Monday, December 31, 2012

Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-A-Long-- Here we go!

Happy almost New Year everyone!

Wow, first, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who joined this Knit-A-Long (KAL for short). December was an especially exciting month this year because of this KAL. Back in early November, my co-worker Rachel and I were thinking about the December Lorna's Limited Edition color and what on earth we were going to do with it. We had this gorgeous color picked out but it needed a name. And soon. We had to send all of the info off to Lorna's to be dyed and it had to have a name. I kept looking at this gorgeous color with it's muted holiday hues and seeing Downton Abbey and late Edwardian fashion. I just couldn't get it out of my head. I mentioned it to Rachel and she agreed it was the perfect color for Downton. So, in that moment, "Christmas at Downton" was born.

Shortly after we ordered the yarn, I got to thinking about how fun it would be to design something with the yarn and do a KAL with it to coincide with the show. I mean, how much fun is that, right? I figured if I would participate in something like that, I could get 100 or so people on board, right? Rachel excitedly agreed and I started planning this KAL. Little did I know that not only would 100 people want to participate, but the KAL would shoot to #1 on Ravelry and over 1,700 people would "favorite" it! There are currently 780 confirmed projects on Ravelry for this KAL but over 4,000 people have visited the Jimmy Beans Ravelry Group Thread and we pre-sold over 3,000 skeins of the Sportmate yarn in "Christmas at Downton" color. Simply AMAZING, and we couldn't have done it without all of you fellow Downton fans out there!

**Note** We had do a final cut off on this color and it is no longer available. Please feel free to choose another color of the gorgeous Sportmate yarn instead if you are just now joining us.

In fact, we've sold more of this color than any other yarn in any other color in our 10 year existence. EVER. We actually had to call in a special favor with Lorna's Laces, who along with us, did not expect this to be so popular. We have never done a Mystery KAL like this before, so we truly didn't expect that many people to want to participate, let alone want to use the exact yarn we did. It's been wonderfully overwhelming and exciting. Lorna's Laces has been dyeing the skeins for us as fast as their little hands will allow. (Did you know that they only have 2 full time dyers and they hand-dye each and every skein?! I didn't until recently, and now I know exactly why their colors are so awesome and worth the extra wait time for.) We kept over-estimating how many more we would need, ordering it, and then selling out of it before we could blink, and then ordering more. Seriously, if you've never worked in the knitting industry, this is absolute crazy-sauce! This kind of thing definitely doesn't happen everyday!

Luckily, most people should be getting their yarn in time for the KAL to start on Sunday, the 6th. Even if you didn't order early, it will get there in time for Week 2 and you should have plenty of time to be all caught up by Week 3. This is so very exciting and I can't stress enough how amazing and supportive you all have been this month! Your energy has been so amazing and I am thrilled to be leading you all into the great unknown... (commence eye twinkling and mischievous smile)

So this brings us to the start of the KAL. Today I intend to cover some of the FAQ's I've been getting and give you the important info you've all been waiting for: Gauge! Has anyone ever been more excited to gauge swatch in their life? I know I was super excited to cast on with this scrumptious yarn so I imagine many of you are too! But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. We should start with the basics:

How do I sign up?

First, there is no sign up for this KAL. What? No sign up? Yep, that's right. We are super informal here at JBW (for example, every Wednesday is pajama day) and we like to keep things casual and comfortable like you would be with a group of your closest friends or family. In an effort to bring that same feel to our KAL, we like to keep an open forum going and be available for questions at all times. I encourage you all to read through the group threads on Ravelry and all of the comments on the KAL. If you have a question, chances are it's been answered on there already, and if not, you are more than welcome to message us directly on Ravelry and we are happy to get back to you. Our casualness doesn't mean that we don't take our responsibility to you very seriously. I check that inbox every day except Sunday, and always respond to all questions or concerns. I don't like to leave anyone hanging. :)

The same goes for customer service too so please don't hesitate to call our toll free #: (877) 529-5648 if you have questions about your order. I know that many of you are new customers to Jimmy Beans and we always want to make sure that things are right with your orders as well! :)

If there is no sign up, how can I participate?

