Spinnery News

Swatch whispering

Many of our friends groan and roll their eyes when they think of having to work a swatch.  For many knitters, this step represents a frustrating delay before we can enjoy the fun of getting stitches on our needles, and a sense of real progress towards our goal of a finished garment.

But in some cases, what can be learned from a swatch could dramatically impact the final product.  Learning that before spending hours on our stitches can make the difference between a flattering fit or a disappointing one. Occasionally, it can provide the insight that redirects the yarn to an entirely different project!

This week, Kate created a swatch with John Crane’s Medium Wool.  She thought that it might be perfect for Thea Colman’s Oban Sweater.  This yarn includes a blend of Beltex, California Red, Columbia, Corriedale, Finn, Ile de France, Montadale, Polypay Rouge de Roussillon, Texel, Tunis, and Zwarbles fiber.  This combination lends itself beautifully to projects that are soft enough to be comfortable and strong enough to wear well: the perfect sweater wool.

But she found that the lovely garter and cable texture of Oban’s pattern did not present itself as clearly as she would like.  All those blended undyed fleeces produce a visual complexity of many shades of grey.  As her swatch dried from it’s blocking, she surmised that a more pronounced stitch texture wouldn’t compete with the yarn, but highlight it.

After a brief Raverly search, she found Lille kongle (Little woodland) by Ingvill Freland.  This pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn knit at a dense gauge for a warm winter hat.  Kate opted to work the largest size with the pattern’s recommended needle and created a lighter version of this deeply textured accessory that makes this unique yarn shine.

Dressed up with a removable fur pompom, this is a finished project we’re delighted with!  What do you think?

As frustrating as it can be to delay the gratification of getting a project started, the reward of a really successful FO can make a swatch an invaluable investment of time.  We hope that when you fall in love with one of our yarns you’ll consider working up a swatch, especially if you don’t have a pattern in mind.  We’ve found that starting a project search with the information learned from our swatch can produce the best match between yarn and finished results!


Less than a week away

We can’t wait for this year’s I-91 Shop Hop!  The fun starts Thursday, June 21st when we open our doors at 9am!  All participating shops will be open from 10am – 6pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 12pm – 5pm on Sunday.

Our 9 am opening on Thursday and Friday will give folks a bit of extra time to get to your passport stamped at all 11 participating shops in order to qualify for one of the three extravagant Grand Prize bags.  In addition, each shop will be drawing daily prize winners.  This year’s daily prize bags are chock full of skeins, patterns and notions that would be a thrill to win, and every shop you visit allows you an additional chance to take one home.

Kate was interviewed on the Webs’ Podcast last week and she and Kathy talked about some of the special offerings that you’ll find at the Spinnery next week.  For example, we’ll be offering Mill tours to visitors who would like to get a closer look behind the scenes at the Spinnery.  And we have even more surprises in store that we know you won’t want to miss.

We have prepared a limited quantity of some terrific project kits.  Shown below is a Mercury Rising Shawl kit with a beautiful sample that was knit up by Angela at Must Love Yarn  (a terrific northern Vermont LYS that you should plan to visit at some point soon)!

We’ll also have two color options of our Our Putney Flock Sock kit available for just $38.  Our kit includes the perfect quantity of all the yarns you’ll need to make up an adorable pair of socks that will be a fun momento of this year’s Hop.

Our offering for the Head to Toe FREE pattern collection that each shop has contributed to, is a brand new ruched cowl pattern that will be released next week.   Maureen’s single skein infinity scarf project features a new Spinnery yarn that will be released this Fall.  We have hand painted a few dozen skeins in mouthwatering shades to give you a chance to cast on early and knit with our new Ragg-Time yarn that only insiders will have access to before September!

You can also use your visit as a great opportunity to see and feel John Crane’s 5 limited edition yarns.  You can read more about this special project here.  Our stock of these undyed skeins is getting low, and we know that you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to knit with these special fiber blends.

As always, the shop will be overflowing with gorgeous samples, squeezably soft skeins, a carefully curated collection of books and magazines and more!  We hope that you’ll take part in this year’s I-91 Shop Hop and stop on by Thursday June 21st – Sunday June 24th.  We can’t wait for your visit!

