Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stacy and Andi's Holiday Travel Traditions!

We caught up with Stacy Charles (of Tahki Stacy Charles) and asked him to tell us all about his holiday travel traditions for the collection. His contribution this year is through two collaborations one with TSCArtyarns and the other with Andi Javori of Javori designs. We can't wait to show you their contribution to the holiday collection (coming out tomorrow in a special edition of our Newsletter) but in the meantime, here are Stacy (and Andi's) holiday travel tradition stories for you to enjoy! 


I am fortunate enough to live in two places. It is not that uncommon for residents of NYC. We have a hectic-paced city life during the week - and retreat to a second home, either in the mountains upstate or on the ocean, for a weekend or holiday escape.  My weekend home is in the seaside town of East Hampton on Long Island. It is a charming town, first established by English settlers in 1648, that is at once rustic and elegant. Though packed with seasonal visitors during the summer months, it is all the more enjoyable out of season, when the slanting rays of the setting sun light the ocean on the deserted shore. 

I have spent my winter holidays at my East Hampton home for the past 30 years. I usually do my gift shopping in the less-crowded boutiques in town. One of my gift-giving indulgences is to shop at Tiffany or London Jewelers.  Shopping these stores is an amazing experience. I try to keep my gifts to $100 or less, and though challenging, I always manage to find the perfect gifts. The rest of my time is spent enjoying quality time with family, cooking and enjoying the holiday meals. The highlight of my holidays is the annual formal-dress party we throw for friends and family on New Year’s Eve. Seeing everyone in their finery is the perfect way to send off the old year and welcome the new. 

This past year saw a new version of The Great Gatsby on film. This story also takes place on Long Island, its Gold Coast, and the film’s Flapper Era fashions have re-sparked an interest in vintage jewelry. There was a fabulous 1920’s piece that caught my eye in a local shop window, so I asked a frequent collaborator of mine, the talented Long Island-based knitwear and master jewelry designer Andi Javori, to combine her talents to create a necklace and bracelet inspired by this piece. And the happy results of her creativity are these jewelry kits that we are offering to you. I can envision all the women at my New Year’s Eve party wearing either the silver or gold version Andi has created (which will make my holiday shopping much easier this year). Andi and I hope you will appreciate the beauty and elegance of these pieces to dress up your own holiday season for years to come.


In my home the holidays are all about putting everything aside, and getting together with the extended family and friends. Fortunately my husband’s and my family both live in New York, so we don’t have to travel far. I truly enjoy inviting everyone to my home, cooking a special dinner, and just enjoying everyone being together.

The holiday for us is not complete without a visit to Manhattan. My children love visiting Rockefeller Center, seeing the holiday window displays, and sampling the rich hot chocolate in Bryant Park. This has become our annual tradition. At the same time my personal self-indulgence is walking through the fashion district and looking for unique materials to knit into my designs.

When Stacy Charles contacted me to collaborate with him on a special project for the holidays, his vision for this new collection was prolific. We spoke about his find of a beautiful piece of vintage jewelry in a shop window. Inspired by the look and glamour of the Gatsby era, the Jacqueline necklaces and bracelets represent the union of Stacy’s well-known fashion sense coupled with my love of design.

What’s more, when completed, these pieces make a special gift for this holiday season. We hope you enjoy the timeless beauty of the Jacqueline knitted necklace and bracelet kits, and that they add sparkle to your holidays and to all of your joyous occasions!

Be sure to stay tuned for tomorrow when we reveal the entire 2013 Holiday Collection!!! We are SOOOOO excited!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Saremy's Holiday Non-Travel Traditions

Saremy, the owner and designer behind Chicken Boots and creator of the two largest bags (the Double Double, and a specially created for JBW slightly larger version) we are featuring in our 2013 Holiday Collection shared with us her holiday traditions story below. She and her family try not to travel during the holidays so that they can spend the day in the comfort of their home. We love her traditions, and how cute are her chickens!?!?!

"There is always something special about the time between November and January-whether you celebrate Christmas, another holiday or none. My family is quite small with only me, my husband and our daughter, Cricket, who is 11. We tend to stay at home during Christmas. Occasionally we have ventured to see our families but typically we always try and wake up at home Christmas morning. I do love lights and we usually have big paper star lanterns in all our front windows each season and a live tree in the house decorated only with homemade ornaments. The only other decorations are our stockings-my favorite part- and a gingerbread house or two. We don’t actually let our chickens eat them though!