Join in the conversation on the Raverly Group! We've had tons of fun conversations happening over there and it's like being part of a very large knitting circle-- chaotic, enthusiastic, and fun. Even if you've never joined Ravelry before and you only do so to participate in the KAL, it's worth your time to head over there and join the conversation. That is the most community oriented part of the whole KAL and is a great way to meet knitter's all over the world who share your interest in both knitting and Downton Abbey!

You'll notice that there are many thread topics in the Jimmy Beans Group. If you click on any that have Downton Abbey Mystery KAL in the title, you are on the right track! If you want to start a project and link it to the group, you must first join the group (by clicking the join button when you look at the group page). Then, start your project adding in the appropriate tags for the Downton Abbey Mystery KAL and searching for and selecting the KAL as the "pattern" you are using when creating the project. You can also right click on the image from the KAL to save it to your desktop then upload it as the profile picture for your project until you have an actual project photo to include. Finally, you can "share" this project with the Jimmy Beans Wool group by selecting the group in the drop down bar in the "Share with Group" section. Ravelry's system for uploading projects is done step by step and should be pretty easy to figure out even if you've never done it before but feel free to send questions my way if you get stuck. They (Ravelry) also have an awesome online help-chat you can go to anytime. :)

There are also some other fun ways you can participate. If you happen to be lucky enough to have some knitting buddies in your area, why not get them involved too? You could do weekly knitting groups while you watch Downton and knit this project together. What fun! Several of the gals at the shop have been talking about knitting this together as well, and we've heard many folks say that their entire knitting circle is getting on board. The great thing about online KAL's is that they can really be open for all kinds of community interaction.

What are we going to be knitting?

Mystery KAL's are really fun in that, you don't always know what you are going to knit before hand. Sometimes, depending on the designer you'll at least know that you are knitting a shawl or socks or something like that. I left this open to guessing as I figure that would be more fun. I have given a few clues as to what we are knitting here. Here they are so far:

1) It is not a hat or socks.
2) It is knit in the round.
3) It is an accessory.
4) It is inspired by a garment that my favorite character on the show wears frequently.
5) This character has quite a feisty and opinionated personality. :)

For those concerned about whether or not to participate because you aren't sure if you'll like the design--please, still participate! If you don't want to use your Downton yarn on something you are unsure of then try using something else. In the end, if you aren't in love with the project, you could always give it as a gift or rip it out. The best part of the KAL is the experience. I'm sure you won't regret participating either way, and maybe you'll learn something new in the process! :)

Also, it sounds like there are a lot of first-time KAL participants here! Bravo and thank you for choosing us to be your first! It will be a lot of fun, and we don't bite. Promise! The biggest tip for enjoying your first KAL is to participate actively. Even if you are shy don't want to comment, at least read the threads and comments. It will help you feel like you are part of the action!

How do I get the pattern?

Each Sunday morning starting on the 6th, I will release a little bit of the pattern on this blog for you to knit while you watch that evening. (For those who don't know, the 3rd season of Downton Abbey begins in the US on Jan 6th, on PBS. Check your local listings for exact time.) You will have enough pattern for at least a couple of hours worth of knitting, plenty to get you through until the next clue. Many people will want to have other project going as well as I expect most people will not need more than a few hours to complete each section. However, everyone works at their own pace, and if you don't work at the same speed as someone else, please don't get discouraged. It's not a race and we are all here to help support you if you get stuck! :)

On that first week, I will provide some video resources with the first clue blog for learning to do the cast-on and would encourage all of you who haven't done this type of cast-on before to practice a bit before hand or cast on before the show so you are ready to knit while the show is airing. Allowing yourself plenty of time for this will ensure you have an easy start.

How will I know if I can manage this pattern's difficulty level?

I would consider this pattern to be an advanced beginner level pattern. The skills you will need to be able to successfully knit this pattern are:

-increases such as: yo and k1f&b
-decreases such as: ssk, k2tog, and k3tog
-other stitches such as: sl st and psso
-Knitting in the round
-Crochet provisional cast-on (a couple of different methods are out there and if you want to get a jump start, you can do a google search to find some tutorials)

Most of these are part of the lace panel. The lace panel is quite simple and is considered advanced beginner or intermediate lace work. You can simplify the pattern entirely by omitting this lace section if you'd like. I will release the entire lace instructions at once so that you can knit it and try it before committing to it as well.

I am confident that any knitter who has done the above skills at least once prior to the KAL start, should be able to read and understand the pattern and complete their project. If you are unsure of what any of the above terms mean is a great resource and so is Google as well. :)

What supplies do we need to participate?

