Many of us at the Spinnery will be helping to judge this year’s Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival Contests. We are thrilled to see what visitors to the Festival have been making this year and we hope that the broad range of fun categories will give everyone a chance to shine!
Hand-spun Yarn Contest
All weight yarn consisting of at least 50% animal fiber. Show us the naturals. Show us the dyed. Show us your spun magic!
Year of the Sheep & Goat Sweater
Celebrate all fiber animals and the beauty that comes from uniting fiber into yarn! Knit, Weave or Crochet a sweater using a mill or hand-spun yarn with a fiber blend, such as wool & mohair (sheep & goat) or alpaca, angora, llama, cashmere, camel, dog, yak and qiviut.
Small is Beautiful
Gloves, mittens, cowls, scarves, shawls, hats, leg warmers, socks, slippers, boot toppers….We must not forget, that sometimes the best things, come in small packages….Knit, weave or crochet a beautiful and definitely essential accessory.
Let’s honor the ancient tradition of felting; one of the first fabrics known, and still widely used and admired today. Whether a yurt covering, cozy slippers or a mouse cat toy, share your needle-felted or wet-felted creations.
I Felt too!
This special category is for knitted or woven articles that have been felted.
Ewe & Me
The gift of passing down a passion and skill is one to be treasured. Ask any fiber artist, and most will tell you they learned their craft from a grandparent, an aunt, a friend…someone who cared enough to sit down and share what they love with whom they love! Bring in a garment that is a collaboration (and hopefully wonderful experience) between TWO to create ONE b-ewe-tiful creation.
I did it ALL-BY-MYSELF!! (For fiber lovers 12 years old and under).
Show off your fiber creations…perhaps knit clothes for your doll or a blanket for your teddy bear. A hat! Woven pot holder! A crocheted granny-square afghan, felted soap or cuddly needle-felting animals. Show us your fiber creations. (This contest is not judged and every entry gets a prize!)
A Picture is worth a Thousand Words
Share your photograph showing us your view of beauty and wonder in the natural world; plants,animals, the beautiful Vermont landscape.
A Poem is its own Picture
Share your poem showing us your view of beauty and wonder in the natural word; plants, animals, the beautiful Vermont landscape.
For those of you that are interested in entering a craft of your own in one of these categories, check out the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival’s contest page for the Official Rules as well as information on how to download entry cards and the how, when, and where of submitting your entry.
We hope that you’ll be inspired to enter and we eagerly look forward to seeing your submission!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.*
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.