We have a new Spinnery sweater pattern to share with you that beautifully highlights our new Mewesic yarn.
Maureen was inspired by one of the first vivid colors we created this summer and started swatching. This lace pattern became the basis for her new cardigan. Passionate Kisses is named after the color she chose to knit with.
We love how the botanical lace pattern highlights the rich tweedy color. It also creates a lightweight fabric that will ensure your finished sweater is versatile during the change of seasons. Fall here in New England can bring dramatic temperature changes during the course of a typical day and this sweater is a stylish layering piece that is as beautiful as it is functional.
Maureen designed the scooped neck to be clasped with just three buttons at the neck, but you could add buttons all the way down the band if you’d prefer.
The pattern uses a seamed construction, a modified set in sleeve, and is worked in pieces from the bottom up. It is a great choice for intermediate knitters eager to try out our new yarn with a larger project.
November is quickly approaching, and we are starting to get excited about this fall’s Knitter’s Weekend. It is the perfect time of year to be in New England enjoying the fall color and the crisp air. The golden light is magical and we hope that you can come and experience it for yourself.
Nancy Marchant will be joining us in Putney, Vermont the weekend of November 7th-9th to teach the brioche stitch. This is a great opportunity to addluscious texture and stunning, reversible patterns to your knitting. For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the brioche stitch you can learn the basics in the video below.
We’ll be publishing a pattern shortly. In the meantime, you may want to peruse the hundreds of FREE brioche patterns available on Ravelry. You will be stunned by the beauty and versatility of this stitch.
We hope that you will consider adding the brioche stitch to your knitting repertoire. It is a wonderful technique that could provide you with a winter season full of fun new projects that will keep you extra warm with squishably soft ribs of beautiful color that will fly off your needles.
All of us can agree that when it comes to buying yarn, there is no substitute for getting to see and touch the skeins in person. Brochures and computer monitors rarely do the colors justice. And getting a true sense of the feel of the yarn is essential.
We think that the same can be said of knitted samples. You can learn far more about a sweater by trying it on than you might imagine. You can assess its sizing and length, if it is flattering to your figure, and if you’d prefer the sweater with some ease and how much.
With all of this in mind, we have a fun event to invite you to!
Written Words Bookstore is sponsoring a deliciously fun event at Stockbridge’s Gourmet Cheesecakes and Cafe (located at 509 Howe Ave. in Shelton, CT). On Sunday June 22nd Maureen will be “setting up shop” at the southern end of I91 giving those of you in that area a unique opportunity to have Spinnery yarn and samples brought to you!
She is going to be bringing copies of our very popular book: 99 Yarns and Counting. She’ll also be bringing samples from the book, and mini skeins of some of our favorite yarns so that you can knit a swatch or two that afternoon. If you find the perfect pattern and yarn to start it with, she may have just the skeins you need. (Since she won’t be able to transport our entire shop we may have to send your selection to you on Monday when she returns).
You’ll want to get your tickets ahead of time as they won’t be available at the door. You can secure your spot at our fun afternoon by calling 203-362-9114.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.”
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!)
Today we would like to introduce another very busy member of the Spinnery Cooperative. “Eric” Robinson (still known as Judy to her family) is responsible for many different areas at the Spinnery. She is the shop manager, and handles the ordering of non-GMS merchandise and organizing the shop staff. As our go-to, in-house computer person, Eric maintains the database and helps to moderate the “Friends of Green Mountain Spinnery” Ravelry group.
Eric learned to knit from her grandmother around age 8, when she used her somewhat misshapen first efforts to wrap Christmas presents. She blesses her Grandma every day for teaching her continental style knitting, although her family came from England. Around her home town, Eric is known as the “knitting doctor”; she has even been known to make house calls on occasion to solve someone’s knitting dilemma!
Friends of the Spinnery are sure to notice Eric’s energy when she is in the shop, working sheep shows or at knitting conventions. A firm believer in the quality of the Spinnery’s products, being in sales has always been a positive experience when it comes to Green Mountain Spinnery. If you ask her, she’ll tell you the more exciting and rewarding jobs relate to pattern writing and editing and knitting.
Eric started her work at the Spinnery filling in for vacationing shop clerks. Over the years she has become a designer, knitting instructor, tech editor, creator of graphs and schematics, and pattern grader. Her knitting designs, beginning with the best-selling Eric’s Glovelets, tend to include unusual (or quirky) construction elements, as she likes to look at things from different perspectives. Similar to Maureen, Eric designs on the needles, and she is not afraid to rip back and rework the design until she gets just the look she wants. One can also see from her experience as a high school music and chorus teacher is that working with teenagers has kept her vision fresh and her willingness to try new things is influenced by a younger sensibility!
Like most Spinnery Cooperative members, Maureen Clark does a variety of jobs. She is in charge of our shipping and inventory systems, assists with our 1916 carding machine, works with customers, and coordinates our knitters’ events. On top of all that, she is the main force behind organizing everything that comes with going to shows and festivals from booking the space to driving the truck to designing displays. Shows are very rewarding for Maureen because she gets to talk to so many knitters and find out what they are making and which yarns excite them.
Maureen learned to knit as a child from her grandmother, whose grandmother was a native of England’s Channel Islands – a region rich with knitting history. While raising her four children Maureen taught knitting classes and ran her own yarn shop in Carver, Massachusetts. This was how she discovered GMS by stocking the yarns; and then by attending one of the first Spinnery Knitters’ Weekends in 1992. That was the visit that changed everything. Maureen was in love with Putney and Vermont and was determined to move. It took several years for the right opportunity to come along. The family moved to a home on Putney Mountain in 1998 – and Maureen has been entwined with the Spinnery ever since!
When asked about all that she does being part of the Spinnery she says, “I love working at the Spinnery and I’m proud of the quality of our yarn, which comes from the way it’s made. The Spinnery has always felt like family to me. Every day there is something new waiting for me!”
Friends and fans of the Spinnery may already be familiar with Maureen’s pattern designs. Maureen is known for creating elegant functional designs with a straightforward knitting experience.
Maureen says “designs just show up in my mind” Her process is to cast on and start knitting, changing elements as she goes. Her colleagues have looked on aghast as she rips back ¾ of a sweater because she has changed her mind. The challenge with “designing on the needles” is making sure changes are recorded so that the pattern is written properly. Maureen’s tendency to jot notes down in no particular order on the back of an envelope has been a source of challenge to our tech editors. However this process has resulted in great designs including Maureen’s Cardigan, Kelly, Riley’s Hat, Capricloak, and many fun socks: Jelly Beans, Wessagussett Waves and Hanna’s Sock.
Maureen also loves crochet and finds the recent crochet revival quite inspiring. She has come up with several crochet/knit combos designs including the Kristy sweater and the Happenin’ Hat, as well as crochet only shawl Catalina. Maureen is working on a cute new top for spring, the Bella Veste. Her latest challenge is mastering a new technique – 2 color Tunisian crochet in the round – and inventing a new sock pattern. We are all looking forward to the results.
Are you a fan of Maureen’s designs? Beginning August 11 through the end of September there is a Jelly Bean Socks knit along taking place in the Ravelry group. There is still time to sign up for the Knitters’ Retreat Weekend, you are sure to find it just as inspiring as Maureen! As always, we love hearing from our readers and fans! Come chat in the Ravelry group and like us on Facebook!