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November 2007 Newsletter!

In this issue:

  • What Size Should I Knit?
  • Limited Edition Shepherd Sock December Color: Golden Holidays!
  • December Kit of the Month: Colinette Stash Pak
  • Turning Scarves into Throws: Scarf 2
  • Meet the Manufacturer: Crystal Palace
  • Just Arrived: Mission Falls!
  • Update Your Wishlist With These Great Gift Ideas!

Click on any highlighted text to view the item in our online store!

What Size Should I Knit?

Oh, the woes and mistakes of knitting... I cannot even tell you how many sweaters i've knit that were either too big, too small, or the sleeves ended up all poofy (and not poofy on purpose!). To make myself feel better, I'm going to assume that i'm not the only one these mistakes have happened to. If i am the only one, i'd appreciate it if you all just keep quiet and let me live peacefully in my fantasy world :)

When it comes to making things too big or too small, i've personally discovered 2 different sources of error: 1. gauge and 2. choosing the wrong size. We've talked about gauge before - and how i've learned that my gauge loosens up as i knit over time. It's been a painful (and expensive) process, but I think i finally have that annoying problem licked. (Sidenote: the poofy sleeve syndrome (PSS?), while partially solved by the aforementioned gauge issue, can be mediated by paying careful attention to finishing techniques. We'll talk more in depth about that in a future newsletter. To be honest with you, however, I simply skipped out on that whole 'putting things together' process for a few years - i just knit everything from the top-down - and didn't bother with sewing any seams.)

Choosing the right size was a fun lesson for me. Like many of you out there, i think i tend to think of myself as a little larger than i really am. So - for my first couple of sweaters, i chose the larger sizes to knit... That, combined with my ever-loosening gauge, resulted in some pretty big sweaters. I didn't like the way they fit - and still have a few of them sitting on my shelves at home. As usual, i spoke with my knitting mentor Diane Soucy about it - and she suggested that i figure out - in inches - exactly what size i want to knit BEFORE i started on my sweater. Previously, i had made the mistake of taking a tape measure and measuring around my chest - over my clothes and everything. Diane suggested that i grab my favorite-fitting sweater from my closet - and use that as a gauge of what size to make. So i did! I drove home, swiped my favorite JCrew sweater from the shelf and spread it out flat on the kitchen table. Using my handy tape measure, i measured (in inches or cm) the distance from underarm to underarm. I doubled that number to determine exactly what "finished" chest size i should aim for when knitting. I also measured the distance from the top of the shoulder - to the bottom of the sweater... since sweater lengths change with fashion (but some classic patterns don't), i wanted to be able to make my knitted sweater exactly as long as my favorite storebought one.

And what do you know, I finally got the size right on this one! Besides, I can easily make a sweater larger by blocking it, but it's hard to make it smaller!

Limited Edition Color - Golden Holidays

Golden Holidays!

Ah, the holidays... traditional colors of red and green filling the house (well, not my house, but i have heard rumors that other people decorate their houses for Christmas, Hannukah, and other Winter Holidays!). This December, the creative geniuses at Lornas Laces have taken that red and green, softened them up a bit (think cedar and cranberry) and then added a touch of Gold. The result makes me giddy!

Bottom line - you can't go wrong with this color, whether you knit a pair of socks designed by Ann Norling, some fingerless gloves by Mac and Me (our girls are mixing the Shepherd Worsted with Rowan Kidsilk Haze), or a even a striped blanket using the Golden Holidays, Natural, Harvest, Cranberry and Cedar!!

Kit of the Month

Every month we feature a new yarn + pattern combination at a special kit-of-the-month discount...

In the spirit of the gift-giving holidays, we're offering a this month that can either be knit for someone else - or can be given to your favorite knitter! At $149.95, You Save Over $70 on these Colinette Stash Paks. Note that we only have 1 of each color - and only 17 total - so you'll want to grab one before they sell out.

Usually $220, this kit is On Sale for $149.95

Unique Kolours has put together these delectable selections featuring 10 skeins of your favorite Colinette Yarns, hand-picked by their color experts into fabulous Color Families. Consider it a sampler of some of the delicious yarns Colinette has to offer. Make whatever you fancy or, just in case you don't know what to do with those yummy yarns, use the enclosed FREE pattern for a super-easy throw, shawl, or scarf.

The selection of colors and yarns in each Stash Pak can vary, but will always remain true to the "Color Family". This means every Stash Pak will always be unique and will always be gorgeous! Does it get any better???

Turning Scarves into Throws : Month 2

Ok - we've now completed Month 2 in our 'scarves to throws' journey... You can find the Month 2 free pattern here, or view the pattern for Month 1 if you haven't gotten started yet. Enjoy!

Jimmy's Entrelac Scarf
Using Shepherd Worsted Motherlode

Our knitting guru Allie helped me put together this pattern. Using 1 hank of Shepherd Worsted Motherlode and smaller needles (US 8 is small for me!), we were able to create a scarf that's nearly as long as the first Month's... In fact, when i block it enough, i can get it to be exactly the same length... the throw is already starting to take shape!! If you've never worked on an Entrelac project before, browse our earlier article, 'Working through the Entrelec Shawl' for tips. Also, I found that knitting backwards was a useful skill to have when knitting this scarf. You can find help on the Knitting Backwards article on our website.

Meet the Manufacturer: Crystal Palace

Each month, we're featuring the owner of one of our favorite knitting companies. This month was over before we knew it, but for December our featured manufacturer will be Crystal Palace! In addition to the standard photo and bio, we'll be publishing their take on 3-5 questions posed by our readers. If your question is selected for the newsletter, you'll receive a special gift from that company (a pair of needles, a hank of yarn, etc...).

