Spinnery News

An end of summer camp for knitters

Perhaps you were lucky enough to go to sleep away camp as a kid; or attend one of the magical crafting weekends at Squam. If so, you know how much fun it can be to venture into the wilderness to meet new friends, and while away a few days surrounded by nature in a creative escape from your daily routine.

This September, just after the official end of summer, a special gathering will occur in Maine that you may want to sign up for!

Knit Maine will convene several inspiring fiber teachers at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft on Deer Island, Maine. This retreat comprises four days of  “knitting and fiber-inspired workshops, presentations by iconic leaders in the knitting and fiber world, and a marketplace filled with Maine and New England based producers and vendors.”  What fun!

Attendees will have a chance to work with and learn from: Kate Atherly, Julia Farwell Clay,  Katharine Cobey, Nora Gaughan, Patty Lyons, Susan Mills, and Kristen TenDyke.  The wide range of workshops is almost impossible to choose among.  Attendees will have the chance to take as many as 6 classes over the course of their stay!  We wish that we could be a fly on the wall of all of them.

Registration details can be found here.  And classes will fill on a first come first served basis, so we hope that you’ll act fast to ensure that you have your first choice among the exciting classes on offer!

We are very proud to be among the sponsors for this event.  We’ll be providing class materials for several classes including Julia Farwell Clay’s Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Percentage System and Fair Isle Mittens, Kate Atherly’s two part Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl class, Katharine Cobey’s Basics and Beyond, and Kristen Tendyke’s Seamless Pockets.  Should you choose to sign up for any of these classes, you’ll have chance to play with our yarns, even if you don’t bring some from your stash along with you for leisure knitting.

We hope that your calendar is currently free September 6th – 9th so that you can pencil in a rewarding adventure that could conclude your summer with a long weekend of fiber fun!

A collaborative project for advanced knitters

Our friend Kimber of Fiber Optic Yarns will be debuting a new pattern for us this weekend at DFW Fiber Fest  in Dallas, Texas.  We hope that you’ll stop by the festival if you’re in the lone star state.  She’ll be in booth 325 – 327 (right across from the Fiber Laboratory).

The show floor is open from 9 – 6 this Friday and Saturday and 10 – 4 on Sunday.  Our samples should arrive for her to share with you on Saturday morning.

Our Brioche Popover is a simple oversized layering piece that is stunning enough to be a statement while being equally suited to “popping over” any outfit (including your pjs). The lushly textured ribbing is created with three different brioche techniques for a comfortingly squishy fabric that is a pleasure to wear. Select a gradient yarn for a dramatic effect, or quintessential classics for a vest that will never go out of style.

Shown on the left in Gris Lana as the main color and Ancho Lana as the contrast color. Shown on the right with Playa Lana as the main color and Fire and Ice Fiber Optic Footnotes Gradient as contrast color.  We all agree that Kimber’s yarn makes this project an instant show stopper!

Kate loves the boxy shape of this top, that is so easy to wear.  The strong horizontal elements of the ribbed hem and half brioche ribbed neckline counterbalances the vertical two color brioche that provides hints of dramatic color beneath.  We love the subtle hints of drama, but with careful seaming and weaving in of your ends, there is no reason why you couldn’t wear this top inside out for a more stunning effect!

This piece was designed in one size with a generous 50″ chest circumference for a flexible fit that will accommodate a range of figures.  We hope that if you are already comfortable with brioche techniques, you’ll give this project a try.

The top is worked flat from the bottom up in two pieces.  You’ll work two color brioche on the front, single color brioche on the back, and a half brioche rib for the neckline.  This results in a delightfully squishy fabric that is light in weight and yet deeply textured.

We’ve collected several youtube videos together on our channel that will demonstrate some called for techniques that you may not already be familiar with including managing short rows while working two color brioche, a three needle bind off for two color brioche and a decorative Icelandic purled cast off.

We hope that you’ll have a chance to see our Brioche Popover this weekend at DFW, or at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival that is just a few weeks away.  You may find that this is the perfect project to launch your summer knitting!


Your passport to fun!

This year’s I-91 Shop Hop passports are now available for sale!  You can stop by our Mill Shop to pick one up, or you can purchase yours on our website here.

Along with your $5 passport, you’ll also receive a FREE tote (pictured above) that cunningly folds up into a handy drawstring carrying pouch.  It is perfect for holding all of the new skeins you’ll want to bring home!

As in year’s past, eleven local yarn shops located along I-91 from New Haven, CT to Putney, VT, are teaming up to bring you fun, prizes, and plenty of fiber!

