Sunday, December 28, 2008

Edible?

I hope so! I just ate a mushroom that Adrienne picked in the cemetery. It was a boletus aka porcini. Wish me gastronomical luck!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yak, Alpaca, Anne, Verb = Love.

Alrighty, there are 3 main components to this blog post. A store update offering new yarn and fiber. A photographic essay of our grand opening party. Last but certainly not least an announcement about a very special designer and our yarns.

So, starting with the store update, we have some 50% yak/50% silk fiber in stock. We have been offering this fiber for the past 3 months, but the minute we finish dyeing it, fiber fiends gather it up and are gone. So, for this batch, we made twice as much, fed the fiends, and have some to put on our website.AVFKW Yak/Silk Spinning Fiber

Also, we have the alpaca/silk yarn back in stock and are dyeing like crazy to replenish our previous, wide array of colors. This yarn has been one of our absolute perennial favorites. It is soft and sport weight - which means that you can knit a beautiful lace patterned scarf fast. So, for those of you who are already advanced lace knitters and need a quick fix, this yarn could be the answer. Or, for those of you who admire all of the beautiful lace patterns currently being released but are a bit daunted by the challenge, this yarn provides a great jumping off point. Get a few lace patterns under your belt and you will be off and running.AVFKW alpaca/silk yarn

Which brings me to my next topic, speaking of lace patterns. I am so (so) happy to announce that we have sent yarn over to Anne Hansen with the intent of creating patterns. I absolutely love Anne's work. It may be more accurate to say that I am in love with it. Over the past year, I have been following her blog, reading her tales about growing food, cooking food, and of course designing lace. In many circumstances she refers to patterns found in nature to influence and direct her work. I love how she gives us outsiders a view into her designing mind. I have been a bit shy about approaching her - but finally mustered up the courage. She posted about our yarns here. She has a wide variety of lace patterns ranging from those that are a bit more straightforward like this, this and this to the more complex patterns like this and this which I hope one day to aspire to.

Now, to the store. The Grand opening party...it really could not have been any better. It was everything and more than I could have ever expected. Thank you to everyone who came or who over email offered words of encouragement and support. This has been an exciting time and I look forward to learning how the store will unfold and how Verb will continue to grow and unfold. At the end of the day, my strongest sentiment is gratitude.

Our front door -- Welcome!
A Verb for Keeping Warm

The fiber corner
A Verb for Keeping Warm

The Spindle Tree
A Verb for Keeping Warm: The Spindle Tree

Front Window Display
A Verb for Keeping Warm

Silk & Sheep - Is there really a better combination? Maybe chocolate and coffee.
A Verb for Keeping Warm

The Yarn Wall
A Verb for Keeping Warm

More yarn!
A Verb for Keeping Warm

I think you get the point :) Now, the only dangerous thing about all of this - is that I absolutely love this space - and it is warm. My studio is cold. So, I am finding it a little bit hard to leave this space. And, am procrastinating a bit when it comes to standing over the dyepots. All I want to do is sit in my new space and spin! Perhaps all of you can come over and sit in the space and spin for me. Then, I can live vicariously through you. We aren't going to have a store if I don't continue to dye fiber and yarn, you know. Well, I will be there tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday from 10-5, if you are around stop on by.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will work for fiber. The spinning kind.

To say that we have working our buns off may be an understatement. That said, in my life, when I am working, 9 times out of 10, means that I am having fun.

When I last left you, we were at the part where we were opening our new store. I have news about that but first I thought that I would entertain you with a few behind the scenes photos of the week leading up to our big day.

This is a story about renting in the Bay Area. As those of you know who live in the Bay Area, landlord-tenant relations is a constant dance. Rent is ridiculously high and does not really equate to any kind of amenities. For instance, my dream, as a 31 year old, is to one day have a dishwasher in an apartment that costs less than $2000 a month.

Adrienne and my last home was extremely beautiful, built in Craftsmen bookshelves, wood floors, remodeled kitchen, not safe though. Once, we found a man in our house. It was noon. I unlocked the front door, entered, and there he was. As he saw us, he ran back out the window where he had entered leaving shards of glass everywhere, etc. At the beautiful house, we have a landlord who was constantly in our sh*t. Wanted to know where we hanging our photos, how we were hanging them - were the walls being harmed. Who cares about the man. The walls might get ruined. Then, there was the time when the woman, high on crack(?), sporting a sweatsuit, sat on her ten speed bike outside of our house for 5 hours. Moving about a foot an hour. Falling asleep on her bike (talent!). Even masturbating on the bar of her bike (special!). Until finally waking from her drugged dream to bike away onto her next fix. And this is just two examples of our 3 years living there.

