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November 2008 Newsletter!

In this issue:

  • Holiday Gift Giving Ideas
  • Website Makeover
  • Free Scarf Pattern
  • Kit of the Month: Aryarns Regal Silk Arrowhead Scarf
  • New Yarns: Lana Grossa, ArtYarns, Misti Alpaca
  • Manufacturer Spotlight: della Q
  • Addi Sale Reminder: 20% Off Select Sizes
  • 25% off A-Maizing and Vespera
  • Fun Videos: Gift Ideas!

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

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

It's that time of year again, when our thoughts turn to family and friends, baking and parties, and of course, our Holiday wish lists. I will fully admit that I tend to put things off until the last minute. That isn't the best approach, especially since last July, when it was warm and sunny, I decided that hand knit gifts would be perfect for most everyone in my family. I had plenty of time to think about getting started on those when I had the crazy idea. Now here we are, nearing Thanksgiving, and I have knit nary a stitch destined for the recipients on my list. Well, that's not entirely true. My brother-in-law will get his mittens, and my sister gets one sock, even if everyone else gets gift cards.

The good news is, there is still time. There are 40 knitting days between November 16th and December 25th (we can count the day of because you may not see one of your recipients until dinner, garnering a few more hours of knitting time... and Christmas happens to be the December holiday that our family celebrates)! That's plenty of time to creating something beautiful with needles and yarn for someone who will truly appreciate it. And to help you along the way, we've polled the girls here at Jimmy Beans to see what's on our needles for others, and what's on our wish lists for ourselves. After all, you've been good this year, so don't forget to use the wish list feature on Jimmy Beans Wool and remind your family and friends that it's there!

What do I knit for others for holiday gifts?

For my holiday knitting, I'm making mittens out of Cocoon for both my dad and my brother in law from my own improvised pattern. Their hands are so big they have a hard time finding mittens in the store that fit. I'm also making socks for my non-knitting sister who has a little envy of all my cute hand made socks.

What is on my wishlist?

On my own wish list I'd of course like to get a set of those new addi interchangable needles. But barring that, I can always use more stitch markers, stitch holders, darning needles, measuring tapes, hand balm, etc...all those little things that seem to have gotten up and walked away when I need them. Oh, and gift certificates to my favorite LYS are always welcome! :)

What do I knit for others for holiday gifts?

-wraps, shawls, ponchos, sometimes felted items - bags or placemats etc

What is on my wishlist?

- ball winder and swift.

What kinds of things do you knit for others?

I am knitting some bulky slipper socks for the guys out of saphira, not using a pattern BUT page 36 (pattern on pg 76) of interweave holiday has these GREAT slippers using bulky hand dyes and hand dyed worsted for the cuff. This would be a quick knit and great kit. I am also thinking about doing sets of dish cloths in some organic cotton, say 3 to a set. I would knit the Necklets on pg 26, (pattern on pg 46) looks like it uses a bulky, gauge is 14 sts, us 10 1/2.

What is on my wishlist?

I want the Monkey Knitwitmomma stitch markers, Lantern Moon Shawl Pins (all of them), 6" sox stix, and the Never Not Knitting book.

What kinds of things do you knit for others?

Socks! Nothing else but socks, really... 8 years ago - after i first learned how to knit and had just gotten married - I spent the entire Fall working on a red sweater for Doug (my new husband). The pattern came from a Rebecca magazine (i've always loved their patterns) and showed a cute blonde German guy - happy as could be to be wearing that sweater... it was a baby blue sweater - and i'll never forget it. I knit this darned thing, wrapped it up, and took it with us to Wisconsin for Christmas. I simply can't tell you how excited i was for Doug to open it and try it on... it was my first real sweater! Well, let's just say that the sweater didn't quite look the same on Doug as it did on the German guy. Doug is not a big guy (not at all), but this sweater made him look like a Cherry version of the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. He tried to smile - and wore it for a little while, but could barely move his arms because there was so much fabric. The sad part was - the size was right, my gauge was on... but the yarn i used was just too poofy - and seemed to get poofier by the minute! Anyway, now i knit socks... and only socks (and the occasional hat) :)

What is on my wishlist?

Any of the della Q or Offhand Designs Bags (i like the Fiona)!!

Amanda M
What kinds of things do you knit for others?

