Course corrections

Kate had an “ah-hah” moment in the midst of working on a sample of Heidi Kirrmaier’s Vitamin D cardigan that we thought might be worth sharing.  She cast on for the top-down pattern using Spinnery Sylvan Spirit in the Sterling colorway.

vitamin-d

She is thrilled with how the yarn is knitting up and things were sailing along smoothly until she started working her first sleeve.  Unlike similarly constructed top-down sweater patterns, Heidi has the knitter put the body stitches on hold while working the sleeves first.  The  pattern includes a note in italics explaining her directions.

“Note: instructions are for working the sleeve flat in order to ensure the same tension as yoke is maintained.”

Kate decided that the simplicity of working the sleeves in the round was worth any small shifts in tension that she was confident she could block out…do you see where this is going?

She didn’t have to work very far on her sleeve to have about an inch or two worth of stitches to test her theory.*

gauge a

The difference between the worked-flat stockinette and the worked-in-the-round stockinette more apparent in person.  There is a stitch per inch difference in the tension.  “What’s one stitch between friends?” you might ask.

Well, this creates a visible line in the fabric and more importantly translates into a substantial change in the finished measurements of the sleeve.  What should measure out at about 15 inches will in fact be closer to 12 1/2.  That is a difference that can’t be blocked out.

This shift in tension can often occur when switching between knitting and purling, but it can also happen when switching between needles made of different materials.  There is a fantastic article on Alexis Winslow’s blog Knit Darling that clearly illustrates how dramatic the effects of that switch can be.

Kate combined both by switching from carbon metal needles as she started her sleeve in the round.  Instead of cancelling each other out as she hoped, they combined to create a substantial change in tension.

So, Kate will frog back and instead follow the pattern working the sleeve flat using the same carbon needles she used for the yoke of the sweater.  We are looking forward to seeing the finished project that we know will be more successful for having been checked and adjusted.

*Kate is the first to agree that she could have figured this all out a head of time if she had swatched and blocked her sample ahead of time — but she prefers to dive into the deep end and check her progress as she goes.  She also recognizes that when that little voice tells you to stop and reconsider, you may find as Kate did, that it is worth listening to.

 

Shop Hop project ideas

With the I-91 Shop Hop gearing up to start next week, we got to thinking about how to help get your creative juices flowing.

We understand that with a dozen shops to visit, the temptation to pick up a skein or two at each will run strong.  We also recognize that yarn shopping without projects in mind can be frustrating if you find the perfect project after your visit and discover that you don’t have the yardage you need.

With that in mind,  we thought that we could collect a list of some of our current favorite project ideas that can be knit (or crochet) with a just a skein or two of our lovely yarns in a range of gauges.

When you arrive, you’ll see that we have created samples of several of these designs and they will be available in the shop for you to enjoy and try on.


Green Mountain fingering weight yarn options include Simply Fine (which has 450 yards per skein), Sock Art: Forest (which has 400 yards per skein), and Sock Art: Meadow (which has 400 yards per skein).

Hand painted skeins of all three of these yarns are the shop’s best sellers and we’ll have an even larger selection of mouthwatering hues in the shop than we are able to make available on our website.

© Carolyn Glauz-Todrank

Stony Point Cowl is a FREE pattern designed by Carolyn Glauz-Todrank calls for 400 yards.

Starshower is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hillary Smith Callis calls for 400 yards.

Appia is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hillary Smith Callis has two sizes and calls for 250 – 375 yards.

Hitchhiker is a $4 shawl pattern designed by Martina Behm calls for 569 – 574 yards.

Rising Tide Shawl is a $5 pattern designed by Grace Akhrem that calls for 400 yards.

Herald is a $7 shawl pattern designed by Janina Kallio that calls for 437 yards.

Simple Scallops is a $5 crochet pattern designed by Kristy Ashmore that calls for 350 – 450 yards for various sizes from a shawlette to a larger shawl.


 

Green Mountain Spinnery DK weight yarn options include Alpaca Elegance, Cotton Comfort, Mewesic, New Mexico Organic and Sylvan Spirit (all of which include 180 yards per skein).

© BabyCocktails

Windward Island* is a $5 hat pattern designed by Thea Colman that calls for 180 – 210 yards to span two sizes.

Whitman is a $5.50 hat pattern designed by Danielle Morgan that calls for a range of 160 – 200 yards to span four sizes.

