Friday, August 31, 2012

End of Summer Giveaway Celebration!

Happy Labor day weekend everyone! It is my hope for all of you that you are up to some fun things this weekend. I am planning on heading out to a local farm to pick tomatoes for canning (they have them for very cheap this time of year) and participate in the local Cantaloupe festival. There are sure to be plenty of delicious varieties of melon to taste and adorable goats to pet. I'll be in heaven. And when that's done, I'll be doing plenty of knitting, of course!

In the meantime, I have a small stack of books on my desk here that I need to find good homes for. A few of these were actually unclaimed books from earlier giveaways this summer and I was unable to find out the winners real names to distribute them. Such a shame, because these books so badly want to go to a happy home! So, I am re-releasing them out into the internet wilds in hopes that this time they will land in a good place.

First up, I have Dana Willard's Fabrics A to Z. Dana is the writer and designer behind Dana Made It, one of the most fun blogs I've ever had the pleasure of reading. If you ask me, this is one of the most comprehensive fabric resource books I've ever seen! It covers just about every type of fabric imaginable and also includes awesome descriptive photos, fabric care for each one, as well as tips for working with them. Honestly, for a new and experienced sewers alike, this book is a gold mine of information!

Next we have Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits 2 and Custom Knits Accessories! Wendy is just about one of the sweetest ladies around and has such a fun fresh west-coast style to all of her designs. Plus, her blog, Knit and Tonic is fun, clever, and a joy to read! These two books are a follow up to her ever popular Custom Knits book and continues the discussion on ways to personalize your knits and tailor them to fit you. To read more about these books, be sure to go back and read the interviews I did with her earlier in the summer here and here.

My Grandmother's Knitting by Larissa Brown is truthfully one of the sweetest books I've seen in a log while. I love anything that combines history, nostalgia, and knitting and this book delivers all of those things in one little package. In this book, Larissa has gathered many top knitwear designers and asked them to design something inspired by the person who taught them to knit. How neat is that?!?! I love the stories, the designs, the whole book! Such a great little treasure to have in your collection.

Lastly, I have a recently re-released soft cover copy of Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan, who needs no formal introduction, does she? This book, which was originally published in 2006, features classic Norah Gaughan design and style that has not faded years later. This book features 39 designs from Norah with patterns for women, men, accessories for both you and the home. It's beautiful and innovative and such a classic book to have in your collection. If you've not yet knit anything by Norah, you'll absolutely have to add one to your queue...her designs are amazing!

All of these books were given to us courtesy of STC Crafts which is why we are so excited to share them with you!

In order to win one of these books, please leave me a comment, a love letter if you will, explaining which of these books you'd be delighted to win and why. Feel free to name several if you covet more than one. On Monday (Labor Day), I will select winners at random and announce them on the blog here. Be sure to check back in and see if you've won! I'd love if all of these lovely books found someone to cherish them!

With that, I bid you a happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fantabulous Ruffles Galore!

Leanne, our resident ruffle maven would appreciate that post title and I must admit I thought of her when I wrote it. You may have noticed that ruffle yarns are all the rage and don't seem to be disappearing or waning in popularity anytime soon. And why would they? Even the newest knitter can create fun and easy scarfs with these yarns and make one for everyone they know! It's the perfect gift for the knitter on a budget too.

We've had so many questions from customers about how to knit with these yarns, that we had our resident instructor Terry put together this video to help you learn to knit with these amazing ruffles. We hope you find it helpful!

We hope you enjoyed learning the mystery behind ruffles and of course if you are ever stuck on a project, you can always call the helpful gals in customer service to get you through it--ruffles or no ruffles! We are here for you. :)

Hope you all have a lovely day, and happy ruffle knitting!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Knit Red A-Line Hoodie KAL -Week 3

First off, if you are still on the fence about the KAL, it's not too late to join us!  Feel free to start anytime.

