Spinnery News

An Instagram giveaway!

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that we’ve received from friends and customers who have been reaching out to check in, to wish us well and treat themselves to a new project to keep their hands and minds occupied.

It’s also been inspiring to see acts of kindness and generosity on social media; and this weekend we have one to share with you that warms our heart.

A very generous friend of ours who wishes to remain anonymous and considers herself to be over supplied with yarn (can you believe there is such a thing?), purchased a gift certificate this week to be shared with a perfect stranger — who might be you!

Check out our post on Instagram, share it with a friend to include them in the fun, and let us know about a bright spot in your week.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Seek comfort

As we are all adjusting to sheltering at home, and social distancing when out of the house; the virtual distance between many of our friends is shrinking beautifully.  We’ve had more time to virtually reconnect with busy fiber producers who are sharing details of their days via social media.

It’s lambing season for many of the shepherds we work with; and that has filled our Instagram feed with adorable photos of new arrivals that we know will bring you as much joy as they do us.

©Catskill Merino Sheep Farm

This is a twin ewe lamb that arrived with a smile on her face to Dominique at Catskill Merino in upstate New York.  Dominique has continued the work of Eugene Wyatt in raising a flock of Saxon Merino that grow some of the softest, bounciest and finest fiber we spin.

We’ve partnered with Eugene and Dominique for many years making yarn for hats (that you can read more about here) as well as thousands of skeins for delighted hand knitters.

We have used their yarns in conjunction with ours in a couple of patterns that were a part of our Mystery Project clubs of 2018 and 2019.  Cap Sease’s Polar Teddy and Maureen’s Dominique Tuck Socks (shown above) feature two yarns that you can purchase directly from Catskill Merino on their website, here.

If you’d enjoy learning a bit more, you can read all about the remarkable history of Eugene’s flock on the Catskill Merino website. The narrative begins with the original merinos of King Ferdinand of Spain in the 17th Century and traces a fascinating story to the handsome Australian rams that Eugene was able to bring to his farm in the 1990.

When Clara Parkes reviewed the yarn produced by this flock in May of 2010, she was as delighted as we know that you’ll be.
“This is the ultimate kind of farm yarn. It both is something and it represents something. It tells a story, and it comes from people who care deeply about their animals, from their quality of life to the quality of fiber and meat that they produce; people who go so far as to fashion a tiny splint for a lamb’s broken leg, name a sheep after an abstract expressionist, or marvel at their Australian kelpie’s amazing sense of geometry when at work.”
Clara’s most recent book Vanishing Fleece follows her experience in processing a bale of this gorgeous fiber as part of her Great White Bale project.  It should be added to the top of your must read pile.  For a special treat, you might want to consider enjoying the audio version of the book which she narrates herself!  You can knit while you listen.

©Catskill Merino Sheep Farm

Today, the flock continues to thrive under the careful and generous stewardship of Dominique who takes part in every aspect of the flock’s care. Following the farm’s Instagram feed will allow you to see it from her eyes, from lambing, day to day care of the flock, dyeing of the skeins and even marketing the Catskill Merino yarns at the Union Square Farmer’s Market in NYC and the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck.
Her dedication to this flock is a great gift to the fiber community. We are delighted that Eugene’s legacy of bouncy, downy soft skeins continues and we wanted to share some of that love with you.  Plus, the promise of more lamb photos to come!

Share your passion!

Vermont transitioned from social distancing suggestions to a Shelter at Home mandate that will remain in effect for several weeks.  It means that many of us will now be sheltering in place as others of our friends around the country have been for a week or more.

In a surprising turn of events, many of our social connections are deepening, with friends and social knitting groups gathering with video conferencing technology to stave off feelings of isolation that can come from not interacting with co-workers and service workers in what used to be normal day to day life.

And families are spending more time together.  Parents who are working from home may be struggling to engage and distract their kiddos who aren’t accustomed to these new restrictions.

Why not try knitting?

It’s possible that the same benefits that your stitches can bring you, can be shared by others in your household.  Crafting can be meditative, it brings a sense of accomplishment, and perhaps a few welcome moments of quiet concentration(?)

