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!

Brioche is beautiful

Last weekend a wonderful group of crafters converged here in Putney and spent three lovely days learning as much as possible about the brioche stitch from our friend Nancy Marchant.

brioche group 01

She is an inspiring teacher whose patience and devotion made our lessons fun and very informative.  She has spent the last 10 years exclusively knitting brioche and her passion for this technique spread through the room like wildfire.  Getting an exclusive sneak peek of samples of her newest patterns was a special bonus.

Brioche 08

Her newest book that includes these patterns is due to be released early next month.  Her wraps and scarves combine stunning vibrant yarns of all kinds with hypnotizing stitch patterns that are in fact not as difficult to execute as you might imagine.

It was wonderful to see such a rich variety of pattern variations and textures created with the basic brioche techniques that we covered in our workshop.

Brioche 01

Here you can see our friend and fellow student Donna (modeling her beautiful Gulfoss sweater) working on the first swatch of the workshop.  This lesson allowed us to practice increases and decreases in a single color.  After lunch, we tried our hand at two-colored brioche.

After a few more hours of instruction, Maureen was able to dive into Nancy’s Hegg Braid Brioche Scarf.  Beautiful!


And Eric has started a deliciously cozy brioche textured cowl that will be a delight to wear through our coldest months this winter.


It was a delightful weekend and we want to thank everyone who was a part of the fun.  We’d also like to extend a very warm thank you to Nancy for her excellent instruction.  It was a pleasure to learn from her and she has probably inspired more than one of us to visit her hometown Amsterdam with her wonderful anecdotes.

We are already looking ahead to our Spring gathering and hope to be able to lure Lorilee Beltman here to Putney to teach us about her remarkable vertical stranding techniques.  We will share more details with you about that as soon as we can.

Try something new

In our experience a terrific teacher or the right pattern can encourage a crafter to overcome their fears and doubts and attempt an untried technique.  We can’t wait to see what kind of magic happens this weekend when Nancy Marchant guides our Knitter’s Weekend group though the brioche stitch.

Last weekend, a new Ysolda pattern encouraged Kate to try Fair Isle for the first time.  Pyukkleen is a stranded color work cowl designed by Ysolda Teague that is part of her Knitworthy collection.  This group of patterns is designed to be approachable to knitters of all abilities.  Something about the delicious weight of this cowl made it very appealing to Kate and so she decided to give it a go.


cowl beginning

She thought that holding a double strand of Spinnery Mewesic would get her very close to gauge.  So she selected six warm autumnal tones and cast on before she could talk herself out of the idea.

She had so much fun that she quickly finished the project in a couple of days in spite of her weekend being filled with  trick-or-treaters, raking leaves, and making Irish stew.

“It practically knit itself!”

cowl 01

She chose to remove a pattern repeat from the instructions making the circumference of the cowl a bit more snug to keep out winter chills.



Even though she doubled her yarn as she worked, she has a great deal of remaining yarn to play with.  With almost four full skeins of yarn leftover, she can create four more knitworthy gifts for this holiday season.  She has plans for a set of wrist warmers and three hats that will make use of all this wonderful yarn.

So Ysolda’s pattern inspired Kate to try a new technique that now makes Fair Isle something that no longer intimidates her.  And results in a delightfully snug cowl as well as a handful of gifts that she’ll be able to give to friends and family. (We’ll share photos of those projects as they come off her needles in upcoming weeks).

We would love to inspire you to try something new this month.  Give us a call or send us an email and let us know what you might like to try next.  We will do our best to help you find the perfect pattern, delectable yarns, instructional video, or Craftsy class that might make that dream a reality!

The Spring Art Fair at Squam

Maureen and I piled into the car last weekend and headed to New Hampshire to join the fun of the Squam Art Fair and the Ravelry Revelry.  It was wonderful fun to mingle with crafters who had been at the camp all weekend taking workshops, making friends, finding fresh inspiration, and glowing with new skills.

This video should give you a good sense of what a magical place and experience the Squam Art Workshops can be.

