HomeAbout UsProductsCustom ProcessingEventsLinksContact Us

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.

What’s new?

May 10th, 2014

You may have already seen our brand new patterns if you follow us on Facebook.  We gave our friends there a sneak peek of the four new patterns that made their debut this week at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

Gee's_photo

For those of you out there who are able to crochet (or are ready to give it a try) Gee’s Bend Afghan is a cozy, warm afghan inspired by the corduroy color block quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. It was designed by our friend and neighbor Melissa Johnson.   You could vary the colors and sizes of the blocks to suit your own personal style and yarn supply. Working in bold colors and single crochet throughout makes the afghan fun and quick to create.

Gauge: 12 SCs and 12 rows over 4 in / 10 cm
Size: approximately 44 in / 112 cm wide x 62 in / 157 cm long
Yarn: Weekend Wool – 12 skeins in assorted colors
Hook: Size K / 7 mm

Pictured in Natural Dark, Poppy, Blue Jay, Spruce, Pine Warbler, Lichen and Pumpkin Weekend Wool.

Islander_Pullover_photo

Next up is lovely Tracy modelling the Islander Pullover designed by Libby Mills and Cap Sease!  The Islanders’ Vest pattern has been such a big hit that we decided to turn it into a pullover. Knit in one piece from the bottom up in Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair, it has easy inserted sleeves that are knit right on. Minimal finishing means you’ll be able to wear your masterpiece almost as soon as it is off the needles.

Gauge: 18 sts over 4 in / 10 cm
Finished Chest Measurement: approx. 35 (38, 42, 45, 49) in / 89 (97, 106.5, 115, 124.5) cm
Yarn: Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair – 7 (8, 8, 8, 9) skeins
Needles: Size 7 US / 4.5 mm circular needles, 16 in / 40 cm AND 29 in / 60 cm long AND dpn, size 7 US / 4.5 mm

Shown here in Spruce Weekend Wool.

Equinox_Poncho_photo

Lauren is wearing the Equinox Poncho designed by yours truly! This is a simple poncho, with an elegant chevron edge and the option to personalize fit, this is the perfect garment for spring when knit in Cotton Comfort. Alpaca Elegance will make it a bit warmer, and Sylvan Spirit will add a tad more drape.

Gauge: 28 sts over 4 in / 10 cm before blocking
Size: approximately 64 in / 163 cm wide x 22 in /56 cm long after blocking
Yarn: Cotton Comfort, Alpaca Elegance or Sylvan Spirit – 7 skeins
Needles: Size US 5 / 3.75 mm circular needle, at least 32 in / 80 cm long

Shown here in Cotton Comfort Silver.

Wicked_Good_photo

Last but not least is a fun new accessory pattern brought to us by Rachel Stecker.  Her Wicked Good Moxie Hat and Handwarmer pattern makes a fun set that we imagine will be a huge hit this fall as the weather starts to cool, and knitters start looking for perfect holiday gifts.  You could get a head start this year!

Sizes: Hat – Infant (S, M, L) Finished hat circumference approximately 16¾ (20, 20¾, 21½) in / 43 (51, 53, 55) cm
Gauge: 20 sts over 4 in / 10 cm
Yarn: Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair – 2 skeins
Needles: Size 6 US / 4 mm AND size 7 US / 4.5 mm circular needles 16 in / 40 cm long AND size 5 US / 3.75 mm needles, any type, AND dpn, size 7 US / 4.5 mm, cable needle

Shown here in Deep Lake.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about these fun new patterns.  You can find a downloadable copy of any of these new patterns for purchase on our website.  They are $7 each.  You can also call us at the shop at any time at 800-321-9665 if you have questions or would like our help picking out the perfect Spinnery yarns to work with. 

If you are in the New Hampshire area this weekend you can check out these samples in person.  We’ll be in Deerfield at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival.  And next week you can stop into the Spinnery to visit us and try them on.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

A week at the Spinnery

May 3rd, 2014

Last week we started working on the Natural Dark color of both our Simply Fine and our Green Mountain Green yarns.  As different as these yarns appear to be in structure, they are identical in fiber content, so they can be created congruently for much of the production process. Almost like making cupcakes and a cake at the same time, we start with the same “batter”.

skeins

The ingredients for this batch of yarn includes roughly 53 pounds of fine wool with about 35 pounds of first shearing kid mohair.  To put those numbers into perspective, we estimate that a typical wool fleece weighs about seven pounds.  After cleaning and processing, we’ll end up with roughly 60 pounds of finished yarn.

The two fibers are blended by our picker and carder.  You can see it here going through our carder on the 21st.  The fibers for this yarn are GREENSPUN; which means that here at the carding stage, our special blend of organic vegetable oil and water is added to the fiber to smooth its progress through the machine.

carding

The wool we use for these yarns is a combination of fleeces from Rambouillet and Targhee sheep that are raised in Ohio and along the high plains of Montana, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota.

