Have you heard? Our Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-A-Long using just one skein of Sportmate this month's Lorna's Laces Color- "Christmas at Downton" is the hit of the season! What are we knitting you might ask? Well that part is the mystery! The KAL will start officially on Sunday, Jan. 6th with the first "clue" or piece of the knitting pattern posted on the Jimmy Beans Wool Blog. A new "clue" will be posted each week for the duration of Season 3 of Downton Abbey.
Check in on the blog for all of the details on Monday, Dec. 31st for more info on what we are knitting, gauge, needle size, and fun Downton Trivia! If you can't wait that long to join in the fun, be sure to check in on our Ravelry Group for pre-KAL discussion and a few clues! We hope you'll join us for what is sure to be a super fun Downton adventure!
When I picked out the fabric for December's Limited Edition Denise2Gos (making decisions about limited edition products is one of my favorite things!) I couldn't decide what the prints reminded me of most: Candy or the festive strings of lights you find adorning everything this time of year. Picking out colors and prints is definitely my forte, naming them is another feat entirely. Kristen ingeniously combined my two inspirations and coined Candy Garland! While the Candy Garland Denise2Go is holiday-themed, it will definitely be handy all year long.
Each set includes 3 cords, 6 of the most popular interchangeable needle tip sizes and a crochet hook, all housed in the stylish Candy Garland case.
Already have too many needles, but need an interchangeable case for knitting on the go? Check out the empty Denise2Go Cases! And for all you crocheters, Denise has created a spiffy Crochet Denise2Go set. These hooks can be used for both Tunisian and regular crochet!
Whether you are a planner or a procrastinator, sometimes last-minute gifts are unavoidable. If you find yourself with days remaining and gifts still to be made, we've created a list of some of our favorite super-quick gifts. Depending on your speed and energy levels, these projects can be completed in about 2 to 3 hours or less, the perfect amount of time for maximizing your lunch hour, multi-tasking while watching your favorite reality TV show, or passing the time during that layover on your way home for the holidays.
Fingerless gloves are the gift no one knows they need until they have them - and then can't live without them... At least that's how we feel about these hand warming necessities! We love Churchmouse's Welted Fingerless Gloves, which knit up quickly, even though the pattern uses DK weight yarn and size US 5 and 6 DPNs. The pattern is unisex and easily customizable, so knitting up a pair for any member of your family is a breeze!
Ruffle scarves. It isn't all about Triana and Flounce this year, there really are some unique and creative ruffle yarns out there! Jenn is all about Plymouth's Passion Ice, while Leanne (self-proclaimed ruffle-addict from the beginning) has fallen head over heels for Plymouth's Passion Nette and Kiss Kiss from Filatura di Crosa. Another shop favorite is Serpentine from Trendsetter, creators of Cha Cha, the ruffle-icious classic. Ruffle scarves work up in no time and can be knit or crochet!
Break out the big needles (we suggest Knitter's Pride Basix) for chunky scarves and cowls! We have a lot of fun chunky yarns this winter - ranging from colorful, like Poems Puzzle and Berroco Link, to texturrific such as the plush Ci Piace, or simple soft squishy bulky like Cascade Magnum and Big Baby. One to two skeins of these super chunky yarns is all it takes to make thick cozy scarves and oversized cowls. Pick a bigger needle size (US 15 and up), cast on 8 stitches and knit garter stitch for a super simple scarf -just cast on more stitches if you want a wider scarf. For an easy cowl, cast on about three times or more (24 + stitches) and knit straight in garter or another stitch of your choice. When you near the end of your skein, bind off with enough remaining to sew the ends together. Voila - cowl!
Another go-to for quick knits is the stocking cap. Face it, hats are never going out of style; and people can always use more than one for different outfits! Ann Norling's classic Spiral Rib Hat pattern continues to be a favorite year after year. Easy to customize for any size head, this pattern has directions for knitting in 8 different gauges and sizes so you can just pick your yarn and start knitting!
This month's design came as a request from Jimmy. She loves the simplicity of the garter stitch shawls we've been seeing so much of lately, and she wanted one knit out of our new exclusive yarn from Malabrigo: Lace Superwash. Of course I jumped at the chance to design with this brand new yarn and boy am I glad I did! Malabrigo's Lace Superwash is truly gorgeous.