To catch up those of you who are hearing about this KAL for the first time. It started August 6th and is going officially until September 17th although I imagine people will be finishing up for a while afterwards.   We're working on The A-line Hoodie pattern by Diane Soucy and it can be found on page 22 of Knit Red by Laura Zander. The pattern calls for Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street Collection, Cashmere Fleur de Lys in color #416. But you may use any yarn you like that you can get gauge with and it doesn't have to be red!

Diane Soucy (from Knitting Pure and Simple) and I have filmed more videos for you.  We decided to redo the How to Cast On for a Top Down Sweater video to make it shorter and more concise. Feel free to check it out on our Instruction page if you are just getting ready to cast on.

This week, we created a few new videos to help you with additional steps in top-down sweater knitting. This video shows you how to create buttonholes and divide for the sleeves on a top down sweater.  As a bonus, it also shows you where to measure from to start your waist shaping.

This second video shows you how to pickup stitches for the neckband on a top down sweater.  The same technique applies for hoods as well.  We also talk about why you want to pickup around the neckline before you make your sleeves.  I loved this part because I have always wondered why Diane instructs us to always work the necks before the sleeves.  Now I know why and feel a little silly that I hadn't thought of it myself!  It makes so much sense and I'm so glad I learned it.  Watch the video to find out too!

If you wish to watch them all  please go to our instruction page.  I've been adding text to all the existing videos and we're are always adding more each month!

And finally I a couple of A-Line Hoodie progress photos to share with you all!

Tylette's A-line
Tylette totally rocked this KAL! She's already done! She knit her A-line in Plymouth Encore in color #174. I just love the gorgeous deep red color and just know she's going to get a ton of use out of this hand knit!

Sara's A-line
One of our local customers (and soon to be employee) Sara is cruising right along too! She's alternating three hanks of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in Badlands colorway and they don't quite match each other as well as she would like.  She was nearly done but didn't like the way the color was working out so... she frogged back and started again.  Here is her second try which she is much happier with. She has decided to not make it an a-line sweater and instead is decreasing for the waist, increasing again for the hips and she's putting buttons all the way down the front.

I would love to share photos of your projects.  Please feel free to email your photos to me and I'll share them here on the blog or on Facebook.

Remember, I am here to help you each step of the way. You can post your comments and questions in the ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red. or email me at askTerry (at)

Happy Knitting!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Dora's Crochet Corner- A Stitch Red Crochet Pattern and the Benefits of Flexible Tension

I'm thrilled to announce that my pattern for Little Red Fingerless Gloves is now available here at Jimmy Beans Wool.  These adorable little gloves, made with Madelinetosh's Tosh Lace, will dress up any outfit, and you might learn a thing or two while making them too!  It uses two different lace stitches, one for the cuff and another for the palm.  In order to insure an elegant fit, there is shaping for the wrist, palm and thumb.  Three buttons close the gloves on the inside of the wrist. The pattern includes stitch diagrams as well. 

What makes this even more special is that it's part of Jimmy Beans' Stitch Red campaign. That means for every sale of the pattern, a 5% of gross profits goes to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of The Heart Truth, a national campaign to raise awareness of heart disease in women.  If you'd like to buy the pattern, click here.

It so happens that this design illustrates a topic I want to discuss in today's post: flexible tension.  This week I taught in a couple of yarn shops in the Chicago area.  I noticed, when inspecting my students' stitches, that some don't realize how they can mold their stitches to best show off the stitch pattern.  The key to doing so is to have flexible tension when you work.

What does flexible tension mean?  Many people believe that tension is controlled entirely by the hook size, but on a more subtle level, a skilled crocheter can vary the tension with any hook to achieve more pleasing results. Even though we want all our stitches to be even, it doesn't mean that the amount of tension we exert as we form each stitch should be absolutely constant.  For example, the chains you make for the foundation chain should be done loosely, so that they match the stitches you will be making on subsequent rows.  If you generally find that your starting edge is shorter than the rest of the piece, practice pulling out each chain, just a hair, as you make it,  and you'll soon become much better at creating the appropriate size chains.

