Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday Store Update: Linen Merino Yarn

For today's update, we have this lovely linen superwash merino yarn. I love this combination of fibers. The linen provides a structural texture and is fun to knit on for something different. The merino provides softness and flexibility. This yarn is a nice summer-y sport weight. In the heat of summer, knitting on this for a pair of socks, a market bag, or a lacey scarf will not weigh you down.

For this update, I am offering a 10% discount on all of our new Linen Merino Sport Yarn. Enter wed25update at checkout. This discount will be available until Friday, June 27th at midnight PST.

I have lots of stories to share, unfortunately, they will have to wait for another day. Bewteen Cleo and Marcel, we have a little bit of a Sylvester and Tweetie show going on! And, my father's day cards are still sitting here on my desk.

Here is one last thing, this is the headline of an article I clipped out of the San Francisco Chronicle, April 4th, 2008:
Herding sheep addictive for people, dogs

Confirmation that I am not alone in my love of sheep!
I hope all of you are well!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

BSG 2008: A Very Furry Time

Ah! The Black Sheep Gathering. Sigh. I love it.

The booth looked beautiful.

I had some free time to hang out with Adrienne and spin. She was on a spinning buying frenzy. Hopefully, in the next couple of days she will blog about it. I was trying out her new Ken Ledbetter spindle. It has inlaid lapis. Beautiful.

Here's a little guy that I absolutely love and know all too well. The black blue-face leicester.

Ok, let's show you the new stash. Beware. Warning. This is intense. I am in love. There were so many things that I could not resist. I have been so good, keeping to my very tidy, neat budget. Well, you know how when you go on a diet, and you are so good and then, you go crazy and start with jalepeno poppers, move onto a cheeseburger with french fries, and then move to a deluxe banana split. Yeah, well, this trip was something like that.

After perusing about 20 spindles, there are 2 that I purchased. The one on the left is a Spindlewood made out of pink ivory and ebony. The spindle on the left is made by -- shoot, I am going to have to get back to you about this one. I packed the tag away. When I get home I will tell you. What I do know is that both spin, and spin, and spin.

Toots LeBlanc
: 50% Alpaca / 50% Jacob. This is going to be knit into Wicked.

I played Black Sheep Bingo and won a prize! Oklahoma Wool Snob! I never win anything! I am so excited. This yarn is so beautiful. Wool & Mohair.

Here come the fleeces! Oh my! I told myself that I had enough fleeces (5 from last year) and that I was going to buy yarn instead this year (Toots LeBlanc) and buy fleeces again next year. However, I had to go over and just look at the fleeces before they went on sale. Going through the preview, I saw a ton of beautiful fleeces but frankly, I didn't really see anything to break my promise. But, then, I noticed that the one of the fleeces that won best in show was up for sale. The race was on, my competitive spirit kicked in. I had to have this fleece. Lierally, this fleece is lavender in color. Seriously.
Romeldale x CVM

Alright, so the Romeldale was expensive as is should be. I walked over to he register to pay and get the H out of there before I "accidentally" found something else. Well, Adrienne and I thought that they accepted cc -- and they didn't. So, she had to run to the car. Well, I thought, I will just peruse. Killer! Because then, I found this fleece!!

Wensleydale!! From the same grower as the Romeldale. This fleece shines and shimmers. Literally, it is like a Tahitian Black Pearl. As you turn the fleece, it flips from dark grey to light grey to irridescent white. I flipped through it again and again. I said to myself no, you are not going to take this. And, then a woman walked over, I saw her glance at the Wensleydale fleece -- and I grabbed it tighter. Ok, it's coming home I guess.

I am so happy. Sara, Marlowe, and Caitlyn came to the Black Sheep Gathering too.
Here we are with our new read that right...can you guess what's inside?

Please meet Marcel Oliver, our new French Angora bunny!

His beautiful creamy-red fleece.

Love!! Now, I must run away and play!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jeanne! You've won!

Hello Everyone!

Thank you for playing along in the WWKIP contest. It was great to learn about all of your plans. Thanks for playing!

The winner of the contest is Jeanne from North Manchester, Indiana. Jeanne, get in touch, email me your contact info and I will mail the fiber to you. Congratulations!

Tomorrow, we head to Eugene, Oregon to the Black Sheep Festival. Very exciting. The AVFKW store will be up and running while we are out of town. I will be checking my email while we are gone. However, anything purchased during this time will not be shipped until Wednesday, June 25th.


Monday, June 16, 2008

WWKIP: SFMOMA here we come!

