Rhinebeck Sweaters

We are so looking forward to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend.  Every year, all of us that return for the fun wear our hand knits looking forward to the accolades and recognition that are such a rewarding part of the day.

You will be hard-pressed to find another group as appreciative of a beautiful shawl or sweater, because they know exactly what kind of time and patience was required.  It’s likely that their outfit was created with an equal amount of love and care.

You’ll see hand knits that you would never know were still on the needles just a few hours earlier.  Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram become filled with photos of late night and last minute steam blocking and seaming. Laughed confessions of car knitting on the way to the festival abound.


The Rhinebeck Sweater phenomena was formalized in 2013 in part by Ysolda Teaque’s book that features a dozen stunning sweaters patterns inspired by the gathering.  They were created by 12 different designers who selected yarns that could be purchased from among the Festivals vendors.

The book is filled with beautiful photos shot at the Festival that provide you with a chance to relive the weekend from your armchair any time of year.  And the inclusion of Ysolda’s thoughtful interviews with the folks who grow, spin, and dye these yarns gives the reader a rich history that can sometimes be hard to glean directly from the producers due to the crowds and hectic pace of the weekend.

Included in these pages you’ll find Gudrun Johnston’s Pippin sweater which was created with Spinnery Weekend Wool. You’ll find some terrific new colors to choose from in our booth this year!


But that’s not all.  Since last year’s festival we’ve added other new yarns that you’ll want to see, feel and possibly smell.

Our Sock Art Lana is a 100% wool 2-ply fingering yarn that knits up into beautiful shawls (like our Jordache pattern) and lightweight sweaters (like the Hatteras Cardigan).  We have two different yarns comprised of Moorit merino fiber that is naturally soft and beautifully hued; a fingering weight single-ply and a DK weight 3-ply.  This year’s batch of Yarn Over is as utilitarian as you remember, comes in two shades (grey and a faded red), and has been worked up into the Beekeeper’s Smock.  This quickly knit pullover has been a hit at this season’s other festivals.

Along with these new yarns, we’ll be featuring all of our new patterns in our booth.  Stopping by will give you a welcome chance to see some of the patterns you’ve seen on Ravelry, our website and on Facebook.  We know that it can be invaluable to check them out in person and get a closer look at elements that may be difficult to distinguish in a photo.


We’ll have several different versions of Maureen Clark’s Corrie.  This yoked pullover can be worked up with 4 complementary colors of Mewesic; and you’ll have a ball selecting your favorites from among the 13 shades we’ll have sweater quantities of.

We’ll also have all of Cap Sease’s new accessory patterns: the Beinecke Cowl, the Guilford Shawl and the Athens Key Hat.  If you prefer working with bulkier yarns, we have several projects for last minute gifts.  Maureen has crafted a cozy infinity cowl with Tunisian Crochet techniques (Cowl Up). And Kate Salomon has created the Granite Cap that can be knit with a single strand of bulky yarn, a double strand of worsted or a triple strand of DK for three very different looks.

We hope that no matter what you enjoy working on, we can provide you with a whole winter’s worth of beautiful projects that will keep you and your loved ones warm and woolly!

The fun starts at 9 am tomorrow morning.  We can’t wait to see you there.

New for fall (part two)

This week we are proud to share with you another new pattern as well as six new shades of Weekend Wool!


From top to bottom and left to right is Fawn, Pollen, Chestnut, Grasshopper, Teal and Orchid.  These new shades round out our Weekend Wool spectrum with additional rich tones that our friends in Wisconsin are delighted with!

All of these new colors were created by blending our bale dyed wool in the carding process for a unique depth of tweedy color you are going to love working with.  You may want to consider casting on for the Putney Mountain Vest pattern which features a total of four colors of Weekend Wool in the colorful yoke.

hand knits in Green mountain Spinnery yarns Green Mountain Spinnery yarn fashions, handknit handcrafting
© gail zucker

And for those of you who prefer to crochet, Maureen has crafted a special pattern for a new accessory you are going to love working on.


Cowl Up is a cozy accessory is created with the Tunisian Crochet technique.  With 2 skeins of our bulky weight Capricorn yarn and a very large hook, you’ll have a finished project to curl up into in just a few hours!  It has been a hit in our booth at Wisconsin and we hope that you’ll enjoy it too.