Get your Shop Hop passport stamped by visiting the participating shops over the 4-day Shop Hop weekend (June 21st – 24th, 2018).  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 the eleven shops, as well as yarns, needles and other goodies.

Here’s your chance to explore new yarn shops and win some great prizes. You can complete the Shop Hop all in one day, or make it a weekend event.

Passports are available now at one of these fine 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)
The Yarn Basket (Branford, CT)

Each shop will have a specially designed pattern to share with Hoppers and this year, we’re going to be able to give our visitors an exclusive chance to preview a brand new yarn that  launches this fall.

Maureen has created a fun one skein project that features this beautiful new yarn, and we can’t wait to share it with those of you who can participate in the Shop Hop!  So mark your calendars, call your friends and make your plans!  We look forward to seeing you then.

MDK’s March Mayhem continues…

Every March as basketball fans settle in for some great games, Ann and Kay of Mason Dixon Knitting create knitworthy brackets of their own that pit some of their favorite patterns of the year against one another in a competition we love to watch.

By the time you read this, two of the rounds of voting will have closed and the initial 64 patterns will have been narrowed down to a stiffer competition between just 16 patterns in four categories.  We’ve cast our votes and hope that you will too.

It’s a real nail biter.

As it turns out, one of our favorite patterns from 2017 has been included in the selection: The Colman’s Cranberry Gose.  You may remember seeing this beautifully drapey Gansey tunic on these pages this fall when the pattern was first released.

© Thea Colman

The pattern calls for between 8 and 12 skeins our Alpaca Elegance.  And there’s never been a better time to purchase a sweater’s quantity of this lovely yarn!  Thanks to our special offer that will continue until 9am on Monday March 26th,  using the coupon code PHEW at checkout will give you a 20% discount on your entire purchase.

We hope that you’ll enjoy the fun to be had following along with the Mason Dixon pattern competition.  The 2018 Champion will be announced on Monday, April 2.  And by casting your votes, you may find the next pattern you’d like to knit!

Good news for everyone!

Well over a month ago, we packed up dozens of boxes of yarn and all of our booth supplies so that these materials could travel across the country to Santa Clara, California on a freight train.  This method of travel would ensure that all of the goodies we were bringing to Stitches West could arrive safely without requiring Kate and Maureen to personally drive it up and over the Continental Divide, in the middle of winter.  Visions of snow drifts and icy stretches of highway made our choice an easy one.

And our shipment did arrive safely, but unfortunately about a week too late.  That freight train was never even unloaded in California. It chugged back to the East Coast a few days after the show concluded.  A disappointment, to be sure.

Well, we’re pleased to share with you that the return delivery went flawlessly. It arrived this week, and we unpacked our goodies with glee.

To celebrate the safe and timely return of our yarn we want to offer our friends a special discount so that you can have all the fun of a Fiber festival while staying snug at home.  Simply use the coupon code PHEW at checkout and you’ll enjoy 20% savings site wide until 9 am Monday, March 26th.

Browse through the site, check out our new colors, patterns and project ideas. Tell all your friends!  Give us a call if you have any questions.

A shoulder season staple

We’ve got a new pattern to share with you this week that may be just what your wardrobe has been missing.  Our Layering Camisole was designed with multi-season use in mind.


This fitted garment works for a bit of warmth over a t-shirt on warmer spring days, and it works equally well as a snug layer under an oversized cardigan for a fun pop of color that will keep any chill at bay.

The design includes clever ribbing along the sides for additional stretch that will ensure the camisole hugs your curves.  It is intended to be worn with up to 4 inches of negative ease, for a snug figure flattering fit.

Sizes range from 28″ to 44″ bust and require between 3 – 4 skeins of any of our DK weight yarns.  We knit our samples up with Alpaca Elegance and couldn’t be happier with how comforting these tanks feel.  It’s our new favorite wardrobe base layer that combines New England practicality with a bit of flirty femininity.


You’ll find that you can knit this up in no time, ensuring that you have a new addition to your Spring (and Fall) wardrobe with plenty of time to enjoy it before summer arrives!

Our newest Co-op member

Thanks to Lauren, the Spinnery has a brand new member!  We’d like to introduce you to wee Roo.

He arrived at the Spinnery a little over a week ago and has us all utterly smitten.  He’s named after the beloved A. A. Milne character from the Winnie the Pooh volumes that we all enjoy.  He is characteristically bouncy and eager to greet visitors with a friendly lick and a very waggy tail.