© flax & twine | anne weil

We wanted to encourage you to delve into finger knitting.  Our friend Ann Weil (of Flax & Twine has a lovely photo tutorial on her website.  Or you may want to explore Youtube to find instructional videos like this one for right-handed finger knitting:

No special tools are required.  A bulky yarn is recommended, like our Yarn Over or Capricorn that will allow quick progress for impatient beginners.  You’ll find a similar video for left-handed instruction, so no one is left out.

Try sharing something that you love with folks you are quarantined with.  Take frequent breaks, and if your fellow makers are of a wiggly age, add some dance party intermissions to blow off steam and pent up energy that will allow your little ones respite from concentrating on something new.

Perhaps you’ll make something special together.  Or perhaps you’ll share a few laughs and learn that every tangled mess can be undone.  We wish you many moments of joy during these days ahead.  We hope that our fiber can bring you the same comfort that it does us!

Be well, and happy knitting!

Therapeutic knitting

Keeping one’s equanimity has been difficult this week, and it’s never been more important. Whether you are sheltering in place, practising a self-quarantine, or keeping a generous social distance; it feels like a good time to find solace in your stitches, so that we can best support our communities from that full-hearted place that knitting can help us find.

We have released a new pattern this week that we hope will keep your fingers busy, your mind engaged on the pleasant work of crafting something useful and beautiful.  Introducing, Bunny Hill designed for us by Sandi Rosner.

Learning how to do something new is tricky at any age. Starting to ski on a gentle slope takes some of the fear of failing (and falling) out of the equation. This top-down pullover’s repetitive motif provides recurring rows of stranded color work that can act as a similar form of training. Practice eventually makes perfect. We simply need to be willing to try.

Shown in White Simply Fine and Woodsmoke, Fresh Cut Grass, Dessert, and Summers Day Simply Fine Skinnies.  Our new mini skeins of Simply Fine are just as downy soft as the original undyed skeins, but in a lovely spectrum of colors that you might find therapeutic to work with.

Sandi’s pattern includes a wide range of sizes 34 (38, 42, 46, 50, 54, 58),” /86 (97, 107, 117, 127, 137, 147) cm with yardage requirements as follows: 2 (2, 3, 3, 3,4, 4) skeins Undyed Simply Fine (450 yds) 1 skein each of Simply Fine Skinnies (224 yds) in CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4.

We hope that you enjoy spending some time with your needles with soft yarn running through your fingers.  We trust that connecting with the wooly goodness of natural fibers will bring you some solace, and a feeling of our love.



Socks for everyone!

Our friend Maria Muscarella has published a new sock pattern that includes sizing for your entire family!  Her Cozy Sunday Socks are fun, bright and delightfully comforting.

© NinjaChickens

“Sundays are the days for resting by the fire while sipping on hot chocolate, reading in bed under a soft blanket, or curling up on the couch with family to rewatch your favorite movie. These types of Sundays are just what your Cozy Sunday Socks are made for!

Knit toe up with a gusset, short row heel turn, and slip-stitch heel so there are no stitches to pick up! The color work is simple but fun, and creates an eye catching pop on the leg of your sock. Knit in DK weight yarn, the socks are super quick to create and wonderfully cozy to wear.”

Her sizing range is wonderfully considerate:

1 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6), leg and cuff height of 5.5” / 14 cm for all sizes
Measure foot circumference at widest part of foot, usually around the ball of your foot.
Size 1 to fit foot measurement: 6.5–7” / 16–18 cm
Size 2 to fit foot measurement: 7.25–7.75” / 18–20 cm
Size 3 to fit foot measurement: 8–8.5” / 20–22 cm
Size 4 to fit foot measurement: 8.75–9.25” / 22–24 cm
Size 5 to fit foot measurement: 9.5–10” / 24–25 cm
Size 6 to fit foot measurement: 10.25–10.5” / 26–27 cm

Any of the sizes can be made from a single skein of our Ragg-Time.  This yarn is generously skeined with a whopping 306 yards per skein!

