Catherine’s Work

21 Aug

Well, I have been working on these for almost 3 years.  I started them around the time   of our squirrel contest, during my squirrel obsessed phase that has never really subsided.  I started by designing them in my little graph paper sketch book.  I made the left hand first, then changed the design a little for the right hand.  Finally, I created the pattern with Stitch Painter, flipped the oak leaves and came up with my favorite pattern after I had finished the right hand.  As you can see, I am not one for making swatches.  Good thing my right hand is so much longer than my left.  I used Canopy from The Fibre Company with a little trim of Raumagarn.  I am happy to share my pattern charts for anyone wanting to make these.  Just send me a note or come in to the shop.

And on the top, if you please, they put a star made out of cheese.

18 Dec

One of my favorite children’s books, Mr Willowby’s Christmas Tree inspired this year’s Christmas window.  It would have been nice if I knew something about embroidery before I started.  I do love the new pearl cotton we have in the shop though.  Very few knotty mishaps and I went through at least 100 yards of floss.  My technique improves as I finish each mouse.  I’m still working on the baby mouse.

This email is filled with gift ideas for those whose crafty endeavors have left them plum out of time for hand made gifts.

Happy Holidays to all! 


Always a good choice for the beloved knitter on your list.
madeline tosh 

Madeline Tosh back in stock!

Dk, Merino light, and sock.

For the hand dyed enthusiasts, this yarn back in from


Classic Ticking Stripes in Christmas Reds from French General

Great for napkins, table runners and placemats for your holiday dinner.
Also great for wrapping!  $15.99 per yard.

Tools and Notions

Hand Made Needle Cases


Made by Crippenworks with vintage and other fabric chosen by Brooklyn General.


Vintage buttons 

 vintage buttons

Always an ever changing selection of vintage and new buttons.
Hand Made Pin Cushions
Tomato pin cushions made with over dyed recycled wool by Reclaimed Wool.
Books and Patterns
knit local

As informative as it is inspiring, this book is above all a stunning fashion source, with gorgeous projects that will leave you feeling good and looking even better.


Selvedge Magazine

Beautiful and inspirational, as always.Review the year with all the Selvedge Magazines of 2011.  $96 for 6 issues.


General Store
Little gifts for the reader… 

book plates 1 


 Holiday decor
Handmade felted Santa ornaments by Reclaimed Wool.
Made in Oregon of recycled wool.  $24

New from Coral and Tusk, festive kitchen towels in four different woodland (my favorite) animal themes.  Made in Brooklyn. $36 each

For weekend crafting…
Weekend duffels from Dominique Picquier.  Why not carry your crafts with a bit of French style?  All bags are hand printed with patterns inspired from nature.
Made in France.  $368

Not handmade but luxurious none the less.

Wallace Sewell and Swan’s Island throws in soft merino wool.  $400-$475.

For foul weather style.
 Katie Mawson scarves.  $130
Coordinating hats and fingerless gloves also available.  Made in England. 
Wallace Sewell scarves for him and her. Woven in 100% lambswool.  $80.
Made in England.
Give the gift of classes this year

Purchase a class in the form of a gift certificate and let them pick their own class.  Choose from many levels of classes in sewing, knitting, embroidery, felting, spinning and upholstery and starting in the new year, Crafterschool – an after school craft program for kids.


Pink is the New Brown

16 Jun

oliver tie

Seems like everything I made last year was some shade of brown. This Spring, inspired by Blossom, our resident cherry tree fairy, everything is coming out pink. A pink dress in French General’s Petite Ecole, a pink shawl in morehouse lace, a pink short sleeved lacy sweater in Tosh Light, and finally, the easiest quickest project start to finish ever – a pink tie.

The dress and the tie were sort of made up with some vintage patterns providing some building blocks. This tie was so easy to make, really. Two hours is all you need. You are welcome to use our sewing studio for free this week to make one in honor of Father’s day.


Madeline Tosh

Back in full force! Un-earthly colors in Merino Lightand Prarie. Both yarns are perfect for summer knitting. They are yearning to be knit up as light and airy cardigans for all those beach walks or Promenade strolls.

Imperial Stock Ranch

Batten down the hatches, you will be blown away by these new yarns from my favorite new friend. Anna is a hand-dyed cotton wool blended and plied beauty. Erin is a hand-dyed wool, a bit lighter than it’s worsted weight sister.

