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On the Road – Travel Projects

July 17th, 2013

When you are on the road, waiting at the airport, or even relaxing in your own backyard, is your knitting within arms reach? Summer days are meant to be relaxing. Your project should be of the type that you can pick up and put down easily, keep your attention yet not require intense focus. As you pack up for your summer vacation or even just grab a cool drink and sit outside, don’t forget to bring along a project in your favorite Green Mountain Spinnery yarn!

The weather may be warm but you can still knit with wool. Why not start now and make new hats for everyone in your family? You will be happy you did when the cold returns! If you have wondered about cabling, crochet or colorwork, hats are a great opportunity for experimentation. The Ascutney Aran hat and Lauren’s Hat are each warm with a beautiful cabled band. Pick your two favorite colors and give crochet a try with the Happenin’ Hat. Last fall we blogged about customizing the Icebreaker Hat to show your support for your favorite team, maybe you know a fan that would like a special custom hat!

Shawls are another great choice. Frequently they can be made with one or two skeins of Sock Art or Simply Fine and you will find yourself enjoying the repetitive rhythm of the stitches. The Catalina Wrap is a crescent-shaped crochet shawl and Gillette is knit with a touch of lace and interesting edging.You may find yourself reaching for the Summer Breeze Shawl as soon as it is complete to ward off the chill from air conditioning!

These are just a sample of the great projects our friends have shared in our Ravelry group – we’d love for you to join us there too! Pambill’s Meves vest using Sylvan Spirit is perfect across several seasons. Malone’s Peanut is also knit with Sylvan Spirit with a cuff-to-cuff construction. Hitchhiker is a very popular pattern on Ravelry for variegated yarns. Persimmontree’s Columbine version used her Green Mountain Spinnery handpaint (but you could use our handpainted sock yarns) for a striking effect.  And of course, socks are highly portable with interesting pattern and construction; these are Stefaniegrrr’s Jelly Beans. What are you working on this summer?

 

Pattern Round Up & Shop Hop Time!

June 19th, 2013

There a number of new patterns published recently that feature Green Mountain Spinnery yarns. Don’t leave your projects behind as the days warm up! Keep your yarn and needles nearby as you are sure to want a project to work on while waiting at the airport, riding in the car, or just relaxing on your porch.

Did you spot Jackaroo, by Amy Herzog, in the newest issue of knitty? Worked in Maine Organic, this jacket is warm (but not too warm), and sure to be a go-to staple in your wardrobe.  As with all of Amy’s designs, the construction lends itself to modifications so you will have a sweater you love that is a perfect fit for you! Stripes are a summer staple and are given a fresh look in Julia Farwell-Clay’s Albers Pullover. You can find this pattern in the Summer 2013 Interweave Knits. Our Cotton Comfort combines the pure softness of organic cotton with the elasticity and delicacy of fine wool.

We are very excited to also draw your attention to a these crochet patterns. The Bella Vesta, by Maureen Clark, is not only stylish but will provide you with a touch of warmth for those cool nights. You will need 4-6 skeins of Cotton Comfort or Sylvan Spirit, depending on size. Marly Bird designed the Fun in the Sun Cover-up for the Summer 2013 issue of Love of Crochet. Cotton Comfort comes in both bright and subtle colorways; we have something for everyone!

The I-91 Shop Hop is happening June 27 through 30, giving you four days to explore eleven great yarn shops along the I-91 corridor between Connecticut and Vermont. The Green Mountain Spinnery is the Vermont anchor and we do hope you will make a point to visit us and replenish your stash for those fall sweaters you want to knit! You can purchase your passport for $5 and you will receive a map of the shops and a bright tote bag to carry your purchases. There are great prizes daily in each of the shops and if you visit all of the participating shops you will be entered to win $550 in gift certificates plus yarn, books, tools & accessories plus a $50 gift certificate from every shop participating in the Shop Hop!

 

Projects in Alpaca Elegance

June 17th, 2013

Here in Vermont we’ve had a burst of unusual weather – within the same week we had snow and temperatures reaching over 80 degrees Fahrenheit! The weather seems to have settled a bit, and we are happy for warmer days and plenty of sunshine. We encourage you to reach for a wonderful skein of  Alpaca Elegance, our blend of 50% New England grown alpaca and 50% fine American wool. If you have never worked with an alpaca blend before, you are in for a treat! Alpaca fibers have a hollow core, making them lightweight yet warm.