I knit small things, generally, for holiday gifts. I did lacy washcloths as part of a spa kit last year, with other home-made goodies: soap, aftershave, salt scrub, etc... I've made fingerless gloves and socks as gifts as well - things that will fit easily and not be too objectionable fashion-wise.

What is on my wishlist?

Gift Certificate is the easy answer, I never object to money to support the hobby. But it's really nice if someone finds a yarn that they think I would like, something special, even if it's only a hank or two. A yarn with remarkable colors, or a beautifully soft fiber. It's neat that they were thinking of me, and that they know what I like. Sock yarn is an easy thing, that way, since you only need a ball or two...

Amanda P
What kinds of things do you knit for others?

Other than the basic things like scarf, hat, socks, bobbi bear or toy stuff for kids... and the colinette scarf kit... seems like most people that are college-age coming into the store are making head band type things or arm warmers/ leg warmer

What is on my wishlist?

the obvious stuff like the stitch markers, bags, novelty stuff... personally i always want the fancy yarns like the beaded silk that i won't buy myself.

Website Makeover

Website Makeover

We've definitely still got some work to do (in fact, that's why the newsletter is so late this month), but the new "look and feel" is up on our website! We hope you find that it's a bit fresher (is that a word?) and easier on the eyes. We've tried to keep the font size readable and will be working on cleaning some of the pages up a bit, but we must say that we are happy with the result. So, keep your eyes peeled for future refinements - and don't hesitate to let us know if you have suggestions.

Just fyi: one of the main reasons for the redesign was that we wanted to be able to "tell" you about new and exciting products on a regular basis. For example, if you go to the accessories homepage (see left), you'll see why we love Lantern Moon's peppermint tape measures. And if there is a video review of the product, you'll be able to see that too. We're hoping that these editorials are helpful and that they inspire you!

Free Scarf Pattern

We're furiously working on the 12th and final scarf in our Scarves to Throws project and should be done in the next couple of weeks. We're also sewing them together and plan on writing an instructional article to help you with that part, once the 12 scarves are complete. It's been quite a journey!

Until then, we'd like to present you all with a scarf that Sandy recently designed for the shop (and for an upcoming issue of Knit 'n Style). Called the Arrowhead Lace and Cable Scarf, Sandy drew inspiration from one of her favorite Barbara Walker books (the Treasury of Knitting books) when designing it.

The scarf calls for 1 ball of Artyarns Regal Silk and 1 ball of Artyarns Beaded Silk and Sequins, both in color 173. Knit in 2 pieces, the scarf is then bound together using the Kitchener Stitch. Talk about luxurious - and fun! Some of the gals in the shop are buying 2 balls of each yarn - and making a scarf that's twice as wide... or twice as long - so many possibilities :)

Kit of the Month

Every month we feature a new yarn + pattern combination at a special kit-of-the-month discount...
This month's kit is the Aryarns Regal Silk Arrowhead Scarf.

Aryarns Regal Silk Arrowhead Scarf Kit Normally $68
On Sale For $54.40

Designed by JBW's very own Sandy Hussey, this beautiful scarf is both a luxury to knit and a luxury to wear! Sandy did a great job - we love the pattern and the color combination. We have selected some combinations below, but please feel free to look at the other colors that are available if you feel like being creative!

  • Pattern calls for size 8 straight needles, not included.

  • Gauge is not really important for this project but Sandy measured 5 sts/inch after blocking.

  • Color Shown is #173 in both Artyarns Regal Silk and Artyarns Beaded Silk and Sequins.

New Arrivals: Artyarns Supermerino, Misti Alpaca, Lana Grossa

I really love the Fall. One reason is the weather - no humidity, perfect temperature, and a little less dust than in the summer. Another reason is the constant influx of new yarns - Brown Sheep and Regal Silk for example! I know that many shops receive all of their fall yarns at one time - around august or september - but that it simply too much stimulus for my teeny brain. I like to spread things out a bit more, for my own protection (white jacket, anyone?). That said, below is a sampling of our newest additions... i hope they make you salivate as much as they make me!

Artyarns Supermerino
Artyarns Supermerino
(Machine Washable!)

Welcome Supermerino! We've been drooling over this yarn for quite some time now and are finally carrying it. Supermerino is machine washable merino, hand-painted in NY, and extra luscious. We've got 20 different colors in stock - each is 50g, 104 yards and knits up perfectly on a US 8 needle. If you're looking for a fun new worsted weight yarn, look no further! (I recommend using this yarn for baby items, afghans, men's and women's sweaters, boot socks, and mittens.)