Cascade Ultra Pima

Eight new summer colors in this fabulous silky smooth cotton.


summer plaids


New Summer Plaids

I haven’t made a shirt for my Dad since I was in high school. My Dad is 6 foot 5 and always sports a big plaid shirt. He definitely needs a new one out of one of these fabrics.

Kona is back

As always, an inspiring rainbow of colors.



Oil Cloth

Now fully stocked and ready for all your decks, kitchen tables, and picnics. A good Oilcloth makes the whole family happy.

Books and Patterns
colette patterns
New Patterns from Colette

Check out our newest patterns from Colette. Dresses, shirts, skirts and even lingerie.

75 Birds, Butterflies and Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet

A small book packed with garden creatures. We are building a garden in our window. Any creatures that would like to inhabit it are welcome.


Teeny Tiny Toy Knits with Anna from Mochimochiland

June 19th 1-3 pm

Take knitting to the extreme by learning to make miniature toys no bigger than a peanut! In this class, Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land will show you the basic techniques and minimalist details needed to knit an adorable Tiny Panda or one of her other toy patterns. Knitting in the round on double-pointed needles, making an I-cord, and simple embroidery are some of the techniques explored. These miniature objects make cute trinkets, embellishments, or accessories.

Sign up here

Toy Design with Anna from Mochimochiland

June 26th 1-4 pm

Design and make your own huggable doll, animal or other character that is all your own! Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land will guide you in starting with a sketch and turning it into a plan for a knitted toy design by using some simple geometry and math along with lots of tips and tricks from her years of experience exclusively designing toys.

Sign up here.

crochet flowers class
Crocheted flower Workshop with Cal Patch

Friday June 24th 6:30-8:30

May flowers may come and go, but you can whip up some colorful spring cheer with your bits of leftover yarn and a crochet hook. Learn how to make a variety of styles of flowers to adorn any kind of handwork! We will explore several methods of construction, and you’ll leave with a bouquet of new skills.

Sign up here.

zippered pouch class
Zippered Pouch Workshop with Cal Patch

June 25th 10 am-12 pm

Here’s a quick project that can be adapted for all kinds of uses: the classic zippered pouch. Whether you need a business-card holder, laptop protector, camera case, or crochet hook carrier, here’s the solution! We will learn how to insert a zipper and sew a pouch to suit your style.

Sign up here

Check us out at Groupon!
Coming soon.

Bunny Love

30 Apr



Meet Pollo, my Slick Back Angora bunny. He is the cutest bunny on the block. I don’t think he sneaks around hiding eggs but he reminds me that the little ones and the big ones need holding and stroking and even though they seem independent, they always appreciate unconditional bunny love. In my world, Easter is an excuse to get some more bunnies in our midst whether they be stuffed, wooden, edible or alive.


schulana angora
Schulana Angora

100% Angora yarn. in a worsted weight. Perfect for baby booties or any accessory far away from the nose.

jamie harmon
Jamie Harmon Yarns

Merino Wool and Angora blend 2-ply and single ply yarn. Hand spun and dyed in Vermont.

General Store

wood bunnies

felt bunnies

Wooden Bunnies

Hand carved and painted woodenbunnies from Germany

Felt Bunnies

All natural wool felt bunnies from Germany

laundry bag

bunny frame

Vintage laundry bag

Appliqued with a bunny and a bird

Pewter Bunny Frame
bunny cups

Bunny Cups

Hand made in Brooklyn, these cups are perfect for drinking or holding your tools and notions.

Naked Trees

19 Feb

I’d like to devote this post to the naked trees of Brooklyn. Whether they are big, old and craggy, beautiful and delicate, piney, fruity, or stinky, they all are steady, strong reminders of the magic of nature in our midst. We only have them for a few more weeks so let’s take notice.

