Spinnery News

Two spring knitalongs for you to enjoy

You may have already heard about it on our Instagram feed, but just in case you missed the news… we’ve started a Knitalong!

Knit anything in our latest book, At the Spinnery!! There are option for socks to sweaters. Our KAL is hosted on our Ravelry Group page, and will run until May 31st.  No need to stress about getting a larger project, complete, WIP’s are allowed.  If you post to Instagram, be sure to tag us #greenmountainspinnery and #gmswip #atthespinnerywip  And, feel free to tag each designer!

And if you need even more incentive to get stitching, last week the folks at Madder launched their Anthology Knitalong…encompassing all 3 volumes in their Anthology series!

© Making

To participate, chose a pattern of your choice from any of the Anthology books and start knitting! You can find a comprehensive list of all Anthology patterns here on Ravelry. Use hashtag #anthologyknitalong on Instagram to show  your progress, so everyone can follow your projects and share! If you’re not on Instagram and would still like to participate, you can share your knits and in progress projects in either the Madder or Making Ravelry groups. Everyone will be knitting away on our projects until Friday, May 17th, and the Making team will randomly draw three giveaway winners…  You can find more information, here.

To inspire you, we thought we’d share info about one of Maureen’s most recent finished projects from the pages of the third Madder Anthology…

We are smitten with her version of the Winter Escape Pullover designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge.  We love how the eyelets of delicate lace trace around the wide v-neck, for a feminine touch that counter balances the rustic tweed and garter stitch cuffs and hem.

She used Spinnery Cotton Comfort in the Iris color that provides a pop of intense color to chase away Mud season blues.  Carrie’s pattern includes a generous range of bust sizing: 34¾ (38, 41¼, 44½, 47½, 50¾, 54, 57¼)”  and calls for between 6 and 10 skeins of our DK weight Cotton Comfort.

All 25 shades are in stock and could be on your needles in no time!  We also have copies of Carrie’s 3rd Anthology, Seaside available for purchase here.  We hope that you’ll join in the fun of the Madder Team’s Anthology Spring Knitalong.

We hope that either (or maybe even both!) of these current Knitalongs may inspire you to get a new project started.  We can’t wait to see what you have on your needles.

 


Let’s play with Fall color!

We are pleased to announce that Maria Muscarella will be the featured instructor for the Spinnery’s 2019 Fall Knitters’ Weekend Retreat.  (Friday, September 27th to Sunday, September 29th, 2019).

© ninja.chickens

Maria Muscarella is the dyer, teacher, podcaster, and knitwear designer behind Ninja Chickens.

She began her career in the field of holistic medicine as a nurse-herbalist creating remedies, teaching herbal medicine, and running an herbal clinic & apothecary.  Maria picked up knitting as a hobby in the early years of her profession and her love of all things woolly steered her down the career path to fiber arts.  Her making is naturally influenced by her love of the gardens and woods that surround her home, and her passion for herbal medicine led her to natural dyes and eco printing. She spends her days working with fiber and herbs in a hand-built, 16-sided house.

Discover the creative art of Eco Printing!  Spend a weekend among the flora of Vermont, learning to capture the unique colors and patterns of plants on wool, silk, and cotton.  We will use natural dyes and plant materials to make lasting prints of leaves and flowers.  Learn how to prepare your fabrics, what plants produce dyed prints, and how to print with those that don’t during this relaxed weekend of exploration and fun.  Celebrate the change of seasons and the colors of Fall through eco printing.

© ninja.chickens

Saturday morning, Maria will walk us through fabric preparation, printing on plant vs animal fibers, making a simple natural dye bath for silk shibori, and we’ll get started with eco printing on sock blanks (shown above) using the steaming method.  After lunch, we will start by unwrapping our prints from the morning (always the favorite part of class).  Then, our hands will be busy learning the blanket method of eco printing, along with modifying our prints in an iron simmer bath.

The next morning, of course, will begin with the unveiling of Saturday evening’s prints.  We will then finish our weekend of exploration by eco printing on our shibori silks and embellishing our cotton from the day before.

The workshop will be held in Putney, Vermont, and will begin with dinner on Friday September 27th and conclude by noon on Sunday September 29th.  Your registration fee of $375 per person includes three meals (Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and dinner) and nine hours of instruction.

