Spinnery News

Upcoming fiber fun in Connecticut

Next Saturday there will be two nearby fiber gatherings that you’ll want to make note of.  In Vernon, CT the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association will be hosting their 108th Annual Sheep, Wool & Fiber Festival from 9am – 4pm.

Here, you’ll get a chance to enjoy workshops, demonstrations, as well as “fiber of all types, fiber tools, dyes, finished goods, soaps, herbals, local CT cheese and a variety of other quality items produced by small farms and businesses from the North East.”  You’ll also get a chance to see sheep being sheared, which is a sight to see!

Over in Hartford, starting on Thursday, April 27th; Stitches United will be drawing crafters of all kinds to the Connecticut Convention Center.  The former Stitches East has expanded to include quilting, sewing, cross stitch, and more.  Now, those of us equally inspired by yarn and fabric have a gathering that provides classes and shopping for all our passions.

This event presents all of us with an exciting opportunity to expand our crafting repertoire with new skills!  Registration for classes is still open.  We invite you to peruse the generous list of offerings and see if there is something there that you’ve always wanted to try.  The selection is remarkable, from the ergonomics of knitting to hand sewing bow ties.  What fun!

Maureen and Kate from the Spinnery will be on hand in the marketplace giving visitors a chance to peruse our newest patterns and yarns.  We invite you to visit our booth and show us what you’ve been working on since we’ve seen you last!  We look forward to catching up and sharing our passion for craft!


Pop! Here comes Spring

Spring arrives a bit late here in Vermont.  While we see our Instagram feeds fill with photos of early blossoms from elsewhere in the world, our gardens are just now losing their blanket of snow.

So our Spring color comes in a slightly different form.  We’ve been working through our colored yarns this week in production.  This plethora of rich hues have made the Spinnery a vibrant place to be.  We’ve carded, spun and skeined several colors in our Mountain Mohair line including: Vincent’s Gold, Midnight Blue, Wintergreen, Claret, and Elderberry.

These colors have transformed our production floor into an early spring garden bed (of sorts) and has us all eager to start working with more color in our crafts as well as at work.

The yarn that has been taking center stage in all of this, is a new batch of our Peach Beryl Sylvan Spirit.  We’ve bumped up the color intensity and created skeins that are mouthwateringly fresh and juicy.  You can see the difference below.  The skein on top is from the new dye lot and the one on the bottom is from the previous one.

This fun new dye lot makes us think of cantaloupe, peaches, clementines, and sherbert.  What could be better for warmer weather knits?  Kate keeps picturing this yarn for a wee dress or tunic, perhaps paired with the new Citrine colorway, it could make a playful version of Annie Rowden’s Polka Dot Tunic.

© byAnnieClaire

If the thought of a child’s dress appeals to you, there are many more pattern options for you to consider on Ravelry.

You might also want to consider it for a shawl.   Briston Ivy’s Knúsa (published in the Share issue of Taproot Magazine) would be a delight to work and would bring this delightfully warm color into your life to brighten any room or rainy day.

© Bristol Ivy/Leah B. Thibault

We’ve also flirted with the idea of making some knitted or crocheted Easter eggs.  Since we didn’t get this project started early enough, we may end up simply using the skeins to decorate our holiday table!

Who wouldn’t want to find a basket such as this, full of candy and skeins left by the Easter Bunny in their garden?  We hope that you have a delightful holiday weekend and that signs of Spring are popping up all around you as well this week.

 


Signs of Spring

In celebration of the first hints of Spring that have appeared in Vermont this week, we have a new pattern to share with you that has made our winter months more colorful.  We’ve been hard at work over the past several weeks knitting up samples that have made us feel like artists.

Our Expressionist Shawl pairs our tweedy neutral Sock Art Lana with Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes Paintbox gradients to spectacular effect.  Shown here, it’s knit up with 2 skeins of Lana in the Gris colorway and the Light Into Darkness gradient set.  Kate worked her stripes moving from dark to light with the lengthening spring days in mind as she worked.

It’s simple asymmetrical shape is constructed with a lengthy cast on and diminishing rows that speed your progress.  The garter stitch fabric is lofty and elastic, and oh so comforting to wrap up with.

It’s a perfect project for social knitting or a lengthy trip.  A bit of intarsia at one end keeps things interesting and you’ll love watching the progression of colors as you work through Kimber’s mouthwatering gradient shades.