When trees are in bloom they bear fruit, they breath out their perfume, they show off. We count on them to shade us, shelter us, clean our air and feed us. When they are naked, we see them as sticks, quietly waiting for their leaves to come back. Naked trees are just as beautiful – calm, still, and strong, webs of shooting veins, sleeping. This is the time when our neighborhood trees take time to rest, to be quiet before they have to come out and show their colors again. Such wisdom! I wish I could be more like a tree.
Last year I built a tree in the shop. Last Spring it was filled with squirrels. Like it’s out door friends, it lost it’s leaves and has been naked for the winter months. Also like it’s out door friends, it is about to bloom and I’m wondering who should inhabit it this Spring? Email or comment with your ideas! Tree frogs? Sparrows?
So take some time to honor the naked trees outside your door. Go and read Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree again. It will make you cry. Google images for tree houses – it will inspire you. Look at this knitted tree house – it will make you laugh. Here are two projects for you to consider: The first is Tree of Life fingerless gloves by Jenny Williams. The 2nd is Tree of Life mittens by Janel Laidman. I love them both.
On a completely different note, how many of you would make the trip across the BQE for some fresh home made cider doughnuts and really good coffee on Sunday mornings? We are thinking of getting a doughnut maker and a neon sign.

The Artisans In Our Neighborhood

9 Sep

Spending a few hours at Brooklyn General chatting up the employees and customers is always a stimulating experience. From the hardcore neighborhood knitters and stitchers to the eclectic artists and artisans who keep studios in Red Hook to the many professional designers and stylists who live and work in the area, Brooklyn General is always a melting pot of creative talent. The only thing more satisfying than watching someone deep in their creative process, sitting on the sofa surrounded by bolts of fabric or skeins of yarn, is seeing the final product: the garment or curtains or artwork conceived from that moment. It’s a nice counterpoint to the online lives we increasingly lead to have a physical meeting place filled with colorful, tactilely varied materials in which we can come together and create.

In an attempt to bring a bit of the in-store Brooklyn General experience to our online friends, we’ve decided to profile some of the wonderful folks who frequent the shop. Where better to start than with the people who lend their talents to the shop every day: Heather Love and Marcie Farwell.

Heather Love aka Hello Mello

Heather Love is a self-proclaimed lover of fiber, and she revels in the instant sense of comradery she feels when she meets other knitter, spinners, and stitchers. She teaches our knitting, spinning, and quilting classes and offers expert advice on all things crafty four days a week at Brooklyn General.

Heather learned to sew and knit as a small child, and has been doing both her entire life. As a young adult, Heather’s love of art and craft lead her to the Museum School in Boston, where she studied photography and glass. During and after her student years she created and ran an accessories company, for which she made scarves, hats and mittens. When her boyfriend’s job brought her to New York, she settled in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and landed a job working for artists Mike & Doug Starn. During that time Starn Studios was located on Union Street in Brooklyn, just up the street from Brooklyn General. Heather was so excited when she realized Brooklyn General would be a yarn store. She and a friend began stalking the shop before it was even open, frequently peeking in the windows to chart its progress. Heather became one of Brooklyn General’s most frequent customers and eventually began working in the shop on Sundays and teaching the quilting class. About five years ago she took a spinning class at Brooklyn General, and spinning quickly became her primary fiber-arts passion.

Three years ago Heather moved fully into the world of fiber arts. She left Starn Studios to work and teach full time at Brooklyn General and to create her own hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns and patterns company, Hello Mello. Hello Mello (taken from her middle name and her grandmother’s maiden name, Mello) offers primarily luxury fiber yarns. In her spinning, Heather uses a lot of rare fibers such as pashmina, guanaco, vicuna, and yak, and her favorite fiber, BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester). She loves both undyed fibers and bright colors and enjoys working with a broad color palate. Most of the yarn she creates is small-gauge, such as sock and lace weights, but she also enjoys doing a variety of custom spinning.

For Heather, spinning provides a sense of relaxation that doesn’t come with other things, and she enjoys that the yarn she makes becomes someone else’s (or her own) raw material and has another life as a garment, object, or work of art. Still, for Heather, the fiber arts world always comes back to the wonderful ad hoc community it inspires. She loves the fact that anytime you knit in public, you can almost guarantee you will be approached by other knitters. People from vastly different backgrounds who otherwise have little in common are connected by the creative process, and that connection is half the fun.

Marcie Farwell

Marcie Farwell teaches several of our sewing classes and adds a bit of mid-century flair to the shop three days a week with her gorgeous vintage dresses. She is also an artist who enjoys working with fiber and other mixed media and collaborating with other artists.

