This year’s Putney Craft Tour has been reimagined!

Every Thanksgiving for the past 41 years, Vermont’s most iconic open studio tour, The Putney Craft Tour, the oldest continuous craft tour in the country held during the long Thanksgiving Weekend (Nov. 27, 28, 29), draws thousands to the studios to meet the artisans to experience where art begins and purchase one of a kind works.

Due to the on-going concern of spreading COVID-19, artisans on the tour felt it important in these trying times, to share their work that brings so much joy and meaning especially during the holidays, rather than cancel the tour altogether.

This year the 42nd Putney Craft tour will come straight into people’s homes offering shoppers and “tour-goers” the opportunity to shop and browse the Putney Craft Tour Collection from the comfort of their own homes. This year’s online tour will feature 19 artisans—including glass blowers, potters, jewelers, weavers, painters, woodworkers, – even artisan cheesemakers, and winemakers.

The virtual tour kicks off on Black Friday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m. sharp and continues throughout the weekend until Sunday at 5:00 p.m. The tour’s website will be open for browsing in advance, but the artisan’s online stores will not be open until 10:00 a.m. sharp, Friday morning.

The virtual tour at putneycrafts.com will not only offer browsing and purchasing of the works of some of Vermont’s finest artists and craftspeople, but to help create an up close and personal opportunity that the tour is known for, several of the artists are available by appointment to share their lives and how they work via a Zoom call. And, since you can’t be there in person, the tour has produced short videos of each the artists, which is a great way to engage with the artists and discover the secrets of how they work and to browse their collections to help you choose a piece.

Many of the Putney Craft Tour artisans are offering specials and other promotions during the tour. Each of the artisans will have different offers, so “tour-goers” will want to check them all out. The tour itself is offering a prize of $100 to one lucky winner. “Tour-goers” can sign up at putneycrafts.com for a chance to win. The winning ticket will be pulled on Sunday afternoon after the tour ends.

Traditionally, the Putney Craft Tour brings important business not only to the artisans, but also to the local shop owners in Putney. Putney’s businesses like many small businesses across the country are struggling and for years the Craft Tour has donated a percent of profits to the Putney Food Shelf and will continue that tradition this year. So not only will purchases, help the artisans, it will also help the community.

Each year the tour also partners with Sandglass Theater and Next Stage Arts which will also be celebrating the rich tradition of Putney as one of Vermont’s most creative communities. This year is no different.

Sandglass Theater artists Shoshana Bass and Jana Zeller will conduct an hour of puppet making for the whole family. During this free, online workshop they will create a beautiful little shadow box and animate 2-dimensional puppets on a screen. To participate go to their website for materials you will find around the house. The workshop will be available at sandglasstheater.org from Friday 10:00 a.m. November 27 through Sunday 5:00 p.m. November 29 during the Putney Craft Tour.

Next Stage presents a Mini-Comics Workshop with Marek Bennett Both Sandglass and Next Stage Arts are offering virtual events as part of the virtual Putney Craft Tour weekend. Sandgglass offers a puppet-making demo (www.sandglasstheater.org) and Next Stage presents a Mini-Comics Workshop on Saturday morning with Marek Bennett https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTAxODcz

We hope that you’ll enjoy the festivities from the comfort of your home this holiday weekend!

 


Come join us for the season’s last virtual festival

We wanted to send you a special invitation to join Maureen in our virtual SAFF booth (aka our Mill shop).  Friday, October 23rd, at 9 am EDT you’ll find us LIVE on Facebook!  You can join the fun, here!  Maureen will quickly run through some great project ideas and our new yarn offerings in a whirlwind 30 minute video that we hope will get you excited about this season’s projects.

We hope that you join the Missing SAFF Facebook Group this weekend to enjoy the full schedule of Facebook LIVE videos that will connect you with some of your favorite vendors whom you usually see this weekend in Ashville, North Carolina.
It will be almost as if we were gathering in person!

Let’s reconnect!

We have two virtual craft meetings scheduled for September.

Find a comfortable spot and be sure that your project is near at hand.   Using your computer, tablet or  phone, head over to this website: https://www.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join-meeting  

You’ll be prompted to add a meeting ID that you’ll find listed below in bold for each gathering.

On Thursday 9/3 we’ll gather at 6:30pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time) using Meeting ID number: 176-221-037.

On Saturday 9/19 we’ll gather at 10 am – noon (Eastern Standard Time) using Meeting ID number: 423-682-741.

We can use the gathering as a chance to catch up, share our progress on our current project(s), problem solve any snags that you may have come to, or even model what is off the needles.  Your beautiful work may inspire a friend to make something similar!


Two Yarny gatherings this Saturday

We have two virtual gatherings to invite you to this week!

