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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sew Red is Now Availble for Pre-order!

We couldn't resist creating a follow-up to the wildly popular "Knit Red" book so we took all of that excitement and combined it with our love of sewing to create "Sew Red!" Tons more info and inside looks will be released about Sew Red in the coming months, but we wanted to let you all know that Jimmy Beans Wool has added Sew Red to their site for pre-order, just in time for the holidays! If you love to sew you'll love all of the fun projects in Sew Red!

Remember, all copies purchased from Jimmy Beans Wool will be signed by the author!

Happy stitching this holiday season!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Stitch Red Holiday Decorating!

I had grand plans of decorating my Christmas tree with homemade ornaments this year but, as so frequently happens, time got away from me and I found myself breaking out the red and green bulbs and glass ornaments I've collected over the years. Then Jeanne introduced her DIY ornaments on the Jimmy Beans Wool blog, which turned out extremely cute, and I was left wondering how the festive red of Stitch Red could be a part of the holiday cheer. It hit me (while watching Downton Abbey as that has sucked me in, too - have you seen the Christmas at Downton color?) that the Mini Red dress would be a wonderful way to deck the halls! 

Jimmy Beans Wool Stitch Red - Mini Red Dress Kit - Alpaca Sox

Available in Classic Elite Alpaca Sox, one mini red dress knits up in an hour or two! The kit comes with one mini skein (enough for one dress), a pin (in case you'd like to don yours on your favorite winter coat), and a small amount of white yarn. To make more than one mini red dress we recommend buying one hank of CEY Alpaca Sox in Stitch Red to make nine mini dresses (roughly). To mix it up, you could even grab a hank of Watercress for red and green dresses! 

You'll need US 2 DPNs, stitch markers, a stitch holder (I would recommend a safety pin), and a copy of Knit Red for the pattern. 

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stitch Red Holiday Gift Guide

Whether you've decorated the Christmas tree or are getting ready to light the menorah, you might still have a short list of gifts to buy or, if you're like me, you're waiting until the very last minute to check off who've been naughty and nice. Stitch Red is not only a great way to support a wonderful cause near and dear to many hearts, but the color is just so festive! Here's a holiday list of some gifts for the knitter in your life...

From Noni Patterns

This simple, yet elegant felted evening bag is a wonderful holiday accessory or night-on-the-town clutch. Dress it up or bring it along for a casual outing with the girls - it fits in in every setting. P.S. The merino wool included is made in the USA!

From Nelkin Designs

This beaded necklace is the ideal stocking stuffer. The kit comes with easy to follow instructions, beads, yarn and clasp for a simple, stunning holiday project. It really only takes a few hours!

The chain-like construction of Swans Island Bulky makes for a wonderful yarn that is sure to hold it's shape knit up in whatever project is calling for it. It makes for scrumptious hats and cowls. The stunning tonal red allows for a warm pop of color. 

These are just a few of our favorite things! For more Stitch Red gifts visit our website.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Good Health and Good Food - Happy Thanksgiving!

Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love how my parents house smells with a turkey roasting in the oven and various side dishes baking. I love pumpkin pie. Most importantly, I love how Thanksgiving brings my family together - immediate and extended. I'm always thankful for my family and good health, but this Thanksgiving I find myself hyper-aware of the nutritional value of what's going to be on our Thanksgiving table. I blame it on managing the Stitch Red campaign - a blessing and a curse, but I'd say more of a blessing. 

I started to think "is there really anyway to lighten my favorite dishes and not lose any flavor?" According to the American Heart/American Stroke Association there is a way to not compromise the flavor of our favorites! Here are a few tips...

1. Go with mashed sweet potatoes instead of white. Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, C, potassium, and fiber. I've always been a sweet potato gal, so that's an easy one right there (we'll pretend the almond, brown sugary goodness on top is healthy, too)! 

2. Load up on veggies. This is more of an every day note, but toss in more celery, onions or carrots to the stuffing. Maybe make a fresh cranberry relish (something my mom does really well!).

3. Cut down on some of the bread or opt for whole wheat.

4. Sacrifice fat, not flavor. Low-fat Buttermilk or Low-Sodium Chicken Broth is a great way to get the same deliciousness with less calories.

5. Limit the amount of salt you use - toss a little over the shoulder for good luck, instead of into the stuffing.

Hopefully these tips will help with your Thanksgiving preparations. 

From all of us at Jimmy Beans Wool, we wish you a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

What's getting our hearts racing...

Besides the Thanksgiving feasts that await each of us next Thursday, we have quite a few things we're thrilled to share!

