Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A Verb for Keeping Warm
I recently ordered some sock yarn from A Verb for Keeping Warm, and have been dying for it to arrive. Aren't the colourways just stunning? Look at the beautiful grey-blue-mauve and oyster-pink-brown. And mustard and deep rich pink! Yum! The thing about A Verb for Keeping Warm is that Kristine dyes (most) of her yarns with natural plant dyes. That's right. No acid dyes, no jacquard dyes, no Kool-Aid. Isn't that magic? The Indian Summer colourway (pink and mustard) is dyed with madder and cochineal. The Neptune colourway (blue/ grey/ oyster) is logwood using two different mordants, if I recall correctly. Up in her etsy shop right now is a hot pink, mid grey and dark grey yarn that is so punky and bold you would never guess its hippy origins unless you were told.
I love that these colourways, so beautiful and surprisingly vibrant, can be just pulled from nature. And I read somewhere, probably a bit of hyperbole, that 'nothing in nature's palette clashes'. But I think it's true. Mustard and hot pink should not look this good together. Some would argue that natural dyes are better for the environment. Personally, I think the harm caused by the dyes of a small scale dyers is arguable, and some natural dye mordants are pretty toxic. On the subject, Kristine refuses to use chrome mordants (the nastiest kind). But you could tell yourself you're saving the world by buying her yarn if you want. While there's a lot of really lovely handspun in the shop, the sock yarns are commercial yarn. I chose superwash merino, because I like to machine wash sockies. There's also some blue-faced leceister in that lolly-pink and lemon you can see in the corner. It was added into my package as a 'little' sample.
Now to customer service: Shazam! The best I've had on etsy! Kristine worked out international shipping for me, and changed her listings accordingly. She was unsure about listing all of her items as able to be shipped internationally (though I worked on talking her into it), so outside the USA you might want to convo her. She was super-prompt with replying and gave me no indication that it was an unwelcome hassle to relist for international shipping. Plus, upon asking, she divided the skeins for me and wound them into centre-pull balls! This is going above and beyond the call of duty, I think! I asked because a single skein does a pair of socks, but I have no scales to divide the yarn evenly. The skeins are 126g (4 1/2 oz), and a very good price for handdyed yarn.
Postage to Australia was $11 for up to four skeins, and it took a mere 11 days to arrive.
I heavily, heavily encourage you all to buy some of her yarn. While a million people are handdying all kinds of sock yarns, A Verb for Keeping Warm really stand out as something a bit different, using natural dyes. The quality of dyeing and the colours are equal with any regular-dyers' works. She is the only person I've found that does variegated sock yarn in natural colours. Plus she has some awesome-crazy rainbow (and solid, if you lean that way) handspuns that beg to be turned into a scarf.
Where to buy? Currently split between her own website, A Verb for Keeping Warm, and her Etsy shop. And while you're at it, check out her blog for to see her awesome Indian Summer Pomatomuses (I'm going to be a copycat and make some the same I think).
(oh, and the fabric in the background is my new Lara Cameron fabric, in linen blend. It was going to be a Martha Stewart bag for a gift, but I love it too much to give it away).