While you knit

Maureen and Kate just recently returned from more than a month of road trips, bringing Spinnery yarn and samples to sheep & wool festivals around the country.  They spent many hours in the van listening to crafty podcasts as they drove and knit.


One of their favorites is Ashley Yousling’s Woolful.  They were delighted when they tuned in last week to episode 39, and heard the voice of our friend Jill Draper.

We create a number of yarns for Jill including her Empire (yarn babies), Rifton (a stunning gradient) and Rockwell (a 3-ply marled yarn).  In this episode of Woolful, Jill describes her creative process and details how her collaboration with the Spinnery has grown over the years.

We encourage you to give Ashley’s podcasts a listen.  You’ll earn about all aspects of the fiber world from growers to crafters.  And be sure to tune in later this month when the Spinnery’s Coop founders David, Claire and Libby will share their story of how the Spinnery got its start.

A must read

Carol Feller’s Short Row Knits was published earlier this fall.  It’s subtitle, “A Master workshop with 20 learn as you knit projects” beautifully distinguishes this book as one that you will want to experience, not just read.


It’s clear concise descriptions of both the why and the how of various short row techniques can be best absorbed by picking up your needles and working the stitches along with Carol’s prose.  We find that getting new techniques into our muscle memory makes them far more likely to transition from theory into daily practice.

And Carol makes a very compelling argument for using these techniques.  Adding short row curves into patterns can give us the ability to customize the fit of any pattern without math. Gasp!  Yep, for those of you who aren’t a fan of “mathy” modifications, short rows can provide customized shaping without changing your stitch count.

The book is filled with clear illustrations, beautifully crisp photography and careful descriptions that make it seem as though she’s right by your side guiding you through the basics.  And that’s not all.

© Joseph Feller

Included in the book are 20 beautiful patterns give you a chance to work with these concepts while creating wonderfully wearable and gift-able knits.  The collection includes sweaters and shawls as well as clever hats and socks and a darling woolen ball, Chirripo, that is worked side to side.

© Joseph Feller

This wonderful book belongs in your project bag, not your bookshelf.  We hope that you’ll give yourself the time to really play with Carol’s tips and tricks.  Mastery of these short row techniques will dramatically change your craft for the better.

And we are pleased to announce that we have a copy to give to a lucky winner!  This weekend, add a comment to our Facebook page and we’ll pick a winner at random on Monday November 2nd.  We hope that you’ll share photos and details of your favorite knitwear projects that make use of short rows.

We look forward to learning about your successes and triumphs with short rows and we know that with Carol’s guidance all of us will have more of those to share in the future!


Not long now…

There are just a couple of weeks remaining before our 2015 Knitters in the Green Mountains Weekend.  Thea Colman and Ellen Mason will be joining us for a crafty weekend of fun, fiber and festivities on Friday November 6th – Sunday November 9th.


On Saturday, Thea will impress us with her design process as she takes us from yarn thoughts to stitch motifs to actually plotting ideas for a basic design.  We’ll put that into practice as we cast on for custom cowls.  She’ll follow that up with a session in which we play with cables, where we look at things we can do with cables – pair them together, play them off of one another, change the size, add/change texture, add/change lace, make a panel, read and create a chart, etc.

On Sunday morning, Ellen will share her creative ways for sculpting a mitten thumb with her “Fried Chicken Mitten” pattern, using two at a time magic loop techniques.  Time permitting, she demonstrate a quick sewing project for a darling “runaway” hobo bag that could be used as a project bag or as a reusable gift bag (perfectly timed for the upcoming holiday season).

There are a few spots available, so if your calendar allows, we hope that you can join the fun!  More details can be found here and you can call us at 800-321-9665 with questions.

New for Fall

We have two new patterns that we are debuting at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend.  For those of you that would like a virtual preview we’d like to introduce you to the newest designs to feature our Mountain Mohair.

© Gale Zucker

Exit 4 is an oversized Tunic designed for us by Bonnie Sennott.  Named after the Interstate 91 exit that leads to Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney, Vermont, Exit 4 is a loose-fitting cabled tunic that’s joined at the sides with decorative buttons. It’s designed to be worn with 5 in / 13 cm or more of positive ease.

It features a bold center cable pattern on the front and back that creates a strong vertical visual impression that can be slimming.  It can easy be worn over other layers when winter’s chill arrives.

© Gale Zucker

The pattern includes a size range to fit actual bust sizes from 32 – 52.  It calls for 7-9 skeins of Mountain Mohair.  It is pictured here in Spice.

We also have our first adult hoodie pullover sweater.  Kristen was designed for us by Kristen TenDyke.