And in just a few days we’ll have the finishing touches ready for another circular yoke sweater that you may recognize from our newsletter!  We’ll let you know on our Facebook page as soon as the pattern is ready for downloading.

Until then, happy crafting!

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.

Too cute not to share

This week’s post has been commandeered by darling patterns that have distracted all of us here at the Spinnery this week.

Larisa is our mistress of the spinning machine.  She loves to knit socks and shawls and as it turns out, tiny animals.  Her Mom Sharyn just finished a little bat that charmed her daughter.  When Larisa inquired about the pattern, her Mom sent her a copy of the book that holds the entire collection.



This collection of two dozen exotic animals created by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne has kept us quite entertained.  Kate is eager to try casting on for a small family of meerkat using the natural un-dyed colors of Spinnery Alpaca Elegance: Dark Roast, Chai, and Cream.



Larisa has her heart set on creating a camel with our un-dyed Alashan yarn made from 100% camel fiber.  Now to be technically accurate, our yarn is sourced from bactrian or two hump camels, but that may be splitting hairs.


And if that wasn’t enough to melt your heart just a little, another collection of animal patterns has recently been released for the crocheters among us!  Edward’s Menagerie is a collection of patterns created by Kerry Lord.


This collection of 40 animals was created so that your yarn selection and gauge dictates the finished size of your new friend.  Fingering weight will create a tiny animal and heavier yarns will make a little creature large enough for a hug.


This collection includes all kinds of animals from domestic to exotic so it is likely that you will find the perfect match to the obscure request that your discriminating toddler may make.  Need an lemur, anteater, or nanny goat?  No problem!

We have an excellent collection of natural and undyed yarns from fingering weight to aran weight to make soft snuggly animals that will be a delight to create, collect and even more fun to give to a little one.  Give us a call at 800-321-9665  and we can help you select the perfect skeins for your new critter.


A new shop sample

A new shop sample joined our collection this week: the Walnut Vest for Men designed by Mary Beth Temple.

© Hooked for Life LLC
© Hooked for Life LLC


This vest was created with three colors of Spinnery Alpaca Elegance in the natural un-dyed range from Cream to Dark Roast.  The butter soft yarn makes a wonderful fabric that is warm and very fluid to the touch.

Mary Beth says that she “was inspired by classic menswear patterns — (she) wanted to create a crochet pattern that men would actually want to wear, rather than focusing on what the stitcher might want to stitch! Tunisian crochet with a DK weight yarn is perfect for classic pieces — it retains its shape but isn’t stiff or bulky.”

The decorative panel of basket weave pattern created with a combination of Tunisian Knit and Tunisian purl stitches is a great touch that adds visual interest, and draws the eye towards the broadest part of the chest to flatter the wearer.

vest 02b

We hope that you can pop into the Spinnery shop if you are in the neighborhood, or passing through this month.  Seeing a sample up close and in person can make all the difference.  This vest might be a perfect choice for a holiday gift for a well-dressed someone on your list!

What’s new?

You may have already seen our brand new patterns if you follow us on Facebook.  We gave our friends there a sneak peek of the four new patterns that made their debut this week at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.


For those of you out there who are able to crochet (or are ready to give it a try) Gee’s Bend Afghan is a cozy, warm afghan inspired by the corduroy color block quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. It was designed by our friend and neighbor Melissa Johnson.   You could vary the colors and sizes of the blocks to suit your own personal style and yarn supply. Working in bold colors and single crochet throughout makes the afghan fun and quick to create.

Gauge: 12 SCs and 12 rows over 4 in / 10 cm
Size: approximately 44 in / 112 cm wide x 62 in / 157 cm long
Yarn: Weekend Wool – 12 skeins in assorted colors
Hook: Size K / 7 mm

Pictured in Natural Dark, Poppy, Blue Jay, Spruce, Pine Warbler, Lichen and Pumpkin Weekend Wool.


Next up is lovely Tracy modelling the Islander Pullover designed by Libby Mills and Cap Sease!  The Islanders’ Vest pattern has been such a big hit that we decided to turn it into a pullover. Knit in one piece from the bottom up in Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair, it has easy inserted sleeves that are knit right on. Minimal finishing means you’ll be able to wear your masterpiece almost as soon as it is off the needles.

