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Customer Project Round-Up

November 22nd, 2013

Green Mountain Spinnery continues to strive to create yarns of the highest quality, to help sustain regional sheep farming, and to develop environmentally sound ways to process natural fibers. Seeing our yarns worked up by our fans and friends makes all the work worthwhile. Today we’d like to use this blog post to put the spotlight on projects recently completed in Spinnery yarns.

Our Fall Hike KAL recently wrapped up in our Ravelry group. Participants knit up a variety of items and are ready for the upcoming winter season! These sweaters were knit during the KAL, from left to right: Finnsmydog’s Strokkur sweater in Green Mountain Green, Coldtoesneedsocks’ Jackaroo sweater in Alpaca Elegance, and Knitngtriathlete’s Autumn End II sweater, also in Alpaca Elegance.

Accessories may be quicker to complete than a sweater, but they can be just as satisfying! They are a great way to try out a new-to-you yarn or colorway! Here we have, from left to right: Luvthesnow’s Japanese Wave Mittens in Mountain Mohair, MarkinSF’s Mittens #1 Learning to Cable in New Mexico Organic, and Caramora’s Fishbone Snood in Sylvan Spirit.

One of our Ravelry group members, Malone, has had a highly productive fall! You can see all her Spinnery yarn projects here. During our Fall KAL she knit up a pair of Lodestar Mittens in Weekend Wool and Margaret’s Tam in Alpaca Elegance (both from our Green Mountain Weekend Ebook), and a set of Cider Press Mitts in Maine Organic.

We love to see your projects – finished and in progress! You are welcome to share them in our Ravelry group, on our Facebook page and even send us a Tweet. For even more project inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards!

 

 

 

Knitting Staples

November 8th, 2013

It feels like this year the holiday season is coming fast and furious. We hope that in the midst of searching for your must-have recipes for those holiday dinners and locating the cherished decorations you have out every year, you find more than a few moments with your yarn and needles (or hooks). Here are just a few of our favorite knitting staples and classics, most enjoyable when worked in your favorite Green Mountain Spinnery yarns.

Hats are a great “go-to” project for knitters of all abilities. The construction is usually similar between different designs but there is room for modifications or improvisations to create something totally unique.  The Warmest Winter Hat, designed by Spinnery friend John Crane in three different weights, is a reversible hat for the person who’s a bit buttoned-down on the outside but jazzy on the inside. It will keep the head toasty-warm on the coldest and windiest days of winter. The only hat s/he’ll ever want to wear! Pictured in Alpaca Elegance and (far left). The Ascutney Mountain Hat & Earwarmer prototype was “borrowed” by our staff members for ski outings to various mountains! This classic design by Melissa Johnson is warm and flattering hat with a cabled band that is knit sideways and an attractive double decrease at the crown. The cabled band can be knit alone to wear as an earwarmer. Pictured in Lichen Weekend Wool (center left). Hopefully you could find time to devote one pleasant evening to knitting and end up with this versatile Beret! A seed stitch band snugs over the ears on a winter’s day, or fits comfortably on the crown of a lucky head. Pictured in Pistachio Mountain Mohair (center right). Riley’s Hat is a design by Maureen Clark for her grandson. This retro-styled hat with earflaps ties under the chin to stay on through all sorts of winter fun. Pictured in Blue Opal and Rose Quartz Sylvan Spirit (far right).

Portable projects are wonderful to keep with you when you have to wait for something. These could be the hats we mentioned above but socks, mittens, or scarves are also great choices. Isabelle Hegemann, also known as IBH, had twenty-six grandchildren and great-grandchildren and knit socks for each of them annually. Her step-by-step teaching pattern, IBH’s Toasty Socks , will have you confidently knitting a rib pattern in the round on double-pointed needles, turning a heel, and finishing the toe with kitchener stitch. Pictured in Natural Grey and White Vermont Organic (left). Little Hands, designed by Cap Sease, are quick knit mittens for the younger set. You can make a pair with each chart for your favorite child. Pictured in various colors of Mountain Mohair (center). There’s no denying the appeal of the Simple Pleasures Scarf constructed in garter stitch on the diagonal. What could be more simple, yet simply elegant? Any of our soft yarns will do – Mountain Mohair, Green Mountain Green or Alpaca Elegance. Pictured in Vincent’s Gold Mountain Mohair (right).