The soft kid mohair comes to us from Joe David Ross in Sonora Texas.  He has supplied the Spinnery with wonderful mohair fiber for almost 30 years. (You can learn more about him and the mohair he supplies us with here).

spinning

Here you can see the roving set up on the spinning machine a few days later.  The fiber will be spun with tension to create plies that will be strong enough to knit or crochet with.

At this point the bobbins of yarn are rolled into our steambox for a three hour “sauna” that will set the twist.

 

steamed

And now the two yarns are separated to follow different paths.  The plies for our Green Mountain Green yarn are sent to the plying machine.  Here two plies will be spun together (in the opposite direction) to create the 2-ply yarn that we love.  The Simply Fine is a single ply yarn and so is ready for skeining.

gmg skeining

Here you can see the two-ply Green Mountain Green bobbins lined up on the skeining machine where we’ll wind off 120 yard hanks to be twisted into beautiful skeins.  The Simply fine bobbins are wound into skeins of about 450 yards.

The skeins are now ready for a gentle washing with mild soap which will preserve the natural sheen and resilience of the yarn. Once it has dried, it is ready to be twisted into shape and labeled for sale.  From start to finish, this batch took just about a week to produce.  We can’t wait to see what becomes of it next!

Happily Ever After

April 26th, 2014

Some skeins of yarn are destined for great things.  Others are destined for tiny things that are more precious than we can say.  We just learned of a very sweet story that we thought you’d enjoy reading.

© arianna

© arianna

We reached out to Arianna on Ravelry who recently finished a darling wee sweater made with just two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit.  She used the Pebble Yoke Sweater pattern designed by Cap Sease, which is part of the 99 yarns and Counting collection, or available as an individual PDF for $7.

She wrote back and told us a bit more about the history of her project.

“There is actually a very special story behind the sweater! I bought that yarn when I was up in VT visiting my newlywed friends back in December of 2007. They brought me to a local yarn shop because I love checking out LYSes. So I kind of on-the-sly bought this yarn with the sole intention of making them a baby sweater one day.

ss

Well, the wife went through a lot in the intervening years, beating cancer before they were able to conceive their first child. I was finally able to knit them that sweater – with yarn that had traveled through several different apartments with me – seven years later! – and was thrilled to have mailed it to them recently for their beautiful new daughter.

I thought you might like to know there was a real story behind the yarn & sweater – and that it all started with your beautiful yarn!”

We love learning about the tales our skeins hold.  We often forget that the creation of our yarns is just the preface.  It’s lovely to be reminded that when they leave the Spinnery, for many skeins, their adventure has just begun.

Meet a Spinnery knitter

April 19th, 2014

If you have “liked” our page or postings on Facebook, you will have already seen some of the beautiful projects that our friend Melissa has created using Green Mountain Spinnery yarns.  We found her projects on Ravelry, and we thought it might be fun to learn a little bit more about Melissa.   We imagine that you will enjoy seeing some of her projects and finding out a bit more about what she loves to work on.

1978692_773394189339454_5472935699371021575_n

Who taught you how to knit?

One day while exploring, my mom and I saw the book Knitting Pretty: Simple Instructions for 30 Fabulous Projects by Kris Percival.  We bought it thinking it would be fun to learn together.  At the time I had a long commute on the train, so I taught myself how to knit using that book.  About 5 years later I taught my mom; and even later I taught my daughter.

How were you introduced to Green Mountain Spinnery?

My husband, daughter and I had recently moved to New England and I saw an article about the Spinnery in a magazine.  The article mentioned that visitors could go on a tour.  I already loved the yarn and was curious to see how it was made – it seemed like a perfect reason to organize an outing.

We decided to make a girls’ trip out of it – my daughter and I met my mom in Putney and spent the weekend.  We explored the area and did many fun things. By far our favorite part was the Spinnery.

Do you have a favorite GMS yarn (and why)? ?

I love all of the colors of Mountain Mohair – they are great for colorwork.  But I bought a skein of Simply Fine (natural) at Rhinebeck and that is hands down my favorite.  I am planning to copy the booth sample of the Holden Shawlette – it was stunning.

holden

* The Holden Shawlette is a $6 pattern designed by Mindy Wilkes and is available on Ravelry.  Our sample seen above was knitted with a single skein of Simply Fine in the Variegated color.

What technique/skill have you most recently learned?

I recently knit the Lotus Blossom Hat by Melissa Johnson because I wanted to practice stranded colorwork.  It was the perfect project for that, and I knit most of the hat with yarn in both hands – it worked well, and it was a new technique for me!

1209065_773386999340173_8350764811260305584_n

What technique/skill are you eager to tackle next?

I really enjoy knitting socks and am a big fan of DPNs, but I think I need to try Magic Looping.  That is next on my list.

You may want to friend Melissa on Ravelry so that you can see what she’s up to.  We know that whatever she casts on will be inspiring for the rest of us.  We can’t wait to see what Melissa knits up next!

More than you wanted to know?

April 12th, 2014

Our Maine Organic yarn is made from a blend of medium fleeces from a mixture of breeds including Leicester, Romney, and Corriedale. These fleeces’ characteristics of luster, strength, and silkiness combine to create a strong yarn with great stitch definition and lovely drape.

