In Review: Brown Sheep Company Burly Spun

About a decade ago, my husband, myself, and our infant son took a road trip from our home in Wisconsin out to Colorado. It’s true that many people look at Nebraska — and all the Great Plains states — as somewhere to drive through in order to get somewhere else. That’s just too bad because Nebraska is gorgeous country. Those long views and big sky of the plains states complete with the stunning rolling hills as you move further west have captivated our hearts as much as (or maybe even more!) any mountain range or ocean view. There is something about standing in a sea of grasslands that is… it feels like the essence of freedom.

As I was a new but already avid knitter, I was excited at the prospect of checking out a Brown Sheep Company, a source for American wool. You have to remember, this was before other big name American wool yarn purveyors that we are familiar with today even existed. Back in the early 2000s, the family owned and operated Brown Sheep Company had been making yarn for 20 years and really was the source for American wool yarn for knitters and crocheters. Going to Mitchell to visit the Brown Sheep Company was like a pilgrimage for me. My husband, who is a native of Nebraska, was more than happy to travel the full length of the corn-husker state in order to visit the far western reaches and the home of the Brown Sheep Company.  We were both pretty pleased with the details of this trip, indeed!

The timing of our visit — not to mention the fact that we had along a baby and a dog — made it impractical to do a mill tour, but I did get to visit the outlet shop. Let me tell you — oh, how I would LOVE to go back now knowing so much more than I did back then! In any case, I’d been thinking about that trip out to Western Nebraska recently, so when I received an email inviting me to review their Burly Spun yarn, I jumped. What a great way to reconnect with not just the memories, but also this fantastic yarn!

Burly Spun is a single-ply yarn, spun from 100% USA wool and is available in 31 solid colors as well as 8 hand painted colorways. Brown Sheep Company buys the majority of their wool directly from the growers and employs sustainable practices, too, so you can feel pretty darn good about the wool they produce. I selected a skein of the colorway named Strawberry Patch and Brown Sheep Company generously sent it my way. I knew my daughter was in need of some mittens and this yarn and its super bulky status was just the ticket. As warm as it is fast to knit, Burly Spun is pretty darn phenomenal for mittens to keep our northern tier fingers warm.

I’d originally planned to get them done earlier this month, but all the obligations of December got the better of me. Thankfully I knew once I sat down to it, they would be done in the blink of an eye. Two night ago I cast-on mittens using this Classic Cabled Hat & Mittens pattern on Ravelry.


I started them around 4pm and knit on them throughout the evening. Even with a stop for dinner and multiple trips to chase the new puppy around the backyard, I was done before bedtime. When they call this yarn the “Fastest in the West,” they are not kidding!


Didn’t they turn out great?!


They are bright and soft and oh-so-cozy!


Burly Spun is wonderful for mittens as it keeps your hands warm and dry. Normally I’m wary of knitting a cabled pattern in a handpainted yarn, but I think because of the size of the stitches (13 stitches and 18 rows over 4″ on size 10.5 needles) it just works super well. I got both mittens out of a bit less than 1 skein of yarn — enough that there was no yarn chicken, but not so much that I feel like any bit was wasted. And they might just be the prettiest mittens I’ve made yet!



The only thing that bums me out is that I didn’t get enough to make the matching hat! I suppose with so many pretty colors, maybe I should get enough to make a set for myself in addition to the matching hat for my girl!

I want to thank Brown Sheep Company for providing this yarn and the opportunity to review their beautiful yarn. I truly hope one day that I’ll make it back their way again, but whether I do or not, this certainly will not be the last Brown Sheep Company yarn I work with!


In Review: Everyday: A Casual, Modern Hand-Knit Collection + *GIVEAWAY*

A little over a year ago, I shared Jen Geigley’s Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits with you. Full of big, beautiful chunky knits, I just loved the uniqueness of the collection and its quick knits appeal. As you can imagine, I was thrilled when Jen contacted me about a month ago asking if I’d like to review her latest book. And today, I get to give you a little preview and offer you the chance to win a copy for yourself — hooray!