I'm not quite sure what i'm going to knit with this yarn yet, but it's going to be something amazing. Surely, it will be some sort of cuddly, oversized turtleneck sweater ... maybe with a pair of tightly knit matching mittens. But that's just an idea. And for once, my favorite color in the line isn't the brown... it's the charcoal! I've really expanded my color preferences, eh? I simply can't describe how scrupmtious this yarn is - you just have to touch it. the colors are rich - and the yardage is generous, especially for the price (108 yds and $14.40 for pure alpaca). Another suggestion? Use 3 hanks (2-3 different colors to knit a couple of basic beanies - one for you - and a matching one for a friend!

Misti Alpaca Chunky Solids
Misti Alpaca Chunky Solids
Lana Grossa Lord Jacket

Spun with wool, silk, and a little something extra, the Lana Grossa Lord is a classic tweed yarn dyed in deep, rich colors. A new yarn for this season, it's just starting to make itself known - and knitters are using it for everything from hats to mittens to fair isle sweaters. Personally, i think it'd do a great job for this Sand Dollar Beret.

There are also a number of trendy sweaters using the Lord in the latest issue of Filati Magazine.

I don't really know what to say about my favorite new yarn Meringo except that i hope it's here to stay for a very long time. With my project list growing faster than i can chip away at it, i just don't know when i'll have time to start working with my new favorite. With just enough angora to make it heavenly, but not too much to make me sweat 24/7, the Meringo drapes brilliantly... it's perfect for oversized sweaters - and luxurious looking (and feeling!) wraps. Or what about this heirloom baby blanket??

Meringo Lace Sweater

Designer Spotlight: Meet della Q

Over the years, i've had the opportunity to meet a number of amazing people... i guess that's just how the fiber industry is! Recently, i was chatting with Della Quimby, the owner of della Q, and thought that her story might be one that you'd be interested in... We wanted to know more about the company that manufactures some of the most popular needle cases and bags in the knitting industry. We love their products and thought you'd like to know more about a company that not only creates great products, but also gives back to women in Vietnam. So here goes...!

Why did you decide to work with silk?

I spent nearly four months traveling in South East Asia. While visiting Vietnam, I fell in love with the vivid colors of the country as well as the beauty of silk and embroidery. Since I live in Seattle, I found the fabric and color to be a cheery addition to our cloudy days.

Many of today's knitters want more natural products. Is Silk "Green"?

Silk is a natural fiber. The production of silk fiber requires silk worms, mulberry leaves, and water. Mulberry leaves that the worms eat come from mulberry trees, a renewable resource. Dye is used in the coloring of the fiber. However, della Q works with suppliers that are environmentally conscious in their use of any dye.

Can you explain the process of producing silk?

Silk worms produce silk fibers when they are 25 days old by spinning a cocoon. After about 4 to 5 days the cocoons are placed in warm water so that the fibers can be separated and prepared for spinning. It takes about 20 to 30 cocoons to make one thread! The thread is then dyed before weaving. della Q works primarily in taffeta silk which is woven on a machine loom. It is also interesting to note that the thread the worm produces will be different between the dry and wet seasons because of the difference in the mulberry leaf moisture level. This makes it difficult to replicate exact color waves in the dying process, but that is the beauty and uniqueness of a natural fiber.

della Q products are known for their stripes and plaids. Is there a reason for this focus?

Well, I Iove stripes! I think they are a timeless classic. In addition, della Q works primarily with taffeta silk. Taffeta is a woven fabric in which the threads are dyed before weaving. Any pattern must be created by the loom that runs vertical and horizontal. As such, patterns in taffeta silk are primarily stripes and solids.

What about the care of your products? Can you wash or dry clean della Q products?

Some products can be washed. Silk in general can be washed with a mild soap and then line dried. Sometimes the fabric may lose its sheen or take on more of a vintage look. However, with many della Q products, we have incorporated stabilizers and padding to protect your needles and tools. Many of these additional components can shrink or may be destroyed by dry cleaning chemicals. If you end up with a spot on your della Q product, first try to spot clean it with very little water. Too much water could leave a water spot. Some of our products can be hand washed or cleaned in a front load washing machine. If you have questions, contact us and we'll help you out.

What about ScotchGard?

