jen geigley

NEW book: Rowan Modern Family Knits by jen geigley

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Such a dream! Introducing my new book from Rowan Yarns + Quail Studio, Modern Family Knits – a collection of 21 hand-knit designs for you and your family. (Men, women and kids ages 5 up to tween.) If you’ve followed along here for any amount of time, you’ll know that I have been a long-time fan of Rowan, which started when my friends first took me to a local yarn shop and I picked out a few skeins of Big Wool in Glum. (Still a favorite!)


The kids’ knits in particular are some of my favorites. I love knitting for this age group – sometimes knitting books for kids focus on babies or toddlers, and I feel like the older or in-between age group sometimes gets overlooked. So Modern Family Knits focuses on knits for kids ages 5 years up to tween.


The pieces in this collection are inspired by my own family and what we would wear. Casual, contemporary and wearable, many of the knits in the book are unisex and knitted in neutral colors and can be worn by men, women, boys and girls and are sure to become foundation pieces in anyone’s wardrobe.


Modern Family Knits has something for everyone – new knitters may find their first sweater in these pages and experienced knitters will enjoy the combination of textural knitting stitches with modern shapes.

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To me, loving the pieces you knit and wanting to wear them often is the definition of hand-knit success – hand knits that your entire family can enjoy. That’s what I hope to share with you in this collection.

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Happy knitting!



All my beautiful photos are by my talented friend Joelle from Figment Art Photography.


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This is a blog post I wrote for the Mason Dixon Knitting blog. About pie.

Full circle: when your knitting inspires a pie, and a pie inspires your knitting.

I like to knit, I like to bake … and honestly, I like to play with food. A few times a year, I make annoyingly elaborate themed lunches for my kids to take to school. Heart-shaped strawberries, Harry Potter broomsticks made of pretzels and string cheese, and sandwiches that look like Emmet from The Lego Movie. I like finding ways to make baked goods look interesting too. 

A couple of years ago, I made a berry pie with a faux-knitted lattice crust for Pi Day (3/14.) Playing with pie crust was fun. I had done simple cut-out pie crust shapes before, but making a knitted crust was a totally new experiment. (Can you actually knit pie crust dough? I tried and failed, using chopsticks.) 

Earlier this year when I was collaborating with the MDK team for Field Guide No. 12, my raspberry/blackberry knitted pie became part of the theme, part of the story. The Brambleberry Cowl in Field Guide No. 12 is named after my pie. I had written the pattern for this cowl, but didn’t have a name for it yet. The stitch pattern in the cowl is called the cluster, blackberry, raspberry and/or brambleberry stitch. I was brainstorming pattern names with Field Guide Creative Director Melanie Falick, and we realized the name Brambleberry could not be more perfect. Knitting meets pie, pie meets knitting!

I can’t take credit for this faux knitted crust technique. The first time I saw a pie like this was on craftberry bush, and I had to try it. (Mine turned out differently but that is okay.) I’ve also seen cake bakers create this faux-knitted look with rolled fondant. It's not difficult ... it just takes a bit of time. But it’s totally worth it. We are knitters after all. We know all good things take time.

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Two boxes of pre-rolled Trader Joe’s Pie Crusts (2 crusts per box)

- or - 

Pie crust recipe of your choice (I have suggestions below)

Blackberries (1 cup)

Raspberries (3 cups)

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

Cutting board

Pizza cutter

Pie pan

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay one crust on your cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to slice crust into 1/2 inch wide strips. Place the other crust (uncut) in the bottom of your pie pan. Set aside the other two crusts in case you need them later.

Fold your strips in half, then roll into ‘yarn’. Pinch two rolled pieces together at the top, then twist, right over left. Take two more pieces and twist them left over right. (See photos.) These twists make a pair. Lay them side by side on a cutting board. They should look like a column of stockinette stitch.

Keep twisting your yarn in pairs until you have enough stockinette twists to cover your pie. Use an extra crust if you need to make more. 

