Winner, Winner!

Many of us at the Spinnery will be helping to judge this year’s Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival Contests.  We are thrilled to see what visitors to the Festival have been making this year and we hope that the broad range of fun categories will give everyone a chance to shine!

sheep and wool

 

Hand-spun Yarn Contest

All weight yarn consisting of at least 50% animal fiber. Show us the naturals. Show us the dyed. Show us your spun magic!

Year of the Sheep & Goat Sweater

Celebrate all fiber animals and the beauty that comes from uniting fiber into yarn!  Knit, Weave or Crochet a sweater using a mill or hand-spun yarn with a fiber blend, such as wool & mohair (sheep & goat) or alpaca, angora, llama, cashmere, camel, dog, yak and qiviut.

Small is Beautiful

Gloves, mittens, cowls, scarves, shawls, hats, leg warmers, socks, slippers, boot toppers….We must not forget, that sometimes the best things, come in small packages….Knit, weave or crochet a beautiful and definitely essential accessory.

I Felt

Let’s honor the ancient tradition of felting; one of the first fabrics known, and still widely used and admired today. Whether a yurt covering, cozy slippers or a mouse cat toy, share your needle-felted or wet-felted creations.

I Felt too!

This special category is for knitted or woven articles that have been felted.

Ewe & Me

The gift of passing down a passion and skill is one to be treasured. Ask any fiber artist, and most will tell you they learned their craft from a grandparent, an aunt, a friend…someone who cared enough to sit down and share what they love with whom they love!  Bring in a garment that is a collaboration (and hopefully wonderful experience) between TWO to create ONE b-ewe-tiful creation.

Mini-Me

I did it ALL-BY-MYSELF!!  (For fiber lovers 12 years old and under).

Show off your fiber creations…perhaps knit clothes for your doll or a blanket for your teddy bear. A hat! Woven pot holder! A crocheted granny-square afghan, felted soap or cuddly needle-felting animals.  Show us your fiber creations.  (This contest is not judged and every entry gets a prize!)

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words

Share your photograph showing us your view of beauty and wonder in the natural world; plants,animals, the beautiful Vermont landscape.

A Poem is its own Picture

Share your poem showing us your view of beauty and wonder in the natural word; plants, animals, the beautiful Vermont landscape.

For those of you that are interested in entering a craft of your own in one of these categories, check out the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival’s contest page for the Official Rules as well as information on how to download entry cards and the how, when, and where of submitting your entry.

We hope that you’ll be inspired to enter and we eagerly look forward to seeing your submission!

 

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.

shannonmore_z_500_medium2
© 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.

windsor-01

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.

windsor-02

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.

windsor-07

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!

Course corrections

Kate had an “ah-hah” moment in the midst of working on a sample of Heidi Kirrmaier’s Vitamin D cardigan that we thought might be worth sharing.  She cast on for the top-down pattern using Spinnery Sylvan Spirit in the Sterling colorway.

vitamin-d

She is thrilled with how the yarn is knitting up and things were sailing along smoothly until she started working her first sleeve.  Unlike similarly constructed top-down sweater patterns, Heidi has the knitter put the body stitches on hold while working the sleeves first.  The  pattern includes a note in italics explaining her directions.

“Note: instructions are for working the sleeve flat in order to ensure the same tension as yoke is maintained.”

Kate decided that the simplicity of working the sleeves in the round was worth any small shifts in tension that she was confident she could block out…do you see where this is going?

She didn’t have to work very far on her sleeve to have about an inch or two worth of stitches to test her theory.*

gauge a

The difference between the worked-flat stockinette and the worked-in-the-round stockinette more apparent in person.  There is a stitch per inch difference in the tension.  “What’s one stitch between friends?” you might ask.

Well, this creates a visible line in the fabric and more importantly translates into a substantial change in the finished measurements of the sleeve.  What should measure out at about 15 inches will in fact be closer to 12 1/2.  That is a difference that can’t be blocked out.

This shift in tension can often occur when switching between knitting and purling, but it can also happen when switching between needles made of different materials.  There is a fantastic article on Alexis Winslow’s blog Knit Darling that clearly illustrates how dramatic the effects of that switch can be.

Kate combined both by switching from carbon metal needles as she started her sleeve in the round.  Instead of cancelling each other out as she hoped, they combined to create a substantial change in tension.