Summer is a great time to try out a new technique. Give colorwork a try with Julia Farwell Clay’s “Wolves will be Wolves” hat. The sample shown used 140 yards of the main color, Chai, and 50 yards of each of the contrast colors, Cocoa and Cream. Sweaters may be far from your mind now, but remember they are a larger time investment. If you start now, you will be all ready for fall. We love Amy Christoffers’ Catboat Cardigan in Rosehip; this sweater strikes a balance between a traditional sweater and modern sports wear. This yarn is also great for crochet patterns. The Walnut Vest for Men by Mary Beth Temple is inspired by classic menswear and is sure to keep your interest with basketweave pattern in the color work section of Cream and Dark Roast against the Cocoa.

We have seen many great projects on Ravelry using this yarn too, have they caught your eye? Spindlbratt’s Doctor it’s the Dalek’s Mitts are perfect for every sci-fi fan. The One Button Waistcoat, knit by Woolymountain, is a great multi-season piece. We think you’ll agree that Riverside’s Maylie is so simply sweet! ShortrowT knit this short sleeve version of Cria, another great garment to span the seasons. Please feel free to add your projects using Green Mountain Spinnery yarns to our Ravelry group.

2alpacas
 4alpacas

Of course, we have to share a few alpaca pictures in a post about Alpaca Elegance! These are from Ibiwisi Alpacas in Westminster, VT, taken by Marti Stone.

Could your stash use a bit more Alpaca Elegance to round it out? You can purchase Alpaca Elegance online at spinnery.com!

Sock Art – Socks & More!

May 30th, 2013

Sock yarn is a magical thing in the knitting world. One skein is all you need for a pair of socks or a small shawl and two or three skeins can yield a sweater! Green Mountain Spinnery’s Sock Art Forest and Meadow each have such vibrant colorways and generous yardage making them a perfect choice many projects. Forest is a blend of 70% fine wool, 30% Tencel® and has a distinct sparkle that brings out fancy stitch patterns. Meadow is a blend of two exquisit American-grown natural fibers, 50% super fine kid mohair and 50% fine wool. This yarn is elastic, warm and soft with a subtle luster.

Socks are a portable project, making them perfect for spring and summer travel or enjoying the outdoors. The Trellis Socks are our newest sock pattern. This is a good pattern on which to try the “Magic Loop” technique, if you haven’t already. Designer Maureen Clark has provided us with an unusual and attractive cast on method at the toe, and her signature ribbed sole for great fit and comfort. The garter stitch short row heel is as easy and as cushy as they come. Sunny Side Up Socks are toe-up socks, also designed to be knit using the “Magic Loop” technique. These ankle socks sport a lacy diagonal pattern stitch, foot-hugging ribbed soles, and an elegant picot-edged cuff. They look great with a new pair of sping shoes. If you prefer a cuff-down style of sock, you will want to check out the Jelly Beans sock pattern. The textured stitch pattern is perfect for showing off variegated sock yarn.

Just because it has “Sock” in the name, that should not limit you when it comes to pattern choices! Bellflower by Cap Sease, is  a wrap sweater ideal for wearing over a camisole on warm spring days or cool summer nights. It can be worn as a vest, or if you prefer, small cap sleeves make it perfect for warding off evening chill. Meadow Lark Lace by Melissa Johnson is equally lovely as a scarf (using 1 skein) or shawl (using 3 skeins); this pattern is simple and satisfying. The Septor Cowl, designed by Maureen Clark, is an infinity scarf, crocheted flat and sewn together. Wear it as a single loop or doubled over for extra coziness. The Summer Breeze Shawl is a simple lacy shawl, perfect as a lightweight cover-up for a cool summer evening, designed by Cap Sease.

Here are a few more projects to inspire you, from customers like you! SpindlBratt’s Grisaille is modified from the original pattern with stunning results using only 2.25 skeins of Forest in the Wheat colorway. Dodiraz’s Dandelions Shawl is a bright and sunny shawl using half a skein of Meadow in green and one skein (plus a little bit more) of Meadow in yellow. Knittingdove’s Affection combines 3 different colorways of Forest in this wonderful wrap.

Whether you knit (or crochet) garments or accessories with Sock Art, we encourage you to share your projects with us and others in our Ravelry group and on our Facebook page!

