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Sock Art – Socks & More!

Thursday, 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!

 

 

Weekend Wool is Here!

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

To those who work at Green Mountain Spinnery, it seems like we have been working on Weekend Wool for a long while.  It is very exciting to hear the reactions of fans and friends to our new yarn as they get the chance to finally experience it as well.  At Vogue Knitting Live, we were able to share the first skeins and a small selection of colors. The full color palette will be at Stitches West this weekend. If you are unable to attend the Stitches event, you can do your shopping online at spinnery.com!

Weekend Wool is 100% wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US. It features a blend of the soft wools from Rambouillet, Columbia, Targhee and Fresian sheep mixed with the lustrous fleeces from Corriedale, Montadale and Romneys.  The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition. Many of our best loved colors appear again in this line along with lovely new dyed shades and harmonious naturals. We have been having some fun swatching too, each swatch in the photo on the right uses the same four colors: Lichen, Poppy, Pine Warbler and Natural Dark. Their placement makes them appear to be different!

With a new yarn often comes the question, what to knit first? With 140 yards in a skein, you will have lots of flexibility in selecting a project. The Great Meadows Hat is an excellent opportunity to play with the color palette (as you can see in the swatch picture), as is our Snowflake Hat pattern. Hats are not the only ways to play with color! The Gulfoss Sweater and Great Meadows Children’s Cardigan would look fantastic in your favorite choice of color combinations! The Spinnery’s Basic Mittens pattern and Ascutney Mountain Hat would also be fantastic in Weekend Wool. The way this winter is continuing on, IBH’s Toasty Socks are an excellent choice for a sturdy boot sock in this new yarn.

We hope that you enjoy introducing Weekend Wool to your stash and we look forward to seeing what you create! Please let us know in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Spotlight on Capricorn Yarn

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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!

Early Fall Pattern Round Up & Inspiration!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Wool season approaches! While the days have been pleasant, when the sun sets, you can feel the hint of a chill in the air. It is refreshing and makes many people eager to pull out their favorite sweaters and handknits, or cast on something new for this year.  We’d like to point out a few new patterns featuring Green Mountain Spinnery yarns and inspire you with projects made by our customers!

The Spinnery has two new patterns from Cap Sease. Cap’s Comfy Cardigan is the perfect cardigan to throw on when you curl up on a cold winter day with a cup of tea and a good book. Here it is shown in Jet Black Mountain Mohair. This yarn comes in over thirty colors so you can be as vibrant or subtle as you like. String of Pearls is an elegant cardigan sure to make any girl feel special. The sleeves and body are knit to the armholes, then joined for the yoke in a traditional shape. Sylvan Spirit in Blue Opal and Luminosity are used here; this yarn is soft with a satiny sheen.

In the Fall Twist Collective Fortune Bay by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, presents a twist on the classic boatneck pullover worked in one piece from the top down using Aplaca Elegance. Short rows create a diagonal mid-section in the allover narrow stripe pattern. Chai and Dark Roast are used to create this eye-catching sweater.

Our customers have been busy creating fantastic items as well! Ravelry user jcs65 recently finished her Gwendolyn using Maine Organic and Wonderfully Wooly.  Jocelynlally also used Wonderfully Wooly in her version of the Brownstone sweater.

We are seeing a lot of accessories finished lately as well.  Hilaryf used Sock Art Forest in her Jelly Beans socks. WoolyHeaded used Moutain Mohair, purchased at this year’s New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, in the Turkish Rose Mittens.

 

Shawls are a great project for any season! Redsknits competed in the Ravellenic Games with this Thendara shawl using both Spinnery Sock Art Forest and Meadow. MaryDenise used Simply Fine in her Nimbus shawl

We would love to hear about your projects and plans for Fall knitting – leave a comment here, in our Ravelry group, or on our Facebook page.

Meet the Designer, Maureen Clark

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Designer Maureen Clark

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.

Catalina Wrap

 

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’s 2-color Tunisian Crochet, in progress

 

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!

Spotlight on Cotton Comfort

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Wool, like all the animal protein fibers, has the natural ability to retain heat. This makes it a natural choice for cold weather garments and accessories.  When the weather turns warmer and the summer heat sets in, you do not have to put down your knitting needles and wait for the return of cooler days.  Plant fibers, such as cotton, conduct heat away from the body, making it a great choice for warm weather projects. The oldest cotton textile fragments date back to 3000 BC. More cotton is used in the world than any other fiber!

Photo by GMS


GMS
introduced Cotton Comfort in 1995.  The blend is 80% fine wool and 20% organic cotton.  The first batches were natural colored and processed using our GREENSPUN  petroleum free methods. Over the years we have expanded the line to include yarns commercially dyed with low-impact dyes. The yarns come in 16 dyed and 3 natural GREENSPUN colors.  Dyed Cotton Comfort is one of our yarns that is dyed after spinning as opposed to having the colors blended as loose fiber. Cotton Comfort is great for children’s items, the warmer days of summer and the cooler times in sping and fall.