So, Kate will frog back and instead follow the pattern working the sleeve flat using the same carbon needles she used for the yoke of the sweater.  We are looking forward to seeing the finished project that we know will be more successful for having been checked and adjusted.

*Kate is the first to agree that she could have figured this all out a head of time if she had swatched and blocked her sample ahead of time — but she prefers to dive into the deep end and check her progress as she goes.  She also recognizes that when that little voice tells you to stop and reconsider, you may find as Kate did, that it is worth listening to.

 

What’s on our needles?

We reorganized one of our display walls last week in order to incorporate the newest colors of Sylvan Spirit into our DK wall of yarn.  This inspired us all to pick out skeins for a FREE shawl pattern that has been topping the popularity charts on Ravelry this month.

dk-wall
Over the Sea to Skye designed by Kalurah Hudson seems like a perfect late summer project.

© Kalurah Hudson

“Reminiscent of the sweeping landscape of beachy Dunes and the rippling of the waves as they rush onto the sand.  This oversized shawl is the perfect accessory for a chilly summer night but light enough for a warm, balmy day as you journey over the Sea.

It’s beauty is in its sheer simplicity. Easy to memorize increases and clean transitions between garter, lace mesh and eyelet lace. The shawl’s asymmetric shape lends a generous width for wrapping. And the sweet little picots and eyelet edging add just enough romantic whimsy.”

While any of our DK yarns (Mewesic, New Mexico Organic, Alpaca Elegance, Sylvan Spirit, or Cotton Comfort) will allow you to get gauge for this pattern we all agreed that a light summer wrap would be more appealing to knit and wear in our yarns that blend plant fibers with wool.

shawl selections

Larisa and Maureen are both drawn to working with Sylvan Spirit.  The 50/50 blend of wool and tencel creates an enviable drape that will look terrific when paired with this pattern.  Larisa wants to work with Sterling and Maureen wants to cast on with Jade.  Kate is interested in playing with a bolder color and is considering Cotton Comfort in Yarrow.

Are you tempted to cast on for this beautiful pattern in one of our delicious DK yarn options?

 

Simply beautiful

Our ravelry friend Jessica recently finished a show stopping shawl that we thought you might like to take a look at.

Annie Rowden designed a stunning lace shawl this spring inspired by a small batch single source yarn much like the Spinnery’s New Mexico Organic yarn which Jessica chose to create this shawl.

© sugarhousewkshp
© sugarhousewkshp

 

The Isle of Purbeck Shawl Mystery Knit Along started in early May and by now all four clues have now been released and you will receive the whole pattern when purchased on Ravelry.

You can still join the Ravelry group MKAL thread for friendly and enthusiastic knitting company that includes tips, encouragement and general chitter chatter.

image_medium4
© sugarhousewkshp

Jessica created her version of this shawl with just four skeins of our DK weight New Mexico Organic yarn.  These skeins are created from 100% Rambouillet fiber which has a similar softness to Merino with more loft and resiliency.  When it is woolen spun like ours is, you have a bouncy airy yarn that your fingers will never tire working with.

If you’d prefer a version with more color, our Mewesic would provide a perfect option.

We’d like to thank Jessica for letting us share her beautiful photos.  Your shawl is simply breathtaking, Jessica!

Shop Hop project ideas

With the I-91 Shop Hop gearing up to start next week, we got to thinking about how to help get your creative juices flowing.

We understand that with a dozen shops to visit, the temptation to pick up a skein or two at each will run strong.  We also recognize that yarn shopping without projects in mind can be frustrating if you find the perfect project after your visit and discover that you don’t have the yardage you need.

With that in mind,  we thought that we could collect a list of some of our current favorite project ideas that can be knit (or crochet) with a just a skein or two of our lovely yarns in a range of gauges.

When you arrive, you’ll see that we have created samples of several of these designs and they will be available in the shop for you to enjoy and try on.


Green Mountain fingering weight yarn options include Simply Fine (which has 450 yards per skein), Sock Art: Forest (which has 400 yards per skein), and Sock Art: Meadow (which has 400 yards per skein).

Hand painted skeins of all three of these yarns are the shop’s best sellers and we’ll have an even larger selection of mouthwatering hues in the shop than we are able to make available on our website.

© Carolyn Glauz-Todrank

Stony Point Cowl is a FREE pattern designed by Carolyn Glauz-Todrank calls for 400 yards.

