A crafty afternoon

Our dear friend Ellen Mason (Odacier) inspired several of us at the Spinnery to dust off our sewing machines and spend an afternoon sewing instead of knitting this week.


When Ellen and Thea joined us in Putney last November for our Knitters’ Weekend, Ellen filled our heads with dreams of sewn projects.  She modeled a darling dress that we all fell in love with, and promised that a pattern for it was in the works…


Yesterday her pattern for the Ann Carolyn Smock was released, and we got busy!  Ellen’s inclusion of the yardage requirements among the photos on her etsy site mean that you can purchase your fabric without delay, and get it ready to be sewn while your pattern is in the mail on its way to you.



Larisa made a shirt version of the pattern early in the week as a “dress-rehearsal” of sorts and then made the same longer dress version of the pattern that Maureen selected to work on. Kate opted for the tunic version of the pattern.

ann carolyn

After just three hours, all three smocks were very close to being finished. (Maureen’s is on the left, Kate’s in the middle and Larisa’s is on the right).  One of our favorite aspects of the pattern is the optional “pop” pockets.  They can be personalized in all kinds of ways: un-embellished, trimmed with bias tape and brightly contrasting.



The pattern provides crisp, clear and illustrated directions that were a snap for all of us to follow, in spite of two of us being infrequent/novice sewers.  Having an almost finished garment at the end of an afternoon’s work was exhilarating for a group of knitters who are more accustomed to spending weeks to complete a project.















And nothing beats the sense of accomplishment that comes with a finished project!  We recommend putting down your knitting needles and crochet hooks in exchange for a set of pinking shears for a change of pace that will add a terrific new garment to your Spring/Summer wardrobe and put a spring in your step.

Thank you Ellen for a lovely pattern that we are sure to recreate again and again, and for inspiring us to try something new.



Mini bundles of fun

In celebration of the beginning of Spring, we have created “bouquets” of fun color for you to play with!


Knowing how popular our worsted weight Mountain Mohair is for color work projects, we have bundled five Mountain Mohair mini skeins into a fun collection of yarn for you to enjoy!

These skeins are each approximately 50 yards, giving you plenty of yardage for small accessories of many colors or a fun way to add a pop of color here and there to other larger projects.


If you are looking for some project inspiration, you might want to take a look at our Mini Mitts.  Cap Sease created a fun pair of fingerless mitts using just two of these mini skeins.

A bundle would provide you with the yardage for a couple of pairs.  If you wanted matching mitts, you could use the mini skeins for pops of color on a much larger collection of mitts to give as gifts or to match every outfit and mood.

There are hundreds of other accessory project suggestions to be found on Ravelry.  Our favorite may be the Algonguin Hats designed by Thea Colman which calls for a single skein of Mountain Mohair as a main color and just 50 yards of a contrast color to create a beanie with a hint of slouch and gorgeous textured color.


The color selection of the Mountain Mohair Minis that you’ll receive is random and sure to compliment each other beautifully.  We can’t wait to see what you make with them!

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.


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!



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.


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.

Dreamed, spun, designed and knit

It all started with Julie Asselin.  She dreamed up a new yarn last summer; and when her Nurtured moved through our production line, we all knew that it was something special.


This yarn is created by blending and spinning wool that Julie has dyed before sending it to us.  You can see in the photo above that the yarn has flecks of her carefully created bright colors that are blended with undyed fiber into a subtle overall tone that is as warm and comforting as the name implies.

You can read more about how it all came together on Julie’s blog posts about the project.

When Julie shared several skeins of this new yarn with Thea Colman, Thea couldn’t wait to start swatching.  She experimented with various stitch patterns and came to the conclusion that this yarn wanted to be knit up in gloriously lush round cables.  We couldn’t agree more.

Her design evolved into a new and improved cabled grandpa sweater that will be one you find yourself reaching for again and again.  We’d like to introduce you to Milk Stout.

© 2016 BabyCocktails

Thea shared a few preview photos with us as her pattern became ready for test knitting and we were smitten.  Larisa (who spun this gorgeous yarn) cast on for the pattern using our Weekend Wool and the similarities between the two yarns has offered great results.


Our natural undyed skeins of Weekend Wool are also a woolen spun worsted weight 2-ply yarn of blended fibers.  Our Natural Grey seen above is created by combining light and dark undyed fiber and is the base for the dyed skeins that are equally popular.


Larisa’s new Milk Stout sweater is cozy, comforting and lofty.  Thanks to the woolen spun yarn it is a perfect weight with lush cables that provide texture that feels just like a hug when worn.

Whether you chose to use Weekend Wool or Julie’s Nurtured, you are going to love this sweater as much as we do.

We are headed west

Our production team has been busy this week packing up dozens of boxes of patterns and yarn that will be headed to Santa Clara to be featured in the Green Mountain Spinnery booth at Stitches West.  Kate and Maureen will be in booths 817-819 at the Convention Center from February 18th – 21st with our yarns, patterns, and samples to share with you.


They will be featuring a new pattern available as an exclusive kit for Stitches West attendees.  The Beinecke Cowl designed by Cap Sease features blocks of garter and lace inspired by Yale University’s landmark library.

This infinity cowl can be created with two skeins of Spinnery Sylvan Spirit.  Our exclusive kit will include the pattern, the yarn, and a fun gift, all for $40.  Visitors will be able to select their preferred color from our entire line of Sylvan Spirit including the new colors that we created last Spring.


We hope that you’ll mark your calendars and be able to stop by the Spinnery’s home away from home.  We have even more to share with you and inspire your next knits.

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.


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).


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!

