hill vintage and knits

Holiday Gift Guide by jen geigley

As the holidays get closer, it's cool to shop small. It's also cool to support women. I've put together a list of a few of my favorite women-owned businesses and some super neat gift giving ideas. Check it!

First up… Moop. I have been a huge fan of Moop bags for years. And I own quite a few. Backpacks, clutches, totes, messenger bags and more. They are my go-to everyday bags and I know you (or anyone on your list) will absolutely love them too.

Check out Lilla Barn, a rad clothing shop owned by my friend Bergen. She makes clothing for kids and women, and also has hand-dyed goods for your home (like these super cool tea towels.) Everything is handmade in Chicago.

Eden is my favorite DSM stop to find a thoughtful gift (or just to treat myself to something special.) If you're shopping for someone who seems to already have everything, hit up this shop – they'll help you find the perfect gift every time. Owned by my awesome friend Jen, Eden is a bath, baby, and home boutique carrying hard to find products you'd never believe would be available in Iowa. Plus they throw the best parties. <3

Hill Vintage & Knits is my Des Moines yarn store home and my friends Erica and Jess are entrepreneurial badasses. They have an awesome selection of yarns like Hedgehog Fibers, Malabrigo, Noro, Madeline Tosh, Dyed in the Wool, Wool and the Gang and more. AND they have vintage clothing and home goods too, too. In case you need a rad dress for a NYE party, a Lee denim jacket of a set of E.T. juice glasses.

And I know you know my friend Gaye of GGMadeIt ... knitter extraordinaire! GG is an absolute ray of light – she is always sharing the coolest knitting projects online and she always knows what's up. But did you know she sells her signature Yarn Ho t-shirts, plus mugs and tote bags too? Find everything here. She is also offering gorgeous hand-knit accessories (all made by GG!) here.

And then there's my talented friend Laura from XO-LP. Highlighters + markers + wit. She hand-illustrates all kinds of cool things – cards, t-shirts, coloring books, custom stationery, Thanksgiving table runners that kids can color ... you name it. Her lunchbox notes were just featured in Martha Stewart Living Online! So cool.

Domestica is my favorite modern indie handmade shop here in DSM, IA (and they have a full online + print shop too!) Domestica has the best super cool home and personal accessories – rad prints and pieces to help you spruce up your nest, and the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Broad City drinking glasses? YAS.

Coolest gift giving idea ever? An online/long-distance tarot reading by my awesome friend Kristi, or a deck of her very own (stunning) Ritual Oracle tarot cards. K lives in CA, but you can ask her a question from wherever you are ... then prepare to be floored by her guidance and perspective. She offers mini or full readings. And did I mention her deck is GORGEOUS? It is. I have one of my very own. And I love it so much. Find her online shop here.

If you are a knitter (or know a knitter), chances are that you are already familiar with Fringe Supply Co. This online shop has THE coolest knitting/crafting tools imaginable. Just a few items I'm obsessing over this season are the birch knitting needle sets, the leather wrist ruler, any and all of the Boukhou bags and gray canvas Field Bag. Swoon. If you're looking for a gift for your favorite knitter, this is your one-stop shop.

If you know me IRL, you know I'm in love with everything Blackbird. This Seattle design house uses innovative materials and concepts to create perfumes, incense, men's grooming, tea and accessories for everyone. Definitely one of my favorite things in life.

And last but not least, I can't put together a gift guide without mentioning my knitting books WEEKEND and EVERYDAY. Treat yourself to these gorgeously photographed books full of simple, modern designs. These books make fantastic gifts – don't forget to add them to your wish list! Find them here (and keep an eye out for a Black Friday deal you won't want to miss!)

knitting in public + a fiber exhibition + a community art project by jen geigley

Here in Des Moines we are so lucky to have The Des Moines Art Center, home to ever-changing exhibitions throughout the year and a fantastic permanent collection that includes pieces by Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Francis Bacon, Georgia O'Keeffe, Grant Wood, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko and so many more. Yes, we are pretty lucky. And the current exhibition on display is a fiber exhibit called Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present. Which, for a knitter, is pretty on point. Lotus and I had to check it out.


And not long ago, I mentioned a community fiber project that correlates with this exhibit – the Art Center is collecting hand-knit or crocheted swatches for a re-imagining of the iconic painting "From the Lake No. 1" by Georgia O’Keeffe. So Lotus and I signed up for the project and picked up our yarn. (I believe knitted submissions are due this Friday if you would like to jump in.) It's such a fun project for us to do together.

Last weekend the Art Center hosted a knitting circle, which was the perfect way to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day. We worked on our swatches for the community fiber project and I got to chat with some of my favorite knitting friends. Paul Kasal also gave a short talk on Georgia O'Keeffe and history of "From the Lake No. 1," which was quite fascinating. 

