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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lantern Moon's Stitch Red Story

We love the folks at Lantern Moon, not just because of their lovely needles and notions, but because they have a commitment to the world community. So, it makes sense that they would be among the first to jump on board the Stitch Red campaign! Sharon from Lantern Moon had this to say about their participation:

Why did your company choose to get involved with the Stitch Red campaign?

Lantern Moon's Stitch Red products!
For one thing, when Laura Zander has an idea, Lantern Moon likes to get behind it… Always mindful and inspiring! Learning more about the statistics for women and heart disease was instrumental…and shocking!  We loved the idea that Stitch Red was getting information out there and we know that educating in creative ways is effective. Heart disease affects every one of us in some way.

What products did your company create for the Stitch Red campaign?

At the fabric Market!
We decided to do 3 items that were great sellers for us, so that we could make a more significant contribution. 

Our crocheted stitch markers in Red Hearts were an obvious fit. The other two were done on my last working trip. The Square Clip bag is a favorite for size and function, and when I saw the red and blue dot cotton print at the fabric market in Hanoi, it just seemed meant to be the lining--bright and hopeful! I’m happy that it worked out so well. Our little keychain clutch in wool felt, was sketched out after the needle and yarn ball version --just thinking about knitters and how much they love yarn! After all, we HEART yarn!

3. What's your heart healthy tip?

Just Breathe! Don’t worry about things that you cannot affect or change. Really, do it.

Fabric Problem Solving!
4. What gets your heart racing?

Everything about my daughter, Sally… she inspires me and keeps me on the path to goodness…organic farming, “grounding”--with your bare feet on the earth and having real gratitude every day.  

I get so excited when I am working on a project and there is collaboration with my artisans and they “get” an idea and are inspired to take it a step further…or solve the problem!  I think that makes me feel like I am making a difference. Charging up creativity in a young girl, who has never had the opportunity to engage that way is a thrill.
Lastly, but always true…meeting our customers at every level and making sure that they know that when they purchase a product, they are part of the story and part of making the difference! It really makes me proud to see how much women care about women everywhere in the world.

Telling the story at Tigard Knitting Guild
Thank you so much to Sharon and everyone at Lantern Moon for you support and for all that you do to make the world a better place!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What is Crystal Palace Yarns Doing to Stay Heart Healthy?

Merino 5 Stitch Red color!
We're very excited to have Cathy from Crystal Palace Yarns here with us today. Crystal Palace is one of our many Stitch Red partners and we're very thankful to have them supporting this campaign. Nestled in the rolling hills of California, Crystal Palace is in a breath taking part of our country; allowing the employees to reap the soul soothing effects of nature. Here's a bit about Crystal Palace and their walking yarn enthusiasts!

Why did you choose to get involved with the Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign/fighting heart disease mean to you?

It seemed to us a very beautiful and worthwhile project: to link our love of needlecrafts with the campaign for woman’s heart health. 

What product have you created for the Stitch Red campaign? What was your inspiration behind it?

Adorable Stitch Red mitts - available online!
We had recently introduced a gorgeous new solid red color to our Merino 5 line, #1012 “Crimson”, originally part of our “team spirit” collection.  When we heard about the campaign, we knew this was the product we wanted to dedicate to Stitch Red.  Merino 5 is a luxuriously soft, machine-washable merino wool that knits up to 5 stitches per inch.  Its stitch gauge, strength and clean stitch definition make it ideal for a variety of projects in both knitting and crochet.  We currently offer five patterns (and more to come!) specifically made in Merino 5 “Crimson” for the Stitch Red campaign, available for free on our web site

List a heart healthy tip and/or recipe you have to share?

Walk every day if you can!  It is excellent for lowering blood pressure, weight control, stress control and promotes overall good health.   Ask co-owner Andy MacEwan of Crystal Palace.  He comes from a long line of walkers.  His mother, who began walking with her mother at the age of 4, just recently celebrated her 100th birthday and still walks around her block in Tucson with her walker every day.

