Sunday, February 23, 2014

Downton Abbey Mystery KAL Week #8 - Mystery Revealed! (aka. The Great Big FO Post.)

Hello everyone!

I am so excited to share these photos with you this week! It's been exhilarating to see all of the FOs (Finished Objects) popping up on the Ravelry forum all week and I am so glad so many of you offered to share them with me and all of the readers here. (Each of the FO pictures this week were used with the permission of the knitter and links to their Ravelry project are provided for more info.)

Without further ado, I give you some of the first FOs of the Downton Abbey MKAL 2014!

FO #1 by: cebaily who knit her shawlette in the Lorna's Laces Honor in the Bated Breath color. I see lots of the intermediate patterning in her shawl. Looks great!



FO #2 by: clmnj58 who also knit her shawl in the Honor in Bated Breath. She said that this photo makes her shawl look ethereal and I have to agree! I love how airy her version turned out!



FO #3 by: DebH188 has perhaps the most handsome model yet. :) Hers is also knit in Bated Breath. If you check out her Ravelry page, she shares several more creative ways to wear the shawlette.


FO #4 by: ellesie99 was knit in Shepherd Sport in the Bated Breath color with a pretty purple border! I love the look of the contrast on the edging!


FO #4 by fiberbug: She also used the Bated Breath in Honor, and after seeing how long the start of the shawl was, opted to rip back and begin with fewer pattern repeats which would work better on her petite frame. I am glad she did, because it shows a nice scale of the shawl for those wanting a shorter version!


FO #5 by: Holly NJ who used Madelinetosh Merino DK for the body and a Louisa Harding yarn for the borders. This is a gorgeous neutral version of the shawlette. It's fun to see it done in a variety of yarns!


FO #6 by: jjs who's shawlette in Malabrigo Arroyo is just stunning. I love the brightness of the English Rose color and the stitch pattern shows really well.


FO #7 by: lynnsch was knit in Malabrigo Silk Blends. The Wildflowers color is one of my all time favorites and this version of the shawlette is certainly bright and cheery!


FO #8 by: purpleknit is knit in Madelinetosh Pashmina in a color called Opaline which is really a pale variegated yarn even though you can't see the variegation in the picture. What is nice about this shawl is the overall neutral look you can get with a variegated yarn. Plus it's just lovely. :)


FO #9 by Sheltzer is shown blocking. It's knit in the Lorna's Laces Sportmate in last years KAL color, Christmas at Downton. Love seeing this color again! It matches my Gauntlets! :)


FO #10 by: Sigsmom, was knit in the Honor in Bated Breath. This version is shown unblocked and you can see how ruffly it looks. Once she blocks it out it will grow significantly and each of those ruffles will become a lovely rounded edge. I love seeing the various stages of shawls in the forums!


Lastly, I wanted to share some of the photos taken of my finished shawl. You may recognize Leanne, our purchaser, modeling. Isn't she cute? :)






You should also check out the JBW Ravelry Group Week #7 Thread for more awesome FOs! More keep popping up everyday!

I'll be releasing a fully formatted version of the pattern by mid-March, so if you are waiting for the pattern to be re-released to cast on, it will just be a few short weeks. In the meantime, the clues will remain on the blog indefinitely for those who need them. Of course, I will still be available to answer questions, so please do feel free to e-mail me on Ravelry or leave comments on the blog. I can't wait to see the rest of your beautiful FOs!

Happy knitting!
Kristen

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Downton Abbey Mystery KAL - Week #7 - Final Clues!



Happy Downton Day everyone! Is everyone excited for the final clue or are you rationing like Lady Violet? Although this week's episode isn't the last as we still have next week's "Christmas Special" episode, this is the last week of clues. At this point it is pretty transparent what we are doing next, so I have omitted the clues and have instead given you the final instructions in their entirety. There will not be an episode guide tomorrow as it is not needed.

Both beginners and intermediates have 6 rows left of knitting, plus the bind off. I've grouped all six rows for each together to make it easier for you to knit from.

Beginners: Please take note that although the knitting this week looks similar to last week, it is in a different order, so be sure to reference this week's clue, not last week's to finish up.

