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Thursday, December 19, 2013

4th Block of the Mystery Sew Red Sew Along

Welcome back to the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long! We know you've been chomping at the bit for the next block, so without further ado, here is the Fourth Block in the Sew Red Sew-a, designed by Marcia Harmening!

All About Marcia

Marcia Harmening is the talented designer behind Happy Stash Quilts and Queen of All Things Applique! Marcia says she fell in love with quilting many years ago as a means of staving off insanity during the long, dark Alaska winters. What better way to beat the long, snowy season than by surrounding yourself with colorful fabric! In 2010, after 23 years in Alaska, Marcia, her husband and their three children relocated to Reno, Nevada. We are lucky to have Marcia as a frequent visitor to our shop! She has commemorated our local are in The Tahoe Collection of “Flip & Fuse” Fun, which includes 4 quilt patterns and a table runner. You can keep up with all of the exciting things Marcia dreams up on Facebook and her blog at www.happystashquilts.com.
Marcia's design from Sew Red

Marcia and Sew Red

Marcia and Sew Red are a match made in the stars! Marcia came into our shop to browse fabric shortly after moving to Reno, and it happened to be the very day we were looking for designers to be a part of Sew Red. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Little did we know that when Marcia's father was just 50, he suffered his first heart attack; 10 years later he underwent quadruple bypass open-heart surgery. Watching her father's health drastically improve through exercise, dietary changes, and weight loss has been a major motivating factor for Marcia! We're so glad she chose to be part of Sew Red. We were simply blown away by her Queen of Hearts mini quilt for the Sew Red book—it is pure elegance in applique form!

Marcia's block for the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long

If you love Marcia's Queen of Hearts quilt as much as we do, you will be blown away by her block for the Sew Red Sew-a-long. It is a beautiful hand-appliqued heart motif that would make a staggering visual centerpiece for the quilt top. If needle-turn hand-applique isn't quite your thing, consider raw-edge fusible applique as an alternative!

To get started, check out Marcia's blog (
http://www.happystashquilts.com/blogs/news) for her tips and tricks, as well as a tutorial for making perfect circles! You'll also need to download the heart block template from http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/sewRedSAL/Heartblock.

Ready, set, applique!

Heart Block from Happy Stash Quilts

1 Fat Quarter of Red Fabric
1 Fat Quarter of Cream Fabric

Cut Red Background Fabric 7” x 17”.
(This will be trimmed to 6 ½” x 16 ½” after the block is appliquéd and pressed.)

White Appliqué Pieces
A Make 1
B Make 1
C Make 1
D Make 1
E Make 6
F Make 6
G Make 37

Needle-turn Hand Appliqué Technique

1. Trace all shapes from the Appliqué Diagram onto the matte side of freezer paper. Make sure to write the identifying letter of each piece on the freezer paper templates. Only one freezer paper template is needed for each shape.

2. Cut freezer paper templates out along the lines using paper scissors.

3. Place the shiny side of the freezer paper template on the right side of appliqué fabric and press with an iron.

4. Draw a line on the appliqué fabric around the freezer paper template using a water-soluble pen or chalk pencil. For dark fabrics, Clover makes a water-soluble pen with white ink.

5. Peel off freezer paper template and cut out appliqué shape a scant ¼” beyond the marked lines. (Templates can be used multiple times.)

6. Tape the Appliqué Diagram in a brightly lit window. Center the background fabric over the diagram and tape to window. With the window as your light box, use a water-soluble pen to mark the appliqué placement.

7. Appliqué pieces onto the background in alphabetical order using matching colors of light-weight thread. Start with piece A and finish with the G circles.

8. To appliqué, select a long edge on the appliqué piece to begin your stitching. Avoid beginning at an inner V or outer point. Finger press the appliqué piece along the drawn line. Bring your needle up through the edge of the appliqué piece where it has been turned under. Then make a downward stitch into the background right next to the turned-under edge of the appliqué. The thread travels on the back and the upward stitch comes up to catch the turned edge of the appliqué piece. Pull your thread taut enough to sink the stitches, but not so hard that puckering occurs.

9. Hand-stitch the edges of the appliqué pieces, turning the edge to the marked line as you go.

10. Continue in this manner until all of the appliqué is complete.

Stem Stitching

Now that the appliqué is complete, use DMC or other brand of embroidery floss to sew a stem stitch to create the stems to the little heart flowers. Refer to the Appliqué Diagram for dashed stitching lines. Cut an 18” segment of embroidery floss and separate out 3 strands of thread. Thread needle and make a small knot on one end.