Another area to watch is the height of your tall stitches.  If you habitually come up short on row gauge, it's probably because you aren't pulling up the first loop of the stitch to sufficient height.  Double and treble crochets look so much better if they sit a bit taller!  The moment to pay attention is after your first yarn over, when you draw the first loop through the stitch -- that's the one that should be pulled up to about 1/2 inch, to get a proud tall stitch.  Nor should single crochet stitches be worked so tightly that they scrunch up and disappear.

I've mentioned working more loosely, but there are times when tighter work is more appropriate. I work chains more tightly when they are part of a lacy pattern, so that they are very neat and clean. 

The Little Red Fingerless Gloves are a great example of what I'm getting at:  on the cuff, the shells at the center are worked tall and loose - can you tell (we are looking at the backs of the stitches in this design)? The chain stitches on either side of them are worked more tightly, however.  This design also includes V-stiutches and on these, the double crochet stitches are not worked as loosely as they are on the shells.  All of this is something I judge by eye as I work, aiming to create the most pleasing result with whatever stitch pattern I'n working. 

Let me point out that the difference in tension is quite subtle, not radical.   It's particularly important when working more complex, lacy stitch patterns, and also with open work motifs.  This kind of crochet involves creating neat, clear lines  so that the pattern is legible to the eye.  For the work to look it's best, pay close attention when making your swatch and experiment with your tension to see what produces the best-looking result.

Of course, if you aren't relaxed when holding your yarn and hook, it may not come that easily.  Some of the  beginners I worked with in class really needed help with loosening their grip on the hook, and exerting more control of the work by using their left hand to hold the working stitch firmly. The job of the hook holding hand is to turn the hook slightly as you grab yarn overs, then swing the hook down so it's easy to pull yarn through the loop on the hook.  The other hand creates stability and control as you work, by holding the working stitch firmly in place. One student I helped with these issues went from struggling to get her hook in and out of stitches to a far smoother and more enjoyable crochet experience.  We were both so proud!

To get the hang of flexible tension, here's an exercise you can try.  Pick any hook and see if you can get 3 noticeably difference gauges with it.  Work a few rows at your normal tension, then work some rows more loosely, and then a few more working more tightly.   Don't exaggerate -- the goal is for all three to look attractive.  Of course, the fabric will change as you change tension as well.  Once you're comfortable with this, pick a lacy stitch pattern or motif, and see if your new flexible tension improves your control of individual stitches and helps you mold them to make the pattern more distinct and neat .   It's just one more way to challenge yourself to be the best crocheter possible, and derive that much more satisfaction from the craft.

I hope you like the design! Happy crocheting!

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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Knit Red A-Line Hoodie KAL- Post #2

So we're off and running on our first official Knit Red Knit-A-Long! (It's not too late to join us!)

I'll be blogging about the KAL each week right here on the JBW blog and the Stitch Red blog as well as having on-going discussions, camaraderie, and support in threads on both Ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red.

From August 6th to September 17th  we're working on The A-line Hoodie pattern by Diane Soucy and it can be found on page 22 of Knit Red by Laura Zander. The pattern calls for Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street Collection, Cashmere Fleur de Lys in color #416.  But you may use any yarn you like that you can get gauge with and it doesn't have to be red!

As I mentioned last week I'm making mine with Berroco Vintage in #5150 Berries.  I'm nearly to the end of my first hank and to the second buttonhole so far.  I've been knitting quite a bit lately with fingering weight yarn and so this project just seems to be flying along in worsted weight.

Making some progress!

And as promised, Diane Soucy and I have started filming some videos to help you make top down sweaters!  We're very excited be able to do this for you and these videos will be available to view anytime on our website, YouTube and in the future you'll also be able to link to them from Diane's website Knitting Pure and Simple.

Here are the first three with more to come in the coming weeks!