In just over two and a half months we'll see the release of our second Stitch Red book, Sew Red. Much like Knit Red, Sew Red is a compilation of 27 sewn, quilted and embroidered patterns from some of the fabric industries most well-known designers. With patterns from Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Ty Pennington, Tula Pink, Deborah Norville (she wrote the forward for this one, too!), Anna Griffin, Denyse Schmidt, Suede, and so many more, we're just bursting at the seems for this February 2013 release!

Stay tuned for a Sew Red blog tour with a book giveaway starting February 1st. The schedule will be posted right here, so start checking back in January!

Also, we have another Stitch Red book in the works! It's still in its infancy, but we thought we'd ask you what sort of crochet designs are your favorites? We love Dora Ohrenstein's Little Red Fingerless Gloves, but what what other patterns would you like to see? Let us know and we'll see if we can make it a reality in our next Stitch Red adventure...

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heart-Healthy Foods you Might Not Have Known Of...

I say, enough about what we shouldn't be eating in order to stay heart health! What can we eat that could help us lower blood pressure and take a step towards fending off this number #1 killer? Thanks to Forbes, we found a great list of heart-healthy foods:

1. Non-fat Yogurt

Dairy products, on the whole, get a bad rap for being high in saturated fat, but non-fat yogurt is actually a great heart-healthy start to the day. The American Heart Association found that those who ate more non-fat yogurt were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure. Plain, non-fat yogurt may not sound all that appealing, but here's how you can spice it up: drizzle with a tablespoon of Agave Nectar, add some blueberries or raspberries (any berry!) and toss in a bit of heart-healthy All Bran. Delicious and nutritious!

2. Sunflower Seeds

I was surprised by this one, but these little fellas do fall into the nuts and legumes category - a generally heart-healthy bunch of goodies. However, these unsuspecting seeds are extremely high in Vitamin E, putting them above the rest of the nut and legume family. With just one handful you can consume 75% of your daily intake of Vitamin E!

3. Bananas

As a runner, bananas are a must in my diet. This popular fruit is potassium rich, which can help to relax artery walls and boost kidney function. This might seem like a lot, but 1.5 to 2 bananas a day could drop blood pressure 2-3 points, keeping the cardiologist at bay. I know plenty of people who aren't fans of this potassium packer, so if you're included in that bunch raisins, prunes and watermelon are also good sources of potassium.

4. Purple Potatoes

This specific potato contains antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation - a symptom of heart disease.

5. Spinach

All the credit is in the nitrates of these green leaves!

6. Oats

We've known for quite some time that high-fiber oats are heart-healthy.

7. Beets

The phytochemicals in beets not only give them their red color, but also help to lower blood pressure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Know your heart

Know your heart!
With the holiday season fast approaching - there's snow in Reno and I think that makes the holiday season official - I find myself preparing for my family's Thanksgiving feast, but ever since I started working on the Stitch Red campaign I seem to be hyper-sensitive to thinking about the food I eat and making sure I'm getting the right exercise. That said, I had no trick-or-treaters this Halloween and am now stuck with two bags of my chocolate-y favorites. After munching on one too many fun size snacks I decided to cleverly hide the goods at the top of my above sink cabinet that is only accessible with the use of a step ladder. I digress, 'tis the season for comfort food and the gals of Jimmy Beans are not opposed to the feasts awaiting each of us; however, Shape magazine did remind us of the typical - and not so typical - signs of a heart attack.

I'm thankful for good health and the good health of all my loved ones, but my heart-healthy goal is to be more aware and listen to my body. Surprisingly, the Heart Foundation reported that 435,000 women experience heart attacks each year. While women are more aware than ever, we'd like to see that number drop, so we figured (as did Shape magazine) that now is as good a time as any for a refresher. You know you're having a heart attack when you experience...

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

3. Toothache (this one took us by surprise!)

4. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

5. Cold sweat

6. Nausea

7. Lightheadedness

8. Overwhelming, sudden fatigue 

Be aware, but enjoy your Thanksgiving feast and be thankful for all the beauty in your life. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

High Blood Pressure - Danger to People as Young as 40

With a majority of the Jimmy Beans Wool staff under the age of 40, our eyes were caught by this article from Time: High Blood Pressure a Danger for People as Young as 40. Not only are we huge proponents of being aware and taking care of ourselves, so is The Heart Truth. While The Heart Truth's campaign is especially aimed at women ages 40-60 - that's when a woman's heart disease risk starts to rise - the campaign is also sending a message to women who are younger. Heart disease develops gradually, so it's crucial that women of all ages are aware - even us twenty and thirty-somethings.