 Our tradition is to open one gift on Christmas eve (usually nice jammies-which was instigated by mom when I was young because she always wanted us to wake up in something nice that could we could be photographed in while opening our presents). We always put out snacks for reindeer and Santa, track him on the Norad Santa tracker ( and then when we wake up Cricket is allowed to open anything that was set out in the night by Santa including our stockings. We do not actually go to extremes in gift giving and really try and only get what someone wants or has requested. But it is nice to have at least one thing you get to ‘play’ with or figure out the rest of the day. And of course I knit and drink mulled wine-but not usually at the same time.

We eat a splendid meal of local items-the past few years included chickens we raised and even a turkey once. My husband loves to cook! And I LOVE that he cooks! It’s win-win. Our daughter is vegetarian so we always have multiple entrees at each meal. Cricket is also quite passionate about helping houseless or less fortunate people and we will go to great lengths especially during this time of year to help where we can-but it’s a year-round interest for her.

I am excited this year because my parents have moved closer to us! This will be our first year in a very long time that they will be with us on Christmas day- that probably means homemade donuts! Another of my mom’s traditions! It’s a good one. Happy holidays!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Felicia's Travel Traditions

We asked Felicia Lo from Sweet Georgia yarns to share with us her travel story and the inspiration for her yarn for our 2013 Holiday Collection and here is what she had to say:  

"While Vancouver inspires my deepest devotion during the sunny and green spring and summer seasons, when November rolls around, I am desperately clamoring for some more sunshine.

Before our honeymoon two years ago, I had never actually been to Hawaii but I had always thought vacationing in Hawaii was a bit cheesy. It was probably the distorted image I got from watching too much television, but it just seemed to me to be all cliché surf themes, flowers in drinks, and of course the large print Hawaiian shirts. But our trip to the smaller, quieter island of Kaua’i was simply beautiful.

The whole island, while being overrun by wild chickens, also smells entirely like plumeria and hibiscus flowers. It’s little wonder they call it the Garden Island. Since there are regulations in place that prevent any building from being taller than a coconut tree, it feels very lightly inhabited. Everywhere you look, all you see are coconut, mango, avocado, and guava trees, mountains and water.

Hanalei, on the north shore of Kaua’i, is a peaceful little town that boasts a gorgeous white sand beach and a constellation of fresh fruit carts. This place feels meditative, restorative and magical. Sitting on the north shore and watching the sunset in Kaua’i is at once refreshing and relaxing. And if you get tuckered out by the idea of all the surfing, hiking, boating and swimming in Hanalei, there is a perfect little yarn shop in town that sells hand-dyed yarns and ukuleles! What else could you possibly need for an ideal holiday?"

These sunset photos really represent Felicia's color well. We can't wait for you to see the real thing! Check back here tomorrow for another Holiday Collection sneak peek and be sure to check in this Friday, the 22nd for the big reveal!

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jane's Travel Traditions

We spoke with Jane Saffir of Jade Sapphire yarns about her color inspiration for the 2013 Holiday Collection, and here is what she had to say:

"Truthfully, I was agonizing about it.  We already had the colorway "Rockaway Beach," the name of the beach vacation place of my childhood.  We already had "Tahitian Garden" (although I've never been to Tahiti, just fantasized about it!).  We already had "Caribbean Mist," which covers a lot of territory for fantasy vacations.  My family kept teasing me, saying that my favorite vacation destination is my own house, if I could be "allowed" to just stay home and play with all my toys (all fiber related)!

Anyway, we just got back a few days ago from a mini-vacation in Vancouver in British Columbia.  We chose it as a destination since my older daughter, husband, and I all live in New York, while my younger daughter lives in Alaska.  Vancouver was a good place to meet since we could all take just one flight.  While we were there, my older daughter (whom I had told about the Jimmy Beans color "challenge) suddenly pointed out the beautiful and unusual color palette of the Vancouver city vista...pale greens, silver (many, many glass buildings) and blue.  We had our travel vacation color!  A destination where I would spend time with my daughters is definitely a favorite!"

We hope you enjoyed reading about Jane's Travel Traditions. Stay tuned on Monday for more Travel Traditions and Holiday Collection inspiration. Remember, the collection debuts next Friday, November 22nd....and it's going to be AWESOME!!!