ScotchGard is a great way to protect your della Q product. It doesn't change the color of the fabric.

I understand that della Q works with Vietnam Quilts. Can you tell us more about that organization and your association?

Vietnam Quilts is a non-profit organization that trains low-income and rural Vietnamese women in the art of quilting, and provides them with a means to a steady income. Not only do the women in the organization learn a valuable skill, but they work in a community home with other women. It's like a big knitting guild!

The women are accepted into the program only after Vietnam Quilts can guarantee them full time work. The participants must agree to keep their children in school. Education is important to the overall success of the program.

In 2007, della Q donated several embroidery machines to the organization. In September of this year, we brought two quilting instructors to Ho Chi Minh City for a two-day training class. During the training, the participants learned new stitching techniques, color theory and proportion techniques. Although we had translators on site, we found that handicraft needs no translation! By the end of the class, smiles and hugs were rampant!

We love the mission of Vietnam Quilts and we hope our customers feel good about knowing that purchasing a della Q product means they too are making a difference.

Addi Sale Reminder!
20% Off Select Sizes

Just a quick reminder - we still have a few sizes of the miraculous Addi Turbo Circular Needles that are on sale for 20% off. In honor of upcoming Thanksgiving, we launched a Giving-Thanks Addi Turbo sale on November 1st. Well, the "while supplies last" part means that we've sold out of a bunch of sizes (and ALL of the lace needles - wow!), but we do still have a decent stock available. Once we sell out of a particular size, you'll notice that it's no longer available...

Save 25% on Select Southwest Yarns

Out with the old and in with the new, right?! Well, we're trying to make room for some new yarns this season and are clearing the shelves of a few oldies but goodies: 100% Corn yarn A-Maizing is on sale for $6.75 a ball, while the kettle dyed dk weight Vespera is on sale for $9 ... both 25% off. Grab it while you can, because we don't have much!

Vespera AMaizing Vespera AMaizing

Fun Yarns and Fun Videos ... from the Cast of JBW

With the holidays just around the corner, we thought you might be interested in viewing a few of our favorite video reviews of Accessories... great gift ideas!

Project Pouch Video
Ashland Sky Project Pouch
Pretty Cheep Project Bags
Pretty Cheep Project Bags
Denise Organizer
Denise Organizer
Circular Clutch
Offhand Circular Clutch

What We're Working On

Even if i'm not working at the computer, my fingers are still going... they're just knitting instead. Same with the wonderful girls in the store! Below is a sampling of what we've gotten accomplished lately (on the knitting front, that is). ... Sure looks like we all like Blue, eh?

Cashmere Sweater
I'm done!!

I made the neck a bit longer, so that it'd flop over - and one of the sleeves is slightly wider than the other (i must have done that one after a few glasses of wine!), but the sweater is done and it looks and feels great!

Val's Lamb's Pride Blanket
Val's Lamb's Pride Blanket

From Victoria: I just found what my mother, Valerie, wants me to knit her for Christmas - a blanket. This is a joy for me to do, but bear in mind, I found this out in the middle of November. Blankets can take a while, and it has to ship overseas and get there before Christmas which is basically one month away!!!

I am a pretty fast knitter and luckily I love doing large projects, but I can get bored easily and so I had to choose a pattern that would provide enough interest for me, be pretty for my mum to enjoy and not be too time consuming. My mother wants it in green and I had cables in mind for the design. I knew exactly where to look - Melissa Leapman's Cables Untangled book. Aside from the great projects in this book, she has a 'library' of cables in the back which serve as a fantastic reference. I chose a cable pattern that has one cable row out of every 12 rows and coupled with the yarn-over lace pattern, I think it is perfect for her. Read More...

Victoria's Dashing Wrist Warmers in Autunno
Victoria's Dashing Wrist Warmers in Autunno

From Victoria: I know I'm a little the midst of juggling kids, school stuff, work, home stuff, getting organized for Christmas and knitting up a large blanket for my mother - I decided to also start another knitting project. Ok my head hurts now. But knitting will make me feel better, I know it. My motto is this: forget the dusting, knit a few rows! Read More...

Soft Linen Hoodie - On Hold

Well, i did finish the hood, but quickly got sidetracked by another project (and now another - that i think i might start tonight). So, this likely won't be complete by 2009, but i'm hoping it's done (magically, of course) by the end of winter :)

Thanks for reading and Happy Knitting!

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Contact Us

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