It’s a rare thing to get to hang out with one of the world’s dyeing luminaries. I got wind of Kristine Vejar coming to Nashville on pretty short notice (isn’t part of a workshop the months of anticipation?), so it was with about two seconds’ planning that I signed up for a two-day workshop. Kristine is the proprietor of the legendary shop A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland, California, and author of pretty much the Bible of natural dyeing, The Modern Natural Dyer.
Stop, drop, and dye. Classmates had come from Durham, Chicago, Asheville, Seattle, and the wilds of Brentwood, Tennessee to be a part of this. I can’t believe I live 10 minutes from a place like Craft South.
Up top is a gallery to click through and gaze upon the natural dyeing that gripped us like the fever of a bunch of bachelorettes chasing the last pedal tavern. (Nashville is the nation’s top destination for bachelorette parties these days, in case you’re wondering. And the 12 South neighborhood is somehow the epicenter of what they do when they’re here. We watched them troop past Craft South, herds of them, sometimes poking their heads in the door of Craft South with puzzlement.)
Marigold versus madder.
Kristine and dyeing wizard Adrienne create colorful yarns that all go together. All natural dyes. The brown above is actually the gentlest green you’ll ever see. Kristine mentioned how hard it is to photograph green; here’s the proof.
Dyehards caught in the act.
An indigo mother gathering steam. Iridescent circle? Check. Yellow-green color? Get ready.
Everybody brought yarn and fabric to throw in the indigo pot. I brought my beloved Nesting Wrap, that beloved Bristol Ivy pattern, made in beloved Jade Sapphire cashmere. I truly love the colorway—Pebble Beach and Stonehenge—but I truly do not love the way it enhances my pallor. There is only so much pallor one can inflict on the world.
Into the presoak it went.
After three indigo dips and three squeeze-outs, it looked like the saddest pile of semi-felted goat hair you ever saw. My classmate Kelley Dew tried to be encouraging. “Aw Ann, it’ll be great. Stuff always looks like that when it’s wet.”
You mean, like this?
I think Kelley would say this to somebody with a bad haircut, you know. She wants to be helpful.
At workshop’s end, we all swore to stay sweet and have a wonderful summer, and I put my semi-felted-looking goat hair into a ziploc per Kristine’s stern instruction Do Not Let The Alkaline Stuff Dry On The Yarn.
At home, I soaked it in a vinegar bath—so much soaking comes with all the dyeing—then rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.
And, lo and behold, Kelley was right, and Kristine was right.
I love my souvenir of a memorable hangout with great women, a beautiful shop, and a patient teacher.
If you ever have the chance to take one of Kristine’s dyeing workshops, or to hang out at A Verb for Keeping Warm, you will be amazed at how quickly you get the dyeing bug. Not to be an enabler or anything, but she’s headed to Japan in November for a workshop hosted by Amirisu, everybody’s favorite Japanese/English knitting magazine.
Curious what workshops you’ve attended that you’ve enjoyed.