I'm naturally pretty excited to be part of this fiber experience and can't wait to see how this turns out. After what I imagine will be some very creative and interesting assembly sessions, the final piece will be unveiled on July 10th. Thank you, Des Moines Art Center friends, for bringing knitters together from all over our lovely city and making something big and beautiful out of all of our tiny handmade creations.

knitXmidwest 2015 by jen geigley

Hey knitters! My friends Erica and Jess from Hill Vintage & Knits and I are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 3rd annual knitXmidwest retreat in Des Moines, IA. knitXmidwest 2015 will be held on Saturday, November 7th and Sunday, November 8th. Space is limited and spots are already filling up!

Want to see what knitXmidwest is all about? Check out these posts with lots of pics from our events in 2013 and 2014. Such fun times. For more details and  registration, visit our website.

knitXmidwest 2014 by jen geigley

Ah! I'm so sad that our wonderful weekend of knitting is over! Last weekend was the second annual knitXmidwest knitting and crochet retreat, held right here in Des Moines. I co-hosted alongside these wonderful ladies, Jessica and Erica of Hill Vintage & Knits. Here are some of my favorite photos from the weekend, taken by our talented pal Bethany Kohoutek.




It was so much fun, you guys. If you couldn't make it this year, definitely plan for it next November because this is truly a weekend you can't miss. A huge thank you to everyone who came out to knit and crochet with us! See you again next year. xo.

knitXmidwest in 'Mingle' magazine by jen geigley

Hey friends! Check out the Spring 2014 issue of 'Mingle' magazine, which is all about sharing creative ideas for unique gatherings. Inside there's a great feature about knitXmidwest, the knitting retreat I organized with my friends Erica and Jessica from Hill Vintage & Knits last November.

Super cool! And such a great magazine. There are a zillion cool party ideas for weddings, baby showers, outdoor dinner parties and even a Vespa-themed engagement party in this issue. You must grab a copy for yourself.

knitXmidwest! by jen geigley

We've been talking and planning for months, and our big weekend finally came! I spent Saturday and Sunday co-hosting Des Moines' own knitting retreat, knitXmidwest with my fantastic friends Erica and Jessica of Hill Vintage & Knits. It was crazy fun and for our first time putting together a knitting retreat, I think everything went pretty great. (Let me tell you all about it.)

Our crew of die-hard knitters took over this lovely lodge in Walnut Woods, just outside of Des Moines. The trees were gorgeous, the weather was fantastic and it proved to be the perfect place to cozy up with friends for two days of knitting.

Knitting friends traveled from Denver, Chicago, Omaha and surrounding Iowa cities to hang out with us. We had a wonderful group of fun people and it was pretty incredible.

 We covered the tables with vintage tablecloths, spray painted pumpkin gourds and ceramic cats.

We met new friends and hung out with old friends.

 We had show and tell.

And ate delicious food catered by Tacopocalypse

My sweet friend Robyn from She Makes Hats talked with us about her goal to knit and give away 10,000 hats in her lifetime. And I'm pretty sure everyone fell in love with her.

I made cupcakes that looked like balls of yarn with golf tee 'knitting needles' sticking out of them.

We did 'knitting' yoga to stretch out our backs, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.

Maggie Howe from Girl With a Sword talked to us about handspun yarn and fiber creations.

And our friend Diane Muse brought tons of fantastic yarn and craft-related designs that had been screenprinted on kitchen towels, t-shirts, aprons and tote bags.

But mostly, we did what knitters/crocheters do best. We hung out and made things. We admired projects that others were working on. We laughed. We thoroughly enjoyed the girl time.

And we had a photo booth.

 It was so much fun that we think we'll do it again. Hope to see you next year!

knitXmidwest! by jen geigley

Hey hey! I'm teaming up with my girls at Hill Vintage & Knits to host our first annual knitting retreat right here in Des Moines, knitXmidwest! And it's only two weeks away. So if you want to be there, you should sign up now. So I know how many cupcakes we'll need.

But really! There are a zillion reasons why you won't want to miss this.  For $25/day, you will enjoy:
  • Devastatingly good lunch catered by Tacopocalypse.
  • Lots of uninterrupted time to knit + crochet, perfect for finishing up that big project you've been wanting to work on.
  • Relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Wear your hand-knits and your sweatpants. We don't care.
  • We'll be knitting and crocheting in the beautiful Walnut Woods Lodge. Have you seen the leaves changing colors this week? It's gonna be gorgeous out there.
  • T-shirts!
  • Photobooth. There will be a photobooth, people! (Or ...  Jess and I with cameras and a backdrop, but same difference.)
  • Fun times with friends.
  • Knitting and crochet show and tell. Show off the coolest things you've ever made! Bring your stuff. We want to see it.
  • Knit + crochet doctor. In case you need help with something.
  • Meet our speaker (and my friend) Robyn from SheMakesHats. She's writing a book about her mission to knit and give away 10,000 hats to 10,000 people in her lifetime.
  • Stashbust. Calling all hoarders: bring yarn that you want to trade/get ride of. Anything left over will be donated!
  • Yoga. Which will be easy (and optional.)
  • Mimosas! And cupcakes.
  • After-hours shopping and wine + dessert at Hill Vintage & Knits in the East Village.
  • Fantastically cool door prizes. 

You seriously won't want to miss this. Sign up here, right now. You can register for one day or the whole weekend. It's up to you.

I really hope to see you there!