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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Are you a Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Local?

Well, we have news for you! Mark Huttner of Johnny Skein and Cindie Venem of Knits & Kits Needle Arts have joined forces against heart disease and are hosting a Stitch Red Launch Party on September 11th at 5:00pm - 8:00pm in Lake Geneva, WI! If you're nearby or up for a short road trip, we highly recommend you join these two for a spectacular launch party. P.S. You'll be able to purchase the kit for Johnny Skein's Heart Beat Beret Kit at the party - it's one of our newest Stitch Red products from a new partner! Here's more info:

Stitch Red - Sticking it to heart disease

Two local businesses have partnered to knit their way to help eliminate heart disease, which is the lead cause of death for American women and men.

Stitch Red is a national heart disease awareness campaign supported by the needlearts industry to benefit the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).

Manufacturers and designers are creating one of a kind yarns and patterns. Local yarn stores are supporting the Stitch Red cause by carrying Stitch Red products and hosting Stitch Red Knit Nights.

Cindie Venem of Knits 'N Kits Needle Arts, LLC and Mark Huttner of Johnny Skein Workshop, both local Lake Geneva businesses, have teamed their efforts to help increase awareness of heart disease. 

While the campaign is designed and directed toward bringing awareness to women and heart disease, Mark understands this disease all too well. Three and a half years ago, he experienced a heart attack and subsequent five bypass, which makes this topic near and dear to his "heart."

Mark Huttner of Johnny Skein Workshop designed and packaged an exclusive Heart Beat Beret knitting kit for this campaign and Cindie Venem of Knits 'N Kits Needle Arts LLC will exclusively carry the Heart Beat Beret knitting kit.

Both of these local entrepreneurs have committed to donate 10% of the proceeds to benefit the FNIH. The Stitch Red Campaign concludes June 30th, 2013. Knits 'N Kits is currently the only retailer in Wisconsin supporting this cause!

The consumer is encouraged to participate by:
  •  Asking your local yarn store to carry Stitch Red products.
  • Spread the word.
  • Collect donations for the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).
  • Attend a Stitch Red Knit Night event.   
Mark your calendars for the Stitch Red Launch Party Knit Knight on Patriot Day, Tuesday September 11, 2012, 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm.  Knits ‘N Kits is sponsoring a “Meet and Greet” with the designer, Johnny Skein.  Drop in to meet Johnny, view the completed beret, and pick up your kit.  Not only will you keep your head warm this winter, but you’ll also be helping a wonderful cause!  So you say you don’t knit?  No worries – 10% of all proceeds from the evening will go to FNIH!

A special thank you to Linda O’Connor, the model, and the other local Lake Geneva businesses that have shown their support in this effort:  A+ Graphics and Printing Services and Wanda DeVries Photography.

For more information about contributing to this great cause, visit either of their websites (www.knitsnkits.com or www.JohnnySkein.com).  Please browse the websites and be sure to visit and “Like” both of them on Facebook.  You’ll gain more information on the design, kit, event details, and informational links to a healthier you.

If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact Mark or Cindie.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Heart Healthy Foods!

What are some of the healthiest foods we can eat that will benefit our hearts? Here's what we found...

1. Salmon 

With a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon has a high likelihood of reducing inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. Fish high in Omega-3 may also lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting- both key risk factors in heart disease!

2. Ground Flaxseed

Another Omega-3 rich food, ground flaxseed has been found to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. I like to sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed on my Greek yogurt and local honey (good for allergies)- the ground flaxseed has a tasty, nutty flavor. I love it!

3. Oatmeal

Chris, one of our tech-support guys, loves his oats! Every morning during the group meeting he has a bowl of oatmeal. He likes it plain, but I like to add fresh blueberries or strawberries to mine. Oatmeal is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and soluble fiber.

4. Black or Kidney Beans

Beans, beans, the magic fruit, the more you eat the more you...load up on B-complex vitamins, magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, and soluble fiber. I bet you thought I was going somewhere else with that...

5. Almonds

Protein rich almonds are a great snack to tide you over before a meal! I like to pack a small zip-lock of almonds just in case I get hungry mid-day. Piet puts a few almonds in her yogurt with berries for an afternoon snack. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber, these small nuts are great for heart health!

6. Walnuts

With a lot of the same nutrients as almonds, it isn't much of a surprise that walnuts are another heart-healthy snack. I really like toasted walnuts sprinkled on a strawberry and spinach salad with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

7. Red Wine

I was skeptical at first - red wine is heart-healthy? It is! The catechins and resveratrol help to improve HDL cholesterol (AKA the good cholesterol). So, toast to your heart health with a glass of red!