This Saturday morning we’ll gather at 10 am to noon when Larisa will be hosting our next virtual meet up on Go To Meeting.  Using your computer, tablet or  phone, head over to this website: https://www.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join-meeting and enter our Meeting ID number: 423-682-741.

At the same time, our friends at Must Love Yarn are hosting a virtual marketplace that will feature 8 terrific artists that you’ll want to check out!  Join their Zoom gathering between 10 am and 2:30 pm to see what some of our favorite fiber farmers, yarn producers and crafters (many of whom are Vermont locals) have been working on this summer!

Larisa will be our host of the Green Mountain Spinnery “power hour” between 12:20 and 1:20 pm.  You can join the fun by using the zoom app on your phone or heading to https://zoom.us/join in your browser.  The meeting ID is 814 1364 0706 and the password is 853118.

You’ll be able to purchase yarn and other knitting related goodies from these vendors directly and your purchases will be shipped to you without delay.  What fun!


Call a friend!

Our newest design, Hybrid was inspired by the partnership and community that is created and maintained by the vendors and attendees of fiber festivals all across the county.  It pairs yarns from different producers to showcase the inherent beauty of each.  (You can read more about the pattern here).

When Kate approached Kimber and Karida with her initial concept of a sweater design that would pair their vibrant yarns with Green Mountain Spinnery’s rustic and lofty skeins, both responded with delight and enthusiasm.  They all agreed that the differences between the yarns would make the combination a winning one.  This partnership started at a fiber festival, and was solidified with a few moments on the floor of the booth spreading out all the colors and finding the perfect combination.  Super fun right from the start!

One of our favorite parts of the many fiber festivals we are lucky enough to attend, is the opportunity to meet and reconnect with festival friends.  These are folks from all walks of life who share a common passion of ours, making things with wool.  There are teachers, knitters, people who crochet, weavers, dyers, fiber producers, and shepherds.  They are people we typically only see once or a few times a year, and yet we look forward to each visit.

But this year has turned all that on its head.  With the fall festivals transforming into virtual gatherings, our typical reunion has to be re-imagined as well.  Instead of relying on the convenience of catching up at the show, we’ll need to seek them out in a way that feels as real and connecting as our annual hugs did.

In the spirit of sharing that love, we want to invite you to reach out to someone who you were looking forward to seeing at one of this year’s fiber festivals.  Send a postcard, letter or message, give your friend a call, or schedule a video conference so that you can see one another and catch up as you were planning to do before the festivals were cancelled.

We hope that this opportunity to re-establish the bonds that have knit this community together over the years, offers you a chance to connect with a fiber friend you’ve been thinking about, but have not yet reached out to.  Let’s take some time this month to share some fiber love.

If you’d like to share your story of how you’ve reconnected, or how met, how often you’ve gathered over the years, or photos of your reunions at festivals of years past, post them on social media with the hashtag #reknittogether or send them to us at spinnery@spinnery.com.

We’d love to see your Rhinebeck sweaters, your favorite group meet-up photos, or an update you’ve received thanks to your recent conversation.  Each message we receive, as well as each post on social media with the hashtag #reknittogether will be recorded as an entry.

With your permission, we will share and repost them over the course of the month and on September 1st, we’ll select one of those submissions at random and gift both you and your friend all the materials you’ll need to make Hybrid sweaters of your own.  You both can pick a sweater quantity of Spinnery yarn and a contrast color yarn of either Neighborhood Fiber Co.’s Studio DK or one of Fiber Optic Yarn’s Unified Gradients.

We hope that this invitation helps launch our new pattern with all the love we have for each of you.  Our fiber community is a generous, funny and wildly creative one.  We are deeply grateful to be a part of it and to participate in the work of helping it flourish.


Introducing Hybrid!

We have a new pattern to share with you this week!  We’d like to introduce you to Hybrid.

This top-down yoked sweater designed by Kate Salomon, pairs woolen spun Spinnery yarn with beautiful super washed worsted-spun skeins created by some of our fiber friends whom you may already know.  Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns and Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. are both working magic with buttery soft yarns that are a treat for the eye and hand.

Gardeners have been cross-pollinating plants for generations to introduce exciting new variations. This stranded pullover blends different yarns to startling effect, similar to an opening blossom or a spreading bird’s wing. Carefully blending lofty woolen spun yarns with brilliant worsted spun yarns can result in a comforting sweater that showcases a radiantly hued yoke like a prized bloom.

The sample shown on the lovely Magalie Remy above was made with a single strand of Dark Roast Alpaca Elegance as the main color and a double strand of Fiber Optic Yarns Unified Gradients in the Java Jive colorway.

By happy accident, this sample was lightly fulled in the soaking process of the final wet block. (The washing machine agitated for about 3 minutes before it was caught). This slight bit of felting had no effect on the super washed contrast color yarn, but pulled the alpaca blend woolen-spun main color yarn together into a deliciously dense and fuzzy fabric. Below, you can see  the difference in stitch definition between the fulled sample and another that not agitated when blocked.