Toss berries with the sugar and flour in a medium bowl, then add to pie pan. Lay the twists on top of the berries and gently press the ends onto the bottom crust. 

Use extra crust to make a larger twist and place around the outer edge of pie. (I used 1 1/2 inch strips.) Press this larger twist into crust below so it doesn’t end up falling off during baking. (This may have happened to me.)

My grandma Minnie taught me to brush a pie crust with milk and then sprinkle with sugar before it goes into the oven. 

Optional: Use a pie crust shield for the first 30 minutes of baking. Place a cookie sheet under your pie pan in the oven in case your filling runneth over.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. 

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Your pie may have a mind of its own as it bakes. The stitches might sink, twist, turn and gap. The berries might bubble over your neat little dough twists. But pie doesn’t have to be perfect. Like knitting, it’s handmade. What matters is that it’s made with love. (And no matter what it looks like, it’s going to taste delicious anyway.)

Here is more pie inspiration from some of my personal favorite cookbooks. (Some of these crust recipes may be better suited for regular, non-decorative crusts … but I’m a pie lover and these deserve a share.)

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Kelis: My Life on a Plate 

Singer, mom and chef Kelis (also known for her song ‘Milkshake’) serves up a collection of recipes inspired by her Puerto Rican/Jamaican upbringing and world travels as a musician. Add this book to your collection and try her apple pie recipe and Butter Flaky Everything pie crust dough. (You also may want to try making her recipe for Cappuccino Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. Just wow.) 

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Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit

At Sister Pie, Lisa Ludwinski and her band of sister bakers are helping make Detroit sweeter one slice at a time from a little corner pie shop in a former beauty salon on the city’s east side. No one leaves without pie – those who don’t have money in their pockets can simply cash in a prepaid slice from the “pie it forward” clothesline strung across the window. This gorgeous book includes a whopping 75 pie recipes, sweet and savory (and totally unique.) Find the Sister Pie Crust recipe here.

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Ms. American Pie

I can’t talk about pie without mentioning fellow Iowan Beth Howard. Beth knows about pie. She made pies at California’s Malibu Kitchen for Barbra Streisand, Dick Van Dyke and Steven Spielberg before moving back home to rural Iowa to live in the famous American Gothic House, the backdrop for Grant Wood’s famous painting. Beth Howard explains how a simple slice of pie can serve as a catalyst for healing. After suffering a personal tragedy, Beth discovered a new sense of purpose and hope while making pie. For her, giving away pie is a metaphor for giving of yourself. Read more about Beth here – scroll down to the Shaker Lemon Pie to find her pie crust recipe.

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For some reason, knitting and pie just go together. Maybe it’s the season. Maybe it’s the joy of making things with our hands. Beth Howard says “Pie is comfort. Pie heals. Pie can change the world.” 

Knitting, too.


– Jen Geigley

Dear Ann and Kay by jen geigley


Dear Ann and Kay,

Unbeknownst to you and before we ever met in real life, you were my knitting companions. Long distance, sure. Virtual, yes. But I heard your voices through your writing. You opened my world to many new knitters/dyers/designers and shared your lives through your stories and correspondence. I felt a certain comradery that I think is understood by many a knitter. This hobby is more than a hobby. And all the people who share your love for this hobby are extra special.

Hold up. Time for the back story. Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner are the women behind Mason Dixon Knitting, also known as MDK. You probably already knew this, but in case you didn’t let me explain. Kay lives in New York City. Ann lives in Nashville. They talk every day, as true knitting friends should. They have been blogging about knitting since 2003, back when knitting blogs were scarce if nonexistent. All these years, they’ve been writing each other letters on MDK. (They were internet pen pals who had originally met on the Rowan message boards.) In the beginning, they’d never met in person but that all changed when they ended up writing a book and turned MDK into the site it is today, which provides (fantastic) daily reads for knitters.