8. Tuna

Whether it's in a tuna fish sandwich or on top of a salad, tuna is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

9. Tofu

I know there are a lot of skeptics out there and I can't blame them, but there's no denying the health properties of tofu. It's rich in calcium, magnesium, and fiber. I like tofu in a stir-fry with lots of veggies and a teriyaki-sesame sauce. Yum!

10. Brown Rice

Brown rice is the perfect complement to a healthy stir-fry and it's rich in B-complex vitamins, fiber, niacin, magnesium, and fiber. I recommend swapping white rice with brown rice- if only to add a few more nutrients to your meal.

Do YOU have a favorite heart-healthy recipe? We're always looking for new things to cook! Share your recipe here or on Facebook.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week 3 of Our Knit Red KAL!

It's still not too late to join us! Feel free to start anytime.

To catch up those of you who are just hearing about this KAL for the first time, we've been knitting machines since August 6th as we work on Diane Soucy's A-line Hoodie from Knit Red by Laura Zander. If you're just starting, have no fear! We'll be working on this project until September 17th! If you're still hemming and hawing over your yarn selection for the A-line Hoodie (hey, yarn selection is important!) we recommend Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street Collection, Cashmere Fleur de Lys #416 or Berroco Vintage #5150 (that's what I'm using!). Of course, you may use any yarn you like that you can get gauge with and it doesn't have to be red!

Diane and I have filmed more videos for you. We decided to redo the How to Cast On for a Top Down Sweater video to make it shorter and more concise. Take a look at the new and improved video!

Then we show you how to create buttonholes and divide for sleeves for a top down sweater. This video also shows you where to measure from to start your waist shaping.

The next video shows you how to pick up stitches for the neckband on a top down sweater. The same technique applies for hoods as well. There is a reason patterns suggest picking up stitches around the neckline before you make your sleeves and we'll let you in on why! I loved this part because I have always wondered why Diane instructs us to always work the necks before the sleeves. Now I know why and feel a little silly that I hadn't thought if it! It makes so much sense and I'm so glad I learned it. Watch the video to find out!

All of our videos are available on our instruction page. I've even added text to all the existing videos and we're always adding more!

And finally, a couple of A-line Hoodie progress photos!

Tylette totally rocked this KAL! She's done! She used Plymouth Encore in color #174 for her sweater.

Tylette's A-line!
Sara is cruising right along, she's alternating three hanks of MadelineTosh Vintage in Badlands and they don't quite match each other as well as she would like. She was nearly done but didn't like the way the color was working out so...she frogged back and started again. Here is her second try which she is much happier with! She has decided to not make it an a-line sweater and instead is decreasing for the waist, increasing again for the hips and she's putting buttons all the way down the front.

Sara's A-line..looks beautiful!
I would love to share photos of your projects. Please feel free to email your photos to me and I'll share them here and on our Facebook!

Remember, I am here to help you each step of the way. You can post your comments and questions in the Ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red, or email me at askTerry(at)jimmybeanswool.com.

Happy knitting!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women - Listen to Rosie!

Now that the news has hit about Rosie O'Donnell's heart attack, women everywhere have been prompted to be more aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

Remember Eileen Mitchard of Breast in Show? She shared her story a few months back about having survived a heart attack- the kind most commonly referred to as the "widow maker." Rosie suffered the same heart attack just a week ago. Her Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery was 99% blocked. As Rosie explains in a poem she wrote - who knew she was a poet, too! - she began experiencing pain after helping a woman from her car. What could have easily been diagnosed as muscle pain, was the beginning of a heart attack. Saved partly by Bayer Aspirin and a visit to her doctor, Rosie survived the "widow maker" and has brought the signs of a heart attack in women to the forefront of the women's health discussion. Here's the poem Rosie wrote (I highly recommend you visit Rosie's blog and read all the comments that follow...it's outstanding how many women are grateful that she shared):

my heart attack

its a semi-sunny monday
the light bouncing off the flat hudson
mish is sitting next to me
i am happy to be alive

last week i had a heart attack

here is what happened
on tuesday morning
while walking in a parking lot in nyack
i heard a loud commanding voice

“can u help me”

more of  a demand than request
a challenge – a plea
i turned and saw an enormous woman
struggling to get out of her car

she was stuck

“can u help me? she asked again
as i walked toward her
“oh u r rosie odonnell”
yes i am

the ghost of christmas future
me – if i did not wake
there r no accidents i thought
as i braced myself and lifted her

it was not easy
but together we did it
she was up and on her way
with gratitude

a few hours later my body hurt
 i had an ache in my chest
both my arms were sore
everything felt bruised

muscular – i thought
strained or pulled tissue
i went about my day
the pain persisted

i became nauseous
my skin was clammy
i was very very hot
i threw up

maybe this is a heart attack
i googled womens heart attack symptoms
i had many of them
but really? – i thought – naaaa

i took some bayer aspirin
thank god
saved by a tv commercial

i did not call 911
50% of women having heart attacks never call 911
200,000 women die of heart attacks
every year in the US

by some miracle i was not one of them
the next day i went to a cardiologist
the dr did an EKG and sent me to the hospital
where a stent was put in

my LAD was 99% blocked
they call this type of heart attack
i am lucky to be here

know the symptoms ladies
listen to the voice inside
the one we all so easily ignore
CALL 911

save urself

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Knit Red KAL - Progress!