 

 

For the little ones

May 8th, 2013

Spring is a time to enjoy the little things like little flowers and little lambs, and is a perfect time to work up adorable little baby gifts! Baby projects can be made quickly without requiring a lot of yardage, and are unique, unlike anything you would find in a big box store.

stacieknits2′s Be-Ribboned Bonnet

Cap’s Hat

Baby Bonnets

Spinnery yarns come in a wide variety of colorways, so you can work with the traditional blue/pink baby palette, go bright and bold, or stick with neutrals and match anything!  The quickest projects for babies are probably booties or hats – of course this is dependent on the stitch pattern and your own skill! The classic Baby Booties offered by the Spinnery are also found as “Be-Ribboned Booties” in One Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn Shop Favorites.  Baby hats are not just for winter! Together with the “Be-Ribboned Bonnet”, also found in the same book, you’ll have a gift ready-to-go!  Cotton Comfort, our Wool/Cotton blend is a great choice for the sensitive scalp. Cap’s Hat and the Baby Bonnet patterns are simply sweet and just right for a carry-along project.

daisyknit’s Baby Leggings

Peanut

Blankie

If you have a little more time, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Leggings are a classic choice in Cotton Comfort or New Mexico Organic. The Pebble Yoke Sweater & Hat set is a charming set that so soft thanks to Sylvan Spirit. Peanut is an interesting knit that will keep your attention if you are waiting on the arrival of a new little one! A blanket pattern like Blankie, can be easily sized up for a crib or down for a car seat.

Harleyranch’s Striped Kitty

Eucalan Wool Wash

Have you tried making toys or stuffed animals? We have said before that gauge is important, but with toys there is a bit of wiggle room – using a lighter weight yarn will result in a smaller toy! Louisa Harding’s Cat pattern is made with rectangles of Cotton Comfort! This pattern is also part of the collection in Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, a book that has many more ideas for baby items in our yarns! Before you wrap up your baby gift, it is a good idea to give it a soak in a gentle wool wash like Eucalan. Eucalan has tips on their website for washing wool diaper covers, stuffed animals, and blankies!

We encourage you to pick up your needles and hooks and join us in a KAL/CAL this Spring for Baby Items, happening in our Ravelry group! Cast on between now and the end of May, your choice of baby item (or items) in Green Mountain Spinnery yarns. A random winner will be selected from the finished projects to receive prizes from Green Mountain Spinnery and Eucalan!

A Shawl Showcase

April 24th, 2013

Spring is so here! Sure, Mother Nature could pull a fast one on us still and bring a few more grey days and a lot of mud, but instead we will choose to focus on welcoming spring with warmer weather yarns and colorful accessories. Shawls can add a pop of color to brighten your day while being an easy extra layer to keep the chills away.

Catalina WrapGillette

The Green Mountain Spinnery has several cute and easy shawl patterns you should check out. The Septor Cowl, (above left) designed by Maureen Clark, is the newest in the bunch.  This crochet pattern is worked flat, and then seamed to create an infinity loop style accessory and uses one skein of Simply Fine or Sock Art.  The Catalina Wrap is another crochet design using 2 skeins of Simply Fine (center). If you prefer a knitting pattern, Simply Fine is also the yarn called for in the Gillette Shawl (above right). Gale Zucker took the photos of the Catalina Wrap and the Gillette Shawl as part of a recent photo shoot in Connecticut; you can read more about the experience on her blog!

Perhaps you are the type to be inspired by the leaves that are dotting the trees once again?  The Leafy Lace shawl (above, left) will work up quickly in a DK-weight yarn, like Sylvan Spirit! The Summer Breeze shawl, (center, left), uses Simply Fine or Sock Art to make this lightweight cover-up in a gentle lace pattern.  Two recent publications have included Simply Fine shawls as well. The Spring/Summer 2013 issue of the Twist Collective presents Spoleto, (center, right) designed by Sandi Rosner, and involves a lace and a touch of beadwork. The Flanders Scarf pattern, found in the summer issue of knitscene (above, far right) is a garter stitch scarf worked with lace insert and bobbled edge perfect for a take-along knitting project.

Here are a few more projects we discovered on Ravelry to inspire your needles and hooks as spring approaches! The Farmer’s Market Capelet, (above left) designed by Suzy Allen, uses Sylvan Spirit to keep the chill away on breezy mornings.  Ravelry user Dodiraz also used Sylvan Spirit in her version of Veera Valimaki’s Different Lines pattern (above, center). Cotton Comfort was used in batyabeth’s  Miami Beach Shawl (above, right).

We hope you will share your favorite shawl for Spinnery yarns in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Friend of the Spinnery: Suzy Allen

March 8th, 2013

Photo by Suzy Allen

Today we would like to put a spotlight on a good friend of Green Mountain Spinnery, designer Suzy Allen.  Suzy is the force behind Chain Two, a purely digital e-zine that focuses on the beauty of crochet.  In addition to promoting these fashionable and modern crochet designs, she is a frequent participant in the Knitters Retreat weekends and a prolific designer.

