Are your needles and hooks ready for something new? In this blog post we are rounding up the newest published patterns, including several from Green Mountain Spinnery, to inspire your next project!
First, the latest designs in your favorite Green Mountain Spinnery yarns. The Little Man Cardigan by Rachel Stecker is a top-down raglan sweater with inset pockets, contrast detail, and a pint-size shawl collar in Cotton Comfort. The Enterprise Hat by Eric Robinson is a great way to use up small amounts of Mountain Mohair or Weekend Wool. A garter stitch brim is worked flat, then folded for double warmth. When doubled around your neck the soft frills of the Frilly Mobius Cowl by Cap Sease will keep your neck warm with style; calls for Simply Fine.
Like most of the United States this month, we’ve been dealing with truly frigid temperatures that make us glad we can stay warm in our handknit layers and under a pile of wool! Have any of the recent snow events or temperature dips inspired you to cast on a new project? Let us know on our Facebook page or in our Ravelry group!
Green Mountain Spinnery is pleased to present the brand-new ebook, Green Mountain Weekend. Fall is prime time for weekends in Vermont. For more than 20 years, our Knitter’s Weekend Retreats have provided great company, good food, wonderful learning experiences, and of course, yarny goodness. In addition,our weekends have offered a chance for our own Spinnery designers to share their passion. We invited these folks to celebrate their Green Mountain Spinnery experience by creating a design just for us. This e-book is available for purchase as a digital download and features 8 patterns. Click on the photo below for the Ravelry project page details.
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!
Here in Vermont we’ve had a burst of unusual weather – within the same week we had snow and temperatures reaching over 80 degrees Fahrenheit! The weather seems to have settled a bit, and we are happy for warmer days and plenty of sunshine. We encourage you to reach for a wonderful skein of Alpaca Elegance, our blend of 50% New England grown alpaca and 50% fine American wool. If you have never worked with an alpaca blend before, you are in for a treat! Alpaca fibers have a hollow core, making them lightweight yet warm.
Summer is a great time to try out a new technique. Give colorwork a try with Julia Farwell Clay’s “Wolves will be Wolves” hat. The sample shown used 140 yards of the main color, Chai, and 50 yards of each of the contrast colors, Cocoa and Cream. Sweaters may be far from your mind now, but remember they are a larger time investment. If you start now, you will be all ready for fall. We love Amy Christoffers’ Catboat Cardigan in Rosehip; this sweater strikes a balance between a traditional sweater and modern sports wear. This yarn is also great for crochet patterns. The Walnut Vest for Men by Mary Beth Temple is inspired by classic menswear and is sure to keep your interest with basketweave pattern in the color work section of Cream and Dark Roast against the Cocoa.
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 ArtForest 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!
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!
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.
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.
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 Spinneryyarns 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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.