-200-270 yards of a sportweight yarn
-US size 3 needles for knitting in the round (I am using DPNs but you are welcome to do the magic loop or two-circular method)
-A crochet hook and waste yarn for your provisional cast on. (Gauge isn't super important for this part but I find using a slightly larger gauge of yarn than what I am using for the project works best for me. I used a US size H hook and a worsted weight yarn.)
-Other handy tools: A darning needle for finishing, scissors, a ruler or something to check gauge, a row counter, pencil and paper.

I'm ready to swatch! What is the gauge?

Ok knitters, here is the moment you've been waiting for! The gauge for this project is: 26 sts and 36 rows to 4" in stockinette stitch. I knit my gauge swatch flat so this gauge will be accurate if you also knit yours flat. Gauge will change slightly when knit in the round, and the pattern accounts for this. Swatch away my friends, and prepare for the fun to begin on Sunday!!!

Once again, thank you all so much for participating in what is sure to be a super fun KAL. I am so excited to take this journey with you! If I didn't answer all of your questions above, and you have remaining questions for me (that don't include asking me to reveal what we are knitting) then please feel free to send me a direct message on Ravelry via "Jimmy Beans Wool" or on my personal profile "Marinade". (Feel free to friend me, or "favorite" the KAL while you are at it, or any of my other designs too. Shameless plug, I know.)  If you don't use Ravelry, you can e-mail me directly at: kristen(at)jimmybeanswool(dot)com. I am here for you and more than happy to help!

Happy knitting everyone!

PS. Some of the folks on the Ravelry thread have been taking this fun quiz: What Downton Abbey Character are you? I thought I would provide the link here in case you wanted to take it as well:

PPS. And for those who want to know, I am Anna Smith. ;)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Decisions, decisions!!! Projects for the New Year!

Thank you to everyone who responded to my last blog questions! It seems that Knit/Crochet/other A-longs are a popular choice so we will begin planning more throughout the coming year. As we move forward into 2013 I will also be writing more instructional blogs and filming videos to go along with them.

So now that we've finished (or nearly finished in my case) our holiday gifts it's time for some selfish knitting/crocheting/sewing!  Do you have some things planned?

I'm still working on one Christmas gift, a couple of gifts for up coming birthdays, my Knit Red - A-line Hoodie and a very overdue pair of fingerless gloves for my younger son. Then I'll be all set to do my selfish knitting! (IF I don't get too side tracked with some sewing projects I'm working on and a couple of new ideas I have.) I'm wanting to knit more shawls/shawlettes for myself, I've been saying for the past year and a half that I need a blue shawl and a blue sweater, now I have both planned and the yarns purchased.

 For my blue shawl I've picked out these yarns for a single strand Truckee Shawlette.
Malabrigo Lace Superwash in Volcan and Tosh Prairie Short skein in Worn Denim
 I decided on these two different yarns because the colors work well together for me and the colors I wear.

 I've also purchased more Tosh for Romi Hill's Carson Shawl and I've started a Wingspan in Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball that would be nice to finish. (I see now that there is a Lace Wingspan!  I may have to start over and do that one instead.) I also have several sweaters and Litchfield hat & mitts planned. Not to mention the Downton Abby KAL... Oh dear! There I go again getting way ahead of myself. I should never have written down what I want to start, I feel behind already! LOL!

How about a felted project? Who doesn't need another bag? There are some wonderful Bag and Tote patterns to choose from too. Ok, I need to STOP now before I plan myself too big of a hole to knit my way out of this year! How to decide what to do first? The yarns I've purchased are so pretty and I know the Downton Abby KAL won't take much time each week, so perhaps one of the shawls would be a good choice...

Then there are all thing things I want to learn this year, I haven't even really started that list yet!

Don't you just wish you could knit everything at once? How do you decide which project to make next?  Tell us about the projects you're planning! I've set up a Ravelry thread to plan and discuss your 2013 projects.

I'm looking forward to hearing about all of your upcoming projects!

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Learning new things...

I hope that you have had some great family time in the last week, as I certainly have!! I ended up with 4 days in a row off and with the last months craziness around here it was GREAT!! I slept in everyday and had a hard time getting up this morning. I guess I was getting used to it...ahhh sleep, glorious sleep!