Starshower is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hillary Smith Callis calls for 400 yards.

Appia is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hillary Smith Callis has two sizes and calls for 250 – 375 yards.

Hitchhiker is a $4 shawl pattern designed by Martina Behm calls for 569 – 574 yards.

Rising Tide Shawl is a $5 pattern designed by Grace Akhrem that calls for 400 yards.

Herald is a $7 shawl pattern designed by Janina Kallio that calls for 437 yards.

Simple Scallops is a $5 crochet pattern designed by Kristy Ashmore that calls for 350 – 450 yards for various sizes from a shawlette to a larger shawl.


 

Green Mountain Spinnery DK weight yarn options include Alpaca Elegance, Cotton Comfort, Mewesic, New Mexico Organic and Sylvan Spirit (all of which include 180 yards per skein).

© BabyCocktails

Windward Island* is a $5 hat pattern designed by Thea Colman that calls for 180 – 210 yards to span two sizes.

Whitman is a $5.50 hat pattern designed by Danielle Morgan that calls for a range of 160 – 200 yards to span four sizes.

Whitman Fingerless Mitts is a $5 pattern also designed by Danielle Morgan that calls for 80 – 150 yards to span two sizes.

Yes Checks is a FREE hat pattern from Stephen West that calls for 180 – 190 yards.

Ebb Tide Hats is a $7 Green Mountain Spinnery pattern that calls for 150 – 270 yards for two kinds of hat: beanie or slouch.

Nalu Mitts is a FREE pattern from Leila Raabe that calls for 109 – 164 yards to span two sizes.

Twitterpation Cowl is a FREE crochet pattern designed by Maryse Roudier that calls for 200 – 250 yards.


Our worsted weight yarn options include Mountain Mohair and Weekend Wool (both of which include 140 yards per skein) or our Maine Organic (which includes 250 yards per skein).

ascutney-boot-toppers-01-wAscutney Aran Hat is a $7 Green Mountain Spinnery pattern that calls for 250 yards. Purchasing this pattern gives you the cable chart you’ll need to complete the FREE Boot Topper pattern addendum which calls for 280 yards for a pair.

Duffers is a $2.50 felted slipper pattern designed by Mindie Tallack that calls for 220 – 440 yards for a range of three sizes.

Singapore Sling* a $5 hat pattern designed by Thea Colman that calls for 200 yards.

Camp Out Fingerless Mitts is a FREE pattern designed by Tante Ehm that calls for 100 – 110 yards.

Adama is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hilary Smith Callis that calls for 300 yards.

Windschief is a $6 hat and cowl pattern designed by Stephen West that calls for 100 – 160 yards for a range of three sizes for both the hat and cowl.

Divine Hat is FREE crochet pattern designed by Sarah Arnold that calls for 150 – 200 yards.


 

© Roko
© Roko

Our single Aran Weight yarn option is the softest yarn we make: our un-dyed Green Mountain Green has 120 yards per skein.

Cupido Cowl is a FREE pattern designed by Hiroko Fukatsu that calls for 180 – 380 yards for two sizes.

Oats is a FREE cowl pattern designed by tincanknits that calls for 200 – 400 yards for a range of three sizes.

The Amanda Hat is a FREE pattern designed by Gina House that calls for 160 – 216 yards.

Dashing is a FREE fingerless gloves pattern designed by Cheryl Niamath that calls for 142 – 164 yards.

Catesby Three-Hour Cowl is a FREE crochet pattern designed by Kathryn Jones that calls for 100 – 200 yards.


*This is one of the 6 patterns included in the $16 BabyCocktails’ Tiki Collection published last winter that all knit up with minimal yardage in a variety of gauges.

We hope that this selection provides you with some welcome inspiration and may make your Shop Hop experience a bit more fun!  We look forward to seeing you soon and we can’t wait to get you started on your next project.

Hitting the road

Summertime brings with it a call from the open road.  For those of us free from the demands of a working farm, a desire to travel gets us planning trips to visit friends, family, and new locales.  And with the I-91 Shop Hop just two weeks away, all of us knitters at the Spinnery are planning projects that will travel with us, for short day trips or longer excursions.