While doing a bit of research, David came across the word Roo in the glossary of the Field Guide to Fleece compiled by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius.  As it turns out, Roo is a verb: “to pluck wool from sheep after the fiber has loosened and is naturally shedding. Wool can be collected by rooing only from sheep that seasonally molt or shed their fleeces.”

Based on our little Roo’s passion for sniffing out our most fragrant fiber (in between naps and trips outside), we think that he may be a natural at finding wool in the wild!

We hope that you’ll have a chance to visit us while he’s in his infancy.  He loves making new friends just as much as we do!

Big news!

We’re delighted to share with you that Kate Atherly will be the featured instructor for the Spinnery’s 2018 Knitters’ Weekend Retreat!

© Kate Atherly

This special weekend will give us an opportunity to get far more comfortable with our sock knitting skills. Kate has designed a fun curriculum.  It will cover both an overview and the details of general sock construction to better understand the features and benefits of knitting socks in a variety of different ways. We’ll also have an opportunity to move into greater detail, on the tips and tricks included in her book, Custom Socks – Knit to your Feet.

Kate will spend Saturday morning guiding us through a deep dive of sock fit and customization. We’ll learn how to measure feet and design a sock pattern for that foot, ensuring a perfect fit no matter which pattern or yarn we select.

After lunch she’ll work with us on sock knitting techniques, tips and tricks. This will be a wide-ranging discussion of sock topics, including: fit, reinforcement, different constructions and different methods of working, yarn choices, etc. Included in this discussion will be instruction on how to improve gusset pickup and avoid holes in top-down heel flap socks, as well as her clever solution for avoiding “ears” in a grafted toe. Bring any recurring queries you have about sock knitting, because this class will begin with an opportunity for you to ask questions, to better focus the discussion.

On Sunday, Kate will guide us through one of her favorite two at a time techniques: Side by side on magic loop. She’ll also discuss the other two-at-a-time technique, the legendary “War & Peace” method.” While students aren’t required to be proficient at the magic loop method, familiarity with it, and a comfort level with working in the round on double pointed needles is encouraged.

The workshop will be held in Brattleboro, Vermont from Friday, October 5th to Sunday, October 7th, 2018.   It will begin with dinner on Friday evening and conclude by noon on Sunday.  The Spinnery’s weekends feature great food, lively companionship and lots of yarny goodness.  And by scheduling this gathering over a holiday weekend, we hope that you’ll have even more time to relax and enjoy New England in October!

Your registration fee of $365 per person includes all meals including Friday dinner through Sunday breakfast and nine hours of instruction with Kate.This year’s event will be held at the Hampton Inn in Brattleboro. We have a block of rooms reserved for you at the discounted rate of $175.00 per night. Please contact the Hamp­ton Inn to make your reservation using the code “Spinnery”.  These rooms are limited so register early!

Registration Forms can be found on the Spinnery website, here.  We hope that you can join the fun!

What’s on our needles

We couldn’t wait to get our new limited edition Avocado yarn on our needles.  This worsted weight single ply yarn is the perfect shade of green, a little bit olive, a little bit shadowy black, with flecks of  gold that make it more complex and appealing.

This yarn is spun up from our bale dyed fine western fiber.  This Targhee wool is lofty, spongy and the rich evergreen color is exactly what we’ve been wanting to work with during these grey days of winter.  It reminds us of the winter woods that are now full of maple sap lines gathering this season’s sweet harvest.

Larisa just finished a very cozy version of Alanis designed by Elizabeth Smith.  We love the garter texture details and the pop color pocket is perfection!  Her pullover has a 48″ bust measurement and took just under 7 skeins to complete.

She opted to limit the positive ease of the sweater to just 8″. If you are considering knitting up one of your own, you may want to opt for a size smaller than the designer recommends.  Larisa’s only other pattern modification was to add a bit of length to ensure that it would fit just like her other favorite layering garments.

Megan also snaffled a sweater quantity of this yarn in order to whip up a version of Michele Wang’s Cascades.  The textured stitches of this pattern will look like a million dollars when knit up with this yarn.  The single ply will ensure that every cable cross and moss stitch bump is shown off as crisply as possible without the visual distraction of any ply shadows.

We hope to be able to share photos of her finished sweater as soon as its off the blocking board!

Do you have any worsted weight patterns that you’ve been wanting to get starting with something special?





A wooly sweet valentine

We’ve added a new product to our selection that we think you may want to get your hands on for Valentine’s Day this year.  We just adore these packets of Sheep Notecards designed by local artist Sandy Hartley.