© Ninja Chickens

Shown here with three different shades (from left to right: Thelonius, Jellyroll, and Holiday) paired with the creamy white neutral of our New Mexico Organic yarn.  Unfortunately, we are currently out of stock on both shades of our New Mexico Organic yarn and are waiting for the flock to be sheared before we’ll be able to make more.  But, either our White Wedding or Touch of Grey colorways of our Mewesic yarn will be a perfect substitute.

We think that these fun socks are a great project option to brighten up your life and provide your nearest and dearest with splendidly cozy toes!

A pattern release for the Equinox

As we prepare to greet the first day of Spring in a couple of weeks, in the southern hemisphere, friends are enjoying harvest bounties and getting ready for their colder season to arrive.  Temperatures everywhere are in constant flux with chilly nights giving way to daytime warmth.

Cloudy days and early mornings can be chilly without the welcome warmth of the sun.  Extra layers can be the key to comfort, and so we are happy to share with you Rachel Stecker’s Fall Waves Hat & Mitts.  This adorable matched set can be knit up with two contrasting colors of our DK weight yarns: Cotton Comfort, Alpaca Elegance, or Mewesic.  Shown here in Mean Mr. Mustard and Atlantis Mewesic.

Rachel’s pattern includes three sizing options for the hat: S, M, L – 18, 20, 22”/ 45, 50, 55 cm circumference & 7 ½”/19 cm deep.  Her mitts are generously sized for an adult.

The beautiful texturing is acheived with a simple charted lace pattern.  The clever pop of contrast color is done with a purl row stripe, making this a perfect project for advanced beginner or intermediate knitters eager to try adding some color to their projects without the complexity of stranded knitting.

We hope that you’re keeping comfortable in the shoulder season, and that you’re enjoying what is on your needles or hook!


Can you feel the warmth?

It was a cold day earlier this month when we dreamed up our newest colorway of Yarn Over: Ember.

Every batch of our recycled Yarn Over is unique.  It offers us a welcome opportunity to re-use material that would otherwise be wasted in our spinning process.  We gather all of the surplus carded fleece and remnants of unused roving and pool it together.  When we accumulate a quantity large enough to process, we re-pick, card, spin and ply a fresh batch of bulky 2-ply yarn.  We often augment this fiber with some fresh bale dyed wool to intensify the overall color to a more appealing shade.

To create Ember, we added different colors of wool into the carding machine in a sequence that has resulted in a variegated yarn that ranges from a soft ash grey to the warm rose and purples seen among the embers in a gently burning woodstove.

Each skein contains 155 yards of woolly goodness, more than enough for a warm winter hat!  We hope that you are keeping snug as the seasons are changing and that you have something delightful on your needles that brings you joy.

Seen at Stitches West

We are over the moon to be able to share with you two new designs that have been released this week, that look absolutely terrific knit up with Spinnery yarns.

© Denise Bayron

Our friend Denise Bayron’s Wave of Change jacket calls for bulky yarn that is perfect for Vermont at this time of year.  “This jacket gets its name from the purl ridges that create concentric rings around the body. The name also references the last year of change in the fiber community.”

Her thoughtful approach to design has created a pattern that is gender neutral and size inclusive bust circumference measurements that range from 36″ to 63″.

“The jacket is worked flat and seamlessly from the top down. Circular needles are recommended to hold the weight and width of the stitches. It is designed to fit as a layering piece with a boxy and slightly cropped silhouette. You can, of course, knit the body to your desired length. Suggestions for lengthening are included. A two inch button(less) band is picked up along each front. Sew-on snaps will keep your jacket closed, while allowing the waves to flow without interruption. Lastly, the sleeves are knit in the round using either magic loop or DPNs.”

Her pattern includes a schematic to facilitate modifications for a perfect fit as well as a video tutorial for picking up stitches for the button bands.

One of the recommended yarns for this pattern is Spinnery Yarn Over, a recycled 100% wool 2-ply bulky yarn that we have available in four appealing shades.  We’re confident that you’ll also be able to use our dreamy soft Capricorn yarn that blends wool with mohair and is available in three natural undyed shades.  Happily, our Natural Grey shade is now back in stock!