The fibers are processed with a rigorous attention to detail.  We carefully store, handle, and work with the fibers keeping them isolated to ensure that all of the farmer’s hard work of raising this fiber organically is honored and the integrity of the fiber is uncompromised.  We are one of the only mills in our region certified to spin organically and we are proud to be able to offer organic yarns to you.

Of course our organic fibers are GREENSPUN, processed using certified organic vegetable based soaps and oils.  The skeins are then washed gently to preserve their natural sheen and resilience.  This gentle treatment maintains the organic integrity of the fibers resulting in an undyed yarn that retains the sense of the sheep it comes from.

© Hamilton Farm

  © Hamilton Farm

The fleeces come to us from the Noon Family Farm and the Hamilton Farm in nearby Maine.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to have found such terrific sources of beautiful wool so close to the Spinnery.  It ensures that we are able to provide you with an amazing yarn that has not had to travel back and forth from one end of the country to the other on its way to your needles.  The carbon footprint of this yarn is as small as we can make it.

Many beautiful sweater patterns have been designed for this yarn, including Jackaroo by Amy Herzog, Crane Creek by Sandi Rosner, and Gwendolyn by Fiona Ellis, to name a few.  And there are dozens of knitters that have chosen this yarn for other patterns calling for Worsted weight yarn. A quick scroll through their projects may inspire you to cast on for your own.

To whet your whistle, we thought we’d share some photos of one of the most recent projects completed with this lovely yarn.

jenny 01

© Jenjoywil

Our friend Jenny, otherwise known as jenjoywil on Ravelry, was eager to cast on with our Maine Organic.  She carefully chose a pattern by Thea Colman that would highlight the yarn and provide her with a comforting cardigan for all kinds of temperatures.  Her Vodka Gimlet is lovely.  (Additional photos can be found on our Facebook page.)

Thank you for sharing your photos with us, Jenny!

p.s.

April 5th, 2014

I would like to introduce myself as the newest voice you’ll hear from the Spinnery.  My name is Kate and my Ravelry user name is onogrrrl.  I moved here to Vermont from Boulder, Colorado at the beginning of the year.  I found myself at the Spinnery about 20 minutes after that, and I am very pleased to tell you that I’ll be one of the authors of this blog going forward.

IMG_2328

I hope to share with you an insider’s look into what is happening here at the Spinnery.  I know that you’ll be as charmed and intrigued by what goes on here as I am.  

The Spinnery is blessed with an extraordinary team of passionate people.  I look forward to introducing you to each of them, so that you have a chance to see the faces and learn the stories of the folks whose hands are crafting each and every skein that leaves here.

I’d also like to introduce you to the machines that work as hard we do.  These behemoths date back decades, and in at least one case, centuries. This craft of spinning wool is an old one, and these machines have been at the trade longer than some of us here at the Spinnery have been alive.

I look forward to “talking story” with you.

Let’s root for the home team!

April 2nd, 2014

Baseball season starts this week, and the Red Sox’s first home game will be against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday afternoon.  We imagine that you may be spending some time in front of the TV this weekend, or perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to be in the bleacher seats at Fenway Park.  Brrrr!

We thought that we’d celebrate the beginning of baseball season with a super-quick Knit Along that will give you something fun to work on while you are watching a game at home, and a finished accessory to wear if you are headed to the stands and need an extra layer to keep off the chill.

IMG_2325

 

Please join us this week as we all cast on for an arm-knit Infinity Cowl.  Yep, that’s right, no needles needed.  This Cowl is knit in a single quick sitting; and you’ll be using your arms as needles.

Earlier this week, we cast on with multiple strands of our favorite bulkier Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns such as Capricorn and Green Mountain Green.  And lickety-split, we had beautiful bulky cowls in no time!  I chose to use three skeins of creamy white GMG that I wound into 6 half skein balls so that I could create a REALLY bulky strand.  If you squint your eyes, they look a bit like baseballs.  Using all 6 strands at once as I worked, I had a finished cowl in under an hour!

 

IMG_2313

 

Maureen cast on this afternoon with 2 skeins of Capricorn wound into 4 mini balls.  And she now has a beautiful periwinkle cowl in less than an hour.

 

IMG_2330

 

If you’d like to learn how, Anne Weil of Flax & Twine created a series of set-by step tutorials that break the project down into its four steps: cast-on, knitting, binding-off, and finishing.  Or you can check out Simply Maggie’s video for a live demonstration.

 

 

Join us this week as we get to stitching with our arms,  and share photos with us of your finished projects.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

 

Order Toll Free: 1-800-321-9665

Tel: 802-387-4528

Fax: 802-387-4841

Mail: PO Box 568
Putney VT 05346-0568

Click for store hours

Email: spinnery@spinnery.com

Upcoming Events

Green Mountain Spinnery Logo
Facebook logo and link
Ravelry logo and link

Payment Processing

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Email Newsletter






For Email Newsletters you can trust