Intermediates: You will not notice a difference at all in this weeks clue. It is the same as last week. This will make your border (what is actually called a Shell Lace pattern) a little wider and quite pretty. Some of you may have noticed that this Shell Lace pattern looks familiar. It is borrowed from last year's DA KAL pattern, Lady Violet's Dinner Gauntlets. I thought it would be nice tie-in this pattern to last year's pattern a bit.

Some of you have mentioned you have extra yarn so please feel free to knit an extra repeat of the pattern to lengthen your shawlette if you would like. Intermediates can simply do another 6-row Shell Lace repeat. Beginners wanting to do another 6 rows will need to repeat Week #6 after working Week #7.

Ok, let's get started, shall we?

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *k2tog, yo; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (78 sts between markers)

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.
Row 3: K4, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (78 sts between markers)

Row 4: K4, p to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 5: K4, *k2tog, yo; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (78 sts between markers)

Row 6: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

*Bind off all sts loosely and block out points where increases are firmly for optimal length.


Intermediate: 


Row 1: K4, *k2tog, k9, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (66 sts between markers.)


Row 2: k4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

Row 3: K4, *k2tog, k7, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (54 sts between markers.)

Row 4: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

Row 5: K4, *k2tog, yo, (k1, yo) 5 times, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (78 sts between markers.)

Row 6: knit

*Bind off all stitches loosely and weave in ends. Wet block firmly, especially along points where increases are and gently pin out the shell lace points.


Alright folks! That is the end of the KAL knitting! Thanks to those of you who stuck it out. I am seeing so many beautiful FOs on Ravelry in the JBW Group! In fact, I would love to do a final post next week with a big reveal of as many FOs as possible. I'll be posting my FO pics as well but I would love to combine them with yours to have one big final hurrah! If you would allow me to use your photos (from Ravelry or you can send them to me) please feel free to let me know. You can either private message me at Jimmy Beans Wool on Ravelry or send me an e-mail at: kristen (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Once again, thanks to you all for participating. For those who would like it, the final version of the pattern will be released in mid-March, so if you are waiting for that to get started, be sure to check the Jimmy Beans Wool Free Patterns Page then or keep an eye out in our monthly newsletter.

Hope you enjoy tonight's episode and happy knitting!
Kristen


Friday, February 14, 2014

Kitten Mittens from Stitch Mountain - Designed by Jeanne Giles!

When I was asked to participate in the Stitch Mountain book I was so excited!! I have lived here in Reno my whole life and skied in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains for most of those years. Of course I love to knit and design with an emphasis on fun and unusual projects, so Brita Sigourney's vision for the Kitten Mittens was right up my alley.

Brita is a huge advocate for pet adoption and fosters pets whenever she can. Here's her comment when approached about the project, “I recently adopted a kitty, Cory. She is such a joy, so obviously when I saw these mittens I had to have them!”

I am a huge animal lover myself with many rescue pets throughout my life. My pets have made my world so happy over the years and I currently am graced with a 12 year old Queensland Healer mix, Sierra, and an inherited 15 year old Rag Doll cat named Tasha.

As I read about Brita and her commitment to her sport, as well as her passion for rescue animals, I knew I could come up with a project that would compliment her idea for the fun and whimsy she had envisioned, as well as the warmth that she needs when on the slopes.

I just can't imagine the dedication it takes for this amazing athlete to ski the halfpipe and I loved learning about her ability in the water as well as on the slopes, but in the end it was the snow that won her heart.

She has won the World Junior Championships in New Zealand, as well as earning a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. Growing up in Carmel California she was only a mere 5 hours away from Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe where she spent every winter weekend honing her skills on the snow.

Ever since 2010 she has focused on the halfpipe, winning the X Games silver and bronze medals. She is the first woman to land a 1080 degree spin in competition!! Honestly I just can't even imagine doing something like that, but really love to watch someone else do it!

She is currently working on her college degree and trains in ever spare moment she has. Brita is a true inspiration to women of all ages.
 
I loved working on this project for the book and am truly proud to be part of such a great project! I have worked at Jimmy Beans Wool for over 7 years now and can't imagine being anywhere else! Knitting is my passion and I love creating fun things.

I wish you all happiness in whatever you pursue and hope that you enjoy my mittens, as well as all the other great projects in Stitch Mountain.


Happy Knitting and skiing!!