The Yarn Requirements for this pattern are a little unusual.  The Fiber Optic Unified Gradients used as the contrast color is a fingering weight yarn. In order to get gauge, you will hold a double strand of this yarn throughout the yoke. These vibrant gradients are available in two lengths: Short (225 yards) and Long (400) yards. The two versions are created with an identical color spectrum. This ensures that the larger sizes of the Hybrid pattern can be created with a similar effect using a double strand of the longer gradient.

© Neighborhood Fiber Co.

If you opt for Neighborhood Fiber Company’s mouthwatering Studio DK as your contrast color, you’ll work the yoke with each yarn held as a single strand.  Karida’s signature colorways are all named after neighborhoods in the Washington DC and Baltimore areas.  One of our test knitters is in the midst of a sweater that pairs a soft pearly grey (Charles Center) with our classic navy Ceylon Alpaca Elegance. A sneak peek of her wip is below.

Finished Measurements (Chest circumference) – Chest: 34 ½ (38 ½, 44, 50 ½, 56 ½, 63.2)”/ 87 (98, 112, 128, 143, 161) cm

Yarn Requirements  — MC: 4 (5, 6, 7, 10, 11) skeins Alpaca Elegance CC: 2 skeins Fiber Optic Unified Split Gradient 255 yd each, 400 yds for 3 largest sizes (held dbl); or 1 (1, 1, 1, 2, 2) skeins Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio DK 275 yds each.

And to celebrate the launch of this new pattern we’ll be sponsoring a contest over the month of August that you can read more about on our blog post here!  We hope that you’ll join us this month in spending some time reconnecting with fiber friends and sharing your love for gorgeous yarn and fun new patterns.

 

 


Lamb Cam – late July

This morning’s lamb cam update comes from our own backyard!  Andy’s small flock of ram lambs have returned to act as groundskeepers in the meadow behind the Mill.  They got to work without delay and are munching their way happily through waist high grasses and wildflowers.

Since visiting them and our Mill may not yet be on your agenda thanks to COVID quarantine guidelines, we’ll make a concerted effort to share photos of these adorable sheep at least once a week on our Instagram feed.  We hope that your virtual visits with our flock feel almost as much fun.


Announcing Saturday Hours!

We are extending our shop hours a bit to better meet the needs of folks who aren’t able to visit during the week.

In addition to being open Monday and Friday from 9 am to 12 pm and Wednesday 3 pm – 6 pm, the Mill will also be open from 10 am – 2 pm on Saturdays!  Yay!

We understand that our limited hours can make it difficult to reach us while we are working towards getting the Mill back to full-time production.  Thank you for your patience as we work out the logistics of social distancing in our very limited space.

We hope that you’ll continue to reach us via email at spinnery@spinnery.com with questions about custom processing or yarn purchases.  We look forward to helping you and perhaps even seeing you soon!

 


Crafting for action!

We are excited to share with you a great trio of projects that can bring the fiber and crafting community together and working towards social justice.

“emPower people is a purple colored craftivism project aimed at uniting crafters to spark conversation, engagement, and action. Wear it when you vote, grocery shop, march, or knit in your socially isolated bedroom. We would love to see a sea of purple to represent unity so please tell your friends, family, knitting groups, or anyone who can knit, crochet, or sew a simple pattern. Make a bandana and a commitment to vote!”

 

© Casapinka

The FREE pattern for the emPower People Knit bandana can be found here.  There is also a crochet pattern here and a sewing pattern and all three are free and available at the emPower People website.

We’ve gathered a collection of skeins that will work beautifully for this project and we are donating all the proceeds of their sales for justice!

100% of the sales of our purple yarns sold between now and the end of the month, will be donated to our local The Root Social Justice Center.  This local organization is growing a movement here in Southern Vermont for racial justice and it operates with a collective leadership.

This list of skein options show above includes: Purple Rain and Purple Haze Mewesic, Amethyst, Agate and Blue Opal Sylvan Spirit, Iris and Violet Cotton Comfort, Lavender Cream Alpaca Elegance, Elderberry, Lupine, Blue Violet and Alpenglo Mountain Mohair.

To ensure that your donation is recorded, please use coupon code: empower.  This will allow us to more easily track these sales, and make sure that the funds are properly allocated.  We hope that you’ll join the fun of this crafting for justice movement; and please be sure to register to vote if you haven’t already!


How time flies!

We’re already in the middle of the third week of July which means that our second meet-up of the month will occur this Saturday!  We hope that you’ll come join the fun.  We’ll be gathering from 10 am to noon.

Using your computer, tablet or  phone, head over to this website: https://www.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join-meeting  and enter our Meeting ID number: 423-682-741.