Crystal Palace is the source for Maizy, Panda Cotton, wonderful needles, and much more! If you have a question for Susan - or any of the crew there - email it to by Dec. 10th (please email your name, mailing address, and question- and don't worry, we won't use that information for anything other than possibly sending you a gift).

Just Arrived :: Mission Falls, Addi Lace Needles and Gift Sets!

Mission Falls

Many many years ago, we carried Mission Falls 1824 Cotton.... and we've finally brought it (and the 1824 Wool) back into the store. There is no doubt that the colors are rich and enticing, but the most attractive part of this company (to me) are the patterns. I'm working on adding kits for the 1824 wool, but thought you might want to see some of the scrumptious options for the cotton. These blankets kits would make GREAT GIFTS for expectant mothers or grandmothers!

Hola Baby Blanket

This striped blanket will not only be a blast to knit, but will surely become an heirloom. Using 6 different colors of 1824 Cotton and US 6-7 needles, you won't get bored knitting this. Cost? About $75

Bob Blankie

Using 2 balls each of 7 different colors, the yarn for this blanket will run you about $75. And since you're knitting with US 7 needles, you'll get a lot of knitting time for your money!

Powell Cabled Baby Sweater

Fits up to 24 months - or perfect for the 6 month old, i wish this sweater came in my size!!! At about $30, the price is right for a hand-knit baby shower gift.

Update Your Wishlist With These Great Gift Ideas

Tis the season for giving and receiving gifts. To help on that front, we've added more ideas to our Great Gift Idea Corner. Here you'll find yarns, needles, kits and accessories that we think make great gifts. Shop this section for gift ideas for your favorite friends - or for things to add to your own wishlist!

How do you use a Wish list? Just log into your account - and shop as usual. Instead of clicking the "add to cart" button, click "add to wishlist." Simply tell your friends and family that you have a wishlist with us - by entering your email address, they can view all of your yarn desires in one place!

If you do not already have an account, you can create an account for free. There are no strings attached, your personal information will be kept confidential, and you will automatically start to receive rewards based on your purchases!

I've highlighted a few of my gift favorites below, don't forget to email me if you can think of other gifts that should go in this section.

Peppermint Tape Measure
Peppermint Candy Tape Measure

Lantern Moon continues to add fun and creative items to their line. They've done it this year, just in time for the holidays, with these Peppermint Candy Tape Measures At $9 a piece, they make a thoughtful gift for non-knitters also!

Needle Set
Scarf Needle Travel Set

This season, we've put a few different travel needle sets together. Ranging in price from $50 to $87, each set comes with 3 premium needles (Crystal Palace or Lantern Moon) and a Silk Needle Travel Case. If you're looking for a nice gift to give a new knitter, you really can't beat these (and you save 10% if you buy these items as a set)!

knitting gift basket
Sock Knitting Gift Basket

Packaged for gift giving, this basket comes complete with a Lantern Moon Mini Rice Basket - and all of the tools a beginner (or expert) knitter needs for starting their first sock project! With a basket discount of 10%, the basic set falls under $50, while the Deluxe Basket (with hand-dyed yarn and lots of goodies) comes in just under $100.... and remind that DH of yours that he doesn't even have to wrap this gift - it already comes complete with a bow :)

Bamboo Crochet Gift Set

Whether you are an expert hooker - or just crochet when absolutely necessary, we've got Crochet Sets that will last a lifetime. Ranging from under $50 to about $75, you save a few bucks by ordering them as a set (complete with a silk needle case for storage). Again, these are great items to add to your wishlist - i mean, who couldn't use a set of crochet hooks?

What We're Working On

Even if i'm not working at the computer, my fingers are still going... they're just knitting instead. Below is a sampling of what we've gotten accomplished lately (on the knitting front, that is).

Naturwolle Cardigan
Hollywood Knits Naturwolle Cardigan!

I have fallen in love with this book all over again. There are 4 sweaters in it that i want to knit... this is the first one (you might remember that Julianne Moore was photographed wearing this sweater) that i've taken on. The pattern calls for US 13 needles, but i ended up using size 15s (after gauging a few times. Typically a loose knitter, i started at an 11 but quickly realized i needed something larger. The 15 seems to be perfect. I have the sleeves and the back done already - the front should be coming soon!

Misti Alpaca Hat and Mittens
Misti Alpaca Hat!

After i finished my mittens, I still had enough of the Misti Alpaca to make a hat! Using Ann Norling's pattern and US 5 needles, i quickly finished the hat in just a few hours (fyi - i did the adult small, gauge of 5 sts/inch).

Touch Me Hat
Touch Me Hat!

Though this yarn can be a pain in the rear sometimes, i still can't help but want to knit with it. The result is always so smooth, silky, and soft. If i had the time (and the money), I'd make myself a HUGE blanket to curl up in ... hmm... maybe i should??

Touch Me Fingerless Gloves
Touch Me Cabled Fingerless Gloves!

Jeanne picked out this project for me - as usual, she was able to put a yarn and pattern together that i never would have thought of. But, why not use Touch Me for a set of gloves? of course, i find myself rubbing my face the entire time i'm wearing them :)

Knitting Night at Truckee Book and Bean!!

Beginning on Thursday evenings in November, Jimmy Beans very own Dannette Arney will be hosting a Knitting Night. From 6:30-8pm we will gather in the parlor of beautiful downtown Truckee's Book and Bean. This is a time to hang out, chat and sip some warm tea on the cold snowy nights. Instruction is available for a $10 drop in fee, but if you want to hang out... well that is just for FREE!

Thanks for reading and Happy Knitting!

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Jimmy Beans Wool
4850 Joule St. Ste A1
Reno, NV 89502

Toll Free in U.S. and Canada (877)529-5648
Phone (775)827-9276