Spinnery News

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.


Join in

Our next virtual meet up is scheduled to occur later this week!  This Thursday evening from 6:30pm – 8:30 pm 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: 176-221-037.

Going forward you can connect with her and our other crafting friends twice a month. This month, those gatherings will occur on July 2nd 18th.

On the first Thursday of each month we’ll gather at 6:30pm – 8:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time) using Meeting ID number: 176-221-037.

On the third Saturday of each month we’ll gather at 10 am – noon (Eastern Standard Time) using Meeting ID number: 423-682-741.

Larisa will be there to knit with you, and get caught up.  We hope that you can gather your current project and a cool beverage and join our virtual group for some socially distant crafting.

We hope that you can add these regular meet-ups to your calendar and join us whenever you are available.

Humming along

The Mill has been back up and running for several weeks now, and we are getting the hang of yarn production while socially distancing.  We’ve got fresh air moving through the building with as many fans as possible; and our production floor is operating at partial capacity to allow our co-workers to work freely without crowding one another.  This has had the added benefit of cooling down the Mill as not all of our machines are operating simultaneously, generating unwelcome heat that can be unpleasant in the summer’s humidity.

Out behind the Mill, these worker bees don’t have such concerns.  Andy has re-established his hives here for the season, and we are thrilled to see these pollinators happily at work gathering pollen from the nearby field of wildflowers that is currently in bloom.


It feels good to be getting back to the business of making, transformation and participating in Nature’s cycles.  What are you busy creating or nurturing this week?

Painting with tweed

Yoked color work sweaters can offer us an exciting blank canvas with which to experiment with color.  We thought we’d share with you several sweaters that were recently finished using our Mewesic yarn that is currently on sale!  All three of these projects are the same design: namely Nelchina by Caitlin Hunter.  It is so inspiring to see hw the same design can be reimagined by different knitters with such beautiful results!

This top-down sweater can be worked as either a cardigan or a pullover and has a generous size range from a 35″  to a 56 3/4″ bust.  It calls for four contrasting shades of DK weight yarn.

© meiklem

Our friend Elissa created hers with a warm autumnal palette that includes Norwegian Wood as her main color that works beautifully with Sandman, Diamonds and Rust and our undyed New Mexico Organic.  (The organic yarn is currently out of stock but could be substituted with our White Wedding color of Mewesic).

She shared with us that ” I love it by the way – the yarn is so comfortable to wear, it is going to be my go to sweater for the fall.”

© blv1248

Barbara opted to make Evergreen that star of her sweater.  She also chose to work with Sandman and a creamy white for her neutral shades, but opted for Brickhouse for her pop of contrast color.  Wow!

She, “planned this sweater for recovery period after having right knee replacement surgery on 2/17/2020. Did not start right away due to pain meds. LOL.   So this project turned into a covid-19 sweater which has offered me lots of time to work on it. I’m looking forward to being finished with it and hopefully can wear it a couple of weeks before the weather gets warm.”

Just last weekend she added to her project page: “I want to add that this yarn, Mewesic from Green Mountain Spinnery, is the perfect yarn for a sweater like this one. It is light, not heavy like so many other sweaters I have knit, and yet it provides just the right amount of warmth on a chilly day. I can’t say enough good things about this yarn!”

© Elainemaxseb

And finally, Elaine (a hand dyer living in Switzerland) modified her cardigan for a cropped short sleeve version that is adorable!  She paired our Atlantis Mewesic with several other yarns from different manufacturers that all work together beautifully.

Perhaps her sweater may inspire you to do a bit of stash busting and find some suitable DK weight yarn options that have been waiting for the perfect project to come together?  How would you like to combine our beautiful shades of Mewesic?

Join us

For many of us social butterflies, the quarantines, social isolating, and distancing required in the past several months have been difficult.  Knitting and crochet can be so much more rewarding when made more communal through shop visits, fiber festivals and community crafting groups.

It is such a pleasure to meet other fiber enthusiasts, see what they are working on, and share our own progress.  It is also very helpful to be able to run questions by other crafters who have different experience levels. Advice, helpful suggestions and out of the box solutions can help us overcome all kinds of stumbling blocks, allowing us to complete projects that would otherwise languish under the couch.

Tomorrow morning 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.

From 10 am – 12pm Larisa will be there to knit with you, and get caught up.  We hope that you can gather your current project and a cool beverage and join our virtual group for some socially distant crafting.

We are going to try hosting these gathering more regularly, so that you can add them to your calendar and join us whenever you are available. You can plan to set aside a couple of hours on the first Thursday of the month in the evening, and the 3rd Saturday of the month in the morning.

Larisa may occasionally plan additional virtual meet-ups when we have specials, or when we would normally be gathering at a Sheep & Wool Festival.  We hope that this will allow us to stay connected with our fiber friends around the country and perhaps reach new ones as well!


A special sale!

To celebrate the re-opening of our Mill Shop we’re offering a 15% discount on our Mewesic Yarn (pronounced music), until the end of the month!  You’ll find that all 15 colors are now $12.96 a skein.

