Stitch Exchange: Interview with Susanna IC!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on August 28, 2014 0 Comments

Our second designer interview for the upcoming year of our Pro-Verbial Club is with Susanna IC

Beginning her training as a visual artist and art historian, Susanna is now a prolific knitwear designer whose focus and love is scarves and shawls. Most readers are probably familiar with her shawls from Knitty, Twist Collective, and her own self-published patterns. Full of intricate lace and cables (her favorites!), her shawls are striking, and fun to knit, too! 

Susanna draws her inspiration from nature

Here are Susanna's answers to our questions. 

What’s your favorite thing about designing shawls?

I see shawls as blank surfaces that can be transformed into just about anything depending on the inspiration. Shawls are to my knitting as canvas is to my painting. I think it’s great that just like jewelry, shawls can completely change an outfit, dress it up or dress it down. They can be simple, one-skein projects for a beginner knitter or large intricate masterworks – the possibilities are truly limitless.

Do you have a favorite fiber to work with? 

Although I love working with all sorts of fibers and blends, I really adore silk - its strength, its luster, and its ability to accept brilliant dyes. I love how even a small amount blended with other fibers can add a gorgeous drape and sheen to a finished shawl.

What are you looking forward to the most about working with Verb yarn?

Because nature is always such an important source of inspiration to me, I am looking forward to letting the natural hues of your yarn inspire this design. I can’t wait to see where the yarn will take me.

Can you give us a quick look at your design process? 

Inspiration comes to me from many different sources. I’ve designed knits inspired by literature and architecture, but I am most often inspired by nature and the changing seasons. I love the richness of autumn colors and textures, the stark geometry of winter, the vitality of spring and the lushness of summer. Where I used to employ brush and paints on canvas before I learned to knit, I now use needles and yarn to try to capture the sparkling ocean, the feathery clouds, the unfurling petals…  

Where do you knit? Do you have a favorite place to cozy up with your needles?

Anywhere and everywhere! I am used to getting some odd looks from strangers by now. That said, I am most comfortable and most productive sitting on the sofa in our family room watching television or listening to some music. Sitting there I can see the entire backyard with its luxuriant trees through the window. Watching nature change and transform daily makes me very happy; the incredible variety of green shades never fails to amaze me.

What's your favorite item someone else has knit for you?

That’s an easy answer – socks. I must confess that I have never made even a single sock. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who have made sure my toes never get cold. I have five very special pairs that are my designated ‘sit & knit’ socks because I only wear them while I knit; they are all much too beautiful to walk around in.

Thanks Susanna! We are looking forward to see what beautiful creation you devise for the club!

It's not too late!! Sign-ups for the club are currently open, and we'd love to have you join us. Click here to read more and sign up.

Click here to read our previous interview with Andrea.

-- Sarah



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Stitch Exchange: Interview with Andrea Rangel

Posted by AVFKW Staff on August 17, 2014 0 Comments

Hi everyone!

As you probably know, our Pro-Verbial Yarn & Fiber Club is just starting out on its fifth year! Sign-ups are currently open, and we would love for you to join us. Click here to read more and sign up.

We have four amazing designers on board this year -- click here to read about all of them (as well as last year's designs). We thought we'd offer you a glimpse into their lives by interviewing each of them in turn!

Our first designer interview is with Andrea Rangel of Andrea Knits! Andrea was taught to knit by her grandmother when she was 8 years old, and currently lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Andrea wearing her new pattern Dutch, coming out this fall

Andrea loves to bike, and many of her designs are perfect for biking. We asked her a few questions about knitting, yarn, and the design process.

What’s your favorite thing about designing shawls?

Shawls are certainly functional, but their main purpose, in my opinion, is to be beautiful. They’re wonderful blank canvases and can be extravagant or restrained; they can be delicate and spidery or lavish and cozy. I’m a bit omnivorous when it comes to design (I like to make everything!) and crafting shawls allows me to stretch myself creatively, which is always a thrill.

Do you have a favorite fiber to work with? 

I know I’m not alone in loving wool and I certainly knit with it more frequently than anything else. But I don’t know that I have a favorite fibre because I also adore the crunchiness of linen and the softness of cashmere -- each fibre has its place and I wouldn’t want to give up any of them.

What are you looking forward to the most about working with Verb yarn?