Originally from the San Fernando Valley in California, Marcie’s interests in vernacular architecture and photography brought her to New York City where she earned her BA in Architectual History at NYU and studied photography through the work/study program at the International Center of Photography. Later, a job at wedding dress designer Mary Adams’s shop, The Dress (then on Ludlow St), and an ever-growing vintage fabric, clothing & sewing pattern collection reawakened her childhood interest in sewing and the history of women’s costumes.

Eventually Marcie returned to the West Coast, this time to San Francisco, where she managed a knitting store. A friend, Katrina Rodabaugh, asked if she would take part in a show called The Dresses/Objects, in which several artists were asked to make a 1920s-inspired dress from fabric swatches printed with text from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. The show was exhibited at Mills College, and again last summer at Z Space in Theatre Artaud in San Francisco. In much the same way that Marcie connected with architecture though the history of the everyday, she has long been fascinated by what certain culturally prescribed items of clothing–such as a wedding dress, a morning dress, or a spinster’s dress–have signified to both the larger culture and the person wearing it. Inspired in part by Mary Adams’s self-taught style, Marcie began making more “art dresses,” elaborate machine and hand-sewn dresses that take several months to make and that are meant to be experienced much like sculpture. Her next art dress, entitled “Wede,” a mourning dress/childrens’ fort based on widow’s weeds, was exhibited as a part of T^nts for Rock Paper Scissors Gallery in Oakland, CA. In 2009 Marcie returned to New York, this time to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She collaborated with dancer/choreographer Lindsay Gilmour and created a modern-day spinster dress and costume for a dance piece called “East Wind In a Petticoat,” performed at Ithaca College.

Last year Marcie and her friend Massie Jones, along with five other artists, created a women’s art collective based in Cornwall-on-Hudson called The One Stone (a play on the name of their studio, Two Birds). They had their first show in June 2009, and are now working on the third show, for which the theme is Blue.

Spring Leaves For the Fall

29 Aug

If you like classic vintage knitting patterns and woodland fairy tales as much as we do, you’ll love our leaf-trimmed baby hoodie–and we’re giving away the pattern for free right here! Designed to be versatile and timeless, this fun, light-weight sweater will keep you and your little one outside and exploring nature into the fall.

The sweater’s hood circles baby’s face, keeping drafts out and them snugly and warm. The convenience of the back closure (either a zipper or buttons) lets you dress them without a struggle.

From the overall construction to the smallest details, this project is a joy to knit. It’s worked sideways in garter stitch, and short-rows create nice shaping and a little swing to the body of the sweater. If you’ve never tried short rows, you will be pleasantly surprised at what a difference they can make in the finished garment. The leaf trim around the bottom edge of the sweater and the single-leaf detail on the tip of the hood add an adorable, whimsical touch.

We used Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool, but this is a great project for any dk weight yarn, including The Fibre Company’s Savannah (a merino, organic cotton, linen, and soya blend), or Cascade’s Ultra Pima cotton.

Enjoy making this sweet sweater and wrapping up your little one in a bit of spring all fall!

Ode to a Peach Party

15 Aug

Everything in our little corner of Brooklyn seems to have an interesting back story, even the tiny green space behind our shop. Step out of our back door around this time of year and you will find that what is usually an unremarkable, narrow ribbon of land crossed with chain-link fences and cables has been transformed into a tiny fruit grove filled with hundreds of ripening peaches and apples! What a treat it was to discover that the fruit trees behind most of the buildings on our block are the remnants of what was once a small orchard. Apples are a crisp treat, but oh how we love a nice ripe peach. Soft and pleasant to hold, sweet and uncomplicated in flavor, peaches bring a bit of farm-fresh country goodness to a hot summer day in the city. Biting into a perfectly ripe peach on a Brooklyn street corner while watching the world go by is truly a marriage of two perfect moments.

This year we’ve decided to bring our little secret out of the backyard and into the shop for all to enjoy. We hope you will join us for our First Annual Peach Party! What is a Peach Party, you ask? Really it’s just an excuse for us to gather with you, our dear friends and neighbors, to knit and enjoy each other’s company while snacking on peachy treats. In order to get you into the spirit, Catherine has created an adorable knit peach pattern, available here. Help us turn our squirrel tree into a peach tree by bringing in a knit peach to hang on its branches. If your leftover yarn stash is peach-free, bring a peach baked good to share! All knitters of peaches and bakers of treats will receive 20% off on the day of the party.

