In the Dye Studio: The Possible

Posted by Kristine Vejar on April 10, 2014 1 Comment

In February, an amazing exhibition opened at the Berkeley Art Museum called The Possible.

I have participated in the exhibition by advising, creating, and collaborating (with Tessa of ogaard) in the creation of an indigo vat - using indigo grown in California by Rebecca Burgess. This vat is made using the traditional Japanese method of composting indigo on a special earthenware floor, creating water from hardwood ash, and combining the composted indigo with this water and allowing it to ferment. There are three vats currently up and running in use. They are huge! 75 gallons each - which makes it possible to dip large pieces of fabric.

As part of the exhibition, Creative Growth, a facility which caters to artists with developmental disabilities to have a space and support in which to create art, held their annual fashion show. Each year the artists spend sometimes up to a year making a garment for the fashion show. I had the opportunity to collaborate with them by using rice paste as a resist to create patterns and textures upon fabric. Then, I dipped the fabric into the indigo vat at the museum. I also dyed washed fleece in the indigo vats. This fleece and fabric turned into a collection of headpieces worn by the models in the fashion show. Both professional models and the designers walked in the fashion show. Pictured above is just one of the many amazing designers featured in the show.

The exhibition is open until the end of May.

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The making of The Endless Summer Tunic Pattern

Posted by AVFKW Staff on April 07, 2014 0 Comments

This past week we released our first sewing pattern, The Endless Summer Tunic. It is currently available on our website as a pdf download. It's a simple and elegant number with a flattering v-neck and optional pockets.

The pattern itself has been rolling about in Kristine's mind, ready to spring forth. However, she knew that it would need to be graded for different sizes and since pattern drafting is not one of Kristine's strong points, she let the idea rest.  Only a couple of months ago she received a cheerful note from a pattern drafter hoping to work with her. Jumping at the opportunity, Kristine told the woman she had many ideas but very little time to execute all of them.

They met and shared these ideas of lines, lengths, and design elements leading Kristine to commit to one pattern with her. They sketched ideas out on paper, made muslins, and tried them on. After deciding on a pattern, Kristine chose fabrics for samples. When the sewn samples came back, Kristine danced with excitement. Her dream had come true and she now had a sewing pattern design she could recommend for the fabrics she carries at the shop. It is our pleasure to announce we have hired that pattern drafter for more projects. Her name is Tasa Gleason and has experience drafting patterns of all types. We look forward to many more patterns that will inspire folks to sew their own clothing.

Of course after the physical pattern has been made it then needs to be made accessible: to be drawn out on paper, sized up, and expressed in words. When this part was finished, it came to my desk to be put into production for print.  Thankfully digital publishing allows the pdf version to be accessible much sooner than the printed one. As I write this I have our local printer creating proofs for me to review. After I see the printed proofs in person, I will then order a specific quantity to be put up for sale.  

Somehow this all happens while Kristine does dye tests and writes for her book, Stitches West flies by, we continue our participation with The Possible at the Berkeley Art Museum, and teach an indigo workshop at the UC Botanical Garden.  Not to mention playing host to visiting teachers, various workshops, and news articles.

I'm not quite sure there was a time when we have ever been this busy. The energy that surrounds the store is lively and dynamic. Every day we work on a multitude of projects behind the scenes (and other times, not-so-behind the scenes) at the shop. It is with a great sense of achievement we release a pattern that is worthy of our hard work. We hope you enjoy it and know that all our work is in thanks to your support.

Thanks!

Adrienne 

 

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Gathering at Stitches West 2014 - A show debrief...

Posted by AVFKW Staff on February 25, 2014 3 Comments


This past week, me, Kristine, and Sarah, packed up a portion of the store into two small vehicles and drove them down to the Santa Clara Convention center for the annual Knitting and Crochet Expo called Stitches West.  We had a heck of time packing the cars but finally late Tuesday night, we were mostly packed.  Too tired to pack anymore, we decided to come back early the next morning and finish up.  However, to Kristine's surprise, she received a request for a photo shoot of her and the store on Wednesday morning for an Oakland Magazine article.  How could she say no?! So I finished packing her car and my wee truck.  

We brought our yarnBrooklyn Tweed, and most of the yarn from Quince & Co. AVFKW is one of the few stores on the West coast to carry both Brooklyn Tweed and Quince & Co., so it was a treat to showcase them for the Stitches West attendees; most whom have only seen the yarn online.  This year we had three booths, the most we have had yet at Stitches West.  One reason for the additional booth, was because we won a free booth for winning the most beautiful booth last year.  We took full advantage of the space and laid it out with our favorite patterns, yarn, two trunk shows, an author signing, and Romi's larger display.  