What are the projects you turn to again and again? There are many more patterns to choose from on our website, including Green Mountain Weekend, our new ebook! We’d love to hear about them in our Ravelry group, on our Facebook page, or even by Tweet! Check out our Pinterest boards for even more project and pattern inspiration!

Green Mountain Weekend

October 30th, 2013

Green Mountain Weekend EbookGreen Mountain Spinnery is pleased to present the brand-new ebook, Green Mountain Weekend. Fall is prime time for weekends in Vermont. For more than 20 years, our Knitter’s Weekend Retreats have provided great company, good food, wonderful learning experiences, and of course, yarny goodness. In addition,our weekends have offered a chance for our own Spinnery designers to share their passion. We invited these folks to celebrate their Green Mountain Spinnery experience by creating a design just for us. This e-book is available for purchase as a digital download and features 8 patterns. Click on the photo below for the Ravelry project page details.

 

Aria

Aria

Reawick

Reawick

Odiorne

Odiorne

Putney Mountain Vest

Putney Mountain Vest

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Lodestar Mittens

Lodestar Mittens

Rahm

Rahm

Margaret's Tam

Margaret’s Tam

As always, we love when you share your projects with us. Check out our Ravelry group, where we are already seeing projects from the ebook. Here is a pair of Lodestar Mittens and here is Margaret’s Tam! You may also post to our Facebook page or send us a Tweet. If you are on Pinterest, you can find our Green Mountain Weekend board set up and ready for you to repin!

Wow Your Friends with Colorwork

October 7th, 2013

One of the greatest parts about being in New England, Vermont in particular, in the fall is the ultimate explosion of color. As the trees that surround Green Mountain Spinnery turn to shades of red, gold, orange, yellow and gold, we can’t help but think about color in our fiber projects. Colorwork in knitting often looks more complicated than it is. There are quite a few ways to add color to your knitting and we hope you would consider including one of these techniques when you work on your next sweater, maybe as part of the 30 Day Sweater challenge!

 

The simplest form of color work is stripes. At first glance stripes may not seem that interesting but there are so many possibilities and combinations of stripes to try! If you’re feeling like making some stripes and want something new, check out this random stripe generator and have fun trying it out. One thing you should watch out for if you’re knitting your project in the round is the little jog that happens when you change colors. For instructions on how to make a jogless stripe in the round check out this great video over at New Stitch A Day. Shown at left is the Solstice Sweater, knit in Denim and Unbleached White Cotton Comfort.

 

 

Another easy way to wow your friends with color is with slip stitch or mosaic colorwork. This style of colorwork was developed by the knitting superstar Barbara Walker and is achieved by using slip stitches to draw color up into the next row. It is very simple to accomplish because you only work with one color at a time. That means you don’t have to worry about carrying multiple colors along each row and do the finger gymnastics required to switch back and forth between them. You can knit very simple patterns all the way to intricate motifs. Labyrinth is a design by Cap Sease that is lightweight yet warm, pictured here in Luminosity and Peridot Sylvan Spirit.

 

One of the most popular forms of colorwork (and the style most people think of when you say “colorwork”) is fair isle or stranded colorwork. Here the design is accomplished by alternating the color the stitches are knit with, in a particular row. The only technique used in this style is the knit stitch; you’ll need to learn to hold two pieces of yarn at once, but the outcome is certainly worthwhile. One unique characteristic about this technique is that it must be performed in the round; if you are not a fan of purling this could be the technique for you! If you want a cardigan, you first knit in the round and then steek it (a method for cutting your work) open. This photo shows one of newest patterns that utilizes fair isle and steeking, the Putney Mountain Vest; it will be released in our upcoming e-book, Green Mountain Weekend. Weekend Wool is an excellent choice for colorwork projects.