One more week of great savings!

Even though our physical Tent Sale wrapped up at the end of Memorial Day weekend, our discounted prices continue to be available through Friday June 15th!  You can find some great savings on our limited edition and odd weight unwashed skeins available through our website here.

For those of you who haven’t already knit with these discounted skeins and wonder what we mean by unwashed odd weight skeins, here is a brief explanation:

We typically wash our skeins of yarn before making them available for purchase in order to remove the light coating of spinning oil that we add to the fiber to facilitate its passage through the carding machine.  Unwashed skeins will “bloom” to softness if gently hand washed before knitting. Below are two skeins of Edelweiss Mountain Mohair.  On the left is a fluffy washed skein and on the right is an unwashed skein.

There may be a difference of gauge between your stitches created with an unwashed yarn and your finished blocked fabric. In order to avoid surprises that will effect your garment’s finished measurements, we recommend washing your yarn before your start your project or blocking your swatch so that you can more accurately predict what changes your blocked fabric will undergo.  Easy skein washing instructions will be included with your order.

Keep in mind, unwashed skeins are terrific for felting and dyeing.  Some of the hand dyers that work with our yarns actually prefer to work with unwashed skeins!

Odd weight skeins are first quality, but the yarn is, overall, a bit lighter or heavier than in a regular weight skein. Lighter skeins will work up a bit finer than usual and heavier skeins will work up with a bit more bulk.

Please note, when we fill orders for any particular color, all the skeins will be either all heavies or all lights. Check your gauge carefully before starting your project.

We hope that you’ll check out our varied selection of discounted yarn this week and take advantage of these savings while supplies last and before the sale ends at the end of the day on Friday June 15th!

We’re popping into Shelburne Vermont!

We’ll be joining our friends at Must Love Yarn this weekend for a special Trunk Show.  On Saturday, June 2nd  from 2pm – 5pm we’ll be part of the Meet the Farmers gathering at one of our favorite LYS in the Green Mountain State!

© Must Love Yarn

Join us for an informative afternoon with the fiber farmers who work so diligently to bring us the beautiful local yarns we adore! Featured this year will be Savage Hart Farm, Petersholm Farm & Dillner Hillside Farm.

There will be a wonderful presentation beginning at 3pm from one farm family who talks about their journey from ordinary city life into full-fledged fiber farmers. You’ll also find spinning demonstrations, displays and of course lots of local yarn for sale. We hope you’ll come out and support these wonderful local farms that are raising fiber flocks and creating unique yarns that you’ll adore as we do.

And, you’ll also get a chance to meet the folks from FiberStash Dyeworks, who will be bringing along a mouthwatering selection of their hand dyed skeins.

So head on over to Must Love Yarn located at 2538 Shelburne Rd Suite #1 in Shelburne, Vermont and enjoy an afternoon of fiber fun like no other!

Best deals around

Our Annual Tent Sale starts this morning and with some terrific deals you won’t want to pass up!  Sale prices of 20 – 40 % off limited edition and odd weight yarns are valid through Friday June 15th on our website (while supplies last).

And at Mill Shop in Putney, Vermont you’ll find even better bargains today through Monday May 28th.

We’ll have a limited supply of orphan skeins available at $8 each and irregular skeins for just $5!!  You’ll find smaller project quantities among these bargains and to help these skeins find a new home, we have a couple of single skein project ideas that you may want to use to get a head start on your holiday knitting.

First up is Jane Richmond’s Betsy hat.  This pattern calls for less than 100 yards of bulky weight yarn and knits up as quick as a flash.  Kate cast on with a single strand of our bulky Yarn Over and Larisa made a version holding a double strand of our DK weight Mewesic.  (Shown above from left to right is Norwegian Wood and Diamonds & Rust Mewesic and Fog Yarn Over) Either version works with just a single skein!

But we must confess that our current favorite pattern suggestion is Thea Colman’s Water.   Purchasing this beautifully cabled beanie pattern will support Mari Copeny, also known as LittleMissFlint.  