First, Diane and I show you how to How to Decide What Size Sweater to Make:

Then we talk about how important swatching and gauge is to getting the results you want. How to Measure Your Gauge Correctly:

Now that you know what size to make and have gotten gauge we show you how to cast on for a raglan top down sweater and explain what all those stitch markers are for, where they go, the parts of the sweater, increases used and finally how to cast on at the beginning and end of rows to work a seed stitch button band. How to Cast on for a Top Down Sweater:

And because this is a Knit Red KAL in support of heart health chime in with your heart healthy tips here in the comments or in our Ravelry groups.  I will be reading all of them!

So there you go!  Now you're all set to cast on!

And remember, I am here to help you each step of the way.  You can post your comments and questions in the Ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red. or email me at: askTerry (at)

Happy Knitting!


PS. Are you on Facebook? So are we! C'mon over and "Like" us to get all of the latest news!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nelkin Giveaway Winner and a new Video!

Hi everyone!

This week has been super hectic getting ready for Stitches Midwest and writing content for the next newsletter! So busy in fact that I just have time to pop in and announce the giveaway winners from last week and share one of our newest Instructional Videos with you!!

Thanks to, the winner of the Nelkin Mudra Cuff giveaway is commenter #12, Beth who said:

"I knit Laura Nelkins beaded diamond cuff bracelet, and loved it- both the process and the result!"

Congrats to Beth and thanks to everyone who read and commented on the blog last week! It was so much fun featuring Laura's beaded designs! Beth, please e-mail me directly with your shipping information at: kristen(at) to claim your prize!

I'll leave you today with a new Instructional Video that Jeanne just filmed that shows you how to adjust your needle sizes to get gauge! For all of you knitter's out there who struggle with gauge, hopefully you'll find this helpful!

Lastly, be sure to check back here on Friday as Terry officially kicks of the Knit Red KAL with a helpful video featuring her and Diane Soucy of Knitting Pure and Simple!

Hope you all are having a great week and happy knitting!

Friday, August 3, 2012

On Our Needles- Rachel's Mudra Necklace by Nelkin Designs & a Giveaway!

The Mudra Necklace kit came with
everything I needed: yarn,
beads, pendant, clasps,
and the bead threader.
About a year and a half ago I fell in love with beaded knitting. I was in the process of planning my wedding and I decided that I had to have a beaded shawl. I knit the Aeolian Shawl in a lovely ivory that matched my dress and even though I was up very late blocking it the night before my wedding I am so glad I did it! 

All of the beads, ready to go!
After that project, I was hooked! I knit a couple of other (smaller of course!) beaded shawls, and then I started looking for new ways to incorporate beads into my knitting. Naturally, Laura Nelkin's interesting and innovative designs grabbed my attention! I had never knit any jewelry before, but I was certainly interested in trying. I started with the Ribband pattern, which is a long bracelet with beads running down the center that is worn wrapped multiple times around the arm. It can also be worn as a necklace! It practically flew off my needles, and I am super happy with the finished product! I couldn't wait to knit more of her designs, which brings us to her two newest kits, the Mudra Necklace and Mudra Cuff.

These two kits are so fabulous and the finished product is a lovely piece of jewelry. I already have plans to make several as Christmas gifts! I decided to try out the Mudra Necklace first. There are five colors to choose from and I went with Olivine which is an olive green yarn with matching beads that also have shiny gold and copper undertone. This combined with the cinnamon stick pendant creates a gorgeous necklace! 

Modeling my Mudra. :)
The kit itself includes everything you need including a dental floss threader for stringing the beads (for this particular pattern placing the bead with a crochet hook won't work). The beads are strung on the yarn in a particular order, which in my opinion was the most tedious part of the process. I was completely paranoid about messing up the order because once you start knitting there is no easy way to fix it. Too avoid having to start over I counted and recounted my beads several times to make sure it was exactly right. What can I say, I'm a perfectionist! Also, the small beads are a little difficult to get on the yarn, but with a little tugging I was able to get them all in place. 

