header logo


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!