Spinnery News

Take a break

We know how hectic the holiday season can be.  With all of the hustle and bustle it can be important to carve out a bit of quiet crafting time to preserve your equanimity.  So this week we have an unusual treat for you, so that you can do just that.

Our friends at Verb for Keeping Warm are in the midst of a special podcasting project that will tell the stories of all of the fascinating fiber folks featured in their stunning Fall 2018 Lookbook, over the course of 7 episodes.

In the first episode, we meet Sally Fox. She is the Californian farmer who raises the organic red cotton and the sheep who grow the wool used in the yarns featured in this collection.  In the second episode, we follow the wool from the farmer to the mill. Kristine describes how the wool is prepared for the mill and Adrienne speaks to David Ritchie, co-founder and current co-op member of the Spinnery.

David walks listeners through our production process giving you an unique chance to hear from someone with over thirty years experience talk about what it’s like to spin yarn for such mindful customers as the folks at Verb.  We think that his passion for fiber and what we do here at the Spinnery is just what you need to recharge your holiday cheer.

We hope that you’ll set aside an hour at some point and treat yourself to story that will remind you of how magical yarn can be and how lucky we are to work with fibers that can knit us all together with hope for a brighter future.

Brew a delicious mug of something comforting, grab your knitting and enjoy!

 


Announcing our 2019 Mystery Project Club

Great news!  Registration for next year’s Mystery Project Club is officially open.

Because of the fun we had with our club members in 2018, and the wonderful feedback we received from our delighted members; we’re going to again feature four projects that pair Spinnery yarns with those that we spin for our custom customers.  This time around we’re partnering with several indie dyers we work with!

© Jill Draper (hint, hint)

With each mystery project, you’ll work with two yarns, both created here at the Spinnery: a custom spun yarn that will be dyed a unique hue just for our club, and one of the yarns we’ve created for our shop.

Along with a fun new project, these deliveries will give you a unique opportunity to learn a little bit more about the wonderfully creative indie dyers and fiber folks we have the pleasure to work with.

Each design will create a different kind of accessory.  In years past we’ve crafted hats, cowls, mittens, and more!  And as a Project Club member, you’ll have private access to these patterns until they are made available to the public in 2020.

As a Club member, you will receive four exclusive projects sent quarterly.  Shortly before each delivery you’ll receive an email revealing the details of the project.  We’ll share with you a unique look behind the scenes of how your special skeins were created.

Your four project packages will include the pattern, all the yarn needed to complete your project, and a little gift.  Your first delivery also includes a Spinnery project bag to keep everything organized.

Membership is $223 and registration is open until Friday January 11th.  You can sign up online here or give us a call at 800-321-9665.


Just in time

We want to get your holiday season off to a fun start this year with a project that makes us smile.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good Ugly Christmas Sweater?  They can be cringe-worthy and the life of a seasonal gathering.  We’ve even seen them as Halloween costumes!

But we can’t help but think that it’s probably not the kind of project you’d want to hand knit.  All that stitching time for a garment that may only be enjoyed a few times a year.  Our friend Cap Sease found the perfect solution:  An Ugly Christmas Hat!  All the fun, and a fraction of the work.

Her design features Mountain Mohair, so this beanie will be warm enough to keep you snug as you go caroling around the neighborhood.  The pattern calls for a full skein for the tree and less than 30 yards of at least five different colors for your ornaments, garland, and tree topping star.

To make it as easy for you as possible, we have a limited number of project kits available that include the pattern, a full skein of Balsam Mountain Mohair, and five mini skeins of some of our favorite contrasting colors of Mountain Mohair to make the hat seen above.  These are available for $32.75 while supplies last.

We can think of myriad ways to make your Big Ugly Christmas Hat unique.  You may want to consider using up stash yarn to make your ornaments more diverse.  You could  create a beaded garland for more pizzazz (as seen above). Cap has also suggested weaving in a bit of tinsel or even adding battery powered micro lights for even more holiday flair.

We can’t wait to see how these hats become personalized.  We hope that you’ll join in the fun and that this project brightens your holiday season to come!


As local as we get

To celebrate the 40th annual Putney Craft Tour this weekend, we’ll be offering a very special limited edition yarn.

The wool for this yarn was shorn from rams which had spent the summer grazing on the Putney Mountain summit. For many years Putney Mountain Association volunteers had been trying to control invasive glossy buckthorn by cutting it back, but the buckthorn continued to thrive. If not kept at bay, the buckthorn could grow 20 – 30 feet tall, compromising the beautiful vistas from the Putney Mountain summit, and interfering with the clear views required for the annual hawk watch.