This second sample was made with Lana in the lighter Plateada colorway and the Onyx to Crimson gradient.  Jenny created this shawl working her stripes from light to dark ensuring that her favorite shade of crimson would make the boldest impression on the longest edge of her shawl.  As you can see, the shawl’s generous dimensions (56″ x 32″) make it a cozy fit.

The hardest part of this project will be selecting which paintbox colorway to play with!  We hope that you’ll select a spectrum of your favorite colors, or one that recalls a special place or time. Your shawl will become a beautiful expression of what you love.

Our friends Kimber and Ellie of Fiber Optic Yarns are debuting their stunning samples of the Expressionist Shawl this weekend at their booth at the DFW Fiber Fest in Dallas Texas.  We hope that if you are in that area, you’ll have a chance to stop by and check out their works of art in person.

We’ll be debuting our samples later this month at the Spinnery booth at Stitches United in Hartford, CT; and would love to share the fun of this project with you there.  In the meantime, we hope that your days ahead are made more colorful with beautiful knits and spring blossoms.

 


It takes a village

We get visitors of all kinds at the Spinnery.  This week we enjoyed visits from members of the Greater Boston Knitting Guild for a tour of our mill; and several fiber producers such as our friends Andrea Colyer of Greenwood Hill Farm and Bambi Freeman of Sterling Brook Farm who dropped off wool that will soon be spun into luscious skeins.

This week we also were very grateful for a visit from Rob Davis, a longtime friend of the Spinnery who has provided invaluable help over the years keeping our production line humming along nicely.

Many visitors to our mill are curious about how we keep our antique machines in running order.  And we often tell them that yankee ingenuity, duct tape and baling wire have served us very well for decades.  Since this machinery is no longer being manufactured, finding replacement parts can be tricky.  Laurie, who runs the card, has learned over the years how to make use of parts from other machines to keep things running smoothly.  Our carding machine now includes parts and belts from tractors, motorcycles and old elevators.

We process fiber in a sequence that runs from organic to non-organic and light to dark, concluding with color.  We process about 250 pounds of fiber a week; and once we’ve carded approximately 2500 pounds, we pull the carding machine apart for a very thorough cleaning.  This allows us to ensure that when we restart production with organic and light wool, the carding machine is as pristine as we can make it.

This week, we disassembled our carding machine for a more elaborate repair.  We decided that it was time to replace the leather belts that “cut” the fine woolen network that comes off the last roll of the card into the strands that become our pencil roving.  The last time we swapped out these belts was over eight years ago.

As you can see, it was a messy job; and one that took about four days to complete.

The machine is now ready to get back to business and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our friend Rob Davis.  He worked for many years at D&T Spinning  in Ludlow, VT where he ran eight carding frames similar to ours that produced (of all things) the woolen windings that went into baseballs.  Rob knows these machines inside and out, and has regularly come out of retirement for the day to provide us with help.

We are grateful to all of the members of our little fiber community that make our jobs so lively and allow us to make such wonderful yarn.  We hope that you’ll have a chance in the near future to stop on by and share in the fun.


And the winner is…

Our Groundhog Day Knitalong concluded late last week and we were delighted to see the progress that was made.  We really enjoyed the photos that many of you shared along with notes about your projects.  Some terrific knits were started, and a few were cast off within our allotted time frame; making them eligible to be entered in the drawing for our prize.

We thought we’d share some of the finished projects so that you can see what was created with our delicious Vermont Organic yarn.

Here at the Spinnery, Larisa made a pair of Double Stuff Mittens with the grey organic yarn on the outside, and Rosehip Alpaca Elegance as the snuggly inside.  Maureen got a warm cardigan started.  Her Barnard sweater designed by Lori Versaci is about 3/4 complete, with just the sleeves remaining to be knit.  And Meghan completed a Sundottir pullover designed by Diana Walla.  She combined both colors of the Vermont Organic yarn to stunning effect!

You may have seen a photo of Carrie’s lovely Brezel hat here a couple of weeks ago, when we featured some recently finished customer projects.  We love the way this rustic yarn makes textures like ribs and cables pop with clarity.

Jolene from Washington state started a pair of Ah Caramel fingerless gloves designed by Tanis Lavallee.  As you can see, the creamy white yarn makes her cable work look like a million dollars!  And we imagine that these will keep her nice and toasty warm.

