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Dress up

July 19th, 2014

One of our favorite things about going to shows and festivals is giving folks a chance to try on our samples.  We have found that getting a chance to try a garment on can totally change your mind about what to knit.

We all have ideas about what kinds of garments flatter our figures, making the most of the aspects that we want to show off, and hiding those pesky areas that we are not so eager to highlight.  And knitwear is usually no exception.  We gravitate towards patterns that look like what we like; sometimes knitting the same sweater pattern in various colors because we know “it works”.

But occasionally it can be worthwhile to try on something new and change your mind just a bit about what to knit.  New styles and designers may all of a sudden hold fresh interest.  For example, Maureen found a series of videos last month that has changed her mind about working with Norah Gaughan patterns.

 

 

The What to Knit video series features various models of differing body types trying on a variety of  sweaters in various sizes to find shapes and ease that work best for them.  These videos also show the sweaters styled with different outfits from more formal to casual so that you can more easily imagine the true versatility of a sweater beyond the few photos that are provided in a pattern.

It’s almost as good as trying the sweaters on yourself.

We’d like to invite you to the Spinnery to check out our generous collection of samples.  Virtually every pattern that the Spinnery has published is represented in our shop, and they are all available for you to try on.  You could bring a few outfits and make a morning or afternoon of it.

Getting a chance to experience these pieces in person is valuable.  Getting a chance to try them on, check sizing, and see how they flatter you, is priceless.

Another Knit Along to jump start our Fall knits

July 12th, 2014

Joji Locatelli’s most recently published Grandpa Cardigan looks as though it will be a very interesting pattern to work on.  She has created a top-down, seamless, set-in sleeve cardigan that looks appealing for folks of all knitting abilities.  And who wouldn’t be tempted to make a comfy cardigan to snuggle into this Fall?

© Joji

© Joji

“Worked from the shoulders down completely seamlessly, Grandpa features a different set of cables for every size, making it look complex and sophisticated as any seamed garment, but without any finishing required.

All the instructions are charted out, so there is no guessing with this sweater. Just enjoy watching all the pieces come together to create this beautiful timeless cardi.  Even if you have never knitted a cabled sweater before, you’ll find Grandpa’s instructions clear and easy to follow, making it a great choice for your first challenging project. ”

Joji has incorporated a contiguous shoulder into her pattern to create set-in sleeves, so there should be some interesting fun for more experienced knitters who haven’t yet had a chance to try this technique.

More fun can be had if you join the Ravelry KAL.  You’ll have a chance to win prizes, and have the gratification of seeing and reading about other knitters’ progress.  The group will be casting on August 1st with a goal of finishing the sweater in three months.  This gives you plenty of time to pick your yarn.

Some of the girls at the Spinnery started plotting out our selections this morning, and this is what we came up with.

grandpa

Alpaca Elegance was the most popular choice!  From left to right you have Rachel’s choice: Earl Grey, Maureen’s selection: Sencha, and Kate’s preference: Rosehip.  Larisa opted for the New Mexico Organic yarn in grey.  We know that these yarns will all perfectly highlight the beautiful cables.

What Spinnery yarn would you be tempted to cast on with?

… and the fun continues!

July 5th, 2014

Last weekend’s I-91 Shop Hop was a hoot!  It was great fun meeting new friends and introducing them to what we do here at the Spinnery.  Many of our first-time visitors didn’t realize that we make everything that we have available in the shop.  From fleece to skein we do it all right here!

As time permitted, we brought as many folks as we could out back into the thick of things so that they could see the different stages of our production process, and all of the amazing old machinery that makes it possible.  If you missed your chance, you can learn a bit more about the Spinnery on our virtual tour.

But you just can’t beat the real thing, so plan on coming back as soon as you can and we can bring you “behind the scenes”.  Bring your 15% off coupon for extra savings in the shop from now until the end of August.

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More Hoppers than ever turned in their passports with us this year.  We hope that all of you on the Hop enjoyed your adventure, and that you used the trip to reconnect with friends, find new yarns and patterns, and get inspired by all of the beautiful finished projects you saw along the way.

