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Archive for the ‘Yarn’ Category

A week at the Spinnery

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Last week we started working on the Natural Dark color of both our Simply Fine and our Green Mountain Green yarns.  As different as these yarns appear to be in structure, they are identical in fiber content, so they can be created congruently for much of the production process. Almost like making cupcakes and a cake at the same time, we start with the same “batter”.

skeins

The ingredients for this batch of yarn includes roughly 53 pounds of fine wool with about 35 pounds of first shearing kid mohair.  To put those numbers into perspective, we estimate that a typical wool fleece weighs about seven pounds.  After cleaning and processing, we’ll end up with roughly 60 pounds of finished yarn.

The two fibers are blended by our picker and carder.  You can see it here going through our carder on the 21st.  The fibers for this yarn are GREENSPUN; which means that here at the carding stage, our special blend of organic vegetable oil and water is added to the fiber to smooth its progress through the machine.

carding

The wool we use for these yarns is a combination of fleeces from Rambouillet and Targhee sheep that are raised in Ohio and along the high plains of Montana, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota.

The soft kid mohair comes to us from Joe David Ross in Sonora Texas.  He has supplied the Spinnery with wonderful mohair fiber for almost 30 years. (You can learn more about him and the mohair he supplies us with here).

spinning

Here you can see the roving set up on the spinning machine a few days later.  The fiber will be spun with tension to create plies that will be strong enough to knit or crochet with.

At this point the bobbins of yarn are rolled into our steambox for a three hour “sauna” that will set the twist.

 

steamed

And now the two yarns are separated to follow different paths.  The plies for our Green Mountain Green yarn are sent to the plying machine.  Here two plies will be spun together (in the opposite direction) to create the 2-ply yarn that we love.  The Simply Fine is a single ply yarn and so is ready for skeining.

gmg skeining

Here you can see the two-ply Green Mountain Green bobbins lined up on the skeining machine where we’ll wind off 120 yard hanks to be twisted into beautiful skeins.  The Simply fine bobbins are wound into skeins of about 450 yards.

The skeins are now ready for a gentle washing with mild soap which will preserve the natural sheen and resilience of the yarn. Once it has dried, it is ready to be twisted into shape and labeled for sale.  From start to finish, this batch took just about a week to produce.  We can’t wait to see what becomes of it next!

Happily Ever After

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Some skeins of yarn are destined for great things.  Others are destined for tiny things that are more precious than we can say.  We just learned of a very sweet story that we thought you’d enjoy reading.

© arianna

© arianna

We reached out to Arianna on Ravelry who recently finished a darling wee sweater made with just two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit.  She used the Pebble Yoke Sweater pattern designed by Cap Sease, which is part of the 99 yarns and Counting collection, or available as an individual PDF for $7.

She wrote back and told us a bit more about the history of her project.

“There is actually a very special story behind the sweater! I bought that yarn when I was up in VT visiting my newlywed friends back in December of 2007. They brought me to a local yarn shop because I love checking out LYSes. So I kind of on-the-sly bought this yarn with the sole intention of making them a baby sweater one day.

ss

Well, the wife went through a lot in the intervening years, beating cancer before they were able to conceive their first child. I was finally able to knit them that sweater – with yarn that had traveled through several different apartments with me – seven years later! – and was thrilled to have mailed it to them recently for their beautiful new daughter.

I thought you might like to know there was a real story behind the yarn & sweater – and that it all started with your beautiful yarn!”

We love learning about the tales our skeins hold.  We often forget that the creation of our yarns is just the preface.  It’s lovely to be reminded that when they leave the Spinnery, for many skeins, their adventure has just begun.

Meet a Spinnery knitter

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

If you have “liked” our page or postings on Facebook, you will have already seen some of the beautiful projects that our friend Melissa has created using Green Mountain Spinnery yarns.  We found her projects on Ravelry, and we thought it might be fun to learn a little bit more about Melissa.   We imagine that you will enjoy seeing some of her projects and finding out a bit more about what she loves to work on.