Registration Forms with housing suggestions can be found on the Spinnery website, hereSpace is limited to 20 participants, so please register early.


Make your plans!

In just a few months, we’ll be opening our doors for the 2019 I-91 Shop Hop.  And we can’t wait!

Passports and bags for the 2019 I-91 Shop Hop are now available for purchase!  You can get yours ahead of time so that you can dive right into to the yarny goodness when the yarn crawl comes around again this June.

The I-91 Shop Hop will take place June 27-30th. All participating shops will be open from 10 am – 6 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 12 pm – 5 pm on Sunday. For those of you early birds who really want to maximize the ground you’re able to cover, you may want to keep in mind that we open at 9 am on Thursday and Friday giving you an extra hour at the beginning of your day to enjoy a leisurely visit to our Mill before heading south.

You’ll have four fiber filled days to visit all 11 participating shops.

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)
Ewe & You Fiber Arts (Windsor, CT)

A visit to each of these shops during the Hop weekend, entitles you to a stamp on your official $5 Shop Hop passport. Every time you get your passport stamped, you will be entered to win the Daily Door Prize at that shop. A total of 48 door prizes will be given out to participants!

By visiting all 11 shops you will be entered into a drawing for the fabulous Grand Prize, which includes gift certificates for all 11 shops, as well as yarns, needles and other goodies!

Each store will be featuring their own design in a kit, ready for purchase. This year’s theme is Color Pop Shop Hop! Maureen is working on a surprise pattern that we can’t wait to share with you!

We hope that you can get this event on your calendar and that we’ll see you then, if not before!


Last but not least

The final project from our 2018 Mystery Project Club collection, is Maureen’s Swedish Mitten.

The custom spun yarn that we shared with Club Members for our final project of the year, comes from our friends at Meadowood Farms in the beautiful rolling hills of Madison County New York.  This bucolic working farm has been in operation for over 100 years!

On their 225-acre farm, they produce milk from dairy sheep, which is made into award-winning cheeses, and they grow pasture-raised beef and lamb. In addition, they are also home to a Belted Galloway cattle herd, sheep-guarding Maremma dogs, and a flock of parasite-controlling hens.

Their flock of East Friesian and Lacaune ewes are highly prized for their milk production. This breed is sometimes referred to as the Holstein of the sheep world.

As with many flocks that are raised with a dual purpose, their fiber is not the primary focus for the farm. This breed’s wool is typically identified for use in sturdy outerwear, blankets, or rugged sweaters that will stand up to the test of time.

As we worked with this flock’s fiber when we spun this yarn, we instantly recognized how it is perfectly suited to ward off the chills of a New England winter.  That conclusion had Maureen imagining a stranded mitten that would do the same with a double thickness of warm wool.

Her Swedish Mitten pattern pairs the undyed Meadowood Farms’ 2-Ply worsted Lamb’s Wool with the Spinnery’s Weekend Wool. You can reach out to the Tolmans to try some of their yarn for this project; or you may want to consider working your mittens up with two contrasting colors of Weekend Wool.  Two skeins will be sufficient for a pair of mittens.

Before you get started on your mittens, we encourage you to head over to the farm’s website and view their Spring Gallery.  You’ll get a glimpse into their barns that will probably have you as smitten with their lambs as we are.  Those ears!

We also would like to encourage you to head on over to the farm to see this lively flock in person and chat with the folks who raise them.  They are open to the public for Lambing Day in April and Open Farm Day in July (Saturday July 27, 2019).   If you would like to visit the farm at another time, please contact them via email (info@meadowoodfarms.com) or call (315-655-0623) to make an appointment.  What better way to get to know your yarn?!


Craving color?

The great thaw started here this week, and as temperatures have moved above freezing, more and more of our grey landscape is being revealed.  If you’re as eager for some color as we are, you might agree that Larisa Demos’ new pattern is a perfect remedy for late winter doldrums.

We’d like to introduce you to Winter Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscopes have been used to create and play with luminous symmetry for more than 3 centuries. This stylized design allows you to experiment with color, bringing a seasonal palette to life. The complex tweed of Spinnery Mewesic yarn will enrich your three contrast yarns, providing pops of color in myriad hues for breathtaking results.

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Knit up with four colors of any of our DK weight yarns, this beanie will allow you to experiment with color combinations that will have you feeling like an artist!

