A centennial to celebrate

Parts of the carding machine at the Spinnery are turning 100 this year!  This anniversary recently made it into the local paper, and we couldn’t be prouder of our role in breathing new life into an industry that formed much of New England as we know it today.

The fiber is then loaded into the carding machine.

The behemoth that fills the back of the Spinnery was assembled over 30 years ago from various parts and pieces salvaged from abandoned mills all around New England and Canada.  In the early 1980’s the founding members of the co-op spent months travelling far and wide to find the machinery and expertise needed to put it together in working order.

Two giant pieces from Davis & Furber cards manufactured in 1916 are now integral  parts of our operation, and help us process an average of 200 pounds of fiber a week.  In honor of their centennial we’ve made a new yarn to share with you that is as unique, hard wearing, and classic as the machine that made it:  Our new limited edition: Moorit!

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This undyed yarn comes from a very special flock of Merino sheep that are being raised for their atypical color.  Our friend Andy has been breeding his flock not for the brilliant white fleece that the breed is known for, but a warm cinnamon shade called moorit.  We thought that it would be best showcased in springy, delightfully soft 3-ply DK weight yarn.

Our 3 oz. skeins contain approx. 180 yards and are made from some of the finest wool that we have had the pleasure of working with.  The yarn has a recommended gauge range of 5-6 stitches to the inch on a range of needle sizes from US 4/3.5 mm to US 7/ 4.5 mm.

Because of the yarn’s 3 plies, it has a very balanced round shape that lends itself beautifully to crisp cables and rich textured stitches.  We can’t wait to see what you make with it!

This yarn will be making its debut at the upcoming Sheep & Wool Festivals in Maryland and New Hampshire.  We hope that you’ll be able to stop by our booth to get acquainted with it.  Or you can visit us at the Spinnery and wish the carding machine a happy birthday!

 

Stop on by!

Maureen and Kate are all set up in Booth 817-819 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in sunny California.  Stitches West opens its doors 10-6 Friday and Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.

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We have all knits of treats with us including skeins of our 5 new colors of Mountain Mohair, new mini bundles of 5 Mountain mohair skeins, new patterns and samples, and best of all: a show exclusive kit!

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Cap Sease’s Beinecke Cowl is a fun knit and we’ve kitted the project up in all 15 of our gorgeous colors of Sylvan Spirit.  Our kits include the pattern, two skeins of yarn and a special treat for $35.

We hope that you’ll have a chance to stop by the booth to visit with Kate and Maureen and select a kit for yourself or as a gift while supplies last.

More fun facts

We are very fond of wool.  All of our yarns include at least 50% wool because of it’s many wonderful properties.  We thought we’d share a few of them with you to that you can pass them along to friends and family who may not yet share our passion.

The UK’s Campaign for Wool has a very compelling list of the almost magical properties of this fiber.  (We have a copy hanging up in our bathroom).

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Wool is a 100% natural renewable resource, grown afresh every year thanks to solar power, photosynthesis and water.  While you may not have the ability to raise your own flock, US sourced wool is easy to find in your local yarn store and among the Spinnery’s yarns.

Wool is a hygroscopic fiber meaning that it can absorb and release moisture providing you with a comfortable garment with its own breathable climate controlling properties.  Unlike man made synthetic fibers which can only absorb about 1%, Wool can absorb and release a whopping 30% of its weight in moisture.

And that absorption generates heat which is retained in the fiber.  That gives you insulation that works with your body heat, a blessing in cold damp New England winters and surprisingly in our humid summers as well.  This ability to adapt to changes in body temperature means that at lighter weights, it can also feel comfortable as it helps to cool your body when needed.

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And there is more!  It is hard wearing, easy to care for, and can be manufactured without harsh chemicals (like our GREENSPUN yarns) giving you finished garments that are all natural and safe for people with chemical sensitivities.

What’s not to love about wool!?

Yep, sounds about right

The New York Times recently published an article about the health benefits of knitting.  You may not be surprised to learn that there are many.

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Jane Brody, one of the NYT’s experts on health and nutrition joined a knitting group and found herself quickly hooked on stitching.  “As I’d discovered in college, when my hands are busy, my mind stays focused on the here and now.”

The Craft Yarn Council’s campaign to stitch away stress last spring was a huge success.  They have noticed a growing number of new knitters that include school children as well as men and women of all ages.  Knitting is not just for grannies anymore.

Knitting has been reported to help some folks lose weight, others to quit smoking, and manage stress and anxiety.  Arthritis pain can be minimized and it can establish a creative outlet that provides a rewarding sense of accomplishment.  Nothing beats the warm glow of finishing a project!  Having a tangible product can make the meditative practice more rewarding for type A personalities not drawn to sitting quietly as its own reward.

And there is more!  We hope that you’ll take a moment this week to read Jane Brody’s article.  You may find that if you are not already knitting, you may feel inspired to pick up needles; or perhaps share your stitching skills with a friend or family member who could benefit from it’s advantages.

Let’s all cast on this spring!

As requested

We love hearing from our friends and customers what they’d like us to create next.  We’ve received some great ideas from those of you who stop by our booths at festivals or our little shop here in Putney.

One request that we received several times this year has now come to fruition; we’ve added a Grey Ragg colorway to our Weekend Wool collection!

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By plying together individual strands of the White and Natural Grey, we’ve created a traditional color that will add beautiful a marled texture to your worsted weight knitwear.  You may want to try a skein or two out by making a pair of our IBH’s Toasty Socks.

Or you may want to browse among the several patterns we found on Ravelry that could be a perfect fit for our new skeins. They range from small accessories to sweaters.

We hope that you have fun figuring out what you’d like to make with this new yarn.  We’ll be sharing what we create with it on our Facebook page as soon as they come off the needles.

The gift that keeps giving

We are launching something brand new this month that we’re delighted to share with you.  We’d like to introduce our first Spinnery project club!  The Quartet Hat Club.

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Membership in the Spinnery’s exclusive hat club will ensure delivery of four beautiful seasonal hat projects to your doorstep over the next calendar year.

As knitters, we know that nothing beats the fun of a brand new project.  Having something new to start is as delightful as finishing a project is rewarding.  And smaller projects such as hats can be completed quickly for a crafting experience that feels great from start to finish.  We want to share all of that fun with you.  Joining the club couldn’t be easier and you’ll love what we have in store for you with our upcoming projects.

Melissa Johnson has designed four beautiful hat patterns with the seasons in mind.  Each pattern will feature a different Spinnery yarn and provide you with a pattern you’ll want to knit again and again.  As a Quartet Hat Club member, you’ll have exclusive access to these patterns until they are made available to the public in 2017.

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You’ll receive a quarterly preview email with information about the next pattern delivery and a choice of two colorways. When you’ve let us know which version of the kit you’d prefer, you’ll receive a special package of a new pattern, all the yarn needed to complete the project, and a special treat. Your first delivery will also include a small Spinnery project bag to keep your project materials organized and easy to find.

Membership is a perfect holiday gift to ask for; or to give to a knitter who would be thrilled to receive 4 special deliveries filled with fun.  Membership is open for a limited time until Friday January 15th.  So this is a perfect time to sign up.

We hope that you’ll join the fun and become of a member of our first project club or gift membership to a knitter you love.  If you are lucky, you might be thanked with a new hat!

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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© 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.

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© 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.

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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.

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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.

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© 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.

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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.

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© 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.