Thank you

As we gather around holiday tables this weekend with friends and family, we can’t help but count our blessings.  We are so grateful for your enthusiasm for our deliciously wooly yarns.  Your support of our mission allows us to continue to partner with small farms raising heritage breeds, and that keeps the American fiber shed thriving.

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As a small token of our gratitude, we hope that you’ll enjoy a FREE pattern for the Common Cap.

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This unisex hat pattern was designed to fit almost any head from the age of 3!  A very stretchy ribbed brim will accommodate heads with circumferences between 18 – 24 inches.  With directions for three separate depths, you can knit up a short beanie, a cuffed watch cap, or a slouchy hat and almost anything in between.

Providing those that we love with beautiful wooly warmth is one of the many benefits of our craft.  We hope that you’ll use this pattern to knit up some warm hats for anyone who warms your heart.  You can download the FREE PDF here and cast on without delay.  We recommend using our Weekend Wool, but you’ll get gauge with our Mountain Mohair or the Maine and Vermont organic yarns.

Even with the few weeks remaining until the next holidays, you’ll have time to knit several of these hats as last minute gifts for anyone on your knitworthy list.

All of us here at the Spinnery wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.  Thank you from the bottom of our wooly hearts.

A wonderful time to visit Putney

In just a few weeks, studios all over Putney will be opening their doors to the public for the 38th annual Putney Craft Tour.  The weekend of Friday November 25th – Sunday November 27th is a great time to head our way.

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“For the third year running, the Putney Craft Tour has been voted as one of Vermont’s top ten winter events.  Once each year, just in time for holiday gift giving, our local craftsmen open their studios for the public to come and explore, to experience first-hand the making of our work, to understand our creative process, to hear our stories, and to purchase our unique crafts directly from us.”

Our little village is chock full of craftsman that are eager to share their art work with you, and several will be offering demonstrations.  You’ll find almost two dozen studios open from 10 am – 5 pm on all three days giving you a chance to learn more from the artists and possibly do a bit of holiday gift shopping as well.

Our local restaurants will be featuring locally sourced seasonal specials to tempt you and there are a couple of theater performances that you won’t want to miss:

Next Stage Arts is proud to present Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are dead, an inventive retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Nov 25, 26, 7:30 pm.

Sandglass Theater will be presenting Autumn Portraits, Side by Side which honors the changing of the seasons in a physical and metaphorical sense, Nov 25, 26, 7:30 pm.

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Here at the Spinnery, we’ll be offering behind the scenes tours of our production floor.  You’ll get the chance to walk through our mill and see the antique machinery we use to spin all of your favorite yarns!  From fleece to skein, it is a remarkable transformation that you’ll enjoy learning more about.

Our shop will be filled with bright beautiful woolly skeins and knitted samples for you to enjoy.   Getting a chance to see and touch samples of our new patterns in person can make all the difference in the world.  Photos alone often can’t capture how wearable and appealing our knitwear is.  You’ll get some great new project ideas to keep you happily crafting through the winter months ahead.

We’ll also be offering a special opportunity for you to purchase a handful of select samples.  Hand knits at these prices are very rare and a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit our local food shelter, the Putney Food Shelf.

So mark your calendars and we hope to see you soon!

Coming soon

We were lucky enough to get a chance to preview the newest samples from Pompom Quarterly while at Rhinebeck last weekend.  The girls flew all the way from their home turf in the UK to share issue 19 (winter 2016) with visitors to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival.

While all 18 patterns are worth checking out, our favorite has been topping the popularity charts on Ravelry this week.  We’d like to introduce you to Cesium designed by Sachiko Burgin.  This stunning pattern will be available for purchase through Ravelry on Nov. 1st.

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The cozy sweater is knit up with between 6-11 skeins of Mountain Mohair and is shown above in the Ice Blue color.  The pattern includes a generous size range: 29½ (33, 37½, 41, 45½, 49, 53½)” and is intended to be worn with 1-1½” positive ease.  The model has a 35” bust, stands 5’6” tall, and is wearing the 37½” size.

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©Amy Gwatkin

We love the soft subtle cabling.  The asymmetry of the cables adds visual complexity to a comforting, flattering shape.  And the wide neckline beautifully balances the strong vertical of the cabled panel; it will look fantastic on all kinds of figures.

On Sunday, Sachiko and her twin sister Kiyomi stopped by our booth and so we were able to thank and congratulate her on her stunning design.  Her sister and fellow designer also has a lovely pattern included in this issue of Pompom, Fragmentation is a beautifully designed slouch hat that makes the most of gradient fingering weight yarns that are so impossible to resist.

You’ll find many treasures in the pages of this magazine.  We found that Bristol Ivy’s article about asymmetry and imperfection ties the theme of the collection together in a thoughtful and delightful way that may help you find a new appreciation for the inherent inconsistencies that make our craft unique.