Jeanne

Kitten Mittens designed by Jeanne Giles from Stitch Mountain: 30 Warm Knits for Conquering the Cold by Laura Zander, published by Sixth&Spring Books, sixthandspringbooks.com. Photography by Brad Swonetz and pattern instructions copyright © 2013 by Sixth&Spring Books/Soho Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Voodoo Dolls and Voodoo Dreams!

When we decided to work with Skacel  to create the Voodoo Doll Kits for Valentine's Day, we had no idea that Bethany's mom, who is a lawyer that also writes novels, had also just released her latest book called Voodoo Dreams. What a fun coincidence this turned out to be!


We originally wanted to create these Voodoo Doll Kits as an alternative for those who prefer not to celebrate Valentine's Day with hearts and flowers. But as they developed, we realized what a fun and positive thing they could be. With the different colored pins that represent love, tranquility, friendship, passion, and more, your doll, rather could be a metaphor for the elements you want to manifest in your life. We love this concept, and it doesn't hurt that the dolls are pretty darn cute! Huck really likes his!


Bethany's mom, Barbara, is a laywer who also writes novels under a couple of different pen names, including "Alana Lorens." She is known for her Pittsburgh Lady Laywers series among others (you can read more about it on her website here.) She also happens to be a knitter and crocheter, so when we found out that she wrote a Voodoo-themed book, we couldn't help but give her a little shout out!


Here is a little info about Voodoo Dreams:


In October 2013, Alana Lorens debuted the third book in her Pittsburgh lady Lawyers series, VOODOO DREAMS, a romantic suspense novel set in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can't wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious--but handsome--lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast. Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He'd much rather devote himself to her--especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger. Strangely compelled to follow the riddle's clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?
Barbara, baby Penne, and Bethany in 2012

Jeanne read Voodoo Dreams in about two days and thought it was fantastic. She downloaded the Kindle edition, but it's also available in paperback. Both versions can be found on Amazon.com, in case you are interested!

We just thought this fun coincidence would be a great tie-in with our Voodoo Doll Kits, and we hope you've enjoyed reading about Bethany's mom's (not-so) secret writing talents!

Happy knitting (and reading)!
Kristen

Monday, February 10, 2014

Downton Abbey Mystery KAL - Week #6 Episode Guide

**Please note 2/10: Sorry this is a bit late this morning! I had this auto-scheduled but somehow Blogger malfunctioned and didn't post on time. Good thing I double checked it this morning!**

Hi everyone! Here is this week's episode guide for Downton Abbey! Also below is some of the important info you might need for this week's knitting, in case you missed it yesterday.

A note to Beginners and/or those who are running short of yarn: The beginner border clues are set up so that you can bind off when you need to after finishing a row 2. Even though the border repeat is technically a 4-row repeat, you can easily decide at at any time that you are finished. If you are running short on yarn, you may opt to do this option to give yourself more control over the yarn usage. Also, this option is best for those who do not have 78 sts between markers, but do have an even number.

A note to Intermediates: You must have 78 (or in some cases 65) sts between markers. The stitch repeat is 13 sts so you will have either 6 (or 5) repeats of the pattern between markers. This is also a 6-row repeat, so tonight you will be doing 1 whole repeat of the border. In order to finish out the entire border as intended you'll need approximately 140 yds of yarn. If you are running short, see the note for the beginner option above.

If anyone has questions about what option they should do for the border, please shoot me a Ravelry message letting me know your status and I am happy to give advice.

So now onto the clues. Here is the order the should go in, with stitch counts to keep you on track:


Prompt #1 - When Thomas sets out on an adventure, do the following:
*Thomas goes to america with Lord Crawley.

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, K4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each. (78 sts between markers)


Intermediate: 

Row 1: K4, *k2tog, k9, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (You should have 6 repeats between each marker.) 

Row 2: k4, p to last 4 sts, k4.


*Knit these two rows just one time each.  (66 sts between markers)



Prompt #2 -When Mary saves her bacon, do the following:
*Mary saves the dehydrated pigs.

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *k2tog, yo; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each. (78 sts between markers)


Intermediate:

Row 1: K4, *k2tog, k7, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (You should have 6 repeats between markers.)

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each.  (54 sts between markers)



Prompt #3 - When Edith makes a big decision, do the following:
*Edith makes the choices to keep her baby.

