Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anzula Squishy is Here!

Was there ever a more aptly named yarn than our newest yarn addition, Squishy? This sproingy soft sock yarn from Anzula is a luxurious blend of merino, cashmere and nylon, the most perfect of blends for special handknit socks.

The semisolid hues that Anzula is known for have a lovely depth of color, and would highlight fancy stitches like cables and lace beautifully. We think the perfect companion to this yarn is the recently published Cookie A book, Knit. Sock. Love.

You could knit the Stalagmite socks in Paradise...

Cookie A's Stalagmite Sock
...or the Ducky colorway would be perfect for the Stricken socks.

Cookie A's Stricken
We're super excited about carrying Anzula yarns and hope you love them as much as we do!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Emily's Prairie Rose Shawl

I fell in love with the skein. You know how it is, that little panic attack when you walk away, thinking that someone might pick it up before you return, nervously glancing every now and then to see if it is still there. Love.

You might be thinking you have seen this image in this very blog. You have. In the Staff Holiday Gift Pics post. Not too long after that post went up, I knew I had to wind that skein. I had to have it! But what to make? I finally decided on a lace triangle shawl from the Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes, the Prairie Rose Shawl.

The Prairie Rose Shawl is not a mindless knit, but I took that project everywhere putting special time in it when I could. Sometimes when something wonderful would happen, I would quickly grab the project and knit a few stitches to capture that moment forever into the knitting. I would look back later in better light with a more lucid state of mind and gently coax mistakes out. There are some special times caught forever into this sweet angora shawl.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heather Ross Far Far Away III Fabrics are Here!

New Heather Ross fabrics are here and they are cute as can be!

We have been eagerly anticipating Far Far Away III and can't wait to get sewing with it. Our favorite new print, and we think our friendly Breyer horse agrees, is the little girls playing with toy ponies fabric! And how about a ukulele dress for fall?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jaime's Sunshine Ruffle Scarf

It is still midsummer and I am already inflicted with the fall knitting bug! I can't wait for fall weather and beautiful hand knits. I just whipped up this sunshine-yellow scarf in anticipation of cool, crisp days.

We recently received a ton of new knitting patterns so I have about a bajillion projects planned. One of the new designers is Grace Akhrem who has some great accessory patterns and I fell in love with this pattern for her ruffled "Seaweed Scarf." I picked up this amazing hand-dyed yellow yarn from Holiday Handmade vendor Murderous Honey and have been waiting for the perfect pattern for it.

The pattern and yarn were made for each other and they came together to make the most summer-tastic, sunshiny yellow, neck-wrapped-in-ruffly goodness of all time.

I knit this up in a week and it gave me the confidence to dive into my fall knitting! I am now working to finish my Iceland sweater before I start my other 3,000 planned projects - this was just the kick I needed to get back into my knitting.

This scarf is going to channel warm sun and farm fields bursting with crops when I don it in the cold gray months to come - I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two New Organic Fabric Lines!

New Julia Rothman Miscellany organic fabrics are here! We love Julia's hand drawn illustrations and can't wait to make quilts and shirts and bags out of her fabric line from organic fabric company, Cloud 9. It's part of their price-sensitive collection, which means these prints are just a couple dollars more than our conventionally grown cotton fabrics. Come by soon if you would like some--they are flying out the door!

Storyboek, the newest organic collection from Birch Fabrics, is a sweet and imaginative collection inspired by childrens stories. The soft colors, adorable animals, 100% organic cotton and eco-friendly, low impact dyes make these fabrics the perfect choice for sewing projects for a special baby!

There are so many fantastic organic fabrics out now, and in order to make them easier to find we have rearranged things and dedicated a whole section of the store to organic cotton prints. Come by to see all the earth-friendly goodness!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amber's Aestlight Shawl

A souvenir from my Iceland trip last fall, this Loðband Einband (Icelandic laceweight) yarn is naturally dyed by botanist and native dye expert, Guðrún Bjarnadóttir. I love the colors--soft teals and pale yellow-green undertones, achieved by the use of reindeer moss and indigo.