What gets your heart racing?

Flower Hat! 
The stunning natural beauty of Northern California –steep cliffs, the Pacific Ocean, dramatic fogs, gorgeous sunshine and dramatic sunsets, hot springs, wildlife, rolling hills – gets our hearts racing!  Crystal Palace Yarns is so fortunate to be located among all of this.  We take this beauty to heart, and it serves as inspiration for our yarns and patterns. We even have several yarns and color names using some of these natural sites.

We are certainly envious of CPY's beautiful location! Northern California is beautiful! Luckily, we have mountains and plenty of natural beauty in the Reno-Tahoe area. Sometimes all it takes is some fresh air and beautiful scenery to relax our busy minds.

What relaxes you?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Karin from Interweave Shares How Heart Disease has Affected Her

Karin Strom is the Editorial Director at Interweave for Yarn Group and we are very lucky she was so willing to share her Stitch Red story with us! You might want to read this with a box of tissues nearby as her story is quite personal and touching.

Why did you choose to get involved in the Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign/fighting heart disease mean to you?

Karin's close friends - poster kids for survival
My mother-in-law had a heart attack recently, and then open heart surgery. She was doing well, but recently took a turn for the worse. Her prognosis doesn't look good.  It has made me start thinking more about how much heart disease has affected my life. My father had 2 heart valve replacement surgeries many years ago, and eventually succumbed to the disease. My mother had congestive heart failure, and my father-in-law had a quadruple by-pass several years ago and is doing well. On top of my father-in-law's quadruple by-pass, last year his wife had a heart attack, too.

The husband of one of my dearest friends had a heart attack a couple of years ago, and they are literally the poster kids for surviving heart attacks. [See photo above] All of this has affected me deeply, but it wasn’t until I started reading the Stitch Red blog posts, with heart disease stories from yarn industry folks, that I really put it together how much the disease has affected my life.

The bottom line is that for all the amazing advancements of surgery and medication, heart disease is still an uncontrollable disease. So much depends on lifestyle, and taking care of oneself. Genes, too, of  course, but it's great to see people making wise choices about what they eat, exercise, etc

InspiRED Peplum Pullover
What product have you created for the Stitch Red campaign? What was your inspiration behind it?

Red has always been my favorite color. I think it’s flattering on just about everyone and there are so many great shades of red. I agree with Bill Blass who said, “When in doubt, wear red,” and I agree with Diana Vreeland, who believed that every room needs a touch of red.

Interweave has put together a pattern collection featuring red designs – clothing, accessories and home d├ęcor items - that have appeared in our publications. It’s called InspiRED to Knit. With each red pattern (pictured left & right) sold on InterweaveStore.com, we’ll donate 5% of the profits to The Heart Truth®, a National Awareness Campaign for Women About Heart Disease. 

What is a heart healthy tip or recipe you would like to share?

An InspiRED table runner!
I’m pretty careful about what I eat. I generally stay away from red meat and processed foods, and try to eat a lot of seafood, veggies and grains. My husband, Gabe, has given up dairy and gluten and lost 35 pounds, but I tend to be an “all things in moderation” gal (we're right there with you, Karin!). It would be very hard for me to completely give up the occasional dish of ice cream or chocolate chip cookie.
I do subscribe to the French theory that a glass of red wine with dinner helps stave off heart disease. Hope it’s true! Seriously, though, given my family history, I’m very concerned about heart problems.

What gets your heart racing?

Actually, I’m working on being calmer and managing stress better - yoga helps me with that. I know I need to fit more exercise into my life. I do try to walk as much as possible and I have my eye on a classic Raleigh bike that reminds me of the bike I had growing up. 

We truly appreciate you sharing your story, Karin! Thank you!

Many of us at Jimmy Beans are working on managing our stress levels as a way to stave off unwanted heart problems, so we are very glad Karin brought that up. Many of us believe in the power of knitting to relieve stress and calm our busy heads. How do YOU stay stress free?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Because Women are Powerful!