Our Mewesic, Cotton Comfort, Alpaca Elegance and New Mexico Organic are all 2-ply DK weight yarns that are skeined up at 180 yards per skein.  They can easily be substituted for one another and used in combination, as you can see above: MC: Grey New Mexico Organic, CCs: Mean Mr Mustard, Purple Rain and Atlantis Mewesic.

Larisa also knit up a version of this pattern with several shades of Cotton Comfort.  Shown above, MC: Silver, CCs: Maize, Storm and Juniper Cotton Comfort.

The pattern uses very little of a couple of the colors, so we are confident that you could swap colors and make several hats; or use up remaining bits of stash yarns that can have a habit of accumulating around your craft space like seed catalogs at this time of year.

If you’d prefer to start fresh, we have dozens of shades for you to choose from.  Our DK wall of yarn is as delightfully varied as an artist’s paint box.  We’d like to invite you to pop into our shop to check out our sample and see what colors you could cast on with, to brighten your days ahead.

 


Some more background on our 2018 Mystery Club projects

This week we’d like to fill you in on the story behind our Lopez Island Cap pattern that was the third project of our 2018 Mystery Project Club collection.

The yarn for the rustic lace outer layer of this hat comes from an island off the west coast of the US.  Our friends at Island Fibers gather fiber from a variety of flocks located on Lopez Island, WA.

© Island Fibers

This island is roughly 30 square miles and home to farmers and fisherman alike.There are no highways on Lopez Island, and no bridges connecting it to the mainland or other islands. Lopez Island is locally famous for the longstanding custom of waving at every motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian encountered on the island’s roads.  What a friendly place!

These small roads fill with bicyclists during summer months who enjoy travelling the rural roads and drinking in the scenery.

© Island Fibers

To give you a feel for life on Lopez Island, and to let you see what goes into the making of Island Fiber’s unique yarns, we can share some snapshots of the island’s local flocks and the farmers who tend them.

© Island Fibers

Kate Salomon designed a hat pattern that blends Island Fibers’ rustic sport weight 2-ply in the natural heathered grey color that mimics the rocky shores of Lopez Island, with Spinnery Meadow. Our 2-ply fingering weight blend of soft mohair and fine wool will knit up to create a much softer thermal layer of stockinette stitches that is a pleasure to wear next to the skin.

The lace pattern allows glimpses of underlying color to be seen through the gaps, and a small border of color wraps around the ribbed band to frame your face.  She pictured the rocky seaweed strewn coastline of Lopez Island with its surrounding blue waters as this design flew off her needles.

The cap has a slightly unusual construction, having you start at the top of the inner lining and working in stockinette stitch in the round, down to the ribbed brim.  After switching yarns, you’ll work back up through a reversed rib and charted lace section with slightly larger needles.  The two layers snuggle inside one another for a fitted beanie that is very warm thanks to its double layers of wool.

You may want to order a skein of Island Fibers’ sport weight yarn and a skein of Spinnery Meadow to work the pattern as written, or you could opt to work with Spinnery Lana (which is available in an array of lovely shades shown above) and an outer layer of Alpaca Elegance or Mewesic which will mimic the rustic look of the Lopez Island yarn that we used for the lace work.

We hope that you enjoy learning a bit more about the Lopez Island Cap.  And we hope that you’ll consider a visit to the island.  Later this Spring, on Saturday May 11, 2019 you could attend the Lopez Lamb, Wool & Goat Festival and meet some of the animals whose fiber we’ve enjoyed spinning!


Even more for you to consider

When Kate and Maureen arrived in Santa Clara last week, they were met with a delightful surprise.  Sloan Rosenthal had a new pattern ready to publish and she was willing to let us display her Summit in our booth!

© Sloane Rosenthal

“Sometimes (and what is February if not one of those times) we want our knitwear to be like a cozy, elegant hug: sweaters that are easy to wear, that go with everything, that keep us just warm enough for these waning days of winter’s chill. Summit is one of those sweaters.

Its modern drop-shouldered silhouette is effortless and forgiving, its low-hip length goes with pants, slim skirts, or even (gasp!) leggings (hey, I won’t tell if you won’t tell), and its luxurious cowl neck provides a finishing touch that’s as warm as it is graceful.

