Spinnery News

Holiday Knits – warm woolen mittens

We have a new pattern to share with you this week that could be a perfect choice for your holiday gift knitting.  Cap Sease has created the Double Stuff Mitten for those of you looking for a little something that will be as snug and comforting as a cup of cocoa and a plate full of our favorite cookies.

double-mitten-1w

These double layered mittens were inspired by classic Estonian mittens that combine a hard wearing outer layer with a second softer inner layer for maximum protection against winter’s chills.  Cap’s pattern pairs either Mountain Mohair or Weekend Wool with Alpaca Elegance.  And the results are as snug as you could wish for.

She has embellished her mittens with a bit of embroidery, and you may opt to personalize your pair by adding stripes, textured stitches such as cables, or working in school or team colors.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with.  You’ll probably find yourself making pair after pair this winter as requests from friends and loved ones for warm woolen mittens begin to accumulate like snow drifts!

Cap’s pattern is beautifully constructed and easy to follow.  Newer knitters considering this pattern should be successful if they are already comfortable working in the round with double pointed needles, and decreasing.

More new patterns will be added to our website as we get closer to the holidays and we hope that you’ll enjoy working on what we have in store for you.

Thank you

As we gather around holiday tables this weekend with friends and family, we can’t help but count our blessings.  We are so grateful for your enthusiasm for our deliciously wooly yarns.  Your support of our mission allows us to continue to partner with small farms raising heritage breeds, and that keeps the American fiber shed thriving.

02

As a small token of our gratitude, we hope that you’ll enjoy a FREE pattern for the Common Cap.

common-01w

This unisex hat pattern was designed to fit almost any head from the age of 3!  A very stretchy ribbed brim will accommodate heads with circumferences between 18 – 24 inches.  With directions for three separate depths, you can knit up a short beanie, a cuffed watch cap, or a slouchy hat and almost anything in between.

Providing those that we love with beautiful wooly warmth is one of the many benefits of our craft.  We hope that you’ll use this pattern to knit up some warm hats for anyone who warms your heart.  You can download the FREE PDF here and cast on without delay.  We recommend using our Weekend Wool, but you’ll get gauge with our Mountain Mohair or the Maine and Vermont organic yarns.

Even with the few weeks remaining until the next holidays, you’ll have time to knit several of these hats as last minute gifts for anyone on your knitworthy list.

All of us here at the Spinnery wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.  Thank you from the bottom of our wooly hearts.

Why, yes! Today, that is for sale.

An important part of the pattern design process is test knitting the garment in question.  We like to create a version (and sometimes two) of each pattern to ensure the different knitters can follow the pattern’s instructions with varying materials and achieve success!  A happy by-product of all of that knitting, is a shop full of samples in various sizes that show off our designs.

img_8290

Crafters love getting a chance to see how our patterns knit up and feel the fabrics made from our yarns.  They can examine a piece from all angles, getting to know the garment in greater detail than the photos included in the pattern or on Ravelry can illustrate.

Visitors who don’t knit are often curious about these pieces of knitwear, and are crestfallen to find that they are not available for sale.  But that will change for a few days next weekend.

Once a year, for the Putney Craft Tour, we select a few samples and other test knits and offer them for sale. Our test knitters and designers have collected some stunning garments and accessories that will be available for visitors to purchase Friday November 25th – Sunday November 27th.

2016-samples

You’ll find:
Hats – $25
Cowls – $35
Shawls/Wraps – $40
Vests – $50
Sweaters – $60

yosemite

Kate’s sample of her Yosemite Blanket is a queen-sized work of love.  This hand-knit garter stitch blanket was created with over 3,100 yards of un-dyed natural wool in three beautiful shades.  It is priced at $250 and all of the proceeds from the sale of this blanket will go to benefit the Putney Food Shelf.

We hope that all of these beauties find new homes next weekend, and hope that you can be among the lucky few who gets a chance to snap them up!

