And there’s more!

Along with our new Moorit yarn, we have two other new additions to the Spinnery offerings: Lana.  This 100% wool fingering weight yarn is perfect for lighter summer knits.

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We’ve created two contrasting naturals, Blanco (on the right) is created with our fine western wool sourced from Targee sheep; and Gris (on the left) is created with a 50/50 blend of the fine western wool and our fine dark wool.  A third color ( a soft medium grey called Plata) is still in production and will be available for sale next week.

This 2-ply yarn is lofty and delicate and sure to knit up into summer weight shawls and garments that will be warm and light as a feather.  Each skein is roughly 3.5 ounces and contains 400 yards.  Suggested gauge is 8.5 st/inch on US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles, but flowing looser fabrics can be created with needles as large as a US 6 (4 mm).

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Kate wasted no time and started working on developing a pattern for a top-down seamless cardigan that she’s been wanting to add to her wardrobe.  We imagine that the pattern will be ready to share with you by summer’s end.

In the meantime, Larisa is working on Brooklyn Tweed’s Boardwalk pullover that we can’t wait to see off the needles.

Garments made with this yarn will make for perfect layering pieces, light, warm and easily packed into a bag to accompany you on any summertime adventure.

We hope that you’ll have a chance to see these new yarns at the upcoming Maryland or New Hampshire Festivals, or that your summer holidays bring you to Putney to visit us at the mill.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

A centennial to celebrate

Parts of the carding machine at the Spinnery are turning 100 this year!  This anniversary recently made it into the local paper, and we couldn’t be prouder of our role in breathing new life into an industry that formed much of New England as we know it today.

The fiber is then loaded into the carding machine.

The behemoth that fills the back of the Spinnery was assembled over 30 years ago from various parts and pieces salvaged from abandoned mills all around New England and Canada.  In the early 1980’s the founding members of the co-op spent months travelling far and wide to find the machinery and expertise needed to put it together in working order.

Two giant pieces from Davis & Furber cards manufactured in 1916 are now integral  parts of our operation, and help us process an average of 200 pounds of fiber a week.  In honor of their centennial we’ve made a new yarn to share with you that is as unique, hard wearing, and classic as the machine that made it:  Our new limited edition: Moorit!

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This undyed yarn comes from a very special flock of Merino sheep that are being raised for their atypical color.  Our friend Andy has been breeding his flock not for the brilliant white fleece that the breed is known for, but a warm cinnamon shade called moorit.  We thought that it would be best showcased in springy, delightfully soft 3-ply DK weight yarn.

Our 3 oz. skeins contain approx. 180 yards and are made from some of the finest wool that we have had the pleasure of working with.  The yarn has a recommended gauge range of 5-6 stitches to the inch on a range of needle sizes from US 4/3.5 mm to US 7/ 4.5 mm.

Because of the yarn’s 3 plies, it has a very balanced round shape that lends itself beautifully to crisp cables and rich textured stitches.  We can’t wait to see what you make with it!

This yarn will be making its debut at the upcoming Sheep & Wool Festivals in Maryland and New Hampshire.  We hope that you’ll be able to stop by our booth to get acquainted with it.  Or you can visit us at the Spinnery and wish the carding machine a happy birthday!

 

Stripe it up!

Larisa spent many hours winding and bundling the Spinnery’s new Mountain Mohair Mini skeins this winter.  As she worked, she found herself wanting to create a cowl that would highlight small amounts of our delicious Mountain Mohair.

After a thorough search of the Ravelry database that didn’t turn up what she was envisioning, she designed the cowl that she wanted to wear.

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And today, we have the pleasure of introducing Larisa’s first pattern:  The Route 5 Cowl and Wrist Warmers!

Named after the rural highway that Larisa uses to commute to and from the Spinnery, these fun accessories have chevron striping that is reminiscent of the twists and turns of that beautiful road and the Connecticut River that runs beside it.

