Holiday Knits – warm woolen mittens

We have a new pattern to share with you this week that could be a perfect choice for your holiday gift knitting.  Cap Sease has created the Double Stuff Mitten for those of you looking for a little something that will be as snug and comforting as a cup of cocoa and a plate full of our favorite cookies.

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These double layered mittens were inspired by classic Estonian mittens that combine a hard wearing outer layer with a second softer inner layer for maximum protection against winter’s chills.  Cap’s pattern pairs either Mountain Mohair or Weekend Wool with Alpaca Elegance.  And the results are as snug as you could wish for.

She has embellished her mittens with a bit of embroidery, and you may opt to personalize your pair by adding stripes, textured stitches such as cables, or working in school or team colors.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with.  You’ll probably find yourself making pair after pair this winter as requests from friends and loved ones for warm woolen mittens begin to accumulate like snow drifts!

Cap’s pattern is beautifully constructed and easy to follow.  Newer knitters considering this pattern should be successful if they are already comfortable working in the round with double pointed needles, and decreasing.

More new patterns will be added to our website as we get closer to the holidays and we hope that you’ll enjoy working on what we have in store for you.

Rhinebeck Sweaters

We are so looking forward to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend.  Every year, all of us that return for the fun wear our hand knits looking forward to the accolades and recognition that are such a rewarding part of the day.

You will be hard-pressed to find another group as appreciative of a beautiful shawl or sweater, because they know exactly what kind of time and patience was required.  It’s likely that their outfit was created with an equal amount of love and care.

You’ll see hand knits that you would never know were still on the needles just a few hours earlier.  Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram become filled with photos of late night and last minute steam blocking and seaming. Laughed confessions of car knitting on the way to the festival abound.

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The Rhinebeck Sweater phenomena was formalized in 2013 in part by Ysolda Teaque’s book that features a dozen stunning sweaters patterns inspired by the gathering.  They were created by 12 different designers who selected yarns that could be purchased from among the Festivals vendors.

The book is filled with beautiful photos shot at the Festival that provide you with a chance to relive the weekend from your armchair any time of year.  And the inclusion of Ysolda’s thoughtful interviews with the folks who grow, spin, and dye these yarns gives the reader a rich history that can sometimes be hard to glean directly from the producers due to the crowds and hectic pace of the weekend.

Included in these pages you’ll find Gudrun Johnston’s Pippin sweater which was created with Spinnery Weekend Wool. You’ll find some terrific new colors to choose from in our booth this year!

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But that’s not all.  Since last year’s festival we’ve added other new yarns that you’ll want to see, feel and possibly smell.

Our Sock Art Lana is a 100% wool 2-ply fingering yarn that knits up into beautiful shawls (like our Jordache pattern) and lightweight sweaters (like the Hatteras Cardigan).  We have two different yarns comprised of Moorit merino fiber that is naturally soft and beautifully hued; a fingering weight single-ply and a DK weight 3-ply.  This year’s batch of Yarn Over is as utilitarian as you remember, comes in two shades (grey and a faded red), and has been worked up into the Beekeeper’s Smock.  This quickly knit pullover has been a hit at this season’s other festivals.

Along with these new yarns, we’ll be featuring all of our new patterns in our booth.  Stopping by will give you a welcome chance to see some of the patterns you’ve seen on Ravelry, our website and on Facebook.  We know that it can be invaluable to check them out in person and get a closer look at elements that may be difficult to distinguish in a photo.

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We’ll have several different versions of Maureen Clark’s Corrie.  This yoked pullover can be worked up with 4 complementary colors of Mewesic; and you’ll have a ball selecting your favorites from among the 13 shades we’ll have sweater quantities of.

We’ll also have all of Cap Sease’s new accessory patterns: the Beinecke Cowl, the Guilford Shawl and the Athens Key Hat.  If you prefer working with bulkier yarns, we have several projects for last minute gifts.  Maureen has crafted a cozy infinity cowl with Tunisian Crochet techniques (Cowl Up). And Kate Salomon has created the Granite Cap that can be knit with a single strand of bulky yarn, a double strand of worsted or a triple strand of DK for three very different looks.

We hope that no matter what you enjoy working on, we can provide you with a whole winter’s worth of beautiful projects that will keep you and your loved ones warm and woolly!