She’s an 11 year old activist in Flint MI, who’s already done more in the past 4 years than most of us will do in a lifetime, to help her community. She’s been tirelessly using her voice to keep attention on the fact that her town does not have clean water, as the Flint Water Crisis is often lost in the swirl of things going on today.

© Thea Colman

All of the proceeds from this pattern will be donated to her GoFund Me campaign that provides bottled water and backpacks for kids in her community. Thea Colman will be keeping a tally of what’s been given and it will be posted on the Ravelry pattern page.  We’re proud to be able to share with you that the pattern has raised over $1,000 in the first 24 hours after its publication!

This hat calls for 150 – 170 yards of worsted weight yarn and you’ll be able to find dozens of possible options among the skeins we’ll have available for sale!

What could be more appealing than finding a great bargain, supporting a worthwhile cause, and having a beautiful gift (perhaps for yourself) to boot?  We invite you to join the fun this weekend and get take advantage of our terrific savings that come just twice a year.

Five very special yarns

Our friend John Crane gathered 70 fleeces of breed specific sheep to learn more about the characteristics of each animal’s fiber.  He cleaned, carded and handspun small amounts of each fleece so that he could knit up a swatch that could showcase their unique beauty.  The full collection clearly illustrates how different wool can be!

Last weekend at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in Deerfield, NH, the entire exhibit was on display. The 70 samples have been sorted into 5 classes with distinct attributes and the display is a thing of wonder.   We were not the only ones delighted by what John’s curiosity inspired.

As an exciting culimation to the project, several months ago John let us spin his collection of breed specific fleeces into five different undyed yarns.  These skeins allow you to get hands on experience with each type of fiber: Heritage Wool, Down Wool, Medium Wool, Fine Wool and Long Wool.  (from left to right as shown below).

You’ll find limited quantities of all five of these yarns in our Limited Edition section of the website. These skeins are unicorns of a sort.  We’re not likely to receive such a bounty of unusual fibers to be spun together ever again.  So act fast to ensure you’re able to enjoy a project’s quantity of the one(s) that strike your fancy!

So let’s take a closer look at each one.

100% Undyed Heritage Wool

This 100% sheep’s wool yarn blends multiple heritage wool breeds sourced worldwide.  Heritage fleeces come from sheep breeds that have developed in geographic isolation over a long period of time. Typically they are dual-coated with a soft insulating undercoat and a coarser outer coat for protection.  This Aran weight yarn is perfect for durable outerwear (think sweaters and vests) that will last for generations.

100% Undyed Heritage Wool This yarn blends fiber from these Heritage Wool breeds:  Badger Face Welsh Mountain, Black Welsh Mountain, Border Cheviot, Gulf Coast Native, Hog Island, Jacob, Manx Loaghtan, Old Norwegian, Portland, Romanov, Scottish Blackface, and Shetland. These skeins are 3-ply Aran Weight,  1.75 oz Approx 96 yds.

100% Undyed Down Wool

This 100% sheeps wool yarn blends multiple down wool breeds sourced worldwide.  Down wool fleeces typically have dense, blocky locks with disorganized crimp and excellent insulating qualities. This worsted weight yarn is perfect for soft squishy extra warm garments.

100% Undyed Down Wool This yarn blends fiber from these Down Wool breeds:  Charollais, Clun Forest, Dorset, East Friesian, Eider, Hampshire Down, Harlequin, Oxford, Ryeland, Shropshire, Southdown ‘babydoll’, and Suffolk.  These skeins are 3 strand single ply Worsted Weight, 2 oz Approx 140 yds.

100% Undyed Medium Wool

This 100% sheep’s wool yarn blends multiple medium wool breeds sourced worldwide.  Medium wool fleeces typically have fibers 3 to 4 inches long and 25 – 30 microns in diameter.  They produce excellent ‘sweater wool’ that is soft enough to be comfortable and strong enough to wear well.