I must admit, I studied English and Communications in school, so a lot of the scientific lingo in this article flies right over the top of my head; however, the main message is that the brains of people with hypertension (aka high blood pressure) can look up to 7.2 years older than the brains of people with normal blood pressure. The scariest bit of research was that "the team saw changes in brain structure among people with normal blood-pressure readings or systolic readings just slightly over normal." Being aware of your numbers and seeking treatment could shave 7.2 years off your brains health.

Now, what exactly does that mean for our brains? Can games of Sudoku at lunch help?

Brain games may not help the influence of hypertension on brain age, but the underlining message is clear. If we spread awareness, know the signs and symptoms, and take action by visiting our physician we can influence our late-life brain health by starting to treat high blood pressure at an early age (Sudoku games are still encouraged.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

We're hosting a Charity Knit/Crochet/Sew Night with a Special Surprise!

Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red are joining forces with Random House and the Red Scarf Project to hold a Knit For Charity Night on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 6-8 pm. Come join us to knit, crochet or sew a project for charity!

Random House has put together a nationwide knit night event where fiberists across the country will knit (crochet, sew) for charity and support Stitch Red. This knit night will present Nicky Epstein's new book, Knitting in Circles, a free red scarf pattern from Nicky's new book, and exclusive knitting tips from Nicky herself for attendees. The evening will culminate in an exciting drawing for all participants of the knit night events around the country!

You can knit for the Red Scarf Project sponsored by Foster Care for Success which gives red scarves on Valentines Day to college students that have grown up in the foster care system. We are offering to collect and send in the scarves - knit or crocheted - before December 15th. Or, choose your own favorite charity and project to support a cause near and dear to your heart!

Here are the guidelines for the Red Scarf Project:
1. Size: approximately 60" long and 5" to 8" wide. Scarves should be long enough to be wrapped around the neck, with tails long enough to be tied in the front.
2. Style: Think unisex collegiate. Fringes are optional. Your scarf should drape and tie easily. Soft scarves are a must, too!
3. Color: Red! However, this could mean burgundy, cherry, russet, red stripes with other colors, or multi-color hues including red.
4. Finished & tagged: Yarn ends should be securely sewing in. For a personal touch, attach a tag saying "Handmade for you" with your first name, city, and group affiliation, if any. Donors have also included washing instructions, messages of encouragement, gift cards, and more.

Double your charity giving this season by purchasing Knit Red (the first installment to the Stitch Red trilogy) and by using Stitch Red products in your charity knitting to support The Heart Truth and raise awareness of heart disease in women! To see all the available Stitch Red products, visit the Stitch Red website.

During the event we'll be drawing for three free raffles! The winner of each raffle will win a copy of Knit Red by Laura Zander or Knitting in Circles by Nicky Epstein.

The third drawing, sponsored by Random House, will be randomly drawn after December 15th from all entries received from all shops hosting a charity knit night. There will be two grand prizes and two runner up prizes given away!

The Grand Prize will include a Potter Craft Tote Bag stuffed with:
- A signed copy of Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block
- An exclusive project knitted by Nicky herself!
- A skein of red yarn, compliments of Cascade Yarns
- 2 Potter Craft knitting books
- A sock knitting "deck"
- Chocolate!

The Runner Up Prize will include a Potter Craft Tote Bag stuffed with:
- A signed copy of Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block
- A skein of red yarn, compliments of Cascade Yarns
- 2 surprise Potter Craft knitting books
- Chocolate!

And as if all this isn't enough! Everyone who attends this Charity Knit Night will get a special preview of our Friday Before Black Friday surprise - AKA "Operation Turkey Trot!"

Tours will be given to those who haven't had one and refreshments will be served.

This is going to be a fun night and we hope you join us!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween...and High Blood Pressure Basics

First, Happy Halloween from the ladies of Jimmy Beans Wool! We hope you have a safe, happy, healthy Halloween (try not to eat all the candy like I've been doing...).

Kristen and I are back from VK Live and are still floored from the response of mid-westerners to our Stitch Red campaign. So, what was the hot ticket item this past weekend?

The Kollage Square Needles! 

Ergonomic (for hours upon hours of knitting), sharp tips (seriously) and they come in a snazzy red metallic color - what's not to love? I even got myself a pair of the Kollage Stitch Red double points to cast on my Turkish Bed Socks. I know I have more needles than I need, but I'm a knitter! I just never know when I might need an extra set...

