Saturday, September 15, 2012


There are some places that just nourish your soul, and AVFKW is quickly becoming one of those places for me. 

I "discovered" this shop shortly after a pattern was published in Twist Collective using one of their yarns.  It is located in the north part of Oakland, CA, so far north in fact, I would actually consider it Berkeley, and I try to stop by whenever I am in town on business, which is quite a lot lately.

The simple reason is, I always find something there to inspire me.  Aside from her own yarns, from which I had made several great pairs of socks, Kristine carries a great assortment of unique yarns (this is where I first dicovered Pluck MCN Primo and Fiberspates Scrumptious, after all) but also a great assortment of fabrics and new techniques from her travels.

Case in point, I was in here the first week of August after a trip to my favorite customer in South San Francisco (yeah, the summer of no travel thing is really not working out as I had hoped). A while back I got it into my head to make the Crane Creek jacket from a yarn a bit lighter than what the pattern calls for (both are fairly scratchy natural wools). I had a flash of crafting brilliance and decided what this jacket needed was a spot of color and softness, and that what I should do is hold two strands together--one of the neutral colored wool I had already purchased and one of, say, raw silk. So I headed out to Verb to look at some Habu Tsumugi silk I had seen on my last trip.

Kristine, the owner of AVFKW, consulting with a customer on a dress design

I found my silk and more, finally settling on a denim blue to complement my brown wool (though once I start knitting I fear it may obscured the diamond textured pattern a little).

I also could not resist some of Kristine's signature Creating in this great geen and purple colorway, plus the matching green and purple colorways.

But the truly inspiring piece of the day was some wonderful fabric recently arrived from India discovered during Kristine's recent travels. Apparenlty, this is made by local artisans in India who first take the length of fabric and create a design by knotting thread in a certain direction or randomly. The fabric is then dyed, dried, and the yarn removed, leaving a star-like pattern where the thread was removed and in some cases shirring as though the fabric were smocked.  I fell in love with this yardage, and then with these scarves, but I could not think of a single practicle thing I could make from it, so I resisted, thinking I would be back in 2 weeks and if I still wanted it I could come back then and get it.

Well, I did go back to the bay area 2 weeks later this time traveling with a colleague, and despite my best efforts, I was not able to find the time to drive across the bay to Verb. I had been madly debating all week--tea stained fabric or purple scarf?--but alas, since I could not make it to the shop, I feared it would be neither. I was bitterly disappointed since I also wanted some more Creating in the Octavia colorway when I I realized I was just being silly. I just picked up the phone and gave them a credit card number, and a week later the gorgeous purple scarf was mine.  The workmanship truly is amazing, and I am already plotting my Octavia sweater with alternating purple/green ribbing border. Or perhaps a baby blanket? Right after Crank Creek...

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