Whitman Fingerless Mitts is a $5 pattern also designed by Danielle Morgan that calls for 80 – 150 yards to span two sizes.

Yes Checks is a FREE hat pattern from Stephen West that calls for 180 – 190 yards.

Ebb Tide Hats is a $7 Green Mountain Spinnery pattern that calls for 150 – 270 yards for two kinds of hat: beanie or slouch.

Nalu Mitts is a FREE pattern from Leila Raabe that calls for 109 – 164 yards to span two sizes.

Twitterpation Cowl is a FREE crochet pattern designed by Maryse Roudier that calls for 200 – 250 yards.


Our worsted weight yarn options include Mountain Mohair and Weekend Wool (both of which include 140 yards per skein) or our Maine Organic (which includes 250 yards per skein).

ascutney-boot-toppers-01-wAscutney Aran Hat is a $7 Green Mountain Spinnery pattern that calls for 250 yards. Purchasing this pattern gives you the cable chart you’ll need to complete the FREE Boot Topper pattern addendum which calls for 280 yards for a pair.

Duffers is a $2.50 felted slipper pattern designed by Mindie Tallack that calls for 220 – 440 yards for a range of three sizes.

Singapore Sling* a $5 hat pattern designed by Thea Colman that calls for 200 yards.

Camp Out Fingerless Mitts is a FREE pattern designed by Tante Ehm that calls for 100 – 110 yards.

Adama is a $5 cowl pattern designed by Hilary Smith Callis that calls for 300 yards.

Windschief is a $6 hat and cowl pattern designed by Stephen West that calls for 100 – 160 yards for a range of three sizes for both the hat and cowl.

Divine Hat is FREE crochet pattern designed by Sarah Arnold that calls for 150 – 200 yards.


 

© Roko
© Roko

Our single Aran Weight yarn option is the softest yarn we make: our un-dyed Green Mountain Green has 120 yards per skein.

Cupido Cowl is a FREE pattern designed by Hiroko Fukatsu that calls for 180 – 380 yards for two sizes.

Oats is a FREE cowl pattern designed by tincanknits that calls for 200 – 400 yards for a range of three sizes.

The Amanda Hat is a FREE pattern designed by Gina House that calls for 160 – 216 yards.

Dashing is a FREE fingerless gloves pattern designed by Cheryl Niamath that calls for 142 – 164 yards.

Catesby Three-Hour Cowl is a FREE crochet pattern designed by Kathryn Jones that calls for 100 – 200 yards.


*This is one of the 6 patterns included in the $16 BabyCocktails’ Tiki Collection published last winter that all knit up with minimal yardage in a variety of gauges.

We hope that this selection provides you with some welcome inspiration and may make your Shop Hop experience a bit more fun!  We look forward to seeing you soon and we can’t wait to get you started on your next project.

A Knit Along for you to consider

Our friend and soon to be Knitter’s Weekend teacher, Thea Colman has organized a fun KAL that you might want to check out.  In her blog this week she introduces her new Brighton Cowl and provides the details on the group knit along.

©Thea Colman
© Thea Colman
©Thea Colman
© Thea Colman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you aren’t in the KAL yet, there’s plenty of time to cast on.  Knit ANY BabyCocktails pattern along with the gang in the Ravelry thread before the end of June.  And… As part of the London Calling KAL, the code London Calling will get you 20% off the cowl pattern shown above on the left until June 15th.

All you have to do to enter the online KAL is post a photo of your BabyCocktails project, yarn or drink in the London Calling thread in Thea’s BabyCocktails Ravelry group, and each week (ish) she’ll pick winners for prizes like the one shown above on the right.

We think that this UK inspired prize is an extra special treat as Julie Asselin (who dyed the skein pictured above) is one of our custom processing customers!  While we didn’t spin the yarn pictured above, we have been working on some very special skeins for her this month that should be available this fall!

And for those of you who were reading carefully, Thea will be coming to Putney, VT this November to lead our 25th annual Knitter’s Weekend workshop along with Ellen Mason.  We are organizing a very special weekend that is sure to expand your knitting skills, and perhaps your sewing skills as well!  You can find more details here.

We hope that you can join the fun of Thea’s current KAL and perhaps join us for some more Babycocktails crafting in a few months.  Happy Knitting!