100% Undyed Medium Wool This yarn blends fiber from these Medium Wool breeds:  Beltex, California Red, Columbia, Corriedale, Finn, Ile de France, Montadale, Polypay Rouge de Roussillon, Texel, Tunis, and Zwarbles.  These skeins are 2 ply DK Weight, 2 oz Approx 180 yds.

100% Undyed Fine Wool

This 100% sheeps wool yarn blends multiple fine wool breeds sourced worldwide.  Fine wool fleeces typically have very fine, tight, and well defined crimp with individual fibers less than 25 microns in diameter. This fingering weight yarn is perfect for shawls, scarves, gloves and other luxuriously soft next-to-skin garments.

100% Undyed Fine Wool This yarn blends fiber from these Fine wool breeds:  Bond, CVM, Merino, Rambouillet, and Targhee.   These skeins are 2-ply Fingering Weight, 3.5 oz Approx 400 yds

100% Undyed Long Wool

This 100% sheep’s wool yarn blends multiple long wool breeds sourced worldwide.  Long wool fleeces typically have wavy, curly, lustrous locks rather than tight crimp. They take dye almost like silk. This fingering weight yarn is perfect for shawls, scarves, lacework, and other garments where drape is important.

100% Undyed Long Wool This yarn blends fiber from these Long Wool breeds:  Bluefaced Leicester, Border Leicester, Coopworth, Perendale, Romney. These skeins are Single ply Fingering Weight, 3.25 oz Approx 400 yds.

John’s exhibit will be travelling around the country in upcoming months.  For those of you in the DC area, you’ll be able to find John and his collection at a special event on June 23rd hosted by Solitude Wool and Fibernate.  More details and registration can be found here!

We hope that you’ll be able to see the collection and hear him speak about what he learned along the way.  What fun would it be if you have a handcrafted item made with one of these yarns to share with him when the exhibit travels to a spot near you!?


We have two additional new patterns to share with you!  Both are designed with our lofty and elastic Lana  yarn, a fingering weight 2-ply made with 100% fine Targhee wool.  Because of it’s wool spun construction, this yarn is a very versatile option for lightweight garments, looking terrific at a surprisingly wide range of gauges.  We’ve been equally pleased with the fabric created on a US 2 needle as we are knitting it up with a US 8!

Last week we debuted Cap Sease’s Grace cardigan at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival in West Friendship and it was met with ooohs and ahhhs.   It also made an appearance on our Instagram feed as last week’s Free Pattern Friday selection and generated more than a couple hundred likes.












This boxy cropped cardigan is made more feminine with delicate lace panels that edge the front, run along the sleeves and feature prominently on the back of the sweater.  This is a perfect layering piece for warmer weather when you find yourself reaching for a little something to ward off the chill of over zealous air conditioned spaces.

And for something even breezier, you might want to take a closer look at Maureen’s Havana pullover.  This delightful top features an all over lace pattern and a wide open neckline. The drop sleeve construction creates little cap sleeve styling with the simple addition of a ribbed cuff that will finish the piece to match the neckline.  The friends who visited our tent in Maryland loved the delicacy of this summer must knit!

We’ll have samples of both of these beauties at our booth at the NH Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend.  You can come visit us there at the Deerfield Fair Grounds, 34 Stage Rd, Deerfield, NH.   Festival hours are Saturday May 12th 9am – 5pm & Sunday May 13th 9am – 4pm.  General admission is $7, Seniors 65 and older are $5, and Youth 12 and under are free.  Festival organizers have asked that you leave your pets at home.

We hope that you’ll come celebrate Mother’s Day with us.  What better way to enjoy your day than to surround yourself with fiber fun?

Happy Feet

To celebrate the first signs of spring, and the terrific workshop that we have lined up for our 2108 Knitter’s Weekend, Larisa has designed a pair of toe-up socks!  The Putney Flock Socks are a perfect project to launch your warmer weather knitting!

Our skeiner Tracey likes to enjoy a leisurely stroll along a country lane after work when the weather cooperates. Her favorite route takes her alongside the pastures where Putney’s local flock grazes. These sheep provide us with delicious cheese as well as beautiful fiber. We can’t think of a better way to commemorate the pleasure they bring us, than with a sock design that could be worn on those daily strolls.