To sew a stem stitch, work from left to right in ¼” or smaller increments. Bring the threaded needle up at point A and take it down at point B along the stitching line. Bring the needle up at C – halfway between A and B. For the second stitch, insert at D and pull up at E. Continue in this manner until the stem is created. Keep the thread either above or below the stitching line while sewing.

Happy stitching everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We are so excited to hear about all the people who are participating in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long! Thanks so much for joining us for the release of the third block!

All About Ellen

Ellen March started sewing at age 8. Growing up, sewing was always a big part of her life. Her grandmother was a seamstress by trade and her mother made all of her Halloween costumes, formal dresses and endless hair scrunchies throughout her school years. Since her mother and grandmother were such accomplished sewists, Ellen was always intimidated by having to make everything perfect. She began teaching herself to sew instead of following their guidance and found methods that made it easier, faster and more fun. 
At age 16, Ellen appeared in the educational film "Picking Your Patterns, Fabric & Notions," still available and used by home-ec teachers nationwide. She loved combining her love of sewing with her love of the stage and theater, never thinking that she would end up doing just that for her career.

After college, Ellen dabbled in theater costume design, winning an honorable mention in Los Angeles' Backstage West Garland Awards in 2001 for costuming A Midsummer Night's Dream. She also traveled the U.S. selling original fashions—tops, dresses, skirts and bags—at music festivals and craft fairs. 
Luckily, Ellen discovered a job opening at Sew News magazine in 2004. They were looking for a graphic designer, which Ellen is not! So she wrote a letter to the editor-in-chief, pleading for any kind of job with the magazine. It took 4 months, but Ellen was finally hired as the editorial assistant in 2005. Four years later she became the editor-in-chief and manager of all three sewing titles (Sew News, Creative Machine Embroidery (CME) and Sew it All) and is the host of the PBS series Sew it All. (Contact pbs.org to find air dates and showtimes.)

Ellen & Sew Red

Ellen was thrilled to be asked to be a part of Sew Red. A vegetarian since age 13, Ellen tries to live a healthy lifestyle and is passing that onto her son (who is also a vegetarian, for now). Learning that sewing can help lower blood pressure was an eye-opener for Ellen, and she passes that info on to the readers, viewers and fans of Sew News, CME and Sew it All as added benefits for beginning and continuing the hobby. She contributed the Panel Maxi Skirt, which is a favorite design of hers because it can be sized up or down easily, showcases coordinating cotton fabrics and looks great on kids and adults alike.

Ellen & the Sew-Along

photo 3 e1382636454921 300x225 SImple Quilt Block with Embroidery
Ellen wanted to feature machine embroidery in her block as an homage to Creative Machine Embroidery magazine. Of course, she still kept it simple and affordable by using easy piecing techniques and fabric scraps from her stash. 

We absolutely love the design and can't wait to get started!  Follow the link to the SewNews blog to get started on this month's block!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blocks One and Two of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long

We are a little behind in getting the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long to you all, and the third blog post is ready to go up tomorrow. I hope you all will join in and send us pics of your progress to So... without further ado...I give you the first two blog posts of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long.

It's the first week of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long and we are raring to go! The first block design will be from Jimmy Beans Wool's very own Kristen Ashbaugh Helmreich.

All About Kristen

Kristen Ashbaugh Helmreich lives in Reno, NV and works on the Customer Engagement team at Jimmy Beans Wool where her tasks include social media (Ravelry & Pinterest, yay!) and coordinating the blog, co-writing the bi-monthly newsletters, and designing knitting, sewing and crochet patterns among various other fun tasks. Outside of work, she is the designer behind Marinade Designs (www.marinade.wordpress.com), her own line of knitting patterns that she is hoping to expand in the coming year. When she's not knitting or sewing her own clothes, she is working in her garden, tending to her chickens, cooking up delicious food, doing yoga, or hiking and backpacking with her husband and their feisty little mutt Wallace. Feel free to check out all of Kristen’s designs on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/kristen-ashbaugh-helmreich

Kristen and Sew Red

Since she has such a strong background in knitting and designing knitwear, you may be asking yourself how Kristen got involved with Sew Red in the first place. After publishing her design in Knit Red when that book came out, Kristen began to dabble in sewing her own clothes. Even though her mom is a professional level seamstress, Kristen never got too much into sewing when she was younger. She had the knitting bug, for sure! However, when Jimmy Beans was looking for contributors to Sew Red, she decided to take a stab at a sewn design and create something simple that a beginner sewist like herself could make. The result is a really fun garment that is exactly that!