I've been trying to catch up on the heart-healthy news I missed over the past weekend. I stumbled upon this adorable, animated video from The Heart Truth explaining what's really happening when our hearts are working overtime due to high blood pressure. It must be the kid in me who really enjoyed this short video...take a look!

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Club Red

Every so often we hear from a local yarn shop who caught wind of Stitch Red and was moved to start taking a stand against heart disease. What's even more exciting is when these lys' send us emails with pictures! I'm sure you all know this already, but we love show and tell - really!

Club Red!
On Monday I heard from Lesley who owns Wool & Co. in St. Charles, IL. She sent me a sweet little note about her knitting group and they don't just knit! These ladies are part of Club Red and they meet every week for some yoga or a brisk walk followed by some Knit Red knitting and healthy snacks! I don't know about you, but when I have a huge goal ahead of me (like running my first marathon!) I need a support system - a group of people aiming for the same goal. The camaraderie is what gets me through long runs and keeps me motivated. Now, I'm not saying everyone should go out and run a marathon. No way. I do think what Lesley and her knitting yogi's have is truly special and key in the battle against heart disease.

Lesley ordered copies of Knit Red for her store and as she flipped through the pattern pages she couldn't help but love so many of the designs. With so many of the projects going straight into her knitting queue she thought it would be fun to start a club - Club Red. Together they would work their way through the book while inspiring heart-healthy change!

The first meeting had great promise! Fourteen ladies showed up ready to pledge to some lofty knitting and general health goals. For the next six months Club Red will work through projects and listen to motivational guest speakers. The group includes one woman who just underwent open heart surgery and someone who has lost 80 pounds (you go girl!). The main goal is to take baby steps towards eating healthier and moving more. Take a look at what they've been working on...

This looks like Tanis Gray's Lace Infinity Scarf...

The mini dress! We just love the sequins! 

Is that Ysolda's Slip Stitch Beret?
Still full of positive energy, these ladies are stitching (and walking!) for heart health! I highly suggest joining Club Red if you're in the St. Charles, IL area - it looks like a fun group and it never hurts to start fighting back against the #1 killer of women!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Recap of Stitches East!

We know you've heard quite a bit about Stitches East from those of us left behind ;), but what was it really like for the lucky gals who got to go? Here's a wrap-up from Kristen!

Yowzer! Stitches East in five days...what a journey! Sandy, Jeanne, Rachel and I arrived back in Reno last Monday, completely exhausted (mostly from the air travel) but full of memories of new friends made and new yarns to covet.

Not only did we have tons of fun meeting some of our lovely east coast customers, but we met lots of lovely new companies that we'll be adding to the wish list, better known as the "Spreadsheet of Dreams." This is our list of products that we'd love to add to your lineup someday when we have room in the budget. Here were our favorites from Stitches East:

Not only are their yarns beautiful, but they are family owned for several generations and they create the most lovely colors! They also make Jared Flood's Brooklyn Tweed yarns Loft and Shelter so of course we drooled a little bit (ok, a lot) in their booth. All four of us bought skeins of Loft to make Jared's mittens from the Knit Red book. We even cast on while at the show! 

Their AMAZING color display!

These little multi-use bags are SO cool! All four of us also bought bags from their booth. We each bought the "Iddy" size which can be zipped up with the pockets on the inside or outside and carries notions, needles and your knitting project. It has a long strap that can be worn across your body like a sling, making it easy to walk and knit at the same time. Also, you can unzip the entire thing and wear it as a tool belt. So cool!

Super handy bags!

Rachel and I both went a little nuts in this booth. Not only are the yarns totally amazing, but their depth of color is simply to die for! We each bought a skein of Caper Sock and Rachel also bought a skein of Alpaca Silk (which isn't on their website, but is definitely gorgeous). I restrained myself a bit as I am technically supposed to be in de-stash mode right now, although I did make a few exceptions for yarns I can't get out west. I am totally head over heels for my skein of Caper Sock though, so much so in fact that one night at the show as we were in bed about to turn out the lights, I was holding the skein and gazing at it trying to decide what I would make with it. I actually fell asleep clutching my yarn! I woke up the next morning and the poor skein was tangled in the sheets, still intact, thankfully.  Unfortunately, no pictures were captured of this moment of knitter to yarn twitterpation, but we did have a good laugh over it. 

Sandy and Jeanne came back to our booth excited about the Mother Bear Project! The Mother Bear Project makes and sends hand knit stuffed teddy bears to children in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS. The project is so lovely and heart warming that we just had to support it! We'll probably be getting more involved in this campaign in the near future, but in the meantime, feel free to see how you can get involved on their website. (Sorry I missed getting a picture of their booth. Jeanne and Sandy assure me it was darling!) 