Slender, ribbed sleeves provide a flattering update to the silhouette, while generous positive ease allows the sweater to drape just so. Summit is worked from the bottom up in pieces and seamed (though it could be easily modified for semi-seamless knitting), with charted and written instructions provided for the cables.”

© Sloane Rosenthal

This luscious tunic features Sloane’s characteristic geometric and beautifully symmetrical cables only on the front. So there are plenty of simple stockinette stitches to fly off your needles and make for fun TV or social knitting.

Sloane’s pattern includes finished bust measurements that range from  41.5 (46.5, 49.5, 54.5, 57.5, 62.5)” / 105.5 (118, 125.5, 138.5, 146, 159) cm.  The garment is intended to be worn with a generous amount of positive ease.  It is shown above with 14” / 35.5 cm positive ease at the bust.

Sloan knit her sweater up with Alpaca Elegance and it is a dream to wear.  The 50/50 blend of fine wool and alpaca lends lovely stitch clarity and enviable drape to the finished sweater.  Yardage requirements are as follows:  8 (9, 9, 10, 11, 12) skeins, or 1325 (1475, 1575, 1750, 1825, 2000) yards / 1225 (1350, 1450, 1600, 1675, 1825) meters.

Kate snagged the opportunity to try this beauty on, and had a very difficult time not hiding it away in her suitcase.  You’ll see her cast on for a version of her own in upcoming weeks.

Sloan is celebrating her pattern’s launch, with a 20% off discount through 3/4/19, on Raverly (no code needed).   And you may want to join the fun of our FREE PATTERN FRIDAY contest over on Instagram this weekend for a chance to win a Free copy of this lovely pattern.

Happy knitting!


We’ve got a new book to share with you!

We’re very pleased to announce that our newest pattern collection is hot off the presses!  At the Spinnery features 12 brand new patterns that you are going to adore!  You can view the entire collection on Ravelry here, or you can pour yourself a mug of something soothing and browse through the stunning photos that Gale Zucker captured for us below.

From top to toe we’ve got you covered.  Some of the accessories can be crafted with just a single skein and we’ll start our review with these.

The Thaw Hat is designed by Kathleen Dames with our Maine Organic yarn.  The pattern includes instructions for two depth measurements and a single skein will be sufficient for either option.  Worked in the round from the ribbed brim up to the star-shaped top of the crown, the Thaw Hat is perfect for the changeable weather that ushers in Spring.

The highly textured stitch pattern combines the refinement of lacy and twisted stitches with the rustic charm of Green Mountain Spinnery’s wonderful worsted weight Maine Organic yarn (organic sheep from organic Maine farms processed using GMS’s GREENSPUN technique, then certified organic by the Vermont Organic Farmers) for maximum impact.

The Snowmelt Cowl designed by Cap Sease.  Worked in the round with a cable and lace pattern that will have you seeing rivulets of melting snow, this cozy cowl can be worn long for drama or wrapped around your neck for warmth.

A perfect one-skein project, the Snowmelt Cowl knits up beautifully in Green Mountain Spinnery’s Simply Fine fingering weight, which combines the softest fibers that we work with!

Your toes will be comforted by the Catkin Socks designed by Amelia Velarde. Worked from the top down with an afterthought heel, the Catkins Socks remind us of wands of pussywillows, one of the first signs of Spring in Vermont, with the lace running down the leg and along the outside of the foot.

The pattern includes three cuff circumference size options and a single skein of Spinnery Forest can be used for all three.  This fingering weight yarn combines the warmth and bounce of Targhee fine wool with the gleam and strength of Tencel® Lyocell (from trees), making it a perfect choice for long-wearing socks.

With just two skeins of Forest, you can work up Bonnie Sennott’s Catharus Shawl. Worked back and forth from the top down with a tab start, the Catharus Shawl (named for the Vermont state bird, the hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus) begins with a wide rib before flowing into a sculptural, nupp-flecked edging.

This shawl is also knit up in Green Mountain Spinnery’s Forest, ensuring that your stitches will pop with clarity and the shawl will drape beautifully.

Another light weight shawl pattern is the Mizuna Shawl designed by Angela Tong and knit up with two skeins of Spinnery Lana.  Worked from one point down and out to the edging, Mizuna is an asymmetrical triangle shawl with a garter stitch body, plus an elegant lace side and edging. Green Mountain Spinnery’s Lana, a fingering weight 100% wool yarn, makes for warm yet light knits.