This is in sharp contrast to our current living situation. When I am in a rational mood, I figure that Adrienne and I actually pay a semi-reasonable amount of rent. We live in a superb neighborhood - within walking distance to some of the Bay Area's best restaurants, a fantastic library, and my favorite chocolate cafe. This neighborhood is safe. And here is the big kicker, our flat is HUGE in Bay Area apartment living. We actually have two bedrooms. One that is 300 sqft! This is our workroom. Here's the stickler, our flat is Ugly (capital U). The ceilings are low, the walls spackled, and the carpet (carpet!)...let's not even go there. When they built this portion of our 100 year house, they must of had a budget of $100.

We have a somewhat comical relationship with our landlord. In comparison to our last landlord, this landlord is extremely hands-off. We rejoice in this - but this also means that most likely if something breaks, Adrienne is going to fix it. I prefer if Adrienne does fix it - she does a thorough job at fixing things. So, a few weeks back when I garnered enough courage to ask my landlord for new carpeting, I was flat out shocked that he immediately answered yes. And, he wanted to install it the week before my store opening. Yes, this is insane. But I was so afraid to say no - and that it may never be done. Adrienne was definitely not on board. And when she gets in this space, it is kind of like hell on earth. She is stubborn! And, I think she secretly wanted to seek revenge on me. And I don' think I am being paranoid.

This is where the "comic" relief comes in. We received an email from my landlord saying that we needed to move all of our breakables, empty bookshelves, etc. Ok, I can handle that, even though that met we would not be able to walk into our kitchen or bathroom. However, when the carpet installers arrived, they looked around in horror...at all of our furniture - and the fact that it wasn't broken down and stored. Major miscommunication between my landlord and carpet installing guys. Adrienne had to call into work to let them know that she wasn't coming. The two of us took apart our bed and moved every piece of furniture our house from room to room following the installers as they worked. It sucked. We are still reassembling the house. We are still sleeping on the floor. Hmmmm... re-assemble the bed frame or spin. Spin! Wins every time.

Our bed in the family room.

Our kitchen

While waiting for the guys to finish the family room, I found a few quiet moments to knit. I am working on a Habu cardigan. How do you like my outfit? It's a jumpsuit! And it is the only things I could find to wear because all of our clothes were in the bathtub!

Well, Top Chef is on - and its a new episode so I will bid adieu. I have been dyeing a lot of new yarn (alpaca silk) and fiber (yak) and am in the middle of uploading it to the webstore. I will post photos of it here and photos of the new store tomorrow.

xoxo!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grand Opening! The WorkShop!

Please join us this Saturday, December 6th, for our Grand Opening Party!
10-5pm

A Verb for Keeping Warm: The Workshop
Activspace Building
2703 7th St #147*
Berkeley, CA 94710
510-388-5110

* We are on the ground level facing the Activspace parking lot.

Eeeeeee! I am so excited! We are putting the final touches on the new space and it is almost ready for all of you to see! We are so happy to announce the Grand Opening of our new store: A Verb for Keeping Warm: The WorkShop. Small but quaint, this space is our stepping off point into the retail world. We plan to offer classes such as beginning spinning (both drop spindle and wheel), intermediate spinning, rigid heddle weaving, and natural dyeing workshops.

This is a list of the current products that we are offering:

A Verb for Keeping Warm fiber and yarn
Pigeonroof Studios fiber
Zero stitch markers
Schacht products: spinning wheels, looms, handcards, and spindles
Spindlewood spindles
St. Blaise combs
Natural dye extracts and mordants
Books on spinning, knitting, dyeing, weaving, and textiles
Handmade felt scarves by Marlowe Carwford
Naturally dyed bandhani and ajarakh scarves by Jabbar & Jabbar Khatri

Starting next week, December 11th, our store hours will be:
Thurs 10-5
Fri 10-5
Sat 10-5
& by appointment

We strongly recommend calling ahead -- before coming -- through the month of December -- as we get our bearings straight. We ask for your patience in the first couple months, as we work out any kinks. As you most likely know, in most circumstances, I am a one woman show! We are a genuine American family run business!

I hope to see you!

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So, things have been crazy. Good but really crazy. For instance, my landlord decided to have new carpet installed this week. So, as I type, there are many men in my house, lots of banging, and all of our furniture has been move out of the house. When it rains, it pours! That said, I am so happy to have new carpet. I was also called for jury duty this week - luckily, I did not have to go and I am in the clear for another year.

The WorkShop is so unbelievable. We laid down a rug yesterday. Placed the rocking chair in the corner. Fluffed fiber. I love it! I call Adrienne nearly once an hour to let her know how grateful I am for all of her hard work. During the project, there were certainly times that we wanted to kill each other during which I think is quite natural under moments of such stress. But, at this point, we have undertaken enough projects, that have turned out to be successful, that we have faith that that moment of "oh, my gosh, this is so awesome!" would eventually descend upon us. That moment has certainly arrived. if I had my druthers, I would be in The WorkShop right now drinking a cup of tea and knitting.