The colors are richly saturated and the yarn itself has nice memory and a squishy-soft feel. I wouldn't really consider this yarn to be lace weight; it is actually somewhere between a lace and a fingering weight. The yarn really lends itself well to a simple shawl pattern using two colors of Malabrigo Lace Superwash which is how the Truckee Shawlette wle Shawlette using either 2 or 4 skeins of the Malabrigo Lace Superwash with the yarn held single or double. When held single and knit on US size 4 needles, this yarn is light and airy creating a little wisp of warmth around your neck. When held double, the result is closer to a DK weight and creates a slightly warmer shawl. Either way, the Malabrigo colors shine beautifully! I hope you enjoy this new free pattern from Jimmy Beans Wool!
It's the thought that counts in gift giving, so if the holidays have caught up with you yet again (it has happened to more than a few of us at JBW), don't worry: While you might not be able to finish that heirloom afghan until next year, we have plenty of thoughtful gifts that the special fiber artist in your life will love!
This technically goes in the "Last Minute Gifts" section, but it is so quick to make, it is more like a "Last Second Gift." Berroco Hurray is a strip of machine knitted fabric that you can cut into three strips and braid into a stylish scarf (directions are included on the label). To top it off, each hank comes with two pom poms that you can tie onto each end! If you're in a real hurray (hehe!), or just want a super long scarf, you can simply roll out the hank and attach the pom poms. Handmade doesn't get much easier than that!
Made exclusively for Jimmy Beans, this Limited Edition Dreamz Interchageable Needle Set is truly unique. These special sets make wonderful gifts for beginner and seasoned knitters alike, and will be sure to get plenty of use. Only a small batch of these exquisite needles was made and once we run out, they'll be gone for good, so grab a set while you still can! Featuring the same finely tapered tips as all Dreamz needles in US sizes 4 through 11 and multiple cord lengths, these solid, smooth wooden needle tips come in a timeless onyx hue.
Remember how we mentioned fingerless gloves are awesome? Well, if you don't have time to knit a pair, give someone the means to knit their own! Soak and Lorna's have teamed up to create Soakboxes; simple kits that include a custom color of Lorna's Shepherd Sport, a specially designed fingerless mitts pattern, one bottle of Handmaid luxury cream to pamper your hands, premium nail polish to pamper your nails, and a bottle of Soak so you can pamper your hand knits.
For those with too much yarn and not enough time to wind it all, swifts and ball winders are a must-have. The collapsible wooden Umbrella Swifts from KSM and the New Wool Winder Ball Winders are the same as the one we use to wind yarn in the shop, so you know they've got to be good (we wind a lot of yarn!). These useful accessories attach to any table top with a clamp and therefore can be placed and removed with ease.
What makes a yarn a superwash yarn? This is a question that I get asked fairly often. In a nutshell, superwash is a process that wool is put through to make it more resistant to shrinking and felting. There are a several methods that can be used to accomplish this, but the majority of superwash wool is treated with a resin.
Looking at a wool fiber under a microscope, you would see that it's composed of overlapping scales. When wool gets wet, these scales open. Adding agitation, alkalinity (like soap or detergent) and fluctuating temperatures eventually cause the scales grab onto each other, much like Velcro. When this happens, the fibers bind together and become inseparable. This is called felting - and when a knit garment is felted, it shrinks and becomes thick and dense.
The resins used in the superwash process prevent the scales from opening and grabbing each other. While superwash is good, it isn't foolproof - so please still treat your woolens gently! High heat can cause the resin to fail, and then one day your item might begin to felt. We recommend using the gentlest setting on your washer and adequate water, so there is little friction in the wash. Lay flat to dry or partially tumble dry on very low heat, then allow to finish drying flat.
"Home is Where the Heart Is" Shawl # 3 is on the way and from what we can tell so far (see the hints on Romi's blog) it's sure to be gorgeous! When you have the amazing talents of Romi Hill and stunning hand-dyed Opulence yarn from All for Love of Yarn, you really can't go wrong. If you haven't yet pre-ordered your kit for Shawl #3, you can do so here. We are expecting the pattern to be released very soon...