Well now it's time to get back in the swing of things around here and boy am I ready to move forward!! There is so much I want learn this coming year, but I really want to concentrate on my sewing/quilting.

I am having a hard time focusing on one project at a time and have discovered that unlike knitting, sewing requires a bit more focus and a neat sewing area.

I am really happy with this fins and my hand sewing

I knit Huck the Dead Fish Hat by Thelma Egberts for his gift. I used fabric for the tail and fins and learned so much doing it! I want to be able to ultimately combine my 2 skills into one finished garment, but still have some learning to get there. I look at every project as a chance to learn and grow and while the hat isn't perfect, I made it filled with love and that's what counts right?

I am happy overall and would love to make this again!

I would make a bigger dorsal fin if I did this again, but am really happy with the movement that the fabric lends to the tail! It really swishes along...even though it's a dead fish :D ha ha!!

I definitely need practice sewing the tail to the hat and used my machine for this one, but if I do this again I am going to hand sew it, as I wasn't thrilled with the outcome.

I did consider making some sort of binding to cover the sewing, but decided that it is better as is for this project.

If you are curious as the colors and yarn I used it was Lorna's Laces Greenline Worsted (discontinued) in Tahoe and Zombie BBQ, although you could easily use Lorna's Shepherd Worsted in the same colors now which I've linked to for you above. I carried the yarns up the inside of the hat, as I am not big on weaving in the ends and will always take the easy way out. I just changed colors in a random fashion and loved the pattern, as it was super well written and easy to follow.

For now that's it, as I am off to cut some fabric orders for all of you!!

As always happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

What would you like to see?

As I sit here today trying decide what to write that you would enjoy reading, it occurred to me to ask you!  After all this blog is for you!

By nature I tend to be an introverted, sort of esoteric, rather nerdy thinker, the type that geeks out on contemplating using double knitting technique and 2 circular needles to knit 4 socks at a time. Ok, maybe a bit of an insane thinker!!! But you get the idea. What I might find interesting may just be too crazy for most people. LOL!

In my Goodale cardigan
So, going forward into the new year I'm considering many different ideas for my turn at blogging.  Since I'm the in-house teacher for Jimmy Beans, would you like to see more instructional type blogs from me?  If so what would you love to know more about? Do you prefer to read about what's new and interesting in the retail shop?  Do you like the idea of participating in knit, crochet, felt, sew or spin a-longs?  Do you like to read about what some of us are doing in our personal lives or projects that we're working on?  All of the above?

Your participation and feedback is so important to us!  Please let me know what you would like to read about each week by leaving a comment or emailing me at

Looking forward to hearing what you want to read!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Spindles are here! Great last minute gift ideas!

I'm so excited that the drop spindles from Wool Tree Mill have finally arrived! In fact, I had to buy one first thing! These are lovely, light weight walnut spindles with hooks on both ends so you can use as either a top or bottom whorl.  I tend to like bottom whorl spindles while Alison, our yarn logistics expert, prefers top whorl spindles. They come in three sizes, small which weighs around 3/4 of an ounce, medium which weighs around 1.4 ounces and the large which weighs around 1.6 ounces.

I bought the large one and it works nicely to spin up Imperial Yarn's Bulky 2-strand pencil roving without drafting any thinner.

We also received Lucets from Wool Tree Mill.  A Lucet is a handy little tool for creating cording for your projects.  The cord created is firmer and denser than an i-cord.  The Lucet comes with a very nice card with step by step instructions with photos on how to use it.  These are also made from walnut and are very pretty to look at.  They will make a pretty and practical addition to your fiber tools!

So if you're looking for small last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers here's a list of my personal favorites to choose from:

1) Wool Tree Mill Drop Spindles (Pictured above)
2) Wool Tree Mill Lucet
3) Bar Maids products: Lo Lo Body Bars, Lo Lo to Go, Lip Balm, For Feets Sake, Lo Lo Travel Pacs, and Almost Everything bags.
4) Alsatian Soaps & Bath Products: Knitter's Hand Gift Bag, Heart Soap, Knitter's Hands, & Knit Happens Hand Therapy
5) Debra's Garden: Sheep Soap, Needle Gauge Pendent, Sock & Lace Needle Gauge Pendent, Row Counter & Yarn Cutter Pendent, & Faux Leather Tape Measures
6) Then there just so many options in Lantern Moon accessories that I'll just link to the search page.

