Friday, July 25, 2008

Ravelry

I am a complete Ravelry sl*t. I have left my blog readers in the dust by only posting my store updates on the A Verb for Keeping Warm Ravelry group. Forgive me Readers! Where is that nun when I need her to whack me on the knuckles with her ruler? But really, I never had my knuckles whacked as a child. I did attend Catholic grade school. But they fired all of the nuns when I was in kindergarten. So, I can't even blame the nuns for my bad behavior. Maybe it was the lack of nuns that has instigated my bad behavior. As a kindergartner, I was sad to see the nuns go. I have always had a special affinity for almost extinct uniforms. The habit, the kimono, the sari is slowly moving into that category.

Back on topic, I updated the store this week with some lovely flax/wool spinning fiber.

If you are on Ravelry, please come on over and join our group. Here I post about the Wednesday store updates (on time), customer appreciation sales, and about upcoming classes and shows.

I have so much to tell you but it is going to have to wait for another day. I need to get back to tying my scarf. Tomorrow, is part two of the workshop, the indigo dyeing portion.

Also, in August, my plan is to create and release my fiber club. Soon! What kinds of fiber would interest you?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wonderland

Whoa! Where has the time gone? I have been running around town with my friends from India, Jabbar and Jabbar. This week instead of a Wednesday store update, you are getting a Friday store update. I have uploaded 5 new colors of superwash merino fingering weight yarn.

Tomorrow is Lambtown. I love the name of this festival. If you are in the Bay Area, come and say hi. I will be in Booth 44 & 45. You can come and squish everything in person. Plus, there are sheep dog trials and lots of other fabulous vendors selling their woolen goods.

Be back soon with lots of stories about naturally dyed textiles.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's a Blue Thing

About a week and a half ago my cell phone rang at 8am. Really the fact that it was 8 was not such a big deal because I am usually up padding around the house. The exciting clincher was that India was calling. It was my friend Jabbar. He was calling to let me know that he's coming. On July 15th. Whoa! That's soon!

One time, a seemingly long time ago, I lived in India. I was there to document nomadic camel herders embroidery and applique. I apologize if you have heard this story already. If you haven't let me know in the comments, and I will actually give you a fuller description. I really wish blogs were alive then. I would have a hell of a blog.

I first met Jabbar's father, Mohammad Husein, in the Fall of 2001. He worked as my translator in the desert. Mohammad Husein has a vast knowledge of textiles and craft in the desert. He has a particular interest in photography and bird watching. On Saturday mornings in Bhuj, there is a small flea market. Mohammad Husein would search the piles of this and that for a corner of a yellow cover, that would lead him to a National Geographic. This was a rare find and very precious. I learned from Mohammad Husein that the National Audubon Society designates days throughout the year specifically for bird watching. Teams across the world go out with a map and list, supplied by the Audubon, to document which birds are found. On our time, of 6 Indian men, Hindus, Muslims, and Jain, all over the age 0f 50, and me, one American girl, age 25, found many birds, one of my favorites was a flock of flamingos, perched on one leg in a large puddle in the middle of a salt flat. A salt flat that reached as far as the eye could see.

I love India because people love to invite you over for dinner. This is not the only reason I love it -- but one of the top 10. I began to share meals with MH's family. His wife cooks a mean fish curry. We would sit on the floor on a cloth and plate after plate of food would drift out of the kitchen. His wife, yelling in Kutchi, a language that I know not a single word, that I never eat enough. Outside, in the courtyard, there were huge pots, the size of pot that the witch in Hansel and Gretel probably had sitting next to her infamous oven. And, in those pots, were dyes. Mohammad Husein's lat name is Khatri. This is the name of the dyeing caste in Gujarat, India. In his family, there are generations of dyers. Hundreds of generations. MH, as a young man, did not have an interest in dyeing, and had the intelligence to become a banker. This was his life's work. However, his sons, decided to follow in the tradition and were out in the courtyard, 6 days a week, the propane cranked up high in 110 degree weather dyeing cotton and silk. This is how I met Jabbar, my friend who will come on the 15th.

Jabbar's specific dyeing craft is bandhani. This is a type of resist technique. Here, is a close up of his work.
Each dot of white the you see has been tied by wrapping a bit of fabric with thread. Thus, creating the resist. By tying all of these bits, you create a pattern, like you see here. And, this pattern, creates a beautiful scarf.