The fun starts at 9 am tomorrow morning.  We can’t wait to see you there.

October is national Cooperative month

October is national cooperative month; so it is a perfect time to support a cooperative near you.  Did you know that there are approximately 40,000 cooperatives operating in America providing millions of their members with housing, goods and services?

“Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”

For those of you who don’t know exactly what a co-op is, or how it’s different from other small to medium-sized businesses, here’s a very quick animated primer:

Need some help finding a co-op near you? The easiest place to start is with an internet search for your city and the word cooperative or co-op.  Here in our corner of New England, you can find many different types of co-ops such as consumer co-ops (such as food co-ops) and worker cooperatives (like us).

For a listing of worker co-ops in Southern Vermont and Northwestern Massachusetts (surrounding the Connecticut River Valley) that are doing business in our area, check out the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives‘ website.

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You may already be aware that the Green Mountain Spinnery is a worker-owned cooperative. You can learn more about our history as a co-op by listening to Episode 41 of the Woolful podcast that features and interview with our founders David, Libby and Claire.

We know that there are many factors that go into making a yarn choice: color, fiber content, gauge and softness to name just a few.  And this month we encourage you to also look at where and how the yarns you want to work with are made.

Our yarns include fibers sourced exclusively from within the US, and we make every effort to purchase directly from individual growers.  They are spun here in Vermont by a small group of dedicated worker owners who ensure that each skein is one that we can be proud of.

The dozen of us who comprise the staff here at the Spinnery make lofty woolen spun yarns that knit up into heirloom pieces that will look as fresh as the day they come of your needles for years to come.  Stop by our mill to browse through the selections in our little shop and see what working together can accomplish!

 

Hot off the presses

Our friend Cap Sease has done it again! Her most recent book is one that you’ll definitely want to add to your personal library.  Knitter’s Know-How includes 127 techniques that every knitter should know.  These include tips that you’ll use on almost every project from initial planning stages to finishing.

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This volume focuses on finishing techniques, but as she reminds the reader, if you read through the entire pattern you may make adjustments early in the game that will make the last steps of your project more efficient and more successful.  The simple addition of a selvage stitch (if not called for in the pattern) can make your seaming work much easier.

She walks us through various seaming tips with variations for different stitch textures for a perfect seam every time.  The crystal clear supporting photographs and illustrations ensure that you can follow along step by step.

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She covers picking up stitches, bands, hems, knitted cord and crochet edgings, buttons and button holes and even zippers!  We know countless knitters who have avoided patterns entirely or modified them in order to avoid sewing in a zipper to their cardigan.  Cap’s clear instructions should make it possible for you to approach these patterns with confidence.

Many of us here at the Spinnery will be purchasing copies of this book.

Meghan loves the sections on seaming.  With over 30 pages of in-depth coverage, almost any kind of seam that you might be confronted with is described in detail. Cap goes over seaming basics, crocheted seams, knitted seams and sewn seams.  She even walks through the kitchener stitch both on and off the needles, for stockinette fabrics as well as garter stitch and a k1, p1 rib.

Maureen particularly likes the section on the decorative raised seams, also called the soft-seam stitch.  Worked on bound off edges, this makes the least bulky seam that can be a decorative element when worked with a contrasting yarn.  Lovely.

Cap’s suggestions for perfect pockets is Kate’s favorite section.  She loves to add pop color pockets to her sweaters, and Cap provides instructions for three different types that could work for almost any pattern.

Larisa’s favorite tip is the forgotten buttonhole.  The trick allows you to add a vertical buttonhole in knit one purl one ribbing as an afterthought.  Genius!  And can give us the opportunity to modify knitwear that we finished ages ago to be more useful and wearable.

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In combination with Cap’s Cast On, Bind Off (a book that includes a whopping 211 ways of starting and finishing your knitting), Knitters Know-How will give you a master class in tips that you’ll find yourself using again and again. These two volumes will provide you with much of Cap’s wealth of experience.  It’s almost as good as having her at your side offering tips and suggestions that will make your knitting more fun, more polished and more rewarding.

Vermont’s Sheep and Wool

In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be setting up shop in Tunbridge, Vermont for the annual Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.