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, K4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each. (78 sts between markers)


Intermediate:

Row 1: K4, *k2tog, yo, (k1, yo) 5 times, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (You should have 6 repeats between markers. 

Row 2: knit

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each. (78 sts between markers)


I hope this clears any questions up for you all! Be sure to check in on Ravelry if you have any others. They may already have been answered on there, but I'll be sure to check in to make sure everyone is doing ok throughout the week as well! Hope you all have a great week!

Happy knitting,
Kristen

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Downton Abbey Mystery KAL - Week #6

Hi everyone and welcome to week 6 of the Downton Abbey Mystery KAL! Tonight we return to our regularly scheduled clues. That means that these clues are not in order so please watch carefully to make sure you do these prompts in order. I've made the clues pretty easy to spot in the show so even though they may seem vague now, I promise you they are not. 

Also, just a hint, if you are pretty adept at pattern reading, you can probably figure out the order they go in. Just a hint. If you do figure it out early, please keep it a secret for those who want to play the game.

A note to Beginners and/or those who are running short of yarn: The beginner border clues are set up so that you can bind off when you need to after finishing a row 2. Even though the border repeat is technically a 4-row repeat, you can easily decide at at any time that you are finished. If you are running short on yarn, you may opt to do this option to give yourself more control over the yarn usage. Also, this option is best for those who do not have 78 sts between markers, but do have an even number.

A note to Intermediates: You must have 78 (or in some cases 65) sts between markers. The stitch repeat is 13 sts so you will have either 6 (or 5) repeats of the pattern between markers. This is also a 6-row repeat, so tonight you will be doing 1 whole repeat of the border. In order to finish out the entire border as intended (this includes next week's knitting as well) you'll need approximately 140 yds of yarn. If you are running short, see the note for the beginner option above.

If anyone has questions about what option they should do for the border, please shoot me a Ravelry message letting me know your status and I am happy to give advice.

So now onto the clues. Remember, these are not in order (as this IS supposed to be a bit of a mystery after all!) so be sure to watch as you go or wait for tomorrow's episode guide for clarity!

Prompt #1 -When Mary saves her bacon, do the following:

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *k2tog, yo; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each.


Intermediate:


Row 1: K4, *k2tog, k7, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (You should have 6 repeats between markers.)


Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each.



Prompt #2 - When Edith makes a big decision, do the following:

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, K4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each.


Intermediate:


Row 1: K4, *k2tog, yo, (k1, yo) 5 times, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (You should have 6 repeats between markers. 

Row 2: knit

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each.



Prompt #3 - When Thomas sets out on an adventure, do the following:

Beginner:

Row 1: K4, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.

Row 2: K4, p to last 4 sts, K4.

*Knit these 2 rows just one time each.

Intermediate: 


Row 1: K4, *k2tog, k9, ssk; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4. (You should have 6 repeats between each marker.)


Row 2: k4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

*Knit these two rows just one time each. 


Ok folks, that is it for Week 6! Be sure to check in on Ravelry if you have any questions. I'll be there to help. Also, if you need it, be sure to check out tomorrow's episode guide for all the clues in order and clarified with stitch counts.

In the meantime, happy knitting!
Kristen

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Imperial Yarns at the Olympics!

Some of you may already know that one of our yarn vendors, Imperial Yarns, provided the yarn to Ralph Lauren to create the opening ceremony sweaters for Team USA in this year's Olympics in Sochi! When Ralph Lauren set out to create this year's team uniform entirely in the USA with US made products, Imperial had no idea that they would possibly be selected to be a part of the collaboration. We were blown away when we heard so we just had to ask Jeanne Carver, one of the owners of Imperial Stock Ranch about their involvement. Here is what she had to say to our questions:


Jeanne & Dan Carver
1)      As a long-time rancher with so much family history in the ranching industry, what made you decide to get involved in the yarn industry?

What a great first question.   In 1999, we had been selling our wool as a commodity for more than 130 years, and to the same buyer for 110 years.  When we called the buyer that spring, to discuss price and hauling the wool into their warehouse, they told us they weren't going to be buying anymore.  They were closing the processing facilities in the Northwest, and going offshore for processing and manufacturing.  Combined with other pressures in predation and the lamb market, the sheep industry was feeling a tremendous amount of pressure.  Between 1996 and 2000, 26,000 sheep producers went out of business in the U.S.  With our heritage, and the heritage of this sheep breed, we felt called to find a way to carry on.  Getting the wool clean, and into a form we could sell, led us naturally along the path to yarns.  We have taken the obstacles one at a time or sometimes a whole bucket at a time!.....to get to where we are today.   We're always a work in progress, as we negotiate new market channels for value added products. 