© Gale Zucker

This cozy hoodie is knit seamlessly from the bottom up, beginning with the sleeves, then the body. (Hopefully this will help with those of you who suffer from second sleeve syndrome).  As you can see, it also features a beautifully organic cable panel that runs up the front and back.

© Gale Zucker

The pattern includes sizing for a range from actual bust sizes of 29½ – 51¼ and calls for between 10 – 15 skeins of Mountain Mohair.  It is pictured above in Blizzard.

Both of these patterns show Mountain Mohair at it’s finest.  We hope that you’ll get a chance to see (and try on) our samples at any of our upcoming Festival appearances or by stopping into the shop in Putney when the samples return home with Kate and Maureen in early November.

A little light reading

Have you been looking to learn a little bit more about wool in the US?  We found a great article about the history of the American Wool industry among the “pages” of the most recent edition of Twist Collective.

 © Kathleen Cadigan

Our very own David Ritchie is quoted.  And the article contains a concise story of the revival of wool production here in the US.  (For the first part of the story that details the arrival of European sheep breeds on this continent with the colonists, you can look here).

You may want to browse around among the beautiful patterns included in this edition.  We have to confess that our favorite is the his and hers versions of Shannonmore designed by Melissa Leapman.

© Crissy Jarvis

These beautifully cabled pullovers call for Spinnery Weekend Wool.  This 100% wool yarn provides the stunning cable details crisp definition that will showcase your knitting prowess.

And in case you were wondering, Weekend Wool is made with wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US.  The unique blend of fibers features a blend of the soft wools from Rambouillet, Columbia, Targhee and Fresian sheep mixed with the lustrous fleeces from Corriadale, Montadale and Romneys.  The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition.  yum.

(We’d like to extend a very special thank you to our friend Kathy Cadigan for sharing the photo of David you see above that she caught when she visited the Spinnery this spring.)

A new pattern: Windsor Tank

Maureen has been busy this summer. Inspired by the beautiful new colors of our Sylvan Spirit line (Agate, Aquamarine, Hematite, Jade and Turquoise) she created a pattern for a light summer top that includes some thoughtful details that make it unique.

We’d like to introduce the Windsor Tank.


Worked in separate pieces from the bottom up, this top includes short row shaping that creates a gentle curved hem that mirrors the soft open neckline.  A knit one purl one rib provides a finished edge at the neck, arms and along the bottom hem.

This simple shell could be left un-embellished to become a wardrobe staple or act as a beautiful canvas for your creativity!  Maureen has added some delicate embroidered flowers using scrap yarn.


And Larisa is thinking about needle felting a little something to be added to her sample of the Windsor Tank that she’s knit up in the Sterling color way.


We hope that you’ll be inspired to try knitting up this comfortable and versatile top.  We can’t wait to see how your turns out!

Farm fresh: Vermont Organic yarn

We’ve created something special this spring and we thought you’d like to learn all about it.  Vermont Organic yarn is back in stock!  And we had a chance to briefly interview Anna from Open View Farm who raises the sheep whose fleeces have created our delicious new yarn.


Anna and her husband Ben raise certified organic lambs, grow certified organic vegetables, and produce maple syrup on 180 acres in New Haven, Vermont.  The farm is unique in that it has a 2.49 megawatt DC solar array, which is owned and operated by Crosspollination Inc.

The array spans 17 acres and is composed of 8,448 photovoltaic modules. These produce an estimated 2,700-megawatt hours of electricity per year (which is enough electricity to power approximately 400 homes).  Anna and Ben’s sheep seem to appreciate the shade and shelter the panels provide when they graze under and around the panels for part of the summer months.


© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

As it turns out, Open View Farm is a resurrected dairy farm.  Anna and Ben’s flock is raised for meat and was started in the fall of 2010 with 30 Tunis ewes.  Tunis sheep are dual purpose, fat-tailed sheep well known for delicious meat.  They’ve been added to the Slow Food movement’s Ark of Taste, which has identified 200 “delicious and culturally significant foods in the US in danger of extinction”.

Open View Farm’s original flock of Tunis ewes has been bred with Dorset rams to increase the size of the animals.  Dorset animals are slightly larger and thrive on pasture ensuring a quicker growth to market weight.  More than 50 lambs are born at Open View Farm each spring, bringing the total number of sheep on the farm to over 100 during the summer months.


© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

(In case you were interested, you can purchase Open View’s lamb and other organic products at the Shelburne Farmer’s Market in the summer, and on yourfarmstand.com any time.)

As delicious as Anna and Ben’s organic lamb may be, here at Green Mountain Spinnery we are more interested in their fleece.  Tunis sheep are born a soft cinnamon color that transitions to a lovely soft warm tan color.  Dorset’s wool is known for its springy elasticity, which adds a delightful resiliency that makes each creamy ivory skein wonderfully squeezable.