I knew I had to find the perfect project for this special yarn and for months it sat in a stunning skein while I contemplated.

...And then I found another Gudrun with the answer! The Aestlight shawl by Gudrun Johnston is oh-so-pretty. It is knit with traditional Shetland lace techniques and is simple and fun to knit. I've just finished knitting it up in my Icelandic laceweight and I love it.

Now, if only I could wrap my self up in this woolly shawl and return for a visit to Iceland...or perhaps a trip to the Shetland Isles...

If you would like to make this shawl, but don't have a skein of Guðrún's Icelandic lace, you might come take a look at the new Isager Spinni, a similar Danish laceweight that we carry in the prettiest palette! Happy knitting!

Monday, August 08, 2011

New Handmaiden Maiden Hair and Fleece Artist Blue-Face Leicester Yarns!

Luxuriously slinky new Maiden Hair yarn is here from Handmaiden! This Swiss silk and kid mohair blend is hand-dyed in lovely semi-solids and variegated hues. It has a magical sheen, with lustrous silk shimmering through a halo of dye-saturated mohair. I've already cast on for a Dandy Scarf in the Smoke colorway and am so enamored with this yarn and the way it is knitting up!

The folks from Handmaiden shared some of their snowy white silk cocoons with us at the trade show. Did you know that one little cocoon holds 1000 meter of silk thread?

Also new from our friends in Nova Scotia is the Fleece Artist Blue-Face Leicester fingering weight yarn. These massive skeins clock in at 125 grams and 550 yards! Wow! That's a ton of yarn. I've been dreaming of this yarn ever since I saw it in a yarn shop in Portland and am so excited to be carrying it here at Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) Sheep are a longwool breed of sheep known for their light and super-soft wool. We can't get enough of it around here. Besides being one of the softest wools around, just look at this guy.

Happy knitting. Fall, here we come!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Crafty Cambodia: The Travel Adventures of Jess

Greetings from The Kingdom of Cambodia! I know you all have been missing me pretty hard back in Denver, so I’m checking in! I am currently spreading crafty joy throughout Southeast Asia and I want to share my latest adventure.

Us and the kids
I spent the last 10 days volunteering at an NGO orphanage/school outside of Phnom Penh. Save Poor Children Of Asia Organization, (SCAO), offers an alternative to children who's families can no longer afford to have them live at home. Currently there are 17 children living at the center. The main focus of the organization is to help decrease the poverty levels in the countryside of Cambodia by education. The kids that live at the center, as well as about 300 local kids from the surrounding villages, attend the 4 free English classes offered Monday thru Saturday. A few of the kids come to more than one class a day. Volunteers mainly teach the English classes. My boyfriend and I both taught English everyday, but I had the joy of teaching my very own sewing class every afternoon to the kids at the center. 

The machines
When I first arrived and walked by their sewing room while a class was going on, my heart just about melted. I have wanted to teach sewing/crochet this whole trip and now I get to! For 10 whole days! The items made in the sewing class are sold to volunteers who come through the center, and they sell a bunch!! So I came up with a few ideas that traveling volunteers might be interested in, and we got started ASAP. 

Our sewing hut
The sewing room was in a little hut with a tin roof and 3 sewing machines to work with. And every one, a treadle machine! It was my first time getting to work with treadle machines...let me tell you, they take some getting used to. Usually I might call myself a wizard being able to fix any problem that might come up while sewing, but not on these bad boys. They have weird wires and knobs that I wouldn't know which way to twist or pull. I needed a lesson how to thread it properly, especially having the bobbin hidden under the machine. When I arrived, one of the volunteers' mothers was in town and jump started some great craft projects for the kids. The first couple days we made notebook covers and cute little purses to sell at the center. My star student was Lim, she was eager to learn the next project.

Srey Lim and Srey Jan

I decided that it was not only necessary to know sewing on a machine, but hand sewing! Hand sewing is such a great craft to learn, and its fun. Immediately I contacted Fancy Tiger, and the next day we were to make our own little Edmond the Owl.