The randomly selected winner of our prize, Joy, finished a pair of very snuggly looking socks with a few weeks to spare!  She shared these details about her project, “Best socks ever, like hugs for your feet. Great yarn, great pattern.  The socks are fun to knit with the knit/purl sequence creating the interesting stitch pattern.  I will use this yarn again…a sweater, I think., it’s that lovely.”

Her socks were created with the FREE pattern designed by Ingrid Nødtvedt.

Gulfoss

When we contacted her to let her know that she’d won a Spinnery tote bag and pattern of her choice, she selected Cap Sease’s Gulfoss pattern.  We can’t wait to see how that knits up for her, and what colors she chooses to work with.

Thanks to everyone who cast on with us and shared their progress.  Our virtual knitting circle made the last few weeks of winter pass with a shared sense of community and fun.  We’ll reach out to you all shortly before we start our next knitalong to find out if you have suggestions or preferences about what we all get started next!


Celebrate National Crochet month with us

Perhaps you already knew that March is National Crochet month.   The fun folks over at Crochetville, have organized a blog tour that you should follow if you are eager to get some inspiration for great crochet projects and yarns. This year’s theme focuses on “glamping” otherwise known as glamorous camping.

If your idea of the perfect camping trips includes a warm bed under a sturdy canvas roof, or a warm beverage beside a fireside; you’re in good company!  We like to imagine glamping as if we were characters in Out of Africa, fine china, polished silver and all.

And with that in mind, Maureen has created a fun new crochet pattern: The Sierra Cowl.  This pattern was inspired on her recent trip to California, home of some of the most glamorous camping we know of in Yosemite National Park.

This fun infinity cowl can be crafted up in just a few hours with 2 contrasting skeins of Spinnery Cotton Comfort.  Maureen completed hers on a transcontinental flight that brought her from Hartford, CT to San Jose, CA.  Shown above, our sample was created with a skein each of Phlox and Silver.

For the next 30 days, we’re offering a 10% discount on the Sierra Club project.  You can receive 10% off your purchase of Cotton Comfort and the pattern by using the coupon code NATCRO17 at check out.  (This offer is valid through 4/18/17).

We hope that this may inspire you to get a cowl of your own started before the end of March so that you too can be part of the fun of National Crochet month!


Off the needle superstars

We love browsing through photos on Ravelry.  It can be so inspiring to see what other folks are working on and better yet, what they’ve recently finished.  This week, we want to share some of our favorites so that you can enjoy these knits as much as we do.  You might find your next project among some of these ideas!

© jennaleeashburn

Our friend Jenna Lee from nearby Massachusetts joined the Fancy Tiger Knitalong and created a Wolf River pullover designed by Melissa Schaschwary using Spinnery Weekend Wool.  We love how the grey ragg color adds visual texture enlivening the sweater’s stockinette sections.  It looks wonderfully wearable with almost anything! Beautiful work Jenna, and thank you for sharing with us!

Kelly from Texas is an amazingly prolific knitter.  Her project page will delight you, as it did us!  We discovered her Cascade cardigan designed by Amy Herzog and knew that you’d want to take a peek.

© KellyInTexas

Kelly’s sweater is such a perfect fit because she made use of Amy Herzog’s Custom Fit program that generated a version of the pattern specially tailored to her body measurements and gauge.  We’ve been continuously delighted by Amy’s designs, and the one of a kind ability to make them a perfect flattering fit is such a treat.

Kelly created her cardigan with Brickhouse Mewesic, for a 3 season sweater that is a classic.  You’ll want to browse through her other photos to be able to appreciate the crisp lacework on the back that makes this project such a stunner.

Our friend Charissa played with four different yarns to create a gorgeous pair of Baa-ble Mittens.  Her sheep look picture perfect with their realistic coloring.

© cmflame

The feet and faces of her darling flock were created with our Jet Black Mountain Mohair.  What a fun pair of mittens; who wouldn’t want a handful of sheep to help keep their fingers toasty warm?  And speaking of which…

© oalewis

 

© oalewis

Olga created a breathtakingly delicate shawl with yarn that was spun here at the Spinnery as a custom project for the folks at Catskill Merino Sheep Farm in upstate New York.  She knit up the Echo Flower Shawl designed by Jenny Johnson Johnen.  Her project page features a series of photos that follows her yarn from the flock to the finished work of art.

© elliemay

Straight from the cover of Winter 2016 Knitscene, Ellie created a Slopes Cardigan with Spinnery Weekend Wool.   She opted to create a version of the sweater exactly as it was depicted and we love how the elegant simplicity of the pattern compliments the rusticity of our woolen spun yarn.