Cactus Flower by Rosemary (Romi) Hill

This year, like two years prior, we shared the booths with shawl designer, jewelry maker, and author, Rosemary Hill, who owns Designs by Romi.  Romi had all of her patterns, shawls and many beautiful shawl pins on full display and for sale.  To make the occasion even more special we created two shawl kits for the show.  One of the shawl kits was a mystery shawl which included two skeins of AVFKW yarn, an exclusive shawl pin made by Romi, the first clue for the pattern, and a souvenir project bag.  We displayed last year's mystery shawl kit, Cactus Flower, to entice.  The second shawl kit was for a limited edition yarn we called Rumor, a naturally dyed, super soft single, 70% superwash merino and 30% silk with Romi's Fuchsia Nouveau pattern.  And as a treat for those that could not make it to Stitches West, we had a limited number of mystery shawl kits available online; we called it Virtual Stitches.  


Rachael Herron, local author and knitter, held a book signing at our booth. She featured her books Cora's Heart and Eliza's Home and a preview of her new book Pack Up the Moon.  It's was a pleasure to host her and hope to have her in the store for a reading in the future.  We are so happy with her continued success and expect to see more!


One pattern we featured prominently was Huelo Dunn's San Pablo cowl knit in various yarns.  People loved the pattern and had lots of fun choosing colors from, Pioneer, Quince & Co.'s Owl, and Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter.  It's a great pattern that features three yarn colors, and the versatility to be worn more snug by wrapping it twice.  

Photo by Jared Flood - Rook by Kyoko Nakayoshi

Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 6 trunk show, along with the patterns tantalized and inspired new projects made with Shelter and Loft.  We are grateful to have the trunk show also available at the store through the weekend.

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge - Brise Cardigan by Hannah Fettig 

The Quince & Co. Knitbot Linen trunk show hung next to a mirror for many to try on.  The comments we heard were very positive, mentioning the linen's elegant drape and compatibility with California's moderate climate.  We sold out of the Knitbot book, but hope to order more for the store.


Kristine and I set up the booth all day Wednesday and all day Thursday with the help of Jeanne, Sarah and Auban.  Thursday night is the show's preview and we prepped for a lot of people.  Sure enough, Thursday night was very lively, with most of the Mystery Kits snatched up fast.  Friday was another big day, with lots of folks inspired by the CocoKnits sweaters and cardigans out of Pioneer, like the stunning Number 9 pattern. We love CocoKnits designs and were excited to be showcased in her booth. We are lucky enough to have her teach at the shop monthly and carry her Knitter's Blocks.

Saturday and Sunday were steady and we saw a lot of our friends and loyal customers.  We owe a big Thank you to Grace Kang for helping out at the booth, she loves Pioneer and shared her enthusiasm easily. AVFKW staff that helped out at the booth includes, Sarah, Mckenzie, and Chris; without them we could not make this show happen. Amazingly, our Brick and Mortar was kept open regular hours the entire weekend by Vivian, Karen, Chris, and Mckenzie.  The AVFKW team is truly awesome!  On Monday morning, the staff helped us unpack and put the store back together again and assessed inventory at the same time! Wow! They rock!



Another exciting announcement: we have fresh stock of Spincycle and The Plucky Knitter yarn. They both had booths at Stitches West, so if you missed them, stop by the store and check it out.

Last but not least, a huge heartfelt thank you to Michelle, Kristine's mom, who took care of Cleopatra and Calliope while we were away.  She also had dinner waiting for us when we got home! She came all the way from Northern Minnesota to help and we appreciated every minute.

Thanks again to all of our fellow vendors, customers, new customers, and designers for all of your support, we continue to flourish with your support!

Cheers,
Adrienne Rodriguez

 

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Stitches West 2014 - Santa Clara, CA

Posted by Kristine Vejar on February 18, 2014 0 Comments

 

It's that time of the year again!  
The yarn has been dyed and labeled ready to hit the showroom floor.  
This weekend we will have three booths of luxurious items waiting to go home with you.  
We will be in the same location as last year with booth numbers 1034, 1036, 1038.  

Patterns and Samples
Designs by Romi will be showcasing her patterns and a new mystery shawl made with our yarns, Annapurna and Floating.  The mystery shawl pattern, yarn, bag, and shawl pin will be available as kits in limited supply, so come early to get yours!  And for those of you not able to attend, we will have a Virtual Stitches West, where you can buy the kit online!


