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 yarn, Brooklyn 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!
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!
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.
Brooklyn Tweed Trunk show AND a Quince & Co. Trunk show! Wow! How can you miss that!
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
Posted by AVFKW Staff on January 27, 2014 1 Comment
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!
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
Posted by AVFKW Staff on January 15, 2014 0 Comments
They keep you warm and stylish, so why not make them?
What? How do you go about making your own leggings?
We have the answer.
A very special class called...
Design & Sew Your Own Leggings with Cal Patch
Saturday, February 8th, 11-5pm
Sign up here - spots are limited!
Build your skills! You don't need a serger to sew with knits. But you will find out,
you can make leggings out of hundreds of different fabrics! Cal will show you how to
draft a pattern based on your own measurements. Then we'll stitch up a first draft fit sample,
adjust our patterns if necessary, and proceed to make a pair of real-live leggings.
You'll never buy them off the rack again!
Plus, take advantage of taking a class from Cal Patch! She will be visiting us all the way from New York, so catch her while you can. As a teacher, they don't get better than this, she is down to earth, extremely talented and contagiously enthusiastic about making clothes.
Requirements: Please have at least advanced-beginner sewing skills, with a few simple projects under your belt.
To more about the class description click here!
Cheers! - Adrienne Rodriguez
Posted by Kristine Vejar on December 30, 2013 5 Comments
I have to admit. I was a little afraid of 2013. I can be superstitious - and that ol' 13 hanging in the wings gave me pause. Though in reality, 2013 ended up being an astounding and wonderful year - filled with creativity and growth.
A Verb for Keeping Warm - A Year in Review
Stitches West 2013 brought us back to sharing a booth with Rosemary Hill of Designs by Romi, showcasing new designs and colorways just for the event. One of our favorite parts of the event is to see all of our customers and friends who visit from near and far. The icing on the cake was winning Most Beautiful Booth for the second year in a row.
We released Pioneer in May and again in November; this incredible wool yarn line was grown 90 miles away and dyed with natural dyes. We had the privilege to work with organic cotton farmer, Sally Fox, who grows the most beautiful and happy sheep on her biodynamic farm, Vreseis. A highlight to being so close to the farm was being able to participate in the shearing for the second batch of our yarn, with the skillful shearer Matt Gilbert.
The indigo fermentation vat was born in October with the help of local indigo grower Rebecca Burgess. Rebecca's work developing Fibershed, a non-profit invested in local dyes, fiber, and labor has become a resource we appreciate and support for all of its contributions to the community. In this instance it gave us composted indigo leaves to start a Japanese style fermentation dye vat. With the help of renowned artist and teacher Rowland Ricketts and Rebecca's guidance we now have an indigo vat made of live cultures. This style of indigo vat, raising it and maintaining it is an art in itself - one that we are just beginning to practice. We look forward to learning more about fermentation and indigo in the this upcoming year.
Maiwa in Vancouver, B.C. held it's annual Textile Symposium. Adrienne and I flew to Canada for the first time to take classes with Bryan Whitehead, an artist and indigo dyer who lives in Japan. There they learned about the care of a live indigo fermentation vat and the many incarnations of the ancient art.
In July, Adrienne and I got to take a vacation! We went to northern Minnesota and enjoyed the lakes by kayaking and fishing (Kristine mostly kayaked and Adrienne mostly fished). Kristine visited Nebraska to see her Grandmother, Gertrude, who taught her the German way to knit when she was young. The vacation of course had to include at least a little bit of textiles. We toured the Bemidji Woolen Mill and Faribault Woolen Mill. Both mills provided a fascinating look into manufacturing with wool - and gave us a glimpse into how complex and challenging it is to be a U.S. based manufacturer.
Seam Allowance moved into its 2nd year! The goal to make 25% of your wardrobe is still going strong in 2013 with the members' skills developing considerably. Most members are wearing at least 25% handmade on a daily basis. Some members, including myself, are up to 50-100%.
AVFKW Celebrated our 3rd year in our new space. At out 3 year anniversary party we asked folks to wear what they've made using materials available at Verb. We set up a photo booth and had an outstanding turn out! Way to go makers!