David Ritchie, one of the founders of Green Mountain Spinnery, knew on good authority that grazing animals were being used in public parks and many other situations to control invasive species. Searches on the internet revealed that goats were the preferred animal, and in 2014 goats from The Goat Girls, Amherst, MA, spent part of the summer grazing buckthorn on the summit.
The rest of the summer, sheep from David Major’s flock in Westminster West took on the job, and for each of the following summers his sheep have been on the summit, with a contingent of volunteers making sure someone checks on the sheep daily, providing water and a bit of grain to keep them happy.
We’re happy to report that the buckthorn is well under control.
And we have some spectacular skeins of yarn from these rams’ fiber to share with you.  Profit from sale of this yarn will go to Putney Mountain Association, a conservation organization founded in 1945 with 40 acres, and now conserving over 700 acres of beautiful undeveloped land, open to the public for education and enjoyment.
Our micro batch of Ritchie’s Ram yarn is a bouncy 3-ply aran weight yarn.  The 4 oz. skeins include a generous 230 yards of creamy white undyed wool.  It will knit up beautifully into hard wearing garments, as resilient as the rams themselves.
Spinnery co-founder Claire Wilson has designed a new pattern that calls for 2 skeins of this yarn.  Her Sturdy Boot Socks pattern is our gift to you with the purchase of this yarn.  You’ll also receive a copy of a poem inspired by this flock penned by David (for whom this yarn has been named.)
These skeins are $14.25 each and will be available only at our Mill shop due to their very limited quantity.  You can purchase them in person this weekend while we have special opening hours for the Putney Craft Tour.
Friday, November 23rd: 9 – 5:30, Saturday and Sunday November 24th & 25th: 10 – 5:30
While you’re here, you can enjoy a FREE tour of our production facility and perhaps pick up one of our collection of shop samples that we’re making available for purchase.  That’s right, a brand new garment without the need to work a single stitch yourself!  It’s the perfect time for a visit.
P.S. For those of you who would like to support this worthy cause with the purchase of this yarn but who won’t be able to make it to Vermont this weekend, give us a call at 800-321-9665 and we can ship your skeins to you next week!

Sweater Weather

We’re digging out from our first snow storm of the season which makes this the perfect week to introduce you to our newest sweater pattern: Bea’s Cardigan, designed by Melissa Johnson.  This beautiful sweater pattern is named for one of Melissa’s former students and now dear friend.

© Gale Zucker

This sideways cardigan features geometric patterns inspired by African motifs and Fibonacci sequence stripes on the sleeves.  The sweater is knit in two pieces from sleeve cuff to center of body, then joined at center back with three needle bind off. Sleeve length can be easily adjusted.  A gauge swatch is suggested so that you can make adjustments that will ensure a perfect fit.

Melissa has a knack for creating stunning color work garments using her favorite Spinnery yarn, Mountain Mohair.  The soft halo of the 70/30 fiber blend creates especially comforting fabric; and we love how the feminine fuzziness beautifully balances the crisp and clean geometric designs.

© Gale Zucker

Her pattern includes a size range from approximately 36 (42, 48)” / 91 (106, 121) cm finished chest measurement.  The pattern calls for Mountain Mohair 2 (3, 3) skeins color A, 4 (5, 6) skeins color B, 1 (2, 2) skeins color C, 3 (3, 4) skeins color D. Shown above in (A) Jet Black, (B) Edelweiss, (C) Raven, and (D) Blizzard Mountain Mohair.

The pattern includes a schematic to clarify the unusual construction and charts for all of the color work.  It is perfect for knitters who are still developing their stranded color work skills because each design calls for an easily managed two colors at a time within a row.

And just think of the color combinations that can be created with the myriad colors available in the Mountain Mohair line! You could work soft neutrals as Melissa did with her sample, or you could play with a brighter tonal version working with four shades of blue, green or purple.  The possibilities make our mouth water.

We hope that you take a closer look at Bea’s Cardigan.  It is just what we want to curl up in this week as the snow begins to fly!


Knitworthy hats

Do you enjoy knitting gifts as much as we do?  And what feels more rewarding than being able to work up a hat in just a few hours?

We have a whole collection of great hat patterns to share with you this week.  Our friend Mina (aka Knitting Expat) recently published the New York Hat Collection, and we love each and every one!  This assortment of 7 patterns could provide you with a unique hat for everyone on your holiday list!

© Knitting Expat Designs

Mina has created seven designs named after New York landmarks, locations, and one subway line.  All of the patterns include 6 size options from baby to large adult.  They call for either Aran weight or DK weight yarns, so these beanies will knit up quickly keep your loved ones’ ears cozy warm this holiday season no matter what the weather throws at us.

Mina generously offered to let us have a couple of her samples and so we have her Union Square Hat (on the left) and Q Train Hat (on the right) here in the mill shop.  As you can see, it’s the details that make these patterns so much fun.  Each design features a different stitch pattern that pops with crisp detail.

All of these patterns have been knit up with Spinnery yarns!  Her Q Train, The Avenues and Central Park patterns all call for our Weekend Wool.  Union Square, Times Square, Yorkville and Grand Central each call for Spinnery Mewesic.  Our palette of tweedy yarn colors will make these projects as fun for you to knit as they will be to wear.

The New York Collection patterns are available as an e-book which will give you a 40% discount over purchasing the patterns individually.  If you start now, you could make a hat a week and get them all knit up before New Years!


Encore

We have one last fiber festival scheduled this season. This weekend, Maureen and Kate are in Asheville, North Carolina for SAFF.  The Green Mountain Spinnery booth is in an exciting new location; you’ll be able to find our beautiful yarns in booth 326-328.

We hope that if you’re in the area, you’ll stop on by and see all that we’ve been working on this season.  In addition to our entire collection of yarn and patterns, we have 10 shades of our new DK weight Ragg-Time yarn to show you.  And to support this new yarn we’ve developed a half dozen patterns that call for this fun variegated 2-ply yarn.

Just this week, we’ve released a new design of Larisa Demos’: her Knotweed Wrap.  This beautiful textured wrap calls for three skeins of our DK weight Ragg-Time.

Shown here, it’s knit up with our Joplin colorway.  As you can see, the colors shift through three tones of beautiful green that is plied with a contrasting dark chocolate brown to create a new take on a traditional ragg yarn.  The changes in tone can jazz up your knitting, keeping you engaged while you progress.

This lovely textured stitch is created with a quickly memorized sequence of four rows that you’ll find start to accumulate as quickly as Japanese Knotweed is able to grow!

We hope that you’ll visit our booth at SAFF, swing by our Mill in Vermont, or check out this pattern on our website.  It could be the perfect pattern to inspire you to cast on with our new Ragg-Time yarn, bringing some welcome improvisation to this season’s knitting.


A noteworthy collection

We’ve been abuzz at the Mill ever since Kirsten Hipsky’s new Arboreal Collection was released.  Her new ebook includes 5 new botanically inspired knits that will knock your socks off!

All five patterns call for Spinnery yarns, and we think that you’re going to be smitten with more than one.  From the bottom to the top of the stack of delicious knits featured above, let’s look at each design a bit more closely.

© Emma Welford

Kirsten’s Burr Oak Cardigan is crafted with our DK weight New Mexico Organic yarn.  This shawl collared, double breasted design features a bottom-up raglan design with a generous range of seven sizes from 36″ to 60″.  That gorgeous bark-like cabled texture extends across the back and the tunic length makes it ideal for cooler weather.

© Emma Welford

Next up is the Sassafras Pullover.  This unisex pullover has an all-over chevron texture that appeals to all of us here at the Spinnery.

This sweater is constructed flat from the bottom front hem, up and over the shoulders and down the back.  This ensures that the stitch pattern never skips a beat.  The side seams provide the perfect amount of structure and the hearty yarn it’s knit with will make this sweater an heirloom to keep!

The pattern calls of our worsted weight Maine or Vermont Organic yarns that are finished at a generous 250 yards per skein.  The sizes range from a 36″ chest to a 60″ chest so you may find that you want to size up for layering under this handsome sweater.

© Emma Welford

Kirsten’s Birch Shawl presents a delicate contrast.  It is also created with our New Mexico Organic yarn, shown here in the creamy white.  This triangular shawl features a lacy texture that mimics birch bark; which is created with an easily memorized repetition of dropped stitches.  One of our favorite aspects of this design is that the shawl is reversible.  No matter how you wrap up in it, you’ll look picture perfect!

© Emma Welford

The last two patterns in this collection call for single skeins of our fingering weight yarns for lightweight accessories that will be a pleasure to wear.

Her Ash Cowl features a more complex pattern of twisting cables that are presented in crisp detail thanks to the Forest yarn’s blend of fine wool and TENCEL that provides a luminous stitch definition we love.  Her finished cowl blocks out at approximately 36” around and 9” wide and will easily fit under your winter coat.

© Emma Welford

Last but certainly not least, is Kirsten’s Dogwood Cowl, created with Spinnery Lana.  This design has a larger circumference and a bit less depth (approximately 80” around and 5” tall) for more styling versatility.

Arranged in a soft, quilted diamond formation, the eyelets in this cowl are formed in an unusual and educational way. Instead of the expected yarn overs, you knit the strand that runs between your needles. This creates a slightly smaller and tidier eyelet that is easier to work on circular needles than a yarn over, since there are no loops of yarn to drag around the cable. It’s also the professional trick for fixing any missing yarn overs in traditional lace patterns— just knit into the strand running between the needles!”

We adore learning new tricks while making such wearable garments.  It’s a pleasure for both process knitters AND product knitters.

We hope that you take a closer look at Kirsten Hipsky’s Arboreal collection on Ravelry.  And be sure to join in on our Instagram contest this week for your chance to win a FREE copy of the entire collection!


Stop on by

October is an ideal time to visit Vermont.  The days are (mostly) crisp and bright and the fall colors are starting to pop around Putney!  Scuffing through drifts of brilliant leaves is a pleasure straight from childhood to enjoy.

In celebration of this season of color, and to offer our visitors something very special, Melissa recently dropped off some hand painted skeins that we have available for purchase only in our Mill Shop.

These skeins are one of a kind and in such limited quantities that we aren’t able to make them available through our website.  The only way to purchase one (or more) of these beauties is to visit us in person, or give us a call to ensure that your favorite is set aside or shipped on its way to you without delay!

Shown above is a selection of Meadow skeins.  This fingering weight 2 -ply yarn is composed of a 50/50 fine wool and kid mohair blend for strength, shine, and delightful softness.  Each 3.5 oz. skein includes 400 yards, giving you enough for a pair of socks, a lightweight hat or a small shawlette.

Melissa also worked her artistry on several skeins of Forest yarn.  This 70/30 blend of fine wool and TENCEL has an eye catching luster that will make every stitch look its best.  Maureen’s Jenness Pebble Socks will knit up beautifully with one of these skeins.

And for those of you who might prefer to work on a project with more substance (and fewer stitches), Melissa also dyed a handful of our new Nor’easter yarn. One of these skeins will knit up quickly into the Whitinsville Hat.

We hope that these pretties may induce you to come and visit.  If you can time your visit to arrive between 10 am and 2 pm Monday – Friday we should be able to offer you a tour of our production floor. This is often a highlight for family members young and old who are eager to see how things are made.

We’d love for you to plan a day to relish the season, pick some local apples, and find some beautiful yarn here at the Spinnery for your winter’s knits!


More choice

We’ve been able to make a new batch of Yarn Over with the remnants of some of the fun new yarns we’ve produced this summer.  We’d like to introduce you to Frost (shown on the right).

This new shade brings our selection of Yarn Over to a generous four colorways, giving you more choice than ever for some beautiful bulky weight knits this winter.  It is a perfect choice to work up a classic version of Cap Sease’s new John’s Sweater.

Cap had a favorite sweater of her father’s in mind as she designed this pullover, so it has timeless appeal that you’ll love as much as we do.

While she did craft this with guys in mind, we couldn’t help but notice that a sweater this cozy is a perfect choice for him or her, making John’s sweater a perfect “boyfriend sweater” that may remain in your closet!

Knitting it up at a generous size can allow you to layer underneath; and will give you a garment that will be useful for many members of your family.  Perhaps a schedule of who gets to wear it when will need to be posted on the fridge?

Cap’s pattern includes sizes 37 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56)”/ 93 (101, 111, 121, 132, 142)cm, ensuring that you’ll find a perfect fit for almost anybody.

You may also want to consider the Beekeeper’s Smock.  This beloved pattern was released a couple of years ago and also calls for Yarn Over.  It features a cropped oversized shape, honeycomb cabling at the cuffs and cowl, pop color pockets and an unusual construction that you will enjoy!