Gauge: 18 sts over 4 in / 10 cm
Finished Chest Measurement: approx. 35 (38, 42, 45, 49) in / 89 (97, 106.5, 115, 124.5) cm
Yarn: Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair – 7 (8, 8, 8, 9) skeins
Needles: Size 7 US / 4.5 mm circular needles, 16 in / 40 cm AND 29 in / 60 cm long AND dpn, size 7 US / 4.5 mm

Shown here in Spruce Weekend Wool.


Lauren is wearing the Equinox Poncho designed by yours truly! This is a simple poncho, with an elegant chevron edge and the option to personalize fit, this is the perfect garment for spring when knit in Cotton Comfort. Alpaca Elegance will make it a bit warmer, and Sylvan Spirit will add a tad more drape.

Gauge: 28 sts over 4 in / 10 cm before blocking
Size: approximately 64 in / 163 cm wide x 22 in /56 cm long after blocking
Yarn: Cotton Comfort, Alpaca Elegance or Sylvan Spirit – 7 skeins
Needles: Size US 5 / 3.75 mm circular needle, at least 32 in / 80 cm long

Shown here in Cotton Comfort Silver.


Last but not least is a fun new accessory pattern brought to us by Rachel Stecker.  Her Wicked Good Moxie Hat and Handwarmer pattern makes a fun set that we imagine will be a huge hit this fall as the weather starts to cool, and knitters start looking for perfect holiday gifts.  You could get a head start this year!

Sizes: Hat – Infant (S, M, L) Finished hat circumference approximately 16¾ (20, 20¾, 21½) in / 43 (51, 53, 55) cm
Gauge: 20 sts over 4 in / 10 cm
Yarn: Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair – 2 skeins
Needles: Size 6 US / 4 mm AND size 7 US / 4.5 mm circular needles 16 in / 40 cm long AND size 5 US / 3.75 mm needles, any type, AND dpn, size 7 US / 4.5 mm, cable needle

Shown here in Deep Lake.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about these fun new patterns.  You can find a downloadable copy of any of these new patterns for purchase on our website.  They are $7 each.  You can also call us at the shop at any time at 800-321-9665 if you have questions or would like our help picking out the perfect Spinnery yarns to work with. 

If you are in the New Hampshire area this weekend you can check out these samples in person.  We’ll be in Deerfield at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival.  And next week you can stop into the Spinnery to visit us and try them on.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

A Sneak Peak into our Spring Knitters’ Weekend

Spinnery founders Claire Wilson and Libby Mills began taking our wares to Stitches events and fiber festivals years ago and realized that doing these kinds of shows was fun and good business, but wondered how it would be to have knitters come to us. So, for more than 20 years we have been inviting folks to enjoy a weekend in New England with good food, excellent company, a fun learning experience and generally lots of yarny goodness.

Over the years we have had quite an array of instructors, from established names like Barbara  Walker, Katherine Cobey, Nancy Bush, Fiona Ellis and Beth Brown-Reinsel to more recent emerging stars in the knitting world: Gudrun Johnston, Alison Green, Kate Gilbert and others. In addition, our weekends have offered a chance for our own Spinnery designers to share their passion.


This past weekend was no exception, and Marly Bird was a huge hit with the group.  Her warm and bubbly personality made the weekend more fun and full of laughter than one could imagine possible.

She is a wonderful teacher who was able to gracefully guide both knitters and crocheters through the intricacies of Entrelac.  It was inspiring to see everyone in the room working with their preferred tool, be it hook or needle.  Then on Sunday morning the group gathered to learn about thrumming and a new collection of deliciously warm mittens was born!

She inspired all of us to embrace the intention of her instructions and make them our own; reminding us that one of the reasons she became a designer was because she is not a fan of closely following directions.

Our “students” proved to be very talented crafters, and they brought some amazing hand knits with them. The collection of sweaters in the room was breathtaking.  It was also fun to see what came along in everyone’s work basket or project bag.


It was a wonderful weekend filled with laughter, learning, and wonderful company.  One of our new friends Sue posted to our Facebook page, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for a fabulous weekend!! This was my very first knitting retreat & you have set the bar very high! I loved every moment, learned so much and enjoyed getting to know a truly great group of ladies!!”


It is a sentiment that we all share.  Thank you to all of you who joined us.  A huge warm hug and enthusiastic thank you to Marly for traveling halfway across the country to help us make a memorable weekend.  And to all of you who hope to come and join us next time, there is always room at the table for another friend!


Pattern Round Up & Shop Hop Time!

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!


Friend of the Spinnery: Suzy Allen

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!