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Archive for the ‘Yarn’ Category

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!

Weekend Wool is Here!

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

To those who work at Green Mountain Spinnery, it seems like we have been working on Weekend Wool for a long while.  It is very exciting to hear the reactions of fans and friends to our new yarn as they get the chance to finally experience it as well.  At Vogue Knitting Live, we were able to share the first skeins and a small selection of colors. The full color palette will be at Stitches West this weekend. If you are unable to attend the Stitches event, you can do your shopping online at spinnery.com!

Weekend Wool is 100% wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US. It features a blend of the soft wools from Rambouillet, Columbia, Targhee and Fresian sheep mixed with the lustrous fleeces from Corriedale, Montadale and Romneys.  The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition. Many of our best loved colors appear again in this line along with lovely new dyed shades and harmonious naturals. We have been having some fun swatching too, each swatch in the photo on the right uses the same four colors: Lichen, Poppy, Pine Warbler and Natural Dark. Their placement makes them appear to be different!

With a new yarn often comes the question, what to knit first? With 140 yards in a skein, you will have lots of flexibility in selecting a project. The Great Meadows Hat is an excellent opportunity to play with the color palette (as you can see in the swatch picture), as is our Snowflake Hat pattern. Hats are not the only ways to play with color! The Gulfoss Sweater and Great Meadows Children’s Cardigan would look fantastic in your favorite choice of color combinations! The Spinnery’s Basic Mittens pattern and Ascutney Mountain Hat would also be fantastic in Weekend Wool. The way this winter is continuing on, IBH’s Toasty Socks are an excellent choice for a sturdy boot sock in this new yarn.

We hope that you enjoy introducing Weekend Wool to your stash and we look forward to seeing what you create! Please let us know in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Composing a Color

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

There are several ways to get color on yarn. The most obvious is to dye the yarn after it is spun. The Spinnery does do this with several of its yarns including Cotton Comfort and Weekend Wool. Another way to develop colors is by blending different colored fibers together making what we call a “composed” color.  This is how the shades in Mountain Mohair, Sylvan Spirit and Alpaca Elegance are produced.

swatchesRecently a custom spinning customer requested that we produce our Spinnery Sock Art – Forest in a custom color.  She wanted a color that was reminiscent of a “wheat field”, so we set to work. First we look through some swatches to get some ideas of the range of colors to go for- this is the most intuitive part of this process and fun because it does reveal a bit about how individuals here see and respond to colors.  Some people love greeny–yellows, some like a more buttery tone, some hate yellow all together.

ingredients cardtest3

Once a goal color is set the next step is to do some very small tests by measuring out different proportions of ingredient colors, hand carding and then spinning small test skeins. This process will get us to a base recipe for a test run of actual yarn, carded and spun on the mill machines. The test run of roving allows us to get a look at how the “real” color of the yarn will look. Now is the time to make adjustments. The roving can be cut off the spools and re-carded with added ingredients. If the color looks good we go ahead and make the yarn.

 cardtest2testcard

The yarns shown in these photos are very pretty but in the end the client had a slightly different color in mind.  We started the process started again with more samples and test runs. In the end, the desired color was achieved and the Spinnery learned that the Forest sock yarn has a lot of potential for new colorways using the composing method.

WheatSSAF

Test run yarn is still good yarn, just a bit unusual. We often have test yarns for sale in our shop in Putney. The yarns shown here are also available on-line as the Spinnery Sock Art Forest Wheat colorway. It is a nice springtime yellow perfect for a light cardigan or a great pair of socks. We would love to hear your thoughts on color and see what our yarns inspire you to create! Please let us know in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Spotlight on Capricorn Yarn

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Photo by GMS

Capricorn, our beautiful bulky weight yarn, is the result of an effort to find a wider use for an often overlooked ingredient: the fleece of mature angora goats. Like humans, angora goats’ hair becomes thicker and coarser as the animal ages. The super-soft luxury of Green Mountain Green and Simply Fine comes from kid mohair, the first clip from baby goats under 1 year old.  Yearling and second–year mohair is coarser, but also very shiny. This quality adds to the fluff and shine of yarns like Mountain Mohair.

 

Photo by Marti Stone

Goats three years old and older are valuable as breeding stock but Mohair breeders have a more difficult time finding a market for the fiber. Older mohair is used for carpet yarns and wig making (for dolls and humans) because of its shine, durability, and beautiful dye absorption. The Spinnery began to work on a product that uses older mohair so that our small angora farmers would be able to have an additional market for their fibers.

The creation of Capricorn took a bit of trial and error. First we sorted through our stock of “grade B and C” mohair looking for the softest, shiniest fibers. We wanted to make a bulky yarn that was pleasantly fluffy but not too heavy, hairy, scratchy or shedding. After creating several test batches of yarn we came up with a blend of 35% mature mohair/65% fine American wool. Our first batch of pale grey sold out at Vogue Knitting Live in New York in January 2012. We now offer the yarn in three natural colors and a variety of dyed colors by Melissa Johnson.