 

Winter woolens

As temperatures start to drop and days become shorter, we find ourselves drawn to working on projects that will take a bit more time.  The prospect of sitting quietly with a lap full of knitting is comforting; and so larger projects have a greater appeal.  With this in mind, earlier this fall Maureen teamed up with several New England designers to create a unique collection of sweater dress patterns that you may want to take a closer look at.

all_aboard_cover_small2

All Aboard! is an $18 e-book that features 6 new designs made with warmer weight yarns ranging from DK weight to Aran.  These sweater dresses represent a wonderful modern take on a 1950’s wardrobe staple that will be the perfect choice for a festive holiday gathering or a weekend away.

Becky Herrick’s design, Essex Junction features eye-catching color work at the yoke, cuffs and hem.  Beth Brown-Reinsel’s Alouette is knitted in the style of the British gansey. It features typical gansey textured stitches above the waist to add visual interest and provide you with something fun to work on.  Lars Rains has contributed a top-down seamless pattern featuring brioche texturing: Brattleboro.  His pattern includes directions for various special techniques that will make for a fun project that will build your skills this winter.   Rosann Fleischauer’s Rensselaer is a flirty feminine A-line dress with cabling at the waist that makes for a figure flattering silhouette.

We have to confess a special preference for the designs included in this collection that call for Spinnery yarns.

dress-bw

Maureen’s Green Mountain Flyer pattern was designed with Alpaca Elegance. This yarn creates a lush fabric with beautiful movement that is as pleasurable to knit as it is flattering to wear.  The overall texture is created with an easily memorized knit 2, purl one rib stitch variation.  And those garter stitch patch pockets are just darling!

montpelier

Suzy Allen contributed the Montpelier pattern to the collection.  Her design features small symmetrical cables and an elegant empire waist; with sizes ranging from a 27″ to a 43″ bust measurement.  She wore this beautiful dress to the Sheep & Wool festival at Rhinebeck last month and was frequently stopped by complimentary visitors eager to learn more about her design.

She created this pattern with the Spinnery’s worsted weight Weekend Wool in mind.  And our new expanded color palette gives you even more options to choose from.

weekend-crop

We hope that your upcoming weeks are filled with fun knitting projects and scrumptious yarn that warm your spirit as much as your hands.  And if a new knitted dress looks like fun, we hope that you’ll treat yourself to the All Aboard! collection that you can find on Ravelry.

A wonderful time to visit Putney

In just a few weeks, studios all over Putney will be opening their doors to the public for the 38th annual Putney Craft Tour.  The weekend of Friday November 25th – Sunday November 27th is a great time to head our way.

craft-tour

“For the third year running, the Putney Craft Tour has been voted as one of Vermont’s top ten winter events.  Once each year, just in time for holiday gift giving, our local craftsmen open their studios for the public to come and explore, to experience first-hand the making of our work, to understand our creative process, to hear our stories, and to purchase our unique crafts directly from us.”

Our little village is chock full of craftsman that are eager to share their art work with you, and several will be offering demonstrations.  You’ll find almost two dozen studios open from 10 am – 5 pm on all three days giving you a chance to learn more from the artists and possibly do a bit of holiday gift shopping as well.

Our local restaurants will be featuring locally sourced seasonal specials to tempt you and there are a couple of theater performances that you won’t want to miss:

Next Stage Arts is proud to present Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are dead, an inventive retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Nov 25, 26, 7:30 pm.

Sandglass Theater will be presenting Autumn Portraits, Side by Side which honors the changing of the seasons in a physical and metaphorical sense, Nov 25, 26, 7:30 pm.

sign-fall

Here at the Spinnery, we’ll be offering behind the scenes tours of our production floor.  You’ll get the chance to walk through our mill and see the antique machinery we use to spin all of your favorite yarns!  From fleece to skein, it is a remarkable transformation that you’ll enjoy learning more about.

Our shop will be filled with bright beautiful woolly skeins and knitted samples for you to enjoy.   Getting a chance to see and touch samples of our new patterns in person can make all the difference in the world.  Photos alone often can’t capture how wearable and appealing our knitwear is.  You’ll get some great new project ideas to keep you happily crafting through the winter months ahead.