I was also fascinated by this booth with beautiful hand-crafted boxes. The company is owned by a super nice couple from Tennessee. Their display was stunning and dramatic to say the least, with this gorgeous tower of boxes. I failed to grab their card so I don't remember their name at the moment, however, they will be at Stitches West in February, so I fully intend to post about them then! In the meantime, here are some of their lovely boxes:

Loved the stacks in this booth - such a neat display!

Lastly, I had to show off my recent knitted item. I made this cowl from Malabrigo Book 3 in the Malabrigo Rasta yarn (color "Stitch Red") just in time to wear at Stitches East. It kept me cozy in the chilly convention hall all weekend, plus it was a super fast knit - perfect for holiday gifts. In truth, I made three of these last Christmas to give to my sisters-in-law and never bothered to make one for myself. As you can tell, I am happy I finally did! We sell this as a kit on our site so here is the link if you'd like to check it out.

Roasty, toasty and oh so soft!
I hope you all have a lovely week! My weekend was relaxing and now I'll be heading to Chicago Thursday for VK Live! Hope to see you there!

Happy knitting,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy National Health Education Week!

With so much talk about the Presidential election, we're relieved to know that this week is one in which we don't have to be up on all the hot button issues (now that they debate is over). This week, October 15th through the 19th, marks National Health Education Week (NHEW), so let's brush up on public health issues- and heart-healthy awareness in the younger generations. Since 1995 NHEW has been celebrated to help focus national attention on major public health issues, like heart health. This year's theme was inspired by the youth our our country: "Adolescent Health: Planting Seeds for a Healthier Generation." With doubled obesity rates in people 12-19, it's important that people of all ages are educated on the risk factors of heart disease.

To play our part in NHEW, we found this cute little quiz in Glamour's Health & Diet section - quiz your knowledge about heart health with eleven questions and answers! We're sure you know more than you think! If something surprises you - for example, the percent at which the risk of heart disease drops if you stop smoking (it's amazing!) - let us know in a comment. We'd love to share all of your feedback with others!

What will YOU do to spread heart health awareness this week? 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rolling Out the Red Needles at Stitches East!

As you all know Kristen, Sandy, Rachel, and Jeanne are in Hartford, CT at Stitches East this weekend. On their first night working the show, the wonderful folks of Kollage Yarns hand-delivered a new Stitch Red product (one we've been really, really, REALLY excited for!). Without further ado, we welcome the Stitch Red Kollage Square Needles to the campaign! Here's a photo of Sandy knitting a Mini Red Dress with a pair of the new square needles! 

Sandy (right), the amazing Kollage crew and Benjamin from XRX!

I must warn you, these pretty needles aren't yet available for sale (unless you're attending Stitches East), so stay tuned! They'll be added into our system soon enough! In other news, we welcomed another Stitch Red surprise to our Stitches East line-up. Drum roll, please! The Stitch Red Denise2Go set was especially designed for Stitches East. If you're around the show, I highly suggest you stop by and take a look at these adorable red sets and grab one while you can! These are a Stitches East one-time deal, but don't worry! We have a Halloween inspired set for everyone to have the chance to purchase in just a few days! 

Denise2Go Stitch Red Sets - aren't they adorable?!
Stayed tuned for more Stitches East updates! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's Making OUR Hearts Race?

Stitches East! 

Four of our beans left today for Hartford, CT to start setting up our Stitch Red booth, and last I heard Rachel, Kristen, Jeanne, and Sandy were chomping at the bit to get the trip started! 

We'll have everything from Knit Red to all your favorite Stitch Red yarns and patterns. If you're one of those super organized Stitches-goers (whom I envy greatly!) and you prepare your list of booths to hit and product to look for, take a look at our Stitch Red Products to get an idea of what you're looking for! Psst! I even heard we'll have some non-Stitch Red related goodies...Tosh Onesies, maybe! 

Stop by booth 1007 to meet two of the Knit Red designers and chat with the wonderful gals from JBW!

Here are some hot-sellers you should keep an eye on!
(they went like hotcakes at Stitches Midwest)

Johnny's Socks were the events most popular pattern - I think. We were out  faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

There's no question, Knit Red is our biggest seller! Flip through and see for yourself!

This Lantern Moon Felted Keychain Clutch is just too adorable to pass up!

Classic Elite Magnolia is a crowd pleaser! Don't forget to ask for Kristen's free heart lace hat pattern to go with it!

