Spinnery News

A little light reading

Have you been looking to learn a little bit more about wool in the US?  We found a great article about the history of the American Wool industry among the “pages” of the most recent edition of Twist Collective.

 © Kathleen Cadigan

Our very own David Ritchie is quoted.  And the article contains a concise story of the revival of wool production here in the US.  (For the first part of the story that details the arrival of European sheep breeds on this continent with the colonists, you can look here).

You may want to browse around among the beautiful patterns included in this edition.  We have to confess that our favorite is the his and hers versions of Shannonmore designed by Melissa Leapman.

shannonmore_z_500_medium2
© Crissy Jarvis

These beautifully cabled pullovers call for Spinnery Weekend Wool.  This 100% wool yarn provides the stunning cable details crisp definition that will showcase your knitting prowess.

And in case you were wondering, Weekend Wool is made with wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US.  The unique blend of fibers features a blend of the soft wools from Rambouillet, Columbia, Targhee and Fresian sheep mixed with the lustrous fleeces from Corriadale, Montadale and Romneys.  The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition.  yum.

(We’d like to extend a very special thank you to our friend Kathy Cadigan for sharing the photo of David you see above that she caught when she visited the Spinnery this spring.)

A special deal

To celebrate the launch of our newest pattern: Windsor Tank, we are offering a 20% discount on several colorways of Odd Sylvan Spirit skeins.  You’ll find skeins of our Citrine, Rose Quartz, and Moonshadow in the sale items section of our website and available in the Spinnery shop in Putney, Vermont while supplies last.

citrine moonshadowrose-quartz

Odd weight skeins are a bit lighter or heavier than regular.  These skeins have been washed, so they are ready to be wound up and knit with immediately.

We can’t wait to see what you create with them!

A new pattern: Windsor Tank

Maureen has been busy this summer. Inspired by the beautiful new colors of our Sylvan Spirit line (Agate, Aquamarine, Hematite, Jade and Turquoise) she created a pattern for a light summer top that includes some thoughtful details that make it unique.

We’d like to introduce the Windsor Tank.

windsor-01

Worked in separate pieces from the bottom up, this top includes short row shaping that creates a gentle curved hem that mirrors the soft open neckline.  A knit one purl one rib provides a finished edge at the neck, arms and along the bottom hem.

This simple shell could be left un-embellished to become a wardrobe staple or act as a beautiful canvas for your creativity!  Maureen has added some delicate embroidered flowers using scrap yarn.

windsor-02

And Larisa is thinking about needle felting a little something to be added to her sample of the Windsor Tank that she’s knit up in the Sterling color way.

windsor-07

We hope that you’ll be inspired to try knitting up this comfortable and versatile top.  We can’t wait to see how your turns out!

Farm fresh: Vermont Organic yarn

We’ve created something special this spring and we thought you’d like to learn all about it.  Vermont Organic yarn is back in stock!  And we had a chance to briefly interview Anna from Open View Farm who raises the sheep whose fleeces have created our delicious new yarn.

vermont-org-w

Anna and her husband Ben raise certified organic lambs, grow certified organic vegetables, and produce maple syrup on 180 acres in New Haven, Vermont.  The farm is unique in that it has a 2.49 megawatt DC solar array, which is owned and operated by Crosspollination Inc.

The array spans 17 acres and is composed of 8,448 photovoltaic modules. These produce an estimated 2,700-megawatt hours of electricity per year (which is enough electricity to power approximately 400 homes).  Anna and Ben’s sheep seem to appreciate the shade and shelter the panels provide when they graze under and around the panels for part of the summer months.

 

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

As it turns out, Open View Farm is a resurrected dairy farm.  Anna and Ben’s flock is raised for meat and was started in the fall of 2010 with 30 Tunis ewes.  Tunis sheep are dual purpose, fat-tailed sheep well known for delicious meat.  They’ve been added to the Slow Food movement’s Ark of Taste, which has identified 200 “delicious and culturally significant foods in the US in danger of extinction”.

Open View Farm’s original flock of Tunis ewes has been bred with Dorset rams to increase the size of the animals.  Dorset animals are slightly larger and thrive on pasture ensuring a quicker growth to market weight.  More than 50 lambs are born at Open View Farm each spring, bringing the total number of sheep on the farm to over 100 during the summer months.

 

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

(In case you were interested, you can purchase Open View’s lamb and other organic products at the Shelburne Farmer’s Market in the summer, and on yourfarmstand.com any time.)