The first ever DIY Alabama Chanin Trunk Show was held at our store with an awesome and enthusiastic attendance. Many folks wore their existing Chanin pieces, shared their experiences, tried on clothing, and made swatch samples using the American produced knit jersey made by Alabama Chanin. All in all it was it was a great success proving it to be an event desired and inspiring. We are looking forward to April 2014 when the Alabama Chanin trunk show returns to the Verb!
This year Jessie and Huelo accepted new challenges! Jessie, our long time resident seamstress extraordinaire and sewing teacher is now employed at Chrome in San Francisco. This is an amazing company and Jessie will flourish with her great skills and talent. We are so happy for her and wish her the best. Thankfully she still teaches at AVFKW from time to time. Huelo, our knit night hostess, AVFKW blogger, and blossoming knit wear designer is on her way to Bulgaria, where she was a peace corp volunteer, to work in marketing. We are very proud of them!
Sponsoring the Fine Wool Fiber Symposium for the second year was a great honor. We met many more artisans, farmers, and folks interested in California's future as a textile producer.
World Class Instruction
AVFKW strives to be a center for cultivating skills related to the creation of textiles. We host teachers from near and far who bring with them a wide set of talent and expertise. This year, we hosted Amy Herzog knitwear designer, and author of Fit to Flatter. Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits brought her trunk show and knitting expertise to AVFKW all the way from Scotland. Rebecca Ringquist, author and embroidery artist from New York, came to Verb twice. Stephen West of Westknits, traveled to AVFKW from Amsterdam to teach class and meet folks. Alissa Allen came from Massachusetts to teach mushroom dyeing. Natalie Chanin came and shared with us her ideas about running a business, staying true to your creative spirit, while caring for the environment. Clara Parkes toured the U.S. on her Great White Bale Adventure and we were lucky to host her for an evening of tales. We also dyed one of the Great White Bale shipments. Gudrun Johnston, knitwear designer, joined us for the first time and taught a Shetland lace class in late October - that was quite a treat! Early in 2014, we are hosting expert pattern drafter, Cal Patch, and comic and knitting historian Franklin Habit.
And let's not forget our cadre of local teachers - those who create the foundation for our skills in the fields of knitting, sewing, natural dyeing, spinning, and weaving - and make it possible for us to host more advanced classes and techniques. These great teachers include Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits, Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep, Michael Wade of Fiber Beat, Stacey Sharman of Peppermint Pinwheels, and our in-house staff: Karen, Adrienne, Mckenzie, and Vivian. Many of these teachers have their own textile-centered businesses. I am so happy that we are able to contribute to their businesses and grateful to their contribution to Verb.
One of my favorite parts of my job is procuring beautiful, unique, and inspiring materials. This year marked many inaugural products to the store that excel as the most choice and rare gems. AVFKW became a Brooklyn Tweed flagship store and participated in the incredible trunk show traveling the U.S. this year. With great anticipation we hosted Takako of Habu with her amazing clothing samples and endless amounts of out-of-this-world yarn. In an effort to further our investment in a well curated collection of fabric and sewing notions, I flew to Portland, Oregon for the Quilt Market. There I saw new trims, felt sewing kits, and the new collections of fabric - an added bonus was meeting fabric designers like Amy Butler, Liesl Gibson, Tula Pink, and Melody Miller.
We debuted a new illustrated project bag featuring Marcel, the french angora and Cleo the dachshund drawn by Lisa Congdon, an illustrator and local designer. It was incredible to work with her and hope to do so more in the future.
In the September issue of Sunset Magazine AVFKW was listed by three esteemed locals as a destination spot in Oakland, not to be missed! In November our store was highlighted in AAA's VIA magazine. Diablo Magazine featured AVFKW's Pioneer yarn in July, as an Editor's pick for their Best of the East Bay 2013 product. We cannot wait to make more headlines in the future!
All and all - a great year of making things and helping those around us to make things - our favorite thing to do!
And finally - my most dreamy accomplishment - in 2013 I received an opportunity to write a book on natural dyes - with my favorite publisher Abrams / STC Craft, with the help of Melanie Falick, an amazing editor and visionary.
With that said, I'm going to take a couple months to really focus on the book, which means I am taking a break from writing on the blog and from social media. Sarah and Adrienne promise to keep you entertained and in the loop of everything happening at Verb. Lots of great things coming up for 2014! So stay tuned!
Thank you so much for being part of the Verb community. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to know you and to support your textile producing habit!