Next, we have two sweaters created with our Cotton Comfort.  This 80/20 blend of wool and cotton is a pleasure to work with.  It’s soft hand has a wonderful bouncy elasticity thanks to the high wool content.  It makes a comforting breathable fabric that is perfect for 3 season wear.

© yarnfloozy

We think you’ll agree that the tincanknits Prairie Fire pullover looks as though it would be as much fun ton construct as it will be to wear.  Dotty created her sweater in crisp and classic navy, and we love how the tweed and lace work together.  Beautiful work Dotty!

Michele’s Arcade pullover was designed by Isabel Kraemer.  She selected silver Cotton Comfort and has created a sweater that looks fantastic on her.  She indicates in her project notes that the pattern was well written and a pleasure to follow.  We want to cast on for similar sweaters without delay!

© MicheleDesautels

Last but certainly not least is a project dear to our hearts because it was created as part of our Groundhog Day Knitalong that concludes next week  on the 16th.

© riversidespinner

Carrie created a lovely version of the Brezel hat designed by Svetlana Volkova, using our Vermont Organic yarn.  She is flirting with the idea of dying her hat and we look forward to seeing how it will be transformed!

We hope that you enjoyed this little tour through some of our current Ravelry favorites.  We hope to be able to share your photos in the near future so be sure to share your progress with our Raverly group or on our Facebook page.  That way, our little community can remain in touch no matter the distance between us!


One last Snow Day

If you follow our Instagram feed, than you may have seen that Maureen recently cast off a Snow Day Shawl designed by Knitting Expat Designs.

This beauty is created with three skeins of Spinnery Cotton Comfort (seen above in Juniper, Weathered Green and Unbleached White).

This shawl stole its fair share of attention at our booth at STITCHES West last weekend, so we thought we’d share some of the different color combinations that shoppers came up with that you might enjoy working with.

Pictured here is Navy, Denim and Bluet

Pictured here is Yarrow, Maize and Unbleached White

Pictured here is Iris, Violet and Unbleached White

Pictured here is Leaf, Peony and Phlox

March usually delivers a few more heavy snowfalls, so in spite of the recent balmy temperatures, we anticipate that there may be a few more snowy knitting days in store for us this season.

We’ll make sure to have a trio of beautifully complimentary skeins ready to go so that we can create a shawl like Maureen’s to enjoy this Spring.  Are you tempted to as well?


Just around the corner

Temperatures are warming up here in Vermont and that has us eagerly anticipating Spring, which is likely to be delayed by a few more messy late winter storms.  In an effort to change our perspective on any upcoming precipitation, we’ve got a new pattern to play with: Wintery Mix. We hope that this project will have us looking forward to gloomy weather forecasts instead of dreading them.

The pattern includes four stitch patterns named after weather patterns (snow, rain, sleet and ice) that can be worked at your discretion.  A bit like a choose your own adventure novel, you can select your stitches based on the weather outside your window, or follow your creative inspiration and knit them as you like.

This asymmetrical shawl pattern designed by Kate Salomon is worked from the bottom up, making each row a couple of stitches shorter than the last.  Your shawl will be worked up in time for warmer weather giving you a light and comforting three season accessory that you’ll enjoy in the weeks to come.

Wintery Mix calls for 3-4 skeins of our DK weight yarns: Cotton Comfort, Mewesic, Alpaca Elegance, Sylvan Spirit or New Mexico Organic.  Shown above, our samples were knit up in Brickhouse Mewesic and Silver Cotton Comfort.  Yardage required to complete the pattern will vary based on the stitch patterns you select so we recommend getting adequate yardage to ensure that you don’t run short.

We’ll be featuring these two beautiful shawls at our booth in Santa Clara, CA at the STITCHES West Marketplace, this weekend.  We hope that you can drop by and visit us to see them for yourself!  This fun project is one you are sure to enjoy.


Mark your calendars!

We have two fun events for you to look forward to!  In just a few weeks the I-91 Shop Hop Bag Day  (on Tuesday March 14th, 2017) could provide you with a discount of 10% at ANY of the 11 participating stores!

