Introducing: Herriot

As I warned you yesterday: please sit down before reading any further. I know from experience that there’s simply too much wonderful contained in Herriot for an ordinary knitter to resist. It’s named, of course, for James, whom we invoke so frequently in our farming lives that he might well be our patron saint.

Back in February, when the UPS man dropped off the box from the mill, I had to use a wheelbarrow to get it into the house, it was so overwhelming. When we showed it off to the attendees of our Lizzy House Quilting Workshop– “Wanna see what awesome things we’re working on for fall?”– they were knocked flat, then begged us for some. Our test-knitters went nuts over it. It stopped traffic on the floor at TNNA.

You heard it here first: Herriot is going to be a kind of a big deal. What is it, exactly?

Herriot is a DK-weight yarn made of 100% baby alpaca that comes in 10 natural shades (ie, undyed, never-gonna-bleed, straight-off-the-alpaca gorgeous). The colors are:

Talc, Bullrush, and Heartwood,

Walnut, Ghost Fern, and River Birch,

and Eucalyptus, Sycamore, Travertine, and Granite.

Have I gushed enough about this yarn?

Well. Let me tell you about the knitwear collection.

It’s a collection of 14 patterns designed by Pam Wynne and myself. The only guideline Susan imposed was that she wanted a colorwork book– we were otherwise left to our own devices, completely free to design what we wanted. I’d never designed a collection in collaboration before, but Pam was great to work with, and I had lots of fun planning the whole thing out with her. After grouping our ideas into chapters, we realized that our designs were arranged in increasing complexity.

That is to say: if you begin with the first pattern in the book, and knit straight through, cover to cover, the designs in this book will help you build your skills as you work until you are just about the most skillful, competent, amazing colorwork knitter this side of the Andes (the Peruvians, in my opinion, take the proverbial knitted cake).

I could go into crazy detail about the genesis of each design, or tell a cute story about what happened in each photo on the shoot, or maybe talk about how much I like the pants that a certain sweater is styled with, but that would be a bit too much birth story, and I have a feeling you’re pretty eager to see what we came up with. For now, I’m going to let our designs speak for themselves.

Egbertine hat and cowl, designed by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Jennifer Britton and Jessica Dunsmore (respectively), modeled by Emily Karasz.

 Bessie, designed and modeled by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Melanie Clark.

Herbie Hat and Mittens, designed by Pam Wynne, test-knit by Helen Elston and Erin Lucido (respectively), modeled by Emily Karasz.

Edie, designed, test-knit, and modeled by Pam Wynne.

Cora, designed by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Marci Lavine Bloch, modeled by Caroline Fryar.

Here are all three of us sitting on a fence, swathed in alpaca and tweeds, as one does in the first week of June.


Amy & Emily, proving just how strongly beauty runs in the Karasz family.

Hattie, designed by Caroline Fryar, test-knit by Krysta Harty, modeled by Emily Karasz.

Ida Mae, designed by Pam Wynne, test-knit by Gail Defendorf, modeled by Amy Karasz.

Vera Marguerite tam and mittens, designed by Pam Wynne, test-knit by Nancy Harrington and Elizabeth Vores (respectively), and modeled by Emily Karasz and Pam Wynne (respectively).

 I’m allowing myself to gush (and use multiple photographs), because these last two are our capstone pieces. This is Maeby, designed and modeled by Pam Wynne, and test-knit by Eve Ramos & Daisy Blinn.

You look at it and think,Oh, wow, what great colorwork! And elbow patches!

and then you turn around and the sweater’s like,Bam! Drawstring funnel neck! Kangaroo pocket!and it’s everything you ever wanted in a sweater, ever.

I’ve already cast on for this sweater, because I want it something fierce.

Okay, and, lastly, this is Esther, designed, test-knit, and modeled by Caroline Fryar.

It’s a double-knit coat done in a traditional Swedish brocade pattern. There’s loads of i-cord trim, and an attached fair-isle scarf that grows out of the left lapel and wraps around the front to become the collar.

 Did I mention? The whole coat is double-knit!

And, just in case some of you live in some crazy dreamworld where there isn’t ample time to knit not one, but two coats (when it comes to double knitting, there’s the rub), the scarf is also offered as a stand-alone pattern. It is named Margaret.

I barely know where to begin with the thank-yous.

Susan came up with the yarn in the first place. Pam was a joy and an inspiration to work alongside, from inspiration photos to styling the garments on the shoot. Alison was a phenomenal technical editor. Caro kept us laughing throughout the several days she shot the garments. Our amazing team of test-knitters created each and everyone one of these garments, and our beautiful models sweated it out in their alpaca without a word of complaint. Zac anticipated our every need. Lauria helped us hold the whole thing together. Michelle gracefully put up with a thousand nick-of-time revisions, and made the book look super nice. And everyone who put up with me while coat-knitting reduced me to a shriveled and embittered husk of my usually-nice self– you know who you are.

Here you go, world. Here’s Herriot.


  1. Lyn (coppertoptoo)

    September 6, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Truly Gorgeous. All. of. it.
    I can’t wait to get my hands on very large quantities of Herriot!!