Knitting makes me feel connected with all those before me and around me who have also used textile arts to clothe themselves and their community, while adding color and beauty to the world. Because of that, I relate strongly to the Verb philosophy and love to see Verb's unique work. I know that the yarn and pattern we create together will be special and inspirational.

Can you give us a quick look at your design process? 

All my shawls start with a decision about shape, followed by extensive swatching. It often takes me at least five or six swatches before I settle on which stitch patterns I’d like to use, and the decision is usually informed by the feel, look, and color of the yarn. When I design garments, there’s a lot of math to be done before I can even cast on, but since shawls only have one size, I just do a few basic calculations and write a quick draft of the pattern before beginning with the knitting.  Some day I may need to use sample knitters, but I haven’t done it yet because I love to knit and because I often adjust the pattern while I work.

Out of all of your amazing designs, which do you yourself wear the most?

Last summer my husband and I took a month-long bicycle trip around the Netherlands, but before we left I designed Dutch [see photo above], a sweater just for the occasion. It turned out to be perfect for the trip -- made of lightweight wool with an oversized fit and happy color work. I wore it every day while traveling. The pattern is currently in testing and will be published this coming fall. Another design I wear all the time while cycling is my pair of Kalaloch leggings -- they’re perfect for winter riding and are actually one of the most functional things I’ve made.

Andrea in her Kalaloch leggings

We are thrilled to have Andrea as part of the Pro-Verbial Club this year, and can't wait to see what she designs for us! Thank you, Andrea, for answering our questions.

-- Sarah



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Stitch Exchange: Pro-Verbial Yarn & Fiber Club Year 5!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on July 30, 2014 0 Comments

What a wonderful year it's been! This year in Pro-Verbial we've had four beautiful patterns, lots of marvelous yarn and fiber, and tons of knitting and spinning! We've seen lace, beads, beautiful edgings, versatility, and simplicity.

Snowplants, designed by Carrie Sullivan (October 2013)

Pavito Shawl, designed by Laura Nelkin (January 2014)

Kika, designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (April 2014)


Linnet Bird, designed by Bristol Ivy (July 2014)

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the club this year! Thank you for spinning, knitting, and wearing our shawls -- and thank you to the designers who created the patterns! 

Now we're looking ahead to the upcoming year. We are very excited about our designers for this year! Each one is talented, creative, and has a knack for designing beautiful shawls. In no particular order, the designers are:

Each designer will be creating a new, exclusive pattern for the club. The design will be a secret until the shipment date -- not even the Verb staff will know what it will look like! 

To give you a sense of what's to come, here are popular patterns from our upcoming designers! 

Aestlight, designed by Gudrun Johnston

Annis, designed by Susanna IC

Ume, designed by Andrea Rangel

Dawn, designed by Grace Anna Farrow

As you can see, each designer brings something different to the club. We will be working with each one of them to create the perfect yarn for their vision -- in terms of substance, color, and weight. In the dye studio, we are still discussing all the exciting yarn possibilities for the upcoming year - they will include brand new bases offered exclusively to club members - as well as old favorites. Click the link below for more details.

Today the club opens its doors to new members -- and we would love for you to join us. It's going to be a fabulous year!!

Click here to read more and sign up!

If you have any questions, please email info (at) averbforkeepingwarm (dot) com and we will gladly help you out!

-- Sarah

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Up and Coming: Special Verb Colors for S&S!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on June 17, 2014 0 Comments

In our last blog post about the upcoming Stephen & Steven Tour 2014, you got to see all the exclusive color ways that are arriving at the shop in time for Stephen and Steven's visit THIS WEEKEND!

In addition to this wonderful selection, we have also been busy bees creating new, exclusive Verb colorways for these two designers to work with!

The first color created was inspired by Stephen West. He sent photos of beautiful ice floes during sunrise, all shimmery with morning pinks and purples. Together with Kristine he choose Even Tinier Annapurna, our light fingering base composed of 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. With 565 yards per 115 g skein, this yarn is perfect for light, drapey shawls -- which Stephen is a pro at creating.

Photography & makeup by Alexandra Feo

This brings us to Welty, Stephen's tour exclusive pattern using Even Tinier Annapurna in Magic Horse! Full of textural welts and yarn overs, Welty will be available to purchase as an exclusive tour pattern.

StevenBe chose to work with Floating, our luxurious fingering weight blend of 70% alpaca, 20% cashmere, and 10% silk. This is the yarn that customers ooh and ahh over the most -- its softness, shine, and elegance make it an instant favorite. 

Steven requested a pair of colors, starting with the mysterious tonal neutral pictured above -- named Downtempo! This was a fun but challenging color to create, and if you're familiar with Kristine's love of neutrals you know how we feel about it! 

He and Kristine worked together to pair it with a rich purple, named Oxygen Bar. While the pattern is still forthcoming, the image of these two colors together in a shawl is striking!

These special colors will be available at Verb and participating shops along the tour. Just like the special colors from other dyers, these colors will be available exclusively for students and party attendees until 2pm on Sunday, July 29th. At that time, it will be available to the general public, as well as phone orders and online sales. Stay tuned for the link!

Additionally, if you are already signed up for a class or the party, you may pre-order the yarn starting now! Give us a call or send us an email and we'll set up your order. 

Not a student or party attendee? Don't worry, there's still room! Join us for a fun morning of design with the Dynamic Duo, a fun and crazy afternoon making Swants, and of course you're all welcome at our fabulous Party & Trunk Show!

Additionally, we've added two new spots in Stephen's Wesknits Workshop on Sunday!! Click here to grab them!

-- Sarah

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Up and Coming: Stephen & Steven Tour 2014 Extravaganza!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on June 12, 2014 0 Comments

Get ready for the event of the summer -- the Stephen and Steven Tour 2014!

Stephen West of Westknits and Steven Berg of StevenBe are coming to Verb on June 28th and 29th, to teach a variety of fun and unique classes! Join us for the Dynamic Duo, Westknits Workshops, Swants, and an evening party / trunk show! Click here to read more about each of these exciting classes.

Stephen and Steven have worked with a few special dyers, combining their artistic vision and style, to create exclusive color ways for the tour. These yarns will only be available at the shops along the tour! We have picked out the following yarns to be featured during this weekend.

Amy and her team at Madeline Tosh have developed the color Knitting is Dead Sexy! StevenBe describes the color as "intense, colorful, and vibrant -- not for the faint of heart."

Knitting is Dead Sexy will be arriving on the following bases: ASAP, Tosh DK, Tosh Sock, Dandelion, and Prairie. The different fiber content in each yarn picks up the color differently -- it will be fun to see it in real life!

The shop will be well stocked with Tosh DK, Tosh Sock, Dandelion, and Prairie, with plenty of colors to choose from for all Stephen & Steven classes and patterns.

The lovely ladies at Plucky Knitter have worked with each designer to create a colorway just for them: a luminous green for Stephen West and a vivacious cherry for Steven Berg. These colors are aptly named With a "PH" and With a "V", respectively.

With a "PH" and With a "V" will be available on Primo Fingering, Plucky's fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend. This popular yarn is soft, drapey, and ideal for shawls -- Stephen and Steven are each designing new patterns to go with their color! 

Alchemy Yarns of Transformation has also developed two colors for the tour. Alchemy's specialty is hand painted colors with shades that flow and shift across the spectrum. The first colorway, named Ambrosial, is an exquisite blend of greens, blues, and purples.

The second color, Evocative, is composed of vivid pinks, reds, and oranges.

Both colors will be available on two of our favorite Alchemy bases: Silken Straw, a 100% silk yarn that only gets softer as you work with it, and Haiku, their silk mohair blend. Knit together, these two yarns create an amazingly soft, drapey, and elegant fabric. Pair a strand of Haiku with any other yarn to add a fine halo, as well as a touch of color and playfulness.

The shop will be full to the brim with yarn for this event! We are adding a few new yarns to our collection, starting with Manos del Uruguay's Lace yarn! Composed of 70% baby alpaca, 25% silk, and 5% cashmere, this is a luxury lace yarn. We will have a variety of semi-solid and space-dyed colors to choose from. 

Next, from Habu Textiles, we will be adding several cotton gima yarns, as well as copper and stainless steel varieties! Habu's yarns are a favorite of Stephen and Steven due to their versatile combinations.

Stay tuned for more fabulous additions to the store -- we will have a variety of colors and textures for you to choose from to make the most beautiful and unique projects in Stephen and Steven's classes!

The yarn listed above is available exclusively for students and party attendees until 2pm on Sunday, June 29th. At that time, it will be available for the general public and online sales.

We hope you can join us for a class! Or come by the party for an evening filled with fun, glamour, and laughter! The store will be overflowing with samples!

-- Sarah

P.S. Stay tuned for Verb's special colorways created for the 2014 Stephen and Steven Tour!

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