2)      Do you knit or crochet? If so, what is your favorite piece you’ve made? If not, what would be your first project if you ever started?

Ha!  I'm so busy that if I just sit down, I usually fall asleep!  I can cast on, knit, purl and bind off!   Does that count?!  The women (grandmothers, mother, sister) in my family have always been very talented with craft skills, from knitting and crochet to quilting and sewing.  As for me....since I was a tiny girl, my life was always outdoors.  I was my father's original and best tomboy.  Not to say that tomboys can't knit!  But my passions have been with animals and being on the go outside.  And now....since beginning this journey in 1999, the most amazing women have come into my life that can bring the fibers to life in beautiful pieces.  Along this process, I have had more than 20 women doing production knitting, weaving, felting and cut and sew to finished apparel with Imperial Yarns.  They have become family, and very important in my life.  They have talent!  As for me.....I would begin with something small....like a scarf or cowl.  A simple but elegant piece I could wrap up in, that would provide quick and nearly instant gratification!  And I can't imagine "ripping out!"



3)      When you were approached by Ralph Lauren’s staff to provide the yarn for the Olympic team’s sweaters, what was the first thought that ran through your mind?

Well....you have to realize that I didn't know for many months, what projects the yarns they were interested in would be used for.  So the sequence goes like this:

The Call.....I got a phone call on a summer day in July of 2012, from a guy who jumped right in to asking questions about our yarn.  By the way, I was outside when I took the call.  I thought he was with a yarn store, and when I asked him which one, he said "I'm not with a yarn shop, I'm with product development for Polo Ralph Lauren in NY."  So....my first response was, "You're kidding me......"   And he said that he was not kidding and as a matter of fact, was sitting right on Madison Avenue.  I said this is so incredible.....I'm sitting outside in the Oregon desert....in fact, can you hear my sheep?  I held up the phone so he could be transported by the sounds of the sheep calling to one another and the tinkle of the bells, as they were leaving the spring here behind the headquarters, and beginning to graze their way toward the night sheep camp where they bed down. 

It was a long way from an order at that point.  About a month later, a design team visited, but it was still going to be a process before they would place an order.  About 6 months later, we got the order for our Erin Yarn.  I still did not know.   When they finally told us, it was hard to comprehend.   We were very honored and humbled to have the yarn chosen.  Our yarn will be the Opening Ceremonies Sweater for Team USA to wear in the Parade of Nations on February 7th in Sochi, Russia.  Wow!  You know when it really hit me?   When they launched the story on the NBC Today Show on October 29th, and I saw our U.S. athletes wearing red, white and blue.   I just cried.



4)      Can you tell us a little bit about what went into your part of the process for the creation of the Olympic Sweaters? Such as shearing, processing, dyeing, etc.

Yes....we shepherded the wool all the way to delivery to the knitting factory.  Obviously, we care for the animals and the landscape....that is our greatest calling.  We tend those interconnected relationships.  Once we harvest the wool, we move it through all the processing steps.   Shipping to scouring, carding, combing and into one of our milling partners, depending on what type of yarn we are ready to spin.  The RL designers chose a yarn that we spin in the worsted system.  We placed the spinning order, and then had it sent to our dye house partner.  We managed the process of matching their color standards.  This meant having 4 to 6 lab dips/color done by the color lab at the dye house, and shipping those samples to the RL team for color approval.  There are 9 colors of yarn in the Opening Ceremonies sweater.  Sometimes that is a back and forth process.  We also had the yarn tested for care and performance by an outside independent laboratory.  Eventually, we had approved colors and proceeded to dye to the order.  Once the yarn was dyed, we sent more samples fo the RL team for final approval prior to shipping the yarns to the knitting facility.



5)      Since your Erin yarn was the yarn chosen for the sweaters and knitters can also knit with this same yarn, can you tell us a bit more about the development of this yarn, what makes it special, and projects it would be good for?

