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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?

 

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!

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