So we're off and running on our first official Knit Red Knit-a-Long! (It's not too late to join us!)

I'll be blogging about the KAL each week right here and on the JBW blog as well as having on-going discussions, camaraderie and support in threads on both Ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red.

From August 6th to September 17th we're working on the A-line Hoodie pattern by Diane Soucy and it can be found on page 22 of Knit Red by Laura Zander. The pattern calls for Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street Collection, Cashmere Fleur de Lys in color #416. But you may use any yarn you like that you can get gauge with and it doesn't have to be red!

As I mentioned last week I'm making mine with Berroco Vintage in #5150 Berries. I'm nearly to the end of my first hank and to the second buttonhole so far. I've been been knitting quite a bit lately with fingering weight yarn and so this project just seems to be flying along in worsted weight.

As promised, Diane Soucy and I have started filming some videos to help you make top down sweaters! We're very excited to be able to do this for you and these videos will be available to view anytime on our website, YouTube and in the future you'll also be able to link to them from Diane's website: Knitting Pure & Simple.

Here are the first three videos- Diane will be in this afternoon to film more!

First, Diane and I show you How to Decide What Size Sweater to Make:

Then we talk about how important swatching and gauge is to getting the results you want. How to Measure Your Gauge Correctly:

Now that you know what size to make and have gotten gauge, we show you how to cast on for a raglan top down sweater and explain what all those stitch markers are for, where they go, the parts of the sweater, increases used, and finally how to cast on at the beginning and end of rows to work a seed stitch button band. How to Cast on for a Top Down Sweater:

And because this is a Knit Red KAL in support of heart health, chime in with your heart-healthy tips here in the comments or in our Ravelry groups. I will be reading all of them!

So there you go! Now you're all set to cast on!

And remember, I am here to help you each step of the way. You can post your comments and questions in the Ravelry groups, Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red. Or email me at askTerry(at)jimmybeanswool.com.

Happy knitting!

P.S. Are you on Facebook? So are we! C'mon over and "Like" us to get all the latest news! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We're baaaack! Stitches Midwest Recap!

Another Stitches has come and gone...we really enjoyed ourselves in Schaumburg, IL! The mid-western knitters, crocheters and spinners were wonderful. We met people from Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio, and of course many locals! All three of us (me, Laura and Sandy) were overwhelmed by the support from the needlearts community. Many women shared their stories with us (some heart breaking and some full of hope), including one wonderful woman who had had her heart removed and put back to save her life. Here's a small photo journal of our time at Stitches Midwest! 

Stitch Red booth
Our very red booth was certainly eye catching to all who walked by! We had a great Knit Red display, too. It paid off because we sold over 100 copies of Knit Red...Laura's hand started to cramp from all the autographs!

Jimmy & Lori of Yarn Pop
What would Stitches Midwest be without some business in the making? And some knitting, too! I promise that wine is heart-healthy (it can improve HDL cholesterol levels...the good kind of cholesterol!)

Knitting, knitting and more knitting! Sandy started (and finished) her mini red dress in Alpaca Sox while we were at the show. This kit was a hot product!

We're so glad we went! Next up: VK Live (Chicago, IL) and Stitches East (Hartford, CT)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

We've all seen men buckle down to the sidewalk clutching their chests out of pain on the big screen, but is a heart attack the same for women? Throughout this campaign we've learned more than we ever thought we needed to know about heart disease in women...starting with this disease being the #1 killer of women. Naturally, we assumed (wrongfully so) that heart attacks were the same in women as they are in men.

Keep these symptoms in mind, just in case.

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. This pain can last for 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. Shortness of breath with our without comfort.

4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Don't discount chest pain just because you're female. Women will still experience the same chest discomfort that is the tell-tale sign of a heart attack in men, but are more likely to experience other symptoms like nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Women are known to chalk up their symptoms to less threatening problems like the flu or acid reflux, but if you have a family history of heart disease it's important to call a doctor if you experience one or more of the above symptoms.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Calling all Pet Lovers...What Can Pets do for Your Heart?