This mini red dress can be a pin or an ornament! There's something about mini things that we knitters can't pass up! 

Laura Nelkin's True Love Butin Collar is the perfect handmade red accessory - beautiful!

These Lantern Moon heart shaped stitch markers brought quite the chorus of "ooh's and awe's" at Stitches Midwest!
 We hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's High Cholesterol Education Month

Do you know your numbers?

Cholesterol builds up in the walls of our arteries and increases one's risk for developing heart disease. Nearly 1 in every 2 American women has high or borderline high cholesterol. With no signs and symptoms, high cholesterol is a number that seems to just creep up when we aren't paying attention. We found this info-graphic quite helpful...take a look at the numbers:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Anniversary to The Heart Truth!

Check out the Jimmy Beans Wool tribute to The Heart Truth. We're hoping to inspire change in women nationwide with our Stitch Red campaign! We're humbled and oh so proud to be your partners in fighting this silent killer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Knit Red KAL Finale!

Our first Knit Red KAL has come to an end and we've loved every second of knitting Diane Soucy's A-line Hoodie from the Knit Red book! I want to thank each and every one of you who participated, whether you made your participation known or not. I know there are quite a few of you out there. I enjoyed my interactions with each of you and learned a few things myself. I have to say that you all have created some remarkably beautiful sweaters and I'm in awe of the talent, hard work, speed and persistence shown. Kudos!!

Some of us are still working on finishing our sweaters. Myself included. I'm only about halfway through the skirt of the sweater. I hope to have enough time to get it done in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'm still available for questions and help anytime, so please don't hesitate to contact me.

I hope you all enjoyed the videos Diane and I made to help you out. I think I speak for Diane when I say we really enjoyed making them for you. There are still two more left to do, but due to some equipment issues we won't be able to get them done for another week or two. I'll be sure to post them in the Ravelry threads and here on the blog when we have them ready for you.

In case you missed the videos, here are links to them so you can watch anytime on our website.

How to Decide What Size Sweater To Make

How to Measure Your Gauge Correctly

How to Cast on for a Top Down Sweater

How to Create Buttonholes and Divide Sleeves for Top Down Sweater

How to pick up Stitches for the Neckband on your Top Down Sweater

I would love to see more photos of your projects, finished or not! Please keep posting them or emailing them to me to the address below so I can share! Now, before I get to the fun part of show-and-tell, how did you all enjoy the Knit Red KAL? There are plenty of projects in the book...we could certainly do another! What do you think? Any projects catching your eye? Share your thoughts and maybe we can get another KAL started!

Now for the fashion show!

Tylette was able to pop into the shop while she was visiting Reno and show us her project in person! She was the first to finish hers and she did a wonderful job! 

Justfeltcreative joined us late, she didn't start until September 7th and finished September 24th! Her brown hoodie is gorgeous! I just love the color!

Just the sleeves are left for Grosslf - here is her progress photo. I love that she chose a subtly variegated yarn.

Last but not least, Sara! She's still working on finding the right buttons - they have to be as perfect as her sweater is! :)

There are a couple more people who are still finishing, so I'm sure a follow-up finishers post will be in order in the coming weeks!

Thank you again for participating! I look forward to doing this again soon. Be sure to let me know if you would like to participate in another Knit Red KAL and which project you would like to nominate. Post a comment here or send me an email at askTerry@jimmybeanswool.com.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Celebrate the Anniversary of The Heart Truth with us!

Today marks the start of a ten day anniversary celebration in honor of The Heart Truth. Our partners in the Stitch Red campaign have been spreading the word about women's heart health since 2002 and have since seen an increase in awareness of this silent killer. In 2009, 7 in 10 women identified heart disease as the #1 killer - an increase from 6 in 10 in 2008. Part of the awareness increase is due to the Red Dress logo seen on Diet Coke cans across the country. This small, red symbol signifies a call to action - "Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear - it's the #1 Killer of Women."

In honor of the 10th anniversary of The Heart Truth, we've been asked to share how we've inspired others to be heart healthy. Our response will be posted on October 1st in response to a video prompt on YouTube. In the meantime, we'd love to show our support for this campaign by having YOU share how you've inspired others to be heart healthy...or even how you've inspired yourself! Visit us at Twitter or on Facebook to share how you've inspired heart-healthy change!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Mother's Story

Marjorie and Lynn
Today we have a very touching story to share from a mother-daughter duo who experienced heart disease for themselves eleven years ago this month. I must advise, keep a tissue close at hand - this story brought tears to my eyes; the kind of tears of renewed hope - women can recover from heart disease and live a full life. Take it from Lynn and her mom, Marjorie, who is living a fulfilled life after triple bi-pass surgery!