Happy weekend!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Taiu's Travel Traditions

We asked Taiu what her holiday travel traditions were and how they inspired her 2013 Holiday Collection color. Here is what she told us: 

"Where do you go on holidays? That's a good question, and to that I ask ‘whats a holiday’? When you run your own business and have a daughter that has a crazy extracurricular life (that would be me), holidays are very rare. I dance right through the year and by the time a holiday comes all I want to do is sleep. When we do travel it’s for business, and I'm grateful for being able to travel with my mother across most of the United States, and most recently I was able to travel to Koln (aka. Cologne), Germany for a trade show. Going to Koln was my first trip overseas, and out of everywhere in Europe I'm glad it was Germany.

In Germany I felt completely immersed in the history, culture and the food. Whether I was eating Schnitzel, Pork Knuckle, mashed potatoes or the trip to the Lindor Chocolate Museum, the food was delicious. Then there was the Cologne Cathedral, the Ludwig museum of art and my favorite the Hohenzollern Bridge. The bridge crosses over the River Rhine, and has been rebuilt due to a bombing in WW2. My favorite part of the bridge is the Love Locks. Over 40,000 colorful locks are scattered across the bridge. It’s a beautiful and special experience if you ever get to walk across the bridge and see the different shapes and sizes of the locks, that all symbolize a couples love."

We loved hearing Taiu's travel story and can't wait to show you what the color it inspired looks like. It's really perfect! Stay tuned for more awesome stories leading up to the big Holiday Collection reveal next Friday, the 22nd!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beth's Holiday Travel Traditions.

Beth Casey from Lorna's Laces recently shared with us her inspiration for the color she created for our 2013 Holiday Collection. Her's is the first of many stories we'll be sharing with you over the next couple of weeks. Here is what Beth had to say about her holiday travel traditions:

“How do I celebrate the holidays? Well, my husband's birthday is December 25th. My birthday has always been special to me and I wanted to make sure his didn't get lost in the holiday craziness. So we decided early on that we'd spend Thanksgiving with family and travel as often as we could for Christmas. Sometimes it's been exotic like Paris or Istanbul. Other times it's been simpler, like Portland or Door County. One year we just got a hotel room downtown and pretended we were tourists in our own hometown.  Of all the places we've spent the holidays, I think Paris was our favorite. It's such a beautiful city and there's always something new to discover.

We tend to keep a pretty loose schedule when we travel. We like to pick one place to see each day and start walking towards it in the morning. We stop wherever our fancy takes us along the way. Sometimes we get to our destination quickly and sometimes the journey takes us somewhere entirely different. Tomorrow is always another day.  As long as we're together, it's a holiday!”

We hope you've enjoyed this little sneak peek! Stay tuned for more stories over the next couple of weeks until we debut the collection on November 23rd!

Happy holidays! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Laura's Holiday Travel Traditions-- a Sneak Peek of What's to Come!

Beers, brats, badgers and basements? It’s Christmas in Wisconsin! For the last 15 years, Doug and I have spent every other Christmas at Doug’s parents’ house in Middleton, Wisconsin. And for the last 15 years, I’ve had to remember to pack a bundle of rubber bands in my suitcase. You see, after a few days of drinking beer, eating brats, and watching the Badgers play hockey on the basement TV, I have to call upon these rubber bands to help keep my pants up. (Remember the pregnancy trick? Yeah, well, only in this case, my “expanding belly” isn’t the result of a growing baby… it’s the result of blissful gluttony!) Oh – and did I mention that Doug’s mom is famous for her Christmas baking? She makes hundreds (yes hundreds!) of cookies each season. Sigh. I’m drooling (and happily expanding!) already!!

But the cookies and the beers aren’t my favorite part about our trips to Wisconsin. No, my favorite part is simply being there. It’s watching Huck have the time of his life with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It’s walking with Doug past the elementary school that he attended; listening to stories about him and his childhood friends. My favorite part is being able to see – and to feel – just a wee part of Doug’s life when he was a kid. Call me sentimental (yes, I am in fact crying a bit writing this), but being able to sleep and eat in the house where Doug grew up (and being to watch Huck enjoy the same house) is one of the most special things in the world for me! And now it’s a tradition. (As is knitting on the plane to Wisconsin and knitting in the basement while the Badgers play!)