We joined the stream of folks heading into the Fair and were charmed by twinkling lights and blocks of ice illuminated by candles.  The video that you’ll find here should give you a good sense of what a magical place and experience these art retreats are.

© BEEZ in the belfry
© BEEZ in the belfry

Once inside, we were met with a room full of beautiful creativity; and both of us fell speechless at the workmanship of all of the talented vendors.  “The Squam Art Fair is a whirlwind of inspiration. Mix together the magic of a vintage shop feel, one of a kind goodies, and the creative spirits of all in attendance and you’ve got yourself a memorable evening at the lake.”

We are very proud to be one of the sponsors of this evening.

© Squam Art Workshops
© Squam Art Workshops

Among some of the delightful items that captured our interest as we browsed through the room were the beautiful samples from Amirisu’s Spring 2014 magazine.  Maureen was quite taken with two of the sweaters: Mokoshi designed by nest-design laboratory, and Whispers by Veera Välimäki.  (You may have already seen photos on our Facebook page).

We were able to meet up with some familiar faces and old friends, and check out beautiful hand knits modeled by knitters from all across the country.  We even got to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in her finished Adriana.  The story behind this lovely vest is a wonderful read; but it’s even better when Stephanie tells it in person.  Maureen and I were in stitches.

We couldn’t resist indulging in a bit of shopping.  Maureen was drawn to a beautiful waxed canvas tote; and I came home with a linen apron that will be perfect wearing in the shop.  (It has a pocket for a measuring tape!)  You can find a bag just like Maureen’s here and you can find an apron just like mine, here.

There are a couple of Squam Art workshops coming up later this year that you may want to look into.  The Fall retreat will be in early September and Squam is headed to Providence, RI for an urban experience towards the end of that month.  You find find more details about both retreats here.

We hope that you find a bit of inspiration in all of this, as we did last Saturday!

A Sneak Peak into our Spring Knitters’ Weekend

Spinnery founders Claire Wilson and Libby Mills began taking our wares to Stitches events and fiber festivals years ago and realized that doing these kinds of shows was fun and good business, but wondered how it would be to have knitters come to us. So, for more than 20 years we have been inviting folks to enjoy a weekend in New England with good food, excellent company, a fun learning experience and generally lots of yarny goodness.

Over the years we have had quite an array of instructors, from established names like Barbara  Walker, Katherine Cobey, Nancy Bush, Fiona Ellis and Beth Brown-Reinsel to more recent emerging stars in the knitting world: Gudrun Johnston, Alison Green, Kate Gilbert and others. In addition, our weekends have offered a chance for our own Spinnery designers to share their passion.


This past weekend was no exception, and Marly Bird was a huge hit with the group.  Her warm and bubbly personality made the weekend more fun and full of laughter than one could imagine possible.

She is a wonderful teacher who was able to gracefully guide both knitters and crocheters through the intricacies of Entrelac.  It was inspiring to see everyone in the room working with their preferred tool, be it hook or needle.  Then on Sunday morning the group gathered to learn about thrumming and a new collection of deliciously warm mittens was born!

She inspired all of us to embrace the intention of her instructions and make them our own; reminding us that one of the reasons she became a designer was because she is not a fan of closely following directions.

Our “students” proved to be very talented crafters, and they brought some amazing hand knits with them. The collection of sweaters in the room was breathtaking.  It was also fun to see what came along in everyone’s work basket or project bag.


It was a wonderful weekend filled with laughter, learning, and wonderful company.  One of our new friends Sue posted to our Facebook page, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for a fabulous weekend!! This was my very first knitting retreat & you have set the bar very high! I loved every moment, learned so much and enjoyed getting to know a truly great group of ladies!!”


It is a sentiment that we all share.  Thank you to all of you who joined us.  A huge warm hug and enthusiastic thank you to Marly for traveling halfway across the country to help us make a memorable weekend.  And to all of you who hope to come and join us next time, there is always room at the table for another friend!