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Who taught you how to knit?

One day while exploring, my mom and I saw the book Knitting Pretty: Simple Instructions for 30 Fabulous Projects by Kris Percival.  We bought it thinking it would be fun to learn together.  At the time I had a long commute on the train, so I taught myself how to knit using that book.  About 5 years later I taught my mom; and even later I taught my daughter.

How were you introduced to Green Mountain Spinnery?

My husband, daughter and I had recently moved to New England and I saw an article about the Spinnery in a magazine.  The article mentioned that visitors could go on a tour.  I already loved the yarn and was curious to see how it was made – it seemed like a perfect reason to organize an outing.

We decided to make a girls’ trip out of it – my daughter and I met my mom in Putney and spent the weekend.  We explored the area and did many fun things. By far our favorite part was the Spinnery.

Do you have a favorite GMS yarn (and why)? ?

I love all of the colors of Mountain Mohair – they are great for colorwork.  But I bought a skein of Simply Fine (natural) at Rhinebeck and that is hands down my favorite.  I am planning to copy the booth sample of the Holden Shawlette – it was stunning.

holden

* The Holden Shawlette is a $6 pattern designed by Mindy Wilkes and is available on Ravelry.  Our sample seen above was knitted with a single skein of Simply Fine in the Variegated color.

What technique/skill have you most recently learned?

I recently knit the Lotus Blossom Hat by Melissa Johnson because I wanted to practice stranded colorwork.  It was the perfect project for that, and I knit most of the hat with yarn in both hands – it worked well, and it was a new technique for me!

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What technique/skill are you eager to tackle next?

I really enjoy knitting socks and am a big fan of DPNs, but I think I need to try Magic Looping.  That is next on my list.

You may want to friend Melissa on Ravelry so that you can see what she’s up to.  We know that whatever she casts on will be inspiring for the rest of us.  We can’t wait to see what Melissa knits up next!

Let’s root for the home team!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Baseball season starts this week, and the Red Sox’s first home game will be against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday afternoon.  We imagine that you may be spending some time in front of the TV this weekend, or perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to be in the bleacher seats at Fenway Park.  Brrrr!

We thought that we’d celebrate the beginning of baseball season with a super-quick Knit Along that will give you something fun to work on while you are watching a game at home, and a finished accessory to wear if you are headed to the stands and need an extra layer to keep off the chill.

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Please join us this week as we all cast on for an arm-knit Infinity Cowl.  Yep, that’s right, no needles needed.  This Cowl is knit in a single quick sitting; and you’ll be using your arms as needles.

Earlier this week, we cast on with multiple strands of our favorite bulkier Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns such as Capricorn and Green Mountain Green.  And lickety-split, we had beautiful bulky cowls in no time!  I chose to use three skeins of creamy white GMG that I wound into 6 half skein balls so that I could create a REALLY bulky strand.  If you squint your eyes, they look a bit like baseballs.  Using all 6 strands at once as I worked, I had a finished cowl in under an hour!

 

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Maureen cast on this afternoon with 2 skeins of Capricorn wound into 4 mini balls.  And she now has a beautiful periwinkle cowl in less than an hour.

 

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If you’d like to learn how, Anne Weil of Flax & Twine created a series of set-by step tutorials that break the project down into its four steps: cast-on, knitting, binding-off, and finishing.  Or you can check out Simply Maggie’s video for a live demonstration.

 

 

Join us this week as we get to stitching with our arms,  and share photos with us of your finished projects.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

 

Green Mountain Weekend

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Green Mountain Weekend EbookGreen Mountain Spinnery is pleased to present the brand-new ebook, Green Mountain Weekend. Fall is prime time for weekends in Vermont. For more than 20 years, our Knitter’s Weekend Retreats have provided great company, good food, wonderful learning experiences, and of course, yarny goodness. In addition,our weekends have offered a chance for our own Spinnery designers to share their passion. We invited these folks to celebrate their Green Mountain Spinnery experience by creating a design just for us. This e-book is available for purchase as a digital download and features 8 patterns. Click on the photo below for the Ravelry project page details.

