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.)

$5 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery yarns?!

Yep! Our tent sale is featuring some terrific bargains on orphan skeins. These are small quantities of skeins leftover from older dye lots.

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We have found a few skeins of our favorites: Mountain Mohair, Cotton Comfort, Sylvan Spirit, Alpaca Elegance, and Maine and New Mexico Organics. Every skein is just $5. Great yarn for a great price!

These limited quantities could be perfect for small accessory projects, or striped projects that require small yardages of multiple complimentary colors.

And there is much, much more!  We have an even larger selection of unwashed odd weight yarns that we’ve been able to make available to our online friends who won’t be able to attend our Tent Sale in person.  You can find all of our special Tent Sale savings here.  These prices will be available (while supplies last) through Friday June 12th!

We hope that you can take advantage of these prices. Our Tent Sale hours this weekend (May 23-25) are Saturday 10am – 5:30pm, Sunday 12 – 4pm, and Monday 10am – 5:30pm.  And our special $5 skeins are only available to those of you who can visit us in person.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and happy knitting!

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.

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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!

You’re invited!

Eric and Maureen are going to be bringing a bit of the Green Mountain Spinnery to the West Coast next week. We will be participating in the  STITCHES Market at the Santa Clara Convention Center from Friday February 20th through Sunday the 22nd.

You’ll find us at Booth 817-819 from 10am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday. We hope that you’ll be able to swing by for a visit.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see (and touch) all of our yarns in person. Since you’ve seen us last we’ve introduced a new yarn, our Spinnery Mewesic.

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This tweedy blend of bale dyed fine wool is a treat to work with. We have a great selection of new samples to share with you so that you can see how beautifully this DK weight yarn knits up.

And we have a new color of Sylvan Spirit to unveil: Hematite.

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This inky mercury color is a perfect addition to the line, providing a deep rich dark hue at the end of the spectrum for stunning color work options.

Maureen has created a new pattern using this beautiful yarn that will be revealed at the show.  Details are still under wraps, but we’ll be able to share photos when the sample returns to the Spinnery in a couple of weeks.

We are also extending our SALE on our Sock Art Yarns Forest and Meadow.  Our hand painted skeins will be available at just $20.25 while supplies last.  It makes all the difference in the world to be able to see these colors in person.

If a trip to Santa Clara is not in the cards for you, we hope that you’ll visit us online and let us know how we can help get you started on your next Spinnery project.

What’s next?

The imminent New Year has us thinking about our resolutions and intentions for 2015.  While we love knitting and crochet, we thought it might be fun to start our New Year rounding out our crafty skills.

We spent a little bit of time this morning browsing the class selection on Craftsy.com and each found a class to kick off the beginning of January with a new skill!  These fun online classes provide a crafty “education designed to help you succeed: with Craftsy you can learn when, where, and how you like.”

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Tracy is excited about Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Class.  Lauren had a hard time choosing just one of the weaving classes available.  Kate is interested in learning how to draw and is excited about Paul Heaston’s Sketching Class for beginners.  And Larisa is interested in Alton DuLaney’s Paper Arts Class.

The Craftsy class selection is robust and you’ll find multiple classes to choose from in Sewing & Quilting, Cooking, Yarn & Fiber Arts, Art & Photography, Home & Garden, and more.

We hope that you’ll check it out and perhaps start your New Year with a fun new skill that may become your next passion.

Special guests

All kinds of people visit us here at the Spinnery.  It is our great pleasure to show visitors our beautiful yarns, our extensive sample collection and give them a tour of the antique machinery we use to make the yarns we are proud to call our own.

Occasionally we host a larger group, and earlier this fall a field trip of fourth and fifth graders from Massachusetts came for a visit to learn more about how yarn is created.  We walked them through our facility showing them the process and the various machinery involved in making a fleece become skeins.

We recently received a sheaf of thank you notes from the kids that we thought we’d share with you.  We hope that you are as charmed as we were.

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thank you 03

We love having the opportunity to foster the curiosity and passion of a new generation fiber enthusiasts.  Next time you plan to be in our neighborhood, call ahead or send us an email and we will do our best to provide you with a tour and some fresh insight into all that has gone into the creation of the yarn you love to work with.

Bringing a little bit of Vermont Autumn to you

The fall color is really starting to pop here in Putney, Vermont.  Every day, our commute into the Spinnery is a breathtaking pleasure and we all count ourselves lucky to be living here.

spinnery fall

It is also our pleasure to bring a little bit of that vibrant color to you in the form of our blended and hand-painted skeins.  Our design team works hard to capture the amazing palette that nature inspires.

We are heading out to two festivals over the next couple of weeks and we hope that our travels will bring us (and our yarn) a bit closer to you.  We know how difficult it can be to choose a color online.  And we love having the chance to share our yarns with our friends and customers in person so that they can touch and see the skeins for themselves.

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This weekend October 18th and 19th we will be at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.  We are bringing our new samples, patterns, and skeins, as well as a few freshly cast-off sweaters to model.

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Then early next week, Eric and Maureen are headed west!  They will be bringing our little shop to the Chicago area where they will be participating in Vogue Knitting LIVE October 24th – 26th.

On their way they will be making a special stop with our friends at D’ Vine in Shipshewana, IN.  They are hosting us for a special event on Wednesday October 22nd from 2pm-4pm.

