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.

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.


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.


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.


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!

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.


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 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!

Happy New Year

The arrival of 2015 has us at the Spinnery looking ahead with new resolutions and intentions as well as reflecting over the past year of projects.  We’ve been looking back through our Ravelry project pages remembering each of the items that were completed this year and what was going on in our lives as those stitches were made.

We thought we would share our favorite projects with you this week.  These may inspire you to cast on for something similar, or get a little bit of new joy out of projects of your own that you are proud of.




All of us at the Spinnery were excited as the first skeins of our new Mewesic yarn made their way through production.  This fall all of us cast on eagerly to play with the new yarn and get a sense of how it knit up.  Eric made a stunning new sample of the Wonderland Gloves pattern using Sandman, Brickhouse, and Evergreen.  The contrasting colors pop beautifully and the dense gauge of the gloves ensures satisfying warmth for your hands.


cowl 01


Kate used a similar color scheme for her first stranded color work project, Ysolda Teague’s Pyukkleen Cowl pattern.  She found that the stitches just flew along her needles.  By trying something new after years of knitting, she has opened up a whole new world of projects that she is eager to try her hand at.


side 02


Maureen’s favorite project of 2014 is the Summerhill cardigan designed by ANNESTRiCK (modeled by Kate above).  This beautiful sweater knit up with Spinnery Sylvan Spirit in the Sterling color included her first contiguous shoulder.  The technique results in the look of a set in sleeve with the convenience of a top-down construction.  And with the included lacework of this pattern the result is stunning!

Larisa has selected one of her most recently finished projects as her favorite.  Her Gold Rush Shawl designed by Amy Christoffers is a shop favorite knit up with the rich dark Evergreen color of Mewesic.


Gold rush back 02


All of us enjoyed the KAL that had us working on this lovely shawl through the holiday season.  It was fun to check in with one another around the “water cooler” and see who had progressed further through the charts.

As you look ahead to 2015 with resolutions or intentions for your craft, we hope that if there are particular projects or some new knitting skills you are eager to master, that we at the Spinnery can help make that happen for you.  Our biannual Knitting Retreats have provided many crafters with a warm and friendly environment to learn exciting new techniques.

And if you are a Vermont (or southern New Hampshire) local, you may  find that our Community Knit Night on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday evenings of every month from 5:30-7:30pm is a wonderfully supportive and nurturing group. Many a new knitter has found answers, suggestions, and other help from friendly neighbors around our work table.

All of us at the Spinnery wish you the happiest of New Years and hope that we’ll be seeing you soon.


A few gift ideas

We had a wonderful time last weekend greeting visitors from all over the country who dropped in to the Spinnery during Putney’s 36th Annual Craft Tour.  We opened our doors to new friends and offered all who were interested tours of our facility.  By walking through the mill and explaining how our yarn is created, we were able to share our story and our passion for beautiful fiber.

Along with our tours we also offered our guests a chance to buy a selection of our “retired” shop samples.  These hand knit sweaters and accessories are destined to make wonderful holiday gifts this season for thrifty shoppers who won’t have to rush to finish knitted projects for friends and family on their gift list.

garter stitch pullovermaureen 01

















There are a few remaining samples that are now available on our website.  If you are running short on holiday knitting time, take a minute to browse our selection.  You might find a perfect gift among them!


We also have a shop full of great stocking stuffers: from crafty magazines, project totes, bottles of Eucalan, needles, hooks, and tools of all kinds.  We hope that if you are in the market for a crafty or handmade gift, you’ll stop in or give us a call.  We can offer you all kinds of suggestions that we hope will take a bit of the guesswork out of your holiday purchasing.


Maureen has designed a new sweater

We have a new Spinnery sweater pattern to share with you that beautifully highlights our new Mewesic yarn.


mewsic 02

Maureen was inspired by one of the first vivid colors we created this summer and started swatching.  This lace pattern became the basis for her new cardigan.  Passionate Kisses is named after the color she chose to knit with.

We love how the botanical lace pattern highlights the rich tweedy color.  It also creates a lightweight fabric that will ensure your finished sweater is versatile during the change of seasons.  Fall here in New England can bring dramatic temperature changes during the course of a typical day and this sweater is a stylish layering piece that is as beautiful as it is functional.

passionate 01kas passionate kisses














Maureen designed the scooped neck to be clasped with just three buttons at the neck, but you could add buttons all the way down the band if you’d prefer.

The pattern uses a seamed construction, a modified set in sleeve, and is worked in pieces from the bottom up.  It is a great choice for intermediate knitters eager to try out our new yarn with a larger project.


Which color would you cast on with?

Another Knit Along to jump start our Fall knits

Joji Locatelli’s most recently published Grandpa Cardigan looks as though it will be a very interesting pattern to work on.  She has created a top-down, seamless, set-in sleeve cardigan that looks appealing for folks of all knitting abilities.  And who wouldn’t be tempted to make a comfy cardigan to snuggle into this Fall?

© Joji
© Joji

“Worked from the shoulders down completely seamlessly, Grandpa features a different set of cables for every size, making it look complex and sophisticated as any seamed garment, but without any finishing required.

All the instructions are charted out, so there is no guessing with this sweater. Just enjoy watching all the pieces come together to create this beautiful timeless cardi.  Even if you have never knitted a cabled sweater before, you’ll find Grandpa’s instructions clear and easy to follow, making it a great choice for your first challenging project. ”

Joji has incorporated a contiguous shoulder into her pattern to create set-in sleeves, so there should be some interesting fun for more experienced knitters who haven’t yet had a chance to try this technique.

More fun can be had if you join the Ravelry KAL.  You’ll have a chance to win prizes, and have the gratification of seeing and reading about other knitters’ progress.  The group will be casting on August 1st with a goal of finishing the sweater in three months.  This gives you plenty of time to pick your yarn.

Some of the girls at the Spinnery started plotting out our selections this morning, and this is what we came up with.


Alpaca Elegance was the most popular choice!  From left to right you have Rachel’s choice: Earl Grey, Maureen’s selection: Sencha, and Kate’s preference: Rosehip.  Larisa opted for the New Mexico Organic yarn in grey.  We know that these yarns will all perfectly highlight the beautiful cables.

What Spinnery yarn would you be tempted to cast on with?