We’ll also be offering a special opportunity for you to purchase a handful of select samples.  Hand knits at these prices are very rare and a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit our local food shelter, the Putney Food Shelf.

So mark your calendars and we hope to see you soon!

Thank you

This week, we’d like to share a poem that David Ritchie wrote as a submission for the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.  The Spinnery sponsored the Festival’s contests again this year, and as a judge, David’s submission was not eligible for prize consideration.

Nonetheless, we’d like to pass it along to you as a little thank you for all that you do to honor sheep and their impact on our craft and our lives.

poem-cover

David published his poem in an hand-felted cover.  And each of the pages is illustrated with a delicate line drawing drafted by Lauren VonKrusenstiern.

I am not a commodity

I see you in school,
feeling out of place,
majoring in economics
needing your calculus
for all your formulas
representing the goals
of Chase Manhattan Bank

But I am another being

I live next to the earth,
and in my own way,
I pray
for the best soil,
and the richest greens.
You can even teach me
to graze on the ones
you need to be digested.
(buckthorn for example)

poem-open

As your sheep,
I am both strong and frail
fearing many predators
These days my fears are many,
as I know are yours,
making us very humble beings.

In your class, they called me stupid,
but I have my own personality,
my own ways, and who is to
say which of us is wise.

Even with our differences,
I will know your voice,
And listen for your approach,
showing you still
I am glad you are here.

So, I ask,
will you remember my gifts?

As a ewe,
I can give you offspring,
often two at a time,
and as a ram?….
who knows how many of your ewes
will become pregnant?

Breed me carefully and I can soon
produce enough milk to make
your glorious cheeses.

Or breed me another way
And I will sacrifice my life,
just for your survival,
and the taste of choice
at your dinner table.

poem-illustration

Yet,
you also may keep me
and protect me for my wool.
Just caress your hands on my coat of fleece,
and see how they will be healed..

You can follow my miracle fiber
to your local mill,
where every person and machine
from washing to skeining
is dedicated to my beauty.

In these days of drastic weather events,
(created by your people)
whatever you spin from me
will keep you safe and warm.

Who I am,
what I do,
(If you are paying attention),
transforms lives.

When you felt so lonely
and out of place
In that college class……..
you were confronting
within yourself,
what has now become clear,

I am not a commodity

From all of us at the Spinnery, we’d like to offer you a very heartfelt thank you.  Your visits to our mill and our various booths at Sheep & Wool Festivals give us a chance to meet those of you who value our craft and see the extraordinary ways in which you transform our skeins into handknits to be cherished.  Thank you for sharing our love of all things woolly.

Coming soon

We were lucky enough to get a chance to preview the newest samples from Pompom Quarterly while at Rhinebeck last weekend.  The girls flew all the way from their home turf in the UK to share issue 19 (winter 2016) with visitors to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival.

While all 18 patterns are worth checking out, our favorite has been topping the popularity charts on Ravelry this week.  We’d like to introduce you to Cesium designed by Sachiko Burgin.  This stunning pattern will be available for purchase through Ravelry on Nov. 1st.

cesium-by-sachiko-burgin-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016
©Amy Gwatkin

The cozy sweater is knit up with between 6-11 skeins of Mountain Mohair and is shown above in the Ice Blue color.  The pattern includes a generous size range: 29½ (33, 37½, 41, 45½, 49, 53½)” and is intended to be worn with 1-1½” positive ease.  The model has a 35” bust, stands 5’6” tall, and is wearing the 37½” size.

cesium-by-sachiko-burgin-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016
©Amy Gwatkin

We love the soft subtle cabling.  The asymmetry of the cables adds visual complexity to a comforting, flattering shape.  And the wide neckline beautifully balances the strong vertical of the cabled panel; it will look fantastic on all kinds of figures.

