In the Dye Studio: How to Host a Natural Dyeing Party (Part 1)

Posted by AVFKW Staff on August 06, 2018 0 Comments

In our newsletter this month, we announced the 1st AVFKW Dye Day, coming up on Saturday, August 25th! August 25th is two and a half weeks out - so it's time to start planning! 

We want to help you plan a unique and fun natural dyeing party with your friends. Kristine, Adrienne, and I have been teaching natural dyeing classes at home and abroad for over 10 years, so we have a lot of experience and tricks for hosting a successful event. Unless you have been stocking up, or have a regular dye practice, you will probably need to gather some supplies and materials ahead of time - so let’s get started now!

Your guide throughout this process, other than these blog posts, is our book The Modern Natural Dyer. MND (as we call it) was published in October 2015 and is a great resource for new and experienced dyers. I use it as a reference in the dye studio at least once every week! If you don't have a copy yet, you can purchase a signed copy (including a naturally dyed bookmark) from our website here.

We stock all the scours, mordants, dyes, indigo suppliesdyeable fabric, and yarn that you'll need to get your party started! Check the end of this post for a discount you can use when you purchase natural dyeing supplies from us - including your copy of MND.

The two types of dyeing that we think work best in a group setting like a dye party are eco-printing and indigo dyeing. These two processes are pretty different from one another and require different tools, materials, and preparation. I'll help you pick which type of dyeing you'd like to host (maybe you want to do both!) and make sure you have all the tools and information you need. This blog post overs eco-printing - click here to read the indigo post. 

Eco-printing is the process of pressing whole dyestuffs, like flower petals and leaves, into fabric, bundling the fabric tightly together, and heating it in a dye pot. Your fabric must be scoured and mordanted before applying your dyestuffs, and you'll want to make sure you are using some plants that are listed in MND (like marigolds, cosmos, and coreopsis) that give good color and are lightfast. 

Eco-printing works well with a wide range of fabrics, from light weight wovens to jersey to heavier flannels, and any natural fiber type including wool, silk, cotton, and linen. It's great for small to large projects - you could dye fabric to make the sewing kit from MND (page 79), a project bag for your knitting, or an Endless Summer Tunic.

To host an eco-printing party, you'll need your dyestuffs (you can grow these, purchase from a nursery, or carefully forage for them), dowels or branches, strong thread, and a medium-sized pot to hold the bundles from each of your party-goers. You'll also need a heat source (like your kitchen stove or a propane burner in your backyard). Your attendees will need to scour and mordant their chosen fabric ahead of time. Tell your friends to scour at least 2 days in advance and to mordant at least 1 day in advance - so they arrive at your dye party ready to go. They can easily dry their fabric out to make transportation easier.

Once your supplies are gathered and your friends have arrived, follow the directions for the Flowers At My Fingertips Sewing Kit (page 79). After everyone has carefully unwrapped their bundles, do a little show and tell so everyone can see what was made!

Eco-printing supplies to gather:
+ Fresh flowers like marigolds, cosmos, and coreopsis
+ Dowels, PVC pipe, or sticks, approx 1-2" in diameter, 1 per person per fabric
+ Medium to large pot (20 qt should fit approx 8-10 bundles)
+ Button and craft thread, or other strong cotton string
+ Tongs, rubber gloves

Eco-printing homework for attendees:
+ Scour your fabric at least 2 days in advance and mordant at least 1 day in advance before the party (see MND pages 56-59)
+ Bring some flowers, leaves, or other plant material from your garden

Eco-printing tips and tricks:
+ We recommend that 80% of the dyestuffs you are using are plants that you know produce color on cloth. Experimenting with a few plants from your garden can be a lot of fun but this helps avoid disappointment when you unwrap your bundle.
+ If your friends are dyeing similar looking fabrics, tie a small piece of colored thread around your fabric (or embroider initials) in order to tell them apart
+ Be careful when unwrapping your bundles - even if they feel cool to touch on the outside, they may be hot inside! Have a couple buckets of cold water on hand to rinse and cool your bundles before opening.
+ If you wish you had more color on your fabric, don't despair - you can put fresh flowers down, retie your bundle, and pop it back in the pot again!

To be continued in Part 2 ... click here to read about hosting an indigo party.

Use the hashtag #AVFKWDyeDay on your IG photos on August 25th to see people around the country hosting their own dye party! We also have a brand new hashtag for IG photos of in process and finished objects using materials you have purchased at AVFKW. Tag your photos with #Verbalong, and be eligible to win a gift in our monthly drawing!

Do you need help selecting the appropriate scours, mordants, and dyes? Give us a call at 510-595-8372 or email info (at) averbforkeepingwarm (dot) com and we'll help you out.

To celebrate and prepare for the upcoming dye day, we are offering 15% off natural dyes, kits, The Modern Natural Dyer, and more. Enter AVFKWDyeDay at checkout to receive your discount.

-- Sarah

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How to Dye with Mushrooms! Mycopigments for Dyes with Alissa Allen - Sat, Dec 6th or Sun, Dec 7th

Posted by AVFKW Staff on November 29, 2014 0 Comments

Don't miss this exciting opportunity to take a class by mushroom dyer Alissa Allen.  If you have had any desire to learn more about the world of mushrooms this is a good place to start.  Not only are some mushrooms edible some give colorfast results on wool and silk.  The exciting thing about this particular class is you will be able to dye with many types of mushrooms and get a wide range of colors.  You will not believe your eyes!  Join me in welcoming back Alissa Allen and the rainy season ahead filled with beautiful mushrooms!


Mycopigments for Dyes with Alissa Allen 

Sat, Dec 6th or Sun, Dec 7th

Class Description:

Many wild mushrooms contain permanent, intensely colored dyes, and every region has its own palette of mushroom and lichen dyes! This 4 hour class takes an in-depth look at using local wild mushrooms as sustainable, safe dye sources.

We will be working primarily with wool and silk fiber. Starting with 10-12 different species, with the addition of safe mordants and pH modifiers, we end up with about 20 colors in all. This rainbow of samples will be showcased on a detailed recipe card, listing the fungi and all assists used in class.

Students will also get the chance to practice shibori on a silk scarf, which will be provided.

Students will also receive a procedural handout to guide future exploration, and a customized guide to local dye fungi.

This workshop covers all aspects of getting started with mushroom and lichen dyes and leaves the student with the tools to carry on their own exploration!

Don’t miss this special opportunity to learn more about the brilliant natural dye sources in your backyard!

No experience required. 

Materials included: a silk scarf, yarn samples, dyestuffs

Materials required: rubber gloves. 

Date: Saturday, December 6th
Time: 1-5pm


Date: Sunday, December 7th

Time: 1-5pm




 Photographs by Alissa Allen

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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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Stitch Exchange: Let's Sew an Endless Summer Tunic out of Knit Jersey

Posted by AVFKW Staff on May 01, 2014 1 Comment


Summer is a great time to start sewing with knits. Kristine recently did a "Chanified" version of our Endless Summer Tunic. For those of you who are not familiar with Alabama Chanin, it is 100% hand stitched clothing that we at Verb love! We coined the term "Chanified" and use it when talking about clothing that we have made out of patterns outside the repertoire of Alabama Chanin patterns, though still employing the Alabama Chanin style: the use of their organic cotton jersey in addition to their technique of hand-sewn garment construction with embroidered details.

Kristine started with white medium weight white jersey and dipped it in the indigo vat and then sewed it up by hand. She used flat felled seams for the center front, center back and the side seams, she left the v-neck and the hem raw so that they curl under a little, she hand dyed the floss she used to sew the tunic and she resist-dyed the yoke lining so there is a fancy surprise on the inside! Kristine also decided to take the bias edging all the way around the arm opening and the neckline of the yoke instead of sewing it up with the seam allowances inside. This is a great option and adds lovely detail to the garment.

Kristine usually wears the 39" bust size in our pattern, but for the jersey she dropped down to a 37" bust because of the extra stretch the knit provides. The tunic came out looking really lovely and I'm exited to see people playing with the pattern! 

With a few things taken into consideration, I think the pattern translates well to a knit. Kristine left off the pockets, which I think was smart. Here at Verb we are all big fans of pockets and the Alabama jersey is probably sturdy enough to support having them, however I would put some reinforcement in the side seam if you are going to try it. If you are thinking of doing the pattern as written and working on a sewing machine (as opposed to a serger) special care should be taken with grading your seams. Specifically on the inside of the yoke. Knits can oft times be more bulky than woven fabrics and so taking care to trim internal seams will make your finished garment look much more professional. 

Other ideas for fun projects from knits include the new Colette patterns Mabel and Moneta, some lightweight leggings or knocking off your favorite summer tank from last year in a new fabric! We plan on making some of the above in the next few weeks as our participation in Me-Made-May 2014.

For our First Friday Fabric Sale this month we are offering 20% off all knit fabric! We wanted to continue to celebrate our selection of Alabama Chanin 100% organic cotton jersey, our new Liberty of London knits, and the lovely selection of printed summer knits we have.

Happy Sewing!


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In the Dye Studio: The Possible

Posted by Kristine Vejar on April 10, 2014 0 Comments

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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