Maureen has a trip to Maine scheduled next week and her travel project is already on her needles.

vest

She has begun knitting the Swingy Lace Vest designed by Jean Clement and published in the Summer edition of Love of Knitting.  The pattern calls for 3-5 skeins of Sock Art Forest in the Water colorway and our dyer Melissa just dropped off a fresh new batch of the beautiful blue skeins.

Maureen has chosen a deeper teal color that more closely matches the two other teal projects that are currently on her needles.  Funny how that can happen…

Larisa has already started her travel project as well.

zag

This is Zig to the Zag by Stephen West.  Larisa is using the Dark Roast and Rosehip colors of Alpaca Elegance and Mean Mr. Mustard Mewesic as her pop stripe color.

This garter stitch scarf is an ideal travel project being small enough to fit on her lap and a very easy pattern repeat that doesn’t require much concentration.  This leaves Larisa free to enjoy the scenery and help navigate on the day trips she often makes with her husband around New England.

Kate has a week long adventure to Alaska planned for late July and so is still in the planning stages of her travel project.  She currently has two contenders that have captured her fancy.

hiro

The first is a potential Rhinebeck sweater. Inspired by the project photos of one of the Spinnery’s Ravelry friends, Kate is thinking about casting on for an Autumn inspired version of Hiro designed by Julia Farwell-Clay.  These hues of Spinnery Mewesic are going to look amazing blended together in a pixelated circular yoke (left to right: Norwegian Wood, Evergreen, Mean Mr. Mustard, and Sandman).

But she recognizes that a smaller project might be easier to pack.

cap

Hence project option number two: Brooklyn Tweed’s Ashby shawl to be knit with the Cappuccino color of Alpaca Elegance.  Delicious.

We hope that your summer travels have you headed our way.  We’d love to see you during the Shop Hop or any time that brings you to the Spinnery’s doors.  Time permitting, we can offer you a tour of our production facility giving you a chance to see all the work that goes into our skeins before they are ever wound and ready to knit.

Please share your project photos and your travel snapshots on our Facebook page or on our Ravelry Group discussion thread.  We’d love to see where you’re headed and what you’re working on!

Morning Mist

A new pattern has been released by Annie Rowden this week.  We’d like to introduce you to Morning Mist made with Spinnery Cotton Comfort.

© Annie Rowden
© Annie Rowden

Larisa was among the lucky few test knitters who were given the opportunity to work on the pattern before its release.  She created a gorgeous version using the Juniper and Unbleached White colors.  It turned out beautifully and was a hit among the folks at the Maryland and New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festivals that got a sneak peek of the finished project.

Morning-mist-01

The pattern calls for just 5 skeins of yarn (3 of the main color and 2 for the lace).  The pattern has you starting with a provisional cast on so that you work the lace panel first in one direction and then in the other.  Once your lace is complete, you’ll pick up stitches for your shoulders and work the front of the top back and forth until it is the same measurement as the bottom of the lace panel.  After picking up stitches across the bottom of your lace section, you’ll continue to work your top in the round to the bottom hem.  It couldn’t be neater.

Annie explains on the pattern page on Raverly, “I love lace back shirts, but chose a pattern that wasn’t too open to avoid seeing straps underneath. The simple drop-shoulder body creates its own cap sleeves, making for quick knitting, and comfortable wearing. (Totally seamless!)”

We couldn’t agree more.  This is a perfect pattern for early summer knitting and we hope that you’ll consider casting on for one of your own!

Maureen’s new shawl

While traveling last week, Maureen had plenty of time to work on a new shawl.  She cast off her last few stitches as we drove back to Vermont from Maryland and will be able to model it this weekend at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival.

lallybroch-01

This is the Lallybroch Shawl designed by our friend Marly Bird.  This pattern was recently published in the Spring 2015 issue of Love of Knitting.  (We have a couple of copies still available).

Marly has confessed that this shawl was inspired by the one worn by Claire on the tv show Outlander.  And we should confess that if we had remembered to pack the cord we needed for the truck’s stereo, we would have been listening to one of the audiobooks in the series while Maureen was knitting and Kate drove.

lallybroch-02

Maureen’s version was knit up with two colors of the pattern’s called for Spinnery Alpaca Elegance: Chai and Cocoa.  We love the warmth of these two colors together and it looks beautiful on Maureen.

We hope that you’ll be able to visit us at the festival this weekend so that you can see this beautiful shawl for yourself.  It is likely that you’ll want to cast on for your own without delay.