Our undyed skeins are very special to us.  We think that they best illustrate how beautiful fiber can stand without adornment.  How could we better to honor the gift of glorious fiber that sheep such as these provide us?

GMS-sheep-2

This is a photo of  Tom & Jody Courtney’s flock, whose Targee fiber is an integral part in many of the yarns we spin.  Their flock of 270 sheep are their pride and joy.  We look forward to hearing how their flock thrives now that they are overwintering the animals and are in the midst of their first lambing season this spring.

Coincidentally, the newest issue of Pompom Quarterly is now available and it features 9 new designs from around the world that all feature un-dyed yarns.

pompom_cover_16-359x500

The absence of color focuses the attention on the stitches and the glorious character of the yarns.  These patterns feature clean lines and crisp texture that are all the more apparent thanks to the yarns selected.  We couldn’t be happier with the focus of this issue because we hope that it may inspire you to take a closer look at some of our un-dyed yarns.

Three of the tops in this collection call for DK weight yarns: Equilibrium designed by Gina Röckenwagner, Right Angle designed by Georgia Farrell and Riveret by Merrian Holland.

We have several yarn options that are worth considering.  Our Alpaca Elegance is a 50/50 blend of un-dyed fine alpaca and wool.  The alpaca comes from younger animals living on farms here in New England and the Targee wool comes from animals grazing along the Front Range of the Rockies like the Courtney’s sheep shown above.

undyed-alpaca

For those of you living in areas where the snow is continuing to fall, you may want to consider this warmer yarn for it’s soft sheen, delightful drape and soft neutral palette.  Our woolen spinning process ensures that these skeins are lofty and elastic with a stretchy give that is a pleasure to the touch.

undyed-nm-org

Our New Mexico Organic yarn will offer you a lighter weight option.  This yarn is spun from Rambouillet fiber shorn from organically raised animals living in New Mexico.  Our spinning process maintains the organic status of the fiber as it is made into yarn and ensures that the natural characteristics of this delightfully crisp wool comes through in the skein.

undyed-cotton

For those of you in warmer climates, you may prefer to work with our Cotton Comfort.  We create three neutral colorways of un-dyed Cotton Comfort that work nicely to round out the color palette we’ve created for the line.  Since these skeins skip the dyeing process, the qualities of the organic cotton blended with the soft Targee wool comes through.  We feel as though these skeins are just a bit softer to the touch than the skeins sent out to be dyed.

And the fun doesn’t stop there!  The 16th issue of Pom Pom also includes four accessory patterns calling for fingering weight yarn options: Imitation, Perpendicular, Striated, and Unfold.  Our 2-ply Sock Art  yarns would work beautifully for these!

Meadow is a 50/50 blend of fine Targee wool and soft kid mohair.  This yarn is soft, squishy and a pleasure to the hand.  This delicate creamy white will compliment virtually any outfit and complexion.

undyed-meadow

And Forest‘s blend of 70/30 fine Targee wool and Tencel results in a yarn with clear stitch definition and lovely drape; a perfect choice to highlight your carefully crafted stitches.

undyed-forest

We hope that you’ll take a second look at un-dyed yarn and perhaps consider one of the lovely patterns featured in the newest Pom Pom collection that do such a wonderful job of making these creamy whites so compelling that color just isn’t necessary.

Dreamed, spun, designed and knit

It all started with Julie Asselin.  She dreamed up a new yarn last summer; and when her Nurtured moved through our production line, we all knew that it was something special.

irma

This yarn is created by blending and spinning wool that Julie has dyed before sending it to us.  You can see in the photo above that the yarn has flecks of her carefully created bright colors that are blended with undyed fiber into a subtle overall tone that is as warm and comforting as the name implies.

You can read more about how it all came together on Julie’s blog posts about the project.

When Julie shared several skeins of this new yarn with Thea Colman, Thea couldn’t wait to start swatching.  She experimented with various stitch patterns and came to the conclusion that this yarn wanted to be knit up in gloriously lush round cables.  We couldn’t agree more.

Her design evolved into a new and improved cabled grandpa sweater that will be one you find yourself reaching for again and again.  We’d like to introduce you to Milk Stout.

a_buttoned_medium2
© 2016 BabyCocktails

Thea shared a few preview photos with us as her pattern became ready for test knitting and we were smitten.  Larisa (who spun this gorgeous yarn) cast on for the pattern using our Weekend Wool and the similarities between the two yarns has offered great results.

milk-stout-05

Our natural undyed skeins of Weekend Wool are also a woolen spun worsted weight 2-ply yarn of blended fibers.  Our Natural Grey seen above is created by combining light and dark undyed fiber and is the base for the dyed skeins that are equally popular.

ww-line-w

Larisa’s new Milk Stout sweater is cozy, comforting and lofty.  Thanks to the woolen spun yarn it is a perfect weight with lush cables that provide texture that feels just like a hug when worn.