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

Our skeins of worsted weight organic Vermont yarn include 250 yards per 4 oz. skein. Only 42 pounds of wool was processed in this first batch so our supply of these scrumptious skeins is limited. We hope to be able to make more in the near future.  And we hope that you’ll be able to get your hands on some of these first few skeins!

A Knit Along for you to consider

Our friend and soon to be Knitter’s Weekend teacher, Thea Colman has organized a fun KAL that you might want to check out.  In her blog this week she introduces her new Brighton Cowl and provides the details on the group knit along.

©Thea Colman
© Thea Colman
©Thea Colman
© Thea Colman











If you aren’t in the KAL yet, there’s plenty of time to cast on.  Knit ANY BabyCocktails pattern along with the gang in the Ravelry thread before the end of June.  And… As part of the London Calling KAL, the code London Calling will get you 20% off the cowl pattern shown above on the left until June 15th.

All you have to do to enter the online KAL is post a photo of your BabyCocktails project, yarn or drink in the London Calling thread in Thea’s BabyCocktails Ravelry group, and each week (ish) she’ll pick winners for prizes like the one shown above on the right.

We think that this UK inspired prize is an extra special treat as Julie Asselin (who dyed the skein pictured above) is one of our custom processing customers!  While we didn’t spin the yarn pictured above, we have been working on some very special skeins for her this month that should be available this fall!

And for those of you who were reading carefully, Thea will be coming to Putney, VT this November to lead our 25th annual Knitter’s Weekend workshop along with Ellen Mason.  We are organizing a very special weekend that is sure to expand your knitting skills, and perhaps your sewing skills as well!  You can find more details here.

We hope that you can join the fun of Thea’s current KAL and perhaps join us for some more Babycocktails crafting in a few months.  Happy Knitting!

Our Custom Processed yarns

Perhaps you already know about the “other” yarns that the Spinnery produces…  In case you don’t, we’d like to tell you a bit about the special yarns that come through our production line that never make it to our sales floor.

About 40% of the yarn that the Spinnery produces is custom lot work.  “We enjoy working with fiber producers to design yarn particular to their unique fleece and fiber considerations. We can card and spin as little as 35 lbs of raw fleece or 20 lbs of scoured fleece.”

This small minimum makes the Spinnery an excellent choice for fiber producers who don’t have large quantities of fiber to work with.  As few as a handful of sheep can provide the wool needed to meet the criteria.

Large producers also work with us as well. Our beautiful woolen spun yarns are created for many well known producers in the fiber world including Swans Island, Jill Draper, Elsa Wool and others.  These yarns are a delight to weavers, dyers, and knitters alike.



Our custom lot yarns provide a bit of spice for us as they range widely in both gauge and content.  We’ve spun everything from lace to bulky yarns.  And these yarns occasionally include fibers not normally seen in the blends that we proudly put our Spinnery labels on including angora, camel and bison.

Lauren and David manage our custom processing and they will be coming along to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival to meet with fiber folks and answer any questions about our custom yarns.  We hope that if you are planning to attend either festival you’ll stop by our booth and visit with them.  (Lauren will be in Maryland for the entire festival and Lauren and David will be in New Hampshire on Saturday May 9th).

If you have a small flock and are looking to have some yarn spun, or if you know of someone who might like to learn more about this service we would love to tell you all about it.  We look forward to visiting with you soon!


A new take on a classic Aran

The Aran sweater has a rich history, full of Irish island lore and fishing stories about the one that “got away”.  In the past, each cable included in the pattern acted as a symbol that could weave a tale about the home port or invoke a bountiful catch for the wearer.

Maureen has created a fresh new pattern that combines the reassuring comfort that we associate with these classic designs and thoughtful details that ensure a perfect and flattering fit.  We’d like to introduce you to Duncan.



Maureen has designed the pattern with a size range of 40″ to 51″ and has used set in sleeves to make sure that the sweater fits with a minimum of positive ease.  It is warm and snuggly  knit up with worsted weight Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair; and will never create the impression that you are wearing a cardigan meant for your favorite Fisherman.


Shown here in the undyed White Weekend Wool, this 2-ply 100% wool yarn lends the sweater a crisp stitch definition making the cables pop.  And the classic creamy white color ensures that this sweater could work for any outfit making it a wardrobe staple that you reach for most months of the year (if you live in New England like we do).

We also love the addition of pockets that maintain the cable pattern for continuity but give us the option of warming our hands on a bitter cold or damp morning.

This sweater is sure to become a Spinnery classic and we can’t wait to see yours!