Anyway, Ann and Kay … back to you. For many years, I have been waking up to your stories and bits of knitting wisdom. I’ve been reading MDK since I started knitting in 2008 and I’ve learned so much about knitting from you and your contributors. MDK is often the first thing I read in the morning with a cup of coffee as I get my kids ready for school, and what a way to start the day.

Because you share so much more than just knitting tips. So much more.

Your blog has taken me on so many excellent adventures. I’ve devoured your ‘How to Rhinebeck: A Primer’ and though I’ve never been to Rhinebeck, I can almost taste the cider donuts. You’ve introduced me to the magic of Samantha Brunson/Bobble Club House – I pored over her post about the student knitwear at FIT, more than once – constant inspiration. Your book was one of the first knitting books I ever owned, which resulted in several extremely cute Ballband Dishcloths in my kitchen drawer. Years later, those dishcloths are still one of my most favorite projects to knit. Thanks to you I’ve had the chance to admire Dana Williams-Johnson’s work – her 200 sweaters and fantastic style edits. At my house, Saturday mornings with coffee, PJs and Snippets is a real thing. (I know I’m not the only one.) And the knitalongs! Oh, the knitalongs. I do love a good knitalong.

Why YES, I would like to have a Yo-Yo Ma musical marathon … the morning after I go to a Slipknot show. (#balance) I’d love to watch an Alexander McQueen documentary, listen to ‘LeVar Burton Reads’ or think about thinking in pictures with our beloved Temple Grandin while knitting a few rounds on my sweater on a Saturday afternoon.

Intarsia. Stitch Fiddle. The love of log cabin knitting. Knit to This. Sheet pan suppers. Lazy Sundays and Julia Child on PBS. Paul Simon/Obvious Child. Ballbands are liars. Laugh through the knitting. I’ve learned how to fudge. (A real, actual knitting technique that every knitter needs to know.)

Over the years, you’ve helped me see that we all do things our own way, learning as we go. No one’s the #1 expert at everything (except for maybe Patty Lyons, whose expertise is quite amazing) and there’s always a bunch of different ways to do something. (Just look in the comments!) It’s okay to improvise and make things our own. We are different. We are the same. Thank you for that.

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Today you revealed that somehow, this girl from Iowa who loves a wearable, modern knit is the designer for the MDK Field Guide No. 12.


What’s the Theme? More will be revealed when this Field Guide launches on Friday, September 6. How did I get here? I do not know. But I am honored and 100% thrilled to be a tiny part of MDK. This is a dream. I have done several super embarrassing happy dances around my kitchen during this process and I have a feeling the best is yet to come. (After all, I follow MDK’s Rule No. 1: Knitting is supposed to be fun.)



Have you signed up for MDK’s weekly Saturday newsletter? You won’t regret it. Sign up here. (Plus you’ll get updates about this latest Field Guide, knitalongs and more!)

The Gap-tastic knitalong! by jen geigley


Who is ready for the #gaptasticKAL? We cast on today, February 1st! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a brand new cozy cowl, fresh off the needles? Here in the Midwest, it’s crucial to our survival during this polar vortex. (But if you’re not quite ready yet or still need to order yarn, no worries - jump in when you’re ready. No rush to finish, but definitely share pics of your progress!)

My friends at StevenBe have a huge Gaptastic section on their website with tons of yarn options that would be perfect for this cowl. (Find everything right here.) Once you have your yarn and needles ready, download the free Gaptastic pattern on Ravelry, then start posting photos on social media starting on February 1 using the hashtag #gaptasticKAL. I can’t wait to see your pics!

Excited to knit along with you!


I've just gotta share ... by jen geigley

(photos by Alex Crahan)

(photos by Alex Crahan)

This year (for the first time since maybe 7th grade) I have clear skin. I have spent years covering issues on my face with layers of concealer and makeup. After having my kids, I dealt with painful breakouts that hurt my face and I tried everything I could find to get rid of them but nothing was working. I tried not to worry about it when I went out of the house and covered it the best I could but truthfully, I felt embarrassed about my face. I'd cover my face with my hand or try to hide parts of my face with my hair when I'd talk to people. This was something I didn't want to worry about anymore.