American Made
This year we have dedicated a portion of our space to American made wool yarn, which includes, Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co. and AVFKW's lovely, locally grown and dyed Pioneer yarn line.

Trunk Shows! 
Brooklyn Tweed Trunk show AND a Quince & Co. Trunk show! Wow! How can you miss that!

Book Signing
Special guest, Rachael Herron, will be signing and selling her new book, Cora's Heart at our booth!
Look for her: Fri 11-4, Sat 11-6, Sun 12-4

See You Soon!
We always have a blast visiting with customers and sharing our new products,
so please make time to say hello, we would love to see you!

Here's a link to buy tickets with a discount: https://www.knittinguniverse.com/W/TIckets

Cheers!

Adrienne Rodriguez

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Guided By A Floating Arrow: A Mystery Knit-A-Long Journey Pt. I

Posted by AVFKW Staff on January 27, 2014 2 Comments

There are spoiler photos below, so scroll with caution!!

Ysolda's Mystery KAL is in full swing and today marks the release of Clue #3.  Follow Your Arrow is the first Mystery KAL that I am taking part in.  I sat with all of our Thursday night Commuknitty members knitting away at their Color Cravings back in September and knew that I was going to take part in the next one.  Starting off the shawl has been such a treat and there are a lot of aspects of choosing yarn as well as knitting with others that have made the process that much more fun!

Yarn

The obvious starting point when considering knitting a pattern is the yarn.  It's a bit harder when the end result is a mystery, but here was what Ysolda was recommending: A. fairly solid colorways, B. fiber content that blocks well, and C. either one or two colors.  I knew that I was going to use Verb yarn, I knew that I wanted it to be luxurious, and that I was going to use one color.  That in itself narrowed down my options!  Ever since beginning to work at Verb I've been thinking a lot about color.  While Kristine leans towards neutrals and blues and Vivian is always wearing bright, popping colors, I remain staunchly in what my roommate calls swamp colors: every shade of green you could imagine as well as a slew of neutrals.  And I'm sure that it will be thoroughly unsurprising when I tell you that one of my favorite Verb colorways is Jade, an amazing green color dyed with fustic and logwood. 

A recently dyed batch of Floating in Jade kept catching my eye on our wall display and I knew that it was going to be the one.  There was regrettably no romantic music or slow motion that accompanied my decision to go with Floating, but it did seem like the perfect match.  Floating's fiber content is 70% Alpaca, 20% Cashmere, and 10% Silk which I knew would be a beautifully drape-y shawl that would block beautifully and be glorious to wear.  Jade, the colorway, has slight variegation that wouldn't obstruct the stitch pattern, there was enough of it dyed up to fill the 680 yard requirement, and it's totally my color.  The decision was made!

Getting Started and Why Community is Important

Not only is picking yarn a different experience when the end result is a mystery, but so is getting started.  With no pictures to base my progress off of, I was going to have no idea if I did something wrong and if I got stuck on the directions there were no pictures to help me figure out what to do next.  And both of those things did, in fact, happen.  Follow Your Arrow is unique in that there are two options for each clue.  My method of choosing was not as creative as others (one of our customers threw two toys for her cats, one representing Clue 1A, the other 1B, and whichever one they went for was the clue she chose!) as I just looked at Clue 1A and 1B and went for the one with the chart!  As I knit the first section and got to the lace chart, I went to peek at everyone else's progress on the Spoiler's Board of the Mystery KAL and realized I had done the first garter section in stockinette!  I debated with myself whether or not to rip back, because it wasn't that big of a deal, right!?  (I ripped it back...)  But what I learned, and what my grade school teachers used to tell me over and over again, was to READ THE DIRECTIONS before plowing ahead to avoid having to do the whole thing over.  Whoops.

But without the Ravelry group I probably would have not noticed until the end.  Additionally, all of the Thursday night commuknitty knitters have been a huge help and inspiration.  Aside from teaching me that I shouldn't try to knit lace in the company of a bunch of people who consistently engage me in interesting conversation, it's been so fun to see how their shawls are coming along and to see how much color choice and fiber content have an effect on the product. 

I hope that if you're also knitting the Follow Your Arrow Mystery KAL that you're enjoying the challenge!  You can follow my progress on AVFKW's Ravelry here!

- Mckenzie M. Mullen

Emtothethird :: Ravelry

 

 

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