For the second year running, we’ll be organizing the festival’s fiber contests.  With 6 different categories, almost any fiber related project that you’ve recently finished could be a winner; from spinning, knitting and crochet to photos, paintings and drawings!  Please check out the rules on the festival’s web page and be sure to get your entry handed in (or mailed to us) here at the Spinnery by September 30th.


October 1 & 2, 2016
Tunbridge Fairgrounds
Tunbridge, VT

Sat: 10am – 5pm and Sun: 10am – 4pm

Admission: $6,  Seniors: $5, Children under 12: $1.  You’ll find a handy $1 off coupon here.

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You’ll have a chance to see a wide range of fiber producing animals including sheep, goats, llama, angora rabbits, and alpaca.  There are terrific free workshops geared towards owners – and future owners – of small ruminants.  Demos will be offered all day on a variety of topics.  Class options include a variety of full and half day sessions featuring fiber arts such as spinning, dyeing, knitting, crocheting, needle felting and weaving.  Register for a class and receive a free pass to the Festival!

There will be more than 6 dozen vendors offering a variety of fiber related products, tools, and materials.  You’ll find small family run farms with yarn available from their flock, fleeces from a wide range of breeds, and yarns produced all over New England for any project you can imagine.  Over a dozen of these vendors have worked with us to spin custom yarns, so if you enjoy working with our woolen spun yarns, you’ll find their products pleasantly familiar.

We’ll bring all of our yarns, as well as our new samples and patterns giving you a chance to see all of it in person. We know that it makes a world of difference to be able to see, squeeze and smell any skein worth knitting.  You’ll easily find a winter’s worth of projects to work on; as well as everything you’ll need to complete your new knitwear from pattern to buttons (Katy of Katrinkles will be bringing some of our favorites).

And when you’re ready for a break, you’ll have a wealth of local food vendors to choose from.  You’ll find all your fair favorites with a special Vermont twist from homestead icecream to more maple related treats than you can imagine.

Early October is a delightful time to be in Vermont.  The trees are likely to be at their peak, and there is nothing like a fall festival to make for a memorable weekend.  We hope to see you there!

 

Corrie is ready!

Our most recent newsletter featured the stunning circular yoke detail of our newest pullover sweater pattern.  And it inspired some of our readers to ask for more details.  We are very pleased to announce that Corrie is now ready to be introduced!

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Shown here on Haylie, the sweater is worn with 2 inches of positive ease in the bust.  We also photographed the sweater on a couple of other models so that you can decide for yourself what kind of fit you’d find most comfortable.

Larisa is wearing Corrie with 3 inches of positive ease.
Meghan is wearing Corrie with 9 inches of positive ease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern constructs the sweater from the bottom up.  It is knit in the round and uses corrugated ribbing to create that lovely color work that highlights the circular yoke and cuffs.

We were so delighted with the possibilities that the yoke provides for beautiful color work, that we knit up several samples in various colorways.  Pictured above the sweater is knit up in Evergreen as the main color, with Mean Mr. Mustard, Atlantis and Diamonds and Rust Mewesic.

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Pictured here, the sweater is knit up in  Norwegian Wood as the main color, with Mean Mr. Mustard, Passionate Kisses and Brickhouse Mewesic as contrast colors.

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And lastly, pictured here, the sweater is knit up in Diamonds & Rust as the main color, with Mean Mr. Mustard, Blue Bayou and Brickhouse Mewesic as contrast colors.

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The 13 shades of Mewesic present myriad options for color combinations that will flatter any complexion and enhance every wardrobe.

We hope that you’ll take a closer look at this pattern and consider it as a possible pattern for a Rhinebeck sweater. There are still several weeks of knitting time before the Sheep & Wool Festival in upstate New York and we’d love to see you modeling yours there!

New for fall (part two)

This week we are proud to share with you another new pattern as well as six new shades of Weekend Wool!

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From top to bottom and left to right is Fawn, Pollen, Chestnut, Grasshopper, Teal and Orchid.  These new shades round out our Weekend Wool spectrum with additional rich tones that our friends in Wisconsin are delighted with!

All of these new colors were created by blending our bale dyed wool in the carding process for a unique depth of tweedy color you are going to love working with.  You may want to consider casting on for the Putney Mountain Vest pattern which features a total of four colors of Weekend Wool in the colorful yoke.

