Holiday Stitch Exchange: Pressed Seam Fabric Club!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on December 11, 2014 0 Comments

Hello everyone!

I'm excited to announce that our fabric club, Pressed Seam, is open for sign-ups today! As a member you will receive 6 fat quarters each month, shipped on the 1st of the month! Memberships are available in 3 and 6 month subscriptions, and this month, as part of our Holiday Stitch Exchange blog series, we have a special offer: ALL new subscribers will receive a free gift with their first shipment!

This club is a great way to build your fabric stash with great prints and blenders, as well as specialty textiles, unique hand-dyed fabric, and hand-printed fabric that you might not have picked for yourself!

In anticipation of sign-ups being open I worked up this little quilt. All the fabrics I used have been part of shipments in the last 6 months, and to complete the quilt top the minty green solid is the only fabric where I used more than a fat quarter. I wanted to illustrate how this club is a great way to have a library of materials you can draw from to make a last minute project or gift, without a trip to the store. 

I'm a big fan of having a stash of supplies to pull from. I'm sure it comes mostly from growing up 50 miles from the nearest fabric store! But I love being able to wake up, brainstorm my project and start on it straightaway. I also like having pieces in my collection that I didn't actually pick out for myself but got from a friend, family member or other trusted source. I keep a large collection of fabrics I inherited from my grandmother and I pull from it often. Sometimes I end up using something I would never have picked out at the store for myself, and it ends up being my favorite element in the project.

I encourage people to sign up for Pressed Seam for the fun of getting the package every month as well as the adventure of having materials you may not otherwise have thought of using! Here is one more look at my little lap quilt and some basic directions if you want to sew one up for yourself! 

Finished quilt:

33" x 40"

Materials:

4 coordinated fat quarters

1 yard of contrast for background 

1 yard of fabric for back

1/2 yard of fabric for binding

Directions:

Sew all seams with 1/4" seam allowance.

1. Cut 6x 4.5" inch squares from each of your 4 fat quarters.

2. Cut 24x 4.5" squares from the contrast fabric

3. Sew each of your fat quarter squares to a contrasting square, resulting in 12 half-square-triangels from each of your fat quarter fabrics (48 half-square-triangles total). Click here for 2 different techniques to make half-square-triangles.

4. Play with laying the squares out and establishing a graphic pattern that you like, and sew it up!

5. Add a 5.5" border out of contrasting fabric all the way around. 

6. For quilt back use one solid piece, or piece together scraps from fat quarters.

7. Bind the quilt, and you're done!

Happy sewing!

Tasa

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Holiday Stitch Exchange: New Clover Pattern from Huelo!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on December 11, 2014 0 Comments

We are super excited that our old friend and coworker, Huelo, is continuing her design work and has a brand new pattern out using our yarn Clover! It's a cute hooded cowl, worked in stockinette and garter stitch and shaped with short rows.

We love her design and can't wait to knit it ourselves. It's available to purchase on Ravelry today, and there's lots of wonderful Clover in stock at the shop and online to knit it out of. Without further ado, here's Huelo to tell you about her life in Bulgaria and her new pattern, Chervena.

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Hi there Verb friends! It’s me, Huelo, of Verb circa 2013. I’ve been following Kristine’s yarn-making and dyeing adventures from afar, and I’m so excited to introduce a new design using her beautiful Montana Targhee wool/silk blend, Clover.

It’s been almost a year since my boy and I packed his Camry full of all of our stuff and left California, Bulgaria-bound (well, Portland-bound at first. We couldn’t drive the Camry to Bulgaria). We’ve been living in a lovely little block apartment in the country’s capital, Sofia, for almost nine months.

A couple things have happened since we got here. We got married and became full-time freelance creative-types, Lorenzo blogging about our wacky lives here, and me mostly just knitting. I miss the sunshine, the creative and energetic people, and the taco trucks of Oakland. But in exchange, I have wonderful new friends, plenty of time for knitting and writing, and gorgeous post-Soviet decay all around me as constant inspiration (not for long, sadly; Bulgaria is embracing capitalism as fast as she can, and Sofia is leading the charge).