Capricloak & Sweet Pea Coat samples Photo by GMS

The most popular pattern for Capricorn has been the Capricloak by Maureen Clark .  The new Capricorn Caps and Steps and Ladders hats by Melissa Johnson are warm and quick knits for winter gifts. Other Spinnery patterns that would work up well in Capricorn include the Shawl Collar Snuggly and Spanish Tunic.  Patterns from other sources that are great possibilities include the Sweet Pea Coat by Kate Gilbert in the Twist Collective and the Maku Wrap Cardi by Kyoko Nakayoshi from Cotton and Cloud.

Have you knit with Capricorn yet? We’d love to hear about it! Please join us in our Ravelry group or Facebook page – we love to see your photos and are here for questions you might have!

Go Team!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Do you root for the home team or are you a lone fan in enemy territory? The broad color palette of Green Mountain Spinnery yarns can help you show your team spirit and inspire you to create truly unique items.

Melissa’s Hat & Mittens, published in our 99 Yarns and Counting book, is a great introduction to multi-color knitting.  Though four colorways are used in each pattern, you are only working with two colors at a time!

 

If you were able to come by our booth at one of the fiber events this fall, we hope you noticed the Icebreaker Hat, by Eric Robinson, modified in colors and graphics to show support of a certain football team.  This colorful hat, with double knit earflaps, will keep any fan warm when the temperatures dip.  With a little forethought, you can easily modify the charted pattern to suit your own team. Of course, hats are not the only way to show your team spirit. Legwarmers are once again a cozy, practical and fashionable accessory! The Anatolian Flip can be used as a hat or a bag when you are finished!

What colors should you use? Of course, it depends on your team and own personal preference. Here in New England, we would suggest combining Partridgeberry, Blizzard and Midnight Blue. For our New York fans we would suggest Edelweiss with a different shade of blue, Blue Gentian or Balsam, Edelweiss, Blizzard and maybe Jet Black. It can be interesting to live in a land of three professional football teams that are “local”!

We would love to hear from you if we can help pick out the right colors for your team; let us know in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

 

 

Spotlight on Cotton Comfort

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Wool, like all the animal protein fibers, has the natural ability to retain heat. This makes it a natural choice for cold weather garments and accessories.  When the weather turns warmer and the summer heat sets in, you do not have to put down your knitting needles and wait for the return of cooler days.  Plant fibers, such as cotton, conduct heat away from the body, making it a great choice for warm weather projects. The oldest cotton textile fragments date back to 3000 BC. More cotton is used in the world than any other fiber!

Photo by GMS


GMS
introduced Cotton Comfort in 1995.  The blend is 80% fine wool and 20% organic cotton.  The first batches were natural colored and processed using our GREENSPUN  petroleum free methods. Over the years we have expanded the line to include yarns commercially dyed with low-impact dyes. The yarns come in 16 dyed and 3 natural GREENSPUN colors.  Dyed Cotton Comfort is one of our yarns that is dyed after spinning as opposed to having the colors blended as loose fiber. Cotton Comfort is great for children’s items, the warmer days of summer and the cooler times in sping and fall.

 

 

The Spinnery uses two types of Certified Organic cotton in our Cotton Comfort yarns.  Our white cotton, used for our GREENSPUN colors, Silver and Unbleached White, as well as all the dyed colors, comes from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative of Lubbock, Texas. The fiber is of very high quality, scoring in the “premium grade on fineness, staple length strength and whiteness.  Cotton fiber quality is dictated by the growing conditions.  The severe drought conditions in Texas over the past few years have had an impact on cotton prices and availability. We are happy to have such a good relationship with our supplier co-op.

 

Photo by Sally Fox / Vresis, LTD

 

The natural brown cotton we use in the GREENSPUN color Winter Beech comes from Sally Fox and Vreseis LTD.  Colored cotton does occur in nature and was used extensively in ancient times by native weavers throughout  Central and South America.  Sally Fox worked to develop commercially viable strains of cotton in a range of natural colors from reddish-brown to green. Her strains are able to do well under organic growing conditions reducing the need for both pesticides and chemical dyes.

 

Are your needles ready to work up a Cotton Comfort project? Check out these patterns for inspiration! Top left: Saucy Sunhat, top right: Pebble Yoke Sweater. Bottom left: Alpine Lace Shell, bottom right: Playful Sweater.

Would you like to have a chance to win a skein of Cotton Comfort and the Saucy Sunhat pattern? Click here to leave a comment on Saucy Sunhat photo on our Facebook page. A winner will be drawn on July 23.  Maybe you have a project in mind and need the yarn to get started? We are currently having a cone sale on select colors of Cotton Comfort! Stock up now – the sale ends on July 21.

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