 

 

The last technique to share with you is the duplicate stitch. This is a way to add color to your work that you don’t have to think about before you begin knitting your project. Duplicate stitch is when you use a contrasting color of yarn and a darning needle to follow the paths of the stitches to create a small area of color like a monogram or small motif. It is a simple way add color and personalize your project after you have knit it. Shown at right are the Squirrel in the Woods mittens in which the squirrel motif is worked in duplicate stitch. If you are looking to design your own colorwork sweater there are many many great colorwork mitten patterns from which to draw inspiration!

If you’d like to learn more about planning your next sweater project, download the free Sweater Planning Guide from the 30 Day Sweater Challenge. This guide is full of advice on design basics, color choice, how much yarn to buy and everything else that goes into knitting a sweater that you’ll love! Click here to download.

This post is a part of the 30 Day Sweater Challenge promo tour. Join us this October as we help 5,000 knitters around the world knit a sweater they’ll love, in 30 days. To sign up just visit 30daysweater.com/greenmountain and download your free Sweater Planning Guide. It will help you get started on the right foot!

 

Ready for Fall

September 19th, 2013

We are welcoming Fall with open arms and yarn and needles at the ready. Here in Vermont at the Spinnery, the air is cooler and makes you want to breathe a little deeper. Sunny days invite us to get outside to go for a hike or join friends at a tailgate party. These are the occasions and places, along with the fiber festivals that we have posted about before, where it is completely okay to pull out your favorite hand knit and crochet accessory items.

Make sure you take care of warming up your head, hands and feet with projects that work up quickly while making the most of one or two skeins of yarn. We think any of these would be perfect to start now, and maybe you would like to join our KAL / CAL happening over in our Ravelry group! From left to right: Phoebe Cowl in Simply Fine, Eric’s Glovelets in Sylvan Spirit, Icebreaker Hat in Mountain Mohair (click here for team-inspired color combinations!),

We are also inspired by the work of our fans and friends. Here are a few projects shared with us on Ravelry. From left to right: savoryknitting’s Hat for Malone in Weekend Wool, lizhonig’s Ribbed Mitts in New Mexico Organic, and Malone’s Plover Shawl in Simply Fine.

How are you welcoming Fall? Have you worn a special handknit accessory while you are out leaf peeping this season? You can find the Green Mountain Spinnery on Facebook, Ravelry, Pinterest and Twitter – tag us! Enjoy this fleeting season!

 

Fiber Festival Season!

September 13th, 2013

Fiber festivals are a feast for your senses: seeing what others choose to wear and the colorful yarns, hearing the animals, smelling the “yarn fumes” and touching the fibers! Some fiber enthusiasts like to go in to a fiber event, such as Rhinebeck (a.k.a. the New York Sheep & Wool Festival), and see which yarn calls to them. For others, it is best to go in with a list and have a specific purchase already in mind. While we can’t say which way will work the best for you, it is a good idea to have a general list in mind for either a certain color you are looking for or yarn to finally see in person, in addition to a project you would like to make.

The GMS Booth at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Show

Why not take a step from our Fall KAL / CAL? We are inviting our fans and friends to go on a “Virtual Vermont Hike” with us – hike a “Side-to-Side” trail by making a project that uses 2 skeins of yarn (at least 200 yards) or hike “End-to-End” with a project that takes 4 skeins (at least 500 yards). There is already much chatter in our Ravelry group with ideas for each trail.

What can you make with 2 skeins? Fall and winter accessories are a great choice. Here we have, from left to right: Lauren’s Hat, Ascutney Aran Hat (each in Mountain Mohair or Weekend Wool) and the Turkish Rose Mittens (Alpaca Elegance).

Are you ready to sink your teeth into a larger project? These are just a few of our patterns that will take at least 4 skeins or more! From left to right: Little Billy Goat (Capricorn), Addie McGlone (Cotton Comfort or Sylvan Spirit), and Cap’s Comfy Cardigan (Mountain Mohair).

