Farm fresh: Vermont Organic yarn

We’ve created something special this spring and we thought you’d like to learn all about it.  Vermont Organic yarn is back in stock!  And we had a chance to briefly interview Anna from Open View Farm who raises the sheep whose fleeces have created our delicious new yarn.

vermont-org-w

Anna and her husband Ben raise certified organic lambs, grow certified organic vegetables, and produce maple syrup on 180 acres in New Haven, Vermont.  The farm is unique in that it has a 2.49 megawatt DC solar array, which is owned and operated by Crosspollination Inc.

The array spans 17 acres and is composed of 8,448 photovoltaic modules. These produce an estimated 2,700-megawatt hours of electricity per year (which is enough electricity to power approximately 400 homes).  Anna and Ben’s sheep seem to appreciate the shade and shelter the panels provide when they graze under and around the panels for part of the summer months.

 

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

As it turns out, Open View Farm is a resurrected dairy farm.  Anna and Ben’s flock is raised for meat and was started in the fall of 2010 with 30 Tunis ewes.  Tunis sheep are dual purpose, fat-tailed sheep well known for delicious meat.  They’ve been added to the Slow Food movement’s Ark of Taste, which has identified 200 “delicious and culturally significant foods in the US in danger of extinction”.

Open View Farm’s original flock of Tunis ewes has been bred with Dorset rams to increase the size of the animals.  Dorset animals are slightly larger and thrive on pasture ensuring a quicker growth to market weight.  More than 50 lambs are born at Open View Farm each spring, bringing the total number of sheep on the farm to over 100 during the summer months.

 

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

(In case you were interested, you can purchase Open View’s lamb and other organic products at the Shelburne Farmer’s Market in the summer, and on yourfarmstand.com any time.)

As delicious as Anna and Ben’s organic lamb may be, here at Green Mountain Spinnery we are more interested in their fleece.  Tunis sheep are born a soft cinnamon color that transitions to a lovely soft warm tan color.  Dorset’s wool is known for its springy elasticity, which adds a delightful resiliency that makes each creamy ivory skein wonderfully squeezable.

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

Our skeins of worsted weight organic Vermont yarn include 250 yards per 4 oz. skein. Only 42 pounds of wool was processed in this first batch so our supply of these scrumptious skeins is limited. We hope to be able to make more in the near future.  And we hope that you’ll be able to get your hands on some of these first few skeins!

Mark your calendars

We wanted to provide you with advance notice that this Wednesday July 15th all our remaining stock of Mountain Mohair Cones will go on sale at 30% off!  We have limited quantities of our most popular colors.  You’ll find them in the SALE ITEMS section of the Spinnery site first thing on Wednesday morning.

mohair-cones

At 560 yards, these 8 oz. cones contain the equivalent yardage of four skeins of Mountain Mohair.  The yarn is unwashed and will bloom when washed.  We suggest that since this yarn is coned you wait until after working the yarn and gently wet block your project when complete. (Our favorite blocking instructions an be found in a terrific article from the Twist Collective archives written by Sandi Rosner).

mohair-weaving

These cones of Mountain Mohair are perfect for weaving, and can also be used for color work projects or large beautiful blankets that will have fewer ends for you to weave in when you complete your project.

We hope that you are able to take advantage of these savings while our supplies last.  We are no longer coning our Mountain Mohair when producing new batches of yarn so these cones are very special indeed.

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!

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.

 

 

Postcards from Maryland

Maureen, Kate and Lauren have headed South to Maryland and are setting up shop at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend. They are delighted with the fast forward of the seasons they experienced on the drive south and have sent word back that West Friendship, MD is bright green with spring growth.

You’ll find our beautiful yarns, inspiring samples, and generous selection of patterns in a tent located in the Outside North Vendors section.

sign

You’ll find the Green Mountain Spinnery’s tent very close to this “intersection”.  And you’ll be so glad that you decided to join the fun.  The festival is already filled with sheep of almost every breed.  These handsome critters were relaxing after a grueling afternoon of grooming to prepare them for the two Parades of Sheep Breeds that are scheduled for later today and Sunday.

sheep

Vendors of all kinds have gathered to create a memorable day for you.  You’ll find delicious food to snack on, fiber of all kinds and in all forms, tools of the trade that will make your crafting even more of a pleasure, and items for your home and garden that may inspire your next project.

Dahlias like these may become a cardigan or inspire you to try working with a new color that is not yet in your stash.

flowers

The fiber love is all around the festival.  The girls enjoyed an alfresco dinner last night sitting under one of the trees that have been yarn bombed by a local knitting guild.

bomb

We hope that you’ll be able to join the fun.  If this weekend is not feasible, you may want to consider coming to the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival that is going to fill Deerfield, NH with just as much lively activity next week.  We’d love for you to get a chance to visit!

Our Custom Processed yarns

Perhaps you already know about the “other” yarns that the Spinnery produces…  In case you don’t, we’d like to tell you a bit about the special yarns that come through our production line that never make it to our sales floor.

About 40% of the yarn that the Spinnery produces is custom lot work.  “We enjoy working with fiber producers to design yarn particular to their unique fleece and fiber considerations. We can card and spin as little as 35 lbs of raw fleece or 20 lbs of scoured fleece.”