Many of you will be casting on for the Shop Hop’s mystery KAL project.  We know that you’ll find some great support on the discussion board that you’ll find here.

kit

Many of you took home our special “Sock Hop” kit.  We wanted to be sure that you had the link you needed to browse the FREE shawl and scarf patterns that we found on Ravelry that could be used to make something not “socky” with your new skein of yarn, if you so choose.

We hope that all of you who visited will join our group on Ravelry and share the details of what you create with our yarns.  We can’t wait to see what you want to work on.

And we have some exciting news to share with you!  Keep those tote bags that you were given to you along with your passport…

10246780_775361729142700_9189481480392788696_n

 

A mystery sale has been planned for Saturday March 14th, 2015.  Visitors who bring their totes to the sale will be eligible for special savings that we’ll be able to tell you more about in upcoming months.

We would like to thank all of you who participated, as well as the wonderful sponsors who generously contributed to the 44 goodie bags that were raffled off this weekend.  I think it’s fair to say that a great time was had by all!

Community Knit Night

June 28th, 2014

One of our favorite aspects of working with fiber is the wonderful community that can congregate when yarn is involved.  Knitting is always more fun with company.  Many friends and local fiber enthusiasts have asked about knitting with us more regularly than our twice annual Knitter’s Weekends, and we are thrilled to announce that we are starting a twice monthly “stitch and bitch” here in Putney.

tumblr_ly8ugzYkeJ1r3yanwo1_500

© knittomania

A few of us gathered this week at the Gleanery to test the waters, and found the cafe to be a delightfully welcoming spot to work.  The lighting is perfect, the open windows offered a cool breeze, and the macaroons were delicious!  Maureen brought several projects to work on, Kate made some progress on her Natsumi, and Jayne is thinking about casting on for her very first pair of socks.

We plan on gathering at the Gleanery on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:30pm.  The cafe serves wonderful coffee and tea along side home baked treats.  It is a BYOB establishment, so if you’d prefer to stitch with a cocktail, you can bring your own, or the General Store across the street has a terrific selection of chilled beers and wine.

We love the thought of making some new friends and offering our expertise to folks in the area that would like a little help.  It should be a fun group of local fiber enthusiasts with enough common knitting and crochet experience to be able to troubleshoot almost any problem or pattern question.  We hope that you can join the fun.

Knitting is always more fun with company.  Perhaps not as productive, as we get caught up in one another’s progress and pattern ideas.  Please join us next month on July 9th or the 23rd.  We are looking forward to stitching with you when you can participate.

Hop over to the Spinnery

June 21st, 2014

We are getting excited about the upcoming I-91 Shop Hop that will run from Thursday June 26 through Sunday June 29, 2014.

EVENTSWEBSSHOPHOP.detail.1

Stop in your participating LYS and purchase your Shop Hop passport for $5. Along with your passport you’ll receive a tote bag with the map and details about each of the eleven fabulous shops.

  1. Green Mountain Spinnery (Putney, VT)
  2. Northampton Wools (Northampton, MA)
  3. WEBS (Northampton, MA)
  4. Marji’s Yarncrafts (Granby, CT)
  5. Creative Fibers LLC (Windsor, CT)
  6. Yarnover Avon (Bloomfield, CT)
  7. Village Wool (Glastonbury, CT)
  8. Country Yarns (Wallingford, CT)
  9. The Yarn Barn (Woodbridge, CT)
  10. The Yarn Basket (Branford, CT)
  11. Knit New Haven (New Haven, CT)

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 will be entered to win the Daily Door Prize at that shop. A total of 44 door prizes will be given out to participants!  By visiting all 11 shops you will be entered into a drawing for the fabulous Grand Prize, which includes gift certificates for the 11 shops, as well as yarns, needles and other goodies.

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.  Along with all of the fun prizes, you’ll be able to pick up clues to a mystery pattern at each of the shops.  That way we can all share the fun.

You can learn more about the event on the 1-91 Shop Hop Facebook page and their Group page on Ravelry.

kit

This year’s theme of gold and black mystery is a fun one.  In honor of this, and Kate’s insistence on referring to the Shop Hop as a Sock Hop, we will be offering an exclusive kit that includes a skein of our deep gold Sock Art – Forest yarn, a packet of lavender Eucalan, a darling needle gauge, and your choice of one of three Spinnery sock patterns that can be created with your new skein.  All of this for under $20 (including Vermont sales tax)!  This offers you a savings of over 60%

If knitting socks is not your favorite, you might find a pattern to your liking among the FREE Ravelry pattern selections of over 700 shawl patterns that could be knit or crocheted with the included skein.