Amidst the concrete, the shiny metal dumpsters, and the leafy playgrounds ringed with benches, the color red defines Bulgaria’s aesthetic, to me. Salads are usually more red than green here, loaded with tomatoes and sweet peppers. In traditional folk costumes, embroidery and textiles, red is the constant, defining color. The political associations of the color are recent and superficial, against red’s long associations with life, strength and fertility.

In September I took a trip to Chiprovtsi, a small town in the Balkan Mountains famous for handwoven carpets. Yulka, one of the town’s few remaining master weavers, explained to me the color red’s significance in Chiprovtsi textiles. The rugs’ traditionals symbols and motifs often represent family, birth, and womanhood, and are often depicted in dark red wool. Yulka unfolded one of her largest, reddest rugs and told me that one hundred years ago, this would’ve been a rug “only for rich people.” Red was important not just because it’s beautiful, but because it’s dear. Before synthetic dyes, the richest reds came from snail shells, Yulka told me, and a room-sized red carpet required the sacrifice of thousands of snails.

It’s a little bit magical to me that today, with some madder root extract and Kristine’s natural dye expertise, a rich, bright red can be achieved without chemical dyes, and without all those poor snails. I named this hooded cowl “Chervena,” after the Bulgarian word for red. I plan to wear it all winter, as a reminder that spring is always coming, no matter how cold or dark it gets.

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Thanks for sharing a slice of your life with us, Huelo!

To celebrate the debut of her pattern, Huelo has kindly offered us 20 free copies of the pattern to give away! If you would like to knit Chervena, come into our brick and mortar store or shop online and receive a free copy when you buy 2 skeins of Clover to knit it! If you're shopping online, please mention "Chervena" in the comments section and we'll include a copy with your order.

I hope you'll cast on with me!

-- Sarah

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Holiday Stitch Exchange: Make a Needle Felted Ornament

Posted by Kristine Vejar on December 08, 2014 1 Comment

Materials Needed:

  • Foam block
  • Heavy Gauge Felting Needle
  • 1 oz of Light Brown/golden Wool, merino and corriedale are best
  • .25 oz of Red Wool
  • .25 oz of White Wool
  • Gingerbread Cookie Cutter
  • 6" Piece of Red Yarn
  • Tapestry Needle

Felting Directions:

Place your foam block flat on a sturdy surface

Take your gingerbread cookie cutter and place it in the middle of your foam block

Use your golden colored wool - open it up and tear off 2" x 1/2" chunks

Lay the pulled fiber inside the cookie cutter, creating a solid layer of wool.

Using your felting needle slowly push in the golden wool, making sure to press down the cookie cutter against the foam, carefully keeping the wool within the cookie cutter shape.

Keep your fingers away from the needle point and continue slowly punching the needle over the wool

Once the wool has become felted, you can add more wool, until the felted gingerbread reaches a felted piece of 1/2" thick

Once all the wool has been firmly attached to itself, lift the cookie cutter, then lift you gingerbread from the foam

The wool will likely be slightly attached to the foam, carefully lift peeling from each corner to keep the shape

Flip the gingerbread on the foam and place the cookie cutter back - lining up the gingerbread outline

Slowly punch your needle into the gingerbread shape, felting the fibers

The density of the gingerbread should be firm but still squishy

Remove cookie cutter and gently peel the gingerbread from the foam block

Pull a few more wisps of golden fiber and gently lay them over the gingerbread, wrapping them around

Place gingerbread over foam, keeping your fingers out of the way

Lightly punch the wisps, creating a uniform layer of wool - this will cover any needle holes, continue on all sides

To make the gingerbread's buttons, use a very tiny amount of red wool

Take a tiny piece of wool and roll it into a ball with your hands

Place the ball on the foam and gently punch it - this should make a small red, flat felt button

Once finished with the button - place it on top of the gingerbread and slowly punch the outer edges

You can test the attachment of the button by slowly trying to lift the button - it should stay put

Repeat this process for the other red button and white eyes

To make a smiling mouth - use a small amount of white fiber and make a tiny roll 1/2" long

Place it over the gingerbread and again punch very slowly attaching it in a thin mouth shape

Thread your tapestry needle with the red yarn and pull through the top of the gingerbread

Tie the two ends together and hang on tree branch

Congratulations! You have just needle felted a happy little gingerbread ornament 

Need more help?

Join Us!

Holiday Knitting & Needle Felting Party - Sunday, December 21st

Come celebrate the holidays Verb style - by knitting gifts, needle felting, eating cookies, and sipping tea!

Spend the afternoon in our studio, working on your holiday knitting or needle-felting cute ornaments! Everyone is welcome -- feel free to bring a friend and a snack to share!

Need a little help with your knitting? Stop by and get a little help with your project. New to needle-felting? Learn the basics and start on a cute animal ornament!

We have all the supplies you need available for purchase in the shop.

Bring your favorite cookie cutter or use ours! Hands on help is available!

Date: Sunday, December 21st
Time: 1:00-5:00pm

This event is free! No RSVP needed. Seats are limited and are first come first served.

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Adrienne

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Holiday Stitch Exchange: Top 10 Sewing Gifts

Posted by AVFKW Staff on November 29, 2014 0 Comments

Hi everyone, it's that giving season again! 

I hope you are enjoying our holiday gift blog series! It's been really fun to see what others are recommending and to come up with a list myself. I love giving gifts, both fully made gifts and gifts that are the foundation for further creativity. My list is a combination of things I would be thrilled to receive and things that I plan to give (or have already given!) to loved ones this season!

First on my list are books! Sewtionary by Tasis Germaine of Sewaholic is a brand new book that has been very popular at the shop and online. As the title implies, it's a dictionary-style guide with clearly written and well-illustrated directions to construction and finishing techniques. It's a wonderful resource for the beginning or advanced sewist. I am much more of an apparel sewist, but Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe is inspirational book even if you aren't a quilter. The quilts this book focuses on are not the classic patterns we usually see in quilt history books. They are one-of-a-kind quilts that were created with the materials on hand. The artists who created the quilts in this book did not make 14 trips to the fabric store to find just the right shade of purple! They used what they had, and that gives each quilt a unique voice and inspires me as a maker.

I have to include Selvedge Magazine on my book list as each issue of Selvedge is really more like a book than a magazine. It is filled with photo layouts, interviews and articles about artists who are doing groundbreaking work in the textile arts. It's a wonderful gift for fabric or pattern designers, interior designers, fine artists and anyone interested in aesthetics. It's my go-to hostess gift!

Next up, fabric and patterns. Our naturally dyed, organic cotton Khadi is one of my favorite fabrics. Taking into account that giving fabric is a little like giving a piece of visual art (always chancy!), I really think you can't miss with this one. It's perfect for garments, home accents (pillows, napkins, wrapping cloths) or quilting. I would suggest a variety of 1/2 yard cuts as a gift for a quilter, or one cut of 2-3 yards for a garment maker. Since we're heading into winter, you might be looking for something a little warmer! Fall and winter is a great time to be sewing with wool fabric. We have some lovely wool apparel fabric in the store right now, so appropriate for a winter gift either sewn up into something or right off the bolt! The washable Pendleton shirt weight plaids are great for light jackets and skirts, as well a shirts. Finally, our Uptown Top pattern is my personal favorite of our patterns (so far!) due to its comfort and versatility. You can sew it up out of a woven or check out some alternative ideas here and here

 

Last but not least, we come to sewing notions. All the Merchant and Mills notions and tools are great. Two of my personal favorites are the Entomology Pins and the Wide Bow Scissors. I love sewing tools that are both aesthetically pleasing and good at the job they are intended for. These pins make me happy whenever I use them! They are long and slender, so they are great for delicate apparel fabrics and are very precise. Like the pins, the scissors are highly functional and delightful to use. They are the perfect pair of snips to keep right by your machine or in your hand sewing kit. As a bonus all the Merchant and Mills tools and notions come in beautiful packaging, they just need a little ribbon and they are ready to be slipped under the tree or into a stocking! 