As delicious as Anna and Ben’s organic lamb may be, here at Green Mountain Spinnery we are more interested in their fleece.  Tunis sheep are born a soft cinnamon color that transitions to a lovely soft warm tan color.  Dorset’s wool is known for its springy elasticity, which adds a delightful resiliency that makes each creamy ivory skein wonderfully squeezable.

© Open View Farm
© Open View Farm

Our skeins of worsted weight organic Vermont yarn include 250 yards per 4 oz. skein. Only 42 pounds of wool was processed in this first batch so our supply of these scrumptious skeins is limited. We hope to be able to make more in the near future.  And we hope that you’ll be able to get your hands on some of these first few skeins!

Course corrections

Kate had an “ah-hah” moment in the midst of working on a sample of Heidi Kirrmaier’s Vitamin D cardigan that we thought might be worth sharing.  She cast on for the top-down pattern using Spinnery Sylvan Spirit in the Sterling colorway.

vitamin-d

She is thrilled with how the yarn is knitting up and things were sailing along smoothly until she started working her first sleeve.  Unlike similarly constructed top-down sweater patterns, Heidi has the knitter put the body stitches on hold while working the sleeves first.  The  pattern includes a note in italics explaining her directions.

“Note: instructions are for working the sleeve flat in order to ensure the same tension as yoke is maintained.”

Kate decided that the simplicity of working the sleeves in the round was worth any small shifts in tension that she was confident she could block out…do you see where this is going?

She didn’t have to work very far on her sleeve to have about an inch or two worth of stitches to test her theory.*

gauge a

The difference between the worked-flat stockinette and the worked-in-the-round stockinette more apparent in person.  There is a stitch per inch difference in the tension.  “What’s one stitch between friends?” you might ask.

Well, this creates a visible line in the fabric and more importantly translates into a substantial change in the finished measurements of the sleeve.  What should measure out at about 15 inches will in fact be closer to 12 1/2.  That is a difference that can’t be blocked out.

This shift in tension can often occur when switching between knitting and purling, but it can also happen when switching between needles made of different materials.  There is a fantastic article on Alexis Winslow’s blog Knit Darling that clearly illustrates how dramatic the effects of that switch can be.

Kate combined both by switching from carbon metal needles as she started her sleeve in the round.  Instead of cancelling each other out as she hoped, they combined to create a substantial change in tension.

So, Kate will frog back and instead follow the pattern working the sleeve flat using the same carbon needles she used for the yoke of the sweater.  We are looking forward to seeing the finished project that we know will be more successful for having been checked and adjusted.

*Kate is the first to agree that she could have figured this all out a head of time if she had swatched and blocked her sample ahead of time — but she prefers to dive into the deep end and check her progress as she goes.  She also recognizes that when that little voice tells you to stop and reconsider, you may find as Kate did, that it is worth listening to.

 

What’s on our needles?

We reorganized one of our display walls last week in order to incorporate the newest colors of Sylvan Spirit into our DK wall of yarn.  This inspired us all to pick out skeins for a FREE shawl pattern that has been topping the popularity charts on Ravelry this month.

dk-wall
Over the Sea to Skye designed by Kalurah Hudson seems like a perfect late summer project.

© Kalurah Hudson

“Reminiscent of the sweeping landscape of beachy Dunes and the rippling of the waves as they rush onto the sand.  This oversized shawl is the perfect accessory for a chilly summer night but light enough for a warm, balmy day as you journey over the Sea.

It’s beauty is in its sheer simplicity. Easy to memorize increases and clean transitions between garter, lace mesh and eyelet lace. The shawl’s asymmetric shape lends a generous width for wrapping. And the sweet little picots and eyelet edging add just enough romantic whimsy.”

While any of our DK yarns (Mewesic, New Mexico Organic, Alpaca Elegance, Sylvan Spirit, or Cotton Comfort) will allow you to get gauge for this pattern we all agreed that a light summer wrap would be more appealing to knit and wear in our yarns that blend plant fibers with wool.

shawl selections

Larisa and Maureen are both drawn to working with Sylvan Spirit.  The 50/50 blend of wool and tencel creates an enviable drape that will look terrific when paired with this pattern.  Larisa wants to work with Sterling and Maureen wants to cast on with Jade.  Kate is interested in playing with a bolder color and is considering Cotton Comfort in Yarrow.

Are you tempted to cast on for this beautiful pattern in one of our delicious DK yarn options?

 

Mark your calendars

We wanted to provide you with advance notice that this Wednesday July 15th all our remaining stock of Mountain Mohair Cones will go on sale at 30% off!  We have limited quantities of our most popular colors.  You’ll find them in the SALE ITEMS section of the Spinnery site first thing on Wednesday morning.

mohair-cones

At 560 yards, these 8 oz. cones contain the equivalent yardage of four skeins of Mountain Mohair.  The yarn is unwashed and will bloom when washed.  We suggest that since this yarn is coned you wait until after working the yarn and gently wet block your project when complete. (Our favorite blocking instructions an be found in a terrific article from the Twist Collective archives written by Sandi Rosner).

mohair-weaving

These cones of Mountain Mohair are perfect for weaving, and can also be used for color work projects or large beautiful blankets that will have fewer ends for you to weave in when you complete your project.

We hope that you are able to take advantage of these savings while our supplies last.  We are no longer coning our Mountain Mohair when producing new batches of yarn so these cones are very special indeed.

Thea Colman and Ellen Mason are coming to the Spinnery!

We are excited to announce that Thea Colman (of BabyCocktails) and Ellen Mason (of Odacier) will be the featured instructors for the Spinnery’s 2015 annual Knitters in the Green Mountains retreat.

These two designers continually delight us with their well crafted patterns and inspiring blog posts.  We are thrilled that they are interested in sharing some of their creative insights with our intimate group of crafters this fall.

knitters

This year’s workshop will be held in Putney, Vermont from Friday, November 6th to Sunday, November 8th, 2015.

Thea will impress us with her design process where she will take us from yarn thoughts to motifs to actually plotting ideas for a basic design and they begin to design their own cowls. The other is “playing with cables” where we look at things we can do with cables – pair them together, play them off of one another, change the size, add/change texture, add/change lace, make a panel, read and create a chart, etc.

Ellen will be sharing her creative ways for sculpting a mitten thumb with her Fried Chicken Mittens, working two at a time using magic loop and possibly a small sewing project ??

The Spinnery’s weekends feature great food, lively companionship and lots of yarny goodness.  A cost of $390.00 per person includes all workshops and meals (Friday Dinner, Saturday Continental Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and Sunday Continental Breakfast).

You can find the registration form here.  Students are responsible for their own lodging arrangements and we have a handful of local suggestions listed on the registration form.

AND, we have a contest to announce!  We will be offering two lucky winners a 50% discount on their registration fee.  In order to be eligible to win you must be registered for the retreat and be an active participant in either (or both) of the Spinnery’s two Ravelry groups.

How can you do that?  Simply join the Green Mountain Spinnery’s Weekend Group or the Friends of Green Mountain Spinnery and share your projects and thoughts.  Let us know what you’re working on, what you are thinking about working on next or what you’d like to learn from a knitting retreat in the future.  We’ll be selecting our lucky winners on September 15th.

You’ll want to sign up soon as our small workshop size of just 20 students will fill up quickly!   Check your calendars and give us a call to reserve your spot! 970-407-1461.

Simply beautiful

Our ravelry friend Jessica recently finished a show stopping shawl that we thought you might like to take a look at.

Annie Rowden designed a stunning lace shawl this spring inspired by a small batch single source yarn much like the Spinnery’s New Mexico Organic yarn which Jessica chose to create this shawl.

© sugarhousewkshp
© sugarhousewkshp

 

The Isle of Purbeck Shawl Mystery Knit Along started in early May and by now all four clues have now been released and you will receive the whole pattern when purchased on Ravelry.

You can still join the Ravelry group MKAL thread for friendly and enthusiastic knitting company that includes tips, encouragement and general chitter chatter.

image_medium4
© sugarhousewkshp

Jessica created her version of this shawl with just four skeins of our DK weight New Mexico Organic yarn.  These skeins are created from 100% Rambouillet fiber which has a similar softness to Merino with more loft and resiliency.  When it is woolen spun like ours is, you have a bouncy airy yarn that your fingers will never tire working with.

If you’d prefer a version with more color, our Mewesic would provide a perfect option.

We’d like to thank Jessica for letting us share her beautiful photos.  Your shawl is simply breathtaking, Jessica!

Shop Hop project ideas

With the I-91 Shop Hop gearing up to start next week, we got to thinking about how to help get your creative juices flowing.

We understand that with a dozen shops to visit, the temptation to pick up a skein or two at each will run strong.  We also recognize that yarn shopping without projects in mind can be frustrating if you find the perfect project after your visit and discover that you don’t have the yardage you need.

With that in mind,  we thought that we could collect a list of some of our current favorite project ideas that can be knit (or crochet) with a just a skein or two of our lovely yarns in a range of gauges.

When you arrive, you’ll see that we have created samples of several of these designs and they will be available in the shop for you to enjoy and try on.


Green Mountain fingering weight yarn options include Simply Fine (which has 450 yards per skein), Sock Art: Forest (which has 400 yards per skein), and Sock Art: Meadow (which has 400 yards per skein).

Hand painted skeins of all three of these yarns are the shop’s best sellers and we’ll have an even larger selection of mouthwatering hues in the shop than we are able to make available on our website.

© Carolyn Glauz-Todrank

Stony Point Cowl is a FREE pattern designed by Carolyn Glauz-Todrank calls for 400 yards.

Starshower is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hillary Smith Callis calls for 400 yards.

Appia is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hillary Smith Callis has two sizes and calls for 250 – 375 yards.

Hitchhiker is a $4 shawl pattern designed by Martina Behm calls for 569 – 574 yards.

Rising Tide Shawl is a $5 pattern designed by Grace Akhrem that calls for 400 yards.

Herald is a $7 shawl pattern designed by Janina Kallio that calls for 437 yards.

Simple Scallops is a $5 crochet pattern designed by Kristy Ashmore that calls for 350 – 450 yards for various sizes from a shawlette to a larger shawl.


 

Green Mountain Spinnery DK weight yarn options include Alpaca Elegance, Cotton Comfort, Mewesic, New Mexico Organic and Sylvan Spirit (all of which include 180 yards per skein).

© BabyCocktails

Windward Island* is a $5 hat pattern designed by Thea Colman that calls for 180 – 210 yards to span two sizes.

Whitman is a $5.50 hat pattern designed by Danielle Morgan that calls for a range of 160 – 200 yards to span four sizes.

Whitman Fingerless Mitts is a $5 pattern also designed by Danielle Morgan that calls for 80 – 150 yards to span two sizes.

Yes Checks is a FREE hat pattern from Stephen West that calls for 180 – 190 yards.

Ebb Tide Hats is a $7 Green Mountain Spinnery pattern that calls for 150 – 270 yards for two kinds of hat: beanie or slouch.

Nalu Mitts is a FREE pattern from Leila Raabe that calls for 109 – 164 yards to span two sizes.

Twitterpation Cowl is a FREE crochet pattern designed by Maryse Roudier that calls for 200 – 250 yards.


Our worsted weight yarn options include Mountain Mohair and Weekend Wool (both of which include 140 yards per skein) or our Maine Organic (which includes 250 yards per skein).

ascutney-boot-toppers-01-wAscutney Aran Hat is a $7 Green Mountain Spinnery pattern that calls for 250 yards. Purchasing this pattern gives you the cable chart you’ll need to complete the FREE Boot Topper pattern addendum which calls for 280 yards for a pair.

Duffers is a $2.50 felted slipper pattern designed by Mindie Tallack that calls for 220 – 440 yards for a range of three sizes.

Singapore Sling* a $5 hat pattern designed by Thea Colman that calls for 200 yards.

Camp Out Fingerless Mitts is a FREE pattern designed by Tante Ehm that calls for 100 – 110 yards.

Adama is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hilary Smith Callis that calls for 300 yards.

Windschief is a $6 hat and cowl pattern designed by Stephen West that calls for 100 – 160 yards for a range of three sizes for both the hat and cowl.

Divine Hat is FREE crochet pattern designed by Sarah Arnold that calls for 150 – 200 yards.


 

© Roko
© Roko

Our single Aran Weight yarn option is the softest yarn we make: our un-dyed Green Mountain Green has 120 yards per skein.

Cupido Cowl is a FREE pattern designed by Hiroko Fukatsu that calls for 180 – 380 yards for two sizes.

Oats is a FREE cowl pattern designed by tincanknits that calls for 200 – 400 yards for a range of three sizes.

The Amanda Hat is a FREE pattern designed by Gina House that calls for 160 – 216 yards.

Dashing is a FREE fingerless gloves pattern designed by Cheryl Niamath that calls for 142 – 164 yards.

Catesby Three-Hour Cowl is a FREE crochet pattern designed by Kathryn Jones that calls for 100 – 200 yards.


*This is one of the 6 patterns included in the $16 BabyCocktails’ Tiki Collection published last winter that all knit up with minimal yardage in a variety of gauges.

We hope that this selection provides you with some welcome inspiration and may make your Shop Hop experience a bit more fun!  We look forward to seeing you soon and we can’t wait to get you started on your next project.