Plains & Punk: Jen Geigley on her Farm & Fiber Roots

Jen Geigley’s irresistible knitwear designs combine bold fashion and rustic influences. Cast on for her Rustic Colorwork Cap with our FREE preview of the Farm & Fiber Knits special issue.

Farm & Fiber Knits Editors May 22, 2024 - 5 min read

Plains & Punk: Jen Geigley on her Farm & Fiber Roots Primary Image

Jen Geigley combines her urban aesthetic with rural roots in her knitwear designs. Her Rustic Colorwork Cap (above right) is featured in the premier issue of Farm & Fiber Knits. Left: photo courtesy of Jen Geigley; right: photo by Gale Zucker.

If you ran into Jen Geigley at a concert downtown, you’d be forgiven for thinking she was a city gal through and through. Her black leather jacket, cool graphic tees, and bold, chunky knits have a modern, urban vibe that looks at home in the coolest club. But Jen has a cozy, wooly side, and her designs are favorites on the pages of Farm & Fiber Knits—her Loon Lake Scarf was one of the first designs we released, and her Rustic Colorwork Cap is featured in our upcoming premier print issue. We asked how she balances her city and country influences.

“I grew up in small-town Iowa next to a cornfield but had an intense interest in all forms of rock, alternative, metal, and punk music from an early age,” she says. “DIY/punk culture was a big deal to me in my youth, and I often had to leave my community to find it. But I also appreciated my roots and the farming community where I was raised.”

Jen knits and lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her family. She has a love and appreciation for clean, modern knitwear designs that are easy to wear. She has self-published knitwear patterns online since 2010, when she posted the GAP-tastic cowl on Ravelry and it quickly became one of the most-knitted projects on the site.

Model with teal scarf wrapped several times around The reversible Loon Lake Scarf combines lofty, bulky wool with a simple but graphic motif—an element Jen Geigley loves to play with in her design.

“My grandma Minnie was a big influence in my life growing up. She taught me how to sew and crochet when I was quite young, and I’d help her and her quilting friends by pushing the needle up on the back of quilts from under the wooden frame my grandpa built. We were always making things together,” she says. “I think the combination of these two very different influences has carried into my knitting and design work that I do today.”

The Rustic Colorwork Cap that Jen designed for the premier print issue of Farm & Fiber Knits draws on the imagery of her farm roots, pairing a large geometric star motif with a modern palette. “This hat was inspired by my grandparents’ Nordic roots, along with my love for chartreuse/yellow,” she explains. “My grandma used Nordic star shapes quite often in her quilting, and I like using them in knitting, too.”

The hat is worked in a soft but strong 100% Peruvian Highland yarn that comes in a blend of natural and contemporary colors. “I also really enjoy working with Blue Sky Fibers’ Wookstok yarn, an ideal yarn for woolen hats and garments,” she says. Both the Rustic Colorwork Cap and Loon Lake Scarf use yarns from the Woolstok line.

Jen’s designs have been published in Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple Magazine, Noro Magazine, Modern Daily Knitting Field Guides, and Rowan Yarns and Quail Studios publications. She has also written and self-published six knitting books.

Jen enjoys teaching fiber arts and knitting classes at the Des Moines Art Center and several junior high and high schools in the metro area. “I still go to a lot of live shows (two punk shows this week, in fact) and my teen daughter plays in a band,” she says. “But I still love the comfort of that rustic, sheep-y, homegrown, homemade feel. And I think there’s a place for both in my knitting—the two worlds collide in the best way.”

We love the way Jen blends these influences in her work—as our editorial and design consultant Karin Strom says, “Her point of view is so fresh... My knitting group is casting on the Rustic Colorwork Cap next week!” Subscribers can get the pattern for the Loon Lake Scarf and Rustic Colorwork Cap in the Farm & Fiber Knits Library.

Special FREE preview! The Rustic Colorwork Cap is one of 10 beautiful patterns appearing in the Farm & Fiber Knits special issue, which is coming to print this June. Now through June 1, 2024, this pattern is free to access. Enjoy getting a knitting head start, and subscribe to reserve your copy of the print issue.

Find Jen Geigley online: