Spinnery News

Breaking news: a new yarn!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A perfect early spring shawlette

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

© Nash Island Wool

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

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

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

© Nash Island Wool

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

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

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

Our newest darling

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

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

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

© Catskill Merino

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

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

© Thea Colman

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

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

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

5 new patterns for you to play with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking ahead

The arrival of seed catalogs has the gardeners among us enjoying visions of summer produce as snow drifts start to deepen this time of year.  For us crafters, knitting publications offer much the same respite.  Leafing through pages of possible projects can start us dreaming of next season and garments we’d like to have ready by then.

Carrie Bostick Hoge’s newest collection Madder Anthology 3: Seaside was introduced on Raverly this week and we can’t wait for our copies to arrive in March.

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

“The third and final book of the Anthology series, Seaside, by Carrie Bostick Hoge, includes 16 knit patterns: 11 sweaters and 5 accessories. Seaside is a dreamy collection of knitwear photographed on the incredible coast of Maine. For this third collection, Carrie set out to complement the first two books by including a bit of texture, cables, and colorwork while staying true to Madder’s signature wearable style.”

Her designs are simple and elegant, feminine and yet practical in their wearability.  These are the kinds of garments that we can easily imagine wearing on a seaside holiday or to the local market.  And the photography of this collection will have you happily dreaming of warm ocean breezes and walks in the heather.

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

We have to confess a preference for her Winter Escape Pullover.  In part because of the name, but also because it was designed with Spinnery Cotton Comfort!

This delicate v-neck embodies an artful balance of rugged and refined.  The lace work that encircles the neckline and adorns the front is balanced by garter stitch hem and cuffs.  The rustic tweediness of the yarn creates visual interest among the stockinette stitches for a soft texture that mimics the weathered shoreline of Maine, evoking memories or dreams of a visit worth taking.

The print version of Madder Anthology 3 is also available for preorder ONLY at makingzine.com as part of a print book & ebook combo. If you order this combo through the Making site, the ebook will be sent to you right away and the print book will begin shipping in March 2019.  So for those among us that are digitally inclined, you could get cast on without delay!

You’ll find that our collection of Cotton Comfort has a hue for everyone, with two dozen shades to choose from.  We hope that this little preview of Spring fuels your dreams of warmer days to come.

Extending the deadline

The holiday season can be hectic with all there is to manage.  We know how hard it can be to keep track of every detail when they start to accumulate like snow drifts.  So we’re extending our registration deadline for our 2019 Mystery Project Club registration through the end of the month.

And to help you better understand what kinds of projects you could expect to work on, we thought we’d share a peek at the patterns that were a part of our 2018 Club.  These patterns were designed to use a Green Mountain Spinnery yarn along with a custom spun yarn that we produced here at our Mill.  Throughout this past year, our club members received information about these four fiber producers and their flocks along with their project.

In February last year, we shared Cap Sease’s Polar Teddy with our club members.  This darling little stuffie was created with downy soft Catskill Merino yarn and filled with our carded fleece.

In late April, we sent Larisa Demos’ Cirone Shawl, named after Jenny Cirone who was the original shepherd of a flock that still thrives on Nash Island off the coast of Maine.  This little crescent shawl pairs Nash Island Tide yarn with Spinnery Alpaca Elegance.

In July our members received a package that included all the materials they needed to make Kate Salomon’s Lopez Island Cap.  This double layer lace beanie incorporates an unusual construction that pairs Spinnery Meadow as a soft inner layer and Island Fibers’ Rustic Sport yarn as a hearty lace outside.

Finally, in October we sent out the news about Maureen Clark’s Swedish Mittens which pairs our Weekend Wool with Meadowood Farms’ 2-Ply Lamb’s Wool.  This traditional stranded mitten pattern arrived in time for holiday gifting and may have ended up under a number of Christmas trees.

These patterns will be made available to the public later this month, so you’ll be able to find them here on our website and on Ravelry for individual purchase.

The patterns we’ve designed for our 2019 Club members will be similar in nature to these designs.  They will be small accessory patterns that involve 2-3 skeins of yarn.  And this year, we’ve partnered with several of the independent dyers we spin for and our 2019 projects will include hand-painted skeins in custom made hues exclusively available to our club members!

More information, and our registration form for the 2019 Mystery Club can be found here.   If you’d like to purchase membership as a gift for a friend, or would like to receive these packages overseas, give us a call at 800-321-9665 and we can gather all of the details over the phone.

We hope that a few extra weeks will make it easier for you to get signed up, so that you won’t have to suffer from the fear of missing out as our first packages begin to arrive later this winter.

Save the Date!

Happy New Year!  We’re very happy to announce that we’ll be part of the fun of the 2nd annual Boston Farm & Fiber Festival.  Mark your calendars for Febraury 10th 2019!

This very special one day event brings some of our favorite fiber producers together in one convenient spot in downtown Boston.  You’ll find locally sourced skeins of all kinds (many of which were spun at the Spinnery).  And this year, we’ll be participating as vendors and share a new bulky weight limited edition yarn that we’ve spun up just for the occasion.  It incorporates 100% New England sourced wool and was spun here at our VT mill; Super duper local!

This yarn is a 100% wool put up in 4 oz. skeins of approximately 112 yds each.  It can be used for all of our patterns that call for our Capricorn yarn.  A couple of our favorites, the Capricorn Caps  and the Steps & Ladders Hat can create 2 adult hats with 2 contrasting skeins.

We’ll be using the intervening weeks to hand paint a few dozen of these variegated skeins in lush irresistible colors for the event.  We hope that you’ll be free to come enjoy the day with us.  We’ve updated our 2019 calendar so that you’ll be able to mark yours with all of the wooly gatherings we have planned for the year.

Just around the corner

In just over a week, our January Sale will begin!

Soon to arrive in your mailboxes (email or actual) will be our annual Sales Flyer!  From Monday January 7th to Friday February 8th, 2019 we’ll have special discounts available on some of our most popular yarns!

You can find a copy of our flyer here.  You may want to plan your purchases by reviewing your pattern options and making sure that you’ll have the yardage you need!

For those of you shopping online, be sure to shop among the SALE ITEMS, to ensure proper savings. (Those listings won’t be visible on our website until our sale begins on January 8th).  You’ll find small quantities of additional yarns and colors among the yarns featured there.

Come join us

We are excited to announce that Julia Farwell-Clay will be the featured instructor for the Spinnery’s 2019 Sugar Season Knitting Retreat.

Julia brings to her knitting students an abundance of knitting experience and a boundless enthusiasm for the craft. Her distinctive patterns can be recognized by their graphic interest and a modern twist on traditional color techniques.

She will share with us her current passion for intarsia colorwork, refreshing this classic technique through fresh applications.  We’ll begin with an intarsia introduction, then we’ll learn more about her eddy shells (shown in the cowl above). On Sunday, we’ll conclude by working on a beautifully simple and graphic mitten in the round, practicing various stranding options and possible embellishments.

Your registration fee of $375 per person includes three meals (Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and dinner) and nine hours of instruction on March 15th – 17th, 2019.

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 $125.00 per night. Please contact the Hamp­ton Inn to make your reservation using the code “Spinnery”.  These rooms are limited so register early!

 This is a retreat in the truest sense: a weekend away, moments of peace and quiet, a chance to visit Vermont with your needles and yarn and knit with like-minded crafters who are equally excited about learning new tips and techniques from one of our favorite designers.

Space is limited, so you’ll want to register as soon as possible, before our spaces fill.  You can find our registration form here.

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!