Have you been looking to learn a little bit more about wool in the US? We found a great article about the history of the American Wool industry among the “pages” of the most recent edition of Twist Collective.
Our very own David Ritchie is quoted. And the article contains a concise story of the revival of wool production here in the US. (For the first part of the story that details the arrival of European sheep breeds on this continent with the colonists, you can look here).
You may want to browse around among the beautiful patterns included in this edition. We have to confess that our favorite is the his and hers versions of Shannonmore designed by Melissa Leapman.
These beautifully cabled pullovers call for Spinnery Weekend Wool. This 100% wool yarn provides the stunning cable details crisp definition that will showcase your knitting prowess.
And in case you were wondering, Weekend Wool is made with wool sourced from farms in New England and across the US. The unique blend of fibers features a blend of the soft wools from Rambouillet, Columbia, Targhee and Fresian sheep mixed with the lustrous fleeces from Corriadale, Montadale and Romneys. The result is a lofty yet durable yarn with great stitch definition. yum.
(We’d like to extend a very special thank you to our friend Kathy Cadigan for sharing the photo of David you see above that she caught when she visited the Spinnery this spring.)
We’ve created something special this spring and we thought you’d like to learn all about it. Vermont Organic yarn is back in stock! And we had a chance to briefly interview Anna from Open View Farm who raises the sheep whose fleeces have created our delicious new yarn.
Anna and her husband Ben raise certified organic lambs, grow certified organic vegetables, and produce maple syrup on 180 acres in New Haven, Vermont. The farm is unique in that it has a 2.49 megawatt DC solar array, which is owned and operated by Crosspollination Inc.
The array spans 17 acres and is composed of 8,448 photovoltaic modules. These produce an estimated 2,700-megawatt hours of electricity per year (which is enough electricity to power approximately 400 homes). Anna and Ben’s sheep seem to appreciate the shade and shelter the panels provide when they graze under and around the panels for part of the summer months.
As it turns out, Open View Farm is a resurrected dairy farm. Anna and Ben’s flock is raised for meat and was started in the fall of 2010 with 30 Tunis ewes. Tunis sheep are dual purpose, fat-tailed sheep well known for delicious meat. They’ve been added to the Slow Food movement’s Ark of Taste, which has identified 200 “delicious and culturally significant foods in the US in danger of extinction”.
Open View Farm’s original flock of Tunis ewes has been bred with Dorset rams to increase the size of the animals. Dorset animals are slightly larger and thrive on pasture ensuring a quicker growth to market weight. More than 50 lambs are born at Open View Farm each spring, bringing the total number of sheep on the farm to over 100 during the summer months.
As delicious as Anna and Ben’s organic lamb may be, here at Green Mountain Spinnery we are more interested in their fleece. Tunis sheep are born a soft cinnamon color that transitions to a lovely soft warm tan color. Dorset’s wool is known for its springy elasticity, which adds a delightful resiliency that makes each creamy ivory skein wonderfully squeezable.
Our skeins of worsted weight organic Vermont yarn include 250 yards per 4 oz. skein. Only 42 pounds of wool was processed in this first batch so our supply of these scrumptious skeins is limited. We hope to be able to make more in the near future. And we hope that you’ll be able to get your hands on some of these first few skeins!
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.
Ascutney 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.
*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.
Summertime brings with it a call from the open road. For those of us free from the demands of a working farm, a desire to travel gets us planning trips to visit friends, family, and new locales. And with the I-91 Shop Hop just two weeks away, all of us knitters at the Spinnery are planning projects that will travel with us, for short day trips or longer excursions.
Maureen has a trip to Maine scheduled next week and her travel project is already on her needles.
She has begun knitting the Swingy Lace Vest designed by Jean Clement and published in the Summer edition of Love of Knitting. The pattern calls for 3-5 skeins of Sock Art Forest in the Water colorway and our dyer Melissa just dropped off a fresh new batch of the beautiful blue skeins.
Maureen has chosen a deeper teal color that more closely matches the two other teal projects that are currently on her needles. Funny how that can happen…
Larisa has already started her travel project as well.
This garter stitch scarf is an ideal travel project being small enough to fit on her lap and a very easy pattern repeat that doesn’t require much concentration. This leaves Larisa free to enjoy the scenery and help navigate on the day trips she often makes with her husband around New England.