Deliciously soft and light as a feather, Debbie Bliss's Angel Print yarn is a colorful variation of her lace weight mohair and silk, Angel. Available in twelve gorgeous self-striping colorways, Angel Print is as beautiful on its own as it is paired with another yarn. We just love the Batwing Top from the Fall 2012 Issue of Vogue which highlights the stripy nature of this yarn as well as its near-weightless drape!
We loved Dora Ohrenstein's book, Custom Crochet Sweaters, so we had to get her patterns as well (more of a good thing is always better, right?!). If a sweater is too much to take on this time of year, her lacy fingerless gloves like the Little Red or Afternoon Tea mitts are simple projects with stunning results! One of our favorite, more substantial projects, is Dora's Wave Babe Skirt. Use a tonal or solid DK weight yarn (we suggest Tosh DK or Scrumptious DK/Worsted) and let the stylish stitch pattern shine!
Knit something stylish for yourself! These classy scarf kits from Trendsetter use three different types of yarn knit length-wise for a unique look. The flared ruffled edges add subtle shaping to this scarf, and the different textures are sure to be noticed! Each kit includes a pattern and enough yarn to make the scarf -all you need is a pair of US 8 needles!
It may be winter, but wool isn't the only thing keeping us warm! Mist Alpaca's new Best of Nature Cotton yarn is a sumptuous 100% organic Peruvian pima cotton colored with all-natural dyes. The eco-friendly worsted weight yarn comes in 6 beautiful tonal colorways. Use 4 to 7 hanks for Baby Cocktail's Cranberry Capelet or 4 hanks for the Wool.com/knitting/yarn/OatCouture/OatCouture.asp?showLarge=true&specPCVID=14867">Sonoma Shawl from Oat Couture.
We have so many wonderful yarns on sale, but here are just a few of our favorites... Lorna's Laces Black Sheep: 50% Off! Lorna's Laces' Black Sheep, a worsted weight wool and viscose blend, features one strand of black yarn that is plied with some of your favorite Lorna's dyed yarn! Here are some of the current most popular colors...
Universal Yarn Classic Chunky: Now 50% off! Get it while the getting is good! Universal Yarn Classic Chunky is now on sale! This stupendous and versatile yarn is great for any project ranging from heirloom afghans to baby beanies and everything in between. An ideal yarn for hard-wearing garments, kids apparel and home decor, Classic Chunky is a machine washable blend of wool and acrylic with a surprisingly soft, silky feel.
Noro Wadaiko: Now 50% off! Add texture to your next project with Noro's bouncy wool boucle, Wadaiko! Available in 6 eye catching colorways, this gorgeous yarn is great for chunky cowls, ponchos, stylish cardigans or colorful throws. The self-striping colorways do all the work for you, so you can just pick a project and get knitting. Each hank is 100 yards of Noro goodness and knits up on a US 10.5 needle.
Select Namaste Bags: Starting at 55% off! You can't go wrong with Namaste bags. The Bitty Bag and Urban Hip Holsters are customer favorites, and at these amazing prices are flying out the door. The perfect gift of knitters and non-knitters alike (or a much-deserved present to yourself), these bags make it easy to keep all your essentials with you in style! If you're looking for more color options, be sure to check out the Classic Hip Holster too.
Katia Triana and Triana Lux: Now 40% off! Get your favorite colors of Triana and sparkly Triana Lux while you can! Just one skein of these classic ruffle yarns is all it takes to knit or crochet a voluptuous scarf that will add style to any outfit. Cast on 6 to 8 stitches for a classic scarf that only takes an afternoon to finish. For wider or thinner scarves, just cast on more or less stitches.
Thank you for all of your support in 2012! It has been an amazing year and 2013 is looking to be even better. We all hope you have a fantabulous yarn-filled holiday season! Much love from all of us at Jimmy Beans Wool!
If you are planning a visit to the Reno-Tahoe area in 2013, be sure to come by, kick back, and relax in our Hot Tub full of yarn!