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.

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© 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

Postcards from last weekend’s retreat

Last weekend was a huge success.  The weather was brisk but sunny, and our workshop was filled with eager crafters creating a convivial environment in which to learn.  WE want to extend a very hearty thank you to everyone that attended and to Lorilee for her fabulous instruction.

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Lorilee is a delightful person and a very generous teacher.  She thrilled the group with her patient instruction that gave us a new mastery of her beautiful vertical stranding technique.  We enjoyed her sense of humor too.

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She brought a huge selection of stunning samples with her for us to browse through.  She also gifted the students with two patterns each, a Craftsy coupon for additional learning and has promised to follow up with any of us who have questions about how to use what we learned last weekend.

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Saturday was spent creating swatches that included all kinds of vertical color techniques and textures.  Throughout her instruction Lorilee provided us with tips and tricks for new cast-ons, various bind offs and increases and decreases that will improve our projects for years to come.

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On Sunday we were able to start projects of our own with her thoughtful guidance that meant all of our new knits got off to a great start.

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We have created a new Ravelry Group specifically geared towards our Knitting Weekend friends.  It is a space where we hope to stay in touch with students and teachers alike.  And in conjunction with its launch we are also announcing an exciting contest!We will be selecting a winner at random from among the new members who have joined the group and giving them a 50% off the registration fee of a future Knitters Weekend of their choice.  We’ll provide more information about that contest as we get closer to drawing the winner later this summer.
We’ll share details of our upcoming Knitter’s Weekend in the fall as details come together here and on the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitters Weekend Ravelry Group page.  We hope that you’ll be able to join the fun and come learn something new with us.

The Spinnery is hiring

We are seeking someone to apprentice for carding and fiber related activities at Green Mountain Spinnery. Our vintage machinery requires good mechanical skills with an ability to diagnose, repair and constantly adapt to ongoing challenges, especially given the huge variety of fiber types that are processed.

eeb

This job is very physical, with some heavy lifting.

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We want someone who can join us now on a part time basis, but with staying power to eventually become full time.

The Spinnery is a modest company with a very dedicated staff. We are worker owned and there is an opportunity for membership after 2 years employment.

Please submit a resume and/or a description of interest to:

Green Mountain Spinnery
P.O. Box 568
Putney, Vt 05346
or spinnery@spinnery.com.

Save the date for savings!

The I-91 Shop Hop Bag Day is coming up soon on Saturday March 14th.

hop bag

Come into any of the yarn stores that participated in the 2014 I-91 Yarn Crawl (see list below) during store hours on Saturday, March 14th, present a shop hop bag from any of the past I-91 Shop Hops and receive 15% off your entire purchase!

  1. Green Mountain Spinnery (Putney, VT)
  2. Northampton Wools (Northampton, MA)
  3. WEBS (Northampton, MA)
  4. Marji’s Yarncrafts (Granby, CT)
  5. Creative Fibers LLC (Windsor, CT)
  6. Yarnover Avon (Bloomfield, CT)
  7. Village Wool (Glastonbury, CT)
  8. Country Yarns (Wallingford, CT)
  9. The Yarn Barn (Woodbridge, CT)
  10. The Yarn Basket (Branford, CT)
  11. Knit New Haven (New Haven, CT)

Note: you MUST present the bag from a previous Shop Hop event to get the discount!  And you may want to check in with the shops you’d like to visit for their store hours.

We hope that this will provide you with the excuse you may have been looking for to pay us a visit.  Fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate and there won’t be any fresh snow to slow you down.

Our Sugar Season Knitting Retreat

Our favorite “knitting enabler” and upcoming Knitting Retreat teacher Lorilee Beltman shared some more details about the workshop that she is organizing for us. We wanted to pass this along to you so that you can consider joining our group this Spring.

© Lorilee Beltman
© Lorilee Beltman

Our introduction to Vertical Stranded knitting will begin on Saturday morning. Lorilee will guide us through the history of this technique from its use in Rovaniemi knitting, as a substitute for duplicate stitch in argyle, and even as it appears in a Japanese stitch dictionary. We’ll learn how to manage the strands and how to address the stitches so things operate smoothly for you.

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We’ll play with simple zigs and zags, color between lace, and purl-only columns that look like caterpillars. Most students will tackle three motifs during this session.

After a delicious lunch featuring local ingredients and a bit of free time to explore Putney we’ll regroup for our afternoon class session.

Building on our morning swatch, we’ll continue exploring adding color to different fabrics: garter stitch and cables in particular. This will give us hands on practice learning the basics of vertically stranded color work as applied to our favorite knit fabrics.

Our evening will be spent with a convivial dinner and a surprise activity.

Then bright and early on Sunday morning, we’ll dive into a project! Lorilee has designed a cowl pattern as a template into which the knitter can plug their choice of the motifs we’ve learned. You could also knit the free pattern as written – as a sampler of several ways to let color climb. Not a cowl fan? Not to worry, Lorilee will also provide a wristlet pattern option as well.

We’ll close the weekend with a show and tell of Lorilee’s most recent explorations as inspiration. We’ll discuss how to include your new coloring tool in existing patterns and have a Q & A.

Our Knitter’s Weekends are always a treat. With an intimate group, we can ensure that you have plenty of support while you are learning. And there is sure to be plenty of laughter and sharing. Come and make new friends or organize a small group of your own to meet and knit together free from the distractions of home.

We hope that you will be able to join the fun. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-321-9665 with any questions you have about registering.