We’re celebrating 30 years of bringing hand-crafters the finest organic and natural fibers yarns. If you’re new to the Green Mountain Spinnery, we’re glad you found us! You came along at an exciting time, and we’re thrilled to be able to introduce you to the people who create the yarns you love right here on this blog.
We’ll be sharing many stories in the months to come through our “People in Your Neighborhood” series. Today, we’d like to introduce (or re-introduce!) you to the history of the Green Mountain Spinnery.
The Spinnery began to take shape in 1975, when Claire Wilson and Libby Mills encountered beautiful skeins of yarns from overseas, the likes of which they hadn’t found stateside. At the same time, David Ritchie and Diana Wahle were in a study group with Claire that focused on revitalizing rural economies by creating small, local industries. Over the next six years, these two ideas began to intersect and grow, fueled by a growing Vermont Sheep population and the gas shortage of 1976 (most imported yarns were petroleum-based) – clearly, a locally-made yarn would solve a multitude of problems! After extensive research and gathering the support of friends and neighbors, the mill store opened for business in 1981 (for more details, you can read the full story in The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book).
Their vision to create a workplace committed to sustainability, the responsible usage of natural resources, and of course, the creation of high-quality yarns, has remained steady over the years.
How does this translate to the yarns you hold in your hand?
- All of the fibers we use – alpaca, mohair, wool and organic cotton – are grown in the United States; we make every effort to purchase directly from individual growers, and to feature fiber grown in New England
- Unlike most commercial mills, we do not use chemicals to bleach, mothproof or shrinkproof yarns.
- Our yarns are carefully created in small quantities using vintage equipment
- Orders are often shipped in recycled boxes
- Waste wool is put to many creative uses including home insulation, mulch and oil- spill spill clean up
- Mill ends are directed to charitable organizations that teach knitting or donate knitted items
Our staff tends to each and every aspect of production, from initial contact with the fiber grower to the final labeling and approval of each skein of yarn. The Spinnery founders have always worked collaboratively, making decisions by consensus and often involving the entire staff in this process, but it wasn’t until 2006 that a worker-owned cooperative model (a founding goal) became a reality.
We’ll be introducing you to the people behind the yarns you hold in your hands; look for future installments of the “People in Your Neighborhood” series right here on our blog!