April 6, 2013 § 1 Comment
We’re excited to announce that our blog will be moving!
We’ve outgrown our Waggledancing.com space and are now heading over to be part of the Be Sweet main page at http://besweetproducts.com/be-sweet-blog/. Please head on over there starting Monday, April 8th for new content.
Change your bookmarks, feeds and email notifications and join us in our new home! See you there!
April 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Yup, you read that correctly. Arm knitting.
Dubbed “the fastest way to make a chunky scarf,” I tend to agree with that remark after watching the video!
For those of us who are crafty, you can make a few dozen of these over the course of a day (hello holiday knitting!) or gather up a few different Be Sweet yarns, hold them all together as one strand and knit up an extra fabulous version! For the not-so-crafty folk out there, you can buy a handmade version here.
Read/watch the online tutorial over at Simply Maggie here.
How clever is that?!
March 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Happy Monday, readers!
Your fearless blogger is stuck for another day on vacation in sunny southwest Florida (I know, woe is me) due to inclement weather while trying to get home. I can’t complain… I look outside my window and see sunshine, palm trees and the swimming pool beckons, while at home there’s snow, sleet and slush.
Much of the country is getting slammed with a late March snowstorm, so I thought I’d try to bring a bit ‘o sunshine to you. I made this recipe at Christmas and were they ever a hit! There wasn’t one left on a plate and I was asked for the recipe more than once that evening.
Smitten Kitchen’s lemon bars are the tastiest thing to ever grace this Earth. I’m serious. Snow got you down? Cold snap killing your crocuses? Make these bars and I PROMISE you’ll feel like spring wafted through your kitchen (and tummy).
This recipe ran on her blog back in 2008, but these bars continue to delight taste buds on a constant basis.
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
These are bold and tart lemon bars, ones I feel are best in smaller doses than Ina Garten suggests. I’ve made a few changes to the recipe–increased the salt in the crust, reduced the sugar in the lemon filling and an encouragement to grease your pan, as mine were all but cemented into their non-stick pan. For those of you who like the 1:1 crust to lemon layer ratio, use the second option.
For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the full-size lemon layer:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
[Or] for a thinner lemon layer:
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (less if you are using the thinner topping), or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Say it with me now, readers… “What snow? YUM.”
March 22, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Jacqueline was kind enough to sit down with us recently for a brief interview.
Be Sweet (BS): How did you start Soak? Did you see a need in the market, was it an idea that just came to you…?
Jacqueline Sava (JS): I used to design knitwear and people always asked me how to take care of it. Our customers had a modern take on life and fashion, so we wanted to offer them a modern solution for fiber care as well. Now, we’ve got a warehouse full of Soak! We’re all still wearing my stylish knits.
BS: How long have you been knitting and who taught you?
JS: One might say I learned how to knit when I was about 12. My mother might say I never learned how to finish a project though! I took up knitting again at RISD, when I met a knitting machine for the first time. It was love at first sight. So, my mom taught me, and then the knitting machine and I fell in love.
BS: What do you like knitting the most?
JS: I like projects where I can learn new skills, and where each section is different, so it’s always a challenge. It’s not a garment specific answer…
BS: What is your favorite Soak scent?
JS: Yuzu, the new scent is my current favorite. Celebration will always be right up there as well. Yuzu is both fresh and seductive. It’s also amazing in our Handmaid luxury hand creme. It’s like a little dreamy treat every time I use it.
BS: We hear you love our T-Shirt yarn. What do you knit with it and is that your favorite Be Sweet yarn?
JS: I love knitting quick projects with T-Shirt yarn. Necklaces are my go to item. Quick fun projects that have great style appeal when worn. Plus, they’re casual, so they are great for everyday at the office. It’s also the perfect gift project. Admittedly, I also love that every time I see a stash at a store or show, it’s always different, so even though it’s production yarn, I feel like it’s a bit more unique and that I’ve maybe scored a one-of-a-kind skein.
BS: I am a huge fan of the Soak soaking bins. What else does Soak offer?
JS: Our latest and greatest innovation is the Soakbox. This limited edition Soakbox includes a bottle of Soak and Handmaid luxury creme, stylishly matched to premium nail polish and custom hand-dyed yarn from Lorna’s Laces. Pattern included by the lovely and talented Fiona Ellis. There’s one to match each Soak fragrance.
BS: Your favorite sweet treat?
JS: Truth be told, I’m a savory girl. I’d choose chips over sweets… unless there was mint chocolate chip ice cream nearby.
Thanks, Jacqueline! We heart Soak and we know our readers do as well!