For those of you who aren’t intimidated by larger projects, this collection includes a host of additional options for you to cast on for.

Kate Salomon created a richly textured circular Millstone Blanket that is worked from the center outward in a shifting garter and slipped stitch pattern that is carefully charted for your ease.  It creates a finished blanket that is 48″ in diameter and calls for 12 skeins of the main color and a single skein of the contrast color.

Juxtapose the rough-hewn texture with the soft warmth of Green Mountain Spinnery’s Mountain Mohair, which combines the luster of fine mohair with the bounce of fine wool for an excellent worsted weight yarn in a rainbow of colors.

At the Spinnery also includes five sweaters and a lightweight vest for you to consider.

Worked in the round from the bottom up, Larisa Demos’ Sap Run Vest sports a simple lace pattern on the front panel that evokes the welling up of sap in the Spring. Green Mountain Spinnery’s Sylvan Spirit adds to the versatility of this piece with its blend of fine wool and Tencel® Lyocell in a DK weight.

The pattern includes sizing options that range from Bust circumference: 37 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56)” / 94 (102, 112, 122, 132, 142) cm and is show here with approximately 7″ of positive ease.  Yardage requirements range from 4 – 8 skeins.

Also knit up with Sylvan Spirit is Maureen Clark’s Green Leaf Pullover.  Worked in the round from the bottom up, the Green Leaf Pullover is covered with little, lacy leaves that make this both an elegant top on its own and a lovely layering piece.  It is shown above with 9″ / 23 cm of positive ease.

The pattern includes instructions for bust circumference: 40 (42, 45, 49, 54, 58)” / 97 (107, 114, 124, 135, 145) cm; and calls from between 5 – 8 skeins of our DK weight yarns.

Also on the lighter side is Ikinngut Pullover designed by Jennifer Dassau that is featured on the book’s cover.  Worked from the top down with a textured yoke, gathers at the empire waist, and a split hem, the Ikinngut (Greenlandic for “friend”) pullover is the perfect comfy sweater with elegant details. (Shown above with zero ease).

You’ll find instructions for bust circumferences: 33.75 (38, 42, 46.25, 49.75, 54)” / 86 (96.5, 106.5, 117.5, 126.5, 137) cm  Yardage requirements range from 5 – 8 skeins of our Cotton Comfort; which makes this a year-round piece with its blend of organic cotton and fine wool, each of which takes the dye differently, producing a unique, speckled color.

Worked in the round from the bottom up, Kathleen Dames’ Sheepscot Pullover combines a classic cable with a simple lace, which are a pleasure to knit up together. Green Mountain Spinnery’s worsted weight Maine Organic shows off both the sculptural cables and the crisp lace. (Shown with 7″ / 18 cm positive ease).

The pattern includes options for bust circumferences: 38 (41, 45, 50, 53, 57)” / 97 (104, 114, 127, 135, 145) cm and calls for between  4 – 6 skeins of our worsted weight organic yarns.

Heather Zopetti’s Buttonbrush Pullover is a tunic length pullover with a lush brioche rib detail that decorates the cowl, cuffs and hem that remind us of the Buttonbush plant.  Worked in the round from the bottom up, this pullover includes waist shaping and seamless set-in sleeves which are picked up and worked down to the cuffs.  Shown with 5″ / 12.5 cm of positive ease.

The pattern includes instructions for bust circumferences: 33 (36.5, 41, 46, 50, 54, 58)” / 84 (92.5, 104, 117, 127, 137, 147.5) cm.

Weekend Wool, Green Mountain Spinnery’s classic soft-yet-strong worsted weight yarn, comes in a beautiful rainbow of options, so you will be sure to find your perfect color combination.  You’ll need between 8 – 13 skeins of the main color and 2-3 skeins of the contrast color.

Worked in pieces and seamed with shawl collar and pockets added during finishing, Amy Herzog’s Greenbanks Hollow Cardigan puts ribbing to use in a way that reminds us of the standing seam roof covered bridge spanning Joe’s Brook, all that is left of the once-thriving milltown of Greenbanks Hollow.