My finished Mudra Necklace.
Once that was done and I began the actual knitting, it was smooth sailing. I didn't intend to finish the entire piece in one evening, but once I started I practically flew through it! The pattern is easy to memorize since it is based around a simple I-cord, with strategically placed beads. From start to finish (including the bead stringing!) it took me about two and a half hours. Talk about a fast project! The matching cuff would probably take a bit longer due to the extra length but I am definitely considering it so I can have a matched set.

I highly recommend this kit or any of the knitted jewelry by Nelkin Designs for both beginner and seasoned knitters. If you want to give beaded knitting a try, these kits are a great place to start!

Laura Nelkin, the amazing designer (who you can read more about in this earlier post) was kind enough to give us an extra Mudra Cuff kit to share with one lucky blog reader! To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite beaded design is be it a shawl or even one of Laura's kits! We'll pick a winner at random and announce it on next Wednesday's blog post! Thanks for reading!

Happy beaded knitting!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ready, get set, GO! It's time for another Knit-A-Long!

This time it's a Knit Red KAL! We will be knitting Diane Soucy's Knitting Pure & Simple pattern from the Knit Red book, the A-Line Hoodie. We chose this pattern not only because it is one of our favorite patterns from the book (although I think they are all favorites!) it also has the highest number of favorites on Ravelry of any of the Knit Red patterns!

We’ve been receiving such positive feedback on using Diane’s pattern and are so excited that everyone loves the A-Line Hoodie as much as we do! Many of you may not know this, but Diane is one of the people who helped inspire Laura to start Jimmy Beans Wool; which, we’re sure you read about in our Hand Dyed catalog. She's actually been with us since the beginning and her Knitting Pure and Simple Patterns are always our go-to knitting patterns for simple, top down designs. It's such a natural fit for her to be included in this next KAL! 

What’s even more exciting is that Diane is going to be participating in this KAL right along with us by filming some videos with me (Terry) that will take you through the steps of how to knit a top down sweater! We'll learn things like how to decide what size to make, the importance of gauge and how to find it, how to cast on and what are all those markers for? And the big one I know you all want to know because it was a much discussed issue in our last KAL, how to pickup stitches for the underarms without holes!

The KAL will start on Monday August 6th and run for 6 weeks until Monday September 17th.

We'll be blogging each week right here on the JBW blog and the Stitch Red blog as well as having on-going discussion, camaraderie, and support in threads on both Ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red.

For our local customers, I'm willing to hold KAL Knit Nights on Tuesday evenings every other week if enough interested people respond to this blog post by Sunday August 5th .

"A-line Hoodie"
The A-line Hoodie pattern can be found on page 22 of Knit Red by Laura Zander

The Cashmere Fleur de Lys is an absolutely lovely and soft yarn and as always you are welcome to use any worsted weight yarn that you want. If you have questions on if a yarn is worsted weight check the yarn band for the suggested gauge. A suggested gauge of 18 - 20 stitches to 4” (4.5-5 stitches per inch) on a US 7-8 needle will work for this pattern.

Personally, I'm going to be sticking with the Stitch Red color theme and making my sweater out of Berroco Vintage in their Stitch Red color #5150 Berries. I'm choosing this yarn because I'm not always as gentle with my hand knits as I should be and I want this sweater to be an everyday sweater that is durable and easy to care for. In addition, I don't look my best in the blue-reds so I need to stick with orange-reds or reds with a hint of black and the Berroco Vintage fits the bill for me in every way.

I would also like to suggest a few other Stitch Red colors you can consider (if you’d like to join me in supporting Stitch Red):

My swatch! So excited to start!
I've already swatched for my sweater with the Berroco Vintage on US 8 and 9 Knitter's Pride Cubics and after washing my swatch I got gauge perfectly on US size 8.

So choose your yarn and get swatching--we hope you'll join us for what is sure to be a fun and educational KAL!

Happy knitting!

P.S. We are also planning some Heart Healthy goal-setting throughout and will be incorporating that into this KAL! We'd love for you to join us in encouraging each other to set some new goals and work towards them while we knit! Be sure to check in on the Ravelry groups for more info!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Interview with Laura Nelkin and "Knitting With Beads!"