Morning Mist

A new pattern has been released by Annie Rowden this week.  We’d like to introduce you to Morning Mist made with Spinnery Cotton Comfort.

© Annie Rowden
© Annie Rowden

Larisa was among the lucky few test knitters who were given the opportunity to work on the pattern before its release.  She created a gorgeous version using the Juniper and Unbleached White colors.  It turned out beautifully and was a hit among the folks at the Maryland and New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festivals that got a sneak peek of the finished project.

Morning-mist-01

The pattern calls for just 5 skeins of yarn (3 of the main color and 2 for the lace).  The pattern has you starting with a provisional cast on so that you work the lace panel first in one direction and then in the other.  Once your lace is complete, you’ll pick up stitches for your shoulders and work the front of the top back and forth until it is the same measurement as the bottom of the lace panel.  After picking up stitches across the bottom of your lace section, you’ll continue to work your top in the round to the bottom hem.  It couldn’t be neater.

Annie explains on the pattern page on Raverly, “I love lace back shirts, but chose a pattern that wasn’t too open to avoid seeing straps underneath. The simple drop-shoulder body creates its own cap sleeves, making for quick knitting, and comfortable wearing. (Totally seamless!)”

We couldn’t agree more.  This is a perfect pattern for early summer knitting and we hope that you’ll consider casting on for one of your own!

Maureen’s new shawl

While traveling last week, Maureen had plenty of time to work on a new shawl.  She cast off her last few stitches as we drove back to Vermont from Maryland and will be able to model it this weekend at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival.

lallybroch-01

This is the Lallybroch Shawl designed by our friend Marly Bird.  This pattern was recently published in the Spring 2015 issue of Love of Knitting.  (We have a couple of copies still available).

Marly has confessed that this shawl was inspired by the one worn by Claire on the tv show Outlander.  And we should confess that if we had remembered to pack the cord we needed for the truck’s stereo, we would have been listening to one of the audiobooks in the series while Maureen was knitting and Kate drove.

lallybroch-02

Maureen’s version was knit up with two colors of the pattern’s called for Spinnery Alpaca Elegance: Chai and Cocoa.  We love the warmth of these two colors together and it looks beautiful on Maureen.

We hope that you’ll be able to visit us at the festival this weekend so that you can see this beautiful shawl for yourself.  It is likely that you’ll want to cast on for your own without delay.

 

 

Postcards from Maryland

Maureen, Kate and Lauren have headed South to Maryland and are setting up shop at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend. They are delighted with the fast forward of the seasons they experienced on the drive south and have sent word back that West Friendship, MD is bright green with spring growth.

You’ll find our beautiful yarns, inspiring samples, and generous selection of patterns in a tent located in the Outside North Vendors section.

sign

You’ll find the Green Mountain Spinnery’s tent very close to this “intersection”.  And you’ll be so glad that you decided to join the fun.  The festival is already filled with sheep of almost every breed.  These handsome critters were relaxing after a grueling afternoon of grooming to prepare them for the two Parades of Sheep Breeds that are scheduled for later today and Sunday.

sheep

Vendors of all kinds have gathered to create a memorable day for you.  You’ll find delicious food to snack on, fiber of all kinds and in all forms, tools of the trade that will make your crafting even more of a pleasure, and items for your home and garden that may inspire your next project.

Dahlias like these may become a cardigan or inspire you to try working with a new color that is not yet in your stash.

flowers

The fiber love is all around the festival.  The girls enjoyed an alfresco dinner last night sitting under one of the trees that have been yarn bombed by a local knitting guild.

bomb

We hope that you’ll be able to join the fun.  If this weekend is not feasible, you may want to consider coming to the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival that is going to fill Deerfield, NH with just as much lively activity next week.  We’d love for you to get a chance to visit!

Make lemonade

Can you imagine when running out of yarn might be a blessing?  It can be rewarding to find a pattern that you can’t resist knitting and realizing that you might have just enough yarn in your stash to make the size you’d like.  But working on those projects can be a bit stressful, especially when you are cutting it so close that short sleeves or a cropped length seem to be your only options for success.

Kate is working on a fun FREE pullover pattern designed by Leslie Weber that is giving her the opportunity to making the most of a small quantity of yarn.  Tweedy Stripey is a boxy pullover that calls for three colors of DK weight yarn (the tweedier the better).