Ode to a Peach Party!
Sunday, September 5
3 pm – 5 pm
Brooklyn General Store
128 Union St.
Mark your calendars! We hope to see you then. If you’re thinking about baking something, share your recipe in the comments, below!

So Pretty AND So Practical

25 Jun

We just love oilcloth in all of its retro glory. It fills an important niche in home decorating: You want your table/chair/floor to look beautiful, but your child wants to use it as a plate/stool/easel. For those of us with *busy* households, oilcloth saves the day. It is incredibly useful to have a few large pieces at hand to use as table clothes, art mats, and under-the-highchair food catchers. Oilcloth is the height of old-school practicality, yet your company will invariably comment, “how pretty!”

Feeling inspired? We just love Heather Cameron‘s oilcloth chair cushion tutorial for her HGTV blog.

What else can you do with oilcloth? Check out these ideas from Oilcloth International:

What is your favorite use for oilcloth? Leave us a comment and let us know!

An Abundance of Leaves

24 May

Brooklyn General Store is located just outside of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, arguably one of the greenest neighborhoods in New York City. It boasts a natural display rare in an urban landscape: large front yards and garden beds filled with trees and flowering plants. The showy springtime blooms have fallen from the cherry blossom and magnolia trees, and a beautiful, verdant wall of ginkgos, London planes, maples, mimosas and oaks now blankets the neighborhood’s industrial waterfront, softening the edges of the shipping yards and inspiring this leaf-motif round-up.

Try one of these small, fresh projects (most are free patterns!) in our suggested yarn–perfect for when the weather gets warm and you just can’t bear to lug around that bulky sweater project.


photo credits (clockwise from upper left): Gale Zucker, Pam Powers, Geminime (on Ravelry), Mindy Lewis

We love these sweet bags–wooden handles seem to be a natural choice for leaf satchels. The delicate Leafy Reticule (upper left) by Ann Hahn Buechner from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines calls for a DK yarn–we recommend one of the soft springtime colors of Rowan Pima Cotton. The latest edition of Interweave Knits features a romantic, fabric-lined satchel (upper right) by Pam Powers in a worsted cotton–try Lana Grossa’s Linea Pura Organico. The Leaf Satchel (lower left) by Teva Durham from Loop-d-Loop, Volume 2, is fashioned with a double-strand of DK-weight yarn such as Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool, and the Cop Cat Bag (lower right) by Mindy Lewis will work up nicely in the worsted-weight Cascade 220 .

Small Comforts

photo credits: Cybele (on Ravelry), NorwayKate (on Ravelry)

Bring nature indoors with an elegant tea cozy from Sublime Book #614, (also a perfect project for trying out one of the many, many beautiful colors of Rauma Strikkegarn) and lacy summer-weight socks by Corey Laflamme (try Rauma Babygarn or Claudia Hand-Painted).

Delicate Washclothes

photo credits (clockwise from upper left): Eva Skulbru Eriksen (both top photos), Smariek (on Ravelry), MissMandiGirl (on Ravelry)

A handmade cotton washcloth is a small project, but a big luxury. The patterns for Leafy Cloth, Apple Leaf Cloth, Twin Leaf Cloth, and Vignes (Vineyard) Dishcloth are all available as free downloads on Ravelry and are a great way to try out a new cotton yarn!

For Baby

photo credit: Rowena Sweeney

It’s never too early to encourage a love of nature! This aptly named baby blanket, Ready for the Floor by Rowena Sweeney looks beautifully fresh and modern while giving baby a soft space to explore.

Beautiful Leaves

photo credits (clockwise from upper left): Midorisan (on Ravelry), RaeA (on Ravelry), Colleen Teerling, Monique Boonstra

Knitted and crocheted leaves have their own appeal as embellishment, or jewelry, or just as pretty objects. Have fun experimenting with different weights and styles of yarn to create your own Mountain Laurel Leaf, Feuille de Ginkgo, Lacy Leaf, or Leaf Lace Cotton Cuff.

Finally, for an inspiring read, check out the article in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine #47 about knitting outdoors, and then take your project outside!