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And for those of you who prefer to crochet, Maureen has crafted a special pattern for a new accessory you are going to love working on.

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Cowl Up is a cozy accessory is created with the Tunisian Crochet technique.  With 2 skeins of our bulky weight Capricorn yarn and a very large hook, you’ll have a finished project to curl up into in just a few hours!  It has been a hit in our booth at Wisconsin and we hope that you’ll enjoy it too.

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And in just a few days we’ll have the finishing touches ready for another circular yoke sweater that you may recognize from our newsletter!  We’ll let you know on our Facebook page as soon as the pattern is ready for downloading.

Until then, happy crafting!

Look what’s coming!

We have been busy as bees this summer working on new patterns to introduce to you this Fall.  We wanted to share a sneak peek of some of the offerings that we’ll be able to share with you in greater detail next month!

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From top to bottom:

Cap Sease has designed a new crescent shawl for our Simply Fine that combines lushly soft garter stitch texture with a delicate lace border.

Maureen is working on a mistake rib dress (with darling patch pockets) that looks fantastic knit up with Alpaca Elegance.

Kate has created an airy fingering weight cardigan bordered in a twisted rib featuring our new 100% wool Sock Art Lana.

There is a yoked pullover that will frame your face in stunning color achieved with simple ribbing that makes our complimentary shades of Mewesic look their best!

And last but not least is a sturdy pullover featuring cabled details and pops of contrasting color that can be knit up in a flash with two new shades of Yarn Over.  This bulky yarn (that will also become available next month) uses up remnants of wool from our production process to ensure that we are making the best use of all of our available material.

We’re polishing the details of these patterns and having them test knit to ensure your success.  We plan to have them available on our website over Labor Day weekend, and you’ll be able to see, touch (and smell) them in person in our shop and at the upcoming Fiber Festivals that we’ll be attending in the months to come.

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival
September 8 – 11, 2016
Jefferson, Wisconsin

Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival
October 1 – 2, 2016
Tunbridge, VT

New York Sheep & Wool Festival
October 15 – 16, 2016
Rhinebeck, NY

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair
October 28 – 30 2016
Fletcher, NC

Mark your calendars and get ready to cast on for some terrific new patterns!

Let the games begin!

As the 2016 Summer Games begin today, thousands of crafters around the world will be casting on for an “Olympics” of our own.  Raverly’s Ravellenic Games 2016 begins with the opening ceremony.

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“Challenge yourself by starting and finishing one or more projects during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

What will be a stretch for you? It could be a new technique, that first sweater or pair of socks, something massive, something delicate, or maybe finishing that monster in the closet. The goal of the Ravellenic Games is to support you in expanding your knitting/crocheting horizons.”

Many crafters will be working while watching various televised events and you may find that you also want to follow along with the athletes in Rio through the official website here.

There are 15 events in the Ravellenic Games, as you’ll see from the partial list below, there is something for everyone!  The dedicated Group on Ravelry has a wealth of information on their page.  You can join the group and learn more about the events.  We thought that we’d share a few project ideas with you that you may want to consider working on.

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For the Afghan Marathon you might want to consider working on Gee’s Bend a crocheted pattern, or the Diagonal Blanket for a project that will give you hours of stitches to work through the games.

Our Anatolian Flip is a perfect project for the Bag Backstroke.  This pattern knits up into an accessory that could be used as a bag or a tasseled hat.

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Cap Sease’s Beinecke Cowl would be perfect for the Cowl Jump.  And folks who prefer to crochet may want to consider Maureen Clark’s Septor Cowl.

The Garment Polo category is a catch all for garments and accessories not listed elsewhere in the events.  Our Ascutney Mountain Boot Toppers would qualify for this event and be a quick knit requiring just 2 skeins of worsted weight yarn.

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The Hat Dash is a quick event that you could participate in multiple times during the 16 days of the Summer Games.  We have several pages of pattern suggestions for you to choose from.  Our most recent hat pattern (the Granite Cap) is a quick knit on US 10.5 needles and a gauge of just 3 stitches per inch which can be achieved with our Capricorn held singly, our Green Mountain Green held double or our Moorit DK held triple throughout the project.

The Mitten Medley could be entered with any of the 14 mitten, glove, and fingerless mitt patterns that we have available.  You just need to be sure to make a pair of whatever you choose in order to qualify.

