Stitches West 2016

Posted by Kristine Vejar on February 12, 2016 0 Comments

It is almost time for that magical event called Stitches West, where one can walk through miles of aisles of yarn, and have the choice of nearly any fiber spun into any size yarn, in every shade of color imaginable, and where designers pull out all the stops, and create new patterns.

At A Verb for Keeping Warm, as always, we will have a wide spectrum of naturally dyed yarn. We take the opportunity of Stitches West to celebrate the symbiotic relationship between dyer and designer, and team up with Rosemary Hill (aka Romi), to create a series of exciting, new pattern and yarn combinations.

The most anticipated is our annual Mystery Knit-Along Kit. The colors this year are stunning. New this year! There will be two base yarns to choose from and three color combinations. If you are new to this concept, here's how it works. The kit includes 2 skeins of Verb yarn, a shawl pin exclusively designed for the kit by Romi, and the first clue of the Mystery Knit-Along and a code so you can download the pattern on Ravelry. It comes in a project bag designed specially for Stitches West 2016. I always get a kick out of explaining what a Mystery Knit-Along is to people who have never heard of it before as the concept is quite amusing. It is a knitting pattern that has been broken into sections, and is doled out to you over the course of (typically) 4 weeks. Here's the kicker - you don't know what the pattern looks like when you start! The pattern is unveiled as you knit. There will be a thread in Romi's Ravelry group where you can participate / get support if you so desire.

There will be Mystery Knit-Along Kits available online - for those of you who can not make it to Stitches West. They will go on sale on Thursday at 5pm - at the same time as when the Stitches Marketplace opens. We will post a link, once they are live, to our Ravelry group.

We are releasing two new yarns this year at Stitches West. The first is named Entwined. It is a 2-ply yarn, one ply spun from Merino wool, the other ply spun from silver alpaca. once it is dyed, due to the difference in fiber content, the yarn develops a nubby texture. It is nearly the same gauge as our alpaca-silk-cashmere blend yarn, Floating. And is a lovely juxtaposition, as you will see in our newly hand-knit sample of Romi's Swoon. In this photo, you can see a close-up of Entwined and Floating nestled together in the dyepot.

The other new yarn we are releasing is called Range - 1st Edition. This is our newest California-wool farm yarn. We are so excited to release this yarn!! It feels like we have been working on it forever and a day and can not wait to get it out into the world. Made of Rambouillet wool, we are releasing 4 natural colors: white, silver, light grey, and dark grey. They are stunning. And for the first time ever, this farm yarn has been combed before being spun, so it has a smooth, more polished surface. It is DK weight (5 stitches per inch), so perfect for your next sweater - a pattern for which you might find across the aisle at Cocoknits booth.

Romi has created a new shawl pattern which can be knit in either Entwined or Range. This will also be available as a kit - complete with a shawl pin by Romi, the pattern, and a Stitches West project bag.

There will also be a third kit - featuring a sweater from Romi's new book, New Lace Knitting - the pattern is titled Bright Lights and will feature in Even Tinier Annapurna in Old Vine - a color reminiscent of red wine. Of course, we will have a plethora of other colors to choose from, and will be happy to help you choose.

Stitches West 2016 is an exciting year because Romi and I both published books in Fall of 2015. So this year, it is going to be great fun to have both of our books in the booth - with the accompanying trunk shows. This means you can stop by and see all of the projects in the books in real life. Romi and I will be signing books on Friday and Saturday at 1pm.

You know who else just published a book - and is going to be at our booth ??? Clara Parkes!! She will be with us on Sunday from 11:30-1pm signing copies of her newest book, Knitlandia.

Other than that, we will have all of our usual suspects: Reliquary II, Even Tinier Annapurna, Floating, Annapurna, Flock, and Horizon. And a few fun extras, like Fringe & Co Field Bags, Merchant & Mills scissors, Liberty of London fabrics, etc.

We hope to see you very soon!
- Kristine

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Stitch Exchange: Nightfall Cowl

Posted by Kristine Vejar on December 10, 2015 10 Comments

Announcing the second pattern in our Winter Solstice Collection: The Nightfall Cowl.

Knit using sport-weight yarn, this cowl’s finer gauge is lighter in weight and easy to wear.