Why Kristen Chose to be Part of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long

When we asked her to participate in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long, Kristen was a bit hesitant. After all, she designs mostly garments and so is more of a sewist rather than a traditional quilter. She agreed to give it a go, and began brainstorming what kind of a block she'd like to do.

Kristen has been on a chevron kick lately and wanted to bring her favorite graphic to the Sew Red quilt. Unfortunately, she was having a mental block for how to do the chevrons and so switched to designing another, easier block. In the course of figuring out this easier one, the light bulb went off for her and she figured out how to do the smaller scale chevrons she wanted in the first place. So, we'll have two blocks from Kristen throughout the course of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long!

Kristen's Block

We're excited to kick off the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long  with one of Kristen's blocks because it's a nice easy introduction to get us in the swing of things. Also, since it's a fairly easy block, you can do it again and again in place of future blocks that might be out of your comfort zone!

Without further ado, follow the link to Kristen's blog, Marinade Designs, to get the instructions and get started!

And Block Two.....

It's that time again! We are happy to announce the second block in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long. This round comes from the talented ladies behind Me and My Sister Designs.

All About Barb and Mary

Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson of Me and My Sister Designs really are sisters who have been designing fabrics for Moda for 8 years. They are currently working on their 26th fabric line. If their past collections are anything to go by, it will be chock full of bright, vibrant colors! Barb and Mary are based in Tempe, Arizona, where they design their beautiful fabric lines and the amazing quilting and sewing patterns that show off their colorful fabrics.

In addition to designing and sewing, these multi-talented ladies are also beginning to dabble in knitting. Barb is a self-described “knitter wannabe”. While she doesn't knit, she does like to crochet because the mistakes can be easily removed. She makes a mean chevron afghan! Barb hopes to one day finish a scarf from one of the many knitted scarf patterns that she has collected along with the yarn from her budding yarn collection. Mary also likes the idea of knitting and someday hopes to advance past making knitted dish cloths. She also collects balls of yarn just because she likes them—who here can't relate to that!

When these two are not quilting or wishing they could knit they love being with family and their many pets. Barb married the boy next door, and Mary married his best friend! Barb's house is ruled by her two dogs: a Jack Russell terrorist named Bella and a neurotic miniature schnauzer named Frazier. Mary shares her space with two rescue cats: Mia, a blind cat who is her constant companion and Earl, the man of the house.

Barb and Mary and Sew Red

Barb and Mary wanted to be a part of Sew Red because it is a cause that is close to their hearts. Their grand mother on their mothers side of the family died of heart problems and Barb just recently went through a procedure to correct an irregular heart beat. Barb and Mary have yearly checkups, keep a close eye on their blood pressure, make smart food decisions, eat small portions, and walk as frequently as they can. The gals from Me and My Sister Designs contributed the Village Bag, which is perfect for toting around everything you need for your active—and stylish!—lifestyle.

Barb and Mary and the Sew-a-long

We met Barb and Mary at Quilt Market in Portland this spring. These ladies had us in stitches the whole time! When we asked them to participate in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long, they were excited to get started! Mary used to sew all her girls clothes when they were small. Most things she made them were in Mary's favorite color pink. To this day, her daughters get a nervous tick when they see a pink shirt in the stores.  So it won't come as a surprise that their block features lots of pink!

Barb and Mary's block

Without further ado, follow the link to their blog, Me and My Sister Designs, to get the instructions and get started!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Heart-Healthy Breakfast Ideas!

Recent studies have shown  that there's a direct link between eating breakfast and preventing heart disease - great news for those of you that already include a healthy morning meal as part of your daily routine!  The research shows that the main reason eating breakfast prevents heart problems is that it balances other risk factors like low blood sugar, poor metabolism, and nutrient deficiency, which can lead to complications with diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and obesity - all of which are commonly associated with heart disease.

Whole grains like oatmeal are a great choice for a healthy breakfast.

But making a healthy breakfast each morning is much easier said than done!  Between getting kids ready for school and rushing off to work, most of us either skip breakfast altogether or grab something quick and convenient.  The problem is, those convenience foods are usually high in sugar, fat, or processed carbs, which wreak havoc on your blood sugar and ruin your metabolism for the rest of the day.  Feeling unable to stop yourself from grabbing a donut or other snack as you pass by the breakroom at work?  That lack of willpower is probably due to your breakfast choice - eating a healthy breakfast could help you stay strong in the face of temptation.