Piet & Hana
It's no secret that the Jimmy Beans Wool crew is full of pet lovers. Just browsing our website, I'm sure you've seen Jimmy's dogs (they are celebrities)- Buddy and Wiley. While Wiley isn't with us anymore, Buddy keeps us company and brings smiles to our faces as he noses in all the garbage cans he can find.

Buddy often roams the office, taunting Hana (a black lab guide dog in training) as she relaxes in her cage. She'd love the chance to rummage through yarn...or chase bunnies! These furry friends keep us smiling, but who would have guessed they tend to help reduce risk factors of heart disease? We had our suspicions, but now we have proof that our pets are good for our health! 

The study of human-animal interaction is still relatively new, but it's no surprise that pets provide an outstanding number of benefits for people. Pets have a way of helping to improve our cardiovascular health. One NIH study found that of 421 adults who had suffered from a heart attack after one year, dog owners were more likely to be alive than those without a dog no matter how severe their heart attack. Another study found that 240 married couples with pets had lower heart rates and blood pressure than those without pets. 

Terry's kitty Riley :)
While our pets are helping to keep us healthy, we're making sure they are healthy, too. Terry's 3.5 year old cat, Riley, is fed a grain-free diet. Cats are carnivores and aren't adapted to eating a grain based diet. Many of the commercial cat foods have grain as the primary ingredient which can cause diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol in cats. Terry makes sure to keep Riley in tip-top shape! Buddy loves to run after tennis balls, in fact, he could chase a ball all day long if Laura's arm was up for a day full of playing fetch! Keeping our pets active helps to keep us active, too!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ready, set, GO! It's time for a Knit-A-Long!

This time it's a Knit Red KAL! We will be knitting Diane Soucy's (of Knitting Pure & Simple) pattern from the Knit Red book, the A-Line Hoodie. We chose this pattern not only because it is one of our favorites from the book (although I think they are all favorites!) it also has the highest number of favorites on Ravelry of all the Knit Red patterns!

Diane Soucy's A-Line Hoodie
We've been receiving such positive feedback on using Diane's pattern! We are so excited that everyone loves the A-Line Hoodie as much as we do because Diane is one of the people who helped inspire Laura to start Jimmy Beans Wool; which we're sure you read about in our Hand Dyed catalog. What's even more exciting is that Diane is going to be participating in this KAL right along with us by filming some videos with me (Terry) that will take you through the steps of how to knit a top down sweater! We'll learn things like how to decide what size to make, the importance of gauge and how to find it, how to cast on and what are all those markers for? And, the big one I know you all want to know because it was a much discussed issued in our last KAL, how to pick up stitches for the underarms without holes!

The KAL will start on Monday, August 6th and run for six weeks until Monday, September 17th.

We'll be blogging each week right here on the Stitch Red blog and the JBW blog, as well as having an on-going discussion, camaraderie, and support in threads on both Ravelry groups- Jimmy Beans Wool and Stitch Red.

For our local customers, I'm willing to hold KAL Knit Nights on Tuesday evenings every other week if enough interested people respond to this blog post by Sunday, August 5th.

The A-Line Hoodie pattern can be found on page 22 of Knit Red by Laura Zander. The pattern calls for Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street Collection, Cashmere Fleur de Lys in color #416.

The Cashmere Fleur de Lys is an absolutely lovely and soft yarn and as always you are welcome to use any worsted weight yarn that you want. If you have questions on if a yarn is worsted weight check the yarn band for the suggested gauge. A suggested gauge of 18-20 stitches to 4" (4.5-5 stitches per inch) on a US 7-8 needle will work for this pattern.

My swatch - it feels wonderful knit up!
Personally, I'm going to be sticking with the Stitch Red color theme and making my sweater out of Berroco Vintage in their Stitch Red color, #5150 Berries. I'm choosing this yarn because I'm not always as gentle with my hand knits as I should be and I want this sweater to be an everyday sweater that is durable and easy to care for. In addition, I don't look my best in blue-reds so I need to stick with orange-reds or reds with a hint of black and the Berroco Vintage fits the bill for me in every way.

I would also like to suggest a few other Stitch Red colors you can consider (if you'd like to join me in supporting Stitch Red):

Encore Worsted #475
Fantasy Naturale #3611
Shepherd Worsted - Bold Red
Shepherd Worsted June '12 LLE - Stitch Red (we still have some!)
Merino 5 #1012
Bamboo Ewe #5280
Red Heart Soft Solid Color #5142

I've already made a swatch for my sweater with the Berroco Vintage on US 8 and US 9 Knitter's Pride Cubics and after washing my swatch I got gauge perfectly on US size 8.

So choose your yarn and get swatching! This is going to be so much fun!