Using a full single skein of Mountain Mohair for the main color (on the ribbed bands and between each contrast color stripe) and a bundle of 5 of our Minis, you’ll have enough yarn for both the cowl and matching wrist warmers.  Larisa used Blizzard as her main color to act as a soft neutral and played with pop colors for her stripes.

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Larisa specifically selected a bundle group that had a mini skein of Goldenrod in it and ended up with a color selection that is a bit reminiscent of a Hudson’s Bay point blanket.  She used (from bottom to top) Blueberry, Fern, Goldenrod, Periwinkle, and Rhubarb.

The random selection of colors included in our bundles will allow you to play with your own combination.  You could also substitute leftover bits of stash yarn from other projects to create custom stripes of your own design.

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We hope that you have fun with Larisa’s new pattern.  We can’t wait to see what new color combinations result from it!

Not long now

The sixth annual I-91 Shop Hop is scheduled for June 23rd – 26th, 2016 and $5 passports and bags are now available.

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Here’s your chance to explore new yarn shops and win some great prizes. You can complete the Shop Hop all in one day, or make it a weekend event.  Bring a friend or two and make a get-away of it!

  • Get your Shop Hop passport stamped by visiting the participating shops over the 4-day Shop Hop weekend.
  • Every time you get your passport stamped you willed be entered to win the Daily Door Prize at that shop. A total of 48 door prizes will be given out to participants!
  • By visiting all 12 shops you will be entered into a drawing for the fabulous Grand Prize, which includes gift certificates for the 12 shops, as well as yarns, needles and other goodies.

The 12 shops participating in this year’s Shop Hop are below:

Green Mountain Spinnery (Putney, VT)
Handknit (Brattleboro, VT)
Sheep & Shawl (Deerfield, MA)
Northampton Wools (Northampton, MA)
WEBS (Northampton, MA)
Marji’s Yarncrafts (Granby, CT)
Creative Fibers (Windsor, CT)
Village Wool (Glastonbury, CT)
Country Yarns (Wallingford, CT)
Knit New Haven (New Haven, CT)
Yarn Barn (Woodbridge, CT)
The Yarn Basket (Branford, CT)

All shops will be open 10 am – 6 pm Thursday through Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm on Sunday.  A few shops have extended hours and so you may want to call ahead as you plan your trip.

You can learn more about the event on the 1-91 Shop Hop Facebook page and their Group page on Ravelry.

We look forward to seeing you and we hope that you’ll bring projects to share so that we can see what you’ve been working on since we saw you last.

Mini bundles of fun

In celebration of the beginning of Spring, we have created “bouquets” of fun color for you to play with!

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Knowing how popular our worsted weight Mountain Mohair is for color work projects, we have bundled five Mountain Mohair mini skeins into a fun collection of yarn for you to enjoy!

These skeins are each approximately 50 yards, giving you plenty of yardage for small accessories of many colors or a fun way to add a pop of color here and there to other larger projects.

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If you are looking for some project inspiration, you might want to take a look at our Mini Mitts.  Cap Sease created a fun pair of fingerless mitts using just two of these mini skeins.

A bundle would provide you with the yardage for a couple of pairs.  If you wanted matching mitts, you could use the mini skeins for pops of color on a much larger collection of mitts to give as gifts or to match every outfit and mood.

There are hundreds of other accessory project suggestions to be found on Ravelry.  Our favorite may be the Algonguin Hats designed by Thea Colman which calls for a single skein of Mountain Mohair as a main color and just 50 yards of a contrast color to create a beanie with a hint of slouch and gorgeous textured color.

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The color selection of the Mountain Mohair Minis that you’ll receive is random and sure to compliment each other beautifully.  We can’t wait to see what you make with them!

Spreading sunshine

Sometimes we are drawn to work with a particular yarn because the color speaks to us, at times its the texture or quality of the fiber; and occasionally our selection can be influenced by larger, global considerations.  When our choice makes a positive impact on folks we’ve never met, every one of us wins.

