• Jill Bigelow Suttell

Retirement and a Fresh Start


Football. That’s what started my knitting career. I’d just gotten engaged and moved to a new city. It was then that I learned he had a problem…a football problem. When you move to a new city, there is a period of time when you only know the one that came with you. It takes time to make new friends, especially if you a shy. I quickly realized, if I didn’t do something I would be forced to endure three football games each and every Sunday. Thankfully, he was not a college football fan too.

Enter knitting. I had learned as a kid, but it had been a long while since I’d picked up the needles. To make a long story short so that I can eventually get to the point of this post (retirement), I’ll just say I jumped in with both feet. My mother had always knit. Due to the lack of yarn shops in her town, her projects were sporadic. When I caught the bug, I brought her along with me. Indianapolis has some great yarn shops we explored together when she would visit.

Soon, my husband and I were moving again. I took the opportunity to leave my day job and open a yarn shop with my mother. After 5 great years I was on the move again, so the shop closed. However, we continued working together designing patterns and a book as A B-ewe-tiful Design.

By now, you may be asking yourself what all this has to do with retirement. Well, after almost 15 years of working together, my mom decided to retire at the start of this year. It’s been a tough transition. It took her quite a while for her to be able to tell me she wanted to retire for fear I would be angry or upset. Though I was disappointed, I understood. She’s mumble-mumble years old and is no longer interested in stress and deadlines. But I thank knitting for bringing us closer. We had the opportunity to get to know one another outside of the mother-daughter relationship. I’ll always be grateful for the decade or so we were business partners as well as family.

Mom’s retirement made me do some soul searching to plan my next steps. I’ve decided to keep the A B-ewe-tiful Design business name and logo. The two sheep in the logo represent my mom and me so it really must stay. In the past, we created designs around class ideas for out customers and students, we chased some fads and sometimes tried to be all things to all people.

Going forward I will be designing what I like. That is mostly sweaters, sometimes hats or other accessories in fine weight and fine quality yarns. You may never see another worsted, aran or bulky weight pattern from me unless I really fall in live with a yarn. I’m also planning to pick back up with Mitered Sqaure Book 2 next year. All the ideas are there, I just have to sit down and write the darn thing.

I’m excited about the future. While I’m no longer working daily with my mom, she is still often my first line test knitter and I know she’s cheering me on to bigger and better things. I hope you will enjoy what you see in the coming months and years.


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