A long time ago, like 7 years ago, we were about to embark on a new journey. We were in the process of moving from our little studio in Berkeley to our new much larger studio and store on San Pablo Avenue. We had spent the Summer working (and sometimes not working - thanks furlough!) with our contractor and the City of Oakland to build the dye studio. We were supposed to open our doors in September but it would still be two more months. In order to help fund opening the doors of our San Pablo location, I had the idea to create a yarn and fiber club and to enlist designers to create exclusive patterns. For the focus of the patterns, I chose shawls. An object that has endless possibilities when it comes to designs. And requires a finite amount of yarn, unlike sweaters.
With the help of Wonder Mike, the name Pro-Verbial was chosen for the club. Fingers crossed that this club would bring you all the positives (the pros) Verb has to bring you - my hope was to mail you a little celebration in a box four times a year - a sweet package of naturally dyed yarn and a new shawl pattern. And also, I looked at this club as a fun challenge kind of like the peak of our natural dyeing work coupled with patterns created by The Pros of the knitting world. (Nerdy! I know. But you gotta keep keep things fun! ) Stephen West, Rosemary Hill, Kristen Hanley-Cardozo, and Mary-Heather Cogar jumped on board this crazy train - and we were off and running.
Seven years later, we are still hosting the annual Pro-Verbial Club. Now, I think of those who join the clubs as The Pros - the people who are committed to jumping in with both feet first and trying out new colorways and patterns. The designers now have a bit more license - though they are given a finite amount of yarn to work with, and the goal is to give you a pattern which can wrapped more or less around your neck, they are encouraged to explore whatever a shawl means to them at the time they are designing. So we have seen a vest from Olga and Cookie, and an asymmetrical scarf from Julie Weisenberger. (To see all the pieces designed over the years, go here.)
This year's Pro-Verbial Club features the design work of:
Melody Hoffman of Mandarine's
We have a very globally diverse group! Which I believe to be indicative of where we are as knitters. Instagram is so prevalent in our daily lives - we are able to connect with those around the world who are dedicated to making. Norah is the only person living in the United States. Melody lives in Latvia. Joji lives in Argentina. (Something I did not know is that Joji cannot receive yarn in the mail from us. She must be outside of Argentina in order to get yarn.) And Junko lives in Japan.
Each designer in this year's club as an outstanding portfolio of work. As designers of this year's Pro-Verbial club, I am focusing upon making pieces using their patterns. So in order to gather my thoughts, I created a collection of some of my favorite pieces from each designer. You can find that collection here. This will you give a sense of their work and an idea of what you might expect from them when it comes to the piece which they create for the Pro-Verbial.
The pots are bubbling as we prepare for the first shipment of the 2017-18 year. October 15th all packages will be wrapped, tied with a bow, and sent out to members. You still have a few days to sign-up. October 1st is the last day. Then, we will close memberships for the year - and take flight into a year of dyeing, designing, and knitting! Join us!