The Scarf Hockey event may be a perfect way to get some of your holiday knitting started.  Beginning knitters may want to consider our Simple Pleasures Scarf or the Pleated Scarf for a big more texture.  More confident knitters may want to try casting on for the Snowfall Scarf with its shifting lace pattern that may keep you on your toes.

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Shawl Sailing includes any items that is triangular and can be worn around the neck.  Our Jordache Shawl pattern would certainly qualify, as would our Davis & Furber Shawl that is a quicker knit with DK weight yarn.  Both of these patterns include charted instructions that may be just the challenge you were looking to tackle for these games. *If you joined our Jordache Knitalong last month and cast on before this week’s official start, you can enter your project in the WIPs Wrestling category and gain credit for your project!

Sock-Put could be the inspiration you needed to try casting on for your first pair of socks.  You may also want to consider trying a pattern that has you working your socks from top-down or vice versa if you have only used one of those methods in the past.  We have 14 patterns to choose from!

As I’m sure you can imagine, we have a wealth of pattern options that you can choose from for the Sweater Triathalon event.  In the 30 years that the Spinnery designers have been publishing patterns, we have accumulated dozens of classic designs that could be just what you are looking for.  Our sweaters include color work, cabled textures, lace work, and more.  No matter what challenge you have set for yourself for these Revellenic Games, there is a pattern here that will provide you with a fun project that will result in an heirloom sweater that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

We’d like to support your efforts in these games, please send us an email at kate@spinnery.com if you have questions about any of our patterns.   Now, let the games begin!

Now or later

Summertime holidays bring many visitors to the Spinnery.  while headed to the northern parts of the country, folks stop off at exit 4 on I-91 to stretch their legs, give their dogs a break from the car and pop into the shop for a look around.

If they arrive during the week between 9 am and 2 pm, we are often able to bring them behind the scenes with a FREE tour of our little mill.  They can walk through our converted gas station, and learn more about the woolen spun production process that we use to make our unique yarns.  Hannah Fettig and her husband Abe recently dropped off wool to be spun into yarn and shared photos and videos of there tour on the Knitbot blog.

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We like to start folks in our (currently full to the rafters) wool shed so that they can see the wide variety of fibers that we work with.  This little basket includes samples of wool, alpaca, angora, cotton, mohair and Tencel ®.

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After a spin through our entire process, we return back to the shop to see the finished skeins in all their glory!  There we can spend some time looking for the perfect pattern that will provide hours of relaxing fun and then eventually a finished garment or accessory that will be a lasting and useful souvenir of the visit.

In the shop right now we have a great collection of 12 patterns in the form of the I-91 Shop Hop Calendar for just $14.95.

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The 12 shops who participated in this year’s I-91 Shop Hop in June each contributed a new pattern to a special calendar created for the event. We have a small collection of remaining calendars, so if you missed a chance to participate in our yarn crawl, you can still be a part of the fun!

All twelve patterns are smaller projects that are perfect for hot weather knitting. None calls for more than four skeins of yarn, and many can be completed with two or less.  No matter where you choose to start in this fun collection, you will not be stuck working with a lap full of too warm wool that might have you searching out air-conditioned locations for your knitting time.

The Spinnery’s contribution (shown above) is the Stained Glass Headband that can be knit up with a single Mountain Mohair Mini Bundle. It’s a perfectly portable project that can provide you with a bit of color therapy while you wait for cooler temperatures. Individual patterns are available from each shop for just $1.

If your calendar is already full of other plans through Labor Day, you may want to consider timing your trip to coincide  with our Knitter’s Weekend in November!  The leaves will have turned, apples will be ready for harvesting and cool evenings will have you ready to knit by the fire.

Faina Goberstein will be joining us this Fall November 11th – 13th to share her wealth of knowledge regarding slip stitch knitting. This technique creates color work that is just as graphic as Fair Isle, but much simpler. Faina will guide us through a small slipped stitch project allowing us to get hands-on practice that will increase our skills dramatically!

There are a few remaining spaces and we’d love to count you among this year’s group.

Whether we see you sooner or later, we look forward to your visit.  We have a great deal to share with you that is so much more fun, informative and exciting in person!