If a lighter weight garment is more to your liking, you might want to consider Julie Weisenberger’s Sarah.

Sarah is a perfect in-between seasons jacket – just right for cool days in lieu of a coat. The half-fisherman rib is not quite as condensed as full fisherman rib, resulting in a lofty, slightly puffy fabric. Dramatic angled, drop-shoulders and over sized pockets make Sarah fun to knit and even more fun to wear!

Shown here is a sample that is hanging in Julie’s booth at Stitches West in Santa Clara, CA worked up in Spinnery Mewesic in the Mean Mr. Mustard color.  We love the juxtaposition of Julie’s signature crisp tailoring with the cozy lush fabric created with the half-fisherman rib.  And those pockets!

We hope that you enjoy these two new pattern suggestions as much as we do.  Happy knitting!

Old friends

Even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring earlier this month, our forecast has been full of ice, snow and rain this week.  While we wait out the inclement weather and for the plow to free up the roads, all we want to do is hunker down with a great project and get stuck in.

In our efforts to keep up to date on what’s new and fresh, we can occasionally lose sight of great patterns that got lost in the shuffle.  This week we thought we’d look back on a couple of timeless stranded colorwork sweater patterns that we released a year ago that could easily move back to the top of our knit-next list.

Maureen Clark’s Stella is a classic yoked pullover pattern that is worked up in our Alpaca Elegance for a three season garment with beautiful drape and softness.

Maureen’s great grand mother Stella was born around the turn of last century on Prince Edward Island. She’s notorious in family legend for drinking rye and playing the horses. This yoked pullover was designed with her in mind. Perhaps by trying a yoked construction or stranded knitting for the first time; or by casting on with an adventurous color scheme you’ll celebrate the creative renegade that lies in each of us.

© Gale Zucker

Melissa Johnson’s Bea’s Cardigan is an eye-catching boat necked sweater with an unusual construction.  This pattern has you casting on at the cuff and working sideways towards the center.  When both halves of your sweater are complete, they are joined at the back with a three-needle bind off in pattern that forms a beautiful geometric motif.

It is shown above in a subdued monochrome palette of Jet Black, Raven, Blizzard and Edelweiss Mountain Mohair that reflects the winter landscape that surrounds the Spinnery on these cold days in Februrary.  This yarn is our favorite choice for cold weather knits.  That delicious halo (thanks to the mohair in the yarn) buffers the stitches against pilling and keeps us as snug as we could wish.

These two designs make for delightful projects that can help you while away the last few storms of the season.  If clouds are filling your forecast as well, we invite you to cast on and wait for Spring with a project on your lap.

From head to toe

Ten great big boxes of custom spun yarn is leaving the Mill this week to head to Bollman Hat Company in Pennsylvania.  This delivery of gorgeous Merino wool that will eventually become high fashion headwear, inspired us to share a story with you about another employee owned company that we partner with.

Bollman has been in operation since well before the Spinnery was founded.  “Three generations of Bollmans expanded the business before selling the company to a group of managers in 1974. In 1985, Bollman adopted an employee stock ownership plan.”  They count this as one of the secrets to their success.

We started working with them decades ago when we began using their scouring services.  Originally we were able to send fiber to them to scour in Pennsylvania; they have since moved that work to a new facility in Texas that can clean hundreds of pounds of wool in a fraction of the time it would take us to clean it here (where our capacity tops out at about 250 pounds a week).

This fall we began collaborating with them on an exciting new project that brought several of our favorite fiber friends together. Don Rongione of Bollman reached out to Dominique Herman at Catskill Merino to source hundreds of pounds of her buttery Saxon Merino fiber grown in upstate New York for a new entirely US based hat project.

Believe it or not, a camera crew went to the farm to meet Dominique and the sheep, and even followed their fiber to the Mill here in Vermont so that they could capture the entire story of this new venture.  That video will eventually become public as the final hats are made available for sale which we estimate should be before the end of this year.

In the meantime, for a deeper dive into both the history and current impact that both Dominique and Don are having in the larger US based fiber community you may want to treat yourself to a great read.