Who among us in the fiber world wouldn’t cherish a little love note on these charmingly old fashioned works of art?

Each packet contains 8 cards (2 each of four images) and matching envelopes.  At just $8, these are a great find that we’re pleased to be able to share with you.

These cards are monotypes of larger format images that she created to illustrate the bucolic beauty of Vermont flocks.  We like to imagine that she was inspired by the ewes of David Major’s that graze in the fields just up the road from the Spinnery.  These lovely ladies are responsible for some delicious local cheese that we often enjoy at Spinnery gatherings; as well as some hearty skeins that we spin from their annual shearing.

Roses are red, violets are blue, spring grass is sweet and so are ewe!

Happy Valentines!


Kate’s $6 sweater

One of our best deals to be found in the Spinnery’s Mill shop is our basket of ply ends.  At just 25 cents an ounce, this is a bargain that many crafters find is hard to resist.

These cones allow us to wind off any extra material from our spinning and plying bobbins without wasting an inch of it.  We don’t keep track of exactly which batch of yarn each cone contains, so our collection at any given moment often includes a wide selection of yarns that we create for both our custom work as well as the yarns you can find in our shop.  Some cones contain a single continuous length, and others have many smaller segments so it’s a bit of an exciting grab bag.

It can be hard for some visitors to imagine how they can be effectively used.  Weavers can work with this material straight from the cone for fine weight projects.  We encourage knitters and crocheters who prefer to work with bulkier yarns than lace weight singles, to consider using multiple strands held together.

You can work with several strands from separate cones, effectively plying the strands as you work; or you can try your hand at Navajo Knitting or chain plying as you work which creates a triple strand from a single cone!  This handy instructional video demonstrates the technique.

This past week, Kate knit up a version of Brooklyn Tweed’s Freja cardigan working with 4 strands of these plies held together to create the gauge equivalent of the bulky yarn called for in the pattern.

The yarn on the cones were not an exact match but she had enough weight on each one to accomplish the pattern with a bit left over.  By holding all four together, she created a fabric that blends the different plies into an overall tweedy heathered look that highlights the textured stitches of the pattern beautifully.

She found many smaller lengths on her cones, and found it easy to knit her ends in as she worked.  By blocking her garment pieces before seaming (as the pattern suggests), any unwoven remaining ends felted gently into the wrong side of the fabric and could be safely trimmed.

And best of all, the overall cost of the yarn for her sweater?  Less than $6!

Due to their unique nature, these cones are only available in our Mill Shop on a first come first served basis.  We are constantly making more of them as part of our production process, so we’re confident that you’ll find an interesting selection when you arrive.

We hope that you’ll keep an eye out for them on your next visit to Putney.  You’ll be delighted by what you feel inspired to create!

A new fiber festival worth visiting

Mark your calendars and plan a trip to Boston!  The Boston Farm & Fiber Festival is just a few weeks away. On Sunday February 11th, in one special spot, you’ll find yarny goodness from indie local producers gathered from all over New England.

The Boston Farm & Fiber Festival will include over a dozen farm yarns and natural dyeing vendors spread throughout the Boston Public Market. This special gathering celebrates the wonderful diversity and bounty of the New England farm fiber world.

© New England Farm to Fiber

This smorgasbord of farm yarns will include a delightful variety of single source and often heritage breed fiber that’s been spun into yarn that is gorgeous, wearable, warm and wooly.  You’ll also be able to find gorgeous naturally dyed skeins in the soft shades that are ideal for spring knits.

We’re especially delighted with this event as it will provide you with a unique opportunity to find many yarns that have been spun here at the Mill for our custom wool producers!  You’ll be able to find skeins, or products created with the yarn that we’ve produced for our friends at:

Bedfellows Blankets, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
Blue Heron Farm in Grand Isle, Vermont
Greenwood Hill Farm in Hubbardston, Massachusetts
Nezinscot Farm in Turner, Maine
Tidal Yarns in Old Lyme Connecticut
Wing & A Prayer Farm in Shaftsbury, Vermont

In addition to the fiber vendors, you’ll find a knitting lounge; spinning demos, a book signing, kids activities, and other fun farm fiber related events.

And, there will be amazing locally sourced food! You’ll be able to fill your knitting bag and market basket with the bounty that has all been grown, raised, caught, and gathered within a few hours drive of the center of Boston.

It’s our idea of a perfect day!  We hope that you’ll be able to take part in the fun.