We hope to see you there.

 


A lamb update!

Over the past few months, we’ve shared snapshots of some of the charming lambs that the fiber producers we work with have been raising this Spring.  Those fuzzy adorable creatures are thriving, and growing more independant.  One in particular now has an official fan club!

Today we wanted to share with you the details of the Jubilee Fan Club that Tammy from Wing & a Prayer Farm has organized for her adorable lamb.

“Jubilee is our sweet 3 and a half month old Valais Blacknose x Teeswater lamb that was born on March 14th to her mama, June, the 4th out of 5 lambs. She just barely survived her first few weeks on the farm, as she was premature by 2 weeks as well as her mama had quite a few complications from going into labor early with multiple births. We’ve all fallen in love with her inspirational story of triumph over struggle, her friendships with the farmyard animals of all species, her sweet adaptation to life as a bottle baby and gradual acclimation to the barnyard from the farmhouse hearth.”

Tammy has created four levels of participation with prices that range from $25 to $65.

1. Baby Jubi -Limited Edition of Jubilee’s Fan Club Enamel Pin + Photo Postcards of Jubilee + Friends, shipped in August 2020

2. Jubilee-Out of the Box – Limited Edition of Jubilee’s Fan Club Enamel Pin, 3 x 3″ Vinyl Sticker of Jubilee’s Fan Club, Photo Postcards of Jubilee + Friends, shipped in August 2020

3. Fireside Jubilee – Limited Edition of Jubilee’s Fan Club Enamel Pin, 3 x 3″ Vinyl Sticker of Jubilee’s Fan Club, Photo Postcards of Jubilee + Friends, and member of “Close Friends” Story Feature on Instagram for Wing & A Prayer Farm, shipped in August 2020

4. Look At Me Now Jubilee – Limited Edition of Jubilee’s Fan Club Enamel Pin, 3 x 3″ Vinyl Sticker of Jubilee’s Fan Club, Photo Postcards of Jubilee + Friends, membership in “Close Friends” Story Feature on Instagram for Wing & A Prayer Farm, and locks from Jubilee’s First Hair Cut in the fall. All shipped in August 2020, except for her locks which will be shipped after her first hair cut.

Participating in this Club will give you a unique opportunity to financially support a small family farm that is committed to providing a safe a nurturing environment for all the creatures in Tammy’s wildly diverse flock.  It will also keep you connected to the growth and development of a single lamb whose wool may eventually become yarn that you could find yourself working with in years to come.

We hope that you’ll check out Tammy’s ETSY site that has details of the Fan Club.  You’ll be able to sign up there and be a supporting part of the fun of raising this little darling.


Our commitement to the cooperative

Today is International Co-op Day!

You probably already know that Green Mountain Spinnery is a worker-owned cooperative.  Of the dozen folks who work here, currently five are worker-owners who collectively make decisions to manage the Mill.  Everyone who here is an integral part of the operation and are encouraged to share individual perspectives, ensuring that all of our voices are heard and considered.

What you may not know is that members of the Spinnery Team are also participating members of other Co-ops as well.   It has been part of the Spinnery’s mission from the co-operative’s establishment, that our Mill be actively engaged in the larger co-op movement to help create the positive change we want to see in the world.

GMS is a member and serves on the board of the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives.  This is an organization that is “dedicated to building a sustainable local economy by facilitating the support, development and promotion of worker co-operatives in Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. VAWC is a ‘secondary co-operative’ owned and operated by our Member Co-operatives.”

On the national level, we are part of the U.S.Federation of Worker Cooperatives.  This federation is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives. Our mission is to build a thriving cooperative movement of stable, empowering jobs through worker-ownership. We advance worker-owned, -managed, and -governed workplaces through cooperative education, advocacy and development.  This association includes more than 200 business and organizational members representing 6,000 workers across the country.

This week on our Instagram Feed, we’ve been sharing the principles that have acted as guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice.  We’d like to gather them here for your reference.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. People serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

5. Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Here at the Spinnery, our sense of community responsibility extends to our part in working towards a more sustainable production process that will have a minimal impact on the environment.  We are very conscious of minimizing our carbon footprint.  For years we have been recycling our water, by filtering and reusing the water flushed through our scouring department.  We also diminish our wool waste by offering waste bags of wool to local visitors who have used it for crafting and insulation.  The wool that is unsuitable for this use is composted and has enriched the soil of our community garden plot behind the Mill.  We are also working towards an exclusive use of vegetable oil in production,  moving away from the less expensive petroleum alternative in an effort to align all parts of our production with our climate goals.

We will continue to evolve as an organization to meet the needs of our employees, our local community, the international fiber community and the global environment.  We hope that you enjoy this holiday weekend and join us in celebrating the work that is being done by cooperatives all over the world to improve the conditions we share.