Whether you chose to use Weekend Wool or Julie’s Nurtured, you are going to love this sweater as much as we do.

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).

9b

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.

17

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!?

We are headed west

Our production team has been busy this week packing up dozens of boxes of patterns and yarn that will be headed to Santa Clara to be featured in the Green Mountain Spinnery booth at Stitches West.  Kate and Maureen will be in booths 817-819 at the Convention Center from February 18th – 21st with our yarns, patterns, and samples to share with you.

cowls-w

They will be featuring a new pattern available as an exclusive kit for Stitches West attendees.  The Beinecke Cowl designed by Cap Sease features blocks of garter and lace inspired by Yale University’s landmark library.

This infinity cowl can be created with two skeins of Spinnery Sylvan Spirit.  Our exclusive kit will include the pattern, the yarn, and a fun gift, all for $40.  Visitors will be able to select their preferred color from our entire line of Sylvan Spirit including the new colors that we created last Spring.

sylvan

We hope that you’ll mark your calendars and be able to stop by the Spinnery’s home away from home.  We have even more to share with you and inspire your next knits.

The Athens Key Hat

This time of year has many of us doing a bit of armchair traveling.  From the cozy comfort of our chairs by the fire we can dream of warmer climates and alluring locales around the globe.  Occasionally, those dreams of far off places can inform and inspire our knitwear designs.

glyph-web

Cap Sease created a beautiful hat pattern that  reminds us of the classic architecture details that can be found on landmarks located on the other side of the Atlantic.  Her Athens Key Hat features a classic Greek key motif created with slipped stitch garter rows that result in a thick warm fabric that will keep your ears delightfully warm.

We used Spinnery Mewesic and our New Mexico Organic yarns for these samples.  Pictured in Pink Cadillac and Purple Haze Mewesic with White New Mexico Organic (on the left) and Diamonds and Rust and Norwegian Wood Mewesic with White New Mexico Organic (on the right).

glyph2-web

We hope that you’ll consider casting on for this pattern while planning your next getaway.  You may find that having a new hat to toss in your bag may broaden the destination options to include the perfect spot!

Down to the wire

We’re into the double digits on our advent calendars and we know that the remaining days will pass in a flash.  If you are planning to hand craft your holiday gifts this year, we thought we’d share a few project ideas that could be created in an afternoon (or less) of knitting or crocheting.

We hope that you’ll be able to get any one of these (or even a handful of them) under the tree just in time.

capricorn-w

Our go-to yarn choice for last minute knits would have to be Capricorn.  Our bulky single ply yarn knits up in a flash at roughly 3 stitches per inch on US 10 needles.  Everything created with this blend of wool and mohair is cozy warm and deliciously soft.  The delicate halo from the mohair makes these items even more snuggly looking.

capricorn_caps_photo

Our Capricorn Hats  and the Steps and Ladders Hat (on the left) knit up quickly; and that stranded color work ensures a double layer of yarn over your ears for a very snug and cozy hat.  You could combine contrasting colors of our soft neutrals or provide a pop of color with one of the hand-painted skeins that Melissa has created for us.

capricorn-paint-w

Ellen Mason’s Polka Knot Hat, Ekaterina Blanchard’s Pomme hat and Johnny Vasquez’s FREE Gridiron Hat are a few other great alternatives that can be knit with a single skein (or a bit less).

If you think that a cowl might better fit the bill, we can recommend several FREE patterns: Purl Bee’s Bandana Cowl or Garter Gaiter are both quick knits; and Kathryn Jones’ Catesby Three-Hour Cowl is a crochet project that looks fun.

If you’d like to give the gift of warm hands, you might want to consider using a single strand of our Capricorn to knit up our Bulky Mittens (instead of the double strand of worsted weight that the pattern specifies).  You might also want to try Marielle Henault’s FREE Bella’s Mittens.  Over 10,000 ravelers have knit up this pattern, and have been delighted with the results.

little-billy

Lastly, if a pint sized project is required, you might want to consider our Little Billy Goat vest.  This knits up to a snug layering pieces for sizes ranging from 2 – 12.  Granted, the larger sizes of this pattern may take a bit more time to complete.  But who hasn’t wrapped up something still on the needles with a guilty shrug and a smile?

We’d love to help support your goals and deadlines, so let us know if you have questions or need a skein or two rushed your way.  We wish you a happy few weeks of crafting.

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.

Cool hat pic

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.

quartet-kit

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!

 

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!

spinnery-seathwaite

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.

spinnery-seathwaite-5

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.

seathwaite

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.

woolful

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.

short-row-knits

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.

092_fell_9780804186346_art_r1_medium2
© 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.

085_fell_9780804186346_art_r1_medium2
© 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!