Laura on the set at Craftsy.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Laura Nelkin about her awesome designs, knitted jewelry kits, and her recent experience filming her "Knitting With Beads" class at Craftsy. As we expected, the interview was so much fun! Laura was a joy to talk to, oh so humble, and just one of the nicest folks around! Here is what Laura had to say when we chatted over the phone (mostly in her own words as I did my best to type as fast as I could while she talked.) :)

JBW- We know that knitting with beads, beyond the Craftsy class, is kind of your specialty. What drew you in that direction as a designer, and what keeps you there?

Laura- I only learned to knit about 7 years ago. I actually studied apparel design in college at Cornell and I worked a lot with textiles: weaving, dyeing, fiber arts, but hardly any knitting. Before apparel though, I was really into bead work, more as a hobby that supported itself. I used to make beaded items and sell them to my parents friends. It was a lot of fun. After college, getting married and starting a family, I was at a play date one days and one of the moms offered to teach me how to knit, so I said yes! I fell in love with it instantly. 
Mudra Necklace Kit
Schaefer Yarn Company was nearby so I approached them to see if I could work for them. I started working there and playing around with design. Undulating Waves was the first big hit of my patterns. People really seemed to like the pattern and were drawn to the use of beads in my design work so after that I just kept doing it! It’s fun to design something that you know people want to knit! Beads are always optional of course too and most of my designs can be knit without them as well.

JBW- Where did the idea from your knitted jewelry kits come from? They seem to be such a big hit!

Laura- When I first did a knit jewelry kit, it was a knitted cuff. It was a good design but it didn't sell super well because it wasn't really set up in kit form as well as it could have been. Once I designed the Butin collar, I knew that it would make a great a great kit and so I took what I learned from trying to do the first kit and applied it when I created these new kits. They became a hit really quickly! Now I have lots of kit options to choose from. I really enjoy putting together the color combos and pairing the yarn and the beads. That’s one of the best parts of the process.

Adorn, my e-book project was inspiration for many of the kits. Adorn Anew- 2nd e-book is currently in the 3rd month, Mudra Necklace and Cuff are part of this collection. The Trio Necklace and Earrings patterns from this collection just debuted (though they probably won’t become kits.)

JBW- Do you have a personal favorite design (or designs) of yours that you can tell us about?

Trapeze teaser.
Laura- My favorite pattern is always the one that I have finished knitting but no one else has seen yet. It’s like having a little secret that no one else knows which makes it kind of exciting. This year's Mystery KAL- Trapeze is my favorite at the moment. It debuts August 17th. It's pretty modular so it's really going to surprise people in the construction. People shouldn't be afraid to do a Mystery Knit-Long. It will be very much me and written like my other designs. Plus there is that exciting factor of not quite knowing what is coming next. For those wanting to participate in this year’s Mystery KAL, I am recommending they use a fingering weight yarn with a tight multi ply such as: Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock, Tosh Sock (onesies are good too), Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock, Malabrigo Sock, or plied lace weights will work too.

JBW- As a designer and author do you have any advice for those knitters out there who are just starting to design on how to make a living doing what they love?

Laura- This is a tough question because it is so subjective and specific to the designer. I can only say what has worked for me but a lot of it has been trial and error. Make sure that anything you put out there is your best work possible, that you love it, and it is as error-free as possible. The best way to create followers is to make sure that they feel confident that what they are knitting is going to be easy to follow and read, and there are no errors. Don't be afraid to shelve projects if they aren't ready! I have a lot of designs stashed away that have never become patterns. Also, believe in yourself and don't bite off more than you can chew.
Laura on-set working on
the Accola Shawl

JBW- What was it like putting the Knitting With Beads class together for Craftsy?

