Our “hatalong” success

Knitting with friends is so much fun.  A couple of weeks ago, several of us at the Spinnery cast on for the Fringe Association’s most recent “hatalong” project: Seathwaite designed by Kate Gagnon Osborne.

We each selected a couple of skeins of Spinnery Mountain Mohair and got knitting.  We compared progress and had a small competition to see how quickly we could go.  We finished faster than we might have done if we weren’t all working together.

This week our finished hats were blocked and we wanted to share the fun with you!


From left to right we have Maureen’s hat in Claret, Kate’s hat in Fern, Larisa’s hat in Blueberry and Megan’s hat in Blizzard.  As you can see the mohair blend creates a soft halo that does not compete with the clarity of the cable details.


This cabled beanie is created with a rolled brim for extra warmth for your ears.  It is as warm and cozy as it looks.  We had a bit of fun with our photo shoot hoping to show you every angle.


Kate made a small modification to her hat and instead of using a provisional cast on and rolling her brim, she left it long for a more slouchy version.

We hope that you’ll share photos of your hatalong projects, we’d love to see how you make the pattern your own with your yarn and color selection and any potential changes for a perfect fit.




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!


Are you ready?

We are setting up shop at Rhinebeck this weekend.  We look forward to this festival every fall.  The food, yarn, sheep and wool bring thousands of fiber enthusiasts to this gathering, but it is the mystique of the “Rhinebeck Sweater” that inspires all of us to knit a new garment each year.

We’ll have some great new samples with us in our booth and we hope that you’ll stop by to check out: Kristen, the Exit 4 Tunic ,  and Amy Christoffer’s Coolidge Cardigan, among others.

Quechee_Pics (3 of 15)

We’ll also be debuting Suzanne Allen’s new sweater: the White Pine Pullover.  White Pines are a native Vermont tree once used for the masts of ships.  The strong vertical pine-like stitch pattern compliments the soft curve of a generous cowl neck on this comforting pullover.  Designed with lazy weekends in mind, the White Pine Pullover combines cozy comfort with effortless style.   

Suzanne has paired a light weight textured fabric with an over-sized silhouette that can be dressed up or down.  Equally perfect with jeans or leggings, you’ll want to snuggle into the generous cowl neck when temperatures drop.   This pullover is knit flat from the bottom up and seamed together.  Side vents and set in sleeves provide the perfect balance between relaxed ease and a flattering fit.

Quechee_Pics (15 of 15)

The pattern includes a generous range of seven sizes from 31″ – 55″ busts and it calls for 6 – 11 skeins of DK weight yarn such as the Sandman Mewesic shown above.

We hope that we’ll see you this weekend at the festival.  We can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on and perhaps get you what you need for a new “Rhinebeck Sweater” that will be the hit of next year’s show.

And that’s not all…

Last week we shared with you Amy Christoffer’s Coolidge Cardigan pattern, a lovely moss stitch and lace creation that Maureen has already cast on for.  She is making a version in Pumpkin Weekend Wool that just might be ready to make its debut at Rhinebeck.

This week we wanted to draw your attention to the handful of other recently published patterns available on Ravelry that call for Spinnery yarns.

© Annie Rowden

Among our favorites is Annie Rowden’s Polka Dot Tunic.  This pattern includes sizing for 6 months to 12 years and the design could transition from a dress to a tunic worn over leggings as the little one who wears it grows.  Annie knit this up with Spinnery Sylvan Spirit.

This pattern is part of the Knittin’ Little Fall 2015 Collection that includes designs from 6 popular designers with a little something for every discriminating kiddo that you may be knitting for.

© Therese Chynoweth

Our friend Therese has designed a lush cabled pillow that is perfect for snuggling into on long winter evenings.  Her Long Weekend Cabled Pillow pattern calls for Alpaca Elegance and would satisfy a project need for those of you eager to nest as our days get shorter.

© Knitscene/Harper Point Photography

If a smaller project is more your speed, you may want to consider Amy Palmer’s top-down Mewesic Socks.  This pattern is available for FREE when you purchase either the digital or physical edition of Knitscene Winter 2015 from the Interweave online store. Never fear! The pattern  will be available for free to everyone in the near future.

And for you hookers out there, Marly Bird has recently published a beautiful shawl that also calls for Spinnery Mewesic yarn.

© Love of Crochet

You’ll find her Camilla Shawl in the pages of the Fall 2015 issue of Love of Crochet.  It calls for a skein each of two colors of our DK weight wool yarn.  Just beautiful!

There are even more patterns for you to choose from.  Browsing the selection on Ravelry may help you find the perfect new pattern to start next  Feel free to give us a call or stop by the Spinnery; we’d love to help you find the perfect yarn selection for your next project.

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.

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.


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.

© 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!

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.


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.