 This is a fabulous yarn!  It begins with our wool and goes through the combing and spinning in the worsted system, which gives it a beautiful hand.  It's versatile, showing great stitch definition, and is a worsted weight yarn making it perfect for a wide variety of projects.  From mittens to scarves to sweaters to shawls....this yarn will be a staple.  It's a great yarn for hand dyers; it's a great yarn for cloth diaper covers; it's growing in popularity among knitters.



6)      Lastly, how does it feel to be a part of something as huge as the Olympics? Would you ever do it again?

We are overwhelmed with emotion and so very grateful to have had the chance to partner with a company like Ralph Lauren.   Every single individual I've worked with in their company has been genuine, supportive, committed and excellent to work with.  It's been an amazing journey.  How does it really feel?  It's bigger than my dreams!  I don't know of an honor that could be greater for our yarn, than to be chosen by an iconic brand like Ralph Lauren, for the premier garment (Opening Ceremonies Parade of Nations) to clothe our U. S. Olympic Team.  It is very humbling.  I still won't know exactly how it feels until we watch on television on February 7th.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!  We will always focus on the work in front of us, no matter what the opportunity or challenge.  And we will work to deliver a quality result.



7)      Is there anything else you would like to add or have us share on your behalf?


 There were many companies and thousands of hands involved in the entire effort to provide the uniforms and apparel for this Winter Olympics.  I respect and congratulate Ralph Lauren for the decision and committment to this Made in America effort.  They have touched so many people with this, and helped grow a strong pride across this country and a swelling feeling of support for our athletes going into the games.  I think we have an even closer spirit with Team USA because of this.  We're connected.....

Winter Games Pullover


Thank you to Jeanne for taking the time to respond to our questions! We are so excited to see your yarn on our athletes during the opening ceremonies! Be sure to watch tomorrow tonight on your local NBC station to see these sweaters in action!

Also, in honor of Imperial's involvement with the Olympics, Tanis Gray has designed a beautiful cabled sweater -- The Winter Games Pullover-- with Erin and is hosting a KAL during the Olympics for anyone wanting to knit this gorgeous piece! The pattern is free on the Imperial Yarns website, and of course you can find the Erin yarn here.   

Happy knitting,
Kristen

PS. Imperial is having a "Name this Lamb" Contest on their Facebook page right now so if you need a daily dose of cuteness, be sure to head over to enter! The winner will receive some free Imperial Yarn!

**All photos in this post are from the Imperial Yarns website and Facebook pages.**

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5th Block of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long by Saremy Duffy

5th Block of the Sew Red Sew-a-long from Saremy Duffy

We are just bursting at the seams (hee hee) to show you the next block in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long!  This inspired-by-Cathedral-Window quilt block was designed by the wildly talented Saremy Duffy of Chicken Boots. 

All about Saremy
Chicken Boots
Saremy Duffy is an extremely avid seamster with a business making and selling accessories for knitters, crocheters and others creative folks called Chicken Boots.  All Chicken Boots products are made right here in the USA in Chico, CA, and we proudly carry them at Jimmy Beans. Saremy is passionate about knowing where the things she buys come from and tries to buy Made in US and handmade first—within reason financially.  I bet what you really want to know, though, is why she chose the name “Chicken Boots” for her business.  The Duffys have raised a lot of chickens and after a 1.5 year hiatus while they found a new home, they hope this year they will have chickens again.  Saremy says she falls asleep dreaming about the Chicken Coop / Bunny Hutch she will build in the yard next to their pool once they're all settled in their new home.  During all that time of raising chickens, they’ve called their boots that are worn to take care of chicken chores their 'chicken boots'. Their daughter was five when she coined the term and it stuck!  

If you’re local to the Chico area, check out the public knitting group that Saremy hosts at the Chico Library each week.  You can also keep up with all of her adventures on her blog (http://www.chickenbootsusa.com/blogs) or by connecting with her on Facebook. Don't forget your boots!

Saremy and Sew Red
 Saremy picked up on heart-healthy eating and exercising habits from her mother’s example; her mom was a nurse who worked in a heart catheterization lab, which runs diagnostic tests to see if someone is at risk for heart disease.  Saremy is passionate about knowing where her food comes from and tries to eat organic, local foods as much as possible.  Saremy knits and sews a lot, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, but she’s very conscious of being as active as she can.  As an avid cyclist-turned-runner, Saremy makes it a point to get her morning run in before becoming consumed by work.  She has also challenged herself that she’ll get to knit for every hour she exercises this year.  We think that’s a great way to stay active!  Seeing firsthand how devastating heart disease can be made Saremy excited to be a part of the book.  You can find her amazingly practical and stylish Jewelry Case in Sew Red!