  2. A M A Z I N G !!!

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this most beautiful collection. I can not wait to see and feel it in person!!!

  3. When you graduated from college did you see yourself as a world-class designer/gardener/gourmet/shepherdess? or did it all just happen? I am beyond impressed with the work that you pump out. Now that By Hand is just about to launch, have you and Susan thought about launching a kickstarter that would actually BUY the farm rather than continuing to lease it? Just thinking down the road. I don’t know what you and Zach have in your plans for the future, but you may have just found yourself a very enviable niche on this planet.

  4. The is truly an amazing collaboration between all involved, not just Caroline and Pam, not to mention the yarn. The only sad thing is that I know I could not get through the book before you were doing something else I would want to join in on, like next seasons book for Herriot!! And can we, too, invoke the man for whom this is named for? He was a part of my family, first in books and then in the television series. I look forward to doing at least a few things from this collection. Congratulations all. Oh, and Mike’s comment about the kickstarter to purchase the farm? Brilliant idea.

  5. WOW! TRULY AMAZING…ditto all of the above! Congrats!

  6. Swoon! I love Bessie. I need Bessie. Also Vera Marguerite.

  7. The yarn and the patterns are gorgeous, and exactly what I want to be knitting this fall.

  8. OMG. That double knitted coat is beyond amazing!!! I will have to settle for Bessie. I think I can do that one. :)

  9. Y’all are just plain mean! I mean, I can practically feel the smooshi-ness of the yarn from Pennsylvania, the patterns are to die for (especially the reeeallly intimidating one at the end–Esther), and there are simply NOT enough hours in my day!! How could you lump so much beauty all together in one very well packaged place? It’s not fair!! Seriously though, kudos. All of it is simply stunning. It has even made me decide to mess with color work a little more. I love Bessie, and I really want to try Cora. I don’t know as I will ever be brave enough for Esther though! :-) Congratulations–I think James Herriot would love you folks.

  10. Patti "oldgoatwoman"

    September 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Maeby is definitely in my future. Your whole collection is brilliant.

  11. There is no way to go wrong with all those shades of baby alpaca… the designs are just amazing. Out of the park, friends. Out of the park.

  12. Wow!!! I am ashamed to admit that I don’t knit, but this is enough to make me want to learn! I am so envious of your test knitters’ stellar skills! Kudos! Herriot is some gorgeous stuff.

  13. AMAZING!!!

  14. O dear God (pant pant) call 911!!!

  15. Melissa (SheCrochets)

    September 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Holy wow, Batman…there isn’t anything in these photos I don’t love.

    When I grow up, I want to knit just like you all.

    In just the couple years I’ve been a shareholder, I’ve seen marvellous things happen at Juniper Moon. May you continue to create beauty all your days.

  16. Oh my Gosh! Those sweaters make me wish I could knit :(

  17. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous! Best collection I have ever seen – in the entire knitting world! Y’all have outdone yourselves this time. What an inspiration you are to me and many others!!!

  18. Heather aka herbi

    September 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I needed a paper bag by the time I got to the last photo.

  19. I’m a sucker for natural browns. These are gorgeous! When and where can we buy?

  20. Gorgeous, gorgeous yarn and fabulous designs! I love the natural colors. You can just feel the quality of the yarn in the photos. Congratulations on a great collection!

  21. OMG, Caroline–Hattie is AWESOME!!! You all have a lot to be proud of here–congratulations.

  22. Luscious and beguiling and above all, moving.

  23. Ooo! I want that double-knit coat! You guys wore these in June? Talk about dedicated… :)

  24. Karin (KnitlessInSeattle)

    September 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I am so excited. I now have about 10 local yarns shops carrying the JMF lines! Once they saw the Herriot line, who could resist? So many of these patterns are already in my favorites. Where to begin? Absolutely beautiful.

  25. I want Bessie in every shade! way over the top ladies…. and if you are modeling them in June – now I know why you all are blushing hot! M

  26. I was drooling just looking at the photos of that gorgeous yarn and then I got to the garments. That dress! Those mittens! That sweater! O!M!G! does not seem to suffice. Congratulations on an amazing new line and thanks a lot (can you feel the sarcasm) for increasing my Ravelry queue by 7 or 8 in about 10 minutes. Best of luck with the new endeavor – though I certainly know you don’t need it!

  27. What an outstanding collection. So much talent! And I love love LOVE what you did with those natural shades, you have made them sing so well together and in so many different kinds of harmonies… it’s a beautiful collection. Will I be able to buy the booklet in the UK?

  28. I just can’t even verbalize how beautiful all the yarn is – so amazingly gorgeous beyond description!

  29. Holy cow! This is truly one of the most beautiful collections I’ve seen in ages. What gorgeous designs. I was thrilled to see this yarn this spring and am crushed that I’m allergic to it. I’m so very happy for you and the JMF gang. *huge round of applause* :)

  30. OK so now that I’m seriously excited about the yarn and the patterns. Where can I get them. Will the patterns be available in an e-book format- please please please!

  31. LOVE HERRIOT! yum, yum, yum!

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