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For over a decade, we have sourced the organic cotton used in our Cotton Comfort yarn from the folks at the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative.  They work exclusively with small family run farms in and around Lubbock, Texas.

“This region of Texas, the heart of “the world’s largest cotton patch,” is well-suited to the production of organic cotton.  Winter temperatures are cold enough to limit insect pressure and provide a hard freeze to defoliate the cotton plants prior to mechanical harvest. In addition, a sunny climate and quick-drying soils facilitate timely weed control.”

Their certified organic fiber is tracked from the field to the bale and so we know exactly where our fiber comes from and whom to thank.

When interviewed for The True Cost, La Reah Pepper (an organic cotton farmer who grew up just south of Lubbock, TX) speaks passionately about the benefits of organic growing practices.

“Organic promotes life and creates solutions. Organic agriculture promotes life in the soil, increased bio-diversity, increased food-security, ability to mitigate impacts of climate change with stronger carbon sequestration, the reduced use of irrigation where that applies, and the elimination of toxic and persistent pesticides from the water we drink and the air we breathe. It is also life for communities, catalyzing job creation with the increased crop selections as a result of the shift from a mono-crop culture and the employment of more people to care for the crop during the growing season.

It also means life for farm families ensuring that their fields are safe places to work and to play – to live!!”

We’ve been lucky to work with the team at Texas Organic who have always been able to send us a bale of the best quality cotton that meets our staple length specifications.  Since it is currently only used in our Cotton Comfort yarn and a few of our custom lot projects, it usually takes us a few years to work through the hundreds of pounds of cotton when it arrives. But from the warmth and kindness we’ve always enjoyed when working with Kelly Pepper, you’d think that we were their best customers.

Kate recently completed a project using our Cotton Comfort that was inspired by her trip to Stitches West in Santa Clara.  We asked her to bring a bit of that Californian sunshine back with her, and she did in the form of a beautifully sunny shawl!

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Using Isabell Kraemer’s Paris Toujours pattern, and three skeins of Yarrow Cotton Comfort, she quickly knit up a delightfully squishy and comforting wrap.  She found the lace repeat called for in the pattern was easily memorized making it a perfect project for a long flight.  Her project grew quickly as she flew across the country and back and now she has an accessory that will brighten her days when showers are in the forecast.

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We hope that when you are interested in casting on for a project that calls for a DK weight yarn, you might consider using our Cotton Comfort line.  Your choice will have a larger impact than you might have imagined.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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© 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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

From bale to skein

A new batch of Brickouse Mewesic has traveled through production this week.  We thought we’d share it’s progress and offer you an insider’s view into how our blended yarns are created.

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Since we don’t have the space here at the Spinnery for large scale dyeing, much our our woolen spun yarns are created with dyed-in-the-fleece wool.  The richly tweedy Mewesic is a great example.

Our distributors send wool to the G. J. Littlewood & Son Dyers in the Philadelphia area where it is cleaned, scoured and dyed.  Giant bales of this dyed fiber (shown above) are then sent to us to play with.  Special recipes are created for each of our custom color ways and carefully measured quantities of the brilliantly hued wool are combined with several trips through our picker.

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The blending continues as the fiber moves through our carding machine.  Here you can see the carded fleece and finished pencil roving that shows the mixture of colors.  On closer inspection, you can see two tones of red combined with a rich dark black.

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The roving is then spun onto bobbins.  And the beautiful tweed is even more apparent in these bobbins of single plys waiting to be spun together (in the opposite direction) into the 2-ply DK weight yarn we love.

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Occasionally, the yarn has a mind of it’s own.  And here you can see a snarl on the plying machine that needs attention!

We keep a careful eye on the fiber during all the different stages of our production and we’ve estimated that each skein has been touched and checked by one of our Co-op members a total of 23 times throughout the process.

We are passionate about our yarns; and love knowing that our time and care with each skein will be added to yours as you craft and then wear hand-knits that will last for years.