From an early age she was surrounded by great handmade heirlooms passed down by her great-grandmothers. As she grew up, she began to notice hand knits everywhere she went and was frequently told “I made it”. Suzy was determined to learn how to make those items as well. Her mom taught her how to knit with a pair of chopsticks and yellow yarn when she was 11 years old.  As she says, “While you couldn’t really make anything and she never taught me how to bind off, the passion stuck.” Years later, she found herself again with yellow yarn, and this time a purple crochet hook and a “Teach Yourself to Crochet in One Day” book. She taught herself how to crochet, with a bit of help from a family friend, while she kept her boyfriend (now husband) company during a hospital stay.

Suzy’s father was born and raised in Vermont. Her father’s family has a history of being in the state, farming and building houses, since the 1600′s! Her parents met in Korea, settled down in New York, and continued to summer in Vermont over the fourth of July. Suzy spotted a travel pamphlet for Green Mountain Spinnery at a Visitor Information center during one of these vacations and asked to go! When she was old enough to drive the car herself, she made it a priority to seek out the Spinnery! She says she was immediately captivated by the gorgeous colors, amazing textures and amazing machinery they had in the back. Her first purchase was a book with baby patterns, blue Cotton Comfort, and a Green Mountain Spinnery tote bag.  She never misses a chance to stop at the Spinnery and her Green Mountain Spinnery stash continues to grow, especially because she now visits them at shows as well.  When asked to pick a favorite, she says, “It’s probably Sylvan Spirit or Mountain Mohair. The Sylvan Spirit is awesome because of the stitch definition it gives and Mountain Mohair is perfect for colorwork. Those yarns are the first two I ever designed with as well. Every time I knit with GMS yarn I fall more and more in love. If home is where my yarn is, my heart is in Vermont! I feel connected to my family every time I knit with it.”

 

What’s currently on her needles? She is swatching up some great new designs with gorgeous Spinnery yarns. Her hint: I feel a cardigan and a hoodie coming on! You can find her designs on Ravelry where she is known as Chaintwomag and on her website, Chain 2. If you just can’t wait, you’ll want to check out several of her currently available designs: Fire and Ice, a crochet shawl (shown at the top of this post) worked with Simply Fine; Green Mountain Aran Mittens crocheted with Capricorn; Rhinebeck Boot Warmers which would be great in Weekend Wool; Putney Cowl in Mountain Mohair; and the Farmer’s Market Capelet in Sylvan Spirit. All photos by Suzy Allen Designs, used with permission.

Suzy may be a knit and crochet wear designer by night, but her day job is a physical therapist. These two passions are shared in a presentation she has given on the Retreat Weekends called Healthy Hands, Healthy Knitting. The form of stretching she teaches is called Active Isolated Stretching, which was developed by Jim and Phil Wharton who are licensed massage therapists out of NYC. This method of stretching not only helps to increase flexibility helps to increase blood flow as well. These stretches leave the stitcher more energized and ready to sit and stitch. She also covers optimal positioning while knitting as well as the best way to take care of your hands throughout the winter stitching months. A good stretch to help prevent carpal tunnel is flexing and extending your wrists.

Lets do it together, First Wrist Extensors:

1)      Using your dominant hand, bring your fingertips up towards the ceiling (wrist extension) hold for 2 seconds (This is not the typical hold for 30 second stretch, this helps increase blood flow!)

2)      Repeat 10 times

And for the Wrist Flexors:

1)      Using your dominant hand, bring your fingertips down towards the floor (wrist flexion) hold for 2 seconds (This is not the typical hold for 30 second stretch, this helps increase blood flow!)

2)      Repeat 10 times

March is also National Crochet Month and it is a great time to stretch your crafting muscles! We would love to hear about your favorite Suzy Allen design in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

 

Weekend Wool is Here!

February 21st, 2013

To those who work at Green Mountain Spinnery, it seems like we have been working on Weekend Wool for a long while.  It is very exciting to hear the reactions of fans and friends to our new yarn as they get the chance to finally experience it as well.  At Vogue Knitting Live, we were able to share the first skeins and a small selection of colors. The full color palette will be at Stitches West this weekend. If you are unable to attend the Stitches event, you can do your shopping online at spinnery.com!

Weekend Wool is 100% wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US. It features a blend of the soft wools from Rambouillet, Columbia, Targhee and Fresian sheep mixed with the lustrous fleeces from Corriedale, Montadale and Romneys.  The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition. Many of our best loved colors appear again in this line along with lovely new dyed shades and harmonious naturals. We have been having some fun swatching too, each swatch in the photo on the right uses the same four colors: Lichen, Poppy, Pine Warbler and Natural Dark. Their placement makes them appear to be different!