This delightfully lofty DK weight yarn is made with 100% fine wool.  These rich tweedy colors are created by blending bale dyed wool in the carding stage of processing.  The flecks of color that comprise each shade add a depth of color that makes this yarn special.

It’s 2-ply construction adds a bit of strength that will allow your finished garment to look terrific for years to come.  You can find some terrific patterns on the newly redesigned Ravelry site that were created with this gorgeous yarn in mind.  We’ll be sharing some of our favorite projects with you later this week.

We hope that you’ll take this opportunity to try this yarn if it is new to you, or stock up on a sweater’s quantity if you already know what a pleasure it is to work with.  Enjoy!

Good work

The calls to action this week have led many of us to seek out ways in which we can be more supportive of our friends of color in the fiber world.  We’d like to share a couple of resources that may allow you to feel better connected, informed and involved in the work of anti-racism.

It is the perfect time to learn more about and support the diverse voices and talents that have been marginalized by systemic racism and unconscious bias.  In 2018 Jeanette Sloan, a knitwear designer from the UK, collated a list of People of Color working in the fiber world.  Thanks to the positive response in the community in recognizing the value of this resource, she crowd sourced funding to make the website that is now home to this valuable directory: BIPOC in Fiber.

You’ll find Designers, Dyers, Teachers, Journalists, Shop Owners and more.  We encourage you to explore the website and enjoy the rich variety of creative talent to be found there.

In Baltimore, Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. is organizing a fundraiser within her community that we encourage you to support.  She is asking for all our help to start the NFC Momentum Fund, a donor-advised charitable fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation.

The NFC Momentum Fund will be able to receive tax-deductible donations that will be dispersed to a variety of organizations working for justice, empowerment, and equality. Right now, we are raising money to support protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thanks to the generosity of our worldwide fiber community, she was able to surpass her initial goal of raising $10,000 in just a few days.  She is now working towards a new goal of $100,000, and is more than 2/3 of the way there.

We invite you to learn more, get involved, and support those who are working towards making our community more inclusive and welcoming to all. Together, we can effect powerful change.

Back in business

We’re delighted to share with you that we are making great progress in working towards re-opening the Mill.

Starting on Monday June 15th, and until further notice, our Mill shop will be open 9 am -12 pm  Monday and Friday and 3 pm – 6 pm on Wednesdays.

Spinnery Yarn Shop

Our shop is very small so we’ll only be able to accommodate 1 or 2 (if they are in the same party) shoppers at a time. We are requiring visitors to use face masks while in the building. We will have some extra on hand if necessary.

Two things that you may want to keep in mind: we won’t have a public restroom available for visitors, so you may want to plan accordingly.  And our production floor is such a tight space that we will be unable to offer tours until the need for social distancing has passed.

We encourage you to continue to purchase yarn from us through our website and opt for local pickup if you are in the area.  We’ll arrange a convenient time for curbside pick-up during the regular shop hours or we can leave your purchase on the porch for you to pick up any time.

Our custom processing is also getting back up to speed.  Fiber drop-off and yarn pick-up will need to be on an appointment only basis and can be coordinated via email at spinnery@spinnery.com.  Our typical turn around of 3-4 months will be extended to 4-5 months until we are able to return to working at our full capacity and have made our way through the backlog of fiber that is waiting to be processed.

Thank you for your support, encouragement and patience as we adjust to our new normal.

Therapeutic Stitching

We have all found solace in the smooth repetition to be found in knitting.  And this week, many of us that the Spinnery have spent more hours than usual working on our projects, or enjoying the time that we are carving out to craft; seeking the calm to be found in following a pattern and enjoying the feel of wool running through our fingers.

We thought we’d share some of our WIPs (works in progress) with you.

Lauren is working her way through the gorgeous yoke of her Fern & Feather sweater designed by Jennifer Steingass.  She is working with Mountain Mohair in the Maritime color as her background and a similar single ply yarn that we spun for Blue Heron Farm that was dyed with natural botanicals. The contrast of these shades is so crisp and classic.  It makes her stranding work look like a million dollars!

Larisa is also participating in Must Love Yarn’s Knit Along that has it’s participants all working on designs of Jennifer Steingass.  She has cast on for the Goldwing pattern using two high contrast colors of Spinnery Mewesic: Atlantis and Touch of Grey.

Both of these sweaters are worked top-down giving you the opportunity to enjoy the fun of the stranded color work yoke as you start the project.  Once you’ve worked through the yoke and divided your stitches for the body and arms, you can easily try on your sweater and make modifications to the fit as you go.  Sleeves length can be adjusted and shaping could be added to the body to your preference.

For those of you who have cast on for this KnitAlong, or if you’d like to join in now; the next virtual meetup for the group is scheduled for next Thursday June 11th, from  7 – 9 pm.  Using your browser or phone, head to https://zoom.us/join and use the Zoom Meeting ID: 868 1585 3166

Maureen is making a long awaited sweater that will be the perfect addition to her wardrobe.  She is making a gorgeous version of the Green Leaf Pullover to be found among the pages of At the Spinnery.  Maureen often fashions patterns that she wants to wear herself, but the sample that is created as part of her design process is typically used for photography and travels with us to shows.  This beauty will be one that she can keep and enjoy for herself!