Breakouts like mine physically hurt and being in my late 30s, I felt I owed it to myself to figure this out. And I found something that worked. Rodan + Fields saved my face. And I'm just getting started. Acne and pregnancy have left scars and dark spots and melasma on my face. R+F has skincare regimens for people like me with adult acne, but also for people with sensitive skin, rosacea, dark spots, discoloration, loss of firmness and more. Rodan + Fields has been around forever, you've seen Proactiv commercials and you know the story but it's the real deal. Real dermatologists who have developed products and regimens that can help.

After thinking about it for awhile, I've decided to become a Rodan + Fields consultant. Because I truly believe in this stuff. I have seen friends' faces transform (in person) and the results are mind blowing.

If you are even a tiny bit interested (or know someone else who might be interested) in finding out more or just want to follow my skincare journey, you can find me in the following places. Thanks so much, my friends! (Don't worry ... I'll be right back to blogging about knitting in no time flat, I promise!)

Find me here:
My Rodan + Fields website
My R+F Facebook Group
My R+F Instagram
Email me with questions!

Black Sheep Society by jen geigley

My friends Johnny Vasquez and Lacie Lynnae, founders of New Stitch a Day and Argyle Sheep, are doing something exciting and new! And I'm stoked to be part of this new crafting adventure. It's called the Black Sheep Society. (I'll tell you more about that in a minute.)

Johnny and Lacie have helped over 10 million people around the world improve their knitting and crocheting skills through New Stitch and Day, the 30 Day Sweater challenge, and now their retail store Argyle Sheep. I have personally been part of their 30 Day Sweater Challenge, and I can vouch for how wonderfully helpful, knowledgeable and FUN they are. Everything they do is above and beyond what you'd expect. They are knitting and crochet experts who are well-organized, wonderful to interact with, and they offer high-quality HD videos and personalized help every step of the way. They are absolute pros at what they do.

So naturally, I was 100% on board when they asked if I'd be one of their designers for the Black Sheep Society. There are 11 designers creating exclusive projects for this craft-a-long, and they're kicking things off with my interrupted garter stitch cowl project (in the photo above). Want to know more? Read on, dear knitting friend.

What Is The Black Sheep Society?
In the simplest terms, The Black Sheep Society is an ongoing Monthly Craft-A-Long club beginning January 15th. We wanted to take the idea of a Knit-A-Long to the next level and create an experience that was like nothing ever seen before.

How Is this Craft-A-Long Different?
Aside from working on the same projects at the same time as a group, we've added a few components that will take things to the next level.

Project Kits Using Carefully Curated American Products
We think it's important to be more connected to you clothing and that starts with using trustworthy materials made in the USA.

HD Video Classes For Each Project
We're using our years of experience producing video content to give you in-depth, step-by-step instructions of every single project. You won't just get written pattern instructions, you'll have a video instructor to help you along the way.

Live Q&A Sessions With Our Designers
Get to know the people behind our collection. We'll be holding frequent live hangouts with our designers so you can hear their stories, and ask your questions.

An Interactive Community Forum
You'll have access to everyone in the community, to share your progress, ask questions, and give feedback to new friends from all around the world.

Interested in finding out more?

Join The Black Sheep Society Here

knitting backwards (a video!) by jen geigley

Hello! As I've been knitting away on Sparrow with my Rowan Fine Art, I thought it might be fun to share how I've been getting all of that garter stitch accomplished in the round. You can't see it here, but the rest of this sock is almost completely garter stitch. Sometimes, instead of doing all of that purling, I like to knit backwards. (Backwards!)

Knit backwards, you say? If you've never tried it, it's not hard to do – just different. Knitting backwards eliminates the need to purl when doing stockinette on two needles or when knitting garter stitch in the round. (Yes! Crazy, I know.) Take a look at the video above, laugh at my awkwardness and give it a try. Your friends will be so impressed.