© wychfingers
© wychfingers

Many of us at the Spinnery are eager to make versions of our own knowing that our Mewesic yarn will be perfectly suited to this pattern.  Kate has elected to cast on with two different dyelots of our Earl Grey Alpaca Elegance instead.  (Her pop stripe color comes from a skein of Madelinetosh Merino DK in the candlewick colorway).  The variation is subtle but eye-catching in the right light.

tweedy

This means that she’ll be able to get a sweater out of just a half dozen skeins of yarn that aren’t all in the same dyelot, giving her a chance to bust her stash just a bit and make a wonderfully wearable garment with yarn quantities that she thought she’d only be able to use for smaller accessories.

We hope that you are able to find a fun stripey pattern that appeals to you (there are hundreds in the Ravelry database) that allows you to play with your stash and find creative ways to make beautiful projects with yarn you didn’t think you could make use of.

A little gift

Sugaring season is almost over here in Vermont which has us all very eager for Spring.  Temperatures are no longer dipping below freezing at night and while we are seeing some occasional snow flurries, the snow drifts are no longer deepening.

In celebration of the change of season, we’ve created a FREE pattern addendum to the very popular Ascutney Mountain Hat & Earwarmer pattern.  With our addendum, you can make a pair of boot toppers that feature that beautiful braided cable.

ascutney-boot-toppers-01-w

This pair was knit up with two skeins of our Weekend Wool.  This crisp 100% wool 2-ply yarn provides wonderful stitch definition to compliment the brilliant color palette.

weekend-wool-w

What could be more fun that a pop of bright color to brighten up your work boots?

ascutney-boot-toppers-02w

For those of you who already own a copy of the pattern, downloading the FREE addendum will set you on your way.  If necessary, purchasing a copy of the Ascutney pattern here will provide you with all  the information (and cable charts) that you’ll need.

Before you know it, signs of warmer weather to come will blossom all around us.  We can’t wait!

A new take on a classic Aran

The Aran sweater has a rich history, full of Irish island lore and fishing stories about the one that “got away”.  In the past, each cable included in the pattern acted as a symbol that could weave a tale about the home port or invoke a bountiful catch for the wearer.

Maureen has created a fresh new pattern that combines the reassuring comfort that we associate with these classic designs and thoughtful details that ensure a perfect and flattering fit.  We’d like to introduce you to Duncan.

 

 

Maureen has designed the pattern with a size range of 40″ to 51″ and has used set in sleeves to make sure that the sweater fits with a minimum of positive ease.  It is warm and snuggly  knit up with worsted weight Weekend Wool or Mountain Mohair; and will never create the impression that you are wearing a cardigan meant for your favorite Fisherman.

 

Shown here in the undyed White Weekend Wool, this 2-ply 100% wool yarn lends the sweater a crisp stitch definition making the cables pop.  And the classic creamy white color ensures that this sweater could work for any outfit making it a wardrobe staple that you reach for most months of the year (if you live in New England like we do).

We also love the addition of pockets that maintain the cable pattern for continuity but give us the option of warming our hands on a bitter cold or damp morning.

This sweater is sure to become a Spinnery classic and we can’t wait to see yours!

A light cardigan for shoulder season

Cap Sease has designed a new cardigan pattern that knits up into a perfect sweater for Spring.  Tekle is knit up in Spinnery Mewesic.  Shown here in our popular Blue Bayou color, it makes for a beautifully textured swingy layering piece whose design subtly shifts as you move.

 

tekle-w

The pattern includes a generous range of sizes extending from 34 to 54 inch bust measurements.  It uses a bottom up construction with sleeves that are picked up at shoulder and worked towards the wrist. A short band is added to finish the neckline and front of the sweater where buttons could be added if you’d prefer.  But we love the casual look of the open sweater as Cap envisioned it.

You could easily substitute some of our other DK weight yarn options in this pattern.  Using Sylvan Spirit would increase the drape of the finished piece and make the provide the textured stitches with a crisp pop.  Cotton Comfort would make for a lighter sweater that could extend the sweater’s wear further into warmer weather or for warmer climates.  And choosing Alpaca Elegance would result in a warmer sweater that could be perfect for Autumn or a better choice for folks who tend to easily catch a chill.

For those of you who may be curious, the design was named after a new arrival in Cap’s family.  This new addition to the Spinnery family of patterns is a welcome one, and we hope that you are as excited by this pattern as we are!