"A little something that many of you may not know about me is that I love to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to do both. She still sometimes wears the first scarf I ever made. I love knitting because it helps me to relax, especially on long plane rides. My passion for knitting led me to work with Jimmy Beans Wool, a leading yarn and fabric retailer, and Red Heart® yarns, one of the most prominent brands in North America. They are my latest sponsors, and I look forward to working with them! Jimmy Beans Wool, with the help of Red Heart® yarns, is also the first-ever official yarn, knitting and crochet supplier to U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing!

Both companies are helping me expand the presence of my Hats 4 Hounds charity by working with me to design a new hat pattern each year for the next four years with a Red Heart yarn. The pattern will be sold exclusively at Jimmy Beans Wool and part of the proceeds will go to the ASPCA.  I’ve been working with the ASPCA for several years now, and I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to support animals that are in need of homes.

Jimmy Beans Wool and Red Heart® yarns also created Stitch Mountain, a marketing and promotional campaign that encourages people to be creative on and off the slopes. Stitch Mountain will be a great place for people to learn more about knitting and all the cool products one can make. Check out some of the fun and cool Stitch Mountain patterns here. Everyone at Red Heart did an awesome job putting this together.

Knitting is great therapy!
I’m looking forward to putting some great things together with Jimmy Beans Wool, and will be talking to you soon!"

We'd like to thank Lindsey for all of her hard work and welcome her to the Jimmy Beans Wool family! 

Thanks so much for reading everyone and I hope you all have a great week!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Quilting Fever Hits JBW!

A couple of months ago, Jeanne posted about the quilting lessons that she and Sandy have been giving the staff here at Jimmy Beans. When we started carrying fabric last fall, many of the beans were anxious to learn how to sew. Some had never sewn before and others had learned at a young age and not kept up with it. In any case, it was a great opportunity to learn something new!

Jeanne and Sandy patiently led their students through the process of learning to choose the right fabric, matching prints and colors, washing and cutting, following instructions, how to works the machine, sew a straight line, and all of the other steps associated with quilting. The finished quilt tops are just beautiful so I wanted to share a few of them here. I’ve got pictures from Laura, Erika, Sharon, Lianna, and Sandy. Each quilt, although they all used the same pattern out of Joel Dewberry’s “Sewn Spaces” book, is beautiful and unique in its own way.

First is Laura’s stunning yellow and grey quilt. She used a mix of Joel Dewberry prints from the Aviary 2 and Heirloom Collections with some Mark Cesarik Calypso and Amy Butler Midwest Modern thrown in for good measure. In regards to her fabric choices she told us, “I chose these fabrics because I liked the way the yellows and grays worked together. The combo was relatively modern, but not too wacky!” Choosing fabrics that she liked was key for Laura in order to motivate her to learn to sew in the first place. She recommends picking colors and a project that you love and then you’ll be inspired to finish it.

Next we have Lianna’s gorgeous quilt! She used a wide selection of prints ranging from Joel Dewberry Heirloom and Modern Meadow to Valori Wells Wrenly, Amy Butler Lotus, Heather Bailey Freshcut and more! Basically little bit of everything. This was her first sewing project and she made this quilt as a gift for her cousin's wedding. Her fabric choices we selected based on the colors in her cousin’s wedding registry, that way it could be used in any area of the home. Such a neat idea! Lianna said that she had a lot of help from her mom on this project since she has been sewing for many years. Her mom ended up loving the pattern so much that she is now making two more quilts. Thanks Lianna for sharing your lovely project with us!

Erika took a slightly different approach to the making of her quilt. She absolutely fell in love with the Gold Rose Bouquet Print from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom collection and based the rest of her quilt around that. She tried to choose prints that would compliment it but still allow that print to stand out among the rest. This was also Erika's first sewing project and she was the speediest sewer in the group finishing her entire quilt before anyone else. We think it turned out so pretty and we love how prominent her favorite print is!

Sandy, our most experienced quilter, used several of Kaffe Fassett's gorgeous prints as her inspiration. She settled on a mix of pinks and cranberries with touches of turquoise and blues. She hadn't quilted in a while, since knitting is her favorite sport, but she was really excited to dust off the old sewing machine and stretch her legs a bit. She loved how simple this quilt pattern was. The perfect small quilt to get back in the game with! Since this project, she's been planning all kinds of other sewing projects to keep her busy through the summer! Don't you just love these colors?

Lastly, we have Sharon's bright and wild quilt! As vibrant as her bubbly personality, this quilt is a mixture of prints and colors. Even though each of these prints are so different, they do work together really well. Basically, Sharon just picked every bright print that she liked and found a way to make it work in the design. We would expect nothing less out of our ever-exuberant Customer Service Lead. After she finished this quilt, she was so pumped that she grabbed a Jelly Roll of the Berenstain Bears prints and started on a cute log cabin kids quilt. We'll share pictures of that one soon too, promise!

We hope you've enjoyed seeing these photos of our most recent new hobby! We've been so excited to share them with you and hope that you will join us in this new journey into the land of fabric. And if fabric isn't your thing, never fear, we still have many, many fun knitting and crocheting projects to share with you in the coming weeks as well!

We hope you all have a great weekend and happy making!

