Today's post was written by the delightful Fiona Ellis, who this lucky bloglady had the opportunity to have coffee with recently! She rules. Plus her designs are awesome. See evidence here, here, and here (for starters). Her post is about a company that supports Twist big time. We heart their yarns too, and use them frequently (for example in Burrard, Cithara, Timpani, Mystere, Linden, Crane Creek, Fortune Bay, Sheepcote and Lanata)!
Can you believe that Twist will be turning 5 this summer? And one of the companies who have supported them since the very first issue is Green Mountain Spinnery.
Working as a knitwear design you tend to build links to the yarn companies whose products you use, some of these links become very strong and can develop into personal connections as well as business ones. But one of the unexpected connections that working for Twist Collective has provided is a shared experience between fellow designers and the GMS yarn company.
GMS organize a knitter’s retreat twice a year and in 2011 I was thrilled to be invited to teach at the Fall retreat. I had a wonderful time and it was really fabulous to be able to get to know the people who run the business - it’s a co-operative. Since then, whenever we have chance, we get together at knitting events over dinner or a beer to catch up. In January hanging out at Vogue Knitting Live in New York I discovered that several of the designers whose work is featured in Twist have taught at the retreats. We form a kind of alumni group. So I thought it might be fun to see what memories each of us have of the GMS retreats.
First I asked Kate Gilbert, the creative force behind Twist, when she taught at GMS - she has been there twice.
She said she remembers how delicious the food was, and how lovely the knitters were. Her memories were great ones, although it rained both times she was there. Kate’s daughter was quite little so both her mom and dad came along too to help out with child-care. The event certainly does have a family feel about it. She also said that touring the spinnery was awesome. Kate's snuggly Halliard is made with GMS yarn; here she is wearing it!
Gudrun Johnston taught at the Spring retreat she had this to say: “My first interactions with the lovely folks at Green Mountain Spinnery took place a few years ago when they invited me to be their guest teacher at their
annual Sugar Retreat. I hadn't really done any teaching at this point, let alone be the featured teacher so I was more than honored to be asked, and I'll admit a little scared too! However the whole experience was above and beyond my expectations. They are such a down to earth and friendly bunch, great to work and play with!”
Gudrun has designed many lovely Twist patterns- here she is wearing one of them.
It seems Mary Jane Muckelstone is another big fan of GMS.
This was her response when I asked her about them: “I've been a fan of Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns since I moved to Maine and started knitting in earnest. Their Mountain Mohair was my heartthrob to-die-for absolute favorite yarn. I love it to this day, so it was a great treat to be invited teach at their annual spring retreat. Held in an antique B&B with fun and relaxation as the main program, knitting as the delivery vehicle. Hostesses with the mostesses Maureen and Eric are there for you for your entire weekend – it is a grand time for all. The group of avid knitters come from all over, guaranteeing an interesting and diverse mix! Don't miss a visit to the mill!!!! And watch out for the door that isn't an exit!”
The year I (Fiona) taught it was the weekend just before Halloween and I was looking forward to a classic New England Fall weekend of maple leaves, dappled sunlight and maybe the smell of wood burning stores. But what we got instead was a huge very early snowstorm, power outages and pioneer spirit. I ended up teaching without electricity on the Sunday but fortunately somebody braved the barely impassable streets to find somewhere that was open and serving coffee.
It was also the weekend that Eric (one of the co-owners) & I came up with “The Human Cable” as a way of demonstrating a 5 stitch cable cross.
That is Margaret in the yellow sweater. Arrangements for a mobile pizza kitchen for dinner on Sat eve was a great idea when you were expecting a traditional fall day…but it began snowing mid afternoon.
I have used GMS yarns for two of the projects that I have created for Twist-- Gwendolyn and Harriet. Here is Eric (from the spinnery) in her cardiagnized version of Harriet.
Alison Will Green taught Math for Knitters, where she goes into the calculations used when designing sweaters and talks about how knitters can alter patterns to fit their bodies or styles better. She also taught a class on Continental Knitting. She said: “The students were great - a very wide range of skill levels but I think I was able to offer something for everyone and we all had a great time. Some had driven quite a long way to get there. Vermont is so beautiful, especially at that time of year, and I really love the Green Mountain Spinnery people. They were so welcoming and helpful.”
Here is a photo of Margaret (one of the co-owners) in her Jaali made with Sylvan Spirit. Alison saw her knitting it, and then wearing it, at Rhinebeck.
Alison closed with this: I do love that company. Hmmm... this makes me want to work with their yarns again...