The good news is, with a little advance preparation, you can have a healthy breakfast every day!  Some ideas for healthy breakfasts on-the-go:

 - Muffin-pan Quiches: place veggies, cheese, and cooked meat (like ground turkey or chicken, turkey bacon, or chicken sausage) in the cups of a muffin pan you've sprayed with non-stick spray.  Beat eggs with a little milk, salt and pepper and pour into muffin cups until they are 1/2 full (you'll need about one egg per muffin cup).  Bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes until eggs are set.  Voila!  Portable, single-serving quiches!

- Overnight Oats: place 1/2 cup traditional (non-instant) oatmeal in a glass jar or bowl with dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or other healthy toppings.  Cover with milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. and plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit overnight.  You can heat it up or eat like cold cereal in the morning.

- Pre-chop veggies and fillings for omelettes.  Package single-serving omelette fillings together with beaten eggs in plastic containers so you can quickly cook in the morning by just pouring entire container into heated saute pan.

- Make several breakfast sandwiches with English muffins, scrambled eggs, veggies, and cheese.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.  Then just pull one from the freezer, take off the plastic and wrap in a paper towel, and heat it in the microwave when you need it.

- Boil several eggs and peel; store covered in water in the refrigerator so you can grab one at a time for a quick meal or snack.

- Wash and prep fruit and veggies as soon as you buy them, so you can just grab them out of the fridge at a moment's notice.

Protein-rich foods like eggs, along with veggies and fruits, make a balanced breakfast.

Do you know any other tips you'd like to share?

Here's to your health!


Friday, July 19, 2013

We Have a New Friend!

Meet our newest Stitch Red partner, KnitCrate!

KnitCrate is a one-of-a-kind subscription service: when you sign up for monthly or bi-monthly deliveries, you get a package full of yarn and goodies - including a few special surprises! - with each mailing.  You can choose between several options, including knit or crochet, and different yarn categories like sock, baby, and indie, which includes specially hand-dyed yarn from indie dyers.

Now, as part of the Stitch Red Campaign, the geniuses behind KnitCrate, Joe and Andrea Raetzer, have created a special Stitch Red item: the Cross My Heart Water Bottle Kit!  The kit includes an exclusive pattern by Libby Summers, 2 hanks of Be Sweet Whipped Cream yarn in a gorgeous red color (also a Stitch Red product!) and Be Sweet Mohair yarn to make a knitted ribbon for the top of the water bottle cover, a 1-liter size Fashy water bottle in an adorable heart shape, and a few other fun extras!  And, they'll donate at least 5% of gross profits to preventing heart disease with Stitch Red and The Heart Truth(R).

Head on over to the KnitCrate site and check them out - and have fun while supporting a great cause!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

More Great Sew Red Reviews!

Hi, Everybody!

We've had so many great reviews of Sew Red, I wanted to continue to share them with you.  We're thrilled that so many people have loved the book and patterns, and it's great to see the message of heart disease prevention through crafting making its way around the craft blogs.  Here are a couple more glowing reviews from some of our favorite sewing bloggers!

The first is from Rochelle of the blog Lucky Lucille, a vintage-inspired sewing blog.  Rochelle also knits!  She did a fantastic review of the book and even made one of the projects, the Asian Modern Pillow by Linda Lee.  She put her own spin on the pattern by choosing adorable fabrics in her favorite colors, red and light blue.  We love it!  And isn't her dog, Lucille, gorgeous?

We also had a wonderful review from Jen of Grainline Studios.  I love how she called it a "Book Report" - so cute!  Jen made the Spiral Scarf by Nancy Zieman.  She especially loved the unique construction method for the scarf.  Her project came out beautifully!  Love the colors and styling.

Thanks to Rochelle and Jen for their great reviews and lovely photos!  What have you made lately?  Send us an email at info@stitchred.com - we'd love to see your projects!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sew Red Spectacular!

We've had some really awesome feedback for the newest Stitch Red book, Sew Red!  The feedback we love best is when somebody sends us pictures of a project they created from a pattern in the book.  Recently, we've received quite a few really awesome ones, and I wanted to share those with you!

First up is Kirsten Aufderheide, a cosmetologist and quilting instructor from Santa Cruz, CA.  Funny story about how she came across her first copy of Sew Red: her mother, Annie Smith of the podcast and blog Annie's Quilting Stash (http://simplearts.com/blogs/) had a copy for review.  Kirsten saw it and liked it so much, she carried it home with her without realizing it was her mom's review copy!  She decided to make the  "You Are So Loved" quilt by Vanessa Christenson for a friend who recently had a baby, and it came out beautifully!  

She used Bears in the Woods fabric by David Walker to go along with the teddy bear nursery theme.  Cutest of all: her husband helped her cut out all the fabric!