The pattern is designed for a medium womens’ size and it calls for MC: 1 skein Forest, Lana or Meadow, CC1: 86 yds for sheep, CC2: 14 yds.  You may find that you have the yardage you need for your sheep and the pasture in your stash.  If you don’t, not to worry!  We’ll have a limited supply of project kits available for sale at our booths at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend and the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival next weekend.

Included in our kit will be the pattern, and all three yarns to complete the project!  At just $38. 50, it may be the best thing you bring home from the festival…unless you are bringing home an actual flock. 🙂

Is it that time already?

Winter has lingered here in the Northeast, with our last snowfall occurring just a couple of weeks ago.  As a result, our imminent departure for the spring fiber festivals seems surprisingly soon, and at the same time, it couldn’t get here fast enough.  These shows feel like the beginning of spring to us here at the Spinnery, and we can’t wait to get the season started.

We are headed to 2018 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival next week. We’ll have a tent set up in the Outside North Vendor Area at the  Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD.  You’ll be able to visit with us Saturday May 5th from 8:30AM – 6PM and Sunday May 6th from 8:30AM – 5PM.

Please note: Admission to the Festival is $5.00 per day and applies to adults only; everyone under 18 will be admitted free.  Cash or check only at the gate. There will be an exact change lane, so bring your $5 bills!

If you want to plan ahead, and move quickly through the line, tickets may be purchased in advance at https://mswf2018.eventbrite.com/. You will be sent an eTicket which will be scanned at the gate. There will be separate lane(s) for those who have purchased tickets in advance.   A processing fee of $1.27 per ticket will be added.

We hope that those of you in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country (or those of you who enjoy a great road trip) will come to the festival.  It’s one of the largest on the east coast and is full of fun activities, delicious food, enjoyable contests and competitions and of course, more stunning fiber related goods than you can imagine!

We’ll have several brand new patterns to share with you as well as all of our stunning skeins!  Since we were last in Maryland, we’ve created several new shades of Alpaca Elegance and Cotton Comfort as well as Lana.  All three of these yarns are perfectly suited to lighter weight 3 season garments of all kinds.


And the week following, we head to the 42nd Annual New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival at the Deerfield Fair Grounds,  in Deerfield, NH.  This more intimate gathering provides us with the opportunity to spend a bit more time visiting with the friends that attend.  You can swing by our booth on Saturday  May 12th from 9am – 5pm & Sunday  May 13th from 9am – 4pm.  It makes for a very special Mothers’ Day weekend!

We hope that one of these events may entice you to come spend a bit of time with us while we’re “on the road”.  Please bring along your recently completed Spinnery projects, we love show and tell and find it inspiring to see what you’ve been working on.  Perhaps some of our recently finished projects will get you excited about casting on for something new as well!

Will you be a lucky winner?

Did you know about our weekly FREE PATTERN FRIDAY contest on Instagram?

Every Friday, we feature a Green Mountain Spinnery pattern and give our followers a chance to enter a contest to win a FREE PDF copy!  You may have already seen a post like this one:

In order to enter to win, you just need to:

  1. Follow Greenmtnspinnery
  2. Like the post
  3. Tag a friend in a comment, (and each new tagged comment you leave gives you another chance to win!)

We select a lucky winner at random on Monday mornings and email them a FREE PDF of the featured pattern.

If you are not the week’s lucky winner, not to worry!  The pattern is available at a discount (just $4) all week long.  When you purchase the pattern on our website, and enter code FIRSTFRIDAY at checkout, you’ll receive the savings.

We’ve been featuring new patterns, and old favorites.  It’s different every week.  We hope that you’ll join the fun by following our feed, giving you a chance to start your week off as a winner!

This week, we are featuring Maureen Clark’s Holland pattern.  Shown here in Hematite Sylvan Spirit.  This top-down pullover’s A-line shaping makes it a figure flattering favorite that can work equally well in the office or the farmer’s market!

Our friends at Rows of Purl in Chester, NJ have started a shop KAL and we hope to be able to share photos of their progress and finished sweaters before long!

