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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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