© @catskillmerino

Clara Parkes’ newly published Vanishing Fleece tells the rather epic story of another bale of wool from Catskill Merino.  “In 2012 she purchased a 676 lb. bale of American Merino wool and began a crowd-funded project known as The Great White Bale, in which she chronicled the process of turning the raw wool into finished yarn.”

Her bale was scoured at the Bollman facility in Texas.  And we return full circle to where we started.  Our fiber world is a very small one!

© Vogue.com

We are very happy to play our small part in collaborative projects like this one.  We look forward to seeing how the yarn we produced is transformed into practical, stylish and  hardwearing hats by the folks at Bollman.  We’ll let you know when we learn that they become available for purchase.


Special Delivery

With the new year, comes the release of the four patterns that have been exclusively available to the members of our 2019 Mystery Project Club Members!

We’re pleased to share with you four new accessory patterns.  These projects allowed us to introduce our club members to four gorgeous yarns that we’ve spun for fiber producers we partner with.

Clockwise from the top left is Dominique’s Tuck Socks, Margeau & Rebecca’s Cowl, the Nezinscot River Hat & Mitts, and Jill’s Boots.  These designs have paired our yarns with theirs to highlight scrumptious fiber blends, and unique hand dying.

Our members received seasonal packages that included the pattern, all the yarn needed to complete their project, and a little gift. Their first delivery also includes a Spinnery project bag to keep everything organized. What could be more fun than finding such a precious package waiting in your mailbox?

With that in mind, we have developed a new idea to continue that pleasure of a surprise package arriving just for you.

Do you remember the joy of opening a letter from a pen pal? Or receiving a care package when you were away from home at school or at camp? What about the fun of selecting a mystery grab bag at the candy shop?

For 2020 we are curating a collection of seasonal care packages that will ship out with gorgeous skeins, a credit for your choice of pattern available on Ravelry, and a little sweet treat that will bring a smile to your face as you swatch with your new yarn and consider what you’d like to make! We’ll also have a limited quantity of additional skeins available for separate purchase, so if you find that you’d like more yardage to complete a larger project, we can send you what you need to get started.

Our first Mystery Care Package is available to pre-order now! It is inspired by springtime crafting and will include fingering weight 100% wool yarn. In order not to spoil the surprise, we won’t divulge any more details except to offer you four rough color themes that will customize your package to include shades you prefer.








Once you’ve selected your color, and placed your pre-order, Melissa Johnson will handpaint your yarn and your package will be mailed to you in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  We’re offering these special packages for a limited time, since each one is custom assembled.  Purchase your choice before the opportunity vanishes on February 29th, 2020!

We hope that you’ll take advatage of this fun offer, and that you’ll take another look at our four newest accessory patterns.  We love giving you new ideas and beautiful new skeins to enjoy!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

We have a snugly warm Nordic inspired sweater pattern to share with you, that is just what we want to be wearing while temperatures hover below freezing.  We introduced this new pattern at Vogue Knitting Live last weekend, and the makers there were raving about it!

One of our very talented sample knitters, Elinor reached out to us this fall to share photos of a sweater she made for her brother.  It was a careful recreation of a beloved sweater that was more than 60 years old.

We were so delighted with her work that we asked her if we could partner with her to share this pattern with you.  After many weeks of grading, tech-editing and testing, we’re pleased to introduce you to Terry’s Sweater.  This unisex ski sweater is worked up with our Mountain Mohair and is as warm as a hand-knit gift from a sibling can be.

Shown here on David, the main color is Midnight Blue and the contrast colors are Blizzard and Claret.  At the top of the page, the same design is knit up with Claret as the main color with Blizzard, Maritime and Vincent’s Gold as contrast colors.

Elinor’s pattern includes a generous sizing range: 32 (36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60)”/ 81 (91, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152) cm.  The yardage requirements are:  Mountain Mohair 6 (7 ,7, 8, 9, 9, 10, 11, 12) skeins MC; 1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) skeins CC1 & CC2; 10 yds for CC3.

While temperatures are still at their lowest here in the Northeast, it is a perfect time to work up this warming garment.  We hope that you’ll enjoy working on it as much as we have.