On Sunday, Sachiko and her twin sister Kiyomi stopped by our booth and so we were able to thank and congratulate her on her stunning design.  Her sister and fellow designer also has a lovely pattern included in this issue of Pompom, Fragmentation is a beautifully designed slouch hat that makes the most of gradient fingering weight yarns that are so impossible to resist.

You’ll find many treasures in the pages of this magazine.  We found that Bristol Ivy’s article about asymmetry and imperfection ties the theme of the collection together in a thoughtful and delightful way that may help you find a new appreciation for the inherent inconsistencies that make our craft unique.

If you don’t already have a subscription to this delightful quarterly, you will be able to find Pompom Winter 2016 available for sale in our shop on Nov. 1st.

Rhinebeck Sweaters

We are so looking forward to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend.  Every year, all of us that return for the fun wear our hand knits looking forward to the accolades and recognition that are such a rewarding part of the day.

You will be hard-pressed to find another group as appreciative of a beautiful shawl or sweater, because they know exactly what kind of time and patience was required.  It’s likely that their outfit was created with an equal amount of love and care.

You’ll see hand knits that you would never know were still on the needles just a few hours earlier.  Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram become filled with photos of late night and last minute steam blocking and seaming. Laughed confessions of car knitting on the way to the festival abound.

cover-01-1

The Rhinebeck Sweater phenomena was formalized in 2013 in part by Ysolda Teaque’s book that features a dozen stunning sweaters patterns inspired by the gathering.  They were created by 12 different designers who selected yarns that could be purchased from among the Festivals vendors.

The book is filled with beautiful photos shot at the Festival that provide you with a chance to relive the weekend from your armchair any time of year.  And the inclusion of Ysolda’s thoughtful interviews with the folks who grow, spin, and dye these yarns gives the reader a rich history that can sometimes be hard to glean directly from the producers due to the crowds and hectic pace of the weekend.

Included in these pages you’ll find Gudrun Johnston’s Pippin sweater which was created with Spinnery Weekend Wool. You’ll find some terrific new colors to choose from in our booth this year!

weekend-crop

But that’s not all.  Since last year’s festival we’ve added other new yarns that you’ll want to see, feel and possibly smell.

Our Sock Art Lana is a 100% wool 2-ply fingering yarn that knits up into beautiful shawls (like our Jordache pattern) and lightweight sweaters (like the Hatteras Cardigan).  We have two different yarns comprised of Moorit merino fiber that is naturally soft and beautifully hued; a fingering weight single-ply and a DK weight 3-ply.  This year’s batch of Yarn Over is as utilitarian as you remember, comes in two shades (grey and a faded red), and has been worked up into the Beekeeper’s Smock.  This quickly knit pullover has been a hit at this season’s other festivals.

Along with these new yarns, we’ll be featuring all of our new patterns in our booth.  Stopping by will give you a welcome chance to see some of the patterns you’ve seen on Ravelry, our website and on Facebook.  We know that it can be invaluable to check them out in person and get a closer look at elements that may be difficult to distinguish in a photo.

yoke-5w

We’ll have several different versions of Maureen Clark’s Corrie.  This yoked pullover can be worked up with 4 complementary colors of Mewesic; and you’ll have a ball selecting your favorites from among the 13 shades we’ll have sweater quantities of.

We’ll also have all of Cap Sease’s new accessory patterns: the Beinecke Cowl, the Guilford Shawl and the Athens Key Hat.  If you prefer working with bulkier yarns, we have several projects for last minute gifts.  Maureen has crafted a cozy infinity cowl with Tunisian Crochet techniques (Cowl Up). And Kate Salomon has created the Granite Cap that can be knit with a single strand of bulky yarn, a double strand of worsted or a triple strand of DK for three very different looks.

We hope that no matter what you enjoy working on, we can provide you with a whole winter’s worth of beautiful projects that will keep you and your loved ones warm and woolly!

The fun starts at 9 am tomorrow morning.  We can’t wait to see you there.