We’ve also used it to knit up Jane Richmond’s Betsy (the top right hat was knit with Fog) this summer.  You can read more about our experiment here.

No matter what pattern you choose, at about 3.5 stitches per inch, our Yarn Over knits up in no time!  And we know that finishing a project feels almost as good as starting one 🙂

 


A local treat

We’re excited to launch a limited edition yarn this week that features fiber sourced from nearby New England flocks!  Our new undyed  4-Ply Nor’ Easter is our version of a farm yarn similar to the beautiful skeins we create for growers around the country.

These skeins combine fine and medium wool of various shades. And the 4 plies blend these into a sometimes subtle and sometimes striking variegation that reflects the snowy white and misty greys of the our landscape in winter.

This variegated yarn 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.  The beautifully balanced twist of this yarn’s four plies ensures a sturdy construction that will retain crisp stitch definition to make your knitwear last for generations.

We spun up a very limited quantity of this delicious yarn, so you’ll want to grab what you can from the 100 or so skeins we have available.  We do hope to make another batch of this yarn in the future, but due to the small sizes of typical New England flocks, we expect that every batch we make of this yarn will include a slightly different fiber content.  So act fast!

And to ensure that you have a pattern in mind for these skeins, we have a new pattern from Larisa Demos to share with you!  Her Whitinsville Hat calls for a single skein of our 4-ply Nor’easter.

Whitinsville, MA was founded in 1835 by Paul Whitin and his sons. Their mill became one of the largest textile machinery companies in the world and operated for over 135 years. Both our spinning frame and plying machine proudly display the Whitin stamp; and they wind our spun fibers around wooden bobbins in a twisting pattern that is reminiscent of the spiraling ribs of this beanie.

Knitting this hat with our yarns made from New England sourced fibers can connect you directly to this rich history of fiber manufacturing that is still a part of life here in Vermont.  And what better way to celebrate the beginning of Fall?

 


Another winner from Thea!

We are not alone in our admiration for Thea Colman’s newest pattern!  A quick search of this week’s most popular patterns in Raverly will bring her Fernet Branca to the top of your screen.  And a quick glance at her photos will show you why.  Everything about this sweater says, “knit me!”

© Thea Colman

This cozy oversize shape is very popular right now and perfect as a layering piece.  As Thea mentions in her pattern notes, “I keep coming back to this flattering, wearable shape. It’s fun to knit, easy to seam, and I just love wearing these comfy, loose pullovers with a shirt tail peeking out beneath the hem.”

Thea’s pattern includes a generous range of sizing options from 38.5 to 58.25 inches (97.75 – 148 cm)  based on sweater circumference around body at bust.  She recommends choosing a size that will provide between 5-6”/12.75-15.75 cm of positive ease for the fit as shown.

Fernet Branca features a simple textured block motif, bookended by bold ribs and cables on either side of the body. Thea’s favorite part of this design might just be how those panels meet under the arms.

© Thea Colman

She adds, “on the back of the sweater, I added a central spine and changed the cable panels just a bit to keep things interesting. Then I designed the neckline so the sweater can be worn with either side facing front, so feel free to flip it depending on your mood! It’s reversible!”  Pure genius.

We’re delighted to share with you that her pattern is designed with Green Mountain Spinnery Weekend Wool.  Our lofty 2 ply 100% wool yarn is a great choice to make these complimentary textures really stand out in crisp detail.

Thea confides, “I’ve been waiting impatiently to work in Green Mt Spinnery’s Weekend Wool for a while now, and it did not disappoint. The color, the stitch definition, and the soft, round fiber are spot on. When I first swatched these motifs in the Pine Warbler, my heart kind of skipped a beat — and I didn’t put the needles back down until it was done.

And to make this project even more tempting we are offering 15% off your purchase of Weekend Wool on our website through the end of the month.  Use coupon code Frenet at checkout for some terrific savings!

We’re confident that you’ll enjoy working this sweater up.  Thea’s patterns are always beautifully crafted; as can be seen in thoughtful way in which her ribbed hem transitions into those delicious cables.  This trademark element of Thea’s cabled patterns is just one of the myriad ways in which where no small detail is left to chance.

To top it off, she has added a few notes to the pattern about modifications for your own body, and there will be thread in her BabyCocktails group for knitting along or any questions that come up!

And if one of your questions about this design is it’s name, then we encourage you to browse her blog where she’s provided an explanation of the name as well as some delicious cocktail recipes that you may want to try.

Enjoy!