Saremy’s Block for the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long!
Saremy was inspired to re-interpret the traditional Cathedral Window quilt block.  She used fabrics from Luella Doss's Fowl Play collection - perfect for the creator of Chicken Boots! We love that her block can be assembled in many different ways, and can’t wait to see how you all choose to orient your own blocks!  Click over to the Chicken Boots blog to find instructions!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Downton Abbey KAL Week #5

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all had a fabulous week. Mine was busy (deadlines galore) but overall good. :)

So this week is an extremely light knitting week. I am doing this for three reasons:

1) I want to give as many people as possible the chance to catch up so we can all finish together over the next couple of weeks.

2) The most natural stopping point in this section is after 4 rows, so before we begin the final border patterning, I wanted to give you all a nice easy week to relax and enjoy some simple knitting.

3) Although I don't want to assume that any of you are football fans, I am sure some people will be busy preparing for and watching the Super Bowl tomorrow, so I didn't want to overload anyone.

For those of you who have already stopped increasing, please do not to the increases in this week's pattern. For those of you worried about running out of yarn, don't worry, this week is the last 4 increases in each section that will be done. I've mentioned before that we are aiming to get to 78 stitches between markers. This week we will complete all of the increases. If you are a few weeks behind and would like to slow your increases, I've posted some alternate instructions for that in weeks 3 & 4 of the Ravelry forums. The posts are as follows:

Week 3, Post # 381:


Week 4, Post #115:



These will get you to 65 sts between needles. Then you would follow this week's instructions without increases. Hopefully this helps some of you who are working through your yarn a bit faster.

Also, these directions are for both beginner and intermediate. Everyone is doing the same exact thing this week. Sorry to be so boring, but it had to be done. Because of this, the knitting this week is really not a mystery at all. So, that said, I have incorporated a few clues later in the post to give you something to watch for in tonight's episode. I recommend you brew yourself a cup of tea (which I will be doing) or a glass of wine or your drink of choice (cheers to you, and enjoy on my behalf) and follow along with the fun clues anyway just for kicks. Since the knitting this week is the same for everyone and is very simple, feel free to knit ahead today if you'd like so you can relax and enjoy tonight's episode. You deserve it!

Week 5 Knitting (both Beginners & Intermediates):

Row 1: k4, *k1f&b, k to 1 st before next marker, k1f&b; repeat from * to last 4 sts, k4.

Row 2: knit

*repeat rows 1 & 2 once more. (78 sts between markers)

And that's all for this week's knitting folks!

Some of you may be wondering how much more knitting there is. Here is the short answer: Intermediates will have 8-16 (or possibly more if desired) rows of knitting. The intermediate border pattern is an 8-row repeat and we will be doing it twice. The beginner's border pattern is a two row repeat and we will be doing it the same number of rows in theory, however, there is more flexibility in the beginner pattern to do fewer rows if needed. If you think you are running too short of yarn, the beginner pattern will be a good choice since it's easier to customize. Just something to keep in mind for next week.


Now, here are the fun clues for Episode 5 to drink your tea or (ahem) other beverage of choice this evening:

Prompt #1: When Violet and Isobel have a disagreement, demurely take a sip and proclaim, "Indeed!"

Prompt #2: Anytime Thomas pressures Baxter to collude with him, take a drink with raised eyebrows.

Prompt #3: When Edith receives some upsetting news, take a gulp and say, "Poor Edith!"

Prompt #4: When Anna and Bates have a nice night out, take a sip and say, "Good for them!"

Prompt #5: When Rose debuts her birthday surprise for Lord Crawley, take a drink with your pinky in the air.

Prompt #6: When Rose is caught by Mary doing something unladylike, demurely take a sip and exclaim, "Kids these days!"


These are just for fun of course and not required, I hope you enjoy the episode. :)

Because there is no mystery in this week's knitting, I will not be posting an episode guide tomorrow. If you have questions about the knitting, please let me know!

Happy knitting everyone!
Kristen