-Kristen and the JBW Team

PS. Did you know that Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women in America? Find out more about how you can help us and the Heart Truth create more awareness at

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring KAL Week 3- Interview with Cecily Glowik MacDonald!

Welcome everyone to week three of our Spring KAL! I hope everyone's projects are going well! It seems like everyone is making good progress on the Ravelry Thread and I've been seeing some lovely pictures posted over there as well! All of us beans are knitting right along and I will be posting some new updates on those next week. As promised, I have an interview to share with you today with Cecily Glowik MacDonald, the amazing designer behind the Goodale Cardigan that we are all knitting! Here is what she had to say about Goodale, inspiration, designing, and upcoming projects!

The first published design
JBW: How did you get into knitwear design and what was your first published design?

CGM: As soon as I learned how to knit I began designing my own very simple things and taking parts of sweaters that were of the same gauge and melding them together. Some worked, some did not, but I loved experimenting. The first design that I ever had accepted is called the “Buckle Bag” and is in the Vogue on the Go series in the book named Bags Two. Here is the Ravelry link:

JBW: It seems like most independent designers find themselves on this career path quite by accident. Did this happen for you as well, or did you always know you wanted to work in the fiber arts industry?

Idlewood, one of
Cecily's most popular
designs to date.
CGM: I went to college as a Fine Arts Major with a concentration in painting and had no idea where I would go from there! I ended up moving to Brooklyn, NY after graduation and found that the tiny poorly ventilated apartments were not conducive to working with oil paint. A non-knitter friend gave me a copy of Stitch and Bitch for Christmas of 2003 and the next month I got started knitting and absolutely fell in love.

JBW: Your designs are very much your own unique style. How did this style evolve into what it is now?

CGM: I have now realized that the designs that do best for me are the ones that I want to knit and to wear. I love knitting stockinette stitch pieces with simple details and those are the pieces that I put on most often. I feel that for a while I was over thinking designing and that it works best to just design what makes me happy.

JBW: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

CGM: Most of my design ideas come from simple swatching. Even if I am just knitting a  stockinette stitch swatch to begin with, the drape and texture and way the stitches look seem to always inspire an idea for a new piece. I also love window shopping in real life and on line, so I am sure that the things that I see also influence what I decide to make.

JBW: Of all of your designs, do you have a favorite? One that you return to time and time again or wear often?

CGM: My favorites tend to change from week to week and depending upon the time of year. At the moment Current and Kara are my go to sweaters.

JBW: What does a typical day look like for you? 

CGM: I get up and get some coffee and do a bit of knitting to wake up. Then I begin to tackle emails and my to do list. My to do list usually includes things like sizing and writing patterns, packaging and filling wholesale orders, getting swatches and sketches ready for either myself or companies I am working with, reminding myself that I need to get a new blog post ready soon, finishing and blocking pieces, getting styling ready and figuring out photo shoot times, plus a million other random things! After I have completed as much of my to do list as I can, I get to knit some more.

JBW: What was the last non work-related crafty project (knitting or other) you did?

CGM: I have been trying to learn to sew and made my wonderful friend and co-author Melissa LaBarre a little crooked baby quilt for her new little girl.

Goodale, of course. :)
JBW: The Goodale Cardigan is one of your most popular designs on Ravelry, what inspired this design and what do you think makes it so popular?

CGM: Goodale was a project that I cast on for and then it sort of morphed into what it is. And I love pockets and Stockinette Stitch! I think that the popularity of it was due to the kind comments and support that I received about it from wonderful designer friends after I wore it to one of the TNNA trade shows. (Thank you all!)

JBW: Do you have any tips or advice for those of us participating in the KAL?

Goodale pocket close-up.
CGM: This was the question that I receive most when Goodale was released: If alternating skeins of a hand dyed yarn, where do you twist? I did some swatching and found that if you twist at the end of the WS rows right before you work the end I-cord trim, it works well. Another suggestion is to twist the 2 skeins at the underarm when you get to the body.

Goodale, sleeve and
increase close-up.
JBW: We heard that you are working on a book and just loved the skirts you sewed for that photo shoot! What can you tell us about the book and what inspired you to sew all of those skirts?

CGM: I am very excited about the self published book that I am working on, it has nine new sweater designs from me and 3 accessories from designer friends. I had a great team of people working on it and will publish it at the end of the summer/ beginning of Fall. I was so thrilled when I found Brett’s book and made the first skirt and realized that I could actually do it! Finding a consistent and inexpensive way to style a collection can be tough and being able to make skirts with fabrics that I chose was amazing.

"Starling" one of Cecily's
most recent designs, available
on Ravelry.

JBW: What is next for you in the design world?  Any exciting projects on the horizon?

CGM: Right now I am in the midst of finishing up my book and because I like to get ahead of myself, starting to plan a second in hopes that this one does well and I get to do another! 

Thanks again so much to Cecily for being a part of this KAL and for designing such a beautiful sweater that we are all so anxious to finish and wear! If you haven't yet signed in on our "Roll Call", please remember to do so soon. Next week is the last week to check in as I'll be announcing the yarn and fabric winners in the week five blog post! In the meantime, remember you can e-mail me any questions about the project or check in on the Ravelry Thread for help. There are tons of friendly voices there who have all been super supportive so far! See you all back here next week and of course, happy knitting!