October is national Cooperative month

October is national cooperative month; so it is a perfect time to support a cooperative near you.  Did you know that there are approximately 40,000 cooperatives operating in America providing millions of their members with housing, goods and services?

“Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”

For those of you who don’t know exactly what a co-op is, or how it’s different from other small to medium-sized businesses, here’s a very quick animated primer:

Need some help finding a co-op near you? The easiest place to start is with an internet search for your city and the word cooperative or co-op.  Here in our corner of New England, you can find many different types of co-ops such as consumer co-ops (such as food co-ops) and worker cooperatives (like us).

For a listing of worker co-ops in Southern Vermont and Northwestern Massachusetts (surrounding the Connecticut River Valley) that are doing business in our area, check out the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives‘ website.

sign-fall

You may already be aware that the Green Mountain Spinnery is a worker-owned cooperative. You can learn more about our history as a co-op by listening to Episode 41 of the Woolful podcast that features and interview with our founders David, Libby and Claire.

We know that there are many factors that go into making a yarn choice: color, fiber content, gauge and softness to name just a few.  And this month we encourage you to also look at where and how the yarns you want to work with are made.

Our yarns include fibers sourced exclusively from within the US, and we make every effort to purchase directly from individual growers.  They are spun here in Vermont by a small group of dedicated worker owners who ensure that each skein is one that we can be proud of.

The dozen of us who comprise the staff here at the Spinnery make lofty woolen spun yarns that knit up into heirloom pieces that will look as fresh as the day they come of your needles for years to come.  Stop by our mill to browse through the selections in our little shop and see what working together can accomplish!

 

Hot off the presses

Our friend Cap Sease has done it again! Her most recent book is one that you’ll definitely want to add to your personal library.  Knitter’s Know-How includes 127 techniques that every knitter should know.  These include tips that you’ll use on almost every project from initial planning stages to finishing.

know-how

This volume focuses on finishing techniques, but as she reminds the reader, if you read through the entire pattern you may make adjustments early in the game that will make the last steps of your project more efficient and more successful.  The simple addition of a selvage stitch (if not called for in the pattern) can make your seaming work much easier.

She walks us through various seaming tips with variations for different stitch textures for a perfect seam every time.  The crystal clear supporting photographs and illustrations ensure that you can follow along step by step.

know-how-2

She covers picking up stitches, bands, hems, knitted cord and crochet edgings, buttons and button holes and even zippers!  We know countless knitters who have avoided patterns entirely or modified them in order to avoid sewing in a zipper to their cardigan.  Cap’s clear instructions should make it possible for you to approach these patterns with confidence.

Many of us here at the Spinnery will be purchasing copies of this book.

Meghan loves the sections on seaming.  With over 30 pages of in-depth coverage, almost any kind of seam that you might be confronted with is described in detail. Cap goes over seaming basics, crocheted seams, knitted seams and sewn seams.  She even walks through the kitchener stitch both on and off the needles, for stockinette fabrics as well as garter stitch and a k1, p1 rib.

Maureen particularly likes the section on the decorative raised seams, also called the soft-seam stitch.  Worked on bound off edges, this makes the least bulky seam that can be a decorative element when worked with a contrasting yarn.  Lovely.

Cap’s suggestions for perfect pockets is Kate’s favorite section.  She loves to add pop color pockets to her sweaters, and Cap provides instructions for three different types that could work for almost any pattern.

Larisa’s favorite tip is the forgotten buttonhole.  The trick allows you to add a vertical buttonhole in knit one purl one ribbing as an afterthought.  Genius!  And can give us the opportunity to modify knitwear that we finished ages ago to be more useful and wearable.

cast-on

In combination with Cap’s Cast On, Bind Off (a book that includes a whopping 211 ways of starting and finishing your knitting), Knitters Know-How will give you a master class in tips that you’ll find yourself using again and again. These two volumes will provide you with much of Cap’s wealth of experience.  It’s almost as good as having her at your side offering tips and suggestions that will make your knitting more fun, more polished and more rewarding.