© Inn Vicoria

© Inn Vicoria

While you are here in Putney, VT you may want to find a comfortable spot for a meal, a snack, or to cast on without delay.  We recommend our favorite local spot: the Gleanery for a delicious lunch or dinner.  They are open from 11:30 am – 9:00pm Thursday – Saturday and 11:30 – 8pm on Sunday.  Basketville is another great spot for a quick visit that could provide you with beautiful storage for your new yarn!

We can provide you with local maps and more tips for a wonderful adventure when you visit.  We can’t wait to see you!

The Spring Art Fair at Squam

June 14th, 2014

Maureen and I piled into the car last weekend and headed to New Hampshire to join the fun of the Squam Art Fair and the Ravelry Revelry.  It was wonderful fun to mingle with crafters who had been at the camp all weekend taking workshops, making friends, finding fresh inspiration, and glowing with new skills.

This video should give you a good sense of what a magical place and experience the Squam Art Workshops can be.

We joined the stream of folks heading into the Fair and were charmed by twinkling lights and blocks of ice illuminated by candles.  The video that you’ll find here should give you a good sense of what a magical place and experience these art retreats are.

© BEEZ in the belfry

© BEEZ in the belfry

Once inside, we were met with a room full of beautiful creativity; and both of us fell speechless at the workmanship of all of the talented vendors.  “The Squam Art Fair is a whirlwind of inspiration. Mix together the magic of a vintage shop feel, one of a kind goodies, and the creative spirits of all in attendance and you’ve got yourself a memorable evening at the lake.”

We are very proud to be one of the sponsors of this evening.

© Squam Art Workshops

© Squam Art Workshops

Among some of the delightful items that captured our interest as we browsed through the room were the beautiful samples from Amirisu’s Spring 2014 magazine.  Maureen was quite taken with two of the sweaters: Mokoshi designed by nest-design laboratory, and Whispers by Veera Välimäki.  (You may have already seen photos on our Facebook page).

We were able to meet up with some familiar faces and old friends, and check out beautiful hand knits modeled by knitters from all across the country.  We even got to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in her finished Adriana.  The story behind this lovely vest is a wonderful read; but it’s even better when Stephanie tells it in person.  Maureen and I were in stitches.

We couldn’t resist indulging in a bit of shopping.  Maureen was drawn to a beautiful waxed canvas tote; and I came home with a linen apron that will be perfect wearing in the shop.  (It has a pocket for a measuring tape!)  You can find a bag just like Maureen’s here and you can find an apron just like mine, here.

There are a couple of Squam Art workshops coming up later this year that you may want to look into.  The Fall retreat will be in early September and Squam is headed to Providence, RI for an urban experience towards the end of that month.  You find find more details about both retreats here.

We hope that you find a bit of inspiration in all of this, as we did last Saturday!

You’re invited!

June 7th, 2014

All of us can agree that when it comes to buying yarn, there is no substitute for getting to see and touch the skeins in person.  Brochures and computer monitors rarely do the colors justice.  And getting a true sense of the feel of the yarn is essential.

We think that the same can be said of knitted samples.  You can learn far more about a sweater by trying it on than you might imagine.  You can assess its sizing and length, if it is flattering to your figure, and if you’d prefer the sweater with some ease and how much.

With all of this in mind, we have a fun event to invite you to!

14 Green Mountain TeaWritten Words Bookstore is sponsoring a deliciously fun event at Stockbridge’s Gourmet Cheesecakes and Cafe (located at 509 Howe Ave. in Shelton, CT).  On Sunday June 22nd Maureen will be “setting up shop” at the southern end of I91 giving those of you in that area a unique opportunity to have Spinnery yarn and samples brought to you!

She is going to be bringing copies of our very popular book: 99 Yarns and Counting.  She’ll also be bringing samples from the book, and mini skeins of some of our favorite yarns so that you can knit a swatch or two that afternoon.  If you find the perfect pattern and yarn to start it with, she may have just the skeins you need.  (Since she won’t be able to transport our entire shop we may have to send your selection to you on Monday when she returns).