The rich color and beautiful drape of Green Mountain Spinnery’s DK weight Alpaca Elegance make this a cardigan you will want to snuggle into every day.  The pattern includes bust circumference sizing: 35.25 (39.25, 44.75, 48.5, 52.25, 55.75)” / 89.5 (99.5, 113.5, 123, 132.5, 141.5) cm. It is shown above  with 1″ / 2.5 cm positive ease  and calls for between 8 – 13 skeins.

What a wealth of beautiful patterns!  We couldn’t be more excited with this collection.

We’d like to thank all of the amazing designers who joined us for this adventure.  As well as photographer Gale Zuker (@galezucker) and our lovely models: Ariana and Rachel (@arianamclean and @rachel_toussaint).  This could not have come to fruition without the hard work of Alison and Kathleen of One More Row Press.

If you are in the Bay Area this weekend, we hope that you’ll stop by our booth (817 – 819) at Stitches West, where you’ll be able to see all these stunning samples in person and select the size and yarn you need to get started on the pattern that calls to you!


Breaking news: a new yarn!

Last week our new Nor’easter Bulky yarn made its debut at the 2nd annual Boston Farm to Fiber Festival.  And it was a hit!

Who wouldn’t love a great big skein of single ply wool spun with a natural variegation that looks terrific on its own and really remarkable when over dyed.

We have a limited supply of this first batch of Nor’Easter Bulky.  You’ll find the natural skeins on our website here and you’ll want to stop by or call the shop to see what remains of the limited number of hand painted beauties remain from the selection pictured below.

These skeins are spun from a special blend of 100% New England Wool from nearby flocks raised within a 200 mile radius of the Spinnery.  This batch includes blended wool from Rambouillet, Corriedale, Romney and Friesian sheep located in Vermont, New Hampshire and off the coast of Massachusetts. These hearty animals grow fleeces that are perfect protection against winter storms. And we think that the loft of this yarn’s single ply will provide cozy warmth while knitting up in a flash!

Larisa Demos whipped up a two skein pattern with this yarn that she’s named Onding.   Onding is a Scottish word that roughly translates to imminent harsh weather. When the forecast predicts a storm that inspires us crafters to curl up with needles and some warm wool, you’ll find that this smooshy cowl is a perfect fit. We hope that this reversible ribbed and cabled confection helps you maintain your cozy comfort when you head outside into winter’s worst.

This yarn has a similar gauge to our Capricorn yarn (which is made with a wool and mohair blend), so you can substitute it for quick knit patterns that call for our Capricorn, such as the Capricorn Caps, Cowl UpGranite Cap, and Steps & Ladders.

While winter storm warnings continue to pop up in the forecast, you may want to cast on with this deliciously warm single ply for an accessory or two that will keep you cozy while you knit it up and then wear it out and about!


A perfect early spring shawlette

Off the coast of Downeast Maine lies Little Nash Island, home to a very special flock of sheep.

© Nash Island Wool

“The story of Nash Island Wool began in 1916, when young Jenny Cirone’s father became lighthouse keeper of Little Nash Island, off the coast of Downeast Maine. Jenny started her flock of sheep, joining Maine’s centuries-old tradition of raising sheep on its uninhabited coastal islands. She lived on Little Nash Island with her family and flock for 19 years, purchasing most of it, as well as neighboring Big Nash Island, after the lighthouse was decommissioned. Moving to the mainland, in sight of her beloved islands, Jenny tended her island flock until she passed away at the age of 92. She entrusted her flock and the islands to her next-door neighbors and close friends, the Wakemans, who continue to tend Jenny’s flock and take care of the islands just the way Jenny always did.

Jenny’s flock of 150 or so sheep are an Island Descendent/ Coopworth/ Romney mix, a hardy breed well adapted to island life. They graze out in the open, thriving on green island grasses and mineral-rich seaweeds. This island life style produces beautiful soft, clean, ‘fog-washed’ fleeces.

Wild as they are, the sheep prefer the island to themselves, barely tolerating seasonal visits from their shepherds. In May the Wakeman family daily check on the ewes as they lamb. In June with the help of family and friends, the sheep are rounded up, the new lambs are checked, the ewes are sheared, and the rams removed to their own island for the summer. In November the sheep are rounded up once again, and the ram lambs come off the island, bound for market. In early December the rams go back with the ewes for breeding, starting the cycle anew.

© Nash Island Wool

We thought that the best way to celebrate this special fiber that we have the honor of spinning here at the Mill for Jani Estell, was with a design that features botanical details reminiscent of the wild grasses and seaweed that feeds the flock this yarn is from.