Laurie of the House of 34 do-it-yourself website/blog made the Sonoma Purse by Patty Young.  She used gorgeous batik fabrics from her stash and did a wonderful job!

She even did a nice review of the book at the same time.  Thanks, Laurie!

Check back next time for more great Sew Red projects and happy sewing!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Witness the Fitness, Part 2!

Welcome back, friends!

We're in full swing with our Jimmy Beans Wool Fitness Challenge, and I must say I am SO proud of all of the employees participating.  Whether they're walking, biking, swimming, or just moving around more, everybody has made a great effort and we're all keeping up with our goals.  In fact, after two weeks, we have a 92% completion rate for our fitness goals!

Many of the Beans chose walking as their fitness activity!
For several reasons, many of us chose to walk for exercise.  It's easy to do, can be done almost anywhere, and does not require special equipment or preparation other than comfortable shoes.  We have even started a lunchtime walking brigade: several of us walk twice around our block of warehouses together, which takes about 25 minutes and covers about a mile and a half!  It's a convenient way to get that daily exercise in and enjoy some sunshine at the same time.

Walking provides many health benefits, such as strengthening bones and muscles - including your heart! - burning calories, and improving your mood.  You don't have to walk for long periods to gain results; you can even split up your walking routine into segments of shorter duration (say, 3 different periods of 10 minutes each) and reap the same benefits as if you'd walked the total time all at once!  That means those short walks - taking the dog out in the morning, walking down to the mailbox, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work - really add up!

We use a low-tech board at work to keep track of our progress.  It's not beautiful, but it's effective!  We keep it at the front of the warehouse where we hold our morning meetings each day so that we can all see it and be motivated by everybody's progress.  So far, it's really working and as you can see, almost all the boxes have been checked!

Way to go, Beans!  Keep up the good work!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Witness the Fitness!

The time for New Year's Resolutions may be past, but really, who gets started in January, anyway?  It's dark, cold, and dreary in most places (and that's certainly the case here in Reno, Nevada!) and it takes twice as much willpower to get moving under those conditions.  In May, however, the weather is perfect - sunny and warm outside, but not hot, with inviting breezes and blooming flowers all around...who wouldn't want to be doing something outdoors?  It's inspired us here at Jimmy Beans Wool to start what we hope will become a yearly tradition: our very own Fitness Challenge!

Now, we all know that most activities (especially ones that may require extra motivation) are best done with a partner, so that was our first step: we teamed up with workmates to make sure each of us had support, accountability, and continual motivation toward our goals.  We discussed what might be reasonable goals for a one-month period, and how best to track our progress.  Some of us wanted to be more active, others to improve our diets.  Along with our partners, we wrote our goals on a board so we can track our progress - and we're expecting big results!

Some of the biking gals...now, Jeanne, your bike doesn't exactly count as exercise...

For our first partner feature, let's check in with Bethany and Rachel.  Since they both love to cycle and don't live too far from work, they decided to make it a goal to bike to work two or three days every week.  So far, they've made good on their goal and we are all proud of them!  They keep each other motivated by checking in with each other every day, bringing each other healthy snacks and treats, and sending short messages or texts to encourage each other to get on those bikes!  Great job, gals - you're an inspiration to us all!

Happy Crafting...and Fitnessing!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Sleep Your Life Away...Just Your Stress!

We've been talking a lot about that ugly word - stress - and how to combat it.  I don't know about all of you, but I have always thought the winter holiday season was pretty stressful - traveling, eating poorly, remembering gifts for everyone, combined with our busiest season at work - until now, that is.  It almost seems like I'm busier and more stressed out right now than I was during the holidays!

Well, if you haven't started on your New Year's Resolutions yet, I have a new one to add to your list: reduce stress by getting more sleep!  A new survey by Huffington Post revealed that lack of sleep was the number-one cause of stress among survey participants, and getting more sleep - even a short nap - helped alleviate that stress.

But how much sleep do you really need?  Sleeping too much can cause almost as many problems as too little, and is a major sign of depression.  Check out this article from The National Sleep Foundation to help you gauge how much is beneficial for you - you might be surprised to find you should be aiming for more hours per night.  I know I was!  I've decided that from now on, I'm going to set an alarm for 9:00 pm to remind me to start getting ready for bed.  That might be a good trick for you to use as well!

What other stress-relieving tips do you have?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stitch Red at Sun City Roseville Needle Arts Club!