Lynn (daughter): It was such a strange time - what with our country going through a very shocking experience and we, as a family, worrying about Mom and her heart! From my own experience, I definitely did some compartmentalization! Like me calling my sister and telling her to be sure that the television was not on in Mom's room. She could learn about the world outside her room later; right now we wanted her to heal. 

What I learned about heart health through her experience is this: it can and does happen to people who are seemingly the picture of health! So the information and awareness that organizations like Stitch Red share is critical to women's health. I also learned that there is life, make that fulfilling life, after triple bypass heart surgery! My mother is incredibly active and happy and has done nothing but move forward since her surgery. She watches what she eats, she exercises and she has an active social life. She inspires me and I hope that she does the same for you.

And here is Marjorie's Stitch Red story...

Marjorie (mom): Fighting heart disease is an important crusade. It educates people and saves lives. It lets people know that symptoms can be very different in men and women and that you have to make your doctor listen to you when you let him know how you feel. Heart disease is a killer and often can be treated successfully when diagnosed early. Diabetics are at greater risk and should be watched closely.

On September 11th I celebrated the 11th anniversary of my bypass surgery. I will certainly remember where I was on that terrible day in 2001. While people were dying in the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, I was lying on the operating table at Marquette General Hospital in Marquette, Michigan. I had three coronary artery bypasses done that morning. My youngest daughter, who happens to be a nurse, was in town while I was in the hospital and around midnight that night she got a call from my surgeon saying that my blood pressure had bottomed out and they had taken me back to surgery to check for a bleeder. The doctor felt bad and told my daughter he had checked for just that possibility before closing. He told my daughter that she should stay put and get some rest (at my apartment) and see me in the morning. Of course, I didn't remember any of this. 

My convalescence was uneventful. I spent about a week in the hospital with minimal pain - mostly soreness around the incision areas. And I hated putting those thigh-high anti-embolic stockings on every morning! My other two daughters were with me for the first week at home. I was waited on hand and foot. Of course, I was doing my deep breathing and walking as ordered on my discharge instructions. When I was on my own I continued to increase the distances of my walks. A few days before my return visit with my surgeon I noted that I had a little shortness of breath when walking up a slight incline. The chest x-ray I had done before seeing the doctor showed that I had some fluid around my lungs. So that meant another new experience, a thoracentesis. A long needle is inserted between the ribs and the fluid is aspirated. There was quite a bit. I must tell you, my surgeon was not that much for bedside manner, but that day he was pretty chatty while he was filling those bottles. I heard about his divorce, his wife's dogs, his kids, etc. Guess it was therapy for both of us. 

I also went to cardiac rehab for twelve weeks. This included exercise and dietary education. During the exercise portion our heart rate was monitored. The people working in the rehab department were great and made it fun to be there. When I talked to anyone who was going to have heart surgery, I always recommended that they go through rehab. I am a retired nurse and thought I knew a lot about heart disease, but there's always something new to learn. Symptoms may be different in men and women. Chest pain is the usual, but pain in the jaw or even behind the ear can occur. Before I had my surgery I was an active person - I walked, biked and did water aerobics. I tried to eat healthy and keep my weight within normal limits. During the winter I often did my walking in the facility where my husband lived for the last seven years of his life. He had Alzheimer's disease and the veteran's home had long halls and stairs that provided a great space.

I still walk most days and also use the pool at the apartment complex where I live. I will be 85 years old on September 24th. I feel good as well. I am grateful for every day and try to make the most of the time God has given me. I volunteer at the Veteran's home and at my church. I guess you might say that my passion is people. I love meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. I have a loving man in my in my life who is kind, funny and caring and I have four children who love me as well. I am truly blessed. 

To Lynn and Marjorie - thank you for sharing your personal story with us! We wish you a happy (almost) birthday, Marjorie, and many more to come!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling Stressed at Work?

As President Ronald Reagan said "It's true, hard work never killed anybody, but why take the chance?" With many people working hard these days, it's becoming more common to see risks of heart disease popping up in stressed individuals. Not that it hasn't been a secret that increased stress levels can lead to high  blood pressure, but work stress may be contributing to a slightly higher heart attack risk.

Recent research published in the journal Lancet shows that job strain can increase the risk of heart attack. With national unemployment at 8.1, many people are facing the pressure to perform on the job. There's nothing wrong with a little healthy competition and hard work, but let's not send our tickers into a tizzy.