Don't forget to check out our books and bags for larger gifts. And there are always Gift Certificates available in just about any amount.

If you need help selecting gifts please give us a call, we'll be happy to help!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning to make Sew Red Heart Pincushion(s)

We are gearing up for the release of the Sew Red book, our companion to Knit Red and another addition to our Stitch Red campaign. We are truly proud of this project and the fact that we have helped to raise awareness about the number one killer of women in the US, heart disease. The project has also raised some real $$ for the Heart Truth and will go to support awareness campaigns, as well as medical research.

Kaity looks sew happy!!

Sew (heehee pun intended), with all this gearing up we decided to give the charming 'Piece of My Heart Pincushion' a go here at the shop and boy have we been having fun! This darling design was created by Diane Lamphron and Michèle Filon and we will be offering kits once the book is released. Of course we couldn't wait to play so we had to make a few heart of our own to display around the shop!

Kaity, who is our PR gal and also heads up our Special Projects team here at JBW, just got her first (ever) sewing machine and asked me if I would help her learn how to make her very own pincushion. Of course I said, "sure thing, chicken wing!" I had so much fun making my own and it was a real joy helping Kaity get up and running with hers!

What a proud little pincushion maker
Note in the great picture of Kaity sewing up her 1st heart it's not her machine she is using, it's mine. Her new machine is still a little lonely in its box at her house. I had mine here at the shop for an apron class and we decided to have an impromptu heart class. Please let her know that it's time to take it out of box!!! Believe me she is ready!

All kidding aside, she was a great student which is all too evident in this photo of her holding up her adorable almost finished heart. I thought I had a needle and thread in my basket of tricks, but alas no, so I will teach her how to blind stitch real soon.

I made a couple of these little gems too and found that it is super easy to make them small, large, or any size in between! I will be making them for more than about door knob accents, or even make tiny ones for pins, or well (I could go on) you get the idea!! We are going crazy with the endless possibilities of it all!

For now I am off to play with more hearts and am wondering how big I could make one? Possibly a pillow size? Stay tuned...

As always happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Taking advantage of the storm...


We are so happy that the flood passed us by!  We are also very glad that we took the precaution of moving all of the yarns up above the four foot level in both the warehouse and the retail shop!  We were all thrilled to be able to come back in on Monday morning and just put everything back away! Thank you to everyone for all you good thoughts, crossed needles and best wishes!  I think it all helped to move the storm south and shift to colder temperatures sooner than had been expected!

Good things often come from adversity:

Since we had all of our retail displays pulled apart we thought it was the perfect opportunity to do a little rearranging that we've been planning to do!  If you've been in the store since we rearranged the warehouse you will have noticed that the room next to retail that used to house our shippers and customer service folks now contains all of our needles, crochet hooks and books! Customers are now welcome to browse all of our needles and books!

Moving the books and needles to the other room freed up space in the retail store so that we've been able to change the arrangement of our displays.  We hope you will like it!  We have been receiving a lot of compliments on how much more open and airy the store seems!

Of course implementing big changes, especially at this busy time of year, takes a lot of time and people power so we are still working to get things completely organized, signs & prices put up and generally tidying up so we hope you'll be patient with us. We're working as quickly as we can and as always we're happy to answer any questions you may have!  I'll post some more photos when we are done.


Thank you to all our loyal customers for your support!  We couldn't do what we do with out you!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Eucalan Wrapture and a Blocking Video!

A couple of months ago, we were asked to review a new scent from Eucalan created by Kristin Omdahl and then blog about it. Well, we love Kristin AND Eucalan so of course we said yes! It's a super scrumptious Jasmine scent and as we speak I am wearing my cowl (shown in the blocking video below) and I can still smell it's yumminess.

I created two videos here. The first is a video review of Eucalan's Wool Wash and the second is an Instructional Video called "Blocking 102" in which I use the Eucalan wash in the Wrapture Scent. This is the follow-up video the "Blocking 101" so feel free to watch that one first for the basics!

Eucalan Wrapture and Wool Wash Review:

Blocking 102:

We currently carry individual packets of Eucalan and will be receiving the Wrapture scent soon so stay tuned....