March 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A Yen for Yarn: Q&A with the Glitter Knitter
With the ever-in natural-luxe mohair trend looming large, a talk and tea hosted last weekend by Mohair SA together with ‘Glitter Knitter’ Steven Berg in Port Elizabeth’s trendy Stanley Street, piqued our interest. Steven Berg and Be Sweet entrepreneur Nadine Curtis joined forces with Mohair SA for the event and were among the line-up of fascinating guest speakers.
Steven Berg is the owner and founder of the StevenBe and the Yarn Garage, two Fiber Studios based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Located in an historically rich building, previously an 1890s firehouse and 1940s dance hall, it’s easy to see how Steven Berg’s yarn-based centre became a vibrant creative hub. Keeping up with the constantly evolving industry and its inspiring atmosphere, StevenBe and the Yarn Garage function as a workshop as well as an exhibition space. Food, music and various forms of art can be enjoyed, exploring and supporting creative endeavours.
Inspired by The Glitter Knitter’s fresh approach to the yarn industry, we asked him a few questions.
What makes yarn so special?
Yarn in the U.S. is the gateway to relaxation and therapy. Many have found this hobby to become an escape, a refuge. Yarn, like any medium in art, like paint or metal, is the material which one becomes passionate with….the color, the texture, the feel of it running through your fingers. Yarn is the medium to express my art and fashion.
Why have you chosen to collaborate with MOHAIR SA?
They have chosen Nadine and I as we presented for Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago this past fall. We will be presenting again this spring in Seattle for the same event. Nadine started importing the Mohair from South Africa and I joined in on her passion. I began using it in conjunction with other fibers to execute my vision of fiber fusion; combining unrelated fibers in uncommon creations.
What inspired you most at Cape Town’s Design Indaba 2013?
I was inspired by several of the speakers as I value a variety of input from all aspects of design, not just my narrow fiber vision. Most of all the amazing South African vendors and artists. I am in awe of the way materials are re-used, re-fashioned, re-claimed and re-purposed. I want to return to the U.S. and share it with all my clients.
Do you have any DIY yarn-related tips?
My input on the DIY movement is that there are no mistakes…only variations. In Art and Craft there is no “wrong” – just original. Find the joy of creating and it will set you free of the box we are often forced to live in.
What is your ideal creative space?
I recently bought my ideal creative space. A turn of the century firehouse in the middle of urban Minneapolis. I am slowly renovating it into the over-the-top eclectic style that inspires me. Each floor is 3,000 square feet, enough room for all of my collections and projects as well as those of my friends and clients.
Any future projects that you’re planning that you’re excited about and could share with us?
We are planning to expand our home décor selections and opportunity. We find our fiber artists are not only into fashion for their body but for their home and lifestyle as well. The lower level will remain packed with our many yarn selections but the 2nd level will convert to the StevenBe loft for felting, weaving, spinning and beadwork. This spring we will be launching our outdoor Fiber Art Garden. A whimsical outdoor urban space that will allow the public to escape for a moment to the calm of my fiber world.
Get Elle Decoration Trends Issue No. 88, now on shelf, to read about the Top 16 trends of 2013 – including mohair.
March 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We’re excited to start your week off right readers and show off two of our new patterns (one of them is free!).
We’re thrilled about Cleo Malone’s new design, the Chevron Bamboo Tunic, knit in 3 shades of our Be Sweet Bamboo. A surprisingly simple chevron knit, you can really make this tunic your own by choosing your 3 favorite colors (see all of our available colors here)! Download the pattern here.
As a reminder of how much we love you, we’re offering up yet another free pattern! Adele Cutten has designed Mary Gale’s Square Shawl, just for you! Knitting up swiftly in our Be Sweet Medium Brushed Mohair, this is the perfect knit for on-the-go knitting. Download the free pattern here.
March 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We were contacted recently by Judith Heron, a poet and knitter of Be Sweet yarns. Judith wrote a poem for us after knitting up some of our Magic Ball and we are excited to share it with you! Our first Be Sweet-inspired poem!
A found poem from the label of yarn
Who names a yarn company Be Sweet,
tells the place where the Angora goats
descended from? Describes the lineage
from Tibet to Turkmenistan and on
to Turkey where the yarn was reserved
for royalty. Tells more. 1830, Turks sent
a group of does and castrated bucks
to South Africa. How one doe, pregnant,
gave birth to a male kid. How through
interbreeding with local stock
a hardier Angora goat flourished – still
produces over half the world’s mohair –
the miracle does not stop here.
In a rural region of South Africa the yarn
is hand spun and dyed by women who
no longer have to work hard labor
in pineapple fields. Overseas the yarn
is marketed to other women – who can
afford thirty dollars – who take home
into well-lit houses a Magic Ball, knit
a scarf to accessorize their wardrobe.
Then read, in comfort over tea, how
some money goes to the local school,
wonder who named it Forest Fruits, who
knotted together so carefully their yarn.
Thanks, Judith! We are so thrilled to have been immortalized through your poetry!