You’ll want to get your tickets ahead of time as they won’t be available at the door.  You can secure your spot at our fun afternoon by calling 203-362-9114.  

We hope to see you there!

Fresh as a daisy

May 31st, 2014

I had to pull over by the side of the road this week and take a photo of these beauties.  Spring arrived a little late for all of us this year, so a full bed of blossoms just took my breath away and made me stop the car!

daisies

And because I have yarn on the brain, I was immediately inspired to try to figure out how I could knit something that could in some way capture all this beauty.  The dasies’ bright fresh colors made me think of the beautiful lemon yellow hand painted skeins of Spinnery Simply Fine that we have in the shop.

Lemon

They have been calling out to me all week as the perfect choice for a little dress.  I did a bit of searching on Ravelry and found a generous selection of almost 40 patterns that could be knit up with a single 450 yard skein.  (This of course is contingent on the size of the pattern you select).

Among my favorites are two of the most popular patterns in the group:

© Tora Frøseth Design

© Tora Frøseth Design

This is Tora Frøseth’s Little Sister Dress.  The FREE pattern covers a size range from 3 to 24 months.  And the dress could work as a little tunic over tights which could extend its wearability beyond 2 years.

© cashmere junkie

And next is the Rio Dress designed by Taiga Hilliard.  It has two darling little buttons in the back so that the dress can more easily be popped over a little one’s head.  This pattern includes sizing from newborn to 3T.

I hope that you’ll share with us what has been inspiring you to cast on these days.  We have started a new discussion on our Ravelry Group page that we’d love for you to join.  Tell us what has got your creative juices flowing!

A new yarn for the Spinnery: Alashan

May 24th, 2014

The Spinnery was founded on a commitment to providing locally sourced yarns. We wanted to connect discriminating knitters and crocheters with yarns that are created from the beautiful fleeces that are grown on small farms across the country. Our link in this locavore chain means that all of us can make more informed choices in terms of the sustainability of the fibers we love.

This passion for responsible fiber has brought us to an interesting turning point. Today we have a very special yarn to introduce to you to that comes from the other side of the world. This yarn wasn’t created from the fleeces of nearby animals, nor was it spun here at the Spinnery. However, due to the current global marketplace for fiber, this yarn impacts us and our environment.

Our friends at Ecologia drew our attention to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia with an award winning article written by Evan Osnos that was published in the Chicago Tribune.  (The article was written in 2006, but now eight years later, the facts remain undisputed and Ecologia’s connections in the area have confirmed that progress has been slow in improving the situation.  A recently published article about the True Cost of Cashmere by Melissa Mall also confirms that  the damage caused by Cashmere goats is a current issue for the area).

America’s insatiable appetite for inexpensive cashmere has wreaked havoc on the fragile ecosystem of the Alashan plateau. Shepherds there have felt the devastating results of over-grazing; and many have been forced out of the area or into other lines of work. And the goats are barely surviving on unsustainable diets of imported corn.

Even though the fragile ecosystem of the Alashan plateau is a world away, air monitors on the West Coast have been able to confirm rising pollution levels that are attributable to the loss of these rich grasslands.  Without the grass to anchor it in place, dust is blown thousands of miles away in sand storms that impact the air quality here in the US.

 

 

What may eventually save that fragile ecosystem is a revival of the local camel population. Bactrian (two hump) camels have long been a valuable animal in the Inner Mongolian ecosystem, providing wonderfully soft, warm fiber; as well as traditional transportation across the dunes that once were part of the Silk Road. These animals are well adapted to that rugged environment, and cause far less damage than goats by grazing higher up on fragile plants that are uprooted by a goat’s voracious appetite and pointy hooves.

 

alashan

 

We all have a bewildering richness of choice in the fiber marketplace these days. It is possible for almost any item to be delivered to our doorstep. And it can be startling to recognize how our purchasing decisions can impact those who live half a world away.  When we spoke with Randy at Ecologia earlier this week, he confirmed that our new Alashan yarn encourages and provides a livelihood for  the remote herdsman who are eager to see a positive change in their part of the world.

We thought that this very special yarn was worth getting involved with. Purchasing, using, and sharing the story of this yarn will change the world; just a little, but enough to be worthwhile.  You can learn more about Ecologia’s efforts to support the camel fiber industry of Inner Mongolia here.

