Thursday, August 28, 2008

Poo Power

It has been so wonderfully sunny and warm. Our dye garden is in full swing (thanks to Marcel's nutritious poo power). We're harvesting on a daily basis cosmos, correopsis, dahlias, and bronze fennel. Poor Marcel has been so hot -- the big ball of fluff that he is.
He is molting right now. He does that every three months. At night, I pull bits of fluff off of him. There are spots on him that give more fluff than others, almost like a spigot. I keep pulling and pulling sometimes to the point that I think he will have a bald spot, but, no, he just has a ton of fur. My friend Rebekah turned me onto an Angora grooming class on September 20th at a bunny store named Rabbit Ears in Kensington. I hope to learn better organizational skills when taking his fur off of him. Right now, I am just kind of stuffing it into a tupperware container every which way because I am still learning how to keep him still long enough for me to groom him. My fiber self just keeps saying -- it's ok -- it is like a big rolag -- think woolen.

Cleo and Marcel are making headway. Except for brief moments when Cleo tries to hump Marcel at which point we all yell "off Cleo, off!" My neighbors must be like WTF?!Anyhow, I give good thanks that Cleo is no longer trying to
A.) Bite Marcel
B.) Chase Marcel
C.) Is now listening to voice commands when around Marcel.

On the spinning front, my buddy A gave me the most luscious gift. Hand combed top. When I say these three words, they seem so limited, short, small, easy, a mere second to type. When really these three words encompass, maybe, if we were to sit down and write from beginning to end what it takes to make hand combed top a 50,000 word essay. If you read A's blog, she has been giving quite a beautiful description of her process: buying a fleece, washing it, combing it, spinning it, and soon, we may see what she knits from it. if you have an interest in learning how to do this kind of thing, reading her blog would be an amazing place to start. And, if you do decide to join A in her pursuits, I welcome all gifts of hand combed top! Don't you even think twice about sending it my way! As I just finished spinning the top A gave to me. I can already feel the affect of withdrawal coming on.

Now, onto a bit of Verb news.

First! Date Change! I have decided for the sake of sanity to push back the Verb Anniversary Party. The new date is Saturday, September 20th. This will give a bit of extra time to make some special fibery, yarn-y goodness for the party. More details will follow in the next week or so.

Next bit of news, I updated the store this week with 11 new colors of BFL spinning fiber. Sometimes I think I've grown tired of BFL, it's what I learned on for god sakes, but then I spin it, and remember why I love it so. It drafts so easily. It takes dye so beautifully. And it is so wonderfully woolly. It's a classic.

Last but not least, The Fiber Club is filling up with so many amazing members. If you are thinking of joining, come on over, membership is open only a few more days - until September 1st at 11:59pm pst.

I hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Point Reyes Camel

Today, I updated the store. I added camel/merino spinning fiber in 3 colorways: indigo, headlands, and spring chicken.

A few post backs, I started to write about a new lace ribbon scarf that I was making. Honestly, it is extremely rare that I make a pattern twice. However, when making the first scarf it dawned on me that it would make a great project for an intermediate spinning class. A couple months later, I found myself at Article Pract teaching this class. One of the goals of the class was to create a yarn that you may not have thought otherwise. Some students chose colors that they would have previously thought would not have harmonized. Others, chose fibers that they were shy of. Needless to say, the results were fantastic.

Here is where I am so far: 50 baby camel - 50 merino indigo
50 silk - 50 merino - citron
100 tussah silk - 10% chance of rain II

My inspiration when dyeing the fiber, and when choosing the color combination were influenced by this day at Point Reyes. When the wind whips around me, that fast, with so much power, I feel like it is cleaning out all of the stress and noise stuck in my bones. The wind tosses it to the sea. Then, that weight lifted out of my insides, presents room -- to create new things, to relax, to observe what is around me. Sometimes I get testy with Adrienne, she tends to take a lot of photos. However, there are times like this day at the beach, when I am so grateful for her photos. She really captured the fog, the deep, saturated, matte browns of the beach, and the crisp green and blue of the ocean. Seeing Jabbar's crisp white kurta against the beach really takes my breath away. I see it as so beautiful.

p.s. To all of you (so far) signed up for the fiber club -- I am so happy that you are exited! Thank you for all of the positive feedback. If you haven't signed up yet, come and join us, I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm Back! AVFKW Fiber Club

I'm back from my hiatus. I really did clean and organize my desk. While it was nice to take some time off the front line, to gather some thoughts, I am so happy to be back. And, I have a lot of exciting news to share with you.

The A Verb for Keeping Warm Fiber Club is open for membership.

Let me tell ya. I hemmed and hawed over this one. So many choices, which one to offer first. We have a whole lifetime ahead of us to spin, right? So, figure this a jumping off point. Today, you have a choice of 2 options. Memberships will be available for purchase until September 1st, 11:59pst.