Laura-  This was my second time working with Craftsy when I filmed “Knitting with Beads” They had grown A LOT which was really cool to see. Both times, the whole process from start to finish was super organized and professional. They even have a makeup person! Basically, my first whole day consisted of planning my wardrobe for each segment (which was super fun) and working out the set decorations. They really focus on making the set reflect the teacher. They also work really hard to make sure you feel comfortable on camera and on set. Jeremy, the producer, who I had worked with filming my first class was the producer again on “Knitting With Beads” which was great because we already knew how we worked together. We had a lot of fun goofing around on the set.
Close up on the Accola Shawl

On day two, we jumped right into filming the knitting part of the classes. The intro and conclusion are usually the last to film because they are truly the toughest to get just right. If I didn't like a take and knew they were not going to use it I would blow it by making a super funny face or doing something silly. The whole thing was lighthearted and fun throughout even though it was a lot of work. It took two and a half days to film the class.

JBW- What kinds of skills will students learn in your “Knitting With Beads” class?
Another gorgeous
Accola Shawl

Laura- The skills I cover in the class are: the two methods of placing your beads in your knitting- knitting with pre-strung beads & placing the bead on a stitch and also learning to incorporate those techniques into other patterns. The skills are broken down by pattern. For the Pioneer cuff, you’ll learn to place beads both with a crochet hook and pre stung beads. In the Accola Shawl you learn how to knit nupps, a lace technique, while using both beading techniques, and working double sided lace. Double sided beaded lace can be tricky to make sure the beads are in the right place, so this class addresses that. The last design, Clara’s Shawl, shows how to add beads to the edging. The class includes all three patterns in it-- two shawl patterns and the bracelet or cuff pattern.
Clara's Shawl

JBW- Some students may be afraid of e-course's because they lack that face to face in-person instruction. What kinds of things do you think will help students be successful in an e-course?

Laura- Understanding that technology is not perfect and does have certain limitations. Craftsy classes are not a replacement for individualized instruction but they do offer some unique things that you can’t get in a traditional class setting. For one, it's great that you can watch the videos over and over again and you really can go at your own pace. When I teach a one-day workshop somewhere in person, it can be tough to speed up or slow down to meet individual students needs. I have a list of what I have to cover and only 6-8 hours to do so. With Craftsy, you work through the sections as you are ready, there is no rush. You buy the class and you have access to it forever, and can come back as many times as you want. 
Close-up on Clara's Shawl

Also, the Craftsy platform is very easy to use. A lot of students take a leap and sign up in the class and often are surprised at how easy it is and much they learn. Many come back and take more classes. Also, Craftsy has it set up so that you can ask questions of the instructor if you get stuck. I get those e-mails and am usually able to reply to students pretty quickly. Also, it builds community because you can interact with other students who are taking the same class as you!

JBW- And now for the lightening round! (Here are some "fun" questions we asked Laura as well):
  • Where did you grow up? Larchmont, NY
  • What is your dream job? I think I have it!
  • A little known fact about you…I really don't like bananas.
  • Your favorite book? Mists of Avalon- by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Biggest accomplishment? My daughter.
  • Next big adventure? Iceland
Thanks so much to Laura for being such a gracious interviewee! We had so much fun getting to know her a bit better and hear all about her designing adventures. :)

Learn to Knit with Beads
A Giveaway + 25% Off!

Only for JBW Customers
(Was $39.99, Now $29.99)
Also, when we mentioned that we were big fans of Laura's designs to Craftsy, they were nice enough to extend an offer to all of our customers for 25% off when you sign up for "Knitting With Beads" between now and Saturday, August 4th! The class is normally $39.99 and with the 25% discount it would be $29.99. Also, everyone who signs up by following this link: Knitting With Beads , between now and then will be entered into a drawing to win their class for free! Actually, Craftsy will award 1 in 3 participants their classes for free! (They will notify winners via e-mail and refund their credit cards.) Pretty cool deal eh?!? I'm even going to take the course, so if you sign up too, I'll see you on there!

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you've enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the life of designer- Laura Nelkin!

Happy knitting!

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