With a new yarn often comes the question, what to knit first? With 140 yards in a skein, you will have lots of flexibility in selecting a project. The Great Meadows Hat is an excellent opportunity to play with the color palette (as you can see in the swatch picture), as is our Snowflake Hat pattern. Hats are not the only ways to play with color! The Gulfoss Sweater and Great Meadows Children’s Cardigan would look fantastic in your favorite choice of color combinations! The Spinnery’s Basic Mittens pattern and Ascutney Mountain Hat would also be fantastic in Weekend Wool. The way this winter is continuing on, IBH’s Toasty Socks are an excellent choice for a sturdy boot sock in this new yarn.

We hope that you enjoy introducing Weekend Wool to your stash and we look forward to seeing what you create! Please let us know in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Composing a Color

February 6th, 2013

There are several ways to get color on yarn. The most obvious is to dye the yarn after it is spun. The Spinnery does do this with several of its yarns including Cotton Comfort and Weekend Wool. Another way to develop colors is by blending different colored fibers together making what we call a “composed” color.  This is how the shades in Mountain Mohair, Sylvan Spirit and Alpaca Elegance are produced.

swatchesRecently a custom spinning customer requested that we produce our Spinnery Sock Art – Forest in a custom color.  She wanted a color that was reminiscent of a “wheat field”, so we set to work. First we look through some swatches to get some ideas of the range of colors to go for- this is the most intuitive part of this process and fun because it does reveal a bit about how individuals here see and respond to colors.  Some people love greeny–yellows, some like a more buttery tone, some hate yellow all together.

ingredients cardtest3

Once a goal color is set the next step is to do some very small tests by measuring out different proportions of ingredient colors, hand carding and then spinning small test skeins. This process will get us to a base recipe for a test run of actual yarn, carded and spun on the mill machines. The test run of roving allows us to get a look at how the “real” color of the yarn will look. Now is the time to make adjustments. The roving can be cut off the spools and re-carded with added ingredients. If the color looks good we go ahead and make the yarn.

 cardtest2testcard

The yarns shown in these photos are very pretty but in the end the client had a slightly different color in mind.  We started the process started again with more samples and test runs. In the end, the desired color was achieved and the Spinnery learned that the Forest sock yarn has a lot of potential for new colorways using the composing method.

WheatSSAF

Test run yarn is still good yarn, just a bit unusual. We often have test yarns for sale in our shop in Putney. The yarns shown here are also available on-line as the Spinnery Sock Art Forest Wheat colorway. It is a nice springtime yellow perfect for a light cardigan or a great pair of socks. We would love to hear your thoughts on color and see what our yarns inspire you to create! Please let us know in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Indulging in 2013!

January 17th, 2013

We hope your New Year has gotten off on the right foot! Many people look for ways to re-energize and renew their spirit in January after excitement of the holidays settles down.  Here at The Spinnery, we  have a few ideas to help you accomplish this.

Our Winter Yarn Sale is going on now through the end of January (while supplies last). If you didn’t find any Green Mountain Spinnery yarns among your holiday gifts this is a great time to indulge and treat yourself! Maybe your stash was depleted when you knit or crocheted all those holiday gifts? Introduce a few favorites to your stash to inspire you  as you consider your upcoming projects for 2013.

 

 

Weekend1Our 2-ply worsted Wonderfully Woolly has been discontinued to make room for our new yarn Weekend Wool, a limited selection is available now! The full line will be available in February. Many of the best loved colorways of Wonderfully Woolly along with some lovely new shades will be featured in this blend of 100% wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US.  The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition.  Many of our best loved colors Lichen, Poppy, Deep Lake, and Pumpkin appear again in this line along with lovely new dyed shades and harmonious naturals. We will be bringing this with us to Vogue Knitting Live! in New York City this weekend, make sure you stop by our booth and be among the first to check out this new yarn!

Another way to treat yourself and re-energize your knitting is to participate in the Sugar Season Knitting Retreat! Join us at the Saxtons River Inn in Saxtons, Vermont, March 22 – 24, for a relaxing weekend of knitting and companionship. Our featured teacher is Amy Herzog of Fit To Flatter fame, who will lead the group in an exploration of the tools you need to produce sweaters perfect for your figure every time you pick up the needles. There will also be plenty of time to explore the area, shop at our yarn store and to sit and knit. The price for the weekend ranges from $430 – $550, depending on the room, and includes the cost of your room, the workshops and meals for the weekend.

We look forward to hearing about your yarn purchases and project plans in our Ravelry group and Facebook page. You can also share your excitement with other Green Mountain Spinnery fans are already signed up for the retreat. We will see you there!

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