Another request fulfilled

One of our most popular children’s sweater is the East Putney Aran that was included in our 99 Yarns book published in 2009.  This classic pullover pattern includes sizing for ages 2 – 12.

east putney aran

As you can imagine, it knits up quickly with between 4 and 6 skeins of our DK weight yarn options: New Mexico Organic, Cotton Comfort, Mewesic, Sylvan Spirit or Alpaca Elegance.

We are pleased to tell you that now we have an adult version of this sweater!  The Adult East Putney Aran includes sizing for bust sizes 38′ – 50″.  This often requested pattern has been drafted by Melissa Johnson so that now all of us can can have one of our own.


The pattern is a perfect one for knitters eager to try their hand on an Aran knit and would like a great beginner pattern to get started.  The pattern includes two different cable motifs separated by columns of seed stitch making it ideal for newer knitters.

The sweater features a bottom-up seamed construction with a modified drop shoulder.  The stitch pattern is charted for easy reading, and as always, we are available at the Spinnery for phone support.  We hope that you’ll give it a try.

A lighter weight pullover such as this one will be a perfect addition to your wardrobe as temperatures get a bit warmer.  And with so many fun yarn options in mouthwatering colors, you may find yourself making more than just one!

A must read

Carol Feller’s Short Row Knits was published earlier this fall.  It’s subtitle, “A Master workshop with 20 learn as you knit projects” beautifully distinguishes this book as one that you will want to experience, not just read.


It’s clear concise descriptions of both the why and the how of various short row techniques can be best absorbed by picking up your needles and working the stitches along with Carol’s prose.  We find that getting new techniques into our muscle memory makes them far more likely to transition from theory into daily practice.

And Carol makes a very compelling argument for using these techniques.  Adding short row curves into patterns can give us the ability to customize the fit of any pattern without math. Gasp!  Yep, for those of you who aren’t a fan of “mathy” modifications, short rows can provide customized shaping without changing your stitch count.

The book is filled with clear illustrations, beautifully crisp photography and careful descriptions that make it seem as though she’s right by your side guiding you through the basics.  And that’s not all.

© Joseph Feller

Included in the book are 20 beautiful patterns give you a chance to work with these concepts while creating wonderfully wearable and gift-able knits.  The collection includes sweaters and shawls as well as clever hats and socks and a darling woolen ball, Chirripo, that is worked side to side.

© Joseph Feller

This wonderful book belongs in your project bag, not your bookshelf.  We hope that you’ll give yourself the time to really play with Carol’s tips and tricks.  Mastery of these short row techniques will dramatically change your craft for the better.

And we are pleased to announce that we have a copy to give to a lucky winner!  This weekend, add a comment to our Facebook page and we’ll pick a winner at random on Monday November 2nd.  We hope that you’ll share photos and details of your favorite knitwear projects that make use of short rows.

We look forward to learning about your successes and triumphs with short rows and we know that with Carol’s guidance all of us will have more of those to share in the future!


Are you ready?

We are setting up shop at Rhinebeck this weekend.  We look forward to this festival every fall.  The food, yarn, sheep and wool bring thousands of fiber enthusiasts to this gathering, but it is the mystique of the “Rhinebeck Sweater” that inspires all of us to knit a new garment each year.

We’ll have some great new samples with us in our booth and we hope that you’ll stop by to check out: Kristen, the Exit 4 Tunic ,  and Amy Christoffer’s Coolidge Cardigan, among others.

Quechee_Pics (3 of 15)

We’ll also be debuting Suzanne Allen’s new sweater: the White Pine Pullover.  White Pines are a native Vermont tree once used for the masts of ships.  The strong vertical pine-like stitch pattern compliments the soft curve of a generous cowl neck on this comforting pullover.  Designed with lazy weekends in mind, the White Pine Pullover combines cozy comfort with effortless style.   

Suzanne has paired a light weight textured fabric with an over-sized silhouette that can be dressed up or down.  Equally perfect with jeans or leggings, you’ll want to snuggle into the generous cowl neck when temperatures drop.   This pullover is knit flat from the bottom up and seamed together.  Side vents and set in sleeves provide the perfect balance between relaxed ease and a flattering fit.

Quechee_Pics (15 of 15)

The pattern includes a generous range of seven sizes from 31″ – 55″ busts and it calls for 6 – 11 skeins of DK weight yarn such as the Sandman Mewesic shown above.

We hope that we’ll see you this weekend at the festival.  We can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on and perhaps get you what you need for a new “Rhinebeck Sweater” that will be the hit of next year’s show.

Vermont at it’s best

We are headed to the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend and we couldn’t be more excited.  Tunbridge is lovely this time of year.  And in our opinion, there is nothing quite so fine as a gathering of fiber enthusiasts eager to share what they’ve been working on.

sheep 03 (2)

There will be sheep aplenty as well as over 70 vendors offering all your favorite fibers and yarn along with equipment and supplies.  The Spinnery will have a booth there and you can visit us to see a selection of our yarns as well as some samples that can demonstrate how our yarns and patterns work up.

Anticipating that shoppers might be eager to find a unique local offering, and inspired by Amy Christoffer’s beautiful Coolidge Cardigan, Kate spent a few hours this week knitting up a new sample with our Vermont Organic Yarn.


These creamy skeins include 250 yards of worsted weight yarn and Kate thought that a simple hat pattern that could highlight the terrific stitch definition was called for.  She knit up a Koolhaas hat, designed by Jared Flood.


The pattern includes two size options and Kate knitted the larger of the two for the deepest possible version of this unisex beanie.  She was delighted to find that she had enough yarn remaining for a second hat!


We love it when you can create two projects from a single skein!  You’ll be able to make two holiday gifts or keep one for yourself as a little reward.

If a trip to Tunbridge Vermont is on your agenda this weekend, we look forward to seeing you soon.  If some knitting time on the couch at home is more your speed, we wish you happy knitting!