Srey Lim learning blanket stitch

Now, you have to picture myself, and a few teenage Cambodian chicas, in a hot tin hut (about 110 degrees), scrummaging through their craft supplies for the perfect pieces to make little Edmond. There is no Fancy Tiger Crafts around these parts so we had to make due with what we had. We did however find some solid colored cotton fabric, enough scraps of fabric for the stuffing, a sewing needle, and luckily I had some left over embroidery floss. I taught the girls the blanket stitch and they were so excited (and good at it). When the boys caught wind of the owl making, I must have had 6-7 kids around the center making these little guys. They very much enjoyed embroidery, many of them wanted to write their names or SCAO on the stomach of the owl. SO CUTE!
He decided to embroider SCAO with an arrow pointing to it surrounded with hearts
So, as many of you may know, I am what some may call a hook master. I LOVE crochet. I might bleed yarn that’s how hard I love it. I was eager to teach the kids some crochet. In Cambodia, there were bracelets being sold EVERYWHERE. I thought it would be nice to teach them how to make them. Mrs. Samith (the owner of SCAO's wife) and I headed to the local market to seek out crochet hooks and yarn. Crochet hooks that are available in other countries are a 100th of the size of ones we use on a regular basis in America. We got back from the market and I was immediately swarmed with kids ready to learn. Unfortunately we only had 3 hooks! I taught Mrs. Samith and 2 of the girls right away and they were…hooked ;) I think I must have taught crochet for about 6 hours that day. Everyday following, there was another kid who would come up to me and want to learn. I taught them a simple chain stitch and making them into bracelets was such an adorable idea! Especially for the little kids to accomplish a project after just learning. Needless to say my arms are flooded with bracelets! And my heart, filled with joy.

Srey Hoy, Srey Jan, and Nita learning crochet

Happy Srey Lat
The next project would be cute little camera cases. I love mine, and I know other travelers would pick them up in a heartbeat. I taught Lim a very simple way for having finished seams (thanks to sewing 101!) and she was excited because the project was easy to learn and well put together. We had to make due with the supplies they had in the sewing room; a rusty pair of scissors, a tape measure (no ruler), a table with a small space for cutting and one bag of fabric. Surprisingly it got us pretty far. It was difficult for the kids with small hands to do the cutting with over-sized rusty scissors. Measuring and cutting was a lesson of its own. As far as the buttonhole, since working on treadle machines, we hand stitched them. One of the girls has been fixing clothes for everyone at the center for years and she taught me a new stitch! It looks so perfect and…"button holey".

Lim, sewing master
The sewing classes were so rewarding, not only for them, but for me as well. Learning how to sew is something they can take with them into adult life. Especially in Cambodia where there is a huge market for handmade items. 

Check out those scissors
Sharing is caring!

I had such an incredible time getting to know everyone at SCAO and being able to spread my love of craft to them. If you would like more info on SCAO check out their website, or fly to Phnom Penh and teach them your favorite craft!!

Love love! 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Vote for Scrappy!

Meet Scrappy, our patchwork pup! You can vote for Scrappy to win Mod Livin's Best in Show!

This cute little guy could even be yours--he will be part of the auction at the Best In Show event on August 13th to benefit the Foothills Animal Shelter. Please come join in the fun for a good cause!

Best In Show at Mod Livin'
Saturday, August 13th
6 - 9pm (auction at 8pm)
5327 E Colfax, Denver

A one-of-a-kind handcrafted pup, Scrappy is a sculpture by mid-century Finnish designer, Eero Aarnio,  embellished by us at Fancy Tiger Crafts with modern prints and bright cotton embroidery floss. If you've been to Craft Night recently you may have seen Jaime and Amber (and Pink--thanks, Pink!) working on stitching him up in these colorful scraps of fabrics!

Before he left on his way to find a new home, Scrappy and our shop dog, Branwyn, had some time to play together in the park. Scrappy is leash trained and plays well with others.

Thanks for the fun times, Scrappy!