Next week, Jabbar and I are going to host a 2 part workshop: Bandhani and Indigo.

Here are the details:
Tuesday, July 16th 6:30-8:30
Saturday, July 26th 10-2pm
$110, includes all materials

Here's my idea. In the first class, Jabbar will demonstrate how bandhani is tied. And talk a bit about the history of how bandhani has been used in his region of India. Everyone will have their own piece of silk and thread. I thought that each of us can create our own design and pattern, and start tyeing it. Then, when we meet again, each of us will have our tied scarves ready. Together, we will create an indigo pot and dip your pieces.

I know economic times for some may be tight, please do not let money stand in the way of your participation. I am happy to try to make accommodations where ever possible. Also, if you would like to come only to the first part to meet Jabbar, and to learn about his textiles, you are welcome.

I am happy to answer any further questions. Please email me through the AVFKW website if you are interested.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Good Girl Complex

Aw, you guys, I loved all of your comments you left on the last post. I really did. A world of passion and creativity.

So, the news this week over at my house...I have had a paunch since the day I was born, literally. This has been a lifelong love hate relationship. Girls with flat tummies, 6 packs I tell you, saying, oh, how, they would love to have just have a little bit of baby fat. No matter how many dreadful sit-ups I have ever done have ever gotten rid of this little bit around my tummy. Well, I found out this week,at 30 years and 9 months, gravity has finally taken hold, I swear the paunch has drooped. I started rummaging through my drawers looking for those jeans that have the longer inseam or a camisole that is a little bit tighter to hold it all in. The jiggle. Then, came the hankering for the cherry coffee cake my mom made when I was growing up. I don't know about other parts of the country, but in the Midwest, we take coffee cake pretty darn serious. Plus, I have a very serious sweet tooth. One that really doesn't take "No" very well. Dammit! I told myself this is the clearly the wrong time to want such a thing. Well, I went ahead and made it anyway. That cake came out of the oven, Adrienne was at work, and I went downhill fast (well, it depends how you look at it really, I could say I went uphill, I was pretty happy eating it). I digress. Here is the dent I made in the cake.

I have been binge knitting. The kind of knitting where I don't leave the house. Not even to replenish my favorite cereal. I remember last year at this time I was in a knitting frenzy. Summer has always been a very expansive, creative time for me. I love all of those hours of sunlight. Do you find that there are times of the year when you create more?This is Wicked by Zephyr Girls. I am really enjoying knitting it. The pattern is written extremely well. I love the way they phrase their instructions.

Here is the Kusha Kusha Scarf, a Habu Kit. One strand of yarn is silk stainless steel. Too cool. I have always wanted to try this yarn. It adds a sculptural quality to the piece. The other strand of yarn is merino. Once complete, I will felt it. I have another Habu kit waiting in the wings. A sweater!

And, the finale for today: the Hanami. This is the first lace piece I ever wanted to knit. And, now I am! I love the pattern and I love the yarn. And the color of the yarn. I wish I could sit home for hours and knit this. Its the type of piece that as a good Catholic girl I would have to go to confession over -- to confess all of the bills I have blown off, all of the errands left incomplete, the dishes left unwashed, the dog left unwalked, the girlfriend left unkissed -- all while the yarn transforms from a ball to a stitch to a row to a pattern. The yarn I am using is a new product that I am offering. I call it Wool Silk Light Fingering Yarn. 65% Wool / 35% Tussah Silk.

Also, as promised, I uploaded the stock of our new Organic! Cotton spinning fiber. You can find it here. I really want to spend some time offering tutorials on the products that I carry. Hopefully, in the next couple months that will start.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Whoa! This is a long one!

As I type, Marcel is running around my desk, nibbling on hay and papers he finds here and there. He is quite frisky, curious too. And get this, he is potty trained! You should of heard Adrienne and I when we found his lil poos in his litter box -- cheering, ooohing and aahhhing. We now think he is ready to take his SATs.

Cleo is absolutely in love with Marcel. It is however a different kind of love then the love Adrienne and I have for him. Perhaps hers is a love of feast. She sits diligently at the base of the table upon which his cage sits. After the first four days, Cleo finally began to sleep again and to eat again. Which reminds me, I received in the mail a book titled House Rabbit Handbook. It was sent anonymously. Thank you, huge thank you to whoever sent this book! In the first five minutes of reading it, I began to understand Marcel. There is a chapter in this book titled Rapport with Multiple Animals. Literally, it reads "I'm sure I am not the only person to bring home a new animal and think within the first hour, What have I done?" Oh my! Someone else feels this way! The author is lucky that she had that worry for only the first hour. I was so happy to read this sentence, and hopeful, that things will quiet down.

