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Thursday, March 27, 2014

5th Block of the Sew Red Mystery Sew-A-Long by Kay Whitt

You’ve been waiting patiently for the next block in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-along so here it is!  You’ll fall head over heels for this amazing block designed by Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studio.  

All about Kay

Kay Whitt is the talented designer of Serendipity Studio patterns.  You can also catch her adorable mug modeling on the pattern covers.  Her modern-yet-classic style is on display once more in her recent pattern releases.  See the range of her designs in the fun, flirty style of the Ramona WrapDress, the chic elegance of the Jordan Jacket, and the simple wear-ability of the skirts in the Fashion Formula Skirts Booklet 3.  She sure is one fashionable lady!

Kay and Sew Red

We at Jimmy Beans have loved Kay’s patterns from day one so it was a bit of a no-brainer for us to see if she would be willing to whip one up for Sew Red.   Kay's personal connection to cardiovascular disease made her more than up to the challege.  Her father underwent heart bypass surgery, and that had a huge impact on her lifestyle choices.  We're glad she choose to participate, and her Sweet Sixteen skirt definitely did not disappoint – it’s fun, flattering, flirty and easy to sew! 

Kay’s Block for the Mystery Sew Red Sew-along

Kay isn’t a traditional quilter, but she still wanted to participate in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-along, and we were so excited that she wanted to be a part of it!  Her finished block is an amazing strip heart.  Follow the link to her blog to get started right away!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5th Block of the Sew Red Sew-a-long from Saremy Duffy
We are just bursting at the seams (hee hee) to show you the next block in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long!  This inspired-by-Cathedral-Window quilt block was designed by the wildly talented Saremy Duffy of Chicken Boots. 

All about Saremy
Chicken Boots
Saremy Duffy is an extremely avid seamster with a business making and selling accessories for knitters, crocheters and others creative folks called Chicken Boots.  All Chicken Boots products are made right here in the USA in Chico, CA, and we proudly carry them at Jimmy Beans. Saremy is passionate about knowing where the things she buys come from and tries to buy Made in US and handmade first—within reason financially.  I bet what you really want to know, though, is why she chose the name “Chicken Boots” for her business.  The Duffys have raised a lot of chickens and after a 1.5 year hiatus while they found a new home, they hope this year they will have chickens again.  Saremy says she falls asleep dreaming about the Chicken Coop / Bunny Hutch she will build in the yard next to their pool once they're all settled in their new home.  During all that time of raising chickens, they’ve called their boots that are worn to take care of chicken chores their 'chicken boots'. Their daughter was five when she coined the term and it stuck!  

If you’re local to the Chico area, check out the public knitting group that Saremy hosts at the Chico Library each week.  You can also keep up with all of her adventures on her blog (http://www.chickenbootsusa.com/blogs) or by connecting with her on Facebook. Don't forget your boots!

Saremy and Sew Red
 Saremy picked up on heart-healthy eating and exercising habits from her mother’s example; her mom was a nurse who worked in a heart catheterization lab, which runs diagnostic tests to see if someone is at risk for heart disease.  Saremy is passionate about knowing where her food comes from and tries to eat organic, local foods as much as possible.  Saremy knits and sews a lot, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, but she’s very conscious of being as active as she can.  As an avid cyclist-turned-runner, Saremy makes it a point to get her morning run in before becoming consumed by work.  She has also challenged herself that she’ll get to knit for every hour she exercises this year.  We think that’s a great way to stay active!  Seeing firsthand how devastating heart disease can be made Saremy excited to be a part of the book.  You can find her amazingly practical and stylish Jewelry Case in Sew Red!

Saremy’s Block for the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long!
Saremy was inspired to re-interpret the traditional Cathedral Window quilt block.  She used fabrics from Luella Doss's Fowl Play collection - perfect for the creator of Chicken Boots! We love that her block can be assembled in many different ways, and can’t wait to see how you all choose to orient your own blocks!  Click over to the Chicken Boots blog to find instructions!

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!