 

 

The Spinnery uses two types of Certified Organic cotton in our Cotton Comfort yarns.  Our white cotton, used for our GREENSPUN colors, Silver and Unbleached White, as well as all the dyed colors, comes from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative of Lubbock, Texas. The fiber is of very high quality, scoring in the “premium grade on fineness, staple length strength and whiteness.  Cotton fiber quality is dictated by the growing conditions.  The severe drought conditions in Texas over the past few years have had an impact on cotton prices and availability. We are happy to have such a good relationship with our supplier co-op.

 

Photo by Sally Fox / Vresis, LTD

 

The natural brown cotton we use in the GREENSPUN color Winter Beech comes from Sally Fox and Vreseis LTD.  Colored cotton does occur in nature and was used extensively in ancient times by native weavers throughout  Central and South America.  Sally Fox worked to develop commercially viable strains of cotton in a range of natural colors from reddish-brown to green. Her strains are able to do well under organic growing conditions reducing the need for both pesticides and chemical dyes.

 

Are your needles ready to work up a Cotton Comfort project? Check out these patterns for inspiration! Top left: Saucy Sunhat, top right: Pebble Yoke Sweater. Bottom left: Alpine Lace Shell, bottom right: Playful Sweater.

Would you like to have a chance to win a skein of Cotton Comfort and the Saucy Sunhat pattern? Click here to leave a comment on Saucy Sunhat photo on our Facebook page. A winner will be drawn on July 23.  Maybe you have a project in mind and need the yarn to get started? We are currently having a cone sale on select colors of Cotton Comfort! Stock up now – the sale ends on July 21.

Spotlight on Simply Fine

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In our last blog post, we told you about the mohair used in several of the Spinnery yarns. In this post we will shine the spotlight on Simply Fine.  This is a fingering weight yarn that softly stripes in a range of subtle natural and handpainted colors. The natural dark and natural white skeins are solids; the white would be lovely for wedding accessories.

Fibers for this yarn are GREENSPUN using vegetable based soaps and oils in the processing and then washed gently to keep the natural sheen and resilience. This yarn will bloom and become fuzzier with use.

Each skein of Simply Fine is unique as it is dyed in small batches. One 100g skein has about 450 yards giving you many options for selecting a project.  One or two skein shawl projects are perfect for summer as they are easy to travel with and work up fairly quickly.

Photo by Green Mountain Spinnery

 

The Catalina Wrap, designed by Maureen Clark, is a fashionable crescent-shaped shawl worked in easy crochet with short row shaping. The two shown here are the Grassy and Cherrycolorways.

 

 

 

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Meet the Dyer, Melissa Johnson

Monday, May 21st, 2012

 

 

 

Melissa Johnson has been working with the Spinnery since the beginning. She learned to weave at the Putney School from Libby Mills, one of the Spinney founders, and now teaches Textile and Fiber Arts as a member of the Putney School faculty.

Melissa was commissioned to weave samples from the first yarns GMS ever made to test their strength and qualities as weaving yarns. The first colors were Natural Grey, Natural White, Indigo and Garnet. Melissa has been hand weaving all of our sample cards and assisting the Spinnery in the creation of  our color palette ever since.

 

 

 

The Spinnery has always offered limited amounts of one-of-a -kind yarns in the shop.  Melissa started dying odd lots in small batches. Visitors to the shop may find baskets of painted Green Mountain Green in the Fall or Sylvan Spirit in subtle variations in spring time.  Once we developed our two sock yarns Spinney Sock Art Meadow and Forest,  Melissa had to start dyeing year round.  She added new colors to the Sock Art line as well as Simply Fine, and Capricorn.

All of these “hand paints” are created in very small batches of 6- 8 skeins. Projects from these are truly one of a kind.

 

Her designs and dye work are inspired by nature and the textiles of her childhood spent in Istanbul, Turkey and Vermont. Although she likes all colors, folks here know that she is very fond of red. A prolific knitter and knitwear designer (GMS has published more than 20 of her designs)  Melissa is known for her color sense and attention to detail. The “Stained Glass Sweater” on the cover of The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book and the cover art of 99 Yarns and Counting are part of Melissa’s eye-catching work.

 

A sample of her designs can be found in the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book: Stained Glass sweater (for children & adults), Stained Glass Hat, and Putney Gardens Sweater. In our 99 Yarns and Counting book Melissa designed the East Putney Aran, Istanbul Aran, and Switchback Hat.  Several of her patterns are available for purchase on our website as a hard copy or PDF digital download: Melissa’s Hat and Mitten, Painted Hats, Ascutney Aran Hat (This pattern has the most “hearts” on Ravelry!), Great Meadows Cardigan, Playful sweaters for Children, and Lisa’s Hat.

Have you been inspired like we have by Melissa’s work? We love when you share with us by commenting here on our blog, a post in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page.

 

 

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