We hope that you will check out the beautifully hand-dyed skeins that we have available while supplies last.  And a beautiful new Milan shawl pattern that Maureen designed in honor of this new arrival!  This exclusive pattern is our FREE gift to you with the purchase of Alashan.

 

milan 02

 

This yarn is perfect for luxuriously soft accessories that will become instant heirlooms.  The 350 yard skeins are more than enough for a shawl, scarf or cowl that will cradle your neck in downy warmth.  The stitch definition is terrific, and will remain crisp as the day it was knit for ages.  You may decide that it is just the thing for your special holiday gift this year.

We hope to share more photos of this lovely yarn in the future as new colors are developed and more skeins are knit up into beautiful samples.

 

Let’s all cast on

May 17th, 2014

Earlier this week we found out about a new Ravelry Knit Along that is starting today! We didn’t want to waste a minute sharing some of the details with you in case it might be something you’d like to try knitting along with the group.

© lilalu

© lilalu

Isabell Kraemer has designed another lovely striped sweater that looks as though it will be a hit. Her …a hint of summer  pattern is one that we can easily imagine wearing all summer long.  We love that the sizing options are generous and that you can modify the sleeve length to match your preference.  Her pattern details are as follows:

 

XS (S, M1, M2, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)
Finished bust circumference:
106.6 (116.6, 126.6, 131.6, 136.6, 146.6, 156.6, 166.6) cm 42 (46, 50, 52, 53.75, 57.75, 61.75, 65.5) in
Finished hip circumference:
96.6 (106.6, 116.6, 121.6, 126.6, 136.6, 146.6, 156.6) cm
38 (42, 46, 48, 50, 53.75, 57.75, 61.75) in
Please choose a size with approximately 25 cm (10 inches) of positive ease at bust.

Lace weight or light fingering yarn
for the sleeveless version:
approx. 430 (475, 520, 550, 585, 635, 685, 740) meters
470 (517, 567, 600, 637, 692, 746, 806) yd of each color
for ¾ sleeves please add approx.
75 (80, 86, 93, 100, 104, 108, 115) meters
82 (87, 93, 102, 109, 114, 117, 125) yd of each color.

Many of us at the Spinnery spent a little time in the shop this week looking at our color options, and picking out what we we would love to cast on with.  Since the sweater has such generous ease, we got a bit creative with our selections, not restricting our choices to the lace/fingering weight called for in the pattern.

 

Tracey chose Cotton Comfort in classic Navy and Red.  She is interested in playing with the stripe width.

Tracey chose Cotton Comfort in classic Navy and Red. She is interested in playing with the stripe width of the pattern making her red stripe more narrow for a bit of POP.

Kate chose Sock Art Forest in  Sweet Corn and Undyed Natural White

Kate also chose Sock Art Forest in the Undyed Natural White and Sweet Corn.  These colors look as cool as a fresh breeze.

Rachel gravitated towards her favorite colors of blue and grey.  She selected the natural grey and

Rachel gravitated towards her favorite colors of blue and grey. She selected the natural grey and and a rich beautiful blue of Spinnery Sock Art Forest.

 

Larissa chose a color combination that provides a fresh spin on the French Navy.  She went with Sock Art Meadow in Summer Sky and Undyed Natural White

Larisa chose a color combination that provides a fresh spin on the Classic French Navy top. She went with Sock Art Meadow in Summer Sky and Undyed Natural White

Lauren wanted to play with two tones of neutral grey.  She chose Slyvan Spirit in Sterling and Moonshadow.

Lauren wanted to play with two tones of neutral grey. She chose Slyvan Spirit in Sterling and Moonshadow.

Eric found some beautiful purple shades of Sock Art Meadow.  The tonal variation will be stunning.

Eric found some beautiful purple shades of Sock Art Meadow. The tonal variation will be stunning.

 

 

What Spinnery yarns and colors would you choose to work with?  You can join the Ravelry group that is working on this beautiful sweater here.  You’ll start to see other knitters’ yarn photos, as well as work in progress photos as the group works to finish their sweaters by the 1st of July.  We can’t wait to see what you share with the group.

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Putney VT 05346-0568

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