If you don’t already have a subscription to this delightful quarterly, you will be able to find Pompom Winter 2016 available for sale in our shop on Nov. 1st.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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 one)

Autumn has so many iconic signs: shorter days, crisp temperatures, turning and falling leaves and the start of school. Each of us marks the change of the seasons with a different indicator, but all of us here at the Spinnery are feeling ready for the start of a new season!

As our youngsters head back to school this week, we are packing up for the first Sheep and Wool Festival of our Fall season. Next weekend in Jefferson Wisconsin we’ll be introducing several new patterns and colors!

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First we’d like to introduce you to a lovely crescent shawl pattern created by Cap Sease: the Guilford Shawl.  This lushly garter stitch textured accessory is created with 2 skeins of our Simply Fine in the Variegated color.  The delicate lace border is worked as you go, so there is no seaming or finishing to slow you down.

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Kate Salomon has designed two sweaters for this fall.  The first, shown above, is the Hatteras Cardigan.  This light layering piece is knit up with the Spinnery’s new 100% wool fingering weight yarn, Lana; and the fabric is appealingly comforting and breathable.

The pattern features an unusual top-down construction that creates a bias hem decorated with a twisted rib border.  It includes four sizes ranging from finished bust sizes of 38″ to 50″ and can be knit up with just 3 to 4 skeins of any of our Sock Art yarns.

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On the warmer side, is the Beekeeper’s Smock.  This oversized pull-over features cuffs and a funnel neck decorated with a honeycomb cable pattern.  It also has contrast pop color pockets and lined neck for a touch of color that will play beautifully off the tweedy Yarn Over the pattern calls for.

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This year’s limited edition version of our bulky recycled yarn comes in two colors, Smoke on the left and Flannel on the right.  The beekeeper’s smock can be knit up as quick as a wink with either 5 or 6 skeins (and an additional single skein or worsted weight Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair for that fun pop of color).

And that’s not all!  Next week we’ll have more new patterns to share with you.  And, we’ll be premiering 6 new shades of our very popular Weekend Wool.

We hope that you can visit our booth in Jefferson, our mill in Putney or our website from the comfort of your own home over the next couple of weeks as all of our hard work this summer comes to fruition just in time for your autumn knitting plans.

Another spin

This week Kristin Tendyke’s new Goblet Cardigan has been pre-released by the folks at Interweave.  This pattern is part of a collection  from the designers featured in the upcoming Fall edition of Love of Knitting.  We love the classic lines of this sweater.

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© Love of Knitting

The Goblet Cardigan has a generous range of sizing options from 30¾ to 53½” bust circumference, buttoned. (the sweater shown above measures 38¼”; modeled with ¼” of positive ease.)

This classic cardigan uses the same Juniper Cotton Comfort yarn you saw featured here a few weeks ago when we announced the arrival of Maureen Clark’s new Coming up Spring cardigan. (the sweater shown below measures 44″; modeled with 9″ of positive ease.)

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Both patterns can be knit up with between 7-11 skeins of the delightful soft and bouncy blend of 80% wool and 20% cotton.  The tweedy blend of fibers makes the stockinette sections of both sweaters come alive with interesting texture.  And both feature delicate lace details that make each of these sweaters more feminine and fun to knit.

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Meghan is shown with another version of the Coming Up Spring Cardigan knit at the 36″ bust size with 1½” of positive ease.  Her sweater features the Suede color of Cotton Comfort.  As you can see, knitting the pattern with less positive ease results in a very different fit that you may find more appealing.

We’re delighted to have a choice of patterns to play with this summer that can be worked up so beautifully in our favorite summer DK weight yarn; and hope that you’ll take a closer look at both of these projects for a wearable work of art of your own!

And there’s more!

Along with our new Moorit yarn, we have two other new additions to the Spinnery offerings: Lana.  This 100% wool fingering weight yarn is perfect for lighter summer knits.

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We’ve created two contrasting naturals, Blanco (on the right) is created with our fine western wool sourced from Targee sheep; and Gris (on the left) is created with a 50/50 blend of the fine western wool and our fine dark wool.  A third color ( a soft medium grey called Plata) is still in production and will be available for sale next week.

This 2-ply yarn is lofty and delicate and sure to knit up into summer weight shawls and garments that will be warm and light as a feather.  Each skein is roughly 3.5 ounces and contains 400 yards.  Suggested gauge is 8.5 st/inch on US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles, but flowing looser fabrics can be created with needles as large as a US 6 (4 mm).

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Kate wasted no time and started working on developing a pattern for a top-down seamless cardigan that she’s been wanting to add to her wardrobe.  We imagine that the pattern will be ready to share with you by summer’s end.

In the meantime, Larisa is working on Brooklyn Tweed’s Boardwalk pullover that we can’t wait to see off the needles.

Garments made with this yarn will make for perfect layering pieces, light, warm and easily packed into a bag to accompany you on any summertime adventure.

We hope that you’ll have a chance to see these new yarns at the upcoming Maryland or New Hampshire Festivals, or that your summer holidays bring you to Putney to visit us at the mill.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Stripe it up!

Larisa spent many hours winding and bundling the Spinnery’s new Mountain Mohair Mini skeins this winter.  As she worked, she found herself wanting to create a cowl that would highlight small amounts of our delicious Mountain Mohair.