Today is Wednesday, which means that I have a store update to share with you. I am happy to announce we have added an Organic! line.

Organic! Merino Worsted Yarn


Organic! Cotton Boucle Yarn
This yarn is too cool. The cotton used in this yarn is grown in Northern California. It is grown in a soft green color. I have dipped this yarn in indigo to enhance the green color. As you use this yarn, the green will grow in richness.


Organic! Merino Fiber


I also have some Organic! Cotton sliver for spinning. I forgot it at my studio but will photograph it and have it ready for sale by next week's update. Otherwise, I also added some new colors of 50% Silk-50% Merino fiber and 50/50 Baby Camel Silk fiber.

A bit of a warning, my head has been heavy with thought, my heart heavy with emotion, for those of you daring to read further, there are strong opinions expressed.
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This weekend was Pride. San Francisco was alive with activity. Every year, Adrienne and I head over to the city on Saturday night to hang out with the ladies and walk in the Dyke March. The parade always starts with Dykes on Bikes.





Pink Saturday party in the Castro.


This year, we had our friends from New York visiting, Keisha and Erin.

They were here because Keisha had a short film in Frameline. We went to the showing at the Castro theater. The shorts were great. Some a little quirky, one which was very quirky, involving a girl dressed like a sheep. I would have preferred her to be dressed as another animal, you know? All and all we had a fabulous time. It was great. Very festive. Wonderful to see the support. I honestly get a little misty eyed when I see so many people come out to support gay rights. And gay marriage being legalized in California...don't even get me started if you don't want to see the tears roll down my cheeks.

Viscous Cycles.
As you may have noticed from the above paragraph, I have been feeling quite emotional. I am sure that some of this feeling has to do with working a bit too much. I love my work so much, to the point where sometimes I think that I may lose perspective and become numb as I work longer and longer hours. I have a history of this kind of behavior. I can also become highly critical of myself as I try to alter this obsessive callings. I try to use my business as a platform to learn more about these habits and to alter them while also remembering that this type of "work ethic" runs in my blood and to have compassion for myself. We all have our good weeks and our not so good weeks, right?

Right now is such a monumental time in the United States. We are in a transitional time that I believe is only going to gain momentum over the next 12 months. I can get very caught up in the political atmosphere of the U.S. To give you a little bit of my history, when Bush became president, notice the lil p, I was so angry. I am still angry (thank god for knitting and spinning). When I learned that I had received the Fulbright to study in India. I was ecstatic. Not only because I was being given the opportunity to research textiles, but because I swore that I would not live in the U.S. while Bush was president. I knew, packing my bags, that I would try to live abroad for as long as possible. I arrived to India on Sept 9th, 2001. Only for the horrific events on September 11th to happen within 2 days of arrival. For obvious reasons, I was devastated to learn of the destruction and suffering. And then further shocked, and continually dismayed by the way the U.S. government has used this incident as a platform and tool to instill fear. I dragged out my Fulbright to two years. Recognizing the inevitable, I arrived in the U.S. as the Iraq war began.

Since my return to the U.S., I find myself wavering between outrage and numbness. Especially after Bush was elected for a second term, I felt powerless. Whether or not that is true, that is up for discussion, but that is how I have felt nonetheless.

Now, the news, pounding away about housing, gas, stock market, unemployment, and about the war in Iraq. I am so angry about where we are at as a country. And, I am so mad at the media! Living in fear, what an awful place to be. No wonder I feel sad and angry! I know this tirade is exhausting, but when it sits there in my heart, I must say something.

However, I don't want to forget that there are always 2 sides to the coin. On this coin, the other side for me includes Obama and Clinton running for president, something I am so grateful to see in my lifetime. And, gay marriage is now legal in California. While there may be some truth to the news about the economy, I would like to put it into perspective, I can not allow the media or the government to scare me into thinking that we are at our wits end. Hardly able to survive. Fear makes me bitter, angry, and at its height uncreative. It is defeating and ugly. I strongly believe that those of us living fearlessly (or trying to anyway) can influence and change those around us, and those around them. So, who out there is going to join me and get on the "fearless living" bandwagon?!