Today Claudia from Claudia Hand Painted Yarns shares here Stitch Red Story. Originally drawn into this campaign because of it's personal feel, Claudia believes in the power of women and the needlearts community!

Why did you choose to get involved in the Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign/fighting heart disease mean to you?

Because I think women are powerful. Women change the world one person at a time, one conversation at a time, and one coffee cup at a time (especially here at Jimmy Beans!). I don't feel comfortable with big, broad based campaigns, but this one feels personal. We get to use our creativity for good by designing a personal colorway. 

What product have you created for the Stitch Red campaign? What was your inspiration behind it?

We created a colorful lime green and turquoise yarn and named it "Joy" to remind us all of the joy of life and the joy when someone is sick and they come back to you. 

What's a heart healthy tip or recipe you would like to share?

My favorite meal is steamed broccoli followed by popcorn with cheddar cheese and butter...not exactly heart healthy, but certainly high in fiber!
What gets your heart racing?

Sweating it out in the dye room! I also love to garden, but what really gets my heart pounding is getting up on the stage and talking to a crowd of people (Claudia, we are right there with you!).

We just love Claudia's faith in the ability of women to change the world. We are strong, stitching ladies out to make a difference! What do YOU do to make a difference in the lives around you?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Susquehanna Knitting Company's Beth Newman Shares her Stitch Red Story

We may have 45 big name manufacturers as our partners, but we're especially appreciative to the ten participating local yarn stores around the country! We may be a big online yarn retailer, but we consider ourselves small and local at heart. Just like Susequehanna Knitting Company (based in Silver Spring, MD), Jimmy Beans started with husband-wife team Laura and Doug Zander - their adorable three year old, Huck, joined the team shortly after. We feel a kin to family owned yarn businesses and it's yarns stores like Susquehanna Knitting Company, owned by Beth Newman and her husband (and their two teenage daughters) that we're wildly excited to have involved! Despite being in the midst of growing a brand new yarn shop, Beth Newman and her family couldn't resist helping out the Stitch Red cause. As she mentions in her interview, it seemed like a "no brainer." We hope you enjoy Beth's Stitch Red story!

Why did you choose to get involved with Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign mean to you?

Beth and her girls on a gorgeous day!
We are a brand new family yarn business and heard about the campaign right after we opened. Even though so many priorities were competing for our attention during our launch, Stitch Red seemed like a “no brainer.” My husband lost his mother to a heart attack when he was just a child. Knowing how much his family’s life changed as a result has always encouraged us both to prioritize eating well and exercising. I will admit, I often fall short unless you consider knitting exercising! However my husband is very committed to exercise in particular and is my example.

What is your LYS doing to support the Stitch Red campaign?

Our business has a significant mobile component and we are scheduled to visit with a lot of new faces this summer.  We have really enjoyed educating people about the campaign. Knitters are so friendly wherever we go, it doesn’t take much to strike up a conversation around the special Stitch Red products, which are beautiful. Our customers have loved the Plymouth Eros and Encore red yarns! We are really looking forward to hosting some Tuesday night knit-a-longs from the book when it releases next month (June 5th!)

What's a heart healthy tip/recipe you would like to share?

With two busy teenage daughters and the business to take care of, when it gets hot out who wants to come home and stand over the stove? Summer salads are our go-to meal, especially on weeknights starting at this time of year. My favorite mix is spring greens with red onion, fennel and shaved parmesan. Have you noticed if you slice a fennel bulb crosswise it’s shaped like a heart? (We didn't know, but now we're going to investigate!) We top our salads with a few ounces of lean steak, chicken or tuna and dress it with a quick lemon juice/olive oil/garlic vinaigrette for a total meal.

Who can resist a pink cruiser full of yarn? We can't!
What gets your heart racing?