After a thorough search of the Ravelry database that didn’t turn up what she was envisioning, she designed the cowl that she wanted to wear.

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And today, we have the pleasure of introducing Larisa’s first pattern:  The Route 5 Cowl and Wrist Warmers!

Named after the rural highway that Larisa uses to commute to and from the Spinnery, these fun accessories have chevron striping that is reminiscent of the twists and turns of that beautiful road and the Connecticut River that runs beside it.

Using a full single skein of Mountain Mohair for the main color (on the ribbed bands and between each contrast color stripe) and a bundle of 5 of our Minis, you’ll have enough yarn for both the cowl and matching wrist warmers.  Larisa used Blizzard as her main color to act as a soft neutral and played with pop colors for her stripes.

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Larisa specifically selected a bundle group that had a mini skein of Goldenrod in it and ended up with a color selection that is a bit reminiscent of a Hudson’s Bay point blanket.  She used (from bottom to top) Blueberry, Fern, Goldenrod, Periwinkle, and Rhubarb.

The random selection of colors included in our bundles will allow you to play with your own combination.  You could also substitute leftover bits of stash yarn from other projects to create custom stripes of your own design.

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We hope that you have fun with Larisa’s new pattern.  We can’t wait to see what new color combinations result from it!

Spreading sunshine

Sometimes we are drawn to work with a particular yarn because the color speaks to us, at times its the texture or quality of the fiber; and occasionally our selection can be influenced by larger, global considerations.  When our choice makes a positive impact on folks we’ve never met, every one of us wins.

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For over a decade, we have sourced the organic cotton used in our Cotton Comfort yarn from the folks at the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative.  They work exclusively with small family run farms in and around Lubbock, Texas.

“This region of Texas, the heart of “the world’s largest cotton patch,” is well-suited to the production of organic cotton.  Winter temperatures are cold enough to limit insect pressure and provide a hard freeze to defoliate the cotton plants prior to mechanical harvest. In addition, a sunny climate and quick-drying soils facilitate timely weed control.”

Their certified organic fiber is tracked from the field to the bale and so we know exactly where our fiber comes from and whom to thank.

When interviewed for The True Cost, La Reah Pepper (an organic cotton farmer who grew up just south of Lubbock, TX) speaks passionately about the benefits of organic growing practices.

“Organic promotes life and creates solutions. Organic agriculture promotes life in the soil, increased bio-diversity, increased food-security, ability to mitigate impacts of climate change with stronger carbon sequestration, the reduced use of irrigation where that applies, and the elimination of toxic and persistent pesticides from the water we drink and the air we breathe. It is also life for communities, catalyzing job creation with the increased crop selections as a result of the shift from a mono-crop culture and the employment of more people to care for the crop during the growing season.

It also means life for farm families ensuring that their fields are safe places to work and to play – to live!!”

We’ve been lucky to work with the team at Texas Organic who have always been able to send us a bale of the best quality cotton that meets our staple length specifications.  Since it is currently only used in our Cotton Comfort yarn and a few of our custom lot projects, it usually takes us a few years to work through the hundreds of pounds of cotton when it arrives. But from the warmth and kindness we’ve always enjoyed when working with Kelly Pepper, you’d think that we were their best customers.

Kate recently completed a project using our Cotton Comfort that was inspired by her trip to Stitches West in Santa Clara.  We asked her to bring a bit of that Californian sunshine back with her, and she did in the form of a beautifully sunny shawl!

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Using Isabell Kraemer’s Paris Toujours pattern, and three skeins of Yarrow Cotton Comfort, she quickly knit up a delightfully squishy and comforting wrap.  She found the lace repeat called for in the pattern was easily memorized making it a perfect project for a long flight.  Her project grew quickly as she flew across the country and back and now she has an accessory that will brighten her days when showers are in the forecast.

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We hope that when you are interested in casting on for a project that calls for a DK weight yarn, you might consider using our Cotton Comfort line.  Your choice will have a larger impact than you might have imagined.

The Athens Key Hat

This time of year has many of us doing a bit of armchair traveling.  From the cozy comfort of our chairs by the fire we can dream of warmer climates and alluring locales around the globe.  Occasionally, those dreams of far off places can inform and inspire our knitwear designs.

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Cap Sease created a beautiful hat pattern that  reminds us of the classic architecture details that can be found on landmarks located on the other side of the Atlantic.  Her Athens Key Hat features a classic Greek key motif created with slipped stitch garter rows that result in a thick warm fabric that will keep your ears delightfully warm.

We used Spinnery Mewesic and our New Mexico Organic yarns for these samples.  Pictured in Pink Cadillac and Purple Haze Mewesic with White New Mexico Organic (on the left) and Diamonds and Rust and Norwegian Wood Mewesic with White New Mexico Organic (on the right).

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We hope that you’ll consider casting on for this pattern while planning your next getaway.  You may find that having a new hat to toss in your bag may broaden the destination options to include the perfect spot!