This study was done over a 20 year span of time (1986-2006) and brought in data from 200,000 patients. The research found that people with highly demanding jobs and little freedom to make decisions are 23 percent more likely to have a heart attack. We can rest-assured that the risk of suffering from a heart attack due to job stress is relatively low (3.4%) compared to smoking (36%) and not exercising (12%). However, it is important to relax at the days end. The good news is that the increased risk for heart disease due to stress isn't as high as we originally thought.

What we found to be really interesting is the "fight or flight" instinct that takes over when we're stressed. It doesn't have to be job related - we have so much going on in our lives and people to take care of, that we begin to take on stresses we never thought we'd carry. It's important to remember that our stress levels affect us in many areas of our lives, be aware and find something that eases any stresses - like knitting!

What do YOU do to calm your nerves?

Want to read more? Visit ABC to read the full article

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heart-Healthy News Update!

You think you know something...and then research changes! We're being kept on our toes these days as science changes and we learn more about keeping our tickers healthy. Just as technology changes in the blink of an eye, so does the science behind many heart health related studies. So, what exactly are we finding that's recently changed?

Fish oil supplements might not help increase heart health like so many Americans thought. Now, this might not seem like a big deal for some of you. Fish oil supplements? I don't take those! While you might not, nearly a quarter of all U.S. adults do. Recent research has found that fish oil supplements might not do anything for heart health at all. Now, this had our Stitch Red team worried - we just boasted about Omega-3 Fatty Acids being good for heart health! Naturally, we did a bit more research and found that this heart-healthy nutrient is best, and most helpful, if we eat it naturally - like, in fish.

And this just in: non-alcoholic red wine might be the way to go for lower blood pressure! We might be outing our love for red wine, well wine in general, but here's another recent study that had us clicking around for more information. Originally it was "Red Wine is Good for Lowering Blood Pressure," but now it's "Non-Alcoholic Red Wine is Good for Lowering Blood Pressure." Oh, how the times have changed! A new study published in Circulation Research found that non-alcoholic red wine is a friend to low blood pressure. We might not be able to decipher the scientific jargon associated with this study, but long story short, the polyphenols are more effective when there is no alcohol involved. It's still good to raise a glass to heart health, but try non-alcoholic if you're looking to keep your blood pressure numbers low!

That's the heart-healthy news for this week, folks! Stay tuned for more breaking heart health updates!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 5 of the Knit Red KAL!

Just a quick update this week! One week to go and we have another nearly finished hoodie! Sara, who has just returned to work part-time at JBW (YEAH!), has been gracious enough to allow me to photograph her progress as she's participated in the KAL.

Our swatches! 
For those of you who follow us on Facebook, you may remember this photo of our swatches (left). Sara chose to use MadelineTosh Vintage in the Badlands colorway. She alternated three hanks throughout the body because they didn't match as well as she would have liked.

The staggering made all the difference!
Here's her sweater with the body nearly completed (right)! This was her second try. Working with hand-dyed colorways can pose to be difficult and Sara struggled a bit to get the colors to come out just right the first try. She opted to stagger the spots where she changed from one ball to the next, which really made a big difference and really helped mix the colors well.

Here's a little photo collection of Sara's Badlands A-line Hoodie!

This is how a top down sweater's raglan line should look, with that nice elongated stitch! 

The back view shows off those beautiful raglan lines!

Sara opted to do a three needle bind off for the top of her hood. The photo to the left shows how it looks on the right side. The photo to the right shows how nice and tidy the bind off is on the inside of the hood. This is a great join that is very sturdy and brings some structure to the soft drape of the yarn. Never done a three needle bind off? Have no fear! We have an instructional for that! 

And last, but not least, here is Sara modeling her gorgeous A-line Hoodie! As you can see she made some modifications. Instead of increasing for the A-line shape she did waist decreases and then increased again for the hips. She also added buttonholes all the way down the front and made the sleeves three quarters length. Here's how she did the waist shaping:
  • Decreased 4stitches every 23 rows, 3 times (12 stitches decreased)
  • After the last decrease round, work even for 13 rows
  • After working even for 7 rows, increase 4 stitches every 7 rows, 5 times (20 stitches increased)
She still hasn't decided on buttons so we fastened it with a shawl pin. We'll have to wait and see what buttons she chooses, but based on her past choices I know they will be fabulous!

We have a few more A-line Hoodie's coming along beautifully - I can't want to see more finished projects! You're welcome to stop by our Facebook wall and share a picture of your finished A-line! 

Stay tuned, Diane and I will be filming a couple more videos! 

Happy knitting!