 

Aria

Aria

Reawick

Reawick

Odiorne

Odiorne

Putney Mountain Vest

Putney Mountain Vest

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Lodestar Mittens

Lodestar Mittens

Rahm

Rahm

Margaret's Tam

Margaret’s Tam

As always, we love when you share your projects with us. Check out our Ravelry group, where we are already seeing projects from the ebook. Here is a pair of Lodestar Mittens and here is Margaret’s Tam! You may also post to our Facebook page or send us a Tweet. If you are on Pinterest, you can find our Green Mountain Weekend board set up and ready for you to repin!

Cotton Comfort and a Sock KAL

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Fans and friends of the Green Mountain Spinnery love yarn, especially wool.  Sometimes wool just isn’t the right choice for the project or the season. As summer has settled in we would like to put a spotlight on Cotton Comfort and share some project inspiration with you! Cotton Comfort combines the pure softness of organic cotton with the elasticity and delicacy of fine wool. The knitted fabric is elegant but casual, light but warm, wearable year-round.

The Cot Blanket, by Lousia Harding, is a great portable project for summer as each square is made individually then seamed together.  The original pattern was done in one color; a touch of color on the border is extra special, as shown here in Kabs’ Blanket for Jen’s baby.  Short sleeve sweaters are great for cool, breezy days. SnowWhiteMama’s version of Margarita is a great interpretation of Thea Colman’s design. We also love Champagne, another great Babycocktails design in Cotton Comfort. If you are in the mood for a quick knit the Southmoor hat, by Erica Jackofsky (FiddleKnits) can’t be beat and would look great in any of our colorways!

As we have blogged about before, socks are a great summertime project! If you are working on a pair, maybe a Spinnery Sock pattern in a Spinnery sock yarn, like Sock Art Forest or Meadow, come on over to our Ravelry group. There is an informal knit-along taking place there in the thread, “Summer of a Spinnery Sock”. Malone finished a pair of BFF Socks and has cast on a Herringbone Lace sock. Nutmegknitter finished her Jelly Beans, and knitunderground shared this Cables and Corrugations sock. Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer here in the United States; we’d like to celebrate all these socks by drawing a winner at random from all the finished socks to win a yarn prize!

We’d love to hear what you are working on! We love when you share your projects done in Spinnery yarn in our Ravelry group and  when you post to our Facebook page. Happy Knitting!

 

Projects in Alpaca Elegance

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Here in Vermont we’ve had a burst of unusual weather – within the same week we had snow and temperatures reaching over 80 degrees Fahrenheit! The weather seems to have settled a bit, and we are happy for warmer days and plenty of sunshine. We encourage you to reach for a wonderful skein of  Alpaca Elegance, our blend of 50% New England grown alpaca and 50% fine American wool. If you have never worked with an alpaca blend before, you are in for a treat! Alpaca fibers have a hollow core, making them lightweight yet warm.

Summer is a great time to try out a new technique. Give colorwork a try with Julia Farwell Clay’s “Wolves will be Wolves” hat. The sample shown used 140 yards of the main color, Chai, and 50 yards of each of the contrast colors, Cocoa and Cream. Sweaters may be far from your mind now, but remember they are a larger time investment. If you start now, you will be all ready for fall. We love Amy Christoffers’ Catboat Cardigan in Rosehip; this sweater strikes a balance between a traditional sweater and modern sports wear. This yarn is also great for crochet patterns. The Walnut Vest for Men by Mary Beth Temple is inspired by classic menswear and is sure to keep your interest with basketweave pattern in the color work section of Cream and Dark Roast against the Cocoa.