Everyday: A Casual, Modern Hand-Knit Collection is a collection of designs meant for all knitters. As fun to wear as they are to knit, there are designs that speak with a distinctive modern style to all skill levels. Although big, bulky yarns dominate in Everyday just as they did in Weekend, this new collection boasts a wider variety of yarn weights as well as a generous assortment of sweaters and accessories.
One of my personal favorites, Ceres, is knit with a worsted weight yarn.
Ceres has a relaxed silhouette…
And a distinctive racer back that I think would be as beautiful layered over long sleeves in winter as it is on its own.
I adore Laney, too.
The Lateral Braid stitch employed is just gorgeous…
And the cozy factor on this cowl is just through the roof!
For those interested in quick knits perhaps for gifts (because it is that time of year, isn’t it?!), I just love Chill
And Aura
They would make such a cozy little set!
And one more design that I especially love and therefore have to highlight is…
Moonstone. So simple, but with just a little edge. I could see throwing it over jeans or yoga pants and running errands or just hanging at home with the family & a movie. To see the rest of the designs in this collection, you can check out the full lookbook here.
From the photography to the 11 fresh designs themselves, Everyday has a lot to offer and I’m so very happy to be able to GIVEAWAY 2 PDF copies of this fantastic title! To enter to win, just share your favorite design from Everyday in the comments. I’ll be drawing our 2 lucky winners randomly in the morning on Friday, December 9th, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won! Good luck and I hope you love this fun new collection as much as I do!
For those who just can’t wait and want to get Everyday in their hands straight away it is available for purchase in a variety of locations. Please note that if you buy directly from the author here, you will get a free digital copy along with the physical book..

It is also available for purchase on:



Individual patterns are also for sale on Ravelry.

Something BIG

Last week, a guest blog post I wrote for Bijou Basin Ranch went live. In it, I got to share my experience knitting up one of their newest yarns, Big Bijou Bliss. This limited edition yarn is really something special and I encourage y’all to check out what I had to say about it right here.

That said, I thought I’d share some of the photos here, too, because I’m just so smitten with the finished project.

wtw-detI used the Weather the Weather Hat pattern by Megan Williams and a little less than one skein of Big Bijou Bliss in the Lakeside colorway.

wtw-bbbflatIsn’t it lovely? It was such a great knit it went from cake to on my head in about a day.

wtwbbbAs I said, you can read my more detailed thoughts on the yarn and project here (the Bijou Basin Ranch folks are so kind of let me guest post, aren’t they?), but since we’re in the holiday knitting season as well as just plain colder weather, I wanted to be sure all of you got a glimpse of this fab quick knit. They just got in a bunch of new colors, too, so be sure to check it out!

And the winner is….

Just a quick post today to share the winner of last week’s giveaway. You know the one…

weekendOne lucky reader will be receiving a hard copy of Jen Geigley’s brand new book, Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits. Full of gorgeous & fun quick knits for the whole family, we all know my Sliver & Retrograde

retrograde + sliver… won’t be the last items I knit from this wonderful collection.

Before I share who that lucky reader is, I’d first like to thank everyone who took the time to check out Jen’s new collection and enter the giveaway. I’d also love to thank Jen for inviting me to review her fantastic book, sponsoring this giveaway, and just for being awesome in general.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

The winner is…


My dear shellssells — CONGRATULATIONS!  To claim your prize I just need you to email me at  knittingsarah[at]gmail[dot]com with your preferred contact email and mailing address. I’ll pass the info along to Jen and your book will be on its way to you.

For those who did not win, I want to remind you that you can purchase Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits as a hard copy of the book + a free PDF on Jen’s website here. You can also purchase individual patterns + the PDF ebook on Ravelry here. It’s also available on Amazon here, should that be your preference.

And of course, I encourage everyone to show Jen some love by following her on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated and congratulations to shellssells!