My husband bought me a beautiful pink cruiser bicycle last year as a birthday present. I bring knitting with me wherever I go so he made sure to include a large basket on the front. Our family enjoys riding together, and I especially love rail trails for the wonderful scenery.  Reacquainting myself with the fun of bicycling has reminded me that exercise does not have to be a chore, nor does it have to be repetitive and competitive. Find something you enjoy that gets you moving and get out there!

Thank you for sharing, Beth! The Newman's enjoy riding bikes, what gets you out and about?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kirstin from Muench shares her Stitch Red story

Kirstin Muench has been a part of the Jimmy Beans extended family since the very beginning. Without her support Jimmy Beans may not have taken flight like it has in the past ten years. Kirstin is the owner of Muench Yarns and a close friend of Laura's (aka Jimmy). It's no surprise Kirstin is a partner in our Stitch Red campaign - supporting Jimmy Beans and Stitch Red through thick and thin. We <3 her! She graciously agreed to do a guest blog for us, so we hope you enjoy her Stitch Red Story!

Why did you chose to get involved in the Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign/fighting heart disease mean to you?

I have been very close to Laura since she had her beautiful baby boy, Huck, and we talk "mom" talk a lot.  Her concept of Stitch Red came up years ago and I found it an important subject to bring to light. So many of us are touched by cancer and it really gets a fair amount of time in the spotlight, does it not? The numbers are staggering; women die of heart disease more often than all other cancers combined. I am still blown away by that, even as I sit here and type!

What product have you created for the Stitch Red campaign? What was your inspiration behind it?

It has been under our noses the whole time...Touch Me, our bestselling yarn since 1991, in the most beautiful shade of red you can imagine! The inspiration for choosing this yarn is two fold. One, how can it not be the most passionate of yarns? Perfect for saying you care with a soft, slinky feel and gorgeous finished product. It makes you feel as though you're wrapped in velvet! Secondly, it is one of our most expensive yarns, making our donation of profits to The Heart Truth that much more - a win-win! 

What's a heart healthy tip and/or recipe you have to share?

What a bounty of fresh veggies!
Love with all your heart, that way you use the muscle often! No really, nowadays there are so many ways to seek information regarding healthy lifestyles, just know you can do it! My father, Volker Muench (one of the founders of Muench Yarns), died of a massive heart attack on August 29, 2011 while visiting Russia. I learned so much from my father, including how not to take care of your heart, so I am learning by his mistake, perhaps the greatest legacy he left behind. I have lost 20 pounds since then, there is more to go, but I take it in super small, manageable steps. If I can do it, you can too! I work out two times a week at the gym, which I never thought I would have time for, but it's 30 minutes each time - very doable! Also, I have been reading nutrient info on the internet and am proud to say when I go to the grocery store nowadays the vegetable isle is the first place I go to. The balance is just that, the balance...

What gets your heart racing?

Running after my six year old son, George! He and his father just gave me a new bicycle for Mother's Day and we ride around the neighborhood like crazy. George and I also love to garden and we spend at least one hour outside every day working in the yard! George loves to eat right out of our garden every day after school and this is what gets my heart racing; teaching the next generation how to eat right and learn to care for other things with respect. 

Meet George, he loves his veggies! Priceless!

Thank you so much for sharing, Kirstin!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bicycling for your Heart

Dust of your helmets and start stretching! Next week is BOTH National Bike to Work Week and National Women's Health Week! Across the country, people are planning their routes and gearing up. Many businesses are offering deals like free coffee or discounted breakfast to participants. Check for bike routes and deals in your area!

Of course, not everyone has the option to bike to work. If you commute a very long distance or if, for any other reason, you cannot participate, try using this week to set goals you can accomplish. Ride your bike or walk to the store. Instead of driving your car for longer distances, take the bus. Just walking to and from the bus stop can be a start. Who knows? You may decide you like the rush you get from bicycling or walking instead of driving.

For tips on getting back on the old bicycle, road safety and more, check out the League of American Bicyclists website.

Be safe and have fun!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Knit Red preview now available!

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder... Well, behold this beauty.

A preview of the Knit Red book (to be released June 5th, 2012) is now available here!

In addition to 30 gorgeous designs by some of our favorite stars in the world of knitting, this book also features recipes from The Heart Truth® and heart healthy exercise tips. A pattern book, a cookbook, an exercise guide... what a beautiful contribution to Stitch Red.

To add to the excitement, you can pre-order a copy of the Knit Red book at jimmybeanswool.com and receive a copy signed by the author and founder of Stitch Red, Laura Zander. We already have our orders in. :-)

Happy Monday to you and your heart!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Village Knitter and Racing Hearts

The Stitch Red campaign could not be successful without the help of all our participating local yarn stores across the country. Some of our strongest supporters are Kathleen and Ann from The Village Knitter, an LYS in Babylon, New York. They've been offering free blood pressure screenings and meditation exercises at their educational Stitch Red events in addition to a range of fabulous Stitch Red products.

When asked why they got involved in the campaign, these wonderful ladies had this to say:

"Many of our customers have been affected by heart disease  in their lives. This is an important issue and your campaign was a great opportunity for our shop to give back to the community."

Recently Kathleen and Ann asked their customers to share what gets their hearts racing. Here are the answers they got:

"New sock yarn!" -Karin C.  
"When Stephen West is in the States." -Karen H.
"Getting new bras that fit perfectly and are actually sexy!" -LuLu
"Lacey Shawls" -Angela
"Making a decision. Anything purple, then thinking about every color combination, mulling it over and then buying the purple." -Erica K.
"Being the first customer to look in the box of newly delivered yarn." -Gail Z.
"Finding the right size needle, free and ready to go, when I want to cast on for a project!" -Katy K. 

Thanks for the input, ladies. :-)

We love when our hearts race (in the GOOD way). What gets your heart racing?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

WEBS Connects on Heart Health

At its core, the Stitch Red campaign is rooted in the idea that we can make a bigger difference together than we can alone. Uniting individual knitters and crocheters, local yarn stores, manufacturers, independent designers, and big names in knitting and crochet, allows us to touch more people's lives and raise awareness in more communities than any one individual can alone. That's why we are proud to partner with companies like WEBS, who have made a name for themselves and now choose to use that for a good cause.

We asked Kathy at WEBS to post a guest blog for us, and here's what she had to say...

I ran into Laura at TNNA last June and she presented the concept of Stitch Red to me and asked if I would consider participating. I told her yes immediately! I believe its important that we support each other as much as possible within our industry. The fact that Stitch Red was built around increasing awareness of heart disease among women was just the icing on the cake.

For me, a healthy heart is tied to being a healthy person overall - both physically and emotionally. About 3 or 4 years ago I ended up in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. My chest was heavy, my arm was tingling - I was freaking out. Everything was fine and ultimately my symptoms were brought on by stress and anxiety. Needless to say, this was a huge wake-up call for me. Its so easy to skip exercising and eat quick, non-healthy meals and get so wrapped up in everything that is on the "to-do" list we forget about taking care of ourselves. I think this is especially true for women. For me, learning to say "no" made a huge difference. I don't have to be on every committee, at every meeting, agreeing to every lunch date or play date with my kids for that matter.  Sometimes saying "no" is just enough to free up a wee bit of time to do something for myself. I've also found that as a family, we are calmer knowing we don't have to do everything that is asked of us.

Nothing gets my heart racing more than when my oldest son Jackson is in net with his hockey team! Being a goaltender has been his passion since he was about 7 years old, but being the mom of a goalie has been one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Although my heart is pounding during every game, at least I'm able to be there to watch him. It was so stressful for one goalie mom that should would sit in her car, outside of the rink, during the entire game. She couldn't bear to watch!

Thank you so much Kathy, and all the folks at WEBS!