Saturday was WWKIP day. Basically, I love anything that has to do with fiber and socializing. Which is kind of funny, under most circumstances, I would consider myself an introvert. I guess fiber really pulls me out of my shell.

On Saturday, I didn't have any solid plans for WWKIP. The real issue is -- is that there are too many things I want to do and not enough time. I knew that really I should work, and continue dyeing for the Black Sheep Gathering but how can I resist a little knitting in public? I knew of three potential places that knitters were gathering. Knit-One-One in Emeryville, Memorial Park in Albany, and Union Square in San Francisco. All great places filled with great people, but we decided to do something altogether different. At 8am yesterday morning, the time of day when I get most of my ideas, I recalled Adrienne telling me that the SFMOMA is now going to allow photography in the permanent collection's galleries. So, I thought -- hey let's go and knit with the paintings!. We called Sara and we were off...

Adrienne with a Rothko.

Sara with a Joan Mitchell.

This is an amazing piece. These are silk flowers sewn together to make a curtain. Not like we haven't been sewing things like this since let's see eternity. But now a man has done it - so it's Art. Ooooh hiss!

I am with the Femme Au Chapeau by Matisse. Here she is looking at me.

And here she is looking at my shawl that I am knitting. I don't think she approves. She told me to frog it! How rude!

We couldn't leave spinning out. Moore. Calder.

Then, we went back to the studio to sort our new Cormo fleece (Cormo + Merino). As explained a few posts back, I wrote that I fell down and bought another fleece!! At least this time I took Sara down with me, and the nice Cormo sheep grower agreed to split the fleece. So, when all was said and done, I ended up with only a quarter of a fleece. This is kind of like telling a cocaine addict that one line won't really get you addicted. It's just recreational. So, here we are, high as a kite, sorting the fleece to be washed.

Then, Adrienne and I carried the knitting and spinning party to our favorite cafe, Bittersweet. It's a chocolate cafe! One of the breakthroughs to having my new studio, is now, I only frequent Bittersweet once a week instead of 5-7 times a week. This would be absolutely fantastic news except that now I have a new cafe I frequent, Cafe Clem. It is literally on the other side of my wall at the studio. It is a french cafe. You can imagine the pastries and cakes.

For everyone who is just tuning in, right below this post, there are details about a contest I am holding right now, let us know how you spent WWKIP day, and you will be entered to win a bundle of baby camel / silk spinning fiber.

For all of you who have already played, I have loved reading all of your comments about what you have planned for WWKIP day. I absolutely love to learn of all the different places people live. It has totally yanked me out of my bad mood!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finnsheep & WWKIP Contest

In this week's store update, first, we have Finn also known as Finnsheep or Finnish Landrace. The great thing about Finn is that it has the semi-luster and softness of merino, but a longer staple length, about 3-6 inches. This is a great wool for all spinners; from beginners to experts. Also, it is great for a large variety of projects.

I also updated a few things that have been out of stock: black bluefaced leicester overdyed with indigo, madder, and cochineal. Bluefaced Leicester is a dream to spin. Black Bluefaced Leicester is a great variation to the classic white. The overdyes of madder, indigo, and cochineal add a bit of color without overwhelming the palette. I am dreaming of spinning the black bluefaced leicester overdyed with indigo and knitting the Falling Leaves Shawl by Katy Wight.

Then, finally, the creme de la creme: 50% Baby Camel / 50% Tussah Silk. au natural.

For some reason, whenever I am in a really bad mood, I want to give something free away. It's as if, maybe that would make someone else excited, and then their excitement would be contagious, and then I feel better. Does that make sense? I look at it almost like a good deed. Oh, and let me tell you, today has been that kind of day. The kind of day when all I really want to do is sit and knit, put the whole world on mute. But I have so much work to do. In one week, I leave for Oregon. I am hoping to sneak away and knit a bit for WWKIP on June 14th. Where will you be knitting?

Reply to this post, let us know how you plan to celebrate WWKIP day, on Tuesday night at 10pm PST, I will draw one name, and mail the winner a 2oz bundle of 50/50 baby camel - tussah silk au natural.

Good Luck! Soon!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I am warmed.

The studio warming was amazing.

We had so many wonderful visitors.

Jennifer with her handspun alpaca.

Kai being simply adorable.

Karrie with her handspun California Red. See that sachet behind Karrie's head, she makes those! I love how they smell.

Lacefreak & WonderMike -- oooohing over her handspun madder dyed black bfl. She spun a laceweight 2 ply. She came with her sister May and brought cherries and cake! You can see more of Michael's photos here. His photos are gorgeous!