The Cirone shawl, designed by Larisa Demos for our 2018 Mystery Project Club, is a luscious garter stitch crescent shawl of Alpaca Elegance with a delicate lace border created with undyed Nash Island Tide yarn. The shawl is finished with a botanical button designed by our friend Katy of Katrinkles.

You can find all of these beautiful materials with the links provided here, or you may opt to knit up the shawl with two contrasting skeins of Alpaca Elegance and a button or shawl pin of your own!


Our newest darling

Cap Sease’s Polar Teddy pattern was the first of four projects that were sent out to our 2018 Mystery Project Club members.  It was designed to be knit with some of the finest wool that we have the pleasure of working with.  Catskill Merino Lambswool yarn is spun annually from the first shearing of the lambs among Eugene Wyatt’s Saxon Merino flock that he established back in the 1990’s.

We thought that the best way to celebrate these uniquely smooshy skeins was to transform them into something you’d want to cuddle. So, Cap Sease has created our Polar Teddy for you to knit up and enjoy!

This flock was engendered by five of the very few Saxon Merino rams to be imported from Australia when the ban prohibiting the export of these national treasures was lifted. As a result, this flock produces unique wool that is lustrous, bouncy and delightfully soft, with a micron count that rivals cashmere.  And first shearing of lambs’ wool is the finest of the fine.

© Catskill Merino

For those of you who haven’t yet enjoyed Clara Parkes’ Know Your Yarn Craftsy class, a micron is a microscopic measurement of the diameter of a fiber. The smaller the number, the finer the fiber and the more downy soft it feels.

You can learn more about Eugene’s flock and the fascinating history of the Saxon Merino sheep on the Catskill Merino website here.  You may find that once you’ve had a chance to work with this yarn, you’ll want to track down more of it for a downy soft accessory or even a sweater’s quantity!

© Thea Colman

Thea Colman (aka Baby Cocktails) released a new design this week that features this gorgeous yarn (Hudson Valley Cider – shown above).  A quick browse through the other skeins available in the Catskill Merino’s Yarn Store will show you just how beautifully this lovely fiber dyes up.

For those of you eager to cast on for a little teddy of your own using Green Mountain Spinnery materials, you can substitute Catskill Merino’s Lambswool with a single skein of our Green Mountain Green and fill him with our delightfully soft carded fleece.  His dashing scarf can be created with just a couple dozen yards of scrap yarn that we’re confident you already have in your stash.

Check back in with us next week to learn more about the Cirone shawl pattern and the lovely skeins we used to create it!


5 new patterns for you to play with

We’re headed to the big apple this weekend to vend at Vogue Knitting Live; and we’re bringing some exciting new patterns with us.  We’ve just published Maureen Clark’s new Stella pullover.

This beautifully yoked sweater features a top down construction and classic stranded color work.  You’ll work with just two colors in each row through the charted section and then return to single color stockinette for the rest of the project.  You may find that it flies off your needles.

The pattern includes a generous size range from 37 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56)” / 94 (102, 112, 122, 132, 142) cm.  Yarn requirements range from 4 – 8 skeins of the MC and 1 each of three contrast colors.   It is shown here in our Alpaca Elegance; MC: Ceylon CCs: Chai, Chamomile, Roobois. 

We’ve also released the four patterns that were part of last year’s Mystery Project Club to the public!

You can now find (clockwise from the top left) Cap Sease’s Polar Teddy, Larisa Demos’ Cirone shawlette, Maureen Clark’s Swedish Mittens and Kate Salomon’s Lopez Island Cap here on our website and through Raverly.

Our 2018 Project Club featured four projects that paired some of our yarns with those that we spin for fiber producers you may know.  Each design calls for two yarns, both created here at the Spinnery; a custom spun yarn and one of the yarns we’ve created for our shop.

We’ll be featuring these patterns in the coming weeks on our Instagram feed as part of our Free Pattern Friday contest.  And we’ll highlight each of these patterns in a future blog so that you can learn a bit more about the fiber producers we partnered with to create each of these designs.

We hope to see you in Manhattan this weekend so that you can enjoy our samples in person.  And tune in next week to learn more about Catskill Merino’s unique fiber (that was used to make the adorable teddy bear shown above).