In any case, thanks so much to Eucalan for sending over the awesome samples for us to test and encouraging me to film a second blocking video! I hope you all found these videos useful!

Happy knitting and crocheting,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

JBW Creates: Handmade Decorations!

We are starting to spread our wings around here and when I ran across this fun decoration creation, so I just had to jump onto the craft wagon and see if I could recreate it with some pieces of my left over Layer Cake and I hope you will agree the results are fun! I began by choosing 2 slices of my cake and grabbed my trusty Steam A Seam 2 and went to work. The very 1st one I made is the same fabric, but in different colors and I love the way it gives flashes of each color as it spins about. The next set I did was more efficient, as I realized that I could get 4 out of an entire fused layer cake bit. I thought you might like to see how I chose to approach this project and I would love to hear your ideas for a project like this.

Step 1: Gather your supplies

-2 10X10 squares of fabric (or desired size, but must be square)
-Light or medium-weight double-sided fusible interfacing
-Quilting Ruler
-Fabric Pen (mine comes off with heat)
-Iron and ironing board
-Invisible thread and sewing needle
-Rotary cutter
-Self healing cutting mat
-Tacky glue (any really good craft clue will work)
-Embroidery scissors (mine are really sharp)

Don't worry if you don't have all of these handy dandy tools, you can still make this make this project.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: Test your fabric pen on your fabric prior to using it, as it would really be sad if you couldn't get it off. This project won't do well with washing either, so I highly recommend one that comes off easily like mine.

I have seen this done with heavy felt also and boy is it neat! Thanks to whoever thought this one up!!

Step 2: Cut your fusing to fit your layer cake square
A layer cake square is 10X10 while the fusing web is 8 1/2 X 11 inches, so I had to make some adjustments. This is a great product, as it is slightly rough on the one side without the paper, so is easy to position and then once you take the paper off that side is sticky. I learned that this process needs to be done slowly and carefully, but it is super easy to just pull away any material that may get a bit rumpled and patch it.

**NOTE my fabric is wrong side up

Patching works well

I am cutting with the paper still stuck to the fusing web and I know once you give this neat product a try you will fall in love. It is used for all sorts of sewing projects and I can't wait to use it to applique, as well as stiffening for a bag.

Here I go another crazy addiction...ha ha! I just need to learn to never sleep and put myself on a knitting, sewing and crafting schedule.

Good luck with that one right?
Step 3: Apply your fusing to your 1st piece of fabric

I was very careful at this point to peel slowly and learned that I could tear a bit of the paper and that will open up the fusing, so I can get a hold on it to begin the peeling process.

I am laying the sticky side down now to the wrong side of my 1st piece of fabric.

Once this step is done you will carefully lay the 2nd slice of cake, right side up, on top and iron them together.

Of course you will want to make sure they are as well aligned on all sides as possible.

Step 4: Measure out your 4 squares

At this point you will want to draw equal 5 inch square onto your 10X10 square and don't worry it is really hard to make them exactly 5 inches square. We will work on that one later and remember this is supposed to be fun not perfect!!

Remember to use your fabric pen ha ha!! I remove all other writing implements when I am doing this sort of thing, so that I don't make that mistake.

Now cut your squares apart.

Step 5: Cut your squares apart

Aren't they pretty all laid out here on my mat? There will be a bit of fraying, but don't worry about that you can trim that up later.

Step 6: Just a little off the side please

Because the cake pieces are pinked (a type of jagged cut that keeps fabric from fraying) you will want to give them a little trim. This changes the dimensions a bit, but don't panic if each square isn't exactly like this others I promise it's alright.

Step 7: X marks the spot

I begin with an X on my square and then add a center line, but that is because my fabric pen will iron off. If yours is more challenging then you will want to really take the time to draw very carefully.

Step 7: Lay our your cutting lines

I begin at the middle of my X and measure evenly on both sides, by lining up my quilting ruler with the center of my marks.

**NOTE: you will want to get a rough idea of the size of your square and you want 4 total squares. I am sure you could add, or subtract squares if you like's all up to you!! My outside square varies on each square, but you don't even notice, so see it's okay not to be perfect :D

I used 1/4 of an inch on each side of the X and then work my way out at 1/2 inch intervals.