A few weeks ago, Laura and Stitch Red visited The Sun City Roseville Needle Arts Club and we could not have had more fun!  Not only did we get to meet tons of cool people, we also got to see their fantastic projects they made from the Stitch Red books!  Check out these photos of some of the beautiful things we got to see!

The whole crew with Laura in their wonderful creations!
Many of the ladies made the gorgeous Slip Stitch Beret by Ysolda Teague from the Knit Red book, and it was so interesting to see all the different variations!

Photo: Donna made the Red Roses Shrug by Nicky Epstein, and Sharon is sporting her Slip Stitch Beret by Ysolda Teague in grand style!
Donna made the Red Roses Shrug by Nicky Epstein, and Sharon made the Slip Stitch Beret by Ysolda Teague!

All in all, it was a fun day and a memorable one!  Thanks again to the Sun City Roseville Needle Arts Club for hosting the luncheon and making us feel so welcome!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Craft to Save Your Life!

You all may remember when Stitch Red visited The Today Show to raise awareness about the campaign and spread the word about using crafting - knitting, sewing, crochet, macrame, whatever is your passion! - to reduce stress and lower blood pressure, which helps to keep your heart healthy.  It's a win-win!  Along with wearing everything we could find in the color red, we made a bunch of signs to hold up for the cameras to identify our group and get our slogans out there - messages like "Knit more, stress less!" and "Red wine is good for your heart - just ask Kathie Lee and Hoda!".  They made a fantastic impression, so since then, we have been taking them to trade shows with us to decorate the Stitch Red booth.

But one of those signs hit very close to home for one crafter we recently met.  Zoe Brown, who stopped by the Stitch Red booth last weekend at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle, immediately grew excited when she saw the "Quit Smoking & Start Knitting" sign on the wall of our booth - you see, Zoe has done just that!

A smoker for 30 years, Zoe knew she needed a little help to kick the habit - more specifically, she needed something to keep her hands busy and take her mind off her cravings.  That's where knitting came in; she took up the craft and formed a brand-new habit: a creative one!  Zoe also started spinning her own fibers into yarn - she knit the shawl she's wearing in the photo with yarn she spun herself!  

But Zoe gets much more from knitting and spinning than just something to do with her hands: she says it relaxes her, almost like a form of meditation.  That's something we've heard from other knitters and crafters as well - practicing a repetitive motion helps the mind relax into an almost Zen-like state. 

As one more added benefit, Zoe says the money she used to spend on cigarettes is now available to spend on spinning and knitting - her healthy habit :) .  With all of these great side-effects combined, Zoe has stayed away from cigarettes for five months!

Congratulations, Zoe - we are SO proud of you and your accomplishments and we hope your story inspires others to give up unhealthy habits for heart-healthy ones!

What habits do you have that you'd like to trade?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

What is stress doing to your heart?

We all know the mantra for staying healthy: eat right and exercise regularly.  But what about adding "manage stress" to that list?  Several studies have recently shown that stress (and the hormones released by your body when you're feeling stressed out) can increase your risk for heart disease.  One study in particular found that stress, especially when related to the workplace, can lead to Coronary Heart Disease - an actual buildup of plaque in the arteries.  That's serious!

So what can you do to manage your stress and reduce your risk?  Well, one company President, after undergoing heart surgery at age 38 (which he attributes to a high-paced, extremely stressful career), decided to start a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of maintaining a stressful lifestyle.  In the linked article, Flip Flop Shops President Brian Curin offers several tips to manage stress, mostly centered around his personal motto: pace, not race!  We agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly, and wanted to add a couple of our own suggestions to that list:

 - Get involved in a creative endeavor.  Multiple studies (including one by Harvard Medical School) have shown that knitting, crocheting, or doing other creative activities can relieve stress by invoking what's known as the relaxation response - the same reaction many people have to proven relaxation techniques like meditation.  You can engage in any creative act to relieve stress - choose your favorite and get crafting!

 - Get involved in your community.  Finding and strengthening connections with others in your community leads to a sense of purpose and necessity, and contributing your time and energy to a worthy cause with others you care about can take your mind off other stress factors in your life.  You can start a crafting group to make items for the homeless, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or simply host a get-together with friends to relax and enjoy time together.

Whatever you do, remember this: you only have one body, one heart, and one lifetime - so take care of it!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Kaari Meng & French General

Kaari Meng is the creative force behind French General and the designer of the fabulous Chateau Necklace from Sew Red.  Thanks for contributing to the Blog Tour, Kaari!

Read Kaari's post here.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria Horner is our contributor to the Blog Tour today!  We loved her Target Practice Belt, a stunning combination of patchwork and embroidery.  You can read more here!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Vanessa Christenson

Please welcome Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. to the Blog Tour!

