Down to the wire

We’re into the double digits on our advent calendars and we know that the remaining days will pass in a flash.  If you are planning to hand craft your holiday gifts this year, we thought we’d share a few project ideas that could be created in an afternoon (or less) of knitting or crocheting.

We hope that you’ll be able to get any one of these (or even a handful of them) under the tree just in time.


Our go-to yarn choice for last minute knits would have to be Capricorn.  Our bulky single ply yarn knits up in a flash at roughly 3 stitches per inch on US 10 needles.  Everything created with this blend of wool and mohair is cozy warm and deliciously soft.  The delicate halo from the mohair makes these items even more snuggly looking.


Our Capricorn Hats  and the Steps and Ladders Hat (on the left) knit up quickly; and that stranded color work ensures a double layer of yarn over your ears for a very snug and cozy hat.  You could combine contrasting colors of our soft neutrals or provide a pop of color with one of the hand-painted skeins that Melissa has created for us.


Ellen Mason’s Polka Knot Hat, Ekaterina Blanchard’s Pomme hat and Johnny Vasquez’s FREE Gridiron Hat are a few other great alternatives that can be knit with a single skein (or a bit less).

If you think that a cowl might better fit the bill, we can recommend several FREE patterns: Purl Bee’s Bandana Cowl or Garter Gaiter are both quick knits; and Kathryn Jones’ Catesby Three-Hour Cowl is a crochet project that looks fun.

If you’d like to give the gift of warm hands, you might want to consider using a single strand of our Capricorn to knit up our Bulky Mittens (instead of the double strand of worsted weight that the pattern specifies).  You might also want to try Marielle Henault’s FREE Bella’s Mittens.  Over 10,000 ravelers have knit up this pattern, and have been delighted with the results.


Lastly, if a pint sized project is required, you might want to consider our Little Billy Goat vest.  This knits up to a snug layering pieces for sizes ranging from 2 – 12.  Granted, the larger sizes of this pattern may take a bit more time to complete.  But who hasn’t wrapped up something still on the needles with a guilty shrug and a smile?

We’d love to help support your goals and deadlines, so let us know if you have questions or need a skein or two rushed your way.  We wish you a happy few weeks of crafting.

Spotlight on Capricorn Yarn

Photo by GMS

Capricorn, our beautiful bulky weight yarn, is the result of an effort to find a wider use for an often overlooked ingredient: the fleece of mature angora goats. Like humans, angora goats’ hair becomes thicker and coarser as the animal ages. The super-soft luxury of Green Mountain Green and Simply Fine comes from kid mohair, the first clip from baby goats under 1 year old.  Yearling and second–year mohair is coarser, but also very shiny. This quality adds to the fluff and shine of yarns like Mountain Mohair.


Photo by Marti Stone

Goats three years old and older are valuable as breeding stock but Mohair breeders have a more difficult time finding a market for the fiber. Older mohair is used for carpet yarns and wig making (for dolls and humans) because of its shine, durability, and beautiful dye absorption. The Spinnery began to work on a product that uses older mohair so that our small angora farmers would be able to have an additional market for their fibers.

The creation of Capricorn took a bit of trial and error. First we sorted through our stock of “grade B and C” mohair looking for the softest, shiniest fibers. We wanted to make a bulky yarn that was pleasantly fluffy but not too heavy, hairy, scratchy or shedding. After creating several test batches of yarn we came up with a blend of 35% mature mohair/65% fine American wool. Our first batch of pale grey sold out at Vogue Knitting Live in New York in January 2012. We now offer the yarn in three natural colors and a variety of dyed colors by Melissa Johnson.

Capricloak & Sweet Pea Coat samples Photo by GMS

The most popular pattern for Capricorn has been the Capricloak by Maureen Clark .  The new Capricorn Caps and Steps and Ladders hats by Melissa Johnson are warm and quick knits for winter gifts. Other Spinnery patterns that would work up well in Capricorn include the Shawl Collar Snuggly and Spanish Tunic.  Patterns from other sources that are great possibilities include the Sweet Pea Coat by Kate Gilbert in the Twist Collective and the Maku Wrap Cardi by Kyoko Nakayoshi from Cotton and Cloud.

Have you knit with Capricorn yet? We’d love to hear about it! Please join us in our Ravelry group or Facebook page – we love to see your photos and are here for questions you might have!