We will be showcasing our one-of-a-kind hand-painted fingering weight skeins as well as sweater quantities of our new Mewesic yarn.  This will be a unique opportunity for those of you in that area to see these yarns in person.  We’ll also have samples that you can try on and some great pattern suggestions that may inspire your next project.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Spring Art Fair at Squam

Maureen and I piled into the car last weekend and headed to New Hampshire to join the fun of the Squam Art Fair and the Ravelry Revelry.  It was wonderful fun to mingle with crafters who had been at the camp all weekend taking workshops, making friends, finding fresh inspiration, and glowing with new skills.

This video should give you a good sense of what a magical place and experience the Squam Art Workshops can be.

We joined the stream of folks heading into the Fair and were charmed by twinkling lights and blocks of ice illuminated by candles.  The video that you’ll find here should give you a good sense of what a magical place and experience these art retreats are.

© BEEZ in the belfry
© BEEZ in the belfry

Once inside, we were met with a room full of beautiful creativity; and both of us fell speechless at the workmanship of all of the talented vendors.  “The Squam Art Fair is a whirlwind of inspiration. Mix together the magic of a vintage shop feel, one of a kind goodies, and the creative spirits of all in attendance and you’ve got yourself a memorable evening at the lake.”

We are very proud to be one of the sponsors of this evening.

© Squam Art Workshops
© Squam Art Workshops

Among some of the delightful items that captured our interest as we browsed through the room were the beautiful samples from Amirisu’s Spring 2014 magazine.  Maureen was quite taken with two of the sweaters: Mokoshi designed by nest-design laboratory, and Whispers by Veera Välimäki.  (You may have already seen photos on our Facebook page).

We were able to meet up with some familiar faces and old friends, and check out beautiful hand knits modeled by knitters from all across the country.  We even got to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in her finished Adriana.  The story behind this lovely vest is a wonderful read; but it’s even better when Stephanie tells it in person.  Maureen and I were in stitches.

We couldn’t resist indulging in a bit of shopping.  Maureen was drawn to a beautiful waxed canvas tote; and I came home with a linen apron that will be perfect wearing in the shop.  (It has a pocket for a measuring tape!)  You can find a bag just like Maureen’s here and you can find an apron just like mine, here.

There are a couple of Squam Art workshops coming up later this year that you may want to look into.  The Fall retreat will be in early September and Squam is headed to Providence, RI for an urban experience towards the end of that month.  You find find more details about both retreats here.

We hope that you find a bit of inspiration in all of this, as we did last Saturday!

More than you wanted to know?

Our Maine Organic yarn is made from a blend of medium fleeces from a mixture of breeds including Leicester, Romney, and Corriedale. These fleeces’ characteristics of luster, strength, and silkiness combine to create a strong yarn with great stitch definition and lovely drape.

The fibers are processed with a rigorous attention to detail.  We carefully store, handle, and work with the fibers keeping them isolated to ensure that all of the farmer’s hard work of raising this fiber organically is honored and the integrity of the fiber is uncompromised.  We are one of the only mills in our region certified to spin organically and we are proud to be able to offer organic yarns to you.

Of course our organic fibers are GREENSPUN, processed using certified organic vegetable based soaps and oils.  The skeins are then washed gently to preserve their natural sheen and resilience.  This gentle treatment maintains the organic integrity of the fibers resulting in an undyed yarn that retains the sense of the sheep it comes from.

© Hamilton Farm
  © Hamilton Farm

The fleeces come to us from the Noon Family Farm and the Hamilton Farm in nearby Maine.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to have found such terrific sources of beautiful wool so close to the Spinnery.  It ensures that we are able to provide you with an amazing yarn that has not had to travel back and forth from one end of the country to the other on its way to your needles.  The carbon footprint of this yarn is as small as we can make it.

Many beautiful sweater patterns have been designed for this yarn, including Jackaroo by Amy Herzog, Crane Creek by Sandi Rosner, and Gwendolyn by Fiona Ellis, to name a few.  And there are dozens of knitters that have chosen this yarn for other patterns calling for Worsted weight yarn. A quick scroll through their projects may inspire you to cast on for your own.

To whet your whistle, we thought we’d share some photos of one of the most recent projects completed with this lovely yarn.

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© Jenjoywil

Our friend Jenny, otherwise known as jenjoywil on Ravelry, was eager to cast on with our Maine Organic.  She carefully chose a pattern by Thea Colman that would highlight the yarn and provide her with a comforting cardigan for all kinds of temperatures.  Her Vodka Gimlet is lovely.  (Additional photos can be found on our Facebook page.)

Thank you for sharing your photos with us, Jenny!

p.s.

I would like to introduce myself as the newest voice you’ll hear from the Spinnery.  My name is Kate and my Ravelry user name is onogrrrl.  I moved here to Vermont from Boulder, Colorado at the beginning of the year.  I found myself at the Spinnery about 20 minutes after that, and I am very pleased to tell you that I’ll be one of the authors of this blog going forward.

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I hope to share with you an insider’s look into what is happening here at the Spinnery.  I know that you’ll be as charmed and intrigued by what goes on here as I am.  

The Spinnery is blessed with an extraordinary team of passionate people.  I look forward to introducing you to each of them, so that you have a chance to see the faces and learn the stories of the folks whose hands are crafting each and every skein that leaves here.

I’d also like to introduce you to the machines that work as hard we do.  These behemoths date back decades, and in at least one case, centuries. This craft of spinning wool is an old one, and these machines have been at the trade longer than some of us here at the Spinnery have been alive.

I look forward to “talking story” with you.