Another great stocking stuffer is our organic cotton thread. It comes in black and white and is just right for the sewist who is 100% committed to sewing 100% organic! The final item on my list is our Sashiko Sewing Kit, which contains all the supplies needed to start practicing this Japanese art of functional embroidery. This is a nice gift for someone who is just getting into hand sewing and mending. It's also a great way to start kids out on sewing! 

Here's a recap-

Tasa's Top 10 Sewing Gifts:

1. Sewtionary by Tasis Germaine of Sewaholic

2. Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe

3. Selvedge Magazine

4. Verb's Khadi fabric (enter coupon code: topsewinggifts)

5. Wool fabric

6. Verb's Uptown Top (enter coupon code: topsewinggifts1)

7. Merchant and Mills Entomology Pins

8. Merchant and Mills Wide Bow Scissors

9. Organic cotton thread

10. Verb's Sashiko Sewing Kit: Sashiko needles, sashiko thread, linen fat quarter

Today only, all of the above listed gifts are 15% off.

To purchase these gifts, and receive the discount either stop by the shop today (open 11-6pm), call (510-595-verb), or email (info@averbforkeepingwarm). We are happy to ship!

Happy holidays and happy sewing!

Tasa

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Holiday Stitch Exchange: Tasa's Sister Cowl

Posted by AVFKW Staff on December 04, 2014 0 Comments

Today's post is about a little cowl I made for my sister for the upcoming holidays! (Hopefully she's not reading this post.) Where she lives, the winters are much colder than the ones we enjoy here in the Bay Area. So when I make things for her I try to take that into account and make something that is beautiful, fashionable, and practical. This cowl is made from one skein of Shibui Silk Cloud and one skein of Shibui Maai, held together, and I'm looking forward to giving it to her.

Maai is Shibui's new chainette yarn, and I am in love with the feel and texture of it. I recently learned that Shibui yarns are designed to be knit together into different fabrics, so it's no wonder that the Maai and the Silk Cloud compliment each other so well. The tiny strand of silk and mohair in Silk Cloud creates a beautiful halo around the springy chainette without weighing it down or overpowering it.  

THE SISTER COWL

Finished Measurements:
23" circumference

Yarn:
Shibui Silk Cloud (60% mohair, 40% silk; 330 yds / 25 g) Ash or color of your choice, 1 skein
Shibui Maai (70% baby alpaca and 30% fine merino; 175 yds / 50 g) Ash or color of your choice, 1 skein

Needle:
One US 6 (4mm) 16" circular needle

Gauge:
24 stitches & 34 rows / 4" square in 2x2 rib pattern

Notions:
Stitch marker, tapestry needle

Abbreviations:
K - knit
P - purl 

Directions 

Holding yarns together, cast on 132 st in tubular cast on. I used Ysolda's tutorial here to learn this new-to-me cast on. 

Join to work in round, being careful not to twist. Place marker.

Beginning ribbing section:

Round 1: [K2, P2] to end.

Repeat Round 1 for 14 more rounds (15 rounds total). 

Middle ribbing pattern:

*Round 2: [P2, K2] to end.

Repeat Round 2 for 2 more rounds (3 rounds total).

Round 3: [K2, P2] to end.

Repeat Round 3 for 9 more rounds (10 rounds total).

Repeat from * 2 more times.

Round 4: [P2, K2] to end.

Repeat Round 4 for 2 more rounds (3 rounds total).

Ending ribbing section:

Round 5: [K2, P2] to end.

Repeat Round 5 for 14 more rounds (15 rounds total). 

Bind off using an i-cord bind-off.

Today only -- receive 15% off the supplies to make The Sister Cowl! You can stop by the shop today (open 11-6pm), call (510-595-verb), or email (info@averbforkeepingwarm). We are happy to ship! 

Happy knitting!

Tasa

 

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