Spinnery News

A bit more Moorit

Our new Moorit DK yarn was a huge hit when we introduced it to our friends at the Maryland and New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festivals.  Folks were delighted by its soft hand and bouncy feel.  We were so inspired by their response that we got to work making a fingering weight yarn with the same delicious Merino fiber.

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This lovely wool comes from a merino flock raised in Missouri for this unusual dark color.  The sheep are bred not for a typical snowy white fleece but for one with rich tones of cinnamon, nutmeg and russet.  Our undyed skeins are as unique as the sheep they come from.

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Our new Moorit Singles are put up as a single-ply fingering weight yarn with 450 yards per 3.5 oz. skein.  This yarn would make a perfect choice for a warm and yet light weight shawl.

We’ll be casting on as the weather gets warmer and hope to have some new samples to share with you before summer’s end.  We hope you’ll let us know what your plans are for these yarns, we look forward to seeing what you create!

Postcards from Maryland 2016

Four of us from the Spinnery went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend and we had a ball!  Temperatures were delightfully mild, and as always we were warmly received by local fiber enthusiasts.  This gathering reminds us each year what a remarkable and lovely community we belong to.

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Clara Parkes has an essay about this festival in the pages of her new book: Knitlandia.  She describes the festival  as “a touchpoint, that class reunion we attend — even if we have nothing new to say — to honor our friendships and keep track of the passage of time, all in a place that reflects a mutual love of wool.”

We enjoyed our visit very much, enjoying festival food, exploring the animal barns, and admiring the prize winning fleeces and garments.  Larisa and Lauren loved the Make it with Wool Fashion Show; finding inspiration in the creativity and talent shown by the contestants.  And of course, sharing our new yarns and patterns with folks is always a pleasure.

For those of you who would enjoy a bleated and vicarious trip to the festival from your armchair, we thought we’d share a few photos of some of the animals that charmed us.

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Sunday was Mothers’ Day, and this pair epitomized the day for us.

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Clara says that “visiting the sheep barns restores one’s faith and sense of order in the world.”  We couldn’t agree more.  Surrounded by the call and response of these animals, one can feel your breathing slow, shoulders drop, and pace become a tad slower so as not to miss a moment.

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Tomorrow, we’ll be headed to Deerfield, NH for our next festival: the 40th annual New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival. We are hoping to see a few more faces like this one.

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We hope that you’ll be able to join the fun in New Hampshire this weekend.  We have lots to share with you, including several new yarns, new patterns and samples that you won’t want to miss.  Plus, there is sure to be Kettle Corn.

Announcing several new patterns

To accompany the new yarns that we’ve been working on this Spring, we have several new patterns releasing this week that we are very eager to share with you.

All of these new patterns will be making their debut at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in Friendship, MD this weekend.  We hope that you’ll have a chance to visit our booth there to see these samples in person!

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The first is a beautifully practical layering cardigan designed by Maureen Clark.  Coming Up Spring is knit up with Cotton Comfort for a lighter weight summer sweater.  We love having sweaters like this one to transition us through April and May when temperatures tend to vary from day to day and occassionally from hour to hour!

The pattern is knit flat in one piece from the bottom-up.  The sleeves are worked separately and seamed in during finishing.

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The delicate botanical lace that runs along the bottom border of the sweater as well as cuffs is our favorite part of this feminine design.

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We’ve also developed an asymmetrical and reversible shawl called Davis & Fuber (named after the Spinnery’s carding machine that is celebrating its centennial this year).  Seen here knit up with three skeins of the limited edition Moorit yarn and a contrasting pop of color supplied by a skein of Passionate Kisses Mewesic.

This shawl is comfortingly cozy and still light weight when knit up with any of the Spinnery’s other DK weight yarn options: Alpaca Elegance, New Mexico Organic or Sylvan Spirit.

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Kate knit up a larger version  of the shawl with 4 skeins of Chai Alpaca Elgance and a pop contrast of a single skein of Mean Mr. Mustard Mewesic.  As you can see, the larger version provides a generous amount of fabric to wrap up in during colder months.

And with those colder temperatures in mind, our Granite Cap was designed to ward of winter’s chills.

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This unisex beanie has a dense ribbed texture that stretches for a custom fit that feels like a hug.  It knits up as quick as a wink with a double strand of Green Mountain Green.

We hope that you enjoy knitting up any of these patterns that strikes your fancy.  We’d love to help you with your yarn selections, so plan a visit to the Spinnery or give us a call at 800-321-9665!

 

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.

A crafty afternoon

Our dear friend Ellen Mason (Odacier) inspired several of us at the Spinnery to dust off our sewing machines and spend an afternoon sewing instead of knitting this week.

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When Ellen and Thea joined us in Putney last November for our Knitters’ Weekend, Ellen filled our heads with dreams of sewn projects.  She modeled a darling dress that we all fell in love with, and promised that a pattern for it was in the works…

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Yesterday her pattern for the Ann Carolyn Smock was released, and we got busy!  Ellen’s inclusion of the yardage requirements among the photos on her etsy site mean that you can purchase your fabric without delay, and get it ready to be sewn while your pattern is in the mail on its way to you.

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Larisa made a shirt version of the pattern early in the week as a “dress-rehearsal” of sorts and then made the same longer dress version of the pattern that Maureen selected to work on. Kate opted for the tunic version of the pattern.

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After just three hours, all three smocks were very close to being finished. (Maureen’s is on the left, Kate’s in the middle and Larisa’s is on the right).  One of our favorite aspects of the pattern is the optional “pop” pockets.  They can be personalized in all kinds of ways: un-embellished, trimmed with bias tape and brightly contrasting.

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The pattern provides crisp, clear and illustrated directions that were a snap for all of us to follow, in spite of two of us being infrequent/novice sewers.  Having an almost finished garment at the end of an afternoon’s work was exhilarating for a group of knitters who are more accustomed to spending weeks to complete a project.

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And nothing beats the sense of accomplishment that comes with a finished project!  We recommend putting down your knitting needles and crochet hooks in exchange for a set of pinking shears for a change of pace that will add a terrific new garment to your Spring/Summer wardrobe and put a spring in your step.

Thank you Ellen for a lovely pattern that we are sure to recreate again and again, and for inspiring us to try something new.

 

 

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.