(We stay here in Tahoe the other years – and also for Thanksgiving.)

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be sharing with you the holiday travel traditions of the owners of each of the companies (Lorna's Laces, Chicken Boots, Artyarns, and Dream in Color are included, just to name a few) who are participating in our upcoming Holiday Collection which will be available starting November 22nd. (Remember Operation Turkey Trot aka. Fit for a Feast last year? Well we think you are going to LOVE what we have in store this year!) I hope you'll check back over the next couple of weeks to read each of the holiday travel stories and catch some hints and clues as to what's in store for this year's collection!

Hope you have a happy holiday season with your loved ones!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Huck's Gum Drop Pillow

Over the weekend, Laura decided to take a stab at sewing the Gumdrop Pillow by Amy Butler for the Huckster. She had been eyeing the Rebekah Ginda Robotic Fabric from Birch Organics, so she grabbed enough on her way out the door and got started. Luckily, with Huck being the super-helper that he is, this turned out to be a pretty fun project for everyone!

Laura looked to Amy Butler's class to make the Gumdrop Pillow for easy step by step instructions with videos. You can download the PDF of the pattern from the Amy Butler website and print out all of the pattern pieces you need at home, or if you prefer a pre-printed version, you can order it from us here. Be sure to check out all of our great sale fabric while you are at it. (Never said I wasn't an enabler.)

Next up, Laura and Huck are making a second pillow in Tina Givens' Star Flakes and Glitter Christmas fabric to take to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the holidays. Won't that fun?!?!

Happy Sewing!

-Kristen and the JBW Team

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Luxury Holiday Garland is Here!

On Saturday our newsletter debuted my design for the Luxury Holiday Garland. The reason it's considered "luxury" is because it uses every yarn in our new Luxury Fiber Sampler to create twelve beautiful stars joined together by a linen/cotton blend garland strand. The result is classically beautiful in neutral shades that emulate a wintery wonderland.

Our version uses the sampler, but I know many if you, if you're at all like me, have tons of wee scraps lying in your stash. This is the perfect stash busting project as you only need about 15-20 yards for each star. The gauge is ideal for anything from a Fingering to a DK weight yarn but you could easily adapt this pattern for larger weights if you wanted. I am thinking about doing some in a chunky weight to hang in my front window. That's the beauty of this project, you don't HAVE to make a garland. You can make individual ornaments too. Wouldn't it be fun to make a new one each year with the year embroidered on it? So cute!

Here are all of the photos we took of the garland. I am seriously so in LOVE with it! There are tons of possibilities with these adaptable little stars. I encourage you all to get creative and then share your projects with me. I'd love to see how you use these stars this holiday season!

If you are a local Reno customer, Terry is teaching a class on making this garland this Saturday, Nov. 9th from 3-5 pm. Call the shop to sign up and reserve your space. I work on Saturdays, so I'll probably pop in and say hello and help for a bit too! Hope to see you there!

Happy Knitting!

PS. If you love this design and would like to show me a little love on Ravelry, I'd really appreciate it! Feel free to head on over and queue it up, start your project, or favorite the design!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cozy Knits Giveaway Winner!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great week! I just wanted to pop in and announce the winner of the Cozy Knits Giveaway!

Thanks to, our winner is....Commenter #22 who wrote:

"quiltmt said...
That Make Mine Mocha poncho is for me! I love to wrap up in a generous hand knit,; but tea for me, please, not coffee!"
Thanks everyone for participating! Quiltmt, please e-mail me at: kristen (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com, with your mailing address so I can ship your book! Congrats, yay!

I'll give the winner until Friday, November 8th to claim their prize and if I've not received an e-mail, I'll choose a new winner -- you'd be surprised at how many people we've had not claim their prizes from giveaways! I mean, who doesn't want free stuff, right?!?! :)

If you are sad about not winning this time around, but still want a copy of Cozy Knits, you can find one here:

Lastly, if you were a big fan of Terry's awesome Fiber Feature blog posts, or if you are participating in the Great American Aran Afghan KAL that she is hosting on our Ravelry Group Page, remember that she has moved all of that content to her brand spankin' new blog: Terraknit! Don't worry, she hasn't left us, she is just going to focus more of her time at the shop on teaching all of you wonderful people, so she decided to start a blog of her own. I hope you'll head on over and follow it as she is sure to keep writing wonderful and helpful posts!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!