An end of summer camp for knitters

Perhaps you were lucky enough to go to sleep away camp as a kid; or attend one of the magical crafting weekends at Squam. If so, you know how much fun it can be to venture into the wilderness to meet new friends, and while away a few days surrounded by nature in a creative escape from your daily routine.

This September, just after the official end of summer, a special gathering will occur in Maine that you may want to sign up for!

Knit Maine will convene several inspiring fiber teachers at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft on Deer Island, Maine. This retreat comprises four days of  “knitting and fiber-inspired workshops, presentations by iconic leaders in the knitting and fiber world, and a marketplace filled with Maine and New England based producers and vendors.”  What fun!

Attendees will have a chance to work with and learn from: Kate Atherly, Julia Farwell Clay,  Katharine Cobey, Nora Gaughan, Patty Lyons, Susan Mills, and Kristen TenDyke.  The wide range of workshops is almost impossible to choose among.  Attendees will have the chance to take as many as 6 classes over the course of their stay!  We wish that we could be a fly on the wall of all of them.

Registration details can be found here.  And classes will fill on a first come first served basis, so we hope that you’ll act fast to ensure that you have your first choice among the exciting classes on offer!

We are very proud to be among the sponsors for this event.  We’ll be providing class materials for several classes including Julia Farwell Clay’s Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Percentage System and Fair Isle Mittens, Kate Atherly’s two part Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl class, Katharine Cobey’s Basics and Beyond, and Kristen Tendyke’s Seamless Pockets.  Should you choose to sign up for any of these classes, you’ll have chance to play with our yarns, even if you don’t bring some from your stash along with you for leisure knitting.

We hope that your calendar is currently free September 6th – 9th so that you can pencil in a rewarding adventure that could conclude your summer with a long weekend of fiber fun!

A collaborative project for advanced knitters

Our friend Kimber of Fiber Optic Yarns will be debuting a new pattern for us this weekend at DFW Fiber Fest  in Dallas, Texas.  We hope that you’ll stop by the festival if you’re in the lone star state.  She’ll be in booth 325 – 327 (right across from the Fiber Laboratory).

The show floor is open from 9 – 6 this Friday and Saturday and 10 – 4 on Sunday.  Our samples should arrive for her to share with you on Saturday morning.

Our Brioche Popover is a simple oversized layering piece that is stunning enough to be a statement while being equally suited to “popping over” any outfit (including your pjs). The lushly textured ribbing is created with three different brioche techniques for a comfortingly squishy fabric that is a pleasure to wear. Select a gradient yarn for a dramatic effect, or quintessential classics for a vest that will never go out of style.

Shown on the left in Gris Lana as the main color and Ancho Lana as the contrast color. Shown on the right with Playa Lana as the main color and Fire and Ice Fiber Optic Footnotes Gradient as contrast color.  We all agree that Kimber’s yarn makes this project an instant show stopper!

Kate loves the boxy shape of this top, that is so easy to wear.  The strong horizontal elements of the ribbed hem and half brioche ribbed neckline counterbalances the vertical two color brioche that provides hints of dramatic color beneath.  We love the subtle hints of drama, but with careful seaming and weaving in of your ends, there is no reason why you couldn’t wear this top inside out for a more stunning effect!

This piece was designed in one size with a generous 50″ chest circumference for a flexible fit that will accommodate a range of figures.  We hope that if you are already comfortable with brioche techniques, you’ll give this project a try.

The top is worked flat from the bottom up in two pieces.  You’ll work two color brioche on the front, single color brioche on the back, and a half brioche rib for the neckline.  This results in a delightfully squishy fabric that is light in weight and yet deeply textured.

We’ve collected several youtube videos together on our channel that will demonstrate some called for techniques that you may not already be familiar with including managing short rows while working two color brioche, a three needle bind off for two color brioche and a decorative Icelandic purled cast off.

We hope that you’ll have a chance to see our Brioche Popover this weekend at DFW, or at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival that is just a few weeks away.  You may find that this is the perfect project to launch your summer knitting!