Kate has a week long adventure to Alaska planned for late July and so is still in the planning stages of her travel project. She currently has two contenders that have captured her fancy.
The first is a potential Rhinebeck sweater. Inspired by the project photos of one of the Spinnery’s Ravelry friends, Kate is thinking about casting on for an Autumn inspired version of Hiro designed by Julia Farwell-Clay. These hues of Spinnery Mewesic are going to look amazing blended together in a pixelated circular yoke (left to right: Norwegian Wood, Evergreen, Mean Mr. Mustard, and Sandman).
But she recognizes that a smaller project might be easier to pack.
Hence project option number two: Brooklyn Tweed’s Ashby shawl to be knit with the Cappuccino color of Alpaca Elegance. Delicious.
We hope that your summer travels have you headed our way. We’d love to see you during the Shop Hop or any time that brings you to the Spinnery’s doors. Time permitting, we can offer you a tour of our production facility giving you a chance to see all the work that goes into our skeins before they are ever wound and ready to knit.
Please share your project photos and your travel snapshots on our Facebook page or on our Ravelry Group discussion thread. We’d love to see where you’re headed and what you’re working on!
Yep! Our tent sale is featuring some terrific bargains on orphan skeins. These are small quantities of skeins leftover from older dye lots.
We have found a few skeins of our favorites: Mountain Mohair, Cotton Comfort, Sylvan Spirit, Alpaca Elegance, and Maine and New Mexico Organics. Every skein is just $5. Great yarn for a great price!
These limited quantities could be perfect for small accessory projects, or striped projects that require small yardages of multiple complimentary colors.
And there is much, much more! We have an even larger selection of unwashed odd weight yarns that we’ve been able to make available to our online friends who won’t be able to attend our Tent Sale in person. You can find all of our special Tent Sale savings here. These prices will be available (while supplies last) through Friday June 12th!
We hope that you can take advantage of these prices. Our Tent Sale hours this weekend (May 23-25) are Saturday 10am – 5:30pm, Sunday 12 – 4pm, and Monday 10am – 5:30pm. And our special $5 skeins are only available to those of you who can visit us in person.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and happy knitting!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
The production team has had a colorful week as a collection of new yarn has moved from fiber to skein. As evidenced by Laurie’s color change spool from the carder, we have been working with such beautiful colors that the combination looks a bit like a geode.
We are working on a total of five new shades of Sylvan Spirit and we can’t wait for you to see them. You were among the first to see our new Hematite shade last week, and this week we have some new colors to share.
From left to right we have Jade, Agate, Aquamarine and Turquoise. These new additions to the Sylvan Spirit spectrum are going to give you a wonderful palette to play with this Spring.
Our 50/50 blend of Wool and TENCEL® Lyocell makes a soft yarn with a satiny sheen. You will love its beautiful drape and spectacular stitch definition. This DK weight yarn includes 180 yards per 2 oz. skein and is a wonderful choice for lighter weight knits that will provide that touch of warmth and comfort we like from Spring and Summer knitwear.
For those of you who are curious, TENCEL is a natural derivative of wood pulp from cultivated Southern oak and gum trees grown on land unsuitable for grazing.
These new colors of Sylvan Spirit are making their debut at Sitches WEST this weekend and we will have skeins available for everyone on our website later next week. We hope that you enjoy working with this yarn as much as we loved making it!
Several seasons ago we sent a few dozen skeins of our New Mexico organic yarn to our friend Roy Kady in order to be hand painted. We received a wonderful care package this month filled with gorgeous skeins from the Navajo Nation that we want to share with you as a little holiday present.
We have small quantities of limited edition Hand Painted New Mexico Organic – a 100% Fine Wool (Rambouillet) grown in New Mexico and hand dyed by the indigenous Diné (Navajo) community.
Using traditional methods of dying has resulted in a subdued palette of natural tones that reflect the high desert environment of the American Southwest. The skeins are named for the plants used to create each hue.
Even more exciting, part of the proceeds from the sales of these skeins will benefit the artists who painted them, allowing us to give back to the Native American community that is such a vital part of our heritage.
We hope that you’ll take a look at these skeins on our website, or visit our little shop to enjoy the colors in person. They are $15 each and will disappear quickly.
Thea Colman and Ellen Mason are coming to the Spinnery!