Vanessa created the adorable You Are So Loved baby quilt for the Sew Red book.  Take a look at Vanessa's blog for more details!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Tula Pink

We are lucky to have Tula Pink on the Blog Tour today!

Tula Pink is the creator of the beautiful Paper Hearts Quilt; this ingenious design looks like chains of cut-out paper hearts - adorable!  Tula's blog is here.  Head on over and see this awesome quilt!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Nancy Zieman

Thanks to Nancy Zieman, host of public television's "Sewing With Nancy", for her great blog post!  We can wait to make the Spiral Scarf!

Check out her post here!

Happy Saturday!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Saremy Duffy

We're thrilled to have Saremy Duffy, creator and mastermind behind the adorable accessory line Chicken Boots, on the Blog Tour today!  Thanks for your fantastic and useful Jewelry Case, Saremy!

Check out her post!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Brett Bara

Brett Bara, the founder of Brooklyn Craft Camp (www.brooklyncraftcamp.com - coming up March 16th!) created a gorgeous Origami Felt Pillow for Sew Red.  Check out her blog post! http://www.brettbara.com/sewing/announing-the-sew-red-book-giveaway/

Thanks, Brett!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Sweetwater

We love Sweetwater fabrics and designs - their Mama Said Sew line is a favorite, and looked great in their design for the Sew Red Book!  Check out their awesome blog post today!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Amy Butler

Amy Butler is one of our favorite stars - she designs patterns, fabrics, yarn, and more!  This gal does it all.  Below, she gives us a sneak peek of her design for Sew Red, the Drawstring Dress, made up in her new Alchemy fabric, and answers a few questions for the Sew Red Blog Tour.  Thanks, Amy!


1.  Why did you choose to participate in Sew Red?
I decided to participate in the Sew Red project because it's such an important cause to bring awareness to. I don't think there are many people who in some way have not been affected by heart disease. I've certainly been affected by it in my family. The good news to share is that we have the power to prevent the disease from growing by educating each other on the preventative things we can do to maximize our heart health and live a full and fabulous life! I think it's so neat that all of us in Sew Red our sharing our heart felt passion for sewing and creating and using our gifts for more good. What a wonderful way to give back and be a part of something that's all about love, health and healing. 

2.     What design did you contribute and was there any inspiration for it? Tell us about your creation!
I contributed a brand new dress design that I'd been working on for a couple of years. I made my initial prototype for the launch of my first voile fabric collection and ended up using the pattern for not only my voile launch but also for my follow up Lark quilting cotton release. I love using my various weights of fabrics for many different kinds of sewing projects to show the versatility and inspire sewists to play and create their own uses and interpretations of my projects with my various materials. When Laura and Casey approached me about Sew Red I was in the process of completing the dress pattern. How cool that it found it's perfect home in this book! I have several photos of my dress XXX here made up in my brand new Alchemy Studio Rayon fabric. The two work so beautifully together! 

3.     What did you enjoy the most about participating in Sew Red?
I loved connecting with everyone on the Sew Red team!  Casey and Laura are amazing to work with. the process was effortless and fun! I am a big believer that when you connect with something that gives back you are bringing your best self (and everyone else is too) to the table. There's only room for love and joy. It was a real honor to be invited to take part and selfishly... it feels pretty darn good to have a chance to do good. Thank you everyone on Team Sew Red! You Sew Rock!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Mark Cesarik and Me and My Sister Designs

We are lucky to have two very special posters on the blog tour today - Mark Cesarik (http://homeecny.blogspot.com) and Me and My Sister Designs (http://www.meandmysisterdesigns.com/blog/)!  Go on over and check out both - they each did a fantastic post!

Happy Presidents Day!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Patty Young

Come meet Patty Young, creative genius behind ModKid Designs!  She created the beautiful Sonoma Purse for the Sew Red book!  http://modkidboutique.blogspot.com/2013/02/introducing-sew-red-win-your-own-copy.html



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Valori Wells

Head on over and check out the awesome post Valori Wells did for the Blog Tour! http://valoriwells.typepad.com/valori_wells/2013/02/sew-red-and-valentines.html

Her quilt, the Pathfinder, is gorgeous and will be an instant favorite!  Thanks, Valori!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Ty Pennington!