Option 1: Woolly Wonders
It's all about the sheep with this package. Explore the amazing variety of sheep's wool and the variety of ways that it is processed and dyed. 4oz per month. Examples of fiber that may be included, but not limited to, are finn, merino, bluefaced leicester, Shetland, targhee, cvm, California red, polwarth, corriedale, etc.
$24 includes tax and shipping
$68.40 includes 5% discount, shipping, tax, 3 months of fiber

Option 2: Ultra
Only the best in luxury fibers will arrive to your doorstep, fresh from the dyepot, ready to be turned into beautiful, intense yarn. 2-3oz per month. Fibers may include, but are not limited to: silk, silk blends, cashmere, angora, alpaca, llama, cashgora, pygora, etc.
$30 includes tax and shipping
$85.50 includes 5% discount, shipping, tax, 3 months of fiber

My main goal behind offering this club is to expand your creativity and mine. We are going to do things a little bit differently than other clubs out there. Instead of offering one type of fiber per shipment. You may receive one or more types of fiber per shipment. I really want to encourage you to create your own blends of fiber and your own unique color combinations. I would really love to see members of this club expand their knowledge of spinning and the vast amount of different yarns that can be made from a single package of fiber. One of the single most rewarding aspects of my job as a dyer is to watch how each one of you chooses to spin your yarn, and how each one of you chooses to work with that spun yarn. It really is quite amazing - the boundless creativity.

I have chosen our A VFKW Ravelry group as a space to share fiber club yarns, projects, and comments about your process. I have also created a Flickr group to share photos. I really hope that you will join us!

Ok, now for my next announcement.

Mark You Calenders! It's AVFKW's 1st birthday party.
When: Saturday, Sept 6th 10-5
Where: AVFKW Studio, Berkeley

I will let you know more details in the next few days. Come over and help us celebrate.

Be back soon. I have some FO's to share. I did manage to get in some knitting and spinning over the past few weeks.

Monday, August 4, 2008

ZZZZZZ...Beep Beep Beep

That's the alarm. Pushing me to wake up. Not from sleep but from procrastination. Here is the honest truth, remember I have a thing for confessions being a recovering Catholic and all, I procrastinate when it comes to sitting at my desk and _____ fill in the blank. Bookkeeping, filing, organizing, etc.

Things have not always been this way. To give you a little background, at my last 9-5, I was a bookkeeper. My bank account and the company's balanced to the penny each and every month for 4 years. To make matters even more sick and twisted, I liked it. Plus, I come from a family of bankers. People who are conservative with money, especially its organization.

This is not to say that I don't like to keep organized records now. It is just that with the insane schedule that I have been keeping, things (anything paper related that isn't a label for a skein of yarn) has been pushed to the back of the line. As you can imagine, the longer this goes on, the worse it gets, the more I am repelled by the sight of it all. Oh, and let me tell you, with the state of affairs as they are right now, how much I dread April 2009.

Well, the part of me which likes an organized way of life has finally eaten my ear enough that I have put all things on hold until I can get this stack of papers sorted and squared. Really there is no need to dread the future, it's just going to take a little bit of elbow grease. My desk will be spankin' clean and ready to go. One may ask, if one is that type of person, "then, why are you blogging right now?"

I swear this will be my last piece of procrastination before getting right down to work!

So for one last trip to procrastinationville...

First stop: The Hanami is finished! I made a few modifications. In order to stick to one skein of yarn, I only worked 5 repeats of the basketweave pattern, and I only worked to chart E of the bubbly circle pattern. Also, I wanted to add more bling, so I added beads to the bubbly portion of the pattern. I found that they looked best on every other row of the right leaning decreases (K2TOG).

I hate seeing knitted items, or textiles of any sort, laying lifeless in a photobox. It makes me sad. So, Cleo, in hopes of cheering me up, agreed to model.

I tried to get Marcel to model for you. He was not into it to say the least. He is a little bit more primadonna than Cleo. Maybe it wasn't his color.

Here are the tools I used for the Hanami:
Addi Lace Turbos, sz 4
LOVE! I am now knitting everything on these needles. I love this sharp, precise little buggers.
Crochet Hook, US 14 (.9mm)
I found this tiny little hook at Lacis. They have even smaller ones.
Glass Beads -- peachy in color
Zero Stitch Markers, green and white freshwater pearls
DOUBLE LOVE! I must buy more. I tried to use one set for two projects, the Hanami and Wicked, I was desperate and it wasn't pretty. I kept losing count for the half of the project that didn't have any stitch markers. I tried to rectify the situation by adding plastic stitch markers. ISH! Must buy more as a reward for organizing my desk! Ha! Another incentive!

Second stop: Handspun!

I am teaching a class at Article Pract right now. This past week in class, we focused on spinning lace weight, fingering weight, and sport weight yarns. Each person in the class has created their own unique blend of fiber and color. Next week, we will start knitting Veronik Avery's Lace Ribbon Scarf. I can't wait to see everyone's handspun yarn come to life as a scarf. It is one thing to see a skein of handspun, an object of beauty and art in itself, but quite another to see it knit, the ways that the colors and texture will come together. I learn so much about my spinning when I knit with my handspun.

This is my homework so far.

The fiber(from top to bottom): AVFKW indigo dyed silk, AVFKW 50 Silk/50 Merino in Citron, and AVFKW 50% Camel/50% Merino dipped in indigo.

The tools (left to right):Bosworth mini spindle in purpleheart(.75oz), Ken Ledbetter spindle with lapis inlay. This spindle was used to ply.

The results:

Final stop: Over the past week, I did add 2 new colors of alpaca/silk yarn, chartreuse's sister and coral. My store updates are going to be put on hold over the next couple weeks, unless I get my "work" done. Part of my work does include the Fiber Club. I am ironing out the last final details. Very exciting.

Talk to you soon! I hope you are all well!