She’s cast on with Rose Quartz Sylvan Spirit, an ideal shade for spring and summer wear.  She’s often remarked that this yarn is her favorite among the Spinnery collection.  She’s used it for many projects that she enjoys, including a Calyx designed by Elizabeth Doherty and two of her own designs: the Windsor Tank and the Seeded Pullover.

We look forward to learning about what projects have been bringing you comfort.  Please share them with us on Instagram with the hashtag #greenmtnspinnery or #gmswip.  Be well, stay safe, and keep knitting!

Living in a work in progress

Yesterday, almost 200 young people gathered in nearby Brattleboro to protest racism and police brutality.  The gathering was a peaceful one where teen organizers expressed their feelings of frustration and connected with others eager to show their support for change.

The rallies, protests and riots that are predominating the news are an emphatic wake up call to many of us who have been too long complacent.  It can be difficult to sit with the knowledge that silence and non-involvement is also damaging to the lives of people of color, as disengagement does nothing to shift the systems that are preventing social equality.

We urge you to learn more, and actively seek out voices of color and those of indigenous people.  Focus your attention, time and funds where they can make a positive change.  You may want to start here: https://www.racialequitytools.org/home

This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

Project inspiration

Two of our Ravelry friends recently wowed us with their projects that used some of our un-dyed yarns.  We’d like to share them with you to see if their project spark some ideas for your own!

Julie has created an unusual version of Junko Okamoto’s Bouquet Sweater.  Instead of opting for stranded color-work, Julie’s version is using monochromatic texture to a much more subtle effect.  It is dreamy!

© robbyraccoon

Julie has used Spinnery Sylvan Spirit as her main background color and has double stranded lighter weight blends of merino, alpaca, mohair and silk for her contrast floats.  This transforms the overall effect of the sweater into an ethereal work of art that has a tactile appeal.

© robbyraccoon

In her project notes, Julie records: “Trying to do a monochrome version, holding two stand of Tussock with the Suri Loft to get a comparable yarn weight. So far the cc knits are retreating but the floats look very cool. If it’s too subtle I may over dye in the end, with the intention that all the yarns will take color a little differently.”

We imagine that you’ll agree with us when we hope that Julie maintains that un-dyed magic of her sweater.  With that in mind, we have another successful project to share with you that beautifully expresses the very different kind of alchemy that only a dye pot can achieve.

Westhill embarked on a very different kind of yarn adventure when he began working on this stunning cardigan in early 2019.

“I started out making this in subdued (for me) colors, thinking I should knit like a grownup or something, and was instantly bored. Bleeaaahh. Hated it. It was actually depressing. Ripping back and starting over and letting the bright colors fly. I’ll never do that again!”

“This sweater started as part of the 2019 “Design Your Own Stranded Sweater” challenge in the Stranded group. Everyone is using the Strange Brew pattern, which gives formulas and guidelines for designing a stranded yoke sweater in any size.

This is all yarn that I dyed, except for some thrift-store yarn that happened to be a color I needed. I made all these colors from just four shades of Dharma Trading’s acid dyes. I use vinegar for the acid and dye in thrift-store pots in my kitchen. I mix Poinsettia, Magenta, Sapphire Blue and Brilliant Yellow to make any color I need.

There are also some yarns in here that I dyed with lichen to make various shades of purple.  I have a lot of un-dyed yarn, and some dyed yarn, from Mary, who so kindly gave me a bunch of her stash. GRATEFUL!  I will also be mixing in doubled sock yarn, thrift store yarn, my hand spun, Green Mountain Spinnery mill ends, and scrap yarn.

I’m doubling a lot of the yarn, using two different shades of a color in the same stitch—this makes the colors richer and more vibrant. This makes a thick, windproof fabric, so I’m making it into a jacket to wear outside.”

And what a masterpiece this cardigan has become!  We’ve been swooning over the incredible depth of color that Westhill achieved.  Think of the fun you could have by digging into your stash to find what you already have on hand.  Any shades that you are missing to complete the palette you desire can be created with any one of the white un-dyed yarns that the Spinnery makes, beginning with a day or two of experimenting with dyes!

Our un-dyed white fingering weight options include Lana, Meadow, Forest and Simply Fine.  Our Sport weight option includes the discounted 3-ply Forest.  Our DK weight options include Mewesic, Cotton Comfort, Sylvan Spirit and Alpaca Elegance.  Our Worsted weight options include Mountain Mohair, Weekend Wool, Maine and Vermont Organic and Green Mountain Green.  Finally our Bulky weight option is Capricorn.

You may also find as you start experimenting with dye, that you want to see how over-dying grey yarn can deepen and enrich a shade.  Then there are even more exciting options open to you!

We hope that these two projects inspire you as they have us.  We continue to be excited and delighted by the projects you are making with our yarns.  Thank you!