This cowl comes in two sizes. Knit the large size to wear it doubled or even tripled for the coziest feeling. Made out of Madelinetosh Silk Merino, the silk content in this yarn adds a bit of shine, making an elegant accessory for a night out on the town. It is available in a wide array of colors, from vibrant jewel tones to gentle neutrals. Or choose Horizon by A Verb for Keeping Warm. Made of soft, Californian-grown Merino wool, this yarn conveys a cozy, rustic, and causal style and is available in a range of naturally-dyed colors. Choose three colors of yarn; go the route of choosing three closely-related colors which will fade into one another. Or, choose three high-contrast colors, for stripes that pop!

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Small (Medium)
Circumference: 44” (69”)
Height: 8.5” (8.5”)

YARN

Small
A Verb for Keeping Warm Horizon (100% organic Merino wool, 160 yards, 50g)
Color A: 1 skein
Color B: 1 skein
Color C: 1 skein

Medium
Madelinetosh Silk Merino (50% Silk / 50% Merino, 205 yards, approx. 100g)
Color A: 1 skein Antique Lace
Color B: 1 skein Woodstock
Color C: 1 skein Pecan Hull

GAUGE
In seed stitch: 18 stitches and 36 rounds = 4”

NEEDLES
One 40” US #4 circular
Or necessary sized needle to obtain gauge

NOTIONS
stitch marker
tapestry needle

DIRECTIONS

Using long-tail method, cast-on 199 (323) stitches with Color A. Place marker and join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Begin seed stitch pattern:
Rnd 1: (K1, P1) to last stitch, K1
Rnd 2: (P1, K1) to last stitch, P1

Continue in seed stitch, using Color A, for a total of 16 rounds.

Rnd 17: With Color B, (K1, P1) to last stitch, K1
Rnd 18: With Color A, (P1, K1) to last stitch, P1

Continue in seed stitch, switching colors each round, for a total of 20 rounds, ending after a round of Color A. Break Color A after round 36.

Continue working in seed stitch in Color B, for a total of 5 rounds.

Rnd 41: With Color C, (K1, P1) to last stitch, K1
Rnd 42: With Color B, (P1, K1) to last stitch, P1

Continue in seed stitch, switching colors each round, for a total of 20 rounds, ending after a round of Color B. Break Color B after round 61.

Continue in seed stitch, using Color C, for a total of 15 rounds.

Finish with Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Sewn Bind-Off for a nice clean effect.

Weave in ends, block lightly.

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Save this pattern to you Ravelry queue - or better yet, cast-on now.

Stay tuned for the third cowl in the Winter Solstice Collection! Coming soon.

We have a beautiful selection of Madelinetosh Silk Merino and A Verb for Keeping Warm Horizon yarn in the shop. Come by and check it out!

Plus, we now offer gift certificates online!

Join us in working through my new book, The Modern Natural Dyer - in 2016, we will be natural dyeing, knitting, and sewing together!

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The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along 2016

Posted by Kristine Vejar on December 14, 2015 3 Comments

I am so excited to announce our newest project: The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along. With my new book, The Modern Natural Dyer, in hand, I have designed a year long course of study to guide you through the book and through the natural dyeing process.

THE GOAL
The goal of my book is to inspire as many people possible to try natural dyeing and to offer those who are dyeing already new techniques. The goal of The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along is the same.

I have found that project-based learning helps create a direct method for exploring technique. In the Modern Natural Dyer, there are 20 projects, each exploring a different part of the natural dyeing process. With seasonality in mind, the Work-Along is broken into three phases. In Phase 1, the focus is on the basics of natural dyeing and learning to use natural dyeing extracts.

PHASE 1 : WINTER / SPRING - NATURAL DYEING EXTRACTS
Natural dyeing extracts are fine, concentrated powders derived from whole dyestuffs - like leaves, bark, wood, and roots. They are easy to use, and their compact nature make them easy to store. Because we are starting in the Winter, we thought this would be the best place to begin.

These are the projects we will work on:
JANUARY PROJECT: Northwoods Hat (or silk scarf kit) + Sock Hop!
FEBRUARY PROJECT: Wanderlust Bag
MARCH PROJECT: Sandstone Shawl
APRIL PROJECT: Iron-Age Tee

The main correspondence of the work-along will take place on the Verb blog and on the Verb Instagram account. The first week of every month, we will post an overview of the project, lessons to be learned within that specific project, with tips and tricks to complete the project. The second and third weeks of the month are dedicated to doing the projects. The fourth week of the month, we will show progress photos of the projects.

By working on these projects you will learn:
+ the difference between fiber types
+ to naturally dye protein-based and cellulose-based fibers
+ to plan for projects
+ to work efficiently and effectively
+ to combine natural dyeing extracts to create a wide-range of color
+ to learn how fibers within the same type absorb color
+ to use iron
+ to dye garments
+ and more!

We are still working out some of the details for Phase 2 and 3 - but can promise that there are many good things in the works - like indigo dyeing, working with whole dyestuffs, and dye gardening - by completing Phase 1, you will be all ready to go!!

STAYING CONNECTED
The Verb staff will be working along - showing examples of our work. We also plan to have guests along the way! Each week, we will be posting to the blog and instagram (#themodernnaturaldyerworkalong) about the topics listed. We plan to utilize Periscope, a new app, where you can watch me use natural dyes and ask me questions about the process. I will be teaching classes based upon the Work-Along during 2016, in the Verb dye studio and around the US. Plus! In January, I am releasing two online classes with Creativebug. So that way you can see the natural dyeing process in action!

January 12 - How to Dye Wool, Silk and Other Protein Fibers
January 19 - How to Dye Cotton, Linen, and Other Cellulose Fibers

THE KIT
Working within the same intention as when I wrote my book, to see people learn the natural dyeing process as easily and as thoroughly as possible, I created a line of natural dyeing kits in order to help people source the materials to create the projects in the books. Right now, we offer the following projects as kits: Northwoods Hat, Sock Hop, Flowers at My Fingertips, and the Waves Bandana.

For The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along, we are following the same practice and have created a large kit to cover all of the projects in Phase 1, including all of the scour, mordant, dye, and materials which we will dye (yarn, fabric, t-shirts, etc.) Click here to learn more

When you purchase the kit, you have the option of customization. We will send you an email with a series of questions. For example, in January, you choose between the northwoods hat kit or a silk scarf kit. And then, choose which color you would like: red, yellow, or purple.

Purchasing this as one large kit, rather than a series of smaller kits, you will save over 25%.

Plus, for the month of December, we are offering an even larger discount.

To celebrate the start of the Work-Along, we are giving the first fifty people who purchase a kit a FREE Verb Natural Dye Journal. Designed in our Oakland studio, and printed in Berkeley, this tool will help you keep record of your progress and help you learn.

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We hope you will join us on this journey and participate in The Modern Natural Dyer Work-Along. Please do let me know if you have any questions. This book is chock full of information - and I want to be here to help you dive in!

-- Kristine

 

 

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Stitch Exchange: Winter Solstice Cowl Collection - Twinkly Lights Cowl

Posted by Kristine Vejar on December 05, 2015 0 Comments

As Fall leans into Winter, and the trees’ leaves fall to the ground, and fog rolls and nightfall lands earlier then the day before, and the night sky grows darker, and fills with sparkling, twinkly stars, suddenly the briskness of the air becomes to much for an exposed neck. Putting a cowl on to keep warm is a nice idea.

Winter, a time to gather with friends and family, to enjoy the warmth of the home, is a time for knitting, and in the spirit of keeping warm, to knit for others. Cowls are easy to knit and are a thoughtful gift.

The Winter Solstice Collection I is comprised of three cowl patterns: Twinkle Lights, Nightfall, Evening Fog.

The cold weather at this time of year is endlessly inspiring when setting out to design knitwear. At Verb, we encounter many people who desire to knit a gift, though may not have knit for some time.A few years ago, I had an idea for a cowl which would be knit out of chunky yarn so it could be knit fast, and would use two colors of yarn to keep the eye entertained. I imagined a gradient. I explained this idea to Huelo Dunn, then an employee at Verb, now a knitwear designer living in Bulgaria, and she helped to create this amazing design. Since the first design, I have added dimensions, gauge, and a second size. Inspired by the Twinkle Lights pattern, Sarah and I created Nightfall and Evening Fog.

All three patterns are united by the same seed stitch pattern and use multiple skeins of yarns in multiple colors to create gradients of differing proportions. The interplay between the slightly nubby seed stitch pattern and the shift in colors, from one skein to the next, makes this series of patterns interesting to knit with endless possibilities for color.

Today, we are sharing The Twinkle Lights cowl. Stay tuned for the release of the other two cowl patterns.