This small minimum makes the Spinnery an excellent choice for fiber producers who don’t have large quantities of fiber to work with.  As few as a handful of sheep can provide the wool needed to meet the criteria.

Large producers also work with us as well. Our beautiful woolen spun yarns are created for many well known producers in the fiber world including Swans Island, Jill Draper, Elsa Wool and others.  These yarns are a delight to weavers, dyers, and knitters alike.

 

custom

Our custom lot yarns provide a bit of spice for us as they range widely in both gauge and content.  We’ve spun everything from lace to bulky yarns.  And these yarns occasionally include fibers not normally seen in the blends that we proudly put our Spinnery labels on including angora, camel and bison.

Lauren and David manage our custom processing and they will be coming along to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival to meet with fiber folks and answer any questions about our custom yarns.  We hope that if you are planning to attend either festival you’ll stop by our booth and visit with them.  (Lauren will be in Maryland for the entire festival and Lauren and David will be in New Hampshire on Saturday May 9th).

If you have a small flock and are looking to have some yarn spun, or if you know of someone who might like to learn more about this service we would love to tell you all about it.  We look forward to visiting with you soon!

 

Make lemonade

Can you imagine when running out of yarn might be a blessing?  It can be rewarding to find a pattern that you can’t resist knitting and realizing that you might have just enough yarn in your stash to make the size you’d like.  But working on those projects can be a bit stressful, especially when you are cutting it so close that short sleeves or a cropped length seem to be your only options for success.

Kate is working on a fun FREE pullover pattern designed by Leslie Weber that is giving her the opportunity to making the most of a small quantity of yarn.  Tweedy Stripey is a boxy pullover that calls for three colors of DK weight yarn (the tweedier the better).

© wychfingers
© wychfingers

Many of us at the Spinnery are eager to make versions of our own knowing that our Mewesic yarn will be perfectly suited to this pattern.  Kate has elected to cast on with two different dyelots of our Earl Grey Alpaca Elegance instead.  (Her pop stripe color comes from a skein of Madelinetosh Merino DK in the candlewick colorway).  The variation is subtle but eye-catching in the right light.

tweedy

This means that she’ll be able to get a sweater out of just a half dozen skeins of yarn that aren’t all in the same dyelot, giving her a chance to bust her stash just a bit and make a wonderfully wearable garment with yarn quantities that she thought she’d only be able to use for smaller accessories.

We hope that you are able to find a fun stripey pattern that appeals to you (there are hundreds in the Ravelry database) that allows you to play with your stash and find creative ways to make beautiful projects with yarn you didn’t think you could make use of.

A little gift

Sugaring season is almost over here in Vermont which has us all very eager for Spring.  Temperatures are no longer dipping below freezing at night and while we are seeing some occasional snow flurries, the snow drifts are no longer deepening.

In celebration of the change of season, we’ve created a FREE pattern addendum to the very popular Ascutney Mountain Hat & Earwarmer pattern.  With our addendum, you can make a pair of boot toppers that feature that beautiful braided cable.

ascutney-boot-toppers-01-w

This pair was knit up with two skeins of our Weekend Wool.  This crisp 100% wool 2-ply yarn provides wonderful stitch definition to compliment the brilliant color palette.

weekend-wool-w

What could be more fun that a pop of bright color to brighten up your work boots?

ascutney-boot-toppers-02w

For those of you who already own a copy of the pattern, downloading the FREE addendum will set you on your way.  If necessary, purchasing a copy of the Ascutney pattern here will provide you with all  the information (and cable charts) that you’ll need.

Before you know it, signs of warmer weather to come will blossom all around us.  We can’t wait!

We’ve made a new batch of Yarn Over!

Because of the beautiful new Sylvan Spirit that we’ve been working on over the past few weeks, we had some gorgeous waste fiber that we couldn’t resist whipping up into a new color of an old Spinnery favorite: Yarn Over.

Each batch of our Yarn Over includes a unique blend of color and fibers as it’s our way of reusing material that would otherwise go to waste.  Don’t you love how leftovers can be mixed up into something fresh and delicious?

 

yarn over 01

In honor of the lunar new year we’ve named this new colorway Year of the Sheep.  And these skeins include a blend of carded wool,  TENCEL® Lyocell and a bit of mohair that all combine to add great drape and stitch definition to your finished knitwear.

(Lyocell is marketed under the trade name TENCEL®, and a natural derivative of wood pulp from cultivated Southern oak and gum trees grown on land unsuitable for grazing.)

Our 4 oz. / 120 g skeins include approximately  155 yards and the gauge varies depending on your needle size with a range of 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 using size 7 US / 4.5 mm needles to size 10 US/ 6 mm needles.

This Aran weight yarn is ideal for sturdy sweaters and outerwear.  Ravelry has pages of pattern suggestions that offer many tempting choices.  Larisa is tempted to cast on for the Fiber Co.’s Hiker’s Waistcoat which should be beautiful in this rich tweedy color.

Many of the Spinnery patterns are tempting the other knitters here in the shop.  Tracy is interested in Libby Mills’ Islanders’ Vest and Kate loves the idea of a Spanish Tunic or the Shawl Collar Snuggly that she can layer over other knits.  Gail’s favorite is the Spinnery Jacket.

What would you choice to work on with this lovely yarn?