Step 8: Cutting

Here's where those super sharp embroidery scissors come into play. You want to leave a bit of fabric at 2 diagonal corners as you begin to cut. I took my time and looked at each cut as I went, so that I wouldn't accidentally cut the corners that need support. I cut the entire 90 degree angle on each side and then moved onto the next square.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you have your squares cut remove any excess fabric pen according to the manufactures guide lines. I just press mine again carefully and it all goes away just like magic!

Step 9: Now we get to play with the glue

You will place a tiny bit of glue on the top of one flap and fold the opposing flap over and hold for a couple of seconds.

Now you will turn your decoration over and do the same thing on the opposite side. You alternate in this manner until all the squares are glued and happy!!

At this point I did a bit of trimming to remove any frayed bits, but honestly I didn't have to do much at all.

Step 10: Display your ornaments proudly!
Now thread your needle with your invisible thread and create a hanger for your decoration, hang and enjoy!! You could do so much with this project, add beads, tassels, hang them sideways, use them for a kids room, phew the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoy making these decorations (I hesitate to say Holiday, as with the right fabrics they can be a year round kind of thing don't you think?) as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you!!

As always, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing (oh and crafting too!) Jeanne

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

High and Dry: How JBW Survived the Flood!

Everyone pitching in!
Whew! It's been a whirlwind few days here at Jimmy Beans Wool and we have a lot to share! It all started last Friday with a little bit of rain....

We get by with a
little help from our friends!

Normally flooding isn't a common problem here in the high desert. We do have a lovely little river that runs right through town called the Truckee River. The Truckee is the only river that originates in Lake Tahoe, and it winds it's way down the mountains through Reno and then ends in Pyramid Lake. We are lucky to have such a wonderful, clean water source, and most of the time, it doesn't overflow...

On Thursday, we heard rumor of a lot more rain coming our way and the possibility of flooding. We didn't think we would be in the flood zone, but by Friday, all of that had changed. The nearby farm (across the street from us) had begun evacuating their animals and the county had declared that we were officially in a "State of Emergency"...we started getting worried.

We knew it was time to start prepping for the worst so we sent some of our staff, including Doug, outside to start filling sandbags while the rest of us rushed to get orders out the door. I should mention that on top of all of this Friday was our all-time best and biggest day ever for orders thanks to the Newsletter and Christmas at Downton! As Laura put it, it was our best and worst day ever, all rolled into one! Never a dull moment here at Jimmy Beans Wool!

Sorry, we're closed for flooding. :(
We called in for reinforcements and borrowed shovels, and warm clothing to get through the hard work outside in the pouring rain. Rachel and Bethany's hubbies as well as Sharon and Shevawn's boyfriends all came down to help. (Thanks guys! We couldn't have done it without you!) We also had a little help from Huck and his lamb "Baby"! A bunch of us stayed until midnight to ship the last of the packages. We wanted to get everything we could shipped out before the worst of the storm!

Everything up!
Finally, we had all entrances sandbagged and ready for anything. Now it was time to get the inside ready in case the water still came in. We moved every bit of yarn in the warehouse up to higher ground, four feet or higher! We weren't going to take any chances with our precious inventory! Every last bit of electronic equipment was removed from the building as well. We filled 2 SUV's and a minivan! Wowzer!

Team Meeting!
By mid-morning Saturday, we were as prepared as can be and now it was time to wait. The worst of the storm was supposed to happen around noon on Sunday. The weatherman was predicting that the snow in the mountains would turn to rain in the lower elevations causing everything to melt super fast and clog the river with too much water. Luckily, a cold front moved in instead on Sunday and this never happened! Some parts of Reno and Sparks were still affected but it never got as bad as the predictions. We were safe from flooding altogether! Hurray! Such a relief.
The shop is ready!

Even though we never experienced the flooding, we completely understand the scariness of the situation and our hearts go out to anyone who has experienced this before! Flooding is serious business!

Two thumbs up for NO flooding!
So, after a crazy few days, we are finally getting caught up here at the shop. Orders are back on track, and all of the yarn is back in its place, save for a few scared little skeins we keep finding huddled in random corners. Otherwise, all is well again here at Jimmy Beans (or as Sandy sometimes calls it just for laughs, the Palace of Fine Yarns)! Thanks so much to all of you who shared positive thoughts, kind words of encouragement, and crossed your needles for us last week! We really, truly believe it helped! :)

Happy Tuesday everyone!