We have seen many great projects on Ravelry using this yarn too, have they caught your eye? Spindlbratt’s Doctor it’s the Dalek’s Mitts are perfect for every sci-fi fan. The One Button Waistcoat, knit by Woolymountain, is a great multi-season piece. We think you’ll agree that Riverside’s Maylie is so simply sweet! ShortrowT knit this short sleeve version of Cria, another great garment to span the seasons. Please feel free to add your projects using Green Mountain Spinnery yarns to our Ravelry group.

2alpacas
 4alpacas

Of course, we have to share a few alpaca pictures in a post about Alpaca Elegance! These are from Ibiwisi Alpacas in Westminster, VT, taken by Marti Stone.

Could your stash use a bit more Alpaca Elegance to round it out? You can purchase Alpaca Elegance online at spinnery.com!

Sock Art – Socks & More!

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Sock yarn is a magical thing in the knitting world. One skein is all you need for a pair of socks or a small shawl and two or three skeins can yield a sweater! Green Mountain Spinnery’s Sock Art Forest and Meadow each have such vibrant colorways and generous yardage making them a perfect choice many projects. Forest is a blend of 70% fine wool, 30% Tencel® and has a distinct sparkle that brings out fancy stitch patterns. Meadow is a blend of two exquisit American-grown natural fibers, 50% super fine kid mohair and 50% fine wool. This yarn is elastic, warm and soft with a subtle luster.

Socks are a portable project, making them perfect for spring and summer travel or enjoying the outdoors. The Trellis Socks are our newest sock pattern. This is a good pattern on which to try the “Magic Loop” technique, if you haven’t already. Designer Maureen Clark has provided us with an unusual and attractive cast on method at the toe, and her signature ribbed sole for great fit and comfort. The garter stitch short row heel is as easy and as cushy as they come. Sunny Side Up Socks are toe-up socks, also designed to be knit using the “Magic Loop” technique. These ankle socks sport a lacy diagonal pattern stitch, foot-hugging ribbed soles, and an elegant picot-edged cuff. They look great with a new pair of sping shoes. If you prefer a cuff-down style of sock, you will want to check out the Jelly Beans sock pattern. The textured stitch pattern is perfect for showing off variegated sock yarn.

Just because it has “Sock” in the name, that should not limit you when it comes to pattern choices! Bellflower by Cap Sease, is  a wrap sweater ideal for wearing over a camisole on warm spring days or cool summer nights. It can be worn as a vest, or if you prefer, small cap sleeves make it perfect for warding off evening chill. Meadow Lark Lace by Melissa Johnson is equally lovely as a scarf (using 1 skein) or shawl (using 3 skeins); this pattern is simple and satisfying. The Septor Cowl, designed by Maureen Clark, is an infinity scarf, crocheted flat and sewn together. Wear it as a single loop or doubled over for extra coziness. The Summer Breeze Shawl is a simple lacy shawl, perfect as a lightweight cover-up for a cool summer evening, designed by Cap Sease.

Here are a few more projects to inspire you, from customers like you! SpindlBratt’s Grisaille is modified from the original pattern with stunning results using only 2.25 skeins of Forest in the Wheat colorway. Dodiraz’s Dandelions Shawl is a bright and sunny shawl using half a skein of Meadow in green and one skein (plus a little bit more) of Meadow in yellow. Knittingdove’s Affection combines 3 different colorways of Forest in this wonderful wrap.

Whether you knit (or crochet) garments or accessories with Sock Art, we encourage you to share your projects with us and others in our Ravelry group and on our Facebook page!

 

 

For the little ones

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Spring is a time to enjoy the little things like little flowers and little lambs, and is a perfect time to work up adorable little baby gifts! Baby projects can be made quickly without requiring a lot of yardage, and are unique, unlike anything you would find in a big box store.