Betsy spinning silk. She is also sporting a lovely bracelet of handspun vermillion bfl.


and her gorgeous Merino yarn in the colorway Cosmos. Marlowe also brought delicious, homemade cupcakes. She is quite a baker amongst her many other talents.

I wish I would have taken more photographs. Honestly, I get kind of shy with the camera. Thank you to everyone who came. I am so glad that I had all of you to celebrate this occasion. I had such a wonderful time chatting with everyone, showing everyone around the studio, and seeing everyone's projects.

On Saturday night, after the opening, we went to our friends' wedding. The bride Alicia is Chinese-American. She wore a gorgeous red silk, custom made wedding dress. It was amazing and they served a 10 course dinner (including sharkfin soup and jellyfish). Halfway through the dinner, 2 dancing dragons entered the room, with drummers. They did all sorts of acrobatics. Then, one of the dragon's came over to Adrienne and literally ate her head -- for a good minute and half -- her head was inside of an upholstered dragon's mouth. It was hilarious. And, I didn't have my camera! I can't believe it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Little Bits of Bling

Today's store update consists of soft, slightly shiny 80% Merino / 20% Silk Tussah spinning fiber. This would be great for felting too. My favorite thing about the 80/20 blend is that the merino provides softness and bounce, the silk adds a little bit of shimmer and depth. $12 for 2oz, can you really go wrong?

Now, a little bit of entertainment, a meme sent by "the lady knits".

"The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer."

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
Going to Mills College.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
dye black blue-faced leicester for lacefreak, mordant merino-silk yarn, pay for health insurance, drink water, stretch

3) Snacks I enjoy:
I have a very childlike fascination with snacks. They are fun, mischievous, and rewarding. I eat lots of them. In that case, maybe we should talk about snacks I don't enjoy. banana chips. blech! raisins. pirate's booty (I may be alone on that one).

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
While I would love to explore all of the different philanthropic ways I would save the world, at this moment, I am going to give you a little picture of my dream world. I would hire someone to clean my house, and pay them a lot of money, and a private chef to make my loads of yummy vegetables. I would get a pedicure. I would get a haircut, possibly have my hair dyed just a sharper, slightly darker color than my current color. I would buy a house, this is my dream. And, I would get Cleo a sister, probably another dachshund named Sister Little Paw, and an angora bunny named Emily. And, Adrienne could quit her job. I would have an insane knitting night, fully catered, to let everyone who has helped me and my lil business know how much I love them. I have no idea what I would give my therapist, something grand. Oh, and I would buy a small flock of Shetland sheep. I love them so. I would start the Fiber Farm and start building straw bale guest houses so all of you could come and stay, knit, spin, dye, and learn more about textiles. We would have a big dye garden, and organic vegetable garden, and an iris farm. Ok, so do you get this hint? Dreaming is part of my reality. I better stop here or I might fly away on some magic carpet.

5) Places I have lived:

Plymouth, Minnesota
Oakland, California
Jaipur, Rajasthan
Washington D.C.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Bhuj, Gujarat, India
and back to Oakland again!

6) Jobs I have had:
bagel slicer, coffee server, fabric cutter, lexicon creator, sleep researcher, textile researcher, natural dyer, and drop spinning teacher.

7) Bloggers I am tagging who I will enjoy getting to know better:
Rainy Day Goods
librarian knits


In other news, I am getting so excited for the party this weekend! There will be all sorts of fiber and yarn there that has yet to make it to my website. Hope to see you soon!

coming up soon:

tales of spinning at the winery, where I fall down and buy ANOTHER fleece!

a report of our visit to a local farm raising California Red Sheep

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grand Opening of AVFKW Studio! Party!

Get ready!

Get set!


We are having a party this Saturday and Sunday, June 7th and 8th, to celebrate the opening of my new studio. I have been dyeing tons of new, beautiful fiber and yarn.

baby camel
bluefaced leicester
polwarth locks
and more...

Yarn, the official release of our new:

organic merino worsted weight yarn
wool/linen sport weight yarn
merino/silk fingering weight yarn

Stop by for a drink, new yarn, or simply to chat, spin and knit a bit. We always love to see old friends and meet new ones.

June 7 & 8

2703 7th St #145*
Berkeley, CA 94618

* my studio is on the ground level, facing the Activspace parking lot. We will have a signboard in front of my studio leading the way!

We have been working hard and would love to share this with you. Please come!