We hope that you are able to attend a fiber event this fall, and if it is one we are scheduled to attend, please stop by to say “Hello”. Part of the fun for us is to see what you have knit and hear about your plans for our yarn. Of course, you can feel free to share your new stash enhancements in our Ravelry group, on our Facebook page, or even Tweet us right from the festival!

Meet the Designer, Cap Sease

August 27th, 2013

Cap

We are pleased to take a moment here on the blog to put the spotlight on Catherine “Cap” Sease, longtime friend of and designer for Green Mountain Spinnery. You may already be a fan of her many designs for the Spinnery or her book, Cast On Cast Off. Libby Mills, one of the founders of the Spinnery, was her high school weaving teacher!

Cap’s grandmother taught her to knit when she was about 5 or 6 and she has been knitting ever since. Both of her sisters also learned about the same time and one is still an avid knitter today. A yellow cardigan in an interrupted rib is a vague memory of an early project. By the time she was in high school, she was knitting sweaters not only for herself, but others as well. Sometime, many years ago, she realized that patterns weren’t absolutes and if she wanted to make a change in a pattern, no one was going to stop her. This epiphany was incredibly liberating as she realized she could use different yarns or colors or stitches, and she could make a high or lower v-neck or whatever! That unleashed the designer inside, but it took some time before she designed something completely from scratch.

 

Cap has been designing for the Spinnery for the past 8 years. This relationship started when the Spinnery brought out a child’s sweater and she made a hat to go with it. When working on designs, she thinks about the qualities and gauge of the yarn – what type and style of garment do they suggest—and also what stitch would show it off best. That process leads her in one direction, sometimes even two or more. Other times Cap has a project in mind and then chooses the yarn that she thinks will work best. Above, from left to right, are the Van Dyke Tee, Gulfoss, and Cap’s Comfy Cardigan.

The inspiration for her designs come from everywhere. She has a pile of ripped out photographs from magazines, each of a sweater, hat, scarf or whatever that with a few changes would make a great pattern. Also, she makes a note of what people around her are wearing, with special attention to an interesting stitch, style or idea that might eventually end up in a pattern. She has been known to surreptitiously follow someone around in order to sketch out a pattern or figure out a stitch on something that person is wearing!  Perhaps it was a crayon box that got her thinking about a design that ended up as Stripy Stripe Sweater. Shown above, from left to right, are the Stripy Stripe Sweater, Peanut, and the Pebble Yoke Sweater and Hat.

When asked if she has a favorite Spinnery yarn, she says she can’t say that one would be singled out! Though she is particularly fond of Alpaca Elegance, Simply Fine and Sylvan Spirit as they are fun to knit with and produce elegant garments. They are relatively fine yarns, but wonderfully warm. She notes that she especially like the slight sheen of Sylvan Spirit.

rahmCapMobius

 She has just finished designing a hoodie cardigan for a child that will come out in the Spinnery’s first e-book in October. It is designed in honor of her grandnephew Rahm and we have a peek at the design! On the needles now is a frilly Mobius cowl in hand-painted Simply Fine. The frills are great fun to make and it should be an easy pattern for knitters with be a nice introduction to Mobius knitting. She is also thinking about a child’s sweater in honor of her newest grandniece. All she knows now is that it will be called Maisie and will be made with Sylvan Spirit.

Last year, the book Cast On, Bind Off came out and has done wonderfully well. This has led to book signings and teaching workshops which has been good fun.  Cap has a second book in the works, this one on seams for knitters! In addition, to knitting, she also weaves and makes baskets. With all this work with fibers, you would think that is all she does, but it is only her avocation, at least at the moment. By profession, Cap is an objects conservator. She works in a museum where she takes care of the collections, ensuring that storage and exhibit conditions are optimal for their long term preservation. She also repairs objects when they get broken or damaged, clean them for exhibit, and so forth. Her entire career, she has worked with anthropological collections, but her specialty is archaeological material. Cap has worked on numerous excavations throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East and has been a consultant in legal cases involving stolen antiquities. This work has also taken her to a war zone as a member of a US State Department team assessing the conditions in the Iraqi Museum after the war in 2003. Everywhere her travels have led her, she seems to find textiles and fibers.

