Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anna Maria Horner at Fancy Tiger! Hooray!

Anna Maria Horner is almost here!

We are so thrilled to be hosting Anna Maria Horner at Fancy Tiger Crafts this weekend! Come by for a special free meet & greet and trunk show on Saturday night from 7-9pm, and be the first to purchase fabric from her newest collection, Field Study. (See the entire collection at the end of this post.)

Anna will also be teaching two classes on Sunday--there are still a few spots left!--so give us a call if you want to join in the fun. The extraordinarily inspiring Anna will be teaching:

Learn how to make this beautiful strip-pieced feather block. Use it in a quilt, a bag, or make a bunch and embellish the bottom of a skirt with a feather border!

Make this adorable, functional bag with side pockets in coordinating fabrics--and learn it all from Anna herself!

Her newest collection, Field Study, is a fantastic collection of saturated, sophisticated and playful prints. Her fabrics have always been some of our favorite prints for garments (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and they work equally well, in fact smashingly, for quilts! Be sure to come by this Saturday to see Field Study, meet Anna and get your hands on her newest fabrics.

See you soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Amy Butler and New Tula Pink Fabrics!

Oh my gosh can you believe it--Amy Butler's and Tula Pink's newest collections are BOTH here! We are giddy with new fabric overload!

We fell in love with Tula Pink's new collection, The Birds and The Bees, at quilt market, when we saw Tula's Space Dust quilt. Holy space dust, Tula! That is one hot quilt! Already several Fancy Tiger folks have purchased their fabric to make this quilt. We are in capital L-o-v-e.

Amy Butler's newest collection, Cameo, features Amy's classic style with a bright twist! These prints hark back to times past, but with an updated, saturated color palette. We especially love her small florals and geometrics for tops and dresses, like this Miz Mozelle dress she had on display at quilt market!

We hope you are as excited about these as we are!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Amber's Yellowtastic Hazel Dress

Hooray for the Hazel dress!

I am so excited about my most recent sewing project--I just stitched up Colette's Hazel dress and I love it so much.

I have been obsessing on this bright yellow fabric by Anyan for months now, and dreamed it would be an eye-catching summery dress. Hazel caught my eye and I knew it was meant to be!

This fabric is a little heavier than Sarai from Colette recommends, but I think it worked out nicely. It makes the Hazel a bit more crisp and tailored. A lighter lawn or double-gauze would make a cool breezy dress, which would be quite lovely in this midsummer weather.

I give the Hazel two thimbles up!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Handspun Yak Yarn & Fiber from Rocking Yak!

Handspun yak yarn is here! This super special yarn is made on the Tibetan plateau, using traditional Tibetan spinning methods.

photo by Dennis Jarvis

The yak fiber is first gathered as the yaks shed their downy undercoat in the summer. Once the fiber is cleaned, it is spun and plied on handmade support spindles by local spinners.

By giving the spinners a way to work from home and stay in the villages, Rocking Yak empowers families to live a more traditional lifestyle. Often, members of rural families must go to the city to look for work. This beautiful yarn brings economic value to the Tibetan skills of rearing yak and spinning wool and helps to alleviate poverty in rural villages, allowing families a better income.

Some of the yarns are naturally dyed using plants that are gathered locally on the plateau.

Here are some of the lovely ladies who make this pretty yarn!

If you are inspired to spin some 100% yak down yourself--it is now available in our spinning section! It's unbelievably soft, sproingy and super warm. It's pretty dreamy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Six is Swell!

Fancy Tiger is Six!

We had a blast on Saturday at our 6 year anniversary party. Thanks to everyone who came out it was our busiest day in the history of Fancy Tiger! When we arrived at the store there were already some fancy fans lined up to be the first to celebrate.

We had a special gift for the first 150 people, thanks to our fantastic vendors who donated tons of prizes!

There were new bumper stickers and temporary tattoos for all, and the tats were a total hit! Everyone was looking pretty tough.

Also...new Fancy Tiger Crafts tees were printed! There are still some of these available if you were unable to attend this Saturday.

We were delighted when our friend Nohl stopped by to show off his fancy tiger face paint!

We had, as usual, some tiny, adorable customers showing their Fancy Tiger pride. You can tell these crafty girls have good taste--one is already a Liberty of London fan!

Sweet Action Ice Cream gave us a fantastic birthday present--our very own ice cream flavor! Fancy Peanut Butter has chocolate covered pretzels in it. Yum!

Thanks, everyone who came out to celebrate with us! And thanks, Denver, for 6 fantastic years of craftiness.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Amber & Emily and Their New Colette Iris Shorts!

Short shorts alert!

Emily and I just finished sewing up some new Iris shorts by Colette--they were so quick to make!

To be honest, I was a little nervous because this was the first time I have sewn a garment with legs, but I should have known that Colette would walk me through it and make it so easy!

I used a hemp/organic cotton ticking from Pickering and got a little crazy with the pockets, using a super adorbz little sewing notions print from Anna Griffin. I cut my Iris out with horizontal stripes, taking care to line up the stripes when I cut the pieces and sewed the seams. I love the way they turned out!

Emily's Iris shorts turned out fantastic! She used a hemp denim from Pickering and left out the pockets, so she could sew flat felled seams on the front. So cute!

Summertime, we're ready!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Organic Prints by Michelle Engel Bencsko + Michéle Brummer Everett

Two new organic collections are here from Cloud 9 fabrics!

Michelle Engel Bencsko's new collection, Simpatico, is bold geometrics portrayed in pastel colors. We met up with Michelle at Quilt Market and she was wearing a Wiksten Tova made from one of the Simpatico half-square triangle prints--it was the hottest thing ever!