You probably know Ty from his successful shows, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and before that, Trading Spaces - some of our favorites, for sure!  A home improvement whiz, Ty was inspired to get into fabric design by traveling around the country and getting to know even the smallest corners of our great nation, along with the people who live there.  His fabric collection, Impressions, was a direct result of these travels and the amazing people he got to meet along the way.  In his guest post below, Ty tells us what led him to get involved with the Stitch Red campaign.  Thanks, Ty!

Also, check out the beautiful Westminster Backpack Ty designed for the new Sew Red book!

~ Heather

My colleagues at Westminster Fibers are big supporters of projects like this, anything for a good cause, and I feel the same way. So being a part of the Sew Red Blog Tour was a no brainer.

Every October when I go to the Quilter's Show in Houston, creative people come by my booth and show me the cool things they make with my fabric. I’m always impressed with their creations, so this was my chance to come up with something unique for a great cause.

On EMHE (Extreme Makeover Home Edition) we built a house for the Grinnan family in Redlands, CA.  Their daughter Hannah had undergone a heart transplant.  It was an amazing experience to meet Hannah, and learn more about her condition and her inspiring spirit. 

- Ty

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Marcia Harmening

Day 2 of the blog tour features Marcia Harmening of Happy Stash Quilts!  She contributed the beautiful Queen of Hearts Quilt to the Sew Red book.  Check out her blog: http://www.happystashquilts.com/blogs/news/7331958-sew-red-available-today



Monday, February 11, 2013

Sew Red Blog Tour - Kay Whitt

Thanks, everybody, for joining us on the Sew Red Blog Tour!

First up is Kay Whitt, the amazing designer behind Sew Serendipity and the Sweet Sixteen Skirt featured in the Sew Red book!  Head on over to her blog to learn more: http://blog.sewserendipity.com/2013/02/sew-red.html

Happy Monday and Happy Sewing!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Come Along for the Sew Red Blog Tour!

So many exciting things are happening with the Stitch Red Campaign!  Along with being mentioned in yesterday's New York Times Article about Jimmy Beans Wool (http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/how-social-media-put-a-tiny-yarn-shop-on-the-map/), we're expecting our first copies of our new book, Sew Red, later this week!

The book is going to be absolutely beautiful, and we can't wait to start shipping out copies!  It's still available for pre-order, if you haven't reserved yours yet.

We already told you a bit about what's going to be in the book (http://gostitchred.blogspot.com/2013/02/national-wear-red-day-and-sew-red.html), but here's a sneak peek of a couple of the amazing designs!

Here's the Fleur Rouge Quilt by Anna Griffin - isn't it gorgeous?

And check out the Sonoma Purse by Patty Young - fun and functional!

As a way to introduce you to some of these great designers, we've set up something extra-special: a Sew Red Blog Tour!  

Starting on Monday, February 11th, we'll be featuring a different designer each day, with a special post from each of their personal blogs written especially for Stitch Red!  Join us on the tour to get to know these fantastic designers and get more sneak peeks of the Sew Red book!


Friday, February 1, 2013

National Wear Red Day and Sew Red!

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all wearing red today for National Wear Red Day and the kick off of American Heart Month! We certainly are! The crew at Jimmy Beans Wool wore red today and snapped this photo after our morning meeting. 

Also, I wanted to tell you all about a fun contest we are hosting for the kick off of our new book Sew RedSew Red is the follow up book to last year’s Knit Red and features sewing and quilting patterns from over 25 celebrity designers! Each copy purchased from Jimmy Beans Wool will be signed by the author herself, Laura Zander (aka. Jimmy)! Inside Sew Red, you’ll find pattern sheets, instructions, beautiful photography, heart healthy tips and recipes, and personal stories of heart disease shared by the designers themselves. Not only that, but we also had the honor of welcoming back Deborah Norville to write the forward for this very special book.

Some of the many designs from Sew Red include quilts from Kaffe Fassett, Valori Wells, Tula Pink, and Mark Cesarik as well as gorgeous accessories and garments by Brett Bara, Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Ty Pennington and so many more! We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such an accomplished crew of designers and are sure that there is something for every type of sewist in this book!

As our contribution to the Stitch Red campaign, we have agreed to contribute a minimum of 5% of our gross profits from the sale of Sew Red to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) in support of The Heart Truth® and women's heart health education and research.

You'll be hearing much more about Sew Red in the coming month, and we hope you'll be adding it to your library soon. In fact, if you Pre-order your copy from Jimmy Beans Wool starting today, we'll add you into a drawing to win your copy for free! We’ll draw names on the day the books arrive to our warehouse, which is expected to be sometime next week! How fun is that?!?! 

We all hope you have a lovely, heart healthy weekend!

Kristen, and the Stitch Red team!