We are looking forward to more fantastic designs the future work that Cap shares with us! Have you made one of her designs? We’d love to see it; you can share it with us in our Ravelry group or Facebook page. You can even Tweet us a work-in-progress shot!

Back to School, with Love

August 8th, 2013

Back to school ads are starting to appear in newspapers, online and on tv and there is a very slight shift in the weather lately that promises fall will be here soon. As you take stock of the supplies your favorite student will need for the upcoming school year, why not include a new school sweater for the fall or replace the favorite hat and mittens that were lost last year? Green Mountain Spinnery has several classic patterns in a variety of yarns and colorways that will allow you to create a handmade hug!

Sweaters for the preschool set can be worked up quickly. The Little Billy Goat vest, in Capricorn, is perfect for a chilly day or for layering in winter. Mountain Mohair and Weekend Wool both come in a variety of colors, just like your favorite crayons. Mix and match them for a one-of-a-kind Stripy Stripe Sweater that is sure to please every child. The String of Pearls sweater, shown here in Sylvan Spirit, adds a touch of fancy without a mess of sequins and glitter.

 

What about the older kids? Why not work up a new winter hat, now before the weather turns truly bitter. Our pattern page for hats includes hats, caps and earwarmers; there is something for everyone! If you are looking for something a bit more colorful and bold, the Anatolian Flip, Icebreaker Hat, and Happenin’ Hat are all great choices. We have suggested color combinations but these make great canvases as a way to show one’s school or team spirit!

   

Though we often think first to put on a sweater and hat when the weather turns cooler, in the early days of fall that can be too much; after all it’s not winter yet! Fingerless gloves, like Eric’s Glovelets, are a great choice for musicians and outdoor sport spectators. The Phoebe Cowl will keep the cool breeze at bay without the bulk of the scarf. Leg warmers are practical and fashionable! The Renaissance Leg Warmers are a great accessory in which you could go elegant with classic Fair Isle details or playful with stripes. These patterns are great for teens and adults!

We’d love to see your work as it heads back to school! Have you made a sweater, new hat and mittens, or maybe a blanket for a dorm room for this school year? Share it with us and other fans of Green Mountain Spinnery in our Ravelry group, on our Facebook page or even send us a tweet @GMSpinneryCoop!

Cotton Comfort and a Sock KAL

July 26th, 2013

Fans and friends of the Green Mountain Spinnery love yarn, especially wool.  Sometimes wool just isn’t the right choice for the project or the season. As summer has settled in we would like to put a spotlight on Cotton Comfort and share some project inspiration with you! Cotton Comfort combines the pure softness of organic cotton with the elasticity and delicacy of fine wool. The knitted fabric is elegant but casual, light but warm, wearable year-round.

The Cot Blanket, by Lousia Harding, is a great portable project for summer as each square is made individually then seamed together.  The original pattern was done in one color; a touch of color on the border is extra special, as shown here in Kabs’ Blanket for Jen’s baby.  Short sleeve sweaters are great for cool, breezy days. SnowWhiteMama’s version of Margarita is a great interpretation of Thea Colman’s design. We also love Champagne, another great Babycocktails design in Cotton Comfort. If you are in the mood for a quick knit the Southmoor hat, by Erica Jackofsky (FiddleKnits) can’t be beat and would look great in any of our colorways!

As we have blogged about before, socks are a great summertime project! If you are working on a pair, maybe a Spinnery Sock pattern in a Spinnery sock yarn, like Sock Art Forest or Meadow, come on over to our Ravelry group. There is an informal knit-along taking place there in the thread, “Summer of a Spinnery Sock”. Malone finished a pair of BFF Socks and has cast on a Herringbone Lace sock. Nutmegknitter finished her Jelly Beans, and knitunderground shared this Cables and Corrugations sock. Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer here in the United States; we’d like to celebrate all these socks by drawing a winner at random from all the finished socks to win a yarn prize!

We’d love to hear what you are working on! We love when you share your projects done in Spinnery yarn in our Ravelry group and  when you post to our Facebook page. Happy Knitting!

 

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?

 

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