Michéle Brummer Everett's Seven Seas collection is an adorable take on a nautical theme, with her fantastic illustrations of animal friends from the high seas! This ocean print with a happy narwhal is so cute it almost makes me cry!


Happy sewing!

Friday, July 06, 2012

A Crafty Visit to Yunnan, China!


This May Amber and I took a trip back to Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan Province in China. I say "back", because we both lived there for a time in 2004-2005.

Jeff and Georgia with their new Double Happiness Quilt

Our return to Kunming was to visit our cousin, Jeff, and to celebrate his marriage to his love, Georgia. We were so excited to finally meet her, and attend their wedding! Amber and I decided to make them a quilt, complete with a special double happiness block. Double happiness, or shuāngxǐ, is a traditional motif used in weddings. You can see this special block in the lower right corner of the quilt. (There is a tutorial at the end of this post if you'd like to make your own!)

Kunming has a special place in my heart. Amber and I lived there for a year and a half, and really fell in love with the city. It is always a pleasure to wander the markets in Kunming. There is a major farmers market within a short walking distance of almost anywhere in the city, and the variety of foods available is astonishing. Even at restaurants, there is a beautiful display of fresh produce and meats to choose from. Often non-chinese speakers in our group (hi, mom!) could pick out a few dishes just by gazing in wonder at all the beautiful fresh produce. Yunnan is also a special place for tea, especially puer tea. You can see above the bricks and cakes of puer tea. Puer tea is aged, sometimes for decades like a fine wine, and I have heard there is some still aging from the Qing Dynasty.

Yunnan is an amazingly diverse place. It is one of the most biologically and culturally diverse areas in China. There are over 25 distinct ethnic minorities in Yunnan which often have unique language, crafts, and traditions.

Intricately Tie-Dyed Jacket

Handwoven fabric vests embellished with applique & cross-stitch and Jacket embellished with hand-made metal studs

A visit to the museum was a special treat, with traditional handmade garments from so many different cultures, and amazingly familiar fiber tools elegantly crafted.

Clockwise from top right, a gorgeously carved niddy noddy, a rustic yarn swift with a base made of tree roots, a simple but elegant Miao loom, and three copper drop spindles and a copper comb for separating bast fibers.

Shi Zhijie's textile art

We also visited our dear friend Liu LiFen's art gallery, 943 Studio Group. We were immediately enamored with Shi Zhijie, a local textile artist who's work is on display there. Her textile work was breathtaking, from beautifully quilted silk jackets, to a human-sized, freaky rabbit doll made with her own printed fabric.

Some of the local people at the nearby restaurant were taking a break and crafting it up too. This is a gorgeous piece of needlepoint!

We asked around for tips on knitting stores, and the craft craze hasn't hit China quite like it has here. To get our hands on some yarn we had to trek by cab out of the city to a giant wholesale market in Chengong, one of Kunming's suburbs. This place has everything for sale, and is where small shop owners go to get goods to sell to the public. The building itself extends from one freeway exit to the next--more than a mile long! We had to trek for about 30 minutes to get from the entrance to the knitters shops. We saw the piles of neon yarns and knew we had arrived!

There was a lot of polyester to be found, but we finally happened upon some shops selling cashmere, wool and marten yarns. Apparently marten is a pretty common fiber in China! Even this "Coors Light" yarn is made with it!

This adorable shop owner was selling beautiful wool yarns and was happy to show off her project.

As we shopped several women from the nearby stores noticed us and came to chat. We showed off our projects, too, and the ladies all loved our lace shawls. They had never seen anything like the lace knitting we were working on and asked Amber for an impromptu lesson.

We had lots of fun in China and wish we could go back more often. There were too many fun places and people to meet! I may just have to make myself a double happiness quilt to remind me of our fun times, so here is Amber to share her quilt block tutorial.

Double Happiness (Shuāngxǐ) Block Tutorial

Double happiness is literally the Chinese character for joy, but doubled and smooshed together. It is symbolic of happy occasions where two people bring joy to each other, such as weddings and new babies. The double happiness character is traditionally in red, a most joyful color in China, so I chose a bright red print and a lighter neutral for the background.

You won't need much fabric for this little block. You could get several out of a quarter yard, but a few scraps would be perfect!

Cut out the pieces shown in the diagram above. A rotary cutter, clear ruler, and cutting mat are going to be necessary for this tiny piecing. You will need to cut:

Red Fabric
18 of A (7/8" x 1-1/4")
12 of B (7/8" x 2-3/4")
1 of C (7/8" x 5-3/4")

Grey Fabric
16 of D (7/8" x 1-1/4")
5 of E (7/8" x 2-3/4")
2 of F (1-5/8 x 1-1/4")
Be very careful to keep a consistent 1/4" seam allowance. A quilters 1/4" foot is helpful.

Starting at the top of the diagram above, sew each strip across as follows, right sides together and shorter raw edges together. Press your seams after making each strip:

1) 5 strips of D+A+E+A+D

2) 2 strips of B+D+B

3) 4 small strips of A+D+A (shown at the bottom of image 3 below)

4) Now make a tiny block by sewing a B piece to the top and the bottom of each of the smaller strips. Press. Repeat for a total of four little blocks.

5) Take an F piece and sew a small block from step 4 to each of the longer sides of the F. Repeat with your other F and the remaining blocks. Press.

6-11) Use the second schematic diagram above as a guide, sew all your strips together to make your double happiness.

12) To make and 8" block, I cut 1-1/2" strips from my grey fabric and framed in the double happiness symbol.

Ta-da! Now stitch this into something pretty and give it to someone you love. Here's some ideas:

  • With 1/4" of insul-brite and a fabric for the back, make a cute potholder for the wedding of dear friends.
  • Applique onto a changing mat or diaper bag to welcome a new baby.
  • Make a bigger border and turn it into a decorative pillow for an anniversary gift.