stacieknits2’s Be-Ribboned Bonnet

Cap’s Hat

Baby Bonnets

Spinnery yarns come in a wide variety of colorways, so you can work with the traditional blue/pink baby palette, go bright and bold, or stick with neutrals and match anything!  The quickest projects for babies are probably booties or hats – of course this is dependent on the stitch pattern and your own skill! The classic Baby Booties offered by the Spinnery are also found as “Be-Ribboned Booties” in One Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn Shop Favorites.  Baby hats are not just for winter! Together with the “Be-Ribboned Bonnet”, also found in the same book, you’ll have a gift ready-to-go!  Cotton Comfort, our Wool/Cotton blend is a great choice for the sensitive scalp. Cap’s Hat and the Baby Bonnet patterns are simply sweet and just right for a carry-along project.

daisyknit’s Baby Leggings

Peanut

Blankie

If you have a little more time, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Leggings are a classic choice in Cotton Comfort or New Mexico Organic. The Pebble Yoke Sweater & Hat set is a charming set that so soft thanks to Sylvan Spirit. Peanut is an interesting knit that will keep your attention if you are waiting on the arrival of a new little one! A blanket pattern like Blankie, can be easily sized up for a crib or down for a car seat.

Harleyranch’s Striped Kitty

Eucalan Wool Wash

Have you tried making toys or stuffed animals? We have said before that gauge is important, but with toys there is a bit of wiggle room – using a lighter weight yarn will result in a smaller toy! Louisa Harding’s Cat pattern is made with rectangles of Cotton Comfort! This pattern is also part of the collection in Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, a book that has many more ideas for baby items in our yarns! Before you wrap up your baby gift, it is a good idea to give it a soak in a gentle wool wash like Eucalan. Eucalan has tips on their website for washing wool diaper covers, stuffed animals, and blankies!

We encourage you to pick up your needles and hooks and join us in a KAL/CAL this Spring for Baby Items, happening in our Ravelry group! Cast on between now and the end of May, your choice of baby item (or items) in Green Mountain Spinnery yarns. A random winner will be selected from the finished projects to receive prizes from Green Mountain Spinnery and Eucalan!

A Shawl Showcase

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Spring is so here! Sure, Mother Nature could pull a fast one on us still and bring a few more grey days and a lot of mud, but instead we will choose to focus on welcoming spring with warmer weather yarns and colorful accessories. Shawls can add a pop of color to brighten your day while being an easy extra layer to keep the chills away.

Catalina WrapGillette

The Green Mountain Spinnery has several cute and easy shawl patterns you should check out. The Septor Cowl, (above left) designed by Maureen Clark, is the newest in the bunch.  This crochet pattern is worked flat, and then seamed to create an infinity loop style accessory and uses one skein of Simply Fine or Sock Art.  The Catalina Wrap is another crochet design using 2 skeins of Simply Fine (center). If you prefer a knitting pattern, Simply Fine is also the yarn called for in the Gillette Shawl (above right). Gale Zucker took the photos of the Catalina Wrap and the Gillette Shawl as part of a recent photo shoot in Connecticut; you can read more about the experience on her blog!

Perhaps you are the type to be inspired by the leaves that are dotting the trees once again?  The Leafy Lace shawl (above, left) will work up quickly in a DK-weight yarn, like Sylvan Spirit! The Summer Breeze shawl, (center, left), uses Simply Fine or Sock Art to make this lightweight cover-up in a gentle lace pattern.  Two recent publications have included Simply Fine shawls as well. The Spring/Summer 2013 issue of the Twist Collective presents Spoleto, (center, right) designed by Sandi Rosner, and involves a lace and a touch of beadwork. The Flanders Scarf pattern, found in the summer issue of knitscene (above, far right) is a garter stitch scarf worked with lace insert and bobbled edge perfect for a take-along knitting project.

Here are a few more projects we discovered on Ravelry to inspire your needles and hooks as spring approaches! The Farmer’s Market Capelet, (above left) designed by Suzy Allen, uses Sylvan Spirit to keep the chill away on breezy mornings.  Ravelry user Dodiraz also used Sylvan Spirit in her version of Veera Valimaki’s Different Lines pattern (above, center). Cotton Comfort was used in batyabeth’s  Miami Beach Shawl (above, right).

We hope you will share your favorite shawl for Spinnery yarns in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

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