Simply bring in any of the bags from previous I-91 Shop Hops to any of the 11 participating stores, you’ll receive a 10% discount on your entire purchase!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Mountain Spinnery (Putney, VT)
HandKnits (Brattleboro, VT)
Sheep & Shawl (Deerfield, MA)
Northampton Wools (Northampton, MA)
WEBS (Northampton, MA)
Marji’s Yarncrafts (Granby, CT)
Village Wool (Glastonbury, CT)
Country Yarns (Wallingford, CT)
Knit New Haven (New Haven, CT)
Yarn Barn (Woodbridge, CT)
The Yarn Basket (Branford, CT)

And while you’re here, you can purchase your $5 passport for the 2017 Shop Hop!  Mark your calendars for June 22nd – 25th, 2017!

Plan on a fun weekend full of yarn store visits, daily raffles and several prizes that you’ll be delighted by.  This year’s Grand Prize includes yarn, books, tools and accessories as well as a $50 gift certificates from all 11 participating shops!

We’ll have some exciting new patterns to share with you as well as some special limited edition yarns and sale items that you won’t find anywhere else.  We’re looking forward to your visit.


Stitches in the wild

Kay and Ann of Mason Dixon Knitting fame have created a new line of Field Guides that are delightful guides to knitting techniques to be enjoyed by beginners and intermediate knitters alike.

Field guides have more typically have introduced us to animals, minerals and plants to be found in their natural habitat. We carry their well thumbed pages on hikes or on birding expeditions to correctly identify the new creatures we come across and better understand their habits.

These mini books offer similar guidance through two knitting techniques with carefully constructed descriptions, artful photography as well as a handful of stunning patterns that give us the opportunity to practice these concepts.  Using your hands to learn these ideas with stitches on your needles transforms these ideas into muscle memory that you won’t soon forget.

Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 1 is all about the stripes: a trio of patterns that play with the way a single line of color can transform a project.  Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Station Wagon Blanket is a brilliantly simple stripe pattern–made in garter stitch blocks, it is perfect for travel or TV knitting.  Antonia Shankland’s Breton Cowl imagines what happens when you combine two of the softest yarns in the world in one delicious loop.  And Ann Weaver, always inventive, makes one brief and bright contrast stripe the star of the show in her Squad Mitts.

All along the way, Kay and Ann share stories, tips, and hints to make it all even more fun. Sara Remington’s photographs are at once epic and intimate, a special sort of inspiration for every knitter.”

Field Guide No. 2: Fair Isle,  provides a mix of patterns that make it possible to play with stranded colorwork at whatever level you’d like to try.  Easy. Easier. Easiest.  A colorful yoke. A modern Fair Isle pattern. Socks with something happening.”  Véronik Avery’s Hadley Pullover is a bottom up yoked pullover that features a simple modern design that recalls European stranded colorwork and Native American trade blankets at the same time.  Ann Budd contributed a quickly knit sock pattern: the Après-Anything Socks, and Michèle Rose Orne’ Asterik/Dot Hat and Cowl patterns will have you comfortable working with two strands of color in no time.

We’ve been delighted with these guides and have had to restock our supply several times since introducing them in our shop.  If you haven’t yet browsed through their pages, you may want to pick up copies now while armchair travelling is at its best.  These books will allow you to explore new knits without ever leaving home!


A knit along to welcome spring

Whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not, we want to herald in the eventual arrival of spring with a fun knit along that will keep us stitching together through Vermont’s mud season.

We’ll be casting on this weekend for our Groundhog Day KAL that kicks off this morning, and we hope that you’ll join the fun!  All that’s required is working on a project that uses either un-dyed shade of our Vermont Organic yarn.

You can share photos and details of your progress by posting here on our Ravelry Group Groundhog Day KAL thread or by posting photos to Instagram with #groundhogdayKAL.

We’ll select a random winner from the folks who have completed their project by March 16th, 2017 and posted a photo of their finished project to either Ravelry or Instagram.

Larisa has decided that its never to late in the season for a warm pair of mittens.  She’ll be starting a pair of Cap Sease’s Double Stuff Mittens with our grey Vermont Organic for the outer layer and the richly hued Rosehip Alpaca Elegance for the inner layer.

Maureen has a bit more knitting ahead of her, as she has selected to work on Lori Versaci’s Barnard cardigan. Knit up in the charcoal grey color, this sweater is sure to be a wardrobe staple that she’ll wear all the time next winter.  (We all hope that spring will arrive in southern Vermont before she weaves in her ends on this project).

We’d love to hear from you about your project, please post photos as the mood strikes you so that we can share in your progress.  Happy Groundhog day!