Laura Ricketts Designs

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands..."

Laura Ricketts Designs is a personal and business website for Laura Ricketts, hand-knitwear designer, author, teacher, crafter, mother and wife.

Early October

I taught at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota the beginning of October. I remember picking the date thinking I'd see the beautiful fall colors during that time. Well, fall is late this year, both where I live and in Grand Marais. So, while I did get to see the beginning of fall color the day I hiked in Superior National forest (away from the warming effects of Lake Superior), I still loved the birch trees and beauty of the lake.

Here are some pictures from the travels.

Almost everything is easier after skirting past Chicago. I knew I was in the north when my stop for gas revealed this:

I drove up through Wisconsin, where the tackle is always kept close to the liquor. 

I drove up through Wisconsin, where the tackle is always kept close to the liquor. 

They have their priorities in order, or at least, an order to their priorities.

My next stop was at the wonderful, magical Schoolhouse Press in Pittsville, WI.


Schoolhouse Press is home to Elizabeth Zimmermann's mail order knitting business. She established the business in 1958 and it has come to include mail order yarn, books, patterns and some other items.

For us knitters, EZ (as she is known) has come to represent an intelligent, warm approach to knitting that lays aside fears and failure, takes up the needles and makes wonderful garments. EZ has passed onto her greater reward in 1999 at the age of 89, but her daughter, Meg Swansen, is at the helm now, with her son, Cully, a joint partner in the business.

And so, I stopped there on the way to the North Shore, having made an appointment with Cully to show him my work with an eye to Schoolhouse Press carrying my patterns.

We spent a delightful couple hours together. I was able to meet Meg and discuss my work, and I am thrilled to say that we are planning to collaborate.

After my show and tell, I shyly asked if they would pose with my newest child's sweater. 

the Tomten sweater

the Tomten sweater

This is one of Elizabeth's well-known sweaters. She loved to make garments out of the workhouse garter stitch. This sweet thing has a clever arm-insertion. I loved doing the contrasting i-cord edging, incorporating clever buttonholes with its application. The bodice is fully-lined with complementary quilting material I bought on my jaunt to South Dakota in August.

It was a joy to meet both Cully and Meg, and it really made my trip a delight from the start.

From there, I went to Duluth. As I arrived over the bridge from Superior, Wisconsin, the sun was setting above the hills of Minnesota. It is such a pretty city! I spent the night there, and the next day met with my friend Karen for coffee, and Marlene for lunch. Marlene is chairman for the Sami Cultural Center of North America in Duluth -- definitely worth a stop for any Minnesotan or traveler.

Sunset over Lake Superior from Duluth, Minnesota

Sunset over Lake Superior from Duluth, Minnesota

My next post will tell about my time in Grand Marais.