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TWINKLE LIGHTS COWL

Originally created with the help of Huelo Dunn for A Verb for Keeping Warm

Knit using chunky-weight yarn, this cowl knits up fast. This cowl comes in two sizes. Knit the small size, and you will have enough yarn left over to knit a second one! Knit the larger size and enjoy the extra warmth! Knit out of Madelinetosh Chunky, this yarn makes great gift yarn. It is machine-washable and available in a wide array of colors, from vibrant jewel tones to gentle neutrals. Quince & Co. Osprey is another great yarn option for this cowl, is made from US wool, and is also available in a wide range of colors.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Small (Medium):
Circumference: 23” (46”)
Height: 8.5” (8.5”)

YARN
Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky (100% superwash merino; 165 yards, approx. 100g):
Color A: 1 skein Thunderstorm
Color B: 1 skein Astrid Grey

GAUGE
In seed stitch: 14 stitches and 30 rounds = 4”

NEEDLES
One 16” US #9 circular (One 24” US #9 circular)
Or necessary sized needle to obtain gauge

NOTIONS
stitch marker
tapestry needle

DIRECTIONS

Using long-tail method, CO 83 (161) stitches with Color A. Place marker and join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Begin seed stitch pattern:

Rnd 1: (K1, P1) to last stitch, K1
Rnd 2: (P1, K1) to last stitch, P1

Continue in seed stitch, using Color A, for a total of 10 rounds.

Rnd 11: With Color B, (K1, P1) to last stitch, K1
Rnd 12: With Color A, (P1, K1) to last stitch, P1

Continue in seed stitch, switching colors each round, for a total of 10 rounds, ending after a round of Color A. Break Color A after round 20.

Continue working in seed stitch in Color B, for a total of 20 rounds.

Rnd 41: With Color A, (K1, P1) to last stitch, K1
Rnd 42: With Color B, (P1, K1) to last stitch, P1

Continue in seed stitch, switching colors each round, for a total of 10 rounds, ending after a round of Color B. Break Color B after round 50.

Continue in seed stitch, using Color A, for a total of 10 rounds.

Finish with Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Sewn Bind-Off for a nice clean effect.

Weave in ends, block lightly and give with love. Or keep it, what the heck.

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Seam Allowance: Travel + Designing a Handmade Wardrobe

Posted by Kristine Vejar on October 08, 2015 10 Comments

The Verb dye studio is buzzing with excitement in preparation for the upcoming release of The Modern Natural Dyer - and our trip to New York! Adrienne and I will be leaving a week from today. Pretty much the second I completed the purchase of my plane tickets, I started planning what I would wear. So when Slow Fashion October was announced - I thought perfect timing to talk about what I handmade garments I plant to bring to NY! Pictured above is a section of my naturally dyed, handmade wardrobe.

Getting to leave my dye studio, where I am often wearing pretty ratty clothes, is very exciting because I can turn it up a notch and wear beautiful clothing. I made my clothing when I worked at The Textile Museum in DC, to travel in India, and for a trip to Belize. This is a long-time, sometimes, brutal habit, as it can already be a little stressful when planning to travel. That said, it feels great to wear handmade, and to really be able choose one's own fabric and patterns. So I thought I would share some tips and tricks, and relate it to what I am planning on wearing in NY.

1. Consider the Weather

This can be tricky as the weather these days seems so unpredictable. This Summer, I was caught off guard while visiting Minnesota. I looked at the 10-day forecast before leaving, and the weather more or less said it would in the 70s. Nope, it ended up being much hotter and much colder. Being from the Bay Area, where the temperature doesn't fluctuate much, it is a little hard for me to imagine what 40 degrees really feels like, as I sit here in my tank top, knitting on the front stoop. So I am going to dress in layers. I will have everything from a short-sleeved t-shirt to a bulky sweater - which I can also use as a pillow on the plane!

2. Take Inspiration from Your Current Wardrobe

In the shop, I commonly hear customers, when planning a new garment and choosing materials, say "I want to try something different". I say - don't do it. Because in the next breath, the other very commonly heard comment is "I never wear what I make".

When it comes to choosing materials and patterns, especially when making a wardrobe for travel, choose patterns and materials which you know you will wear. While traveling, your clothing can be your secret weapon to feeling comfortable in your new environment.

Look at your outfit right now, consider your most well-loved garments, and choose something similar in material, shape, and color. If you have a lot of cotton jersey, aka t-shirts, in your closet, make a t-shirt for your trip. In the shop, I often talk about Chanin-fying a pattern. This relates to Alabama Chanin's body of work - the act of hand-sewing cotton jersey. You can take any sewing pattern and use this method to make it which results in a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, dare I call it, t-shirt. Quite a step up from my raggedy t-shirt I wear in the studio!

If you want to try something different, like a teal sweater, go and buy it, and see if you really will wear it. Or make a teal cowl or shawl. There is so much time and money spent on this process, I really want to see you wear your finished garment and it be your favorite thing in your closet.

I pretty much wear jeans, t-shirt, and a sweater - or a dress with leggings on a daily basis - and considered this when choosing what to make and to bring. The wardrobe I have designed for NY is a mix of handmade garments and clothing made by local designers. I designed the Prism pattern with a raglan sleeve because that style of sleeve evokes the classic raglan t-shirt. Knowing that I will wear this silhouette, I have chosen to make two pieces using the Prism pattern: a shirt and a dress. For the shirt, I used fabric made from Sally Fox's organic cotton, which I have over-dyed with California-grown indigo. The dress, I made from a cotton double-gauze. The fabric was originally black and white, which I indigo dyed using my California-grown indigo vat. I am also bringing a Nell shirt made from Sally Fox's white organic cotton. I wanted this to look almost like a tuxedo shirt. Very simple. Can't wait to see how long it stays clean! But hey, that's what the dye pot is for, right? I decided to have less gathers and a straight sleeve sans cuff. I think the real feature of this shirt is the collar. So really wanted to simplify all other aspects of the shirt.

3. Choose Simple Patterns

I imagine you might work full time like I do, that sewing and knitting might fit into your down-time. So let's keep it simple. Especially since there is a deadline, the flight departure. Choose a sweater pattern which is fairly straightforward so you can knit a few rows when you are on your daily commute, waiting for xyz. I like to knit in the round. I can try on the sweater as I knit to make sure it fits like I want it to. Before you know it, your sweater will be off the needles, ready to wear! I specifically made two pieces based on the Prism, because it is so darn simple. There aren't very many pattern pieces. Most of the sewn lines are straight. It can be completed in a day. Right now is probably not the best time to sew something really complicated - or use silk you've never worked with before. Go with what you know!

4. If you care about wrinkles, select your fabric with discretion.

I was raised by a woman who cares deeply about wrinkled clothing. While I am more lenient about wrinkles than she, her voice resonates through my head and I can see her point. Linen, one of my favorite fabrics, wrinkles easily. So, it has not been invited on this trip. There is a lot planned for my trip to NY, we will be staying at multiple places. I can imagine I will packing quickly (shoving) clothing into my suitcase. And having to make public appearances, I figure the less wrinkle, the better. So I have chosen fabrics made of cotton and wool.

5. Draw it out!

Sketching and making a diagram of how the pieces you plan to bring fit together can be tremendously helpful. Due to the fact that I have limited space i.e. carry-on suitcase, I go for simple, classic, silhouettes. I chose the Prism pattern because the sleeves are narrow, so they easily fit inside sweater sleeves. Color is a great way to connect garments. My favorite color (and dye) is indigo. So many of my pieces are blue - the big question is - will I look like a big blueberry walking around? Oh well. A blueberry isn't the worst thing I suppose. With that thought, I've thrown in a few neutrals to even things out. So maybe more like blueberry crumble. I must be hungry.

Drumroll....

My Handmade NY wardrobe - pending last minute decisions of what won't fit in my suitcase!


Prism Dress.
Pattern by A Verb for Keeping Warm.
Double-gauze from Japan. 100% cotton. Indigo dyed.

 


Prism Shirt.
Pattern by A Verb for Keeping Warm.
Broadcloth from Japan. 100% Organic Vresis Cotton. Indigo dyed.

 

{photo coming soon}

Nell Shirt.
Pattern by A Verb for Keeping Warm.
Broadcloth from Japan. 100% Organic Vresis Cotton.



The Wedge.
Pattern by Cocoknits in The Modern Natural Dyer.
A Verb for Keeping Warm Horizon. 100% organic, California merino. Indigo dyed.

 


Nieve.
Pattern by Cocoknits.
A Verb for Keeping Warm Horizon.
100% Organic, California Merino. Natural brown color.

 

Francis Sweater.
Pattern by Cocoknits.
A Verb for Keeping Warm Big Sky.
100% Montana Targhee. Dyed with pomegranate.

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Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to making a wardrobe for travel? Do you have a favorite, versatile handmade garment of which you would recommend the pattern?

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Pre-order The Modern Natural Dyer and receive a fun, interactive gift.

Join me on my New York book tour:
Oct 17 - 18 NY Sheep & Wool, Rhinebeck
Oct 19 Textile Arts Center